DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th March 2023

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  • March 11, 2023
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  • Prelims – Science and Technology and Governance (Polity)

Context:  Recently ,the Union Health Ministry gave a statement that it is keeping a close watch on the Seasonal Influenza situation, through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme network on a real-time basis.

About Integrated-Disease-Surveillance-Programme :-

  • The Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) was initiated with assistance from the World bank, in the year 2004.
  • The Programme continued during the 12th Plan (2012–17) under National Health Mission
  • It works under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The Central Surveillance Unit (CSU) at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), receives disease outbreak reports from the States/UTs on weekly basis. 
  • The surveillance data is collected on three specified reporting formats, namely “S” (suspected cases), “P” (presumptive cases), and “L” (laboratory confirmed cases) filled by Health Workers, Clinicians, and Laboratory staff respectively.


  • To strengthen/maintain a decentralized laboratory-based IT-enabled disease surveillance system for epidemic-prone diseases.
  • to monitor disease trends and to detect and respond to outbreaks in the early rising phase through trained Rapid Response Teams (RRTs).

Key Features:-

  • Integration and decentralization of surveillance activities through the establishment of surveillance units at the Centre, State, and District levels.
  • Human Resource Development – Training of State Surveillance Officers, District Surveillance Officers, Rapid Response Team, and other Medical and Paramedical staff on principles of disease surveillance.
  • Use of Information Communication Technology for collection, collation, compilation, analysis, and dissemination of data.
  • Strengthening of public health laboratories.
  • Inter sectoral Co-ordination for zoonotic disease

About H3N2 Flu :-

  • The flu is a respiratory illness that’s caused by the influenza virus.
  • There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C, and D.
  • Influenza A, B, and C can spread to humans.
  • However, only influenza A and B cause the seasonal epidemics of respiratory illness that occur every year.
  • Influenza A viruses are classified according to both their HA and NA subtypes.
  • Some influenza A subtypes include H1N1 (sometimes known as swine flu) and H3N2.
  • The H3N2 virus was first discovered in humans in 1968.

Symptoms of H3N2: Cough, runny or congested nose, sore throat, headache, body aches and pains, fever, chills, fatigue, diarrhea AND vomiting.


Common antiviral prescriptions for Influenza A include:

  • zanamivir (Relenza)
  • oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
  • peramivir (Rapivab)

Vaccine for H3N2:-

  • An H1N1, H3N2, and influenza B strain are included in the trivalent vaccine, while an extra influenza B strain is included in the quadrivalent vaccine.

MUST READ:  India’s healthcare sector and Marburg virus disease (MVD)

Source: AIR

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following: (2022)

  1. Aarogya Setu
  2. COWIN
  3. DigiLocker

Which of the above are built on top of open-source digital platforms?

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

Q.2) Which of the following statements is not correct? (2017)

  1. Hepatitis B virus is transmitted much like HIV.
  2. Hepatitis B, unlike Hepatitis C, does not have a vaccine.
  3. Globally, the number of people infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses is several times more than those infected with HIV.
  4. Some of those infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses do not show the symptoms for many years.


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  • Prelims – Economy

Context: The sixth meeting of the National Startup Advisory Council (NSAC) is to be held soon.

About National-Startup-Advisory-Council:

  • It was constituted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
  • It works under the Minister of Commerce and Industry
  • It advises the government on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.

Composition of the Council:

  • Chairman: Minister for Commerce & Industry.
  • Convener of the Council: Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
  • Ex-officio Members: Nominees of the concerned Ministries/Departments/Organizations not below the rank of Joint Secretary.
  • Non-official members, to be nominated by the Central Government.

MUST READ: 1st meeting of National Startup Advisory Council (NSAC) and 28 non-official members nominated to the National Startup Advisory Council

Source: AIR

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to the ‘stand up India scheme’, which of the following statement is/are correct? (2016)

  1. Its purpose is to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women entrepreneurs.
  2. It provides for refinancing through SIDBI.

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

Q.2) With reference to Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, consider the following statements : (2018)

  1. It is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  2. It, among other things, will also impart training in soft skills, entrepreneurship, financial and digital literacy.
  3. It aims to align the competencies of the unregulated workforce of the country to the National Skill Qualification Framework.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Mimeusemia ceylonica and Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR)

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  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: Rare moth species Mimeusemia ceylonica has been spotted recently after 127 years.

About Mimeusemia ceylonica :-

  • Mimeusemia ceylonica is a moth species belonging to the subfamily Agaristinae and family Noctuidae.
  • The species was last sighted 127 years ago at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka in 1893.
  • It was first described in 1893 by George Hampson, an English entomologist.
  • It was rediscovered during a moth survey conducted at the Agasthyamalai Community-based Conservation Centre (ACCC) situated in the buffer zone of KMTR, Tirunelveli district in 2020.
  • It was again spotted at the Vallanaadu Blackbuck Sanctuary in the Thoothukudi district in 2022.

About Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR):-

CREDITS : www.wpsi-india.org

  • The Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) is in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu
  • It was declared as the “First Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu” and the 17th Tiger Reserve of the country.
  • It  was established in 2010.
  • It is registered under Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act 1975.
  • Objective: focusing on the management of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve for the conservation of biodiversity.
  • KMTR consists of the core area consisting of two adjacent sanctuaries namely Kalakad Wildlife Sanctuary, Mundanthurai Tiger Sanctuary in Tirunelveli District, and part of Veerapuli and Kilamalai Reserve Forests in Kanyakumari District.
  • Mundanthurai Tiger Sanctuary was declared as Nation’s first Tiger Sanctuary in 1962.
  • Kalakad Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1976 primarily for the conservation of Lion Tailed Macaque
  • The river Thamirabarani originates from this tiger reserve.
  • The reserve is also known as the “River Sanctuary” with as many as 14 rivers originating from this Tiger Reserve.
  • Vegetation: This region has got vegetation types that gradually change from dry thorn forest to dry deciduous.
  • Fauna — Lion Tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Pipit, Grey Headed Bulbul, Blue Winged Parakeet, etc.

MUST READ: Importance of Tiger Conservation and Amrabad Tiger Reserve


Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon Frogmouth, Coppersmith Barbet, Gray Chinned Minivet and White-throated Redstart are (2020)

  1. Birds
  2. Primates
  3. Reptiles
  4. Amphibians

Q.2) Which of the following are in Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve? (2019)

  1. Neyyar, Peppara, and Shendurney Wildlife sanctuaries; and Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
  2. Mudumalai, Sathyamangalam, and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuaries; and Silent Valley National Park
  3. Kaundinya, Gundla Brahmeswaram, and Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuaries; and Mukurthi National Park
  4. Kawal and Sri Venkateswara Wildlife Sanctuaries; and Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve

E fuels

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  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology and Science and technology

About E fuels:-

CEDITS : www.bellona.org

  • Its production is based on the extraction of hydrogen by means of an electrolysis process that breaks down water (e.g. seawater from desalination plants) into its components of hydrogen and oxygen.
  • This hydrogen is then combined with the carbon dioxide filtered from the air to form methanol.
  • The methanol is then converted into gasoline using ExxonMobil-licensed technology.
  • The fuel shall be used in any cars.
  • They are made by storing electrical energy from renewable sources in chemical bonds of liquid of gas fuels.
  • For this process and further production steps, electricity is required.
  • These are the emerging class of carbon-neutral fuels.
  • They are also called Synthetic fuels.
  • They are seen as an alternative to biofuels.
  • They are made by storing electrical energy from renewable sources in chemical bonds of liquid or gas fuels.
  • E Fuels can make a climate-neutral contribution in all sectors where conventional fuels are currently used (e.g. transport or heating in buildings).
  • They can solve two challenges of the energy transition: the problems of storing and transporting renewable energies.

Other Electro fuels:-

  • E-diesel is created from carbon dioxide, electricity, and water with a process powered by renewable energy.
  • E-gasoline is a liquid octane fuel. It is a carbon-neutral fuel and  is free from sulfur and benzene.

MUST READ: Ethanol blending and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV)


Previous Year Questions

Q.1) According to India’s National Policy on Biofuels, which of the following can be used as raw materials for the production of biofuels? (2020)

  1. Cassava
  2. Damaged wheat grains
  3. Groundnut seeds
  4. Horse gram
  5. Rotten potatoes
  6. Sugar beet

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2, 5, and 6 only
  2. 1, 3, 4, and 6 only
  3. 2, 3, 4, and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Q.2) Which one of the following statements best describes the term ‘Social Cost of Carbon’? It is a measure, in monetary value, of the (2020)

  1. the long-term damage was done by a ton of CO2, emissions in a given year
  2. requirement of fossil fuels for a country to provide goods and services to its citizens, based on the burning of those fuels
  3. efforts put in by a climate refugee to adapt to living in a new place
  4. contribution of an individual person to the carbon footprint on the planet Earth

World Wide Fund for Nature and the report

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  • Prelims –Environment and Ecology

Context: A Recent study reported that over 170 trillion plastic particles are floating in the oceans.

Key highlights  of the study :-

  • Oceans across the world are polluted by a growing plastic smog composed primarily of microplastics, according to the study.
  • Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa are the largest contributors to plastic leakage on the continent.
  • Algeria and Morocco joined the list of top 20 coastal countries contributing to marine plastic pollution, said a 2022 report by World Wide Fund for Nature.
  • India: the waste dumped in the south Asian seas daily is generated from 60 major Indian cities, according to UNEP.

Policy interventions so far:-

  • In 1988, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships added Annex V, which established legally-binding agreements among 154 countries to end the discharge of plastics from naval, fishing, and shipping fleets.
  • These interventions were followed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 and the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Plastic by Dumping of Wastes and other Matter in 1972.
  • In 1991, the Plastic Industry Trade Association launched ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ with the goal of zero loss of plastic pellets, powders, and flakes from factories with decreasing pellet ingestion in biota observed.

About World Wide Fund for Nature:-

  • It is an international non-governmental organization.
  • It is working in the field of wilderness preservation and reduction of human impact on the environment.
  • It was established in 1961.
  • It is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.
  • It is the world’s leading conservation organization and works in more than 100 countries.
  • WWF aims to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
  • Currently, its work is organized around these six areas: food, climate, freshwater, wildlife, forests, and oceans.
  • Publications:  Living Planet Report, every two years since 1998.

MUST READ : Microplastics


Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to polyethylene terephthalate, the use of which is so widespread in our daily lives, consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. Its fibers can be blended with wool and cotton fibers to reinforce their properties.
  2. Containers made of it can be used to store any alcoholic beverage.
  3. Bottles made of it can be recycled into other products.
  4. Articles made of it can be easily disposed of by incineration without causing greenhouse gas emissions.

Which of the statements given above is correct?

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

Q.2) Magnetite particles, suspected to cause neurodegenerative problems are generated as environmental pollutants from which of the following? (2021)

  1. Brakes of motor vehicles
  2. Engines of motor vehicles
  3. Microwave stoves within homes
  4. Power plants
  5. Telephone lines

Select the correct answer using the code given below

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

Democratic Decentralisation

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  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity and Governance)

Context: 2023 is the 30th anniversary of the passing of the 73rd and 74th Amendments. These amendments are made in the constitution in order to promote the democracy at grassroot level.

About decentralisation in India:

  • Democratic decentralization is the process of devolving the functions and resources of the state from the centre to the elected representatives at the lower levels so as to facilitate greater direct participation of citizens in governance.
  • A major step towards decentralisation was taken in 1992 and the Constitution was amended to make the third-tier of democracy more powerful and effective.
  • The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 has added a new part IX.
  • The Amendment envisages the Gram Sabha as the foundation of the Panchayat Raj System to perform functions and powers entrusted to it by the State Legislatures.
  • It provides for a three tier Panchayat Raj System at the village, intermediate and district levels.

Significance of Decentralisation:

  • It was the creation of an idealistic imagined space that would be above politics; that would free it from the usual give and take and contests of politics.
  • Local government would be held to a higher standard than other tiers of governance.
    • For example, we take partisanship and competition to be central to politics elsewhere.
  • But somehow, we expected panchayats to be this font of consensus (some states give incentives for election by consensus).
    • And, it has to be said, there was no serious demand side push for decentralisation.
  • The 73rd and 74th amendments did achieve a lot:
    • In some areas, they led to the state acquiring a distinct presence on the ground;
    • they gave millions of citizens identities as representatives;
    • they provided a conduit for sharing power;
    • they created deliberative spaces, led to the creation of new norms, especially around the participation of women and a churn in local elites
    • They slowly built up local capacities, and led to a wide range of functions being devolved to local government.

Key issues associated with local govt:

  • Local governments remain hamstrung and ineffective; mere agents to do the bidding of higher level governments.
  • Democracy has not been enhanced in spite of about 32 lakh peoples’ representatives being elected to them every five years, with great expectation and fanfare.
  • The constraint lies in the design of funding streams that transfer money to local governments.
  • The volume of money set apart for them is inadequate to meet their basic requirements.
  • Much of the money given is inflexible; even in the case of untied grants mandated by the Union and State Finance Commissions, their use is constrained through the imposition of several conditions.
  • There is little investment in enabling and strengthening local governments to raise their own taxes and user charges.
  • Local governments do not have the staff to perform even basic tasks.
    • Furthermore, as most staff are hired by higher level departments and placed with local governments on deputation, they do not feel responsible to the latter; they function as part of a vertically integrated departmental system.
    • The current Union government has further centralised service delivery by using technology, and panchayats are nothing more than front offices for several Union government programmes.
  • Criminal elements and contractors are attracted to local government elections, tempted by the large sums of money now flowing to them.
    • They win elections through bribing voters and striking deals with different groups.

Suggestive Measures:

  • Democratic decentralisation is barely alive in India and to curb existing issues gram Sabhas and wards committees in urban areas have to be revitalised.
  • Consultations with the grama sabha could be organised through smaller discussions where everybody can really participate.
  • Even new systems of Short Message Services, or social media groups could be used for facilitating discussions between members of a grama sabha.
  • Local government organisational structures have to be strengthened.
  • Panchayats are burdened with a huge amount of work that other departments thrust on them, without being compensated for the extra administrative costs.
  • Local governments must be enabled to hold State departments accountable and to provide quality, corruption free service to them, through service-level agreements.
  • India’s efforts in decentralisation represent one of the largest experiments in deepening democracy.
  • We can keep track of corrupt local government representatives; at the higher level
  • Given diverse habitation patterns, political and social history, it makes sense to mandate States to assign functions to local governments.

Way Forward

  • Gram Sabhas and wards committees in urban areas have to be strengthened in order to achieve the objective of people’s participation in real terms.
  • Maximum efforts should be made towards recruitment and appointment of support and technical staff to ensure the smooth functioning of panchayats.
  • A comprehensive mechanism should be adopted for taxation at the local levels as without local taxation, Gram Panchayats cannot be held accountable.
  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj should monitor the release and expenditure of Finance Commission grants in order to ensure that there is no delay in their release.
  • It should also be ensured that the allotted grants are utilised in a proper and effective manner.
  • Panchayats should be encouraged to carry out local audits at regular intervals so that Finance Commission grants are not delayed.

Source: Indian Express

Corruption in India

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  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance) GS 4 (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

Context: The impact of corruption is especially heavy on common citizens and even more on poorer and vulnerable persons in communities.

About Corruption:

  • Corruption refers to misusing public power for personal gain.
  • It can be done by an elected politician, civil servant, journalist, administrator of a school, or anyone in authority.
  • Apart from public corruption, we also have private corruption between individuals and businesses.
  • Thus, the corruption definition applies to different forms.

Corruption Statistics in India

  • The annual Kroll Global Fraud Report noted that India has among the highest national incidences of corruption (25%).
  • The same study also noted that India reports the highest proportion reporting procurement fraud (77% as well as corruption and bribery (73%).
  • India has the highest rate of bribery and use of personal links to access public services such as healthcare and education in Asia, according to a survey released by global civil society Transparency International.
  • India is in the 85th position among 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index, 2021.
  • It uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Reasons for Corruption:

  • Personal gains and self-preservation:
    • The corrupt want to accumulate power and wealth, which they believe will perpetuate their lineage in the world meeting self-preservation and existential needs.
  • Criminality of outcomes:
    • Public money is siphoned off and welfare schemes do not reach the beneficiaries.
    • It borders on criminality when poor people are forced to shell out money for jobs, education, and even primary healthcare.
    • Allocation of national resources to cronies for a price creates economic disparities, destroys level playing fields, discourages free markets and competition, and deters foreign investors.
  • Low rate of conviction:
    • The progress of investigations and rate of conviction in high-profile cases initiated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) do not inspire much confidence in the public to believe that there has been any substantive change in this situation.
  • Corruption during elections:
    • Economists and political pundits believe that it will not be possible to eradicate corruption till a solution can be found for funding of elections.
    • Legitimising political donations was a minuscule beginning. The much-maligned Electoral Bonds (EBs) was a step in the right direction.
    • Though far from fool proof, it is certainly a cleaner method of mobilising funds rather than black money transferred through hawalas.
  • Changing nature of Corruption:
    • Since liberalisation in India, the nature of corruption has become more complex.
    • With technological development, there are opportunities to prevent corruption but also areas where corruption can be much more difficult to trace, particularly in fields like cryptocurrency.

Government Initiatives:

  • Indian government has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money.
  • It has enacted a comprehensive and more stringent new law – the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
  • There’s also a Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, which empowers the authorities to attach and confiscate Benami properties.
  • Law enforcement agencies such as CBI have done a great deal to reduce corruption.

Right To Information Act, 2005:

  • The intent behind the enactment of the Act is to promote transparency and accountability in the working of Public Authorities.

Prevention of Corruption Act:

  • The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to combat corruption in government agencies and public sector businesses in India.

Amendment to the Act:

  • As the Prevention of Corruption Act saw limited success in preventing corruption in Government departments and prosecuting and punishing public servants involved in corrupt practices, an amendment was enacted (Amendment Act) and brought into force in 2018.
  • The Amendment Act attempted to bring the Prevention of Corruption Act in line with United Nations Convention against Corruption 2005, which was ratified by India in 2011.

Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014:

  • The Act seeks to protect whistleblowers, i.e. persons making a public interest disclosure related to an act of corruption, misuse of power, or criminal offence by a public servant.
  • It is provided by the Right To Information Act, of 2005, and it has been an important weapon for whistleblowers in previous years.
  • The RTI Act, 2005 is also called a ‘twin sister’ of whistleblowing.

The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013:

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States.
  • The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption authority constituted at the state level.
  • It investigates allegations of corruption and maladministration against public servants and is tasked with the speedy redressal of public grievances.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016:

  • The Bill amends the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 in relation to the declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants.
  • It requires a public servant to declare his assets and liabilities, and that of his spouse and dependent children.

Way Forward:

Corruption encourages dysfunctionality in government, perpetrates economic inefficiency and can be a serious threat to national security. The problem is complex and there cannot be a “one size fits all” solution. There must be different strokes for different people as it were.

Source:  Indian Express

Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding National-Startup-Advisory-Council:

  1. It was constituted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
  2. Chairman of the council is secretary for Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.2) The Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is in

  1. Kerala
  2. Karnataka
  3. Andhra Pradesh
  4. Tamil Nadu

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFN):

  1. It is an international inter-governmental organization.
  2. It is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.
  3. It aims to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’ 11th March 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st

ANSWERS FOR 10th March – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – b

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