National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 5th February 2019



Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: In a stinging attack on the Rajasthan government, the Supreme Court  said the State authorities are hand in glove with illegal miners who operate in the fast-depleting Aravalli region.

More on the topic:

  • The court said the once-lush Aravalli region is devastated after years of indiscriminate and illegal mining.
  • The court had, in October, expressed shock over 31 “vanished” hills or hillocks in the Aravalli area and had asked the State to stop illegal mining in a 115.34-hectare area.

About Aravalli:

  • The Aravalli Range is a range of mountains running approximately 692 km (430 mi) in a southwest direction, starting in North India from Delhi and passing through southern Haryana, through to Western India across the states of Rajasthan and ending in Gujarat.
  • The Aravalli Range, an eroded stub of ancient mountains, is the oldest range of fold mountains in India. The natural history of the Aravalli Range dates back to times when the Indian Plate was separated from the Eurasian Plate by an ocean.
  • The Proterozoic Aravalli-Delhi orogenic belt in north west India is similar to the younger Himalayan-type orogenic belts of the Mesozoic-Cenozoic era (of the Phanerozoic) in terms of component parts and appears to have passed through a near-orderly Wilson super continental cycle of events.
  • The range rose in a Precambrian event called the Aravalli-Delhi Orogen. The Aravalli Range is a northeast-southwest trending orogenic belt that is located in the northwestern part of Indian Peninsula. It is part of the Indian Shield that was formed from a series of cratonic collisions.
  • In ancient times, Aravalli were extremely high but since have worn down almost completely by millions of years of weathering, where as the Himalayas being young fold mountains are still continuously rising.

Source: The Hindu

Two-thirds of Himalayan ice cap may melt


Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News:  Two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers, the world’s “Third Pole”, could melt by 2100 if global emissions are not reduced, scientists warned in a major new study.

More on the Topic:

  • Even if the “most ambitious” Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5° C is achieved, one-third of the glaciers would go, according to the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment.
  • Glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region are a critical water source for some 250 million people in the mountains as well as to 1.65 billion others in the river valleys below.
  • The glaciers feed 10 of the world’s most important river systems, including the Ganges, Indus, Yellow, Mekong and Irrawaddy, and directly or indirectly supply billions of people with food, energy, clean air and income.

Major impacts:

  • Impacts on people from their melting will range from worsened air pollution to more extreme weather, while lower pre-monsoon river flows will throw urban water systems and food and energy production off-kilter, the study warned.
  • It was published by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal, one of eight countries on the front line.

Model Mains Question: How India will be affected by climate change? What are the potential remedies to mitigate the consequences?

Source: The Hindu

Doklam crisis


Topic: International Affairs

In News: The Doklam crisis is not yet over as the Chinese maintain their presence in a nearby area, Shashi Tharoor, MP,who heads the Standing Committee on External Affairs, said recently.

More on the Topic:

  • At an event organised by the Anant Aspen Centre to discuss the report of the committee on the Doklam crisis of 2017 and India-China relations, he said India needed to upgrade infrastructure in the border area.
  • According to Tharoor, the crisis is not fully over in the sense that though the Chinese have pulled back from the face-off point, they are still in the part of the plateau known as North Doklam and what is more, they have installed fairly permanent looking structures there which will enable them to station and provision much larger number of people than they have ever historically done. So clearly, they are keeping the powder dry for a future opportunity.

About Doklam Issue:

  • Doklam, or Donglang in Chinese, is an area spread over less than a 100 sq km comprising a plateau and a valley at the trijunction between India, Bhutan and China. It is surrounded by the Chumbi Valley of Tibet, Bhutan’s Ha Valley and Sikkim.
  • Despite several rounds of engagement between China and Bhutan, the dispute between the two over Doklam has not been resolved.
  • It flared up in 2017 when the Chinese were trying to construct a road in the area, and Indian troops, in aid of their Bhutanese counterparts, objected to it, resulting in the stand-off.
  • Doklam is strategically located close to the Siliguri Corridor, which connects mainland India with its north-eastern region. The corridor, also called Chicken’s Neck, is a vulnerable point for India.
  • In recent years, China has been beefing up its military presence in the Chumbi Valley, where the Chinese are at a great disadvantage militarily. Both Indian and Bhutanese troops are on a higher ground around the Valley.
  • This is also the reason, the Indian security establishment suspect, why the Chinese have a deep interest in Doklam, which would give them a commanding view of and an easy access to both the Chumbi Valley and the Siliguri Corridor.

Model mains Question: Discuss the developments in the India China relations In the recent past?

Source: The Hindu

Braille voter slips


Topic: Social Justice

In News: Visually impaired and blind voters will be provided with braille voter slips in the Lok Sabha elections due this summer.

More on the Topic:

  • Braille is a script with raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision.
  • It is a tactile reading and writing system used by blind and visually impaired people who cannot access print material.
  • As part of its strategy framework for ‘accessible elections’, the commission has told all chief electoral officers to issue accessible photo voter slips with braille to voters who are visually impaired or blind.
  • The braille enabled slips were used in the recently held assembly elections also.
  • Electronic voting machines already have the braille feature. The ballot paper pasted on the machine with name and symbol of candidates is braille enabled.
  • The Election Commission also plans to provide braille election photo identity cards to visually challenged voters across the country.

Source:The Hindu

Black Soft shell Turtle


Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: The rare turtle species are being bred in the ponds of Assam’s shrines.

More on the Topic:

  • India hosts 28 species of turtles, of which 20 are found in Assam.
  • Recently black softshells hatchings were released into the Haduk Beel (wetland) of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam.
  • The black softshell turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) figures in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List as “extinct in the wild”.
  • It is a freshwater turtle that is found in India and Bangladesh.
  • Consumption of turtle meat and eggs, silt mining, encroachment of wetlands and change in flooding pattern have had a disastrous impact on the State’s turtle population.

About Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve in the Morigaon district of the state of Assam in India.
  • It has a dense population of the Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros.
  • Besides rhinoceros, the other animals are leopard, wild boar, Barking deer, wild buffalo etc. Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to more than 2000 migratory birds and various reptiles. It is also an Important Bird Area.

Source:The Hindu


Topic: Culture

In News: Mention in Hindu

More on the Topic:

  • Arikamedu is the ancient Roman trade centre.
  • It is situated in the south of Puducherry on the right bank of Ariyankuppam River.
  • The port town was inhabited by Romans, Cholas and French.
  • The exports must have included textile, beads, semiprecious gems, glass and shell bangles as wastage at the manufacturing site suggests.
  • The Romans must have used the Red Sea to come to India as traces of beads have been found in Alexandria and other Red Sea ports.

Source: The Hindu

Know My India Program


Topic: Government Initiatives

In News: The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) organized a special workshop for 42 Youth who have been victims of communal violence in the past, under the Know My India Program.

More on the Topic:

  • Know My India Program is a unique program initiated by the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) to bring together financially assisted children of the Foundation from different States/Regions of the country.
  • The initiative is to promote oneness, fraternity and national integration.
  • The program is all about familiarization with the environment, family life, social customs, etc. of the people living in different parts of the country.
  • It aids in developing an understanding of the common historical and cultural heritage of the country.

About National Foundation For Communal Harmony:

  • The NFCH is an autonomous organization under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The main objective of the Foundation is to provide assistance to the children, youth rendered orphan and destitute in communal, caste, ethnic or terrorist violence for their rehabilitation.
  • It also promotes communal harmony and national integration through various activities.
  • The NFCH conducts different activities for the promotion of communal harmony and strengthening of national integration.
  • The Foundation under Extension Activities viz. Reach, Interfaith Interaction, Partnership and Cause Partnership takes up various activities, either independently or through State Governments/ Administrations, NGOs, educational and other institutions etc. with a view to promote communal harmony and National integration.

Unity in diversity is the biggest strength of India. What are the issues which challenge the fraternal fabric of India?

Source: The Hindu

Swasthya Bharath Yatra


Topic: Government Initiatives

In News: Tamil Nadu has received the Swasth Bharat Yatra award under ‘The Best Performing State’ category recently.

More on the Topic:

  • ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’ is a pan-India Cyclothon and a key element of the ‘Eat Right India’ movement and It was also organized in commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Swasth Bharat Yatra would provide the trigger for cascading the message of Eat Right India to every corner of the country.
  • ‘Eat Right India’ movement has been launched by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The ‘Eat Right India’ movement is a collective effort of key stakeholders and citizens.
  • It is aligned with Government’s recent focus on public health through its three key programmes, namely ‘Ayushman Bharat’, ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, and ‘POSHAN Abhiyaan’.

Source: The Hindu

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