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UPSC Online News Analysis


Context: ICMR against indiscriminate use of plasma therapy – It issues specific criteria for potential donors and recipients.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Science & technology

About Convalescent plasma therapy:

  • It uses blood from people who’ve recovered from an illness to help others recover.
  • Blood donated by people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 has antibodies to the virus that causes it.
  • The donated blood is processed to remove blood cells, leaving behind liquid (plasma) and antibodies.
  • These can be given to people with COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus.
  • Convalescent plasma therapy has some risks, such as:
    • Allergic reactions
    • Lung damage and difficulty breathing
    • Infections such as HIV and hepatitis B and C

What is plasma?

  • Blood plasma is a yellowish liquid component of blood that holds the blood cells of whole blood in suspension.
  • It is the liquid part of the blood that carries cells and proteins throughout the body.
  • It makes up about 55% of the body’s total blood volume.
  • It is the intravascular fluid part of extracellular fluid.


Context: On September 25, Karnataka Forest Minister Anand Singh announced in the Assembly that the state government would soon declassify 6.64 lakh hectares of the 9.94 lakh hectares of deemed forests in the state (nearly 67%) and hand it over to Revenue authorities.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Environment & ecology

What are Forests & deemed forests?

  • While the concept of deemed forests has not been clearly defined in any law including the Forest Conservation Act of 1980, the Supreme Court in the case of T N Godavarman Thirumalpad (1996) accepted a wide definition of forests under the Act. “The word ‘forest’ must be understood according to its dictionary meaning.
  • “The term ‘forest land’ occurring in Section 2 will not only include ‘forest’ as understood in the dictionary sense, but also any areas recorded as forest in the government record irrespective of the ownership.
  • The provisions enacted in the Forest Conservation Act 1980 for the conservation of forest and the matters connected therewith must apply clearly to all forest so understood irrespective of the ownership or classification thereof,” the court said.
  • An expert committee constituted by the Karnataka government after the Supreme Court order identified ‘deemed forests’ as “land having the characteristic of forests irrespective of the ownership’”.
  • Thickly wooded areas of the Revenue Department not handed over to the Forest Department; thickly wooded areas recommended to be handed over to the Forest Department; thickly wooded land distributed to grantees but not cultivated; and thickly wooded plantations of the Forest Department could all be ‘deemed forests’, the committee said in a report in 2002.


Context: Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to end fighting, in a deal brokered by Russia.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Places in news | Mains – International relations (GS-2), World History (GS-1) Important places:

What led to the war?

  • In 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, the newly independent Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over Nagorno-Karabakh, which had been an autonomous region within Azerbaijan during the Soviet years.
  • Armenians have made historical claims over the enclave, which is largely populated by ethnic Armenians.
  • Armenia had captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts from Azeri forces.
  • In September, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev launched the offensive vowing to take back Nagorno-Karabakh and other Armenian occupied districts.
  • Azeri forces, backed by Turkey supplied armed drones and other equipment, cut through Armenian
    defences and retook territories, including some 40% of Nagorno-Karabakh itself.

What is the role of Russia?

  • Russia, which has a security agreement with Armenia, remained neutral in the early days of the war when Turkey threw its weight behind Azerbaijan.
  • When Azerbaijan defeated Armenian troops and captured territories, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol
    Pashinyan sought Russian help.
  • President Vladimir Putin said the security guarantee is for Armenia, not for the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Russia was apparently concerned about the rapid change in the status quo and the more assertive security role Turkey was playing in its backyard.
  • Mr. Putin accepted Azerbaijan’s victory (as the ceasefire allows Azeri troops to take control of the territories they have seized) but prevented a total defeat of Armenia. Under pressure from a decisive Moscow, both sides agreed to cease the operations.

Why Russia feels challenge from Turkey?

  • That Russia could enforce the ceasefire and keep Turkey and western countries out of the final talks shows that Moscow remains a dominant power in the South Caucasus.
  • Moscow had wanted to send peacekeepers to the region, but both Armenia and Azerbaijan
    were not open to the idea earlier.
  • Now, Russia can do that. But the war also showed that the Russian dominance in the region could
    be challenged.
  • Turkey backed Azerbaijan throughout the war against Moscow’s wishes and made sure that the Azeri side prevailed.
  • If Turkey continues to play an assertive role in the region through ally Azerbaijan, a reluctant Moscow would face a new rival in its backyard.

Examples for Ethics (GS-4):

  • Equal importance to girl child is among several factors behind Arunachal Pradesh recording the best sex ratio in India, Chief Minister Pema Khandu has said. A 2018 study based on
    the Civil Registration System said Arunachal Pradesh had 1,084 females born per thousand males
    followed by the adjoining north-eastern State of Nagaland with 965 and Mizoram with 964. In tribal societies, there is no discrimination against females. (Role of family & society in inculcating values.)
  • Four months after the Maharashtra Cabinet decided to extend assistance — cash and goods — to a few of the most backward tribes, landless labourers, and needy families from the tribal community facing financial brunt due to the lockdown, not a single rupee has been disbursed to any beneficiary. (Against empathy and compassion towards the weaker-sections.)

Important one liners:

  • Army builds extreme weather habitats for troops in Ladakh – Due to stand­off with China, more personnel will be stationed through the winter.
  • The 15th Finance Commission has mooted a greater role for public private partnerships to ramp up health infrastructure and scale up public spending on health from 0.95% of the GDP to 2.5% by 2024, N.K. Singh, Chairperson of the panel, said. (use this example to write about health system issues)
  • In a strong retort to Pakistan’s announcement of a ‘dossier’ on terror released over the weekend, India dismissed the charges as having “no credibility, are fabricated and represent figments of imagination”.
  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking at leasing trainer aircraft and light utility helicopters (LUH) for a short duration till the indigenous platforms under development are inducted into service, said Deputy Chief Air Marshal Sandeep Singh. The recently released Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP), 2020 allows leasing of military platforms.
  • For most rural workers dependent on the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), their labour does not end at the work site. According to a study by LibTech India released, many of them are forced to make multiple trips to the bank, adding travel costs and income losses, and face repeated rejections of payment, biometric errors and wrong information, just to get their hands on their wages. (An example of governance issues)
  • Iran will “automatically” return to its nuclear commitments if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden lifts sanctions imposed over the past two years, its Foreign Minister said.
  • The U.S. will slash troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq to their lowest in nearly 20 years, the Pentagon said, prompting security worries among allies and fear on Kabul’s streets after President Donald Trump pledged to end conflicts abroad.

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