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UPSC Online News Analysis


Context: T.N., Puducherry on edge as Nivar cyclone closes in.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Geography

Conditions required to form a tropical cyclone:

  • Sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures (at least 26.5 °C).
  • Atmospheric instability.
  • High humidity in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere.
  • Enough Coriolis force to develop a low-pressure center.
  • A pre-existing low-level focus or disturbance, and low vertical wind shear.

Areas where tropical cyclones usually develop

Why Is the Bay of Bengal So Prone to Cyclones?

  • One of the reasons why tropical cyclones are more prone to the Bay of Bengal is that its surface temperature is more than that of the Arabian Sea. Warm air currents enhance this surface temperature and aid the formation of cyclones.
  • In contrast Arabian Sea receives stronger winds that help dissipate the heat, and the lack of constant fresh water supply helps the warm water mix with the cool water, reducing the temperature.
  • Bay of Bengal is known for its potential in generating dangerous high storm tides.
  • Bay of Bengal receives higher rainfall and constant inflow of fresh water from the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers. This means that the Bay’s surface water keeps getting refreshed, making it impossible for the warm water to mix with the cooler water below, making it ideal for a depression.
  • Cyclones usually weaken if they encounter a large landmass. However, due to the lack of any such presence between the Pacific and the Bay, cyclonic winds easily move into the Bay of Bengal.

How cyclones get their names?

  • The recent storm has been named Cyclone Nivar, based on the guidelines of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). According to WMO guidelines, countries in every region are supposed to give names for cyclones.
  • North Indian Ocean Region covers tropical cyclones formed over Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. The 13 members, which come under the region, are Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. In 2018, five more countries were added. These are Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen.
  • A total of 169 cyclones were named by these countries for this year, with 13 names from each country. Every member’s name is listed in alphabetical order and the cyclone names are used sequentially column-wise.
  • Cyclones are named to make their identification easier. It is also believed that names like these make it easier for the media to report and generates interest from the people, resulting in easier dissemination of information and increased preparedness.
  • Nivara has been selected from the list of names given by Iran.


Context: A year on, South Asian University still headless.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims | Mains – International relations (GS-3)

About South Asian University:

  • South Asian University (SAU) is an international university established by the eight member nations of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) viz. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • AU started its operations from the academic year 2010.
  • The university now offers post-graduate and doctoral programmes in various disciplines that include Economics, Computer Science, Biotechnology, Mathematics, Sociology, International Relations and Law.
  • SAU attracts students from all member nations and its degrees are recognised by all the eight SAARC countries.

There is debate going on regarding SAARC losing its importance as the last SAARC summit was held on 26-27 November 2014 in Kathmandu. Therefore, these points are important to validate this argument in your answers.

  • What are the issues?
    • The Delhi based South Asian University, established by all eight SAARC countries, has not had a president for over a year, while its executive council and governing board have not met for almost two and three years respectively.
    • After a decade of existence, the university has yet to appoint a non­-Indian president, despite rules stipulating a rotation among the member countries.
    • Faculty members are complaining about interference by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and a dilution of the university’s international nature.


Context: The National Nutrition Mission or the Poshan Abhiyaan, the world’s largest nutrition programme for children and mothers, must be stepped up to meet the targets set by the Centre to reduce stunting, wasting and anaemia by 2022, says a report by NITI Aayog.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Schemes | Mains – Issues relating to poverty and hunger. (GS-2)

About National Nutrition Mission or the Poshan Abhiyaan:

  • POSHAN Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission, is Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • the POSHAN Abhiyaan directs the attention of the country towards the problem of malnutrition and address it in a mission-mode.
  • For implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan the four-point strategy/pillars of the mission are:
  • Inter-sectoral convergence for better service delivery
  • Use of technology (ICT) for real time growth monitoring and tracking of women and     children
  • Intensified health and nutrition services for the first 1000 days
  • Jan Andolan
  • NNM targets to reduce stunting, under- nutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • Although the target to reduce Stunting is atleast 2% p.a.,
  • Mission would strive to achieve reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).

What does the NITI Aayog report say?

  • We need to now accelerate actions on multiple fronts. We need to quickly graduate to a POSHAN­plus strategy which apart from continued strengthening the four pillars of the Abhiyaan also requires renewed focus on other social determinants in addition to addressing the governance challenges of NHM/ICDS delivery mechanisms.
  • The report calls for a need to lay as much emphasis on complementary feeding as it does on breastfeeding, which it points out can help avert 60% of the total stunting cases in India.
  • On stunting, the review says that India’s targets are conservative as compared to the global target defined by the World Health Assembly (WHA), which is a prevalence rate of 5% of stunting as opposed to India’s goal of reducing stunting levels to 13.3% by 2022.
  • The target of reducing prevalence levels of anaemia among pregnant women from 50.3% in 2016 to 34.4% in 2022 and among adolescent girls from 52.9% in 2016 to 39.66%, is also considered conservative.


Context: India pledges aid to rebuild Afghanistan, commits to projects worth $80 million.

Topic in syllabus: India and its neighbourhood- relations (GS-2)

What did India commit?

  • Signalling long-term commitment to Afghanistan’s future — be it under Taliban or other political forces – India announced about 150 projects worth $80 million (about Rs 592 crore) in the conflict-ridden country.
  • New Delhi also committed to build a new dam, which will provide drinking water to 2 million residents of Kabul.

India, shedding the hesitations with Taliban:

  • Since 2002, India has so far committed $3 billion (about Rs 2,200 crore) towards rebuilding and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
  • While India did not invest in Afghanistan during the Taliban years from 1996 to 2001, the government’s decision now to invest in Afghanistan’s future, where Taliban is set to play a dominant role, is being seen as a major departure from the past.
  • So far, there was a perception within the Taliban that New Delhi will not deal with it beyond ritualistic statements.
  • But this additional financial commitment moves beyond statements at conferences, and with this, India has now shed its ambiguity about engaging with the Taliban.

India’s current development programmes in Afghanistan are centered around five pillars:

  • large infrastructure projects;
  • human resource development and capacity building;
  • humanitarian assistance;
  • high-impact community development projects;
  • enhancing trade and investment through air and land connectivity

India’s contribution in Afghanistan:

  • There is no part of Afghanistan today untouched by our 400-plus projects, spread across all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
  • Large infrastructure projects completed include construction of 218 km road from Delaram to Zaranj (on Iranian border) which provides alternative connectivity for Afghanistan through Iran; Salma dam; and the Afghan Parliament building which was inaugurated in 2015.
  • Going beyond basic education, India also provided vocational training to a large number of women in Afghanistan.

Examples for Ethics (GS-4):

  • The Central Vigilance Commission has expressed “deep concern” over a long delay in filing of property returns by government officials and has told them to complete the exercise latest by November 30. Non-compliance may result in disciplinary action. (Against transparency & honesty in civil cervices)

Important one liners:

  • A total of 34 government and private universities in Karnataka adopted government schools for development of infrastructure and Vice-chancellors received adoption letters from Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. In 2020-­21 State Budget, the Chief Minister suggested legislators to adopt at least three schools in their constituencies for developing infrastructure utilising their constituency fund. (Good example to write answer related to education)
  • The U.P. government gave its nod to an ordinance that makes religious conversion a non­bailable of
    fence inviting penalties up to 10 years in prison if found to be effected for marriage or through misrepresentation, force, undue influence or other “fraudulent means”. The ordinance was cleared a day after the Allahabad High Court quashed an FIR against a Muslim man and his family by the father of his Hindu wife, saying the right to live with a person of his or her choice irrespective of religion is intrinsic to the right to life and liberty. (Against the fundamental right – article 21)
  • The government has tightened its procurement norms to make it tougher for Ministries to pursue global tenders for contracts worth up to ₹200 crores. Under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan announced in May, the government had barred departments from issuing global tenders for contracts worth ₹200 crore or less.

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