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UPSC Online News Analysis


Context: Nihang Sikhs on horses join agitating farmers at Singhu border.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Culture

Who are Nihang Sikhs?

  • The Nihang or Akali (lit. “the immortals”) is an armed Sikh warrior order originating in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Nihang are believed to have originated either from Fateh Singh and the attire he wore or from the “Akali Dal” (lit. Army of the Immortal) started by Guru Hargobind.
  • Early Sikh military history was dominated by the Nihang, known for their victories where they were heavily outnumbered.
  • Traditionally known for their bravery and ruthlessness in the battlefield, the Nihang once formed the irregular guerrilla squads of the armed forces of the Sikh Empire, the Sikh Khalsa Army.
  • Traditional Nihang dress is known as KhalsaSwarupa. This comprises full attire of superelectric blue selected by Guru Gobind Singh after conflicts with Vazir Khan, the Mughal Governor of Sirhind.
  • The Nihang were particularly known for their high turbans (dastarbunga) and their extensive use of the chakram or war-quoit.
  • Today, Nihang still wear miniature versions of five weapons (panchashastra) in their turbans, namely the chakram, the khanda (sword), the karud (dagger), the kirpan, and the tir (arrow).
  • The Nihangs carry the original view of Sikhism and carry the original Nishan Sahib being plain Navy/electric blue and bright yellow or basanti.
  • Yellow in Punjabi culture signifies sacrifice, revolt and honour while blue signifies courage, bravery and patriotism.
  • Although in Punjab Blue is the colour of Vaishyas and Yellow the colour of Kshatriyas the Gurus said that these are the colours of the casteless Khalsa.           


Context: NHRC seeks report on drinking water from Nuapada Collector. Skeletal Fluorosis cases rampant in Odisha district.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Science & Technology

What is Skeletal Fluorosis?

  • Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease caused by excessive accumulation of fluoride leading to weakened bones.
  • Common causes of fluorosis include inhalation of fluoride dusts/fumes by workers in industry, consumption of fluoride from drinking water.
  • Fluorosis can also occur as a result of volcanic activity.
  • As of now, there are no established treatments for skeletal fluorosis patients.
  • However, it is reversible in some cases, depending on the progression of the disease.
  • If fluorine intake is stopped, the amount in bone will decrease and be excreted via urine.
  • However, it is a very slow process to eliminate the fluorine from the body completely.


Context: Not using masks flouts fundamental rights: SC

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Polity


  • If you do not wear mask you may infect others & they will be having health issues.
  • The Constitution incorporates provisions guaranteeing everyone’s right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
  • Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees protection of life and personal liberty to every citizen.
  • The Supreme Court has held that the right to live with human dignity, enshrined in Article 21, derives from the directive principles of state policy and therefore includes protection of health.
  • Further, it has also been held that the right to health is integral to the right to life.


Context: Officially admitting the use of Navy’s Poseidon P8I surveillance aircraft at several locations during the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said “tensions along the northern border” along with the Covid-19 pandemic have posed a dual security challenge for the country.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Polity

About Poseidon P8I surveillanceaircraft:

  • The P-8s Indian variant is referred to as P-8I. The aircraft plays a crucial role in being the eyes of the Indian Navy and carrying out critical maritime operations. The aircraft has surpassed 25,000 flight-hours and gives India’s maritime warriors a significant edge in the strategically important Indian Ocean region.
  • The P-8I is not just responsible for coastal patrolling but is also used for other critical missions like search-and-rescue, anti-piracy, and supporting operations of other arms of the military.
  • Speed: 490 knots (789 km/h)


Context: A first-of-its-kind study by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has projected that numbers of the Malayan Giant Squirrel (Ratufabicolor) could decline by 90 per cent in India by 2050.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Environment & ecology

About Malayan Giant Squirrel:

  • In South Asiait dwells among tropical and subtropicalconiferous and broadleaf forests.
  • IUCN status – Near Threatened
  • It is protected under India’s Wildlife Protection Act.
  • According to the study, the Malayan Giant Squirrel and its habitat are under threat from deforestation, fragmentation of forests, crop cultivation and over-harvesting of food, illegal trade in wildlife, and hunting for consumption.
  • Slash-and-burn jhum cultivation in many areas of the Northeast contribute to destruction of its habitat.

Context: Bangladesh begins moving Rohingya to isolated Bhashan char island


Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Places in news

Location of Bhashan char Island:


Context: China’s fertility rate below warning level, says official.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Human geography

What is fertility rate?

  • The fertility rate (FR) is the number of live births per 1,000 women of reproductive age (ages 15 to 49 years) per year.

What is India’s fertility rate?

  • 2.1 children per woman

What is replacement rate?

  • Total fertility rate of about 2.1 children per woman is called Replacement-level fertility (UN, Population Division).
  • This value represents the average number of children a woman would need to have to reproduce herself by bearing a daughter who survives to childbearing age.


Context: With the promise of a Covid-19 vaccine renewing hopes of return to normalcy, gold has started to lose its shine. (Value decreased)

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Economy

Important factors that impact the price of gold:

  • Indian consumers view gold as both an investment and an adornment.
  • People want to invest or buy gold to protect themselves from volatility and uncertainty.
  • When inflation rises, the value of currency goes down and therefore people tend to hold money in the form of gold. This pushes gold prices higher in the inflationary period.
  • There is a negative relationship between gold and interest rates.
  • monsoon plays a big part in gold consumption because if the crop is good, then farmers buy gold from their earnings to create assets. On the contrary, if there is deficient monsoon, farmers tend to sell gold to generate funds.
  • Gold is largely imported and hence if the rupee weakens against the dollar, gold prices will likely appreciate in rupee terms.
  • Gold usually does well during geopolitical turmoil.

Example related to Ethics (GS-4)

  • The Crime Branch of the Odisha police arrested PradipPanigrahi, Gopalpur MLA, on charges of collecting money from unemployed youths by making false promise to provide jobs. (Corruption)
  • India’s first homes for transgender children in need of care and protection will soon be established in Bengaluru. The Ministry of Women and Child Development gave its nod for the project last week. (compassion towards the weaker-sections)
  • Disale, who teahces at Paritewadi village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, was adjudged the “world’s most exceptional teacher” at the annual Global Teacher Prize 2020. He won $1 million, half of which he shared equally with each of the nine other teachers who made it to the top10. (Example for case studies | Attitude,social influence)

Important one liners:

  • UN decides cannabis not a dangerous narcotic, India too votes to reclassify.
    • Under India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, the production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transport, and
      use of cannabis is an offence. Charas, defined as “the separated resin, in whatever form,
      whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant”,
      is also covered by the NDPS Act.
  • A MAJOR restructure at the Army Headquarters, the need for which was first felt during the 2017 Doklam crisis, has finally been approved by the government. In an order issued on December 2, the government has given its nod to create the position of a third Deputy Chief of Army, who will act as a “single-point advice” person to the Vice Chief of Army on operational issues.The new Deputy Chief (Strategy) will head operations, intelligence, perspective and information warfare.

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