Daily Current Affairs : 5th June 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. LAC issue
  2. Anaemia
  3. Kavach
  4. Study on Ground Water recovery
  5. Genome Sequencing
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . LAC Issue

Context: As the 2020 standoff in Eastern Ladakh marks three years, India and China are far from achieving the objective of disengagement and de-escalation and restoration of status quo ante to resolve the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). As part of the disengagement process from the friction points in Eastern Ladakh, India and China have been engaged in talks at the diplomatic, military and political level, with the senior military commander-level talks being the major avenue to undertake disengagement and de-escalation and resolve the standoff that began in May 2020.

What is the Line of Actual Control (LAC)?

  • The LAC separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory. It is divided into three sectors: the Eastern Sector (Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim), Middle Sector (Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) and Western Sector (Ladakh).
  • India and China do not agree on the LAC. India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long; the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km. There is the least disagreement in the Middle Sector.
  • In the Eastern Sector, the alignment of the LAC is along the McMahon Line, which takes its name from Sir Henry McMahon, foreign secretary of British India, who drew the 890-km line as the border between British India and Tibet at the 1914 Simla Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet.

Where is the disengagement process?

  • Since the Corps commander level talks in 2020, the two sides have so far undertaken disengagement from five friction points – at Galwan, the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, Patrolling Point (PP) 17 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area, and PP15.
  • On the Depsang Plains and Demchok, there are fundamental disagreements, as India maintains that they are the two additional friction points that still remain while China has refused to accept it, terming them as legacy issues predating the 2020 standoff.
  • The Indian stance on the same was consistent, i.e. restoration of status quo ante as on April 2020.
  • Meanwhile, China has been undertaking massive build-up of infrastructure, habitat and induction of new weapons and equipment along the 3,488 km-long LAC, fundamentally altering the status quo on the ground.
  • India too has been building infrastructure and undertaking capability enhancement to match the Chinese. This is in addition to the over 50,000 troops and heavy equipment, on each side, that continue to be deployed close to the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
  • In this backdrop, any de-escalation to restore the status quo predating the standoff looks remote.

What are buffer zones? What is their status?

  • During the disengagement process, buffer zones were created at the friction points as per the understanding reached at the Corps Commanders-level talks. It was decided that both sides would pull back at an equal distance from the friction points to prevent any fresh flare-ups; also, no patrolling would be undertaken by both sides till the overall disengagement and de-escalation is achieved after which the two sides have to work out new patrolling norms to maintain peace and tranquillity.
  • All disengagements carried out earlier have been done on the basis of mutual and equal security with no prejudice to LAC claims by either side.
  • To ensure that the Chinese are fully honouring the understanding reached, verification by aerial monitoring using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as well as satellites is undertaken regularly.

What is the strategic significance of Depsang?

  • Demchok is one of the two mutually agreed disputed areas in Eastern Ladakh, while Depsang is another friction point.
  •  In Demchok while there are varying claims in the Charding La area, China has set up tents on this side of Charding nala. The crucial Sub-Sector North (SSN) consists of the Depsang plains and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO).  
  • In Depsang Plains, Chinese troops have been blocking Indian Army patrols from going up to the PPs 10, 11, 11A, 12 and 13, beyond the Y junction.
  • Chinese build-up in this area threatens Indian positions at DBO and also brings Chinese troops closer to the DSDBO road. Depsang is also close to the Karakoram pass overlooking the strategic Saltoro ridge and Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battlefield.
  • Also, the distance from the Limit of Patrol (LoP), on which the PPs are marked, to the LAC is the maximum in the Depsang area.

2 . Anaemia

Context: Questions related to anaemia are slated to be dropped from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-6) scheduled to begin on July 6. The omission comes after health experts questioned the efficacy of the method being used to estimate haemoglobin levels. The Health Ministry has noted that anaemia is a public health challenge and accurate estimates are needed to tackle the crisis.

India’s Anaemia Burdern

  • India’s anaemia burden has grown alarmingly with NFHS-5 (2019-21) finding that 57% of women in the age group 15-49 and 67% children between six months and 59 months are anaemic (from the corresponding 53% and 58.6% respectively in NFHS-4/2015-16).

What is anaemia?

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or the haemoglobin concentration within them is lower than normal.
  • Haemoglobin is needed to carry oxygen and if there are too few red blood cells, or not enough haemoglobin, there will be a decreased capacity of the blood to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness and shortness of breath among others.

What causes Anameia?

  • Anaemia, according to WHO, may be caused by several factors. The most common nutritional cause of anaemia is iron deficiency.
  • Assesment of Anaemia- According to the Health Ministry, assessment of anaemia in India is being shifted to the new Diet and Biomarkers Survey in India (DABS-I), launched last year to map diet, nutrition and health status and provide the correct estimate of anaemia among the rural and urban population.

What prompted the change?

  • The WHO defines anaemia in children aged under five years and pregnant women as a haemoglobin concentration <110 g/L at sea level, and anaemia in non-pregnant women as a haemoglobin concentration <120 g/L.  
  • Researchers had cautioned that there is a danger of anaemia being over-diagnosed in India as it follows WHO cut-offs for haemoglobin which may not be suited to India, because the cut-off point depends on the age, gender, physiological status, altitude and other factors.  
  • The study by the Indian team also pointed to differences in the way blood is drawn for sampling in NFHS. The NFHS survey measured haemoglobin in a drop of capillary blood that oozes from a finger prick. This, as per the report, can dilute the blood and give a falsely lower value. The recommended method of venous blood sampling, as per the report, gives a more accurate value.

How dietary survey helps to estimate Anaemia?

  • The Health Ministry says DABS-I is a comprehensive national-level dietary survey, which will define food and nutrient adequacy by collecting individual dietary intake data of different age-groups of people from all States and UTs across the country. The study will also provide nutrient composition data on cooked and uncooked foods from various regions of the country for the first time.
  • The proposed method of screening under DABS-I is likely to provide better estimates of anaemia

Why the focus on anaemia?

  • Data on anaemia remains an important indicator of public health since anaemia is related to morbidity and mortality in the population groups usually considered to be the most vulnerable — pregnant women and children under five.
  • A prevalence study on anaemia is useful to monitor the progress of reproductive health. Also, iron-deficiency anaemia reduces the work capacity of individuals and entire populations, with serious consequences for the economy and national development.

About National Family Health Survey

  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is a large-scale, multi-round survey conducted in a representative sample of households throughout India.
  • Three rounds of the survey have been conducted since the first survey in 1992-93.
  • The survey provides state and national information for India on fertility, infant and child mortality, the practice of family planning, maternal and child health, reproductive health, nutrition, anaemia, utilization and quality of health and family planning services.
  • Each successive round of the NFHS has had two specific goals:
    • a) to provide essential data on health and family welfare needed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and other agencies for policy and programme purposes, and
    •  b) to provide information on important emerging health and family welfare issues. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India, designated the International Institute for Population Sciences(IIPS) Mumbai, as the nodal agency, responsible for providing coordination and technical guidance for the survey.
    •  IIPS collaborated with a number of Field Organizations (FO) for survey implementation. Each FO was responsible for conducting survey activities in one or more states covered by the NFHS

3 . Kavach

Context: The death of over 288 passengers in the ghastly train accident on June 2 at Bahanaga Bazaar railway station in the Balasore district of Odisha has brought into sharp focus the safety mechanisms needed to prevent such tragedies

What is Kavach?

  • The KAVACH is an indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with the Indian industry. The trials were facilitated by the South Central Railway to achieve safety in train operations across Indian Railways.
  • It is a state-of-the-art electronic system with Safety Integrity Level-4 (SIL-4) standards.
  • It is meant to provide protection by preventing trains to pass the signal at Red (which marks danger) and avoid collision.
  • It activates the train’s braking system automatically if the driver fails to control the train as per speed restrictions. In addition, it prevents the collision between two locomotives equipped with functional Kavach systems.
  • The system also relays SoS messages during emergency situations.
  • An added feature is the centralised live monitoring of train movements through the Network Monitor System.
  • ‘Kavach’ is one of the cheapest, SIL-4 certified technologies where the probability of error is 1 in 10,000 years.

How does Kavach work on Railway Systems?

  • The Traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), with the help of equipment on board the locomotive and transmission towers at stations connected with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, helps in two-way communication between the station master and loco-pilot to convey any emergency message.
  • The instrument panel inside the cabin helps the loco-pilot know about the signal in advance without visual sighting, and the permissible speeds to be maintained.
  •  If a red signal is jumped and two trains come face to face on the same line, the technology automatically takes over and applies sudden brakes. Additionally, the hooter activates by itself when approaching a level crossing which serves as a big boon to loco-pilots during fog conditions when visibility is low.

Where has Kavach been implemented?

  • The South Central Railway (SCR) Zone is a pioneer in the implementation of the KAVACH – (TACS). The Kavach system has been deployed over 1,465 kms in the SCR limits in 77 locomotives and 135 stations till March this year.
  • Additionally, the Secunderabad-based Indian Railways Institute of Signal Engineering & Telecommunications (IRISET) hosts the ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Kavach.
  • IRISET has been mandated by the Railway Board to train the inservice railway staff on Kavach. The Institute’s Kavach lab carries out round the year training programmes.

What is the Kavach deployment strategy?

  • Kavach implementation is being taken up in a focused manner by the Railway Board.
    • The first priority are the High Density Routes and the New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Howrah Sections, as they have higher chances of accidents because the trains run closer to each other.
    • The second priority lines are the Highly Used Networks,
    • The third ones are other Passenger High Density Routes and the final priority is of course to cover all other routes.  

4 . Study on Ground Water recovery

Context: Rapid depletion of groundwater in north India has become a norm during the last few decades. Between 2002 and 2022, about 95% of India’s groundwater depletion occurred in north India. Groundwater use and summer monsoon rainfall variability are the two main drivers of groundwater storage.

What causes groundwater depletion in North India?

  • Climate change- Climate change can throw new challenges for the sustainability of groundwater due to increased groundwater pumping to meet irrigation demands for crops. Also, a warming climate will increase the frequency of hydroclimate extremes — floods and droughts.
  • Evapotranspiration– The role of increased evapotranspiration due to warming climate, which will limit water availability for groundwater recovery. But its role will be less as increased groundwater use for irrigation will be the main driver of groundwater usage.
  • How Warming climate impacts groundwater level?– Warming climate increase the amount of summer monsoon rainfall that north India will receive, and the enhanced precipitation could help recovery rates of groundwater.  

Study on ground water recovery

  • A two-member team from IIT Gandhinagar used observational groundwater well data, and satellite observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and hydrological model simulations under future emission scenarios to understand the variability of groundwater storage under the warming climate.  

Findings of the study-

  • The team led by Dr. Vimal Mishra from the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Gandhinagar found that excessive pumping from non-renewable groundwater storage will aggravate groundwater loss.
  • While most of the current observation wells are in the shallow aquifer, pumping of groundwater for irrigation in the Indo-Gangetic Plain is predominantly from deeper aquifers. So a warming climate may not have sufficient control over the overall groundwater storage variability in the region.
  • The team also found that the projected increase in summer monsoon due to climate change notwithstanding, recovery of the depleted groundwater in north India will be insufficient if there is continued use of groundwater at current levels for irrigation.
  • The study provides two critical insights — the periods of high precipitation will help in partial recovery of groundwater even when groundwater extraction continues or even increases. However, the projected increase in precipitation may not directly translate to an overall increase in groundwater storage. The opposing influence of evapotranspiration will become dominant in the far period and at higher warming levels.
  • The possibility of increased frequency of droughts cannot be ruled out. While the impact of droughts at longer frequencies may be less, consecutive years of drought can adversely affect groundwater storage as recharge will be less while extraction of groundwater for irrigation will be higher than when summer monsoon rainfall is normal.
  • Way forward: The focus should thus be to promote groundwater conservation to ensure long-term sustainability as it plays an important role especially during periods of drought. This applies even when increased rainfall can increase the recharge of groundwater

5 . Genome Sequencing

Context: Genome-sequencing technologies allow scientists to trace the trail of infectious diseases that ailed people in prehistoric times. The ambit of such technologies is also expanding to include studies of animal and plant diseases, signalling their relevance for the ‘One Health’ conception of nature.

What is Genome?

  • A genome is the complete set of DNA sequences in an organism and contains all of the instructions required for that organism to function, including embryogenesis, growth, responding to the environment, and healing from disease.
  • It carries the complete genetic information responsible for the development and functioning of the organism. The DNA consists of a double-stranded molecule built up by four bases – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T). Every base on one strand pairs with a complementary base on the other strand (A with T and C with G) In all, the genome is made up of approximately 3.05 billion such base pairs. .

What is Genome sequencing?

  • Genome Sequencing is the process of determining the entirety, or nearly the entirety, of the DNA sequence of an organism’s genome at a single time. This entails sequencing all of an organism’s chromosomal DNA as well as DNA contained in the mitochondria and, for plants, in the chloroplast.

What are the advantages of Whole Genome Sequencing?

  • Whole-genome sequencing, pioneered by the Human Genome Project, enables us to read a person’s individual genome and, among other things, identify differences from the average human genome.
  • Such differences (mutations) are often associated with disorders and disease but can also be associated with other factors like disease resistance or sensitivity to an environmental perturbation like sunlight or exercise.
  •  The ability to read the genomic profile of an individual, in conjunction with understanding their environment, is critical in helping us to predict the likelihood of these diseases occurring, as well as to identify individuals that may be predisposed to certain risk factors.
  • This is critical to informing lifestyle choices, the design of built environments, and medical decisions to prevent, treat or cure certain conditions.
  • As genome-sequencing has become more democratised, its applications are increasingly enabling fast, efficient diagnosis of outbreaks, in routine clinical settings as well, quickly replacing the traditional approaches in microbiology. Genome sequences provide enormous advantages over conventional approaches because it can contribute to identification and molecular characterisation, and open windows into virulence, antimicrobial and antibody resistance, and clues into the evolution, adaptation, and introduction of species in new settings.
  • The ambit of such technologies is also expanding to include studies of animal and plant diseases, along with human diseases, contributing to the unified understanding of our well-being called ‘One Health’.

6 . Facts for Prelims

Amarnath Cave Temple

  • Amarnath Temple is a Hindu shrine located in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. A cave situated at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft)
  • The Amarnath cave, abode of the Mahamaya Shakti Peetha, is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, temples on the Indian Subcontinent that commemorate the location of fallen body parts of the Hindu deity Sati
  • The Shiva Lingam at the shrine is a Swayambhu lingam. The lingam is a natural stalagmite formation inside a 40 m (130 ft) tall cave at an elevation of 3,888 m (12,756 ft) on the Amarnath Mountain, which has a peak of 5,186 metres (17,014 ft).
  • The stalagmite is formed due to the freezing of water drops that fall from the roof of the cave onto the floor, resulting in an upward growth of an ice formation. Here, the stalagmites considered as the lingam, a physical manifestation of Shiva, form a solid-dome-shape. Two smaller stalagmites are thought to represent Parvati and Ganesha.
  • According to the ancient Hindu texts of the Mahabharata and Puranas a lingam represents Shiva.
  • The lingam waxes during May to August, as snow melts in the Himalayas above the cave, and water seeps into the rocks of the cave; thereafter, the lingam gradually wanes. Religious beliefs hold that the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon, reaching its height during the summer festival. Hindus believe this is the place where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort, Parvati.


  • Evapotranspiration is the sum of all processes by which water moves from the land surface to the atmosphere via evaporation and transpiration.
  • Evapotranspiration includes water evaporation into the atmosphere from the soil surface, evaporation from the capillary fringe of the groundwater table, and evaporation from water bodies on land. Evapotranspiration also includes transpiration, which is the water movement from the soil to the atmosphere via plants. Transpiration occurs when plants take up liquid water from the soil and release water vapor into the air from their leaves.   


  • Evapotranspiration is the sum of all processes by which water moves from the land surface to the atmosphere via evaporation and transpiration.
  • Evapotranspiration includes water evaporation into the atmosphere from the soil surface, evaporation from the capillary fringe of the groundwater table, and evaporation from water bodies on land. Evapotranspiration also includes transpiration, which is the water movement from the soil to the atmosphere via plants. Transpiration occurs when plants take up liquid water from the soil and release water vapor into the air from their leaves.   

Factors that impact evapotranspiration levels

Primary factors

  • Because evaporation and transpiration occur when water moves into the air, levels of evapotranspiration in a given area are primarily controlled by
  • the amount of water present;
  • the amount of energy present in the air and soil (e.g. heat); and
  • the ability of the atmosphere to take up water (humidity).

Secondary factors

  • Vegetation type- Vegetation type impacts levels of evapotranspiration. For example:
  • Herbaceous plants generally transpire less than woody plants, because they usually have less extensive foliage.
  • Plants with deep reaching roots can transpire water more constantly, because those roots can pull more water into the plant and leaves.
  • Conifer forests tend to have higher rates of evapotranspiration than deciduous broadleaf forests, particularly in the dormant winter and early spring seasons, because they are evergreen
  • Vegetation Coverage- Transpiration is a larger component of evapotranspiration (relative to evaporation) in vegetation-abundant areas. As a result, denser vegetation, like forests, may increase evapotranspiration and reduce water yield.

India’s major Hydroelectric power plants

  • What is Hydropower?– Hydro electricity is the conversion of the mechanical energy in flowing water into electricity. Hydro electricity is generated when the force of falling water from dams, rivers or waterfalls is used to turn turbines, which then drives generators that produce electricity. The energy produced is directed to a substation, where transformers “step up” the voltage before its transmission to the electricity grid.
  • Classification of Hydro Projects based on Installed Capacity- Hydro power projects are generally categorized in two segments i.e. small and large hydro. In India, hydro projects up to 25 MW station capacities have been categorized as Small Hydro Power (SHP) projects.
    • Micro: upto 100 KW
    • Mini: 101KW to 2 MW
    • Small: 2 MW to 25 MW
    • Mega: Hydro projects with installed capacity >= 500 MW
    • Thermal Projects with installed capacity >=1500 MW
    • While Ministry of Power, Government of India is responsible for large hydro projects, the mandate for the subject small hydro power (up to 25 MW) is given to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • Five biggest hydroelectric power plants in India
    • Tehri Hydropower Complex – 2,400MW
    • Koyna Hydroelectric Project – 1,960MW
    • Srisailam Dam – 1,670MW
    • Nathpa Jhakri Dam – 1,530MW
    • Sardar Sarovar Dam – 1,450MW
  • Major Hydeo power plants
    • Tehri Dam (3 Stages)- Uttarkhand-Tehri Dam Hudro Electric project is the highest Hydal project in India commissioned in 2006. Its construction started in 1978 with the technical collaboration from the USSR.
    • Koyna Hydroelectric Project-Maharashtra- The Koyna Hydro electric project is the largest completed Hydal power project in India. The dam is constructed across Koyna river in Maharashtra.
    • Srisailam- Andhra Pradesh- Srisailam Dam is constructed on the Krishna River in the border districts between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana districts Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts respectively. It is the second largest working hydro electric power project in India
    • Nathpa Jhakri – Himachal Pradesh- The Nathpa Jhakri dam is concrete gravity dam constructed across Satluj River in Himachal Pradesh.
    • Bhakra Nangal Dam (Gobind Sagar)- Bhakra Dam is a concrete gravity dam built across Sutlej River at Bhakra villege in Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh. The power generated here is shared between Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and most of the outflow water is used by Punjab and Haryana for irrigation
    • Chamer I – Chamera Dam is a hydroelectric project on river Ravi, which is located near Dalhousie town in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh.
    • Sharavathi Dam- Sharavathi Dam, officially known as the Linganamakki Reservoir, is built across Sharavathi river, about 6 kilometers away from Jog Falls
    • The Indira Sagar Dam is a multipurpose project of Madhya Pradesh on the Marmada river at Narmadanagar, Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh
    • The Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant is a 1200 MW run of the river power station on the Sutlej river in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
    • Dehar (Pandoh) Power Project- The Pandoh Dam is built across Beas river in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. It was commissioned in 1977 for the primary purpose of hydroelectric power generation.
    • Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Reservoir is created by NJ Sagar dam built across Krishna river, spread in the Nalgonda district of Telangana and Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh states. The dam was commissioned in 1967.
    • Purulia Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant of West Bengal State Electric Distribution Company Limited is a project that can generate up to 900 MW power by discharging stored water from Upper Dam to Lower Dam through reversible pump turbine generator.
    • Idukki Dam is built across Periyar River in Idukki district of Kerala. Commissioned in 1976 and dedicated to nation by then Prime Minister Smt.Indira Gandi, It is the largest source of electricity in the state
    • Salal Hydroelectric Power Station Stage-I and Stage-II is constructed on Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Upper Indravati Dam is is a gravity dam on Indravati river with installed capacity of 600 MW.
    • Ranjit Sagar Dam, also known as Thein Dam, is part of hydro electric cum irrigation purpose dam constructed by the govt of Punjab on the Ravi River in Punjab.
    • Omkareshwar Dam is a gravity dam on Narmada river in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh. Its hydroelectric power station has an installed capacity of 520 MW.
    • The Belimela Reservoir is constructed in Malkangiri district of Odisha on the river Sileru, a tributary of Godavari river. Belimela is a joint project of Andhra Pradesh and Orisha governments.
    • Teesta-V is one of six hydropower projects in river Teesta in East Sikkim district with three turbines with a total installed capacity of 510 MW.

Black Death

  • The ‘Black Death’ was a bubonic plague caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis, which infects mammals.
  • This bacterium’s discovery has been attributed separately to Alexandre Yersin, a Swiss-French physician, and Kitasato Shibasaburō, a Japanese physician and microbiologist during the plague outbreak in Hong Kong in 1894.
  • Humans typically get infected through fleas or through close handling/contact with an infected human or animal.
  • One possible reason for the humongous proportions of the ‘Black Death’ outbreak is the human-to-human transmission of the bacteria. While the plague remains a serious disease today, it’s also quite treatable. After the discovery of antibiotics, in fact, its modern mortality is quite small.
  • India has experienced plague epidemics of varying intensities from as early as 1896 in Bombay to outbreaks in Karnataka (1966) and Surat (1994), and to a more recent isolated outbreak (2004) in a village in Uttarakhand. India also figures prominently in the history of the plague.
  • The plague vaccine was developed by Waldemar Haffkine in 1897 during the outbreaks in Bombay; the country also initiated mass vaccination programmes, with at least 20 million doses estimated to have been administered to date.

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