13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020-21

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IASbhai 13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020-21 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2021.

It is never too late to be what you might have been.– George Eliot

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2021

Today's Must Read Articles : Today's Must Read Articles :

Taro : Disappearing Vegetable

      HEADLINES:

Taro: In which you can eat both shoots and leaves

      WHY IN NEWS:

Taro, better known as arbi, is the fifth most consumed root vegetable in the world.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Agriculture : Climate Change

      ISSUE: 

But It may soon disappear from the earth due to climate change-led droughts

13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

Taro is among the earliest root crops cultivated (Photograph: Vikas Chaudhry) Taro is among the earliest root crops cultivated

TARO

  • This is a vegetable that restaurants rarely serve, but is cooked quite regularly in Indian homes.
  • Taro, or Colocasia esculenta, is prepared in each state in its own special way.
  • It is called arbi in Hindikochu in Bangla, chempu in Tamil, alu in Marathi, kesave in Kannada, chama in Telugu, chembu in Malayalam and venti in Konkani.
  • Its uniqueness lies in the fact that all its parts, from root to shoot, are consumed as each has its own distinct taste.
  • Taro, however, is quite difficult to handle as it makes the skin terribly itchy.

This is caused due to the presence of calcium oxalate in the plant.

  • To prevent the annoying itch, people apply generous amounts of mustard oil on hands before cutting the vegetable.
  • This is fried on high heat in a little extra oil to eliminate chances of itchy throat or mouth when consumed.

Interestingly, the starch in taro’s tuber has the capacity to end the world’s plastic menace — it can be used to make plastic that degenerates over time.

TRACING THE ROOTS

  • Among the earliest root crops cultivated, taro spread from Southeast Asia to China, Japan and the Pacific Islands.
  • It then travelled westward to Arabia and the Mediterranean region and by 100 BC, it was being grown in Egypt.

Farmers like to grow it to fill the gap between seasonal crops and use it when food is in short supply.

  • Another reason for its popularity is that it grows vegetatively and spreads profusely in suitable conditions.
  • But the crop is water intensive and therefore, vulnerable to drought.
  • It estimated that production of the root crop is 10.5 million tonnes per year from the 1.4 million hectares cultivated.

Japan and the US are major importers of taro while Australia and New Zealand are the biggest exporters.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • However, in many parts of Australia, such as Queensland and New South Wales, the plant has been labelled a weed.
  • It is listed as invasive even in Hawaii, French Polynesia, the Juan Fernández Islands, the Galapagos.
  • Although it is cultivated in many other Pacific Islands.
  • With climate change, we might lose this important food crop.
  • Therefore, efforts must be made to protect the vegetable so well loved the world over.
     SOURCES:DownToEarth | 13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

No penal provision to protect transgenders

      HEADLINES:

No penal provision to protect transgenders from assault

      WHY IN NEWS:

SC asks govt. to respond to plea on ensuring equal protection

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Judiciary

      ISSUE: 

The Supreme Court asked the government to respond to a plea to provide equal protection in law against sexual abuse for transgender persons.

NO PENAL PROVISIONS

  • The petition said there was no penal provision which protected them from sex crimes.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said the petition embodied a worthy cause and required hearing.

  • The Bench also stood up to protect rights, filled up the vacuum caused by the absence of statutory law.
  • The court referred to the Vishaka guidelines dealing with the sexual harassment of women at the workplace .
  • The court also referred to decriminalisation of consensual gay sex acts in this context.
  • Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other criminal laws which do not mention offences against “transgenders, transsexuals, kinnar and eunuchs”.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • In spite of declaring transgender people to be a ‘third gender’ by this court, there is no provision/section in the Indian Penal Code .

No law protects the third gender from the sexual assault by male/female or another transgender.

  • The PIL challenged the constitutional validity of certain clauses of Section 354A (outraging the modesty of woman) of the IPC.
  • The PIL stated – to the extent that they are interpreted to exclude victims of sexual harassment who are transgender persons.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU | 13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

Sri Lanka : Debt Trap

      HEADLINES:

Sri Lanka in talks to secure $500 mn in Chinese loans

      WHY IN NEWS:

Pompeo is also likely to visit Colombo later this month

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      ISSUE: 

Colombo is negotiating a $500 million loan with Beijing as it gears up to repay a daunting $4.5 billion of its outstanding debt next year.

THE DEBT TRAP

  • A $500 million concessional loan requested by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance to a “China financial institute” is under negotiation, but yet to be finalised.

This is in addition to Beijing’s $90 million grant to Sri Lanka, announced days after a visit by a Chinese delegation .

  • If sanctioned, the loan will take Sri Lanka’s total borrowings from China over $1 billion.
  • After the $500 million “urgent financial assistance” that Beijing extended in March to help Sri Lanka cope with the economic impact of the pandemic.

DEBT FREEZE

  • That the Sri Lankan government did not discuss a possible debt freeze in talks with China.
  • The focus now is on possible investment from China, not just loans.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had sought a debt moratorium from India, to help Sri Lanka tackle the debt repayment schedule.

  • The request for a $1 billion currency swap facility, is being discussed at the official level.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The negotiations come at a time when Sri Lanka is mulling ways to repay its mounting foreign loans.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU | 13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

Anti-microbe drug

      HEADLINES:

Anti-microbe drug can fight coronavirus, say scientists

      WHY IN NEWS:

Common drug used to treat stomach ulcers shows promise

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Diseases

      ISSUE: 

An affordable anti-microbial drug used to treat stomach ulcers and bacterial infections has shown promise in combating the coronavirus in animals.

METALLOGRUGS

  • Researchers set out to explore whether metallodrugs — compounds containing metal that are more commonly used against bacteria is effective against SARS CoV-2.
  • The researchers tested for anti-viral properties that could fight the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

RANITIDINE BISMUTH CITRATE

  • Researchers found that one of the drugs, ranitidine bismuth citrate (RBC), was “a potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent”.

RBC is able to lower the viral load in the lung of the infected hamster by tenfold.

  • This demonstrate that RBC is a potential anti-viral agent for COVID-19.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The Hong Kong scientists – RBC was a commonly available drug used against stomach ulcers with a safe and comprehensive pharmacological profile.
  • It’s been used for decades, so it’s pretty safe.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU | 13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

Consumer Price Index

      HEADLINES:

Factory output shrinks for sixth month

      WHY IN NEWS:

Industrial production contracts 8% in August; food, transport costs drive consumer inflation to 7.3%

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Economy

      ISSUE: 

Even as CPI surged past the 7% mark, hitting 7.34% in September, with food price spikes reaching 10.68% compared with 9.05% in August.

IIP

  • The index of industrial production (IIP) shrank 8% in August on a year-on-year basis.
  • This marked a marginally improvement compared with July when output contracted 10.8% .
  • CPI inflation came in higher at 7.4% against our forecast of 6.4%

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

  • Consumer Price Index or CPI as it is commonly called is an index measuring retail inflation in the economy .

It is calculated by collecting the change in prices of most common goods and services used by consumers. 

  • Called market basket, CPI is calculated for a fixed list of items including food, housing, apparel, etc.

Note that the price data is collected periodically, and thus, the CPI is used to calculate the inflation levels in an economy.

  • This can be further used to compute the cost of living.
  • This also provides insights as to how much a consumer can spend to be on par with the price change.
  • Remember, CPI is different from WPI, or Wholesale Price Index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level.

HOW DOES CONSUMER PRICE INDEX HELP?

  • The Reserve Bank of India and other statistical agencies study CPI so as to understand the price change.

CPI is also a helpful pointer in understanding :

  • The real value of wages, salaries and pensions,
  • The purchasing power of a country’s currency; and regulating prices.

WHO MAINTAINS CONSUMER PRICE INDEX IN INDIA?

In India, there are four consumer price index numbers, which are calculated, and these are as follows:

  • CPI for Industrial Workers (IW)
  • CPI for Agricultural Labourers (AL)
  • CPI for Rural Labourers (RL) and
  • CPI for Urban Non-Manual Employees (UNME).

The Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation collects CPI (UNME) data and compiles it.

  • The remaining three are collected by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour.

HOW IS CONSUMER PRICE INDEX CALCULATED?

  • The CPI is calculated with reference to a base year, which is used as a benchmark.
  • The price change pertains to that year.

Remember, that the price of the basket in 1 year has to be first divided by the price of the market basket of the base year.

  • Then, it is multiplied by 100.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX FORMULA

CPI = (Cost of basket divided by Cost of basket in the base year) multiplied by 100

  • CPI’s annual percentage change is also used to assess inflation.
  • In India, the base years of the current series of CPI(IW), CPI(AL) and CPI(RL), are 1982, 1986-87 and 1984-85, respectively.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • All segments of industrial production contracted in August, including food, pharma products and fast-moving consumer goods.
  • Overall, the mining sector shrank 9.8% in August, manufacturing output declined 8.6%, while power sector output contracted 1.8%.
  • Capital goods, primary goods and consumer durables all clocked negative growth rates over 10% — 15.4%, 11.1% and 10.3%, respectively.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | 13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP)

      HEADLINES:

Delhi, Male ink $400-mn pact for connectivity

      WHY IN NEWS:

India had previously loaned $800 mn

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      ISSUE: 

The Exim Bank of India and the Maldives’s Ministry of Finance on Monday signed an agreement for $400 million in Male

GREATER MALE CONNECTIVITY PROJECT

  • The line of credit (LoC) will fund the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP).
  • India has also pledged a grant of $ 100 million for the initiative.

Greater Male Connectivity Project

SOURCES : INDIA TV

  • The Greater Male Connectivity Project will lead to greater possibilities.
  • It is the gateway to a more developed and economically-resilient nation.
  • The grant and LoC come in addition to the previous LoC of $800 million, among India’s largest loans extended in the region.

THE INITIATIVE INCLUDES

  • Air connectivity “bubble” for travel
  • A direct ferry service
  • A submarine cable for telecom connectivity

LOCATION

This 6.7 kilometre bridge project connecting Male with Gulhifalhu Port and Thilafushi industrial zone will help revitalise and transform Maldivian economy.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The GMCP project will include construction of a bridge-and-causeway link spanning 6.7 kms.

Once completed, this landmark project will streamline connectivity between the four islands. 

  • Thereby boosting economic activity, generating employment and promoting holistic urban development in the Malé region.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU | 13th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

DISCOVER MORE : Important Daily Current Affairs for UPSC PRELIMS 2021

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