Daily Current Affairs: 10th February 2020: The Hindu+PIB

The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The HinduThe Indian ExpressBusiness Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.

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As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.

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    Context: Kaamya Karthikeyan, a class VII student of Navy Children School (NCS), Mumbai, became the youngest girl in the world to summit Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America and outside of Asia. 

    Mount Aconcagua; Indiathinkers


    Aconcagua is a mountain in the Principal Cordillera ( the Andean mountain range that makes up the boundary between Central Chile and neighbouring areas of Argentina) of the Andes mountain range.  It is the highest mountain outside of Asia (although there are 189 mountains higher than it in Asia alone), being the highest in both the Southern and Western Hemispheres. The mountain is one of the so-called Seven Summits of the seven continents. The mountain was created by the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate. The rocks found on Aconcagua’s flanks are all volcanic and consist of lavas, breccias and pyroclastics LOCATION:  Mendoza Province, Argentina. HEIGHT: 6,960.8 metres (22,837 ft)



    Context: A rice variety which is resistant to arsenic has been developed by the researchers in West Bengal.

    This new variety of rice known as Muktoshri — also called IET 21845 — was developed jointly by the Rice Research Station at Chinsurah, coming under West Bengal’s Agriculture Department and the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, over a period of several years. WHY THIS VARIETY OF RICE IS UNIQUE? This variety absorbs very less amount of arsenic from soil and water than the other varieties of rice. The variety yields 5.5 metric tonnes per hectare in the Boro season and 4.5 to 5 metric tonnes per hectare in the Kharif season. ABOUT ARSENIC POISONING IN INDIA West Bengal is among the States with the highest concentration of arsenic in groundwater, with 83 blocks across seven districts having higher arsenic levels than permissible limits.  The first known case of arsenic poisoning in India occurred in 1983 in Kolkata, West Bengal, when a patient developed skin lesions.  Before the 1970s in India, surface water from tanks, ponds and open wells was used for drinking. But since then, millions of tubewells were installed in the Ganges delta to prevent gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea from surface water. People soon became dependent on groundwater. The cause of the upsurge in arsenic concentration is the overuse of groundwater for irrigation and drinking, which happens when withdrawal rates exceed recharge rate.  These changes mean arsenic, which previously occurred in a relatively harmless insoluble conjugate with iron called arsenopyrite, then split due to overuse, contaminating the groundwater with a soluble ionic form of arsenic that has since been consumed by millions of people for decades. Chronic arsenic poisoning can lead to cancer, depending on factors such as the dose, how long it is consumed, a person’s nutrition levels and any genetic predisposition. Arsenic has been linked to various forms of cancer in India, the most common being skin cancer, followed by cancers of the bladder, kidney and lungs. Common symptoms of arsenic poisoning include pigmentation and keratosis, a condition that leads to hardening of the skin on the palms and soles of the feet. Arsenic poisoning can also lead to respiratory diseases, vascular diseases, neuropathy and liver fibrosis.


    Context: Clearance has been provided to an ambitious gene-mapping project by the Government of India. The project is estimated to be worth Rs 238 crore. 


    PROJECT OVERVIEW Genome India Project will involve 20 leading institutions including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru and a few IITs. Project Cost: 238 Crore First stage of the project: It will look at samples of “10,000 persons from all over the country” to form a “grid” that will enable the development of a “reference genome”. Nodal Point of Project: IISc (Bengaluru)’s Centre for Brain Research, an autonomous institute. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS ASSOCIATED? With the help of this Project, the diverse genetic pool of India will be mapped and it will help in making personalised medicine. Presently, the goal of personalized medicine is to utilize information about a person’s genes, including his or her nucleotide sequence, to make drugs better and safer. It will be a hard task considering the population diversity and the disease burden of complex disorders like diabetes, mental health, etc but once the genetic basis is ready it will be possible and easy to take action before the onset of a disease. The initiative will open up the routes for identifying genes and genetic variations for common diseases, treating Mendelian disorders, enabling the transformation of the Precision Medicine landscape in India, and thus improving the healthcare of the general population in our country. In other words, the Mapping of India’s genetic landscape holds a critically important position for next-generation medicine, agriculture and for biodiversity management. WHAT IS A GENOME AND ITS SEQUENCING? Genome refers to an organism’s complete set of DNA, which includes all its genes and mapping these genes simply means finding out the location of these genes in a chromosome. The study of the genome is called genomics Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of science that focuses on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes. Genomics also involves the sequencing and analysis of genomes through uses of high throughput DNA sequencing.  A genome sequence is the complete list of the nucleotides (A, C, G, and T for DNA genomes) that make up all the chromosomes of an individual or a species. NEED OF GENOME SEQUENCING:  The Sequencing of Genes will help mapping the diversity of India’s genetic pool which would lay the bedrock of personalised medicine and put it on the global map. Considering the diversity of population in India, and the disease burden of complex disorders, including diabetes, mental health, etc., once we have a genetic basis, it may be possible to take action before the onset of a disease. ABOUT HUMAN GENOME PROJECT The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international scientific research project with the goal of determining the base pairs that make up human DNA, and of identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and a functional standpoint. The project formally launched in 1990 and was declared complete on April 14, 2003.The Human Genome Project originally aimed to map the nucleotides contained in a human haploid reference genome (more than three billion). The Project has revealed that there are probably about 20,500 human genes. This information can be thought of as the basic set of inheritable “instructions” for the development and function of a human being.



      Context: February 6 is observed as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) every year.



      Also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, FGM is the cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia for non-medical or cultural reasons. The practice is found inAfrica,Asia and theMiddleEast, and within communities from countries in whichFGM is common. 

      Typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using a blade, FGM is conducted from days after birth to puberty and beyond.


      The practice is rooted in gender inequality, attempts to control women’s sexuality, and ideas about purity, modesty and beauty. It is usually initiated and carried out by women, who see it as a source of honour and fear that failing to have their daughters and granddaughters cut will expose the girls to social exclusion.

      The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has categorised the reasons into five categories:

      • Psycho-sexual reasons ; 
      • Sociological or cultural reasons; 
      • Hygiene and aesthetic reasons; 
      • Religious reasons; 
      • Socio-economic factors.


      The WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA issued a joint statement in 1997 defining FGM as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons”. 

      World Health Organization (WHO) classifies four types of FGM:

      • Type 1 (partial or total removal of the clitoral glans);
      • Type 2 (partial or total removal of the external and visible parts of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva);
      • Type 3 (infibulation, or narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal),
      • Type 4 (picking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area).


      Countries where FGM is performed include Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Iran, Georgia, Russian Federation, Columbia and Peru, among others. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), while the exact origins of the practice remain unclear, it seems to have predated Christianity and Islam. In 2018, a study on FGM in India said that the practice was up to 75 % across the Bohra Muslim community. The study was conducted by three independent researchers.  WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS INVOLVED IN THIS? FGM harms women’s physical and emotional health throughout their lives.  The short-term and late complications depend on the type of FGM, whether the practitioner has had medical training, and whether they used antibiotics and sterilized or single-use surgical instruments Common short-term complications include swelling, excessive bleeding, pain, urine retention, and healing problems/wound infection. Other short-term complications include fatal bleeding, anaemia, urinary infection, septicaemia, tetanus, gangrene, necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease), and endometritis. FGM may place women at higher risk of problems during pregnancy and childbirth, which are more common with the more extensive FGM procedures. Neonatal mortality is increased. The WHO estimated in 2006 that an additional 10–20 babies die per 1,000 deliveries as a result of FGM. Women with FGM suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.


      Context:  National e-Governance Awards 2020 were presented at the valedictory session of National Conference on e-Governance 2020 which recently concluded in Mumbai.

      National E-Governance Awards 2020

      The awards are presented by Department of Administrative reforms & Public Grievances (DAR&PG) every year during National conference on e-Governance. The main objective of organizing the National E-Governance Awards every year is to recognize and promote Excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives. WHO ALL ARE AWARDED?: The Awards are conferred upon some of the best Government to Government (G to G), Government to Citizen (G to C), b initiatives taken by government departments. Besides, it also recognizes initiatives in Start-ups, Academic Research Institutions as well as initiatives in adopting emerging technologies. CATEGORIES OF AWARDS: The awards are basically presented in 6 broad categories. These are:

      • Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering for Digital Transformation.
      • Excellence in providing Citizen-Centric Delivery.
      • Excellence in District level Initiative in e-Governance (i) North-East States + Hilly States (ii) UTs (including Delhi) (iii) Other States.
      • Outstanding research on Citizen Centric Services by Academic/Research Institutions.
      • Innovative Use of ICT in e-Governance solutions by Start-ups [Start up as defined by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Government of India]
      • Excellence in Adopting Emerging Technologies.


      • National Health Authority, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare received Gold for Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, under the category Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering for Digital Transformation
      • Antyodaya Saral Haryana of Department of IT, Haryana received the Gold for Excellence in providing citizen-centric delivery
      • IIT Roorkee’s Satellite-Based Agriculture Information System: An Efficient Application of ICT – received the Gold Award for Outstanding Research on Citizen-Centric Services.



      Context: According to a new study, published in the journal eLife, it has been concluded that the average human body temperature has never been constant in the first place. 


      WHAT IS NORMOTHERMIA OR EUTHERMIA? Normothermia or euthermia is another name for the Normal human body temperature whose range is typically stated as 36.5–37.5 °C (97.7–99.5 °F). Body temperature is maintained within normal range by thermoregulation whereby the lowering or raising of temperature is triggered by the central nervous system. WHY 98.6°F? It was in 1851, when Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich pioneered the use of the clinical thermometer. It was a rod a foot long, which he would stick under the armpits of patients and then wait for 15 minutes (some accounts say 20 minutes) for the temperature to register.  He took over a million measurements of 25,000 patients, and published his findings in a book in 1868, in which he concluded that the average human body temperature is 98.6°F. The98.6°F thermometer reading has been a gold standard for a century and a half, ever since aGerman doctorlaid it down as the “normal” human body temperature. ABOUT THE RECENT STUDY Researchers from Stanford University recorded temperatures from three datasets that covers distinct historical periods. 

      • One set was from 1862-1930, with records of Union Army veterans of the Civil War and including people born in the early 1800s. 
      • Second set was from 1971-75, from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
      • The newest set was from adult patients who visited Stanford Health Care between 2007 and 2017.

      With the help of 6.77 lakh measurements and statistical modelling, the researchers reconfirmed some known trends: 

      • Body temperature is higher in younger people, in women, in larger bodies and at later times of the day. 
      • It was found that the bodies of men born in the early to mid-1990s is on average 1.06°F cooler than those of men born in the early 1800s
      • The body temperature of women born in the early to mid-1990s is on average 0.58°F lower than that of women born in the 1890s.

      Now,new research has found that body temperatures have, in fact, beendeclining over the last two centuriesas a result ofchanges in theenvironment over the past 200 years.


      Context: Owing to its status as the State Bird of Goa, the flame-throated bulbul, also called the Rubigula, was chosen as the mascot of the 36th National Games to be held in Goa.


      ABOUT RUBIGULA The flame-throated bulbul is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds (Sometimes known as perching birds or – less accurately – as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes (three pointing forward and one back), which facilitates perching).  It is found only in the forests of the Western Ghats in southern India.  Scientific Name: Pycnonotus gularis. IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern ABOUT NATIONAL GAMES The National Games comprises various disciplines in which sportsmen from the different states of India participate against each other. The country’s first few Olympic Games, now renamed as National Games, were held in North India (Delhi, Lahore, Allahabad, Patiala), Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay. Motto: Get Set Play The 36th National Games of India will be held between 20 October and 4 November 2020 in Goa, India. The 36th edition will host 37 sporting disciplines. The 2015 National Games of India, also known as the 35th National Games of India, was held from 31 January 2015 to 14 February 2015 across seven districts of Kerala, India. It was the second time that Kerala hosted the national games, the first being when it hosted the 27th National Games in 1987. Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was selected as the goodwill ambassador for the games. Ammu, the Great Hornbill (the state bird of Kerala) was chosen as the mascot in 35th National Games of India.



      Context: A deal has been signed between Indian Oil Corp (IOCL) and Russia’s Rosneft for the annual purchase of 2 million metric tonnes of Urals grade crude oil from Rosneft.



      This is the first-ever Term Contract between IOCL and Rosneft which is signed for importing 2 Million Metric Tonnes of Urals grade crude oil during the year 2020 to India. As per the guidelines of the contract signed, the crude oil will be loaded in Suezmax vessels at Novorossiysk port of Russia and will come to India, bypassing Straits of HormuzThis is the first ever annual oil purchase deal between India and Russia. HOW IS THIS DEAL IMPORTANT? This deal holds a great importance as sourcing of Russian crude oil through long term contracts is a part of India’s strategy for diversifying the country’s crude oil supplies from non-OPEC countries, and a part of the five-year roadmap for bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbons sector that was signed during PM Modi’s visit to Vladivostok in September 2018. This deal will be able to look after the possible risks arising out of the geo-political disruptions as the addition of Russia as a new source for crude oil imports by India’s largest refiner will go a long way in catering the India’s energy needs. WHAT IS THE STATUS OF CRUDE OIL IMPORTS IN INDIA? India is the third largest oil importer after the United States and China and is highly dependent on imports of crude oil. The net imports of crude oil rose from 132.78 MTs during 2008-09 to 220.43 MTs during 2017-18. India has an 82.8% import dependence for crude oil and 45.3% for natural gas/LNG. The country spent an estimated Rs 8.81 lakh crore (US$120 billion) to import 228.6 million tonnes of crude oil in 2018-19. Most of its crude oil and cooking gas comes from Iraq and Saudi ArabiaThe following countries were the 5 largest sources of crude oil imports into India in 2018:

      • Iraq: $23 billion (Import Value)
      • Saudi Arabia: $21.2 billion
      • Iran: $13 billion
      • Nigeria: $9.6 billion
      • United Arab Emirates: $8.9 billion

      RUSSIA stands at 15th Position with a total import value of $1.2 billion. KEY LOCATIONS

      • Novorossiysk port of Russia: Novorossiysk Sea Port (NSP) is one of the largest ports in the Black Sea basin and the largest in Krasnodar Krai. NSP berthing line (8.3 km) is the longest among all the ports of Russia. The port is located on the Northeast coast of the Black Sea, in the Tsemes Bay (also called Novorossiysk Bay).
      • Strait of Hormuz: It is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is one of the world’s most strategically important choke points. On the north coast lies Iran, and on the south coast the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman
        • 1/3rd of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 25% of total global oil consumption passes through the strait, making it a highly important strategic location for international trade.

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