07 January, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • PTS announcement
  • DNS Weekly Mains Answer Writing Practice
  • How are candidates selected for UPSC mains, interview? (Polity & Governance)
  • The importance of social interactions (Polity & Governance)
  • Boosting India with maritime domain awareness - (International Relation + Internal Security)
  • Avian flu: more migratory birds reported dead in Himachal - (Science & Technology)
  • Question for the day (Polity & Governance)

Prelims Quiz


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    UPSC Current Affairs: How are candidates selected for UPSC mains, interview? | Page 03  

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Issues related to vulnerable sections  

    Sub Theme: Reservation | Disability | UPSC

    ‘How are candidates selected for UPSC mains, interview?’

    Context - The UPSC reserved only 24 vacancies for persons with disabilities out of a total 796 ‘expected approximate vacancies’ 

    Two Important issue involved

    The question of arbitrariness

    The Delhi High Court asked the Centre and the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to explain how they were selecting candidates for the Civil Services mains exam and subsequent interview without declaring the actual number of vacancies, particularly for the disabled category.

    The Court remarked -  “When your vacancies are fluctuating, how many people will you call for the mains and interview? If you have power to call any number of candidates for mains and interviews without declaring the actual vacancies, it is known as arbitrariness.”

    Selection without declaring actual number of vacancies amounts to arbitrariness.

    • Doctrine of rationality and Non-Arbitrariness are essential features of Indian legal jurisprudence.
    • According to the Supreme Court (Ramkrishna Dalmia v. Justice Tendolkar), there is vital connection between right to equality under Article 14 and  rationality & non-Arbitrariness.
    • It violated the tenants of ‘rule of law’. ‘Rule of law’ is a fundamental requirement for a democratic polity.
    • Poor rule of law has a devastating effect on right to life, liberty, economic justice, fraternity, individual dignity and national integration.
    • Discretion and arbitrary use of power will lead to tyranny.


    Discrepancy in vacancies for disabled

    The UPSC reserved only 24 vacancies for persons with disabilities out of a total 796 ‘expected approximate vacancies’. This was below the 4% mandatory reservation under Section 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016. The plea added that 4% of 796 vacancies works out to 32.

    Arguments put against the UPSC notification

    • UPSC’s notice was ‘illegal’ as what is certain and clear for the disabled under the RPwD Act, 2016, is made vague, ambiguous and uncertain by the device of expected approximate vacancies.
    • The notice becomes a fraud on the RPwD Act since it gives 4% reservation of 796 expected approximate vacancies. To reserve something of that which does not legally exist is to legally give nothing.
    • The number of seats reserved for visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing and locomotor disabilities was not in accordance with the RPwD Act.
      • Section 34 also mandates equal distribution of one (20% each) among the disabled classes of the blind, deaf, locomotor plus the combined class of autism, etc. with those having multiple disabilities.

    Rule of Law Index” is released by which of the following? [2018]

     Amnesty International

     International Court of Justice

     The Office of UN Commissioner for Human Rights

     World Justice Project

    India ranked India in the 69th in the Rule of Law Index 2020.


    UPSC Current Affairs: The importance of social interactions | Page 07  

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: International Events | Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: Achieving Great Power Status by China | Problems in Chinese Approach | UPSC

    The importance of social interactions

    Of the many victims of the COVID-19 pandemic are social interactions, which leads to tolerance and understanding between the majority and the minority. A year of being homebound has deepened divisions in a society already fraught with prejudices

    The propagation of stereotypes and the resulting prejudices allow for, and even normalise, violence against the minority.

    Analysing stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination from the CAB model of attitude

    Stereotype are our beliefs about what are the typical traits or characteristics of members of a specific group. In terms of our attitude, our stereotype represents the cognitive component.

    Prejudice is prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts. It occurs when someone holds a negative feeling about a group of people, representing the affective component of attitude.

    Discrimination is actions based on prejudice and stereotypes.

    How do you mitigate a prejudice if it is so pervasive and intense?

    In 1954, Gordon Allport published The Nature of Prejudice, which contained, among other analyses of inter-group behaviour, a theory on prejudice. Specifically, it contained a hypothesis on how to reduce prejudice among majority and minority groups, popularly called the ‘Contact Hypothesis’. The idea was simple: contact (with some caveats) reduces prejudice. Subsequently, decades of social psychology research arrived at a far simpler idea: friendship reduces prejudice.

    Multiple studies have noted that frequent interactions between members of different religious groups vastly reduce negative perceptions and anxiety towards ‘the other’. For instance, a youth study in 2017, conducted by Lokniti-CSDS and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, found that 83% of majority community members who had a minority friend were comfortable having a non-majority neighbour, compared to 70% of those who did not have a non-majority community friend.

    Even among people who consume media plentifully, interactions with people outside their community weakens prejudice.

    Close interaction will have minimal effect if –

    • The attitudes of suspicion and negativity towards the minorities are deeply entrenched in the Indian society.
    • There is ghettoization of minorities. That ensures that most instances of social interactions are effectively denied, thereby limiting the building of lasting friendships at workplaces and schools.
    • If majority community members hold great respect and affection for minority community friends, and not hold the same view about the community as a whole as they consider a their friend to be an ‘exception to the rule’. As a result, whilst interactions do take place and reduce prejudice, they do not cross a threshold already laid down by generations of socialisation and stereotypes.

    Prejudice is a peculiar phenomenon. It is sustained through time, remains unaffected by even positive interpersonal relations, and provides the ammunition for communalism.

    Ashutosh Varshney explains in his book Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life, that for peace and social cohesion between majority and minority community that must be  civic engagement and redefining the ‘us’.

    Ties need to be forged not just between individuals, but also across larger communities such that the relationships breach the confines of religious identities and encompass a multitude of identities. Be it local neighbourhood associations, professional unions or linguistic associations, membership of this civil society creates a new ‘us’. It allows society to maintain open lines of communication, even during a pandemic.


    UPSC Current Affairs: Boosting India with maritime domain awareness | Page 06

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: International Events | Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: Achieving Great Power Status by China | Problems in Chinese Approach | UPSC

    Boosting India with maritime domain awareness

    The legendary military theorist, Sun Tzu, is once said to have observed that the critical element in battle was foreknowledge, but that it “could not be elicited from spirits, nor from gods, nor by analogy with past events, nor from calculations”. As the great Chinese general saw it, foreknowledge could only be gathered with specialised tools and by men who knew the enemy well. A prior reading of the adversary and the theatre of battle, the master tactician asserted, could decisively shift the balance of fortune in war.

    In the modern maritime arena, war is a more complex proposition than in the days of Sun Tzu, but ‘foreknowledge’ is still critical. Today, the enemy at sea is often unrecognisable — a terrorist, a pirate, a criminal or a sea robber — an invisible presence that lurks behind regular actors such as fishermen and port workers.

    Law enforcement agencies today need to be a lot more vigilant, highly reliant on high-grade sensors and communication networks that observe and track suspicious movements, sharing information in real time. Practitioners describe this state of enhanced consciousness as maritime domain awareness.

    Maritime domain awareness of India

    • Indian Navy has been on a drive to improve domain awareness in the Indian Ocean. The Navy is seeking to expand India’s surveillance footprint by setting up radar stations in the Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh; Mauritius, the Seychelles and Sri Lanka have already integrated into the wider coastal radar chain network. The Indian Navy’s efforts seem focused primarily on monitoring Chinese activity in the Eastern Indian Ocean, particularly in the seas around the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

    Since June 2020, when the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army clashed in Galwan in northern Ladakh, Indian maritime planners have been wary of the possibility of a greater Chinese presence in the eastern littorals. In recent months, India’s P-8I aircraft have scoured the near-seas for People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarines, and Indian naval ships have patrolled the Andaman Seas and eastern chokepoints to deter any maritime adventurism by Beijing.

    • Maritime domain awareness is also generating cooperative synergies in the neighbourhood. There are reports that seven Indian Ocean countries — Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles — will soon post Liaison Officers at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram. France already has an officer at the IFC, and four other Indo-Pacific navies — Australia, Japan, the U.K and the U.S. — have also agreed to position officers at the centre, fast emerging as the most prominent information hub in the Eastern Indian Ocean.
    • New Delhi is also upping its engagement in the Western Indian Ocean by positioning a Liaison Officer at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar. Established under the auspices of the Indian Ocean Commission that India joined recently as an ‘observer’, the RMIFC is a key centre of maritime information in the Western Indian Ocean.
    • India has also posted an officer at the European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) in Abu Dhabi to assist in the monitoring of maritime activity in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
    • India has moved to expand its underwater detection capabilities in the Eastern chokepoints. In a bid to enhance surveillance over sensitive sea spaces, the Indian Navy has inducted two Sea Guardian drones on lease from the United States. With nine operational P-8I aircraft, the Navy’s coverage of the Bay of Bengal littoral is already considerable. 
    • India’s military satellite (GSAT-7A) may soon facilitate a real time sharing of maritime information with partners.

    These endeavours, are a manifestation of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), philosophical mantra that advances the idea of India as a ‘security provider’ and ‘preferred partner’ in the Indo-Pacific region.

    To bring real change, India must ensure seamless information flow, generating operational synergy with partners, and aim to expand collaborative endeavours in shared spaces. That would be the real test of the maritime domain awareness ‘game-changing’ potential.


    • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and Southeast Asia, housing 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018).
    • The BIMSTEC member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.


    • In 2015, India unveiled it's strategic vision for the Indian Ocean i.e. Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). It is an increasing recognition of the increasing importance of maritime security, maritime commons and cooperation.
    • Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities. For this, India would cooperate on the exchange of information, coastal surveillance, building of infrastructure and strengthening their capabilities.


    • Project ‘Mausam’ is a Ministry of Culture project to be implemented by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi as the nodal coordinating agency with support of Archeological Survey of India and National Museum as associate bodies.

    Exercise Name

    Participant Nations


    India & Bangladesh

    Mitra Shakti

    India & Sri Lanka

    Maitree Exercise

    India & Thailand

    Vajra Prahar

    India & US

    Yudh Abhyas

    India & US

    Nomadic Elephant

    India & Mongolia

    Garuda Shakti

    India & Indonesia

    Shakti Exercise

    India & France

    Dharma Guardian

    India & Japan

    Surya Kiran

    India & Nepal

    Hand in Hand Exercise

    India & China


    UPSC Current Affairs:Avian flu: more migratory birds reported dead in Himachal | Page 04

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: International Events | Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: Achieving Great Power Status by China | Problems in Chinese Approach | UPSC


    • As many as 336 migratory birds were reported dead in Himachal Pradesh’s Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary area on Wednesday.

    Now questions related to diseases (especially viral outbreaks) are frequently asked in Prelims Exam.

    Take these two instances:

    Which one of the following statements is not correct? (2019)

    (a) Hepatitis B virus is transmitted much like HIV.

    (b) Hepatitis B, unlike Hepatitis C, does not have a vaccine.

    (c) Globally, the number of people infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses are several times more than those infected with HIV.

    (d) Some of those infected with Hepatitis B and C viruses do not show the symptoms for many years.

    Consider the following statements : (2017)

    1. In tropical regions, Zika virus disease is transmitted by the same mosquito that transmits dengue.
    2. Sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible.

    Which of the statements given above is/ are correct ?

    (a) 1 only

    (b)  2 only

    (c)  Both 1 and 2

    (d)  Neither 1 nor 2

    So in this regard we are going to cover the basics about this Avian Influenza:

    What is it?

    • Avian influenza refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses.
    • These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans.
    • However, sporadic human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred. The links below offer more information about avian influenza.

    what are these different subtypes denoted with H and N ?

    • Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes on the basis of two proteins on the surface of the virus: hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA).
    • There are 18 known HA subtypes and 11 known NA subtypes. Many different combinations of HA and NA proteins are possible.
    • For example, an “H7N2 virus” designates an influenza A virus subtype that has an HA 7 protein and an NA 2 protein. Similarly, an “H5N1” virus has an HA 5 protein and an NA 1 protein.

    How do domesticated birds become infected?

    • Domesticated birds (chickens, turkeys, etc.) may become infected with avian influenza A viruses through direct contact with infected waterfowl or other infected poultry, or through contact with surfaces that have been contaminated with the viruses.

    Does it spread easily to humans?

    • No, it does not. Generally, people coming in close contact with infected alive or dead birds have contracted the H5N1 bird flu, and it does not usually spread from person to person, as per the WHO. There is also no evidence, the WHO says, that the disease can be spread to people through properly prepared and cooked poultry food. The virus is sensitive to heat, and dies in cooking temperatures.

    Then why the scare?

    • H5N1 is severe and deadly – around 6 out of 10 confirmed cases in humans have led to deaths (though the actual mortality rate may be lower due to under-reporting of asymptomatic cases).
    • If the virus mutates and becomes easily transmissible from person to person, say by altering its shape to grab human cells much more effectively, it can potentially cause a pandemic.
    • Also, flu viruses are more prone to mutation because they have a segmented genome. All known strains of flu – including the seasonal flu and the pandemic flu – have jumped from birds to humans in this way.