20 December, 2020 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • Self-Assessment Test
  • Sentinelese Tribe - (Social Issues)
  • NRI Voting Issue (Polity & Governance)
  • S 400 Triumf- (International relations)
  • Himalayan Trillium- (Environment)
  • Radio signal from Exoplanet (Science & technology)
  • Boko Haram- (International relations)
  • IITs and reservation reference (Polity & Governance)
  • Question for the day (Science & technology)

Prelims Quiz


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    UPSC Current Affairs: Any exploitation of Sentinel Island will wipe out tribals’ |Page 01

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Indian Geography

    Sub Theme: Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar|UPSC

    Context:  Any exploitation of the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans for commercial and strategic gain would spell the death knell for its occupants, the Sentinelese, a most secluded, particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) who reside in complete isolation on the island, the Anthropological Survey of India (ANSI) has said.

    Recently an American national was killed when he tried to interfere with the Sentinelese tribe

    About the Sentinelese -

    They live in isolation in the North Sentinel Island of Andaman and Nicobar and are one of the last tribes that remain disconnected with the outside world

    The population of the tribe could range anywhere between 40 and 500. The 2011 Census records 15 Sentinelese on the island, including 12 males and three females.

    Other tribes of Andaman & Nicobar

    There are six notified scheduled tribes in A&N islands.

    Except Nicobarese, rest of the 05 tribe viz., Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Sentinelese Onge and Shompen are recognized as PVTGs.

    Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India:

    PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.

    A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.

    There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.

    Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

    Which of the statements given above are correct?

    (a) 1, 2 and 3

    (b) 2, 3 and 4

    (c) 1, 2 and 4

    (d) 1, 3 and 4

    Ans - c )

    About Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)-

    There are 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) notified as on date in the country.  The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are as under:

    • A pre-agriculture level of technology;
    • A stagnant or declining population;
    • Extremely low literacy; and
    • A subsistence level of economy.

     PVTGs among Scheduled Tribes reside in 18 States/ UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

    Other tribes

    • There are over 500 tribes (with many overlapping communities in more than one State) as notified under article 342 of the Constitution of India, spread over different States and Union Territories of the country, the largest number of tribal communities being in the State of Orissa.
    • The main concentration of tribal population is in central India and in the North- eastern States. However, they have theirpresence in all States and Union Territories except Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Pondicherry and Chandigarh.
    • The predominantly tribal populated States of the country (tribal population more than 50% of the total population) are:Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep


    UPSC Current Affairs: Are NRIs likely to get postal voting rights soon?| Page 12

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Indian Polity | Mains – GS Paper II– Polity & Governance

    Sub Theme: Postal Ballots for NRIs | UPSC

    Context: Election Commission of India (ECI) wrote to the Law Ministry, proposing to extend the facility of postal ballots to (eligible) overseas, non-resident Indians (NRIs) for the Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal in 2021. The ECI proposed amending the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, in order to allow this facility. The postal ballots will be sent to NRIs electronically and they will send these ballots after choosing their candidate via post.         

    Service Voters

    Service voter is a voter having service qualification. According to Section 20 (8) of Representation of People Act, 1950, service qualification means:

    • Being a member of the armed Forces of the Union ; or
    • Being a member of a force to which provisions of the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), have been made applicable whether with or without modification ;
    • Being a member of an Armed Police Force of a State, and serving outside that state; or
    • Being a person who is employed under the Government of India, in a post outside India.


    • Election Commission during the Lok Sabha Elections of 2019, allowed voting through Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).
    • The service voters were sent postal ballots electronically one way to save processing time, resources and avoid human errors. 

    Prior to 2010 - Voting for an Indian Citizen staying abroad

    • An Indian citizen who was an eligible voter and was residing abroad for more than six months owing to employment, education or otherwise was not allowed to vote.
    • This was because the NRI’s name was deleted from electoral rolls if he or she stayed outside the country for more than six months at a stretch.

    Post 2010 – Amendment in RPA, 1950 (Adding Section 20A)

    • After the passing of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010, eligible NRIs who had stayed abroad beyond six months were allowed to vote, but only in person at the polling station where they have been enrolled as an overseas elector. (Section 20A)
    • Just as any resident Indian citizen above the age of 18 years (having attained it on the first day of January of the year of revision of electoral rolls for the State) is eligible to vote in the constituency where she/he is a resident, overseas Indian citizens are also eligible to vote.
    • In the case of overseas voters, their address mentioned in the passport is taken as the place of ordinary residence and chosen as the constituency for the overseas voter for enrollment.

    Section 20A - Special provisions for citizens of India residing outside India

    Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, every citizen of India—

    • whose name in not included in the electoral roll;
    • who has not acquired the citizenship of any other country; and
    • who is absenting from his place of ordinary residence in India owing to his employment, education or otherwise outside India (whether temporarily or not),

    Shall be entitled to have his name registered in the electoral roll in the constituency in which his place of residence in India as mentioned in his passport is located.

    Every person registered under Section 20A shall, if otherwise eligible to exercise his franchise, be allowed to vote at an election in the constituency. 

    Despite Legal Provisions, Overseas Voters did not turn out as expected

    • This was because of the condition of vote as it only allows such citizen to vote in person at the polling booth. This has discouraged eligible voters from exercising their mandate due to cost of travel.
    • The government in 2017 tried to remove the restriction imposed by Section 20A of the Representation of the People Act, which required them to be physically present to vote in their constituencies.
    • The proposed Amendment provided for overseas voters to be able to appoint a proxy to cast their votes on their behalf, subject to conditions laid down in the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. The Bill lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
    • Now the ECI has approached the government to permit NRIs to vote via postal ballots similar to a system that is already used by service voters (the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System, or ETPBS. The ETPBS method allowed for greater turnout among service voters in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
    • With increasing mobility of citizens across countries for reasons related to work, the postal ballot method has been recognised by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (an intergovernmental organisation that works to support democratic processes and institutions) as a means to allow overseas voters to exercise their right, subject to certain conditions normally related to the time spent abroad or the work carried out abroad.

    One Way Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS)

    • One Way Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) was introduced by Law Ministry after amending election rules allowing service voters to get their postal ballots electronically.
    • Service voter are those who have service qualification. They include member of Armed Forces of the Union of India, members of Armed Police forces of the States serving outside that state and persons employed under Government of India on posts outside India.
    • As per existing arrangements, members of India Army, Navy and Air force, Border Road Organisation, BSF, ITBP, Assam Rifles, NSG, CRPF, CISF and SSB are eligible to be registered as service voters.
    • The ETPBS allows them to fill up their ballots and post them back using normal postal services.
    • Use of one way electronic voting system during 2019 Lok Sabha Elections for service voters helped to save processing time, resources and avoid human errors. 

    Two way Electronic Voting

    • Two-way electronic transmission of vote envisages that - a registered voter from any location in India, once his identity is proved, will be able to cast his vote electronically through a secure encrypted system and the same will reach the designated returning officer for counting.

    Election Registration Officer Network (ERO Net)

    • ERO-NET is a Centralized Software for Electoral Roll Management and Form Processing. The ERONET has been designed and developed keeping in mind the need of Centralized form Processing and monitoring the work of all the Officials involved in Form Processing.
    • For this purpose, Single Unified Database was created and all the existing Electoral Rolls data were migrated to the single data base from State-Specific databases. This created Unified National Photo Electoral Roll (UNPER).  
    • ERO-Net application is available across India, to all citizens of India for enrollment/ corrections/migration from Electoral Roll. 
    • Citizens can fill up various online forms on National Voters’ Service Portal or by using voter helpline mobile application. The form is processed thereafter in ERONET. The applicant also gets periodical alerts and notifications on each activity performed at ERONET.
    • ERO-Net also facilitates easy migration from one constituency to another by facilitating seamless communication between the EROs of two constituencies. It also helps in preventing De-duplication while including entries in the E-Roll.
    • It was launched in January 2018.

     What are the measures which need to be taken to facilitate Two Way Electronic Voting?

    • The technology is not ready as of now and needs more stringent testing. Only after the protocol is considered fool-proof will stakeholders be consulted.
    • Changes in election laws needs to be done to facilitate two way electronic voting.
    • Laws must allow for linkage of Aadhaar with Voter ID. (Representation of People Act, 1950)
    • The technology must be integrated with Election Registration Officer Network (ERO Net) to reflect vote casted by person even from remote or distant places.


    UPSC Current Affairs: The long Russian arms in the skies | Page–13

    UPSC Syllabus:| Prelims: Science & technology

    Sub Theme: S-400 Missile Defence System| UPSC

    Recently, US has decided to impose sanctions on Turkey over its procurement of the S-400 Triumf long-range air defence system from Russia. The sanctions have been imposed under USA’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). In October 2018, India had signed a $ 6 billion deal with Russia for five S-400 regiments. Hence, in this regard, the imposition of sanctions on Turkey has implications for India.

    Details about S 400 Air Defence Deal

    • S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. The missile system integrates a multifunction radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and command and control centre.
    • S-400 layered defence system can intercept all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and ballistic and cruise missiles up to the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km.
    • It can track 100 airborne targets, including super fighters such as the American built F-35, and engage six of them simultaneously.
    • It is especially suited to take down strategic aerial platforms like bombers, mid-air refuellers, reconnaissance aircraft and Advanced Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).
    • Capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defence.
    • The S-400 defence system has been deployed in Syria in 2015 to guard Russian and Syrian naval and air assets. Russia has also stationed S-400 units in Crimea to strengthen its position in the annexed peninsula.


    • USA is offering THAAD and Patriot as alternative to S-400 to India.
    • Iron Dome: Israeli SHORT-RANGE AIR DEFENSE


    UPSC Current Affairs: Overexploitation, long life cycle have endangered a common Himalayan herb | Page - 11

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Environment & Biodiversity

    Sub Theme: Himalayan trillium | UPSC

    The Himalayan trillium, a common herb of the Himalayas was declared ‘endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last week.

    Important Pointers

    • In recent years, the plant has become one of the most traded commercial plants of the Himalayan region, due to its high medicinal quality.
    • It has been used in traditional medicine to cure diseases like dysentery, wounds, skin boils, inflammation, sepsis, as well as menstrual and sexual disorders.
    • Recent experiments have shown that the rhizome of the herb is a source of steroidal saponins and can be used as an anti-cancer and anti-aging agent. This increased its market value and has now become an easy target for poachers.
      • Rhizome is a type of plant stem situated either at the soil surface or underground that contains nodes from which roots and shoots originate.
    • Found in temperate and sub-alpine zones of the Himalayas, at an altitude from 2,400-4,000 metres above sea level, the existence of the plant has been traced across India, Bhutan, Nepal, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    • In India, it is found in four states only - Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand.
    • factors threatening the survival of the plant –
      • over-exploitation
      • long life cycle - slow to reach reproductive maturity
      • poor capacity for seed dispersal
      • highly specific habitat requirement
      • high trade value
      • Increasing market demand

    Given the suspected rate of decline and an expected continued demand for rhizomes, population declines of at least 50% are expected to occur between 2010 and 2079.

    Conservation strategy

    • Implementation and enforcement of sustainable collection protocols and quotas.
    • Designation of areas of natural habitat to local communities for management of harvest is the best option to control its illegal trade.
    • Further, the implantation of FairWild Standard can help traders, and Concerned agencies in the sustainable harvest and trade of the species.
      • The FairWild Standard has 11 Principles and 29 Criteria addressing ecological, social and economic requirements for sustainable wild collection.
      • It has been developed by FairWild Foundation.
      • The FairWild Foundation aims to provide a global framework for implementing a sustainable and fair trading system for wild-collected plant ingredients and their products. 
    • Educational efforts including elevation of public awareness surrounding the threats to the species
    • Dissemination of best practices for harvest are also needed.


    UPSC Current Affairs: First potential radio signal from exoplanet  | Page - 11

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Science & technology

    Sub Theme: Tau Bootes star-system | UPSC

    An international team of scientists has collected the first possible radio signal from a planet beyond our solar system, emanating from an exoplanet system about 51 light-years away.

    Using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), the Researchers uncovered emission bursts from the Tau Bootes star-system hosting a so-called hot Jupiter, a gaseous giant planet that is very close to its own sun.

    • The Low-Frequency Array, or LOFAR, is a large radio telescope network located mainly in the Netherlands, in 2012.
    • The project is based on an interferometric array of radio telescopes using about 20,000 small antennas concentrated in at least 48 stations. Forty of these stations are distributed across the Netherlands, five in Germany, and one each in Great Britain, France, Sweden and Ireland.

    Tau Bootes star-system

    • Tau Bootes system contains a binary star system and an exoplanet.
    • So far only the Tau Bootes exoplanet system has exhibited a significant radio signature, outside our solar system.
    • It is approximately 51 light-years away

    If confirmed through follow-up observations, this radio detection opens up a new window on exoplanets, providing a novel way to examine alien worlds that are tens of light-years away.

    Significance of the observation

    • Observing an exoplanet’s magnetic field helps astronomers decipher a planet’s interior and atmospheric properties, as well as the physics of star-planet interactions.
    • Earth’s magnetic field protects it from solar wind dangers, keeping the planet habitable. The magnetic field of Earth-like exoplanets may contribute to their possible habitability by shielding their own atmospheres from solar wind and cosmic rays, and protecting the planet from atmospheric loss.


    UPSC Current Affairs: The ‘Islamic State’ in Africa | Page - 13

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Current Events of International Importance

    Sub Theme: Boko Haram| UPSC

    Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden." It emerged In the 2000s in Nigeria as a small Sunni Islamic sect advocating a strict interpretation and implementation of Islamic law.

    Over the decade, Boko Haram has spread from northeast Nigeria to neighbouring West African nations of Niger, Chad and Cameroon in the Lake Chad Basin. The terrorist group gained international notoriety when it abducted approximately 300 schoolgirls in 2014 in the town of Chibok, Borno state, in northeast Nigeria.

    In 2015, Boko Haram pledged loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Syria/Iraq-based ISIS, in an attempt to build new alliances. In 2016, it created the Islamic State West Africa province (ISWA, also known as ISWAP).