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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd June 2022

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  • June 3, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Artillery Rockets

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology
  • Mains – GS 2 (Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora)

In News: The US is sending four HIMAR systems to Ukraine

What are ‘artillery rockets’?

  • An artillery rocket is a weapon that is typically propelled by a solid-fuel motor and can carry a variety of warheads.
  • In the 1970s, USA developed a new weapon called MLRS, for Multiple Launch Rocket System, designed for use in the event that Russian armored vehicles massed for World War III on the border of Western Europe.
  • Pentagon developed the more advanced version of MLRS, a more easily transportable version called HIMARS, for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, which is based on a wheeled truck that is much lighter.
  • Unlike its predecessor, the M142 HIMARS truck carries only one pod of munitions, but it can move much faster on and off-road, and can be shipped on a C-130 cargo plane.
  • US is sending four HIMAR systems to Ukraine.

What’s the difference between a rocket and a missile in this context?

  • Generally the word “rocket” is used in a military context to refer to relatively inexpensive unguided weapons powered by solid-fuel motors, while “missile” is generally shorthand for “guided missiles,” more expensive and complicated weapons that use movable fins to steer themselves to their targets and can fly much farther.
  • The Pentagon has already sent short-range, inexpensive and unguided anti-tank weapons that are classified as rockets to Ukraine, like the AT-4, and the longer-range Javelin, which is a guided missile.
  • But in more recent years the military has built weapons it calls “guided rockets” — like GMLRS — which are often older rocket designs upgraded to have guidance systems and movable fins on their nose to steer them.

How powerful are these rockets?

  • Using the HIMARS and GMLRS together can offer an amount of firepower that is similar to an airstrike — all from a mobile platform.
  • The upgrade in explosive power for the Ukrainian military will be profound.

Does Russia have anything similar?

  • The Russian military has primarily used three types of unguided artillery rockets during the war in Ukraine.
  • The largest, the 300 mm Smerch, can fire a guided rocket, which makes it more accurate, and has a range similar to the GMLRS

Do the U.S. rockets have other advantages?

  • There’s one major advantage to the MLRS and HIMARS launchers: They can be fully reloaded within minutes.
  • Both vehicles have a winch that allows them to lower an empty pod to the ground, pick up a new, loaded pod, and pull it into place. The Russian launchers must be manually loaded, tube by tube.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) With reference to Agni-IV Missile, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct? (2014)

  1. It is surface-to-surface missile.
  2. It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.
  3. It can deliver one tonne nuclear warhead about 7500 km away.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Source: Indian Express 


Valmiki Tiger Reserve

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment; Geography
  • Mains – GS 1 (geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes)

In News: The forest department of Bihar has established an elephant rescue centre at Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) to rehabilitate stray, abandoned and injured elephants

  • The facility is in the process of getting approval from the central government
  • VTR is spread over 899 square kilometres in West Champaran district, with Nepal to its north and Uttar Pradesh to its west.
  • VTR provides the perfect atmosphere for elephant habitation
  • Several elephants stray into VTR from neighboring Chitwan National Park in Nepal
  • The plan is not without drawbacks: The risk of human-animal conflicts, though not new, will remain high

Valmiki Tiger Reserve

  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve is the only tiger reserve in Bihar and forms the easternmost limit of India’s Himalayan Terai forests.
  • The forest contains a mix of bhabar and terai tracts and is located in the Gangetic Plains bio-geographic zone.
  • In 1978, it was designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • In 1990, Valmiki National Park was established.
  • The Valmiki Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park is the country’s 18th Tiger Reserve. Valmiki National Park and Valmiki Wild Sanctuary make up the Valmiki Tiger Reserve.
  • The tiger reserve shares a border with Nepal’s Chitwan National Park.
  • The park is bisected by two rivers: the Gandak and the Masan River. Valmiki wildlife sanctuary is bordered on the west by the River Gandak.
  • It enters India at Valmikinagar, where it is joined by two rivulets, Sonha and Pachnad, to form the holy Triveni confluence.
  • A diverse range of flora and fauna can be found in the Valmiki National Park. Moisture-bearing Sal forests, dry-bearing Sal forests, moist mixed deciduous forests without Sal, cane, and tropical seasonal swamp forests with reed beds and wet grasslands make up the park.
  • Fauna includes – Mammals: tiger, rhinoceros, black bear, leopard, wild dog, wild buffalo, wild boar, hyena, leopard cat, wild cat, etc
  • Reptiles – Python, Cobra, King cobra, Krait, Banded krait, Sand boa, Crocodiles, etc
  • Indian bison and one-horned rhinoceros frequently migrate from Chitwan to Valmikinagar.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Among the following Tiger Reserves, which one has the largest area under “Critical Tiger Habitat”? (2020)

  1. Corbett
  2. Ranthambore
  3. Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam
  4. Sunderbans

Source: DTH


Gun Control Legislation in India

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (Important Aspects of Governance)

Context: In the wake of the Texas school massacre, let’s have a look at Gun Control Legislation in India

Arms Act, 1959

  • The Arms Act, 1959 governs matters related to acquisition, possession, manufacture, sale, transportation, import and export of arms and ammunition.
  • It defines a specific class of ‘prohibited’ arms and ammunitions, restricts their use and prescribes penalties for contravention of its provisions.

Key Provisions

  • Gun license applicants in India must be at least 21 years and not convicted of any offence involving violence, of ‘unsound mind’ or a threat to public safety and peace.
  • Upon receiving an application, the licensing authority (i.e., the Home Ministry), asks the officer in-charge of the nearest police station to submit a report about the applicant after thorough vetting.
  • It also enlists specific provisions on curtailing the use of licensed weapons to ensure social harmony.
  • No entity is permitted to sell or transfer any firearm which does not bear the name of the maker, manufacturer’s number or any other visible or stamped identification mark.
  • Any act of conversion (such as shortening the barrel of a firearm or converting an imitation firearm into a firearm) or unlawful import-export is punishable with an imprisonment term of seven years, which may extend to life imprisonment and be liable to monetary fines.

The Arms (Amendment) Act, 2019

  • The Arms Act amended in 2019 reduces the number of firearms that an individual can procure from three to two.
  • The Amended Act also increases the duration of the validity of a firearm license from three years to five years.

Food Security

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development)

Context: For India, a lesson in food security from Sri Lanka

Case study:

Sri Lanka

  • 60% of Milk demand in Sri lanka is met with the imports – despite Sri Lanka has all the natural resources to become a dairy superpower

Saudi Arabia

  • Has the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company. Almarai Company has six dairy farms in the desert kingdom that together house some 107,000 Holstein Friesian cows producing more than 3.5 MLPD of milk.
  • Thus meeting its milk demand by domestic production
  • This, despite not having the land, water or climate required for green fodder cultivation

The contrast between the two models tells us about the importance of food security

Lessons India can learn

  • India is hugely import-dependent in edible oils, just as Sri Lanka has been in dairy.
  • India annually imports5-14.5 million tonnes of vegetable oils, again roughly 60 per cent of its total consumption.
  • In the last couple of years, with retail prices of most oils doubling or more the value of India’s vegetable oil imports surged to a record $19 billion in 2021-22.
  • It has brought to light the perils of over-dependence on imports of essential food commodities.
  • As a country with a population many times that of Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia, India needs to have a strategy of self-reliance in basic foods.

India’s dependence on imports for edible oils

  • Demand and supply gap: The gap between demand and supply of edible oils is around 56% and is met through imports
  • MSP for oilseeds: Minimum support price (MSP) operations for oilseeds have been marginal over the years.
  • Cropping patterns of the country: incentives for Indian farmers to grow oilseeds are still weak

Way Forward

  • Changing cropping patterns: Encouraging and incentivising farmers to take up oil seed cultivation
  • Initiatives by government: initiatives like National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) increasing the MSP of oilseed crops, creation of buffer stock for oilseeds are being implemented by government to boost the domestic production.
  • Stable tariff structure: A stable and equitable trade policy with clear direction would provide clear price signals for different market stakeholders and boost the domestic production of oilseed crops.
  • Moving part of the supply chain locally: the government can import soya beans and crush them domestically rather than simply purchasing Soyabean oil – It would potentially boost oil supplies at home and meet the rising demand for feed from the poultry industry.

Source: Indian Express


Concretization

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs – Environment
  • Mains – GS 3 (Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation)

In News: A day after a ‘severe’ category thunderstorm hit the Delhi pavements and roads were strewn with tree branches and trunks that had snapped, and full-grown trees that were uprooted entirely.

  • Poor root growth due to concretization could be a factor that caused trees to keel over
  • Most trees have ‘feeder roots’ that are in the upper layers of the soil. These roots take nutrients and moisture, and have symbiotic fungi in and around them. But these roots cannot survive under concrete, since they need oxygen.
  • If the space around trees is covered with concrete, there will be no life beneath the concrete
  • An NGT order from 2013 states that concrete within a 1 metre radius of trees is to be removed. A notice was issued in 2019 by the forest department; informing all departments and civic agencies that concretisation of trees damages them and is an offence under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994.
  • Leaving 1 metre around the trees is not enough to have sustainable growth of avenue trees. They need to have good feeder roots that can spread to take in nutrients.

Deepor Beel

In News: Assam’s Deepor Beel is perishing from concretisation and waste dumping

  • Deepor Beel has shrunk around 35 per cent in size since 1991

What’s happening?

  • Threatened habitats, littered lake
  • A 24-hectare garbage dumping yard lies to the east of the lake in Boragaon. Birds and animals feed on rotten flesh and waste from the site, littering the waterbody and threatening their lives
  • Huge mountains of solid waste are turning the picturesque lake into a stinking drain
  • Concrete factories, houses and warehouses built illegally on the wetland damage the ecology.
  • Rail track impacts wildlife
  • A railway line passing through the bird sanctuary has also been posing a danger to the wildlife in and around the lake.
  • At least 14 jumbos were killed crossing the railway track till 2014 between Rani Reserve Forest and Deepor Beel.
  • Lost livelihoods
  • The deterioration of the lake harmed the livelihoods of several hundred fishers who have depended on it for generations. The government has banned fishing in the core area of the lake.
  • Discharge from a local oil refinery has been further polluting the water and inducing kerosene-like smell in the fish

Deepor Beel

  • It is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Assam and the State’s only Ramsar site besides being an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International.
  • It is located towards the southwest of Guwahati city, Assam and is the erstwhile water channel of River Brahmaputra.

Importance:

  • It constitutes a unique habitat for aquatic flora and avian fauna.
  • It has both biological and environmental importance besides being the only major storm-water storage basin for Guwahati city.
  • It provides a means of livelihood for a number of local families.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Consider the following pairs (2014)

Wetlands:          Confluence of rivers

  1. Harike Wetlands:        Confluence of Beas and Satluj/Sutlej
  2. Keoladeo Ghana National Park:        Confluence of Banas and Chambal
  3. Kolleru Lake:        Confluence of Musi and Krishna

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Source: Indian Express


Baba’s Explainer – Aadhar & its Security

Aadhar & its Security

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Cyber Security

Context: Since the inception of the UID project, institutions and organizations have focused more on linking their databases with Aadhaar numbers and this has raised questions about the safety of the Aadhar ecosystem.

Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued an advisory asking people to refrain from sharing photocopies of their Aadhaar Card because it could be misused.

Read Complete Details on Aadhar & its Security


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. Valmiki Tiger Reserve forms the easternmost limit of India’s Himalayan Terai forests.
  2. River Gandak and River Masan flows through the Valmiki National Park

Choose the correct statements:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Consider the following statements

  1. Gun license applicants in India at least must be 18 years old
  2. In India the number of firearms that an individual can procure is three
  3. Once issued validity of a firearm license is for lifetime

Choose the incorrect statements:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 1, 2 and 3
  3. 3 only
  4. 2 and 3

Q.3) Consider the following statements

  1. It is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Assam, and the State’s only Ramsar site
  2. It is declared as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International
  3. It has shrunk around 35 per cent in size since 1991

The above points refer to which of the following Ramsar site?

  1. Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Kabal Taal
  3. Sarsai Nawar Jheel
  4. Deepor Beel

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ‘2nd JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 1st JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – b

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