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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 24th September 2022

  • IASbaba
  • September 24, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Carbon Dating

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In news: A Varanasi district court has issued notice regarding carbon-dating of the disputed structure known to have been found inside the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque.

What is Carbon Dating?

  • Carbon dating, also called radiocarbon dating is method of age determination that depends upon the decay to nitrogen of radiocarbon (Carbon-14).
  • This method was developed by the American physicist Willard F. Libby about 1946.
  • Carbon-14 is continually formed in nature by the interaction of neutrons with nitrogen-14 in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • The neutrons required for this reaction are produced by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere.

How it works?

  • Radiocarbon present in molecules of atmospheric carbon dioxide enters the biological carbon cycle: it is absorbed from the air by green plants and then passed on to animals through the food chain.
  • Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.
  • Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.

The half-life concepts:

  • Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years—i.e., half the amount of the radioisotope present at any given time will undergo spontaneous disintegration during the succeeding 5,730 years.
  • Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.

Its uses:

  • It has proved to be a versatile technique of dating fossils and archaeological specimens from 500 to 50,000 years old.
  • The method is widely used by geologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and investigators in related fields.

Source: Indian Express


The Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan conflict

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Syllabus

Prelims – Current Affairs (Maps)

Context: Nearly 100 people have been killed and scores injured in violent border clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

  • The borders of the two republics were demarcated under Joseph Stalin’s leadership.
  • Historically, the Kyrgyz and Tajik populations enjoyed common rights over natural resources.
  • Ferghana valley continues to be a site of struggle and frequent violent outbursts, with the location consisting primarily of Tajiks, Kyrgyz, and Uzbeks, who have historically shared common sociological specificities, economic activities, and religious practices.
  • This ‘development project’ resulted in the large-scale displacement of nomadic communities, eventually contributing to the ‘environment driver’ of the current conflict.

Source:   The Hindu            

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Region often mentioned in the news:   Country

  1. Anatolia                  Turkey
  2. Amhara                  Ethiopia
  3. Cabo Delgado       Spain
  4. Catalonia                Italy

How many pairs given above are correctly matched? (2022)

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Q.2) Which one of the lakes of West Africa has become dry and turned into a desert? (2022)

  1. Lake Victoria
  2. Lake Faguibine
  3. Lake Oguta
  4. Lake Volta

Q.3) The term “Levant” often heard in the news roughly corresponds to which of the following regions? (2022)

  1. Region along the eastern Mediterranean shores
  2. Region along North African shores stretching from Egypt to Morocco
  3. Region along Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa
  4. The entire coastal Mediterranean Sea of areas

Q.4) Consider the following countries:

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Kyrgyzstan
  3. Tajikistan
  4. Uzbekistan
  5. Turkmenistan

Which of the above have borders with Afghanistan? (2022)

  1. 1, 2 and 5 only
  2. 1, 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 3, 4 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

BrahMos Missiles

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: The Defence Ministry signed a ₹1,700-crore contract with BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd for 35 combat and three practice BrahMos supersonic surface-to-surface cruise missiles for two P-15B class of stealth guided missile destroyers of the Indian Navy.

About Brahmos:

  • BrahMos is a joint venture between the DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and the missile derives its name from Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers.
  • On June 12, 2001, the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was first tested from a land-based launcher in Chandipur.
  • In the 21 years since, BrahMos has been upgraded several times, with versions tested on land, air, and sea platforms.

Background and development:

  • Since the early 1980s, the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, conceived and led by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, started developing a range of missiles including Prithvi, Agni, Trishul, Akash and Nag.
  • An Inter-Governmental Agreement was signed with Russia in Moscow in 1998
    • This led to the formation of BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between DRDO and NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM), the Indian side holding 50.5% and the Russians 49.5%.
  • In 1999, work on development of missiles began in labs of DRDO and NPOM after BrahMos Aerospace received funds from the two governments.
    • The first successful test in 2001 was conducted from a specially designed land-based launcher.

Strategic significance:

  • BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine.
  • Its first stage brings the missile to supersonic speed and then gets separated.
  • The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to three times the speed of sound in cruise phase.
  • The missile has a very low radar signature, making it stealthy, and can achieve a variety of trajectories.
  • The ‘fire and forget’ type missile can achieve a cruising altitude of 15 km and a terminal altitude as low as 10 m to hit the target.
  • Cruise missiles such as BrahMos, called “standoff range weapons”, are fired from a range far enough to allow the attacker to evade defensive counter-fire.
  • The BrahMos has three times the speed, 2.5 times flight range and higher range compared to subsonic cruise missiles.

Versions deployed in all three-Armed forces are still being tested regularly:

LAND-BASED:

  • The land-based BrahMos complex has four to six mobile autonomous launchers, each with three missiles on board that can be fired almost simultaneously.
  • Batteries of the land-based systems have been deployed along India’s land borders in various theatres.
  • The upgraded land attack version, with capability of cruising at 2.8 Mach, can hit targets at a range up to 400 km with precision.
  • Advanced versions of higher range and speed up to 5 Mach are said to be under development.
  • The ground systems of BrahMos are described as ‘tidy’ as they have very few components.

SHIP-BASED:

  • The Navy began inducting BrahMos on its frontline warships from 2005.
  • These have the capability to hit sea-based targets beyond the radar horizon.
  • The Naval version has been successful in sea-to-sea and sea-to-land modes.
  • The BrahMos can be launched as a single unit or in a salvo of up to eight missiles, separated by 2.5-second intervals.
  • These can target a group of frigates with modern missile defence systems.

AIR-LAUNCHED:

  • On November 22, 2017, BrahMos was successfully flight-tested for the first time from a Sukhoi-30MKI against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal.
  • BrahMos-equipped Sukhoi-30s, which have a range of 1,500 km at a stretch without mid-air refuelling, are considered key strategic deterrence for adversaries both along land borders and in the strategically important Indian Ocean Region.

SUBMARINE-LAUNCHED:

  • This version can be launched from around 50 m below the water surface.
  • The canister-stored missile is launched vertically from the pressure hull of the submarine, and uses different settings for underwater and out-of-the-water flights.
  • This version was successfully tested first in March 2013 from a submerged platform off the coast of Visakhapatnam.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following statements best reflects the idea behind the “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System” often talked about in media?  (2022)

  1. A hypersonic missile is launched into space to counter the asteroid approaching the Earth and explode it in space.
  2. A spacecraft lands on another planet after making several orbital motions.
  3. A missile is put into a stable orbit around the Earth and deorbits over a target on the Earth.
  4. A spacecraft moves along a comet with the same surface. speed and places a probe on its.

Q.2) With reference to India’s satellite launch  vehicles, consider the following statements:

  1. PSLVs launch satellites useful for Earth resources monitoring whereas GSLVs are designed mainly to launch communication satellites.
  2. Satellites launched by PSLV appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth.
  3. GSLV Mk III is a four-staged launch vehicle with the first and third stages using solid rocket motors; and the second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct.? (2018)

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

Q.3) With reference to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), consider the following statements : (2018)

  1. IRNSS has three satellites in geostationary and four satellites in geosynchronous orbits.
  2. IRNSS covers entire India and about 5500 sq. km beyond its borders.
  3. India will have its own satellite navigation system with full global coverage by the middle of 2019.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. None

India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Recently India won a United Nations (UN) award for its ‘India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI)’, a large-scale hypertension intervention under the National Health Mission that saw 3.4 million hypertensive people identified and put on treatment at various government health facilities.

About IHCI:

  • India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) is a multi-partner initiative involving the Indian Council of Medical Research, WHO-India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and State governments to improve blood pressure control for people with hypertension.
  • The project initiated in 26 districts in 2018 has expanded to more than 100 districts by 2022.
  • More than two million patients were started on treatment and tracked to see whether they achieved BP control.
  • The project demonstrated that blood pressure treatment and control are feasible in primary care settings in diverse health systems across various States in India.
  • Before IHCI, many patients travelled to higher-level facilities such as community health centres (block level) or district hospitals in the public sector for hypertension treatment.
  • Over three years, all levels of health staff at the primary health centres and health wellness centres were trained to provide treatment and follow-up services for hypertension.

About 2022 United Nations Inter-Agency Taskforce and the WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care Awards:

  • Eighteen organizations
  • received the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and the WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care (PHC) awards.
  • Awards were made in three categories: (i) ministries of health (or government agency under a ministry of health); (ii) ministries (or government agencies) beyond health; and (iii) non-state actors (non-governmental organization, academic institutions, and philanthropy).
  • Winners were selected on the basis of demonstrative commitment to multisectoral action in the prevention and control of NCDs, mental health or other NCD-related SDGs.
  • Nominations were specifically encouraged for organizations working with children and youth groups as well as those working with minority communities.
    • Nominations were also encouraged that highlighted action maintaining focus on the NCD-related SDGs as part of COVID-19 responses.
  • 2022 is the 1st year the awards were run in partnership with PHC however, the 5th year that the Task Force have ran awards. Self-nominations are not allowed.

MUST READ: Non-Communicable Diseases           

Source:   Hindustan Times                   


Rabies control and Animal Welfare

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Syllabus

Prelims – Governance

Context: Recently death of a 12-year-old girl in Pathanamthitta has sharpened the focus on the rising number of rabies cases and the growing population of stray dogs in Kerala.

About Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960:

  • Seeks to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”.
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Act.
  • This Act provides for punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.
  • It provides the guidelines relating to experimentation on animals for scientific purposes.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017:

  • Framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • The Rules allow a Magistrate to forfeit the animal of an owner facing trial under the Act.
  • The animals are then sent to infirmaries, animal shelters, etc.
  • The authorities can further give such animals for “adoption”.

About Animal Welfare Board of India:

  • The Animal Welfare Board of India is a statutory advisory body on Animal Welfare Laws and promotes animal welfare in the country.
  • Established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Animal Welfare Board of India was started under the stewardship of Late Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale, well known humanitarian.
  • From ensuring that animal welfare laws in the country are diligently followed, to provide grants to Animal Welfare Organizations and advising the Government of India on animal welfare issues, the Board has been the face of the animal welfare movement in the country for the last 50 years.
  • The Board consists of 28 Members. The term of office of Members is for a period of 3 years.
  • Headquaters at Chennai.

MUST READ: Rabies Vaccine               

Source: The Hindu                       

Previous Year Question

Q.1) What is the importance of using \ Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines in India? (2020)

  1. These vaccines are effective against pneumonia as well as meningitis and sepsis.
  2. Dependence on antibiotics that are not effective against drug-resistant bacteria can be reduced.
  3. These vaccines have no side effects and cause no allergic reactions.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Rupee Depreciation

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Indian Economy, Interest rate, IMF etc
  • Mains – GS 3 (Fiscal policy, Monetary policy, Impact of free fall of the rupee)

Context: There has been a consistent deterioration of Indian Rupee’s (INR) exchange rate with respect to the US Dollar ($) over the last few month. It breached the psychologically significant exchange rate level. The fall in Rupee has been going on since the war in Ukraine began, and crude oil prices started going up.

What is Depreciation?

  • Currency depreciation is a fall in the value of a currency in a floating exchange rate system.
  • For example: USD 1 used to equal to Rs. 70, now USD 1 is equal to Rs. 77, implying that the rupee has depreciated relative to the dollar i.e., it takes more rupees to purchase a dollar.

Impact of Depreciation of Indian Rupee: Depreciation in rupee is a double-edged sword for the Reserve Bank of India.

Positive:

  • Weaker rupee should theoretically give a boost to India’s exports, but in an environment of uncertainty and weak global demand, a fall in the external value of rupee may not translate into higher exports.

Negative:

  • It poses risk of imported inflation, and may make it difficult for the central bank to maintain interest rates at a record low for longer.
  • India meets more than two-thirds of its domestic oil requirements through imports.
  • India is also one of the top importers of edible oils. A weaker currency will further

What determines the rupee’s value?

  • The value of any currency is determined by demand for the currency as well as its supply.
  • When the supply of a currency increases, its value drops.
  • In the wider economy, central banks determine the supply of currencies, while the demand for currencies depends on the amount of goods and services produced in the economy.
  • In the forex market, the supply of rupee is determined by the demand for imports and various foreign assets. So, if there is high demand to import oil, it can lead to an increase in the supply of rupees in the forex market and cause the rupee’s value to drop.
  • The demand for rupees in the forex market, on the other hand, depends on foreign demand for Indian exports and other domestic assets.
  • When there is great enthusiasm among foreign investors to invest in India, it can lead to an increase in the supply of dollars in the forex market which in turn causes the rupee’s value to rise against the dollar.

What is causing the rupee to lose value against the dollar?

  • Since March this year, the U.S. Federal Reserve has been raising its benchmark interest rate causing investors seeking higher returns to pull capital away from emerging markets such as India and back into the U.S.
  • This, in turn, has put pressure on emerging market currencies which have depreciated significantly against the U.S. dollar so far this year.
  • Even developed market currencies such as the euro and the yen have depreciated against the dollar and the dollar index is up more than 9% so far this year.
  • Some analysts believe that the RBI’s surprise decision to raise rates in May could have simply been to defend the rupee by preventing any rapid outflow of capital from India.
  • India’s current account deficit, which measures the gap between the value of imports and exports of goods and services, is expected to hit a 10 year high of 3.3% of gross domestic product in the current financial year.
  • Foreign investors are unlikely to plough capital into India when investment yields are rising in the U.S.

What lies ahead?

  • It is neither wise nor possible for the RBI to prevent the Rupee from falling indefinitely. Defending the Rupee will result in India exhausting its forex reserves over time because global investors have much bigger financial clout.
    • Most analysts believe that the better strategy is to let the Rupee depreciate and act as a natural shock absorber to the adverse terms of trade. Thus, RBI should focus on containing inflation which is its legal mandate.
  • The Government should contain its borrowings. Higher borrowings (fiscal deficit) by the Government consume domestic savings. Hence, the Industrial and other sectors of economy are forced to borrow from abroad.
  • Over the long run, the Rupee is likely to continue to depreciate against the Dollar given the significant differences in long-run inflation between India and the U.S.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve has raised rates to tackle historically high inflation in the US that hit a 41-year high of 8.6%.
    • This will induce other countries and emerging markets in particular to raise their own interest rates to avoid disruptive capital outflows and to protect their currencies.
  • As interest rates rise across the globe, the threat of a global recession also rises as economies readjust to tighter monetary conditions.

Conclusion:

  • Analysts believe that, over the long run, the rupee is likely to continue to depreciate against the dollar given the significant differences in long run inflation between India and the U.S.
  • The exchange rate has fallen to its historical low of 80, however Indian Rupee has shown a better performance in comparison to currencies of emerging economies.
  • The inflation divides between the U.S and India will continue to further depreciate the Rupee. Nonetheless, with proactive fiscal and monetary measures, India can stabilize its currency value.

MUST READ: Rupee Appreciation vs Rupee Depreciation           

Source: The HINDU                     

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the Indian economy, consider the following statements:

  1. An increase in Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) indicates the appreciation of rupee.
  2. An increase in the Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) indicates an improvement in trade competitiveness.
  3. An increasing trend in domestic inflation relative to inflation in other countries is likely to cause an increasing divergence between NEER and REER.

Which of the above statements are correct? (2022)

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

Q.2) Which one of the following is not the most likely measure the Government/RBI takes to stop the slide of Indian rupee? (2019)

  1. Curbing imports of non-essential goods and promoting exports
  2. Encouraging Indian borrowers to issue rupee denominated Masala Bonds
  3. Easing conditions relating to external commercial borrowing
  4. Following an expansionary monetary policy

Q.3) Consider the following statements:

The effect of devaluation of a currency is that it necessarily

  1. improves the competitiveness of the domestic exports in the foreign markets
  2. increases the foreign value of domestic currency
  3. improves the trade balance

Which of the above statements is/are correct? (2022)

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

Adani’s global footprint and India’s infrastructure diplomacy

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy- Infrastructure)

Context:

From mines to ports and logistics, the Adani conglomerate has been expanding across sectors, regions. This has gone hand in hand with India’s diplomatic and strategic outreach towards infrastructure diplomacy.

What is infrastructure diplomacy?

  • Infrastructure diplomacy is to promote infrastructure cooperation and economic ties overseas through political means and to enhance political trust between countries via collaboration in infrastructure development.

Background:

  • Foreign presence much earlier: In fact, the Adani group had been scouting abroad much earlier. Since 2010, the Adani group has been in Australia, developing the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.
  • A greenfield multi-purpose port: In 2017, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones (Ltd) signed an MoU for a greenfield multi-purpose port for handling containers at Carey Island in Selangor state, about 50 km southwest of Kuala Lumpur.

What is the situation now?

  • Company pursues international infrastructure projects aggressively: The last two years, however, have seen the company pursue international infrastructure projects aggressively. In May 2022, APSEZ made a winning bid of $1.18 billion for Israeli state-owned Haifa Port, jointly with Israeli chemicals and logistics firm Gadot.
  • Strategic joint investments: In August this year, APSEZ and Abu Dhabi’s AD Ports Group signed MoU for “strategic joint investments” in Tanzania. The new ASEZ-AD MoU will look at a bouquet of infrastructure projects besides Bagamoyo in the East African Indian Ocean nation — rail, maritime services, digital services, and industrial zones.
  • India’s strategic objectives than has been possible so far: Is it just a coincidence that Adani’s global expansion closely shadows the Chinese footprint along its Belt and Road Initiative? Or is it that as Delhi competes with China for influence in the neighbourhood and beyond, the Adani group’s size, resources and capacity are seen as a key element in achieving India’s strategic objectives than has been possible so far.
  • India’s infrastructure diplomacy: Is now becoming identified the world over with one company.
  • Public and Private investment to bridge gaps: For the Adani group, described as India’s biggest ports and logistics company, there couldn’t be a better time.
    • As the Quad grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the US, competes with China in the Indo-Pacific, it has committed “to catalyse infrastructure delivery” by putting more than $50 billion on the table for “assistance and investment” in the Indo-Pacific over the next five years and “drive public and private investment to bridge gaps”.

Implications of infrastructure diplomacy:

  • Win-Win deal:
    • Adani’s new “no-hands” model of doing business with neighbours a power plant in Jharkhand, exporting all its output to Bangladesh has been seen as a “win-win” deal.
  • Economic interests lie at the heart of geopolitics:
    • The link between diplomacy and commercial interests has generated its share of debate, especially in the US, where its diplomats, intelligence agencies and military interventions abroad have actively pushed the interests of big business first the hunt for cheaper raw materials, then for markets abroad, then to shift industry where manpower was cheaper.
    • As seen in the new age trading blocs the US-led IPEF, and the Chinese dominated RCEP economic interests lie at the heart of geopolitics.

Conclusion:

At a time when global rivalries are growing sharper in the shadow of the war in Europe, and as India looks out for its own interests, pushing powerful corporates to the centre-stage of its diplomacy, whether it is to build ports, buy or sell weapons or make chips, is inevitable.

Source: Indian Express                 


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct regarding rabies?

  1. It is a zoonotic viral disease.
  2. Rabies is 100% fatal but 100% vaccine-preventable.
  3. One third of global rabies deaths are recorded in India.

Select the correct option using the code given below:

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

Q.2) The term  ‘Carbon dating’ often mentioned in news related to :

  1. a process of treatment of diseases in animals.
  2. a process to determine the age of archaeological samples.
  3. a medicine for the treatment of cancer.
  4. a process to determine the age of a meteorite.

Q.3) Consider the following statements, with reference the BrahMos missile:

  1. It is a ramjet supersonic cruise missile
  2. The missile functions on the Fire and Forget principle with high accuracy.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’24th September 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 23rd September – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – a

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – a

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