Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, 9th October 2019

Hindu Kush Himalayan Region

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Image result for Hindu Kush Himalayan Region

Context

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will collaborate with meteorological agencies in China and Pakistan, among others, to provide climate forecast services to countries in the region.
  • This will help to better gauge the impact of climate change on the Hindu Kush mountains, including the Himalayas, and spruce up data-gathering. 

About Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) Region

  • The Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region is considered the Third Pole [after the North and South Poles], and has significant implications for climate.
  • The HKH region spans Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. 
  • It traverses about 5 million square kilometres and hosts a large and culturally diverse population. 
  • The Third Pole, which contains vast cryospheric zones, is also the world’s largest store of snow and ice outside the polar region.
  • Alongside forecasting weather over long periods, the regional centres would provide data services, training and capacity-building, research and development.
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a regional intergovernmental body released the first-ever assessment of climate change impacts on the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region last month. 
  • It found that HKH region is warming faster than the global average.
  • It would continue to warm through this century even if the world is able to limit global warming at the agreed 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • The number of glaciers in the Himalayan area has increased in the last five decades and this is an indicator of how severe glacier melting has been due to global warming. 
  • The increase in the number of glaciers is primarily due to glacier fragmentation — that big ones are splitting into smaller ones. 
  • And this is happening due to consistent loss in areas the glaciers occupy. 

Impacts of climate change

  • This region is a heat source in summer and a heat sink in winter.
  • Along with the Tibetan Plateau, this influences the Indian summer monsoon. 
  • So, any changes in this region would have a bearing on the monsoon itself that already shows signs of changes in spread and distribution.
  • It could trigger a multitude of biophysical and socio-economic impacts, such as biodiversity loss, increased glacial melting, and less predictable water availability— all of which will impact livelihoods and well-being in the HKH.
  • Faster snow and glacier melting due to warming is already manifesting in formation of glacial lakes. 
  • Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) are becoming frequent and causing huge casualties and loss to local infrastructures.
  • Glaciers in HKH have been retreating faster, and consistently causing greater water flows in rivers. 
  • In Tibetan Plateau, river runoff has increased by 5.5 per cent.

Source: The Hindu.


Nobel Prize in Physics

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everydayLife.

Image result for nobel prize in physics

Context

  • The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 was awarded “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos” with one half to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”, the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”
  • Peebles, his mentor and two colleagues laid out the basic explanation of what the CMB is and how it relates to the Big Bang.

About Exoplanet

  • All of the planets in our solar system orbit around the Sun. 
  • Planets that orbit around other stars are called exoplanets. 
  • Exoplanets are very hard to see with telescopes. 
  • They are hidden by the bright glare of the stars they orbit.
  • So, astronomers use other ways to detect and study these distant planets. 
  • They search for exoplanets by looking at the effects these planets have on the stars they orbit.

About Cosmic background microwave radiation

  • The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is thought to be leftover radiation from the Big Bang, or the time when the universe began. 
  • As the theory goes, when the universe was born it underwent a rapid inflation and expansion. 
  • The CMB represents the heat left over from the Big Bang.
  • You can’t see the CMB with your naked eye, but it is everywhere in the universe. 
  • It is invisible to humans because it is so cold, just 2.725 degrees above absolute zero (minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 273.15 degrees Celsius.).
  • This means its radiation is most visible in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Source: The Hindu.


Nobel Prize in Medicine

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday Life.

Image result for nobel prize in medicine

Context

  • The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.” 
  • They identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen.

Highlights

  • Their work established the genetic mechanisms that allow cells to respond to changes in oxygen levels. 
  • The findings have implications for treating a variety of diseases, including cancer, anemia, heart attacks and strokes.

Source: The Hindu. 


Satnami Rebellion

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Modern Indian History.

Why in News?

  • In the history of revolts and rebellions, 1672 holds a special significance.
  • In 1672, the Satnamis, a sect comprising peasants, artisans and untouchables rebelled against the mighty Mughal Empire. 
  • It all began with a small quarrel. 

Background

  • A Satnami youth, cultivating his field, got into a fight with a party of Mughal nobles, which resulted in his slaying by a Mughal pyada or a foot soldier.
  • In retaliation, the foot soldier was killed by the Satnami community.
  • This happened in what is today’s Mahendragarh district in Haryana.
  • Following the two murders, the local Mughal official sent a troop of soldiers to arrest those who had killed the foot soldier. 
  • But the community drove them away.
  • Emboldened, the Satnamis attacked Narnaul, the main township in the area and destroyed the Mughal garrison. 
  • They even set up their own administration. 

About Satnamis

  • Historians have called the Satnamis a monotheistic sect who followed neither Hinduism nor Islam and whose scriptures emphasised leading a life based on good conduct rather than on rituals and dogma.
  • Many may find this hard to believe but the Mughals were actually protective of the caste system.
  • As a result, the high castes continued to inflict the worst atrocities on the peasants, artisans, untouchables and tribals.
  • They were the “invisibles” in Mughal India. 
  • Whether Brahmin, Rajput or Muslim, they were forbidden to be seen by any man other than their own.
  • In contrast, the Satnami women dressed up like men, worked in farms and also joined men to fight the Mughal soldiers. 

About the rebellion

  • The Satnamis marched towards Shahjahanabad (old Delhi), armed with the latest European-designed muskets that their leader had taught them to make.
  • Though the Satnamis fought bravely, they lost the battle and 2,000 Satnamis were killed.
  • The killing of the youth may have been the immediate trigger, the reasons for the revolt were to do with the growth of the Satnami sect.
  • The entrenched caste structure of the era forced marginalized groups to join the fold and they protested against the high taxation policies.
  • Their rise was seen as a threat by the supporters of the Mughal administration, the upper castes.
  • Though the rebellion was crushed, its memory endures to this day.
  • That a group of marginalized people fought the systemic oppression in society, established a new community and defended it.

Source: Down to Earth. 

Graded Response Action Plan

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, Environmental Pollution &

Degradation.

Image result for Graded Response Action Plan

Context

  • Starting October 15, some stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force in Delhi’s neighbourhood, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
  • As pollution rises, and it is expected to as winter approaches, more measures will come into play depending on the air quality. 

About Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)

  • In 2014, when a study by the WHO found that Delhi was the most polluted city in the world, panic spread in the Centre and the state government.
  • Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016, the plan was formulated after several meetings that the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) held with state government and experts.
  • The result was a plan that institutionalized measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates.
  • GRAP works only as an emergency measure.
  • Three major policy decisions that can be credited to EPCA and GRAP are the closure of the thermal power plant at Badarpur, bringing BS-VI fuel to Delhi before the deadline set initially, and the ban on Pet coke as a fuel in Delhi NCR. 

Highlights

  • As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.
  • When the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed under both sections have to be followed since the plan is incremental in nature.
  • If air quality reaches the severe+ stage, GRAP talks about shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
  • The biggest success of GRAP has been in fixing accountability and deadlines.
  • For each action to be taken under a particular air quality category, executing agencies are clearly marked.
  • In a territory like Delhi, where a multiplicity of authorities has been a long-standing impediment to effective governance, this step made a crucial difference.
  • One criticism of the EPCA as well as GRAP has been the focus on Delhi.
  • While other states have managed to delay several measures, citing lack of resources, Delhi has always been the first one to have stringent measures enforced.
  • In a recent meeting that discussed the ban on diesel generator sets, the point about Delhi doing all the heavy lifting was also raised.

Source: The Hindu. 


Map of the Day–Mughal empire


Image result for mughal empire map


Quote for the Day


 "My own soul is my most faithful friend. My own heart, my truest confidant”- Babur


Mains Answer Writing

1.Why Hindu-Kush-Himalayan region is called the Third Pole of the world?

2.With the backdrop of Nobel Prize in Physics 2019, explain the significance of exoplanets in it’s discovery.

3.Discuss the history and significance of Satnami Rebellion.

 

Test your Knowledge

1.Consider the following statements 

1.All of the planets in our solar system orbit around the Sun.
2.Planets that orbit around other stars are called exoplanets.
3.Exoplanets are very easy to see with telescopes.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above


2. Consider the following statements:

1.The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is thought to be leftover radiation from the Big Bang, or the time when the universe began. 

2.The CMB represents the heat left over from the Big Bang.

3.It is visible to humans because it is so cold, just 2.725 degrees above absolute zero (minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 273.15 degrees Celsius.).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 


3. Consider the following statements:

1.In 1672, the Satnamis, a sect comprising peasants, artisans and untouchables rebelled against the British.

2.Satnamis follow a monotheistic sect who followed neither Hinduism nor Islam.

3.Their scripts emphasised leading a life based on good conduct rather than on rituals and dogma.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 


4.Consider the following statements:

1.Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) is launched in Delhi.

2.GRAP works only as an emergency measure for water quality.

3.The biggest success of GRAP has been in fixing accountability and deadlines.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 


5.Which of the countries does not span the Hindu Kush mountains?

a.China

b.India

c.Iran

d.Mongolia

 

Answers

  1. A 2.A 3.B 4.C 5.C