IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th April, 2020



1. Heritage crafts village in Odisha wears a deserted look


Pattachitras, are traditional paintings in which mythological, religious stories and folk lore are told through intricate canvassing.

—On an average, an artist sells paintings worth ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 per month – enough to lead a simple life in the village.

—The paintings’ trade had recently picked up after it was badly impacted by last year’s cyclone Fani that had spoiled many artworks. Following the cyclone, visitors had also stopped visiting the village until normalcy returned.

—Artists claim many villagers are landless. Though the government has provided rice, old age and widow pensions and ₹1,000 each, the artists are uncertain about their future.


About Pattachitra

—Pattachitra is a traditional painting of Odisha, India. These paintings are based on Hindu mythology and specially inspired by Jagannath and Vaishnava sect.

—All colours used in the Paintings are natural and paintings are made fully old traditional way by Chitrakaras that is Oriya Painter. Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art forms of Odisha.

—The name Pattachitra has evolved from the Sanskrit words patta, meaning canvas, and chitra, meaning picture. Pattachitra is thus a painting done on canvas, and is manifested by rich colourful application, creative motifs, and designs, and portrayal of simple themes, mostly mythological in depiction.

—The traditions of pattachitra paintings are more than thousand years old.

—Geographical indication of Patachitra is registered under to different state of India, as the style and motif of Odisha and West Bengal Patachitra are so different. The Patachitra of Odisha is registered as Orissa Pattachitra. The Patachitra of West Bengal is registered as Bengal Patachitra


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/heritage-crafts-village-in-odisha-wears-a-deserted-look/article31326078.ece


2. Ban on Meru Jatra festival

—Odisha’s Ganjam district administration has banned the Meru Jatra festival and congregations related to it at temples on the occasion of Mahavishub Sankranti.


About Meru Jatra

—Meru Jatra marks the end of 21-day-long festival of penance named ‘Danda Nata’. Mahavishub Sankranti is also start of the Odia New Year. On this day, thousands of devotees used to gather at the Tara Tarini hill shrine and other temples.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ban-on-meru-jatra-festival/article31326060.ece


3.6 theme-based micro sites to promote tourism spots


—Kerala Tourism has geared up for the post-COVID-19 era by coming up with six theme-based micro sites in the official website to promote destination and tourism products and get an upper hand in the virtual marketing among brands.

—With focus of Kerala turning to wellness tourism and in view of the corona pandemic, Ayurveda has been given prominence among the micro sites added to the official website www. keralatourism.org.


New micro sites

—Yoga, Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art indigenous to the State, Temples of Kerala, Judaism in Kerala and Discovering Malabar are the other new micro sites that have been featured.

—The move to infuse content into the website and give a refreshing look is part of the long-term strategy to overcome the impact of COVID-19 that has taken a heavy toll on the travel and tourism industry facing job cuts and low margins.

—Even in hard times, which included two floods, outbreak of avian flu, swine flu, and H1N1, and sudden hartals, the website, launched in 1998, had come in handy to reach out to the world and convey the message that ‘Kerala is safe’ .

—Cuisine of Malabar, Jewish diet, popular asanas, cultural and art forms of Malabar to featuring of the 100 temples district wise make it a unique experience.


About Kalaripayattu

—Kalaripayattu also known simply as Kalari, is an Indian martial art and fighting style that originated in modern-day Kerala.

—It is held in high regard by martial artists due to its long-standing history within Indian martial arts. It is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in India. It is also considered to be among the oldest martial arts still in existence, with its origin in the martial arts timeline dating back to at least the 3rd century BCE.

—Kalaripayattu is also mentioned in the Vadakkan Pattukal ballads written about the Chekavar from the Malabar region of Kerala. The author Arnaud Van Der Veere confers the origin of martial arts to India (the roots of which are thought to be in Kalaripayattu), to which he refers Kalaripayattu as "the mother of all martial arts."

—Kalaripayattu is a martial art designed for the ancient battlefield (the word "Kalari" meaning "battlefield"), with weapons and combative techniques that are unique to India.

—Unlike other parts of India, warriors in Kerala belonged to all castes. Women in Keralite society also underwent training in Kalaripayattu, and still do so to this day.

—Keralite women such as Unniyarcha are mentioned in a collection of ballads from Kerala called Vadakkan Pattukal, and are praised for their martial prowess.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/6-theme-based-microsites-to-promote-tourism-spots/article31323758.ece


4.11 held for chopping off


Eleven persons of Nihangs group (a Sikh warrior sect) were arrested for attacking a police party.


About Nihang sect:


The Nihang is an armed Sikh warrior order originating in the Indian subcontinent.

— Nihang are believed to have originated either from Fateh Singh and the attire they wore are 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.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/11-held-for-chopping-off-policemans-hand-in-punjabs-patiala/article31321814.ece





1. Trade in tatters: On the global slump


—Projecting merchandise trade to plummet by anywhere between 13% and 32% in 2020, World Trade Organisation has added a categorical caveat: at the moment, it is only able to posit a wide range of possible trajectories for the predicted decline in trade given the unprecedented nature of the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and the uncertainty around its precise economic impact.

—IMF Managing Director too observed that, the global economy is set to contract sharply in 2020, with “the lockdown needed to fight” the pandemic affecting billions worldwide.

—The WTO expects all regions, save Africa, West Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, to suffer double-digit declines in exports and imports this year even under its “optimistic scenario”, which postulates a recovery starting in the second half.

—Global supply chains have increased in complexity, especially in industries such as electronics and automotive products, making them particularly vulnerable to the current disruptions, with countries that are a part of these value linkages set to find trade more severely affected.

—Also, services trade — in which India has a higher global share as an exporter ($214 billion, or 3.5%, in 2019) than in merchandise exports — may be significantly affected by the transport and travel curbs.

—A small sliver of silver in this bleak outlook for services trade is the role that the WTO sees for information technology services as companies try to enable employees to work from home and people order essentials and drugs online and socialises remotely.

—The world will be best served if nations do not turn insular and erect new barriers to the movement of goods, services and people in the aftermath of the pandemic.


About WTO

—The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations.

—The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. It is the largest international economic organization in the world.

—The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants' adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments.

—The WTO prohibits discrimination between trading partners, but provides exceptions for environmental protection, national security, and other important goals.

—Trade-related disputes are resolved by independent judges at the WTO through a dispute resolution process.


About IMF

—The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world while periodically depending on the World Bank for its resources.

—Formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference primarily by the ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes, it came into formal existence in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system.

— It now plays a central role in the management of balance of payments difficulties and international financial crises.

—Countries contribute funds to a pool through a quota system from which countries experiencing balance of payments problems can borrow money.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/trade-in-tatters-the-hindu-editorial-on-the-global-coronavirus-slump/article31324842.ece





1. COVID-19 and the crumbling world order


COVID-19 will fundamentally transform the world, as we know it the world order, its balance of power, traditional conceptions of national security and the future of globalisation.


Crumbling world order

—The rampant spread of COVID-19 is also a failure of the contemporary world order and its institutions.

—The contemporary global order, was a hegemonic exercise meant to deal with isolated political and military crises and not serve humanity at large.

—COVID-19 has exposed this as well as the worst nativist tendencies of the global leadership in the face of a major crisis.

—That the United Nations Security Council took so long to meet (that too inconclusively) to discuss the pandemic is a ringing testimony to the UN’s insignificance.

—Regional institutions have not fared any better. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s SAARC initiative, curiously resurrecting a practically dead institution, was short-lived.

— The EU, the most progressive post-national regional arrangement, stood clueless when the virus spread like wildfire in Europe. Its member states turned inward for solutions: self-help, not regional coordination, was their first instinct. Brussels is the loser.

All this is indicative of a deeper malaise: the global institutional framework is unrepresentative, a pawn in the hands of the great powers, cash-strapped, and its agenda is focused on high-table security issues.

—The global institutional architecture of the 1940s cannot help humanity face the challenges of the 2020s. Nothing less than a new social contract between states and the international system can save our future.

—One country that is likely to come out stronger from this crisis is China. Reports indicate that China has now managed the outbreak of COVID-19, and its industrial production is recovering even as that of every other country is taking a hit.

—Beijing has offered medical aid and expertise to those in need; it has increased cooperation with its archrival Japan; and President Xi Jinping spoke to the UN Secretary General on how the international community can fight the virus.

—Its richest man, Jack Ma, has spearheaded the private sector’s fight against COVID-19. The Chinese propaganda machinery will magnify this. Chinese actions are a smart economic investment for geopolitical gains. This will aid Beijing’s claims to global leadership, push Huawei 5G trials as a side bargain, and display how the Belt and Road Initiative is the future of global connectivity.

— COVID-19 will further push the international system into a world with Chinese characteristics.


Neoliberal economic globalisation will have taken a major beating in the wake of the pandemic. Economists are warning of a global recession. The first instinct of every major economy was to close borders, look inwards and localise.

—The pre-existing structural weakness of the global order and the COVID-19 shock will further feed states’ protectionist tendencies fuelled by hyper nationalism.

—A more inclusive global political and economic order is unlikely any time soon, if ever. Instead, as former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon warns, “we are headed for a poorer, meaner, and smaller world.”

—The ability of big corporations to dictate the production, stocks, supply chains and backup plans will be limited by increased state intervention to avoid unpredictable supply sources, avoid geopolitically sensitive zones, and national demands for emergency reserves.

—The profits of big corporations will reduce, and the demand for stability will increase.

—The state has failed in its inability to save us from the pandemic notwithstanding its tall claims about national security preparedness. Yet, the state has returned, with more power, legitimacy and surveillance technologies.

—The state, which was losing its influence to global economic forces, will return as the last refuge of the people in the coming age of mass disruption.

—With the severe beating that globalisation has taken, state-led models of globalisation and economic development would be preferred over (big) corporate-led globalisation.

—Given the symbiotic relationship between the state and big capital, states have become used to protecting the interests of their corporations, often at the cost of the general public.


New-age racism

—Globally, societies could become more self-seeking and inward-looking leading to further pushback against liberal policies regarding migration and refugees.

—New questions are likely to be asked about the source of goods. More stringent imposition of phytosanitary measures by advanced states on products emanating from the less developed countries might become the new normal.

—Lockdowns and travel restrictions could potentially legitimise the rhetoric around border walls in more conservative countries.

—Within India too, there could be a trend towards discrimination, with ‘social distancing’ producing undesirable social practices. That a Manipuri woman was spat on in Delhi by a man who called her “corona virus”, and gated communities have discriminated against those in COVID-19 quarantine, indicate a new age of discrimination.

—Puritan claims based on birth and class and the associated declarations about hygiene could become sharper. The more the virus persists, the deeper such practices would get. We already know what these practices feel like; it can only get worse from here.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/covid-19-and-the-crumbling-world-order/article31324259.ece


2.Congo records second Ebola death in days


—Democratic Republic of Congo recorded a second Ebola death in days following more than seven weeks without a new case.

—The outbreak has killed more than 2,200 people since August 2018.

—Flare-ups or one-off transmissions are common towards the end of Ebola outbreaks and a new case does not necessarily mean that the virus will spread out of control again.

—Ebola causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and spreads among humans through bodily fluids. During this outbreak it killed about two thirds of those it infected.



—Ebola virus disease (EVD), or simply Ebola, is a viral haemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebolaviruses.

Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus with a fever, sore throat, muscular pain, and headaches. Vomiting, diarrhoea and rash usually follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. At this time, some people begin to bleed both internally and externally.

—The disease has a high risk of death, killing 25% to 90% of those infected, with an average of about 50%.This is often due to low blood pressure from fluid loss, and typically follows six to 16 days after symptoms appear.

— An Ebola vaccine was approved in the United States in December 2019. While there is no approved treatment for Ebola as of 2019, two treatments (REGN-EB3 and mAb114) are associated with improved outcomes.

—Supportive efforts also improve outcomes. This includes either oral rehydration therapy (drinking slightly sweetened and salty water) or giving intravenous fluids as well as treating symptoms.

—The disease was first identified in 1976, in two simultaneous outbreaks: one in Nzara (a town in South Sudan) and the other in Yambuku (Democratic Republic of the Congo), a village near the Ebola River.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/democratic-republic-of-congo-records-second-ebola-death-in-days/article31324936.ece





1.Moderate earthquake felt in Delhi


—Earthquake of magnitude 3.5 occurred at a depth of 8 km in the National Capital Territory, Delhi,” a release from the National Centre for Seismology said.

—Many parts of Delhi fall in a high seismic zone and are vulnerable to strong tremors.


About National Centre for Seismology (NCS)

It  is an office of India's Ministry of Earth Sciences.

—The office monitors earthquakes and conducts seismological research. Specifically, it provides earthquake surveillance and hazard reports to governmental agencies. It consists of various divisions:

Earthquake Monitoring & Services

Earthquake Hazard & Risk Assessments

Geophysical Observation Systems


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/moderate-earthquake-felt-in-delhi/article31323093.ece


2. Amid lockdown, Bihar plans education through mobile app, radiobroadcast


Following COVID-19 lockdown, the Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) has launched a mobile application and plans to book a slot with the All India Radio for the audio broadcast of study materials for government school students.

—However, an independent research by an alumna of the London School of Economics has flagged some fundamental challenges in the process as the State has huge digital divide and socio-economic inequalities.

—Recently, the BEPC, a wing of the State Education department, launched a mobile application “Unnayan: Mera Mobile, Mera Vidyalaya” for Class VI to XII of over 70,000 government-run schools. —The app, said department officials, was jointly developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Bihar government and Eckovation, a social learning platform.

—The BEPC also has planned to book a slot with the All India Radio for the audio broadcast of study materials for school students.


Deep penetration

—The BEPC has also encouraged students for the use of online education portals like Diksha.



— The United Nations Children's Fund is a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.

—Operating out of U.N. headquarters in New York City, it is among the most widespread and recognizable social welfare organizations in the world, with a presence in 192 countries and territories.

—UNICEF's activities include immunizations and disease prevention, administering treatment for children and mothers with HIV, enhancing childhood and maternal nutrition, improving sanitation, promoting education, and providing emergency relief in response to disasters.



— DIKSHA is a unique initiative, which leverages existing highly scalable and flexible digital infrastructures, while keeping teachers at the centre.

—It is built considering the whole teacher's life cycle - from the time student teachers enrol in Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) to after they retire as teachers.

—In India, many teachers are creating & using innovative tech-based solutions in their classrooms. Some state governments have also initiated programs to support their teachers digitally. This inspired Ministry of Human Resource Development and National Council of Technical Education to coordinate these efforts at a national level and build DIKSHA.

—States, government bodies and even private organisations, can integrate DIKSHA into their respective teacher initiatives based on their goals, needs and capabilities. They can use DIKSHA's features to create:

In-class resources

Teacher training content

Assessment aids

Teacher profile

News and announcement

Teacher community

These features have emerged from consultations with multiple state governments, NGOs and more than 30 public and private organisations, who have collaborated in contributing to DIKSHA.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/amid-lockdown-bihar-plans-education-through-mobile-app-radio-broadcast/article31324774.ece


3. Pharma units in limbo amid confusion over hydroxychloroquine exports


A week after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that it would “license” the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and supply it to various countries on a “government to government basis”; the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) maintains that the drug is still prohibited for export, causing some confusion in industry circles.


What is hydroxychloroquine?

— Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, is a medication used to prevent and treat malaria in areas where malaria remains sensitive to chloroquine.

— Other uses include treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda. It is taken by mouth.

—It is also being studied as a treatment for corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


About DGFT

— The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is the agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India responsible for administering laws regarding foreign trade and foreign investment in India.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/covid-19-pharma-units-in-limbo-amid-confusion-over-hydroxychloroquine-exports/article31324749.ece


4.Coronavirus | Department of Science and Technology moots research to study effects of yoga in fighting viruses


—The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has invited proposals to study appropriate intervention of yoga and meditation in fighting COVID-19 and similar kinds of viruses.

—The proposals have been invited under the Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) programme of the DST, a department under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

It states that the project may address improving immunity, improving respiratory system and interventions to overcome respiratory disorders and other dimensions like stress, anxiety and depression-related issues due to isolation, uncertainty and disruption in normal life.

—Elaborating on the concept, DST Secretary Ashutosh Sharma said SATYAM was a cognitive science programme.

—COVID-19 usually has three dimensions — related to stress (worry, sitting at home), respiratory and the immune system.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-dst-moots-research-to-study-effects-of-yoga-in-fighting-viruses/article31323976.ece