Comprehensive News Analysis - 06 April 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Depression among students a huge mental health issue

B. GS2 Related:

POLITY

1. Rail regulator gets green light

2. Bihar, Jharkhand children ‘undernourished,’ says NGO

3. WhatsApp case for Constitution Bench

4. BC Commission set to get constitutional status

5. Cong. seeks privilege motion against Jaitley

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. U.K., India unveil joint ‘green’ fund

C. GS3 Related:

ECONOMICS

1. ‘Liquor ban to hit tourist arrivals, forex earnings’

2. Steps on liquidity will be in focus

ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Taj Mahal changing colour, mud therapy being used: Govt

D. GS4 Related:
E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs

A. GS1 Related

Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Depression among students a huge mental health issue

 What’s in news?Depression among students a huge mental health issue

  • Health Information helpline service -Aarogya Vani(104), analysis of call records reveals the following facts:
  • Out of 1, 15,220 callers sought counseling through helpline, nearly.
  • Age group 15 and below – 63.17% calls were related to memory problems, exam fear and exam.
  • Age group 16-24 – 73.09 %( highest percentage)- Seeking counseling for depression owing to career issue.
  • Problems – family, love failure, memory, exam fear and exam failure.

NIMHANS survey related to depression among student(highlights):

  • Depression is more among male students.
  • Highest in the age group of 18 to 22
  • Highest among those in urban areas (1.7%) than compared to rural areas (1%)
  • One-third of the students with severe depression are likely to have suicidal ideations.

Key highlights

  • Depression among the students is being increasingly recognized as a major health issue.
  • The burden of depression is found to be on the rise over the years due to greater recognition, awareness and media influence.

Reasons for increase in depression:

  • High expectations of parents
  • Educational and exam related stress and anxiety.
  • Peer group pressure and stress to perform well.
  • Growing Nuclear families with lack of support.

 

B. GS2 Related
Category: POLITY

1. Rail regulator gets green light 

What’s in news?

  • The Centre cleared a proposal for setting up an independent rail regulator- Rail Development Authority.

Responsibility of the new Regulator

  • Recommending passenger fares
  • Setting performance standards for rail operations
  • Creating level playing policy for private sector participation.
  • Frame principles for social service obligation
  • Fix efficiency standards and resolve disputes related to future concession agreements
  • Collect, analyse and disseminate information and statistics concerning the rail sector
  • RDA to recommend on the above said matters to the Ministry of Railways; however its recommendations are not binding. Ministry to take a final call on freight charges and passenger fares.

Headquarter- Delhi 

How creation of RDA going to impact the sector?

  • Improve services offered to passengers
  • Enhance transparency and accountability- Central government has been fixing the fares mostly based on political considerations
  • Boost investment in railway sector
  • Provide comfort to investor- by creating level playing field for private players.

Committees that pitched in for creation of rail regulator in India are:

  • Bibek Debroy Committee on Mobilisation of Resources for Major Railway Projects and Restructuring of Railway Ministry in 2015
  • The National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) in 2014
  • Expert Group under the Chairmanship of Dr. Rakesh Mohan in 2001

2. Bihar, Jharkhand children ‘undernourished,’ says NGO

What’s in news?

  • Trend analysis of National Family Health Survey-4 Data by NGO, Child Rights and You(CRY) :
  • NFHS-4: Only 7.4% and 7.2% of children in Bihar and Jharkhand receive adequate diet. In Tamil Nadu it is 31% (TN is implementing Universal Public Distribution System).
  • Two-thirds of children under the age of three years in these two States are not breastfed within the first hour of birth.
  • Nutritional and health status of children found in Bihar and Jharkhand- “Critically low”, compared to National Standards.
  • One-third of the total births in the two States continue to remain home births.

Anaemia:

  • Acute anaemia: two-thirds of children aged 6-59 months were suffering from acute anaemia.
  • High percentage of anaemic pregnant women in the age-group of 15-49 years.

Data on maternal health

  • Only 9% of pregnant women in Bihar and 15% of pregnant women in Jharkhand consumed iron and folic acid supplements for hundred days or more during pregnancy.

Positive actions taken

  • Both Bihar and Jharkhand have done well in several child health and nutrition indicators such as institutional delivery, immunisation, and treatment of critical childhood diseases.
  • Comparative analysis between NFHS-4 and NFHS-3 data suggests that institutional deliveries were less than 20% in Bihar and Jharkhand a decade ago (2005-06). They have now risen to around 60% of total births.

Key highlights of report

  • Inadequate provision of quality antenatal care.
  • States’ failure to address the special nutritional requirements of expecting and lactating mothers
  • Child malnutrition is an irreversible phenomenon in the lives of children. Its effects are felt through adolescent and adult life.

3. WhatsApp case for Constitution Bench

What’s in news?

Background information

  • 2016 WhatsApp contact with Facebook- to give access to information (to calls, photographs, texts, videos and documents shared by users) and personal details shared by millions of its users to Facebook.
  • A case has been filed before Supreme Court regarding Violation of Privacy and free speech.
  • Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar has constituted a Constitution Bench to proceed with the case.

Constitution Bench to decide

  • Violation of Right to Privacy under Fundamental right – Article 21 of the constitution.
  • Right of free speech under Article 19 (1) (a).

Previous judgment of Supreme Court regarding Violation of Privacy-

  • 1954 M.P. Sharma’s case (Eight-judges Bench)
  • Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh case (Six-judges Bench)
  • Judgment of both cases: Rejected the existence of privacy as a guaranteed right under Article 21 of the Constitution.

4. BC Commission set to get constitutional status

What’s in news?

Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill

  • Introduced in Lok Sabha to accord constitutional status to the Backward Classes commission.

Objective of the bill

  • In order to safeguard the interests of the socially and educationally backward classes more effectively, it is proposed to create a National Commission for Backward Classes with constitutional status at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes”

Mandate of the body

  • The proposed commission will have a chairperson, vice-chairperson and three other members.
  • It will hear grievances of socially and educationally backward classes.

National Commission for backward Classes

  • A statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • It was constituted pursuant to the provisions of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993

Functions

    • Examining the requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class
    • Hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in the existing quota
    • Advise the Central government with regard to matter relating to OBC’s.

5. Cong. seeks privilege motion against Jaitley

What is a privilege motion?

  • A privilege motion is a notice by any member of either House of a state legislature or Parliament, against anyone who are accused of breach of privilege.
  • Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by MPs, MLAs and MLCs, individually and collectively, so that they can effectively discharge their functions.
  • When any of these rights and immunities is disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament or the state legislature. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.


Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. U.K., India unveil joint ‘green’ fund 

What’s in news?

  • Joint Green Growth Equity Fund – India and the U.K. announced setting up of a joint Green Fund.
  • Fund – to raise about £500 million to fund infrastructure projects.
  • Main purpose: Help India to enhance its inclusive growth strategies by boosting investment into Green infrastructure.
 
C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMICS

1. ‘Liquor ban to hit tourist arrivals, forex earnings’ 

What’s in news?

  • Background Information: Supreme Court recently ordered to ban the sale of liquor within 500 metres of highway.

Impacts on economy

  • Job loss
  • Foreign tourist arrival drastically reduces leading to low foreign exchange earnings.
  • Collection of direct and indirect taxes and levies (accrue) to both the central and state governments decreases.

Way forward

  • Instead of banning the sale of liquor, effective enforcement through effective policing to prevent drunken driving is the need of the hour.

2. Steps on liquidity will be in focus

What’s in news?

  • It is likely that the RBI will take measures to lessen surplus liquidity, say experts.
  • With the national bank generally anticipated that would keep financing costs unaltered in the new financial year’s first bimonthly fiscal strategy audit on Thursday, markets are definitely holding up to perceive what steps the RBI may take to handle surplus liquidity in the managing an account framework.

BASIC INFORMATION

  • Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is a specified minimum fraction of the total deposits of customers, which commercial banks have to hold as reserves either in cash or as deposits with the central bank.
  • Statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) is the Indian government term for reserve requirement that the commercial banks in India require to maintain in the form of gold, government approved securities before providing credit to the customers. 
  • Statutory Liquidity Ratio is determined by Reserve Bank of India maintained by banks in order to control the expansion of bank credit.
    The SLR is determined by a percentage of total demand and time liabilities. Time Liabilities refer to the liabilities which the commercial banks are liable to pay to the customers after a certain period mutually agreed upon, and demand liabilities are such deposits of the customers which are payable on demand. An example of time liability is a six month fixed deposit which is not payable on demand but only after six months. An example of demand liability is a deposit maintained in saving account or current account that is payable on demand through a withdrawal form such as a cheque.
  • Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank of India in case of India) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds.
    In the event of inflation, central banks increase repo rate as this acts as a disincentive for banks to borrow from the central bank. This ultimately reduces the money supply in the economy and thus helps in arresting inflation.
    The central bank takes the contrary position in the event of a fall in inflationary pressures.
  • Reverse repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank of India in case of India) borrows money from commercial banks within the country.
    It is a monetary policy instrument which can be used to control the money supply in the country.
    Repo and reverse repo rates form a part of the liquidity adjustment facility.
  • Marginal standing facility (MSF) is a window for banks to borrow from the Reserve Bank of India in an emergency situation when inter-bank liquidity dries up completely.
    Banks borrow from the central bank by pledging government securities at a rate higher than the repo rate under liquidity adjustment facility or LAF in short. The MSF rate is pegged 100 basis points or a percentage point above the repo rate. Under MSF, banks can borrow funds up to one percentage of their net demand and time liabilities (NDTL).
  • Bank rate is the rate charged by the central bank for lending funds to commercial banks.
    Bank rates influence lending rates of commercial banks. Higher bank rate will translate to higher lending rates by the banks. In order to curb liquidity, the central bank can resort to raising the bank rate and vice versa.
  • Market Stabilization scheme (MSS) is a monetary policy intervention by the RBI to withdraw excess liquidity (or money supply) by selling government securities in the economy. The MSS was introduced in April 2004. Main thing about MSS is that it is used to withdraw excess liquidity or money from the system by selling government bonds.
  • Open market operations (OMO) refers to the buying and selling of government securities in the open market in order to expand or contract the amount of money in the banking system, facilitated by the RBI.
  • Present Key Policy Rates Policy:
    Repo Rate: 6.25%
    Reverse Repo Rate: 5.75%
    Marginal Standing Facility Rate: 6.75%
    Bank Rate: 6.75%


Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Taj Mahal changing colour, mud therapy being used: Govt

What’s in news?

  • Multani mitti mud therapy is being used on Taj Mahal inorder to preserve the white color of the marbles.
  • Marbles changing its color and turning yellow due to
  • Insects- Swarms of insects breeding in polluted river near the Taj Mahal are threatening the intricate marble inlay works ,by leaving green and black patches of waste on its walls.
  • Alarming pollution level 

Basic Information:

  • National Environmental Engineering Research Institute:
  • Research institute created and funded by Government of India.
  • It was established in Nagpur in 1958 with focus on water supply, sewage disposal, and communicable diseases and to some extent on industrial pollution and occupational diseases found common in post-independent India.
  • NEERI is a pioneer laboratory in the field of environmental science and engineering and part of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • NEERI falls under the Ministry of Science and Technology (India) of central government.
 
D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today

 
Prelims worthy factual information

1. McMahon Line

  • The McMahon Line is a line proposed by MacMahon in the Simla Accord which was considered invalid by both Tibetans and Chinese government.
  • It is the effective boundary between China and India, although its legal status is disputed by the Chinese government.
  • The line is named after Sir Henry McMahon, foreign secretary of the British-run Government of India and the chief negotiator of the convention at SimlaChina
  • China rejects the Simla Accord, contending that the Tibetan government was not sovereign and therefore did not have the power to conclude treaties 

2. Simla Accord (1914)

  • The Simla Accord, or the Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet, [in] Simla, was a treaty concerning the status of Tibet negotiated by representatives of the Republic of China, Tibet and the United Kingdom in Simla in 1913 and 1914.
  • The Accord provided that Tibet would be divided into “Outer Tibet” and “Inner Tibet”. Outer Tibet, would “remain in the hands of the Tibetan Government at Lhasa under Chinese suzerainty, but China would not interfere in its administration. “Inner Tibet”, would be under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government.
  • The Accord with its annexes also defines the boundary between Tibet and China proper and between Tibet and British India (the latter became known as the McMahon Line).
  • China rejected the Accord . The British and Tibetan then attached a note denying China any privileges under the Accord and sealed it as a bilateral agreement the same day.
  • The British records show that there are conditions for the Tibetan government to accept the new border in 1914, the condition was that China must accept the Simla Convention, since the British was not able to get an acceptance form China, Tibetans considered the MacMahon line invalid.

3. Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) or monkey fever

  • Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD) is a tick-borne viral hemorrhagic fever endemic to South Asia.
  • The disease is caused by a virus
  • The disease was first reported from Kyasanur Forest of Karnataka in India in March 1957. The disease first manifested as an epizootic (a disease event in a nonhuman animal population) outbreak among monkeys killing several of them in the year 1957. Hence the disease is also locally known as Monkey Disease or Monkey Fever
  • Reservoir hosts for the disease: porcupines, rats, squirrels, mice and shrews.
  • The vector for disease transmission is Haemaphysalis spinigera, a forest tick. Humans contract infection from the bite of the tick.

Symptoms of the disease

  • High fever with frontal headaches
  • Haemorrhagic symptoms, such as bleeding from the nasal cavity, throat, and gums, as well as gastrointestinal bleeding.

4. The theme for World Health Day on April 7 this year is ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’. 

5. BCIM Economic Corridor

  • The Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor is an initiative conceptualised for significant gains through sub-regional economic cooperation within the BCIM.
  • The multi-modal corridor will be the first expressway between India and China and will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Advantages

  • Greater market access for goods, services and energy
  • Elimination of non-tariff barriers, better trade facilitation, investment in infrastructure development, joint exploration and development of mineral, water, and other natural resources, development of value and supply chains based on comparative advantages, by translating comparative advantages into competitive advantages, and through closer people to people contact.
  • The proposed corridor will cover 1.65 million square kilometres, encompassing an estimated 440 million people in China’s Yunnan province, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and West Bengal in Eastern India through the combination of road, rail, water and air linkages in the region.
  • This interconnectedness would facilitate the cross-border flow of people and goods, minimize overland trade obstacles, ensure greater market access and increase multilateral trade.

E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
 
 
 
F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS 
BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGANISATIONS IN NEWS About the Article
Article 368. Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefor

(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may in exercise of its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article

(2) An amendment of this Constitution may be initiated only by the introduction of a Bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament, and when the Bill is passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting it shall be presented to the President who shall give his assent to the Bill and thereupon the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill: Provided that if such amendment seeks to make any change in

(a) Article 54, Article 55, Article 73, Article 162 or Article 241, or

(b) Chapter IV of Part V, Chapter V of Part VI, or Chapter I of Part XI, or

(c) any of the Lists in the Seventh Schedule, or

(d) the representation of States in Parliament, or

(e) the provisions of this article, the amendment shall also require to be ratified by the Legislature of not less than one half of the States by resolution to that effect passed by those Legislatures before the Bill making provision for such amendment is presented to the President for assent

(3) Nothing in Article 13 shall apply to any amendment made under this article

(4) No amendment of this Constitution (including the provisions of Part III) made or purporting to have been made under this article whether before or after the commencement of Section 55 of the Constitution (Forty second Amendment) Act, 1976 shall be called in question in any court on any ground

(5) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that there shall be no limitation whatever on the constituent power of Parliament to amend by way of addition, variation or repeal the provisions of this Constitution under this article PART XXI TEMPORARY, TRANSITIONAL AND SPECIAL PROVISIONS

Article 19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc

(1) All citizens shall have the right

(a) to freedom of speech and expression;

(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;

(c) to form associations or unions;

(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;

(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and

(f) omitted

(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business

(2) Nothing in sub clause (a) of clause ( 1 ) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence

(3) Nothing in sub clause (b) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause

(4) Nothing in sub clause (c) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order or morality, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause

(5) Nothing in sub clauses (d) and (e) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub clauses either in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe

(6) Nothing in sub clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause, and, in particular, nothing in the said sub clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevent the State from making any law relating to,

(i) the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business, or

(ii) the carrying on by the State, or by a corporation owned or controlled by the State, of any trade, business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise

Article 21. Protection of life and personal liberty

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law

Article105. Powers, privileges, etc of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees thereof

(1) Subject to the provisions of this constitution and the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of Parliament, there shall be freedom of speech in Parliament

(2) No member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof, and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of either House of Parliament of any report, paper, votes or proceedings

(3) In other respects, the powers, privileges and immunities of each House of Parliament, and of the members and the committees of each House, shall be such as may from time to time be defined by Parliament by law, and, until so defined shall be those of that House and of its members and committees immediately before the coming into force of Section 15 of the Constitution (Forty fourth Amendment) Act 1978

(4) The provisions of clauses ( 1 ), ( 2 ) and ( 3 ) shall apply in relation to persons who by virtue of this constitution have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, a House of Parliament or any committee thereof as they apply in relation to members of Parliament

 
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam:)
Question 1: Identify the correct statement with reference to Kyasanur Forest 
Disease which was in news recently.
  1. It is a viral disease in monkeys
  2. It is a bacterial disease in monkeys
  3. It is a fungal disease in monkeys
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 2: Recently India announced constitution of new Joint Green Growth 
Equity Fund along with?
  1. United Kingdom
  2.  Israel
  3.  Singapore
  4. Bangladesh
See
Answer
Question 3: Constitutional 123rd amendment bill seeks to provide _______.
  1. Constitutional Status to Backward Classes Commission
  2. Constitutional Status to National Women’s Commission
  3. Constitutional Status to University Grants Commission
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 4: National Environmental Engineering Research Institute falls 
under _______.
  1. Ministry of Environment and Forest
  2. Ministry of Science and Technology
  3. Ministry of Human Resource and Development
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 5: The rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank 
of India in case of India) borrows money from commercial banks within the 
country is called _________.
  1. Repo Rate
  2. Reverse repo rate
  3. Bank Rate
  4. Marginal Standing Facility Rate
See
Answer
Question 6: To keep the SLR, banks have to maintain the deposits in which of 
the following forms?
  1. Gold
  2. Government approved securities

Choose the right option.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None
See
Answer

 

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