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UPSC Online News Analysis


The Gauhati High Court has stayed the environmental clearance given to Oil India Limited (OIL) for extended reach drilling (ERD) operations at seven locations beneath the Dibru­Saikhowa National Park.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Environment, Places in news

About Dibru­Saikhowa National Park:

  • Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is a national park in Assam, India, located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts. It was designated a Biosphere Reserve in July 1997.
  • The park is bounded by the Brahmaputra and Lohit Rivers in the north and Dibru river in the south.
  • It mainly consists of moist mixed semi-evergreen forests, moist mixed deciduous forests, canebrakes and grasslands. It is the largest Salix swamp forest in north-eastern India, with a tropical monsoon climate with a hot and wet summer and cool and usually dry winter.
  • Annual rainfall ranges from 2,300 to 3,800 mm (91 to 150 in).
  • The forest of Dibru-Saikhowa consists of semi-evergreen forests, deciduous, littoral and swamp forests and patches of wet evergreen forests. The national park is about 35.84% moist mixed forest, 9.50% degraded forest and 21.25% grassland.
  • Fauna – Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, clouded leopard, jungle cat, sloth bear, dhole, small Indian civet, Malayan giant squirrel, Chinese pangolin, Gangetic dolphin, slow loris, pig tailed macaque, Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque, capped langur, Hoolock gibbon, Asian elephant, wild boar, Sambar deer, hog deer, barking deer, Asiatic water buffalo, feral horse. Etc.


Context: Officials of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and other teams found the presence of nickel and lead elements in blood samples collected
from patients in the Eluru Government General Hospital (GGH).

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Science & technology

Effects of nickel & lead on human health:

  • Exposure to high levels of lead may cause anaemia, weakness, and kidney and brain damage. Very high lead exposure can cause death. Lead can cross the placental barrier, which means pregnant women who are exposed to lead also expose their unborn child. Lead can damage a developing baby’s nervous system.
  • Nickel is also amicronutrientessential for proper functioning of the human body, as it increases hormonal activity and is involved in lipid metabolism. This metal makes its way to the human body through respiratory tract, digestive system and skin.
  • But The most serious harmful health effects from exposure to nickel, such as chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, and cancer of the lung and nasal sinus, have occurred in people who have breathed dust containing certain nickel compounds.
  • Presence of lead and nickel chemicals in the blood may affect the neurological
    system. The chemicals will cause epilepsy, vomiting, breathing problems, convulsions, temporary loss of memory, dizziness and other symptoms.


Context: Sri Lanka to get $300 mnChinese tyre factory – It will come up near Hambantota port.

(Western nations, as wellas regional power India,have long been concernedabout Chinese influence in Sri Lanka through projectsunder its gargantuan Beltand Road infrastructureinitiative.)

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Places in news, IR

Hambantota port location | Indian Vs. Chinese development in Sri lanka:


Context: PM calls for better handling of e-waste

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Environment & ecology

What is E-waste?

  • E-waste is categorized as hazardous waste due to the presence of toxic materials such as mercury, lead and brominated flame retardants are considered as hazardous waste according to the Basel Convention.
  • E-waste may also contain precious metals such as gold, copper and nickel and rare materials of strategic value such as indium and palladium.
  • These precious and heavy metals could be recovered, recycled and used as valuable source of secondary raw materials.
  • It has been documented that e-wastes are shipped to developing countries where it is often not managed in an environmentally sound manner, thus posing a serious threat to both human health and the environment.

International convention related to E-waste:

  • The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known simply as the Basel Convention.
  • It is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries.
  • Of the 172 parties to the Convention, Afghanistan, Haiti, and the United States have signed the Convention but have not yet ratified it.
  • Objectives of Basel convention:

o   Contribute towards developing national e-waste inventories and policies for implementation of the Basel Convention;

o   Test and disseminate the e-waste technical guidelines, the guidance documents and practical manuals developed under the Basel Convention Partnership programme and the environmentally sound management (ESM) expert working group;

o   Facilitate collection and exchange of best practices with regard to ESM of e-wastes among parties, including information on new technologies and cleaner production methods to prevent and minimize the production of hazardous e-wastes;

o   Disseminate information on policy tools, certification schemes and regional initiatives to manage e-wastes in an environmentally sound manner, including success stories to turn wastes into resources, material recovery and recycling; and,

o   Organize training activities on enforcement to enhance Parties’ capacities to monitor and control e-waste transboundary shipments and enforce the Basel Convention.

Important News in short:

  • The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea seeking the Centre and Election Commission to provide a ballot option to the public to vote for the “least undeserving candidate” in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
    • A Bench of Chief JusticeD.N. Patel and Justice PrateekJalan, however, saidthat the voters have the option of expressing dissatisfaction with regard to candidates fielded in an electionby opting for the None ofthe Above (NOTA) option.
  • Supply of life­saving medicines affected by ‘Make in India’ policyMinistry of Railways cites difficulties inprocuring drugs for COVID­19, cancer.
  • SAARC needs a terror-free milieu: PM – India reiterates stand on regional group’s Charter Day as Pakistan, Nepal give call to hold summit early
    • Nepal is the current chairman of SAARC, a position which moves by rotation through the eight countries of South Asia — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It held the last SAARC summit in 2014.
    • India had pledged US $10million to start the fund, theothers, including Pakistan,committed about $9.8 million together, and the SAARCSecretariat committed $5million. India has sent medical equipment worth $1 million to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives.
  • We won’t order any step thatwill hobble economy: SC
    • Uniongovernment revealed that ablanket waiver of interest on debts incurred by all classesand categories of borrowersfor the moratorium periodwould mean forgoing an estimated over ₹6 lakh crore.
    • If the banks were to bearthis burden, it would necessarily wipe out a substantialand a major part of their networth, rendering most ofthe banks unviable and raising a very serious questionmark over their very survival.
  • Britain, EU strike deal on Ireland border. – U.K. agrees to drop clauses thatbreach Brexit withdrawal agreement.
  • Pakistan, China violatereligious freedom: U.S – Pakistan and China alongwith Myanmar, Eritrea,Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan andTurkmenistan were placedin the list for engaging in ortolerating systematic, ongoing, egregious violations ofreligious freedom, Mr. Pompeo said in a statement.
  • Telecom industry leaders onTuesday urged the Centre tospell out the policy framework and standards thatwould enable an expeditiousroll­out of 5G technology inthe country and help ensurethe success of the ‘Digital India’ initiative.

(There are no example related to Ethics (GS-4) in today’s newspaper)

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