Daily Current Affairs: 24 and 25 October 2021

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics covered

  1. China – Pakistan Economic Corridor
  2. National fund to Control drug abuse
  3. China’s new border law
  4. Hybrid Immunity
  5. Facts for Prelims
  6. Places in News


Context: The chief of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority has accused the U.S. of sabotaging the multi-billion dollar project, the economic lifeline of Pakistan, with India’s help.

About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

  • CPEC is a part of China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative to link China with Europe
  • It is a massive bilateral project to improve infrastructure within Pakistan for better trade with China and to further integrate the countries of the region.
  • The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of highways, railways, and pipelines.
  • CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.
  • Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and the ancient Silk Road ran through its territory.) This would reduce the time and cost of transporting goods and energy such as natural gas to China by circumventing the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.
  • The project will be financed by heavily-subsidised loans, that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banks.
  • CPEC has been compared to the Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of post-World War II Europe in its potential impact on the region, and numerous countries have shown interest in participating in the initiative.
China in talks with Taliban to expand CPEC

India’s concerns

  • Passes through PoK : CPEC is bound to pass through Gilgit-Baltistan. Gilgit-Baltistan belongs to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Endorsement of the CPEC, will severely undermine its territorial sovereignty and will shake the foundations of Indian diplomacy in the region.
  • Influence in Indian Ocean : CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean. Hence, it is widely believed that upon CPEC’s fruition, an extensive Chinese presence will undermine India’s influence in the Indian Ocean.
  • India having problem with CPEC stems from India’s suspicion of OBOR.- OBOR envisage to create an economic belt connecting China’s main cities with Central Asia, West Asia, Mediterranean region and ultimately to Europe.
    • OBOR have two components ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ (economic belt on land) and Maritime Silk Road (economic belt on water). Both the components of OBOR involves passing through India and passing around India. India is always suspicious of China. India argues that through this China will encroach India’s influence areas like Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, East Africa Coast Countries etc.
    • India further contends that China’s OBOR will further strengthen China’s String of Pearl :  -It is strategic tactic in which China will develop base around India like in Sri lanka, East Africa, Maldives, Bangladesh etc. which can have both strategic purpose if India ever goes to war with China. Plus it also reduces India’s influence in these areas.
  • It is also being contended that if CPEC were to successfully transform the Pakistan economy that could be a “red rag” for India which will remain at the receiving end of a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.

What was the original Silk Road?

  • The original Silk Road arose during the westward expansion of China’s Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), which forged trade networks throughout what are today the Central Asian countries of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as modern-day India and Pakistan to the south.
  • Those routes extended more than four thousand miles to Europe.
  • Central Asia was thus the epicenter of one of the first waves of globalization, connecting eastern and western markets, spurring immense wealth, and intermixing cultural and religious traditions.
  • Valuable Chinese silk, spices, jade, and other goods moved west while China received gold and other precious metals, ivory, and glass products.
  • Use of the route peaked during the first millennium, under the leadership of first the Roman and then Byzantine Empires, and the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE) in China.

China’s plans for its New Silk Road

  • The plan is two-pronged: the overland Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road- 
  • The two were collectively referred to first as the One Belt, One Road initiative but eventually became the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • The project involves creating a vast network of railways, energy pipelines, highways, and streamlined border crossings.

2. National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse (NFCDA)

Context: The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has recently recommended that the National Fund to Control Drug Abuse be used to carry out de-addiction programmes, rather than just policing activities


  • It was constituted under Section 7-A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act)
  • Subsequently the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (National Fund for Control of Drug Abuse) Rules, 2006 were notified
  • It had a nominal corpus of ₹23 crore.

Objectives of NFCDA

  • The funds can be utilized to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with the measures taken for:
    • Combating illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or controlled substances;
    • Controlling the abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
    • Identifying, treating, rehabilitating addicts;
    • Preventing drug abuse;
    • Educating public against drug abuse; and
    • Supplying drugs to addicts where such supply is a medical necessity


  • To achieve the objectives of the funds the approach of the grant to be made under this fund is to provide the whole range of services including combating illicit traffic in narcotic drugs & psychotropic substances, awareness generation, identification, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts through Government/Voluntary/other organizations and institutions.
  • The thrust would be on preventive education and awareness programmes on the drug-addiction problem.

Receipt of fund under NFCDA

  • The following are the sources of money for NFCDA:
    • An amount which the Central Government may, after due appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf, provide;
    • The sale proceed of any property forfeited under Chapter VA of the Act;
    • Any grants that may be made by any person/ institution;
    • Any income from the investment of the amounts credited to the fund under the aforesaid provisions.

3 . China’s new border law

Context : China’s legislature has adopted a new border law, to take effect on January 1, that calls on the state and military to safeguard territory and “combat any acts” that undermine China’s territorial claims.


  • The law was first proposed in March this year, a year into tensions that erupted along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) mobilised two divisions in forward areas and carried out multiple transgressions.
  • China has unresolved border disputes with India and Bhutan. The new law would formalise some of China’s recent actions in disputed territories with both India and Bhutan, including the PLA’s massing of troops in forward areas along the India border, multiple transgressions across the LAC, and the construction of new “frontier villages” along the border with Bhutan.

Details of the New Law

  • The law “stipulates that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China are sacred and inviolable”, the text said, adding that “the state shall take measures to safeguard territorial integrity and land boundaries and guard against and combat any act that undermines territorial sovereignty and land boundaries”.
  • It also calls on the state to “take measures to strengthen border defence, support economic and social development as well as opening-up in border areas, improve public services and infrastructure in such areas, encourage and support people’s life and work there, and promote coordination between border defence and social, economic development in border areas”.
  • The law designates the various responsibilities of the military, the State Council or Cabinet, and provincial governments in managing the security and economic issues in border areas.
  • Article 22 of the law says the PLA “shall carry out border duties” including “organising drills” and “resolutely prevent, stop and combat invasion, encroachment, provocation and other acts”.
  • The law also says China will “handle land border-related affairs with neighbouring countries through negotiations to properly resolve disputes and long-standing border issues”.

4 . Hybrid Vigor Immunity

Context : Another study has shown that a combination of natural infection with a single dose of vaccine provides greater immunity than either natural infection without vaccination or full vaccination in infection-naïve individuals.

About Hybrid Vigor Immunity

  • Also known as ‘superhuman immunity’, hybrid immunity refers to a combination of immunity gained from a natural infection as well as from vaccines.
  • People who have recovered from COVID-19 develop hybrid immunity when they get vaccinated, given that they now have both natural and vaccine-induced immunity
  • When natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is combined with vaccine-generated immunity, a larger-than-expected immune response arises.
  • There appear to be both B cell and T cell components to hybrid immunity.

B Cell and T Cell

  • The immune system is broadly classified into two sub-types: innate (or natural) and adaptive (or acquired). The key differences between the two are the specificity and agility of the responses generated towards a perceived threat.
  • The innate system also provides cues in the forms of chemical signals (cytokines) or degraded products of infectious organisms (antigens) to activate the adaptive immune system, using a process known as “antigen presentation”. Without these cues, the adaptive immune system cannot be activated.
  • The adaptive immune system has evolved to provide a more versatile and highly target-specific defence with an ability to distinguish very subtle differences in the make-up of infectious agents. But the adaptive immune system is slow and can take several days before two key cell types – B cells and T cells – are brought into play.
  • T cells are further grouped into two sub-types, CD4+ and CD8+ cells
  • .CD4+ are helper T cells that help the activity of other immune cells by releasing cytokines.
  • The cytokines prime the maturation of B cells, which become plasma cells and produce antibodies to neutralise the pathogen.
  • CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, on the other hand, directly kill infected cells.
  • Once the adaptive immune system has vanquished the invader, a pool of long-lived memory T and B cells are made. These memory lymphocytes remain dormant until the next time they encounter the same pathogen. This time, though, they produce a much faster and stronger immune reaction. Memory is the key feature of the adaptive immune system, enabling long-term protection.

5 . Facts for Prelims

National Judicial Infrastructure Authority of India

  • It was proposed by Supreme court Justice Ramana
  • An infrastructure body to improve judicial facilities which could bring the much-needed “uniformity and standardisation” which could “revolutionise” judicial infrastructure.
  • According to him “The modernisation of judicial “infrastructure does not mean building more courts or filling up vacancies or ploughing through vacancies”. An efficient “judicial infrastructure” means providing equal and free access to justice. This could be realised through a “barrier free and citizen friendly environment”


  • Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals.
  • The disease is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei.
  • It is predominately a disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread.
  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said laboratory testing has identified the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei in the aromatherapy spray made in India.

Hot Jupiter

  • Hot Jupiters are gas giant planets with orbital period less than 10 days.
  • The short period means that hot Jupiters are very close to their host stars, usually less than 0.1 AU, one tenth of the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
  • Hot Jupiters dominated planet discoveries for at least one decade because they are the easiest to find with the radial velocity (Doppler) technique and the transit method.

The Great Oxygenation Event

  • It occurred when cyanobacteria living in the oceans started producing oxygen through photosynthesis.
  • As oxygen built up in the atmosphere anaerobic bacteria were killed because oxygen was poisonous for large numbers of anaerobic organisms, leading to the Earth’s first mass extinction.
  • As evolutionary biologists have shown, this multicellularity was linked to the rise in oxygen and thus played a significant role for life on Earth as it is today.
  • Cyanobacteria belong to Earth’s oldest organisms. They are still present today in oceans and waters and even in hot springs. By producing oxygen and evolving into multicellular forms, they played a key role in the emergence of organisms that breathe oxygen.


  • It is a solid waxy substance originating in the intestine of the sperm whale.
  • In Eastern cultures ambergris is used for medicines and potions and as a spice; in the West it was used to stabilize the scent of fine perfumes.
  • Ambergris floats and washes ashore most frequently on the coasts of China, Japan, Africa, and the Americas and on tropical islands such as the Bahamas.
  • Because it was picked up as drift along the shores of the North Sea, ambergris was likened to the amber of the same region, and its name is derived from the French words for “gray amber.”
  • Fresh ambergris is black and soft and has a disagreeable odour.
  • When exposed to sun, air, and seawater, however, it hardens and fades to a light gray or yellow, developing a subtle and pleasant fragrance in the process.
  • Chemically, ambergris contains alkaloids, acids, and a specific compound called ambreine, which is similar to cholesterol.
  • It is referred to as floating gold.
  • It is used in the perfume market, especially to create fragrances like musk.

The Prime Minister’s Museum

  • The museum is being developed at the Teen Murti Estate that houses the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). 
  • The NMML, an autonomous institution operating under the Union Ministry of Culture.
  • The prime objective of the museum is to provide the visitors a better understanding of, and create curiosity amongst them about the different individuals who have occupied the office of Prime Minister, their individual personalities and contributions as Prime Ministers, as well about the institution of the Prime Minister.”
  • The museum would have 3D and touch-enabled displays, audio-visual projection, hologram and other state-of-the-art as well as conventional exhibits.

GM Rice / Golden Rice

  • GM foods are derived from plants whose genes are artificially modified, usually by inserting genetic material from another organism, in order to give it a new property, such as increased yield, tolerance to a herbicide, resistance to disease or drought, or to improve its nutritional value.
  • Probably the best known variety of GM rice is golden rice, which involves the insertion of genes from a plant — both daffodils and maize have been used — and a soil bacterium to create a grain that is enriched with Vitamin A.
  • India has approved commercial cultivation of only one GM crop, Bt cotton. No GM food crop has ever been approved for commercial cultivation.
  • Confined field trials have been allowed for at least 20 GM crops. That includes varieties of GM rice which would have improved resistance to insects and diseases, as well as hybrid seed production and nutritional enhancements such as golden rice.

6 . Places in News

Mullaperiyar Dam

  • Mullaperiyar Dam is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in the Indian state of Kerala.
  • It is located 881 m (2,890 ft) above mean sea level, on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats in Thekkady, Idukki District of Kerala, India.
  • It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by John Pennycuick and also reached in an agreement to divert water eastwards to the Madras Presidency area (present-day Tamil Nadu).
  • It has a height of 53.6 m (176 ft) from the foundation, and a length of 365.7 m (1,200 ft).
  • The Periyar National Park in Thekkady is located around the dam’s reservoir.
  • The dam is built at the confluence of Mullayar and Periyar rivers.
  • The dam is located in Kerala on the river Periyar, but is operated and maintained by the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
  • The control and safety of the dam and the validity and fairness of the lease agreement have been points of dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu states.
  •  Supreme court judgment came on 27 February 2006, allowing Tamil Nadu to raise the level of the dam to 152 ft (46 m) after strengthening it.
  • Responding to it, Mullaperiyaru dam was declared an ‘endangered’ scheduled dam by the Kerala Government under the disputed Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006.
  • For Tamil Nadu, the Mullaperiyar dam and the diverted Periyaru waters act as a lifeline for Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga, Dindigul and Ramnad districts, providing water for irrigation and drinking, and also for generation of power in Lower Periyaru Power Station.

Barak valley

  • The Barak Valley is located in the southern region of the Indian state of Assam.
  • The main city of the valley is Silchar.
  • The region is named after the Barak river.
  • The Barak valley mainly consists of three administrative districts of Assam – namely Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi.
  • As per (2011) language census report, Bengali is the official as well as the most spoken language of the region with approximately 2,930,378 native speakers.
  • There have been continuous demand in Bengali dominated Barak valley for separate statehood and for it being carved out from the Assamese-majority Brahmaputra valley post NRC

Tsugaru strait

  • The Tsugaru Strait is a strait between Honshu and Hokkaido in northern Japan connecting the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean.

Periyar river

  • The Periyar River is the longest river in the state of Kerala, India, with a length of 244 km.
  • The Periyar is known as The lifeline of Kerala; it is one of the few perennial rivers in the region and provides drinking water for several major towns.
  • The Idukki Dam on the Periyar generates a significant proportion of Kerala’s electrical power.
  • It flows north through Periyar National Park into Periyar Lake, a 55 km² artificial reservoir created in 1895 by the construction of a dam across the river.
  • Water is diverted from the lake into the Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu via a tunnel through the Western Ghats.
  • From the lake, the river flows northwest through the village of Neeleswaram into Vembanad Lake and out to the Arabian Sea coast.
  • Its largest tributaries are the Muthirapuzha River, the Mullayar River, the Cheruthoni River, the Perinjankutti River and the Edamala River.

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