Comprehensive News Analysis - 07 April 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Breaking the silence on depression

B. GS2 Related:

POLITY

1. Supreme Court proposes joint trial of Babri cases

2. ‘Use restraint in using Article 142’

3. Centre declares Kerala drought-hit

4. ‘Dry’ Gujarat in a fix over SC order

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India, Nepal agree to talk on some crucial bilateral pacts

HEALTH ISSUES

1. Smoking causes one in 10 deaths worldwide: study

C. GS3 Related:

ECONOMICS

1. RBI chief hits out at farm loan waiver

2. RBI holds policy rate, raises reverse repo rate

3. Centre kicks off programme on cyber physical systems

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Centre kicks off programme on cyber physical systems

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. Breaking the silence on depression

What’s in news?

  • World Health Day theme – “Depression: Let’s Talk”.
  • W.H.O estimates :
    • 300 million globally living with depression
    • Depression accounts for two-thirds of global suicides that occur in low- and middle-income countries such as India.
    • 5 crore Indians are suffering from depression
    • Suicide is the second most common cause of death among young people worldwide
  • Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability.
  • Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevents many from accessing the treatment they need to lead a healthy and productive life.
  • Depression has a 40-60% chance of dying prematurely owing to physical health problems.

How the recently passed Mental Health Care Bill- fight against depression?

  • Destigmatising psychological disorders– Act recognizes an attempt to suicide as an act committed under severe mental stress.
  • Rights based approach– Rights of people with mental health problems to lead a life with dignity and access to community-based care.

 

B. GS2 Related
Category: POLITY

1. Supreme Court proposes joint trial of Babri cases 

What’s in news?

  • Case pertaining to Demolition of Babri Masjid mosque on DecemberSupreme Court proposes joint trial of Babri cases 6,1992– 16th century mosque in Ayodhya .
  • Justice delayed is justice denied”- 25 years passed on, still the courts are testifying the witnesses.
  • There are two cases that are filed in two different courts pertaining to the issue of demolition – one in Lucknow and the other in Raebareli.
  • Supreme Court invoked upon Article 142 and ordered a joint trail of these two cases in a Lucknow court i.e., the transfer of pending trail in a Raebareli magistrate court and club it with the criminal proceedings in the Lucknow CBI court

Background Information:

The Babri Masjid:

  • It was a mosque in Ayodhya, India. Located in Faizabad district, it was one of the largest mosques in the Uttar Pradesh state.
  • According to the mosque’s inscriptions, it was built in 1528–29 CE by Mir Baqi, on orders of the Mughal emperor Babur (The mosque was located on a hill known as Ramkot (“Rama’s fort”).
  • According to a section of Hindus, the Mughals destroyed a structure marking the birthplace of Rama (Ram Janmabhoomi) to build the mosque, a claim denied by the Muslims.
  • Ayodhya dispute: The political, historical and socio-religious debate over the history of the site and whether a previous temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque, is known as the Ayodhya dispute.
  • Starting in the 19th century, there were several conflicts and court disputes between Hindus and Muslims over the mosque.
  • On 6 December 1992, the demolition of the Babri Masjid by Hindu nationalist groups triggered riots all over India, leading to around 2,000 deaths.

2. ‘Use restraint in using Article 142’

What’s in news?

  • Senior advocate K.K. Venugopal warned Supreme Court to be restraint while using Article 142.
  • Recent incidence of using Article 142 by Supreme Court and its negative consequences as per the senior advocate :
    • The highway liquor ban – which involves the issue of Right to livelihood which is a part of Right to life as per Supreme Court judgement in Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation case.
    • Supreme Court ordered a joint trial of the two Babri Masjid demolition cases pending for the past 25 years. The joint trial now would disrupt existing trial in the two cases and the rights of the accused.
  • As per the advocate : use of Article 142 should be in accordance with law and due process of law as guaranteed in Article 21 and Article 142 is not a source of unlimited power and it should made use of with self- restraint.

3. Centre declares Kerala drought-hit

Basic Information:

What is a drought?

  • Drought is a natural, recurring climatic feature which stems from lack of rainfall over an extended period of time.

Drought Management Manual:

  • According to the drought management manual, a drought is assessed on the availability of 5 parameters
  • Drinking water
  • Irrigation water
  • Fodder
  • Food grains
  • The energy sector requirement

Mitigation Measures:

  • Creating employment opportunities: Using MGNREGS to provide immediate employment to drought-affected people
    Shortcomes : In some states, the MGNREGS suffers from huge pay delays , making people unwilling to take up the work, majority villagers do not have job cards
  • Distribution of food grains through PDS: The PDS mechanism should be strengthened to provide food and fodder as a measure to sustain the rural economy.
    Short comes : the PDS does not function properly.
  • Creating Environmental balance: The government should initiate actions to recharge the groundwater table by building check dams and providing pipeline water and other irrigation facilities.
    Short comes : drought-affected regions of MP face a huge drinking water crisis, In UP they have not initiated planned irrigation in drought-affected areas.
  • Loan Waivers: the government should either waive off or defer farmer loans and arrange for crop loss compensation.
    Short comes : In most States, the crop loss compensation has not reached the farmers, complain of gross underestimation of losses in the calculation of compensation amounts ,inflationary pressures are not taken into account.

Way Forward

The effective preparedness and prevention of the crisis in agriculture is the foremost important task before the Government.

  • Short term goals: additional allocation of food grains, establishing cattle camps water conservation measures, water budgeting ,Proper health advisories and ensuring availability of emergency medical services , movement of water and fodder from surplus areas (States) to deficit.
  • Long term plan : Contingency crop plan through effective agro advisory services , Monitoring over exploitation of ground water for non agricultural and nondrinking purposes (i.e. industrial /commercial / entertainment purposes), alternative employment generation programmes, enhancing PDS allocations, import of food grains to meet the gap between demand and supply, checking up of inflation etc

4. ‘Dry’ Gujarat in a fix over SC order

Practice in Gujarath:

  • Sale and consumption of liquor is prohibited and highly regulated one.
  • Except those holding permits issued by the state health department, no one can consume liquor in the State.
  • There are more than 50 licensed liquor shops, mostly in resorts and luxury hotels. These cater to permit holders and to tourists who get temporary permits.

Way forward: This practice can be imitated in other states as well.


Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India, Nepal agree to talk on some crucial bilateral pacts 

Highlights of third meeting of the India-Nepal Eminent Persons’ Group:

Three key focus areas

  • Nepal–India cooperation in water resources
  • Ways to reducing Nepal’s huge trade deficit with India
  • 1950 Treaty of Peace and Frienship- treaty between Nepal and India for establishing a close strategic relationship

Basic Information:

1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship

  • Bilateral treaty between Nepal and India establishing a close strategic relationship between the two South Asian neighbours.
  • The treaty was signed at Kathmandu
  • The treaty allows free movement of people and goods between the two nations and a close relationship and collaboration on matters of defense and foreign policy.
  • After an abortive attempt in 1952 of the Communist Party of Nepal to seize power with Chinese backing, India and Nepal stepped up military and intelligence cooperation under treaty provisions, and India sent a military mission to Nepal.

What is Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations?

  • The Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations (EPG-NIR) is a joint mechanism consisting experts and intellectuals from Nepal and India
  • It provides necessary suggestions to update all existing bilateral treaties and agreements.


Topic: HEALTH ISSUE

1. Smoking causes one in 10 deaths worldwide: study 

What’s in news?

  • Highlights of Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report published in medical journal The Lancet.
  • Smoking caused one in ten deaths worldwide in 2015
  • China, India, the United States and Russia accounted for half of the deaths (52.2%) related to smoking.
  • Leading countries with male smokers- China, India, and Indonesia.
  • Leading countries with female smokers- The U.S., China and India
  • India has 11·2% of the world’s total smokers.
  • Smoking was rated as a bigger burden on health — moving from the third to the second highest cause of disability.
  • Pakistan, Panama and India stand out as three countries that have implemented a large number of tobacco control policies over the past decade

Basic Information:

The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC): 

  • Objective: “To protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke” by enacting a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms worldwide. 
 
C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMICS

1. RBI chief hits out at farm loan waiver 

What’s in news?

  • Recently Uttar Pradesh waived farmers loan worth ₹36,359 crore.
  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel, points out the negative impacts of such waivers on the economy as follows:
  • Transfer from tax payers to borrowers- tax evasion and tax avoidance might crop up.
  • Intergenerational parity – Increase in government borrowing which implies higher burden of tax on future generation.
  • Lower yield on government bonds
  • Crowding out of private borrowers: higher government borrowing can lead to an increase in cost of borrowing for others.
  • Waiver schemes distort the credit culture.
  • Fall in credit discipline because the people who get the waiver have expectations of future waivers as well.

Counter argument: The one who supports loan waiver looks into issues involving

  • Farmers welfare
  • Incidence of higher rates of suicides among farmers
  • Price crash
  • Lack of other employment opportunities and various other reasons to support the waiver schemes.

Way forwards:

We should try to build a National consensus on loan waiver schemes so that promises such as loan waivers are not made during elections.

2. RBI holds policy rate, raises reverse repo rate

What’s in news?

RBI’s First Bi-monthly policy review 2017-18

  • Repo Rate-6.25%
  • Reverse Repo Rate- 6%

Standing Deposit Facility:

  • RBI had proposed a standing deposit facility to the government in November 2015, approval for which was still awaited.
  • SDF is a mechanism to drain surplus cash at a rate lower than the repo rate without the need for any collateral


Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Centre kicks off programme on cyber physical systems

What’s in news?

  • Department of Science and Technology (DST) has initiated a Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) programme.
  • In India this particular area is still in nascent stage of development.
  • At first, to take root in some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
  • Financial outlay of ₹100 crore has been earmarked for the project in the current financial year.

What is CPS?

  • A cyber-physical system (CPS) is a mechanism controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms, tightly integrated with the internet and its users

Applications

  • Self-driven cars
  • Smart grids (where electricity is optimally distributed on the basis of calculations in real time by micro-processors)
  • Autonomous unmanned vehicles
  • Aircraft navigation systems
 
D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today

 
Prelims worthy factual information

1. Doctrine of PARI MATERIA

  • A designation applied to statutes or general laws that were enacted at different times but pertain to the same subject or object.
    Statutes in pari materia must be interpreted in light of each other since they have a common purpose for comparable events or items.

Example: J.K. Steal Ltd. v. Union of India and Ors

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, while considering parimateria provisions of Central Excises and Salt Act, held that Acts being in parimateria must be taken together as forming one code and as interpreting and enforcing each other. 

2. National Disaster Response Fund

  • Fund managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
  • NDRF is constituted to supplement the funds of the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) of the states to facilitate immediate relief in case of calamities of a severe nature
  • In the event of a disaster of ‘a severe nature’, in which the funds needed for relief operations exceeded the balances in the SDRF account, additional assistance would be provided from the NDRF after following prescribed procedures.
  • The financial assistance from SDRF/NDRF is for providing immediate relief and is not compensation for loss/damage to properties /crops.
  • NDRF amount can be spent only towards meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation. For projects exclusively for the purpose of mitigation, i.e, measures aimed at reducing the risk, impact or effect of a disaster or threatening disaster situation .
  • NDRF is financed through the levy of a cess on certain items, chargeable to excise and customs duty.
  • The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Disaster Management Authority takes decisions on the expenses from National Disaster Response Fund.
  • The NEC is composed of Secretary level officers of the Government of India in the Ministries of home, agriculture, atomic energy, defence, drinking water supply, environment and forests, finance (expenditure), health, power, rural development, science and technology, space, telecommunication, urban development, and water resources, with the Home secretary serving as the Chairperson, ex officio.(Don’t need to remember ,have a vague idea).

3. Internet of Things

  • The concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other).
  • This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.
  • The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).
  • The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

4. Various Regulatory Bodies in India having Statutory support

  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India,
  • Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India,
  • Insurance Regulatory Development Authority,
  • Central Electricity Regulatory Commission,
  • Tariff Authority of Major Ports and
  • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. 

5. Lapland (Finland): Lapland is the largest and northernmost region of Finland.

6. Base Effect: The Base effect relates to inflation in the corresponding period of the previous year, if the inflation rate was too low in the corresponding period of the previous year, even a smaller rise in the Price Index will arithmetically give a high rate of inflation now. On the other hand, if the price index had risen at a high rate in the corresponding period of the previous year and recorded high inflation rate, a similar absolute increase in the Price index now will show a lower inflation rate now.

Example:
Untitled


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 142. Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and unless as to discovery, etc

 (1) The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or orders so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe

(2) Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the Supreme Court shall, as respects the whole of the territory of India, have all and every power to make any order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person, the discovery or production of any documents, or the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself

 
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam:)
Question 1: Strait of Dover is often seen in news, where it is located?
  1. Between Continent Europe and Britain
  2. Between Gibraltar and Morocco
  3. Between Russia and Sakhalin Island
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 2: Which among the following country has signed but not ratified 
The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control?
  1. U.S.
  2. U.K
  3. India
  4. Pakistan
See
Answer
Question 3: The Rail Development Authority will be responsible for _______.
  1. Setting efficiency and performance standards for rail operations
  2. Suggesting on passenger and freight fares
  3. Ensuring fair play and level playing field for stakeholder investment

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 1 and 3
  3. Only 2
  4. All are correct
See
Answer
Question 4: Consider the following statement with reference to Phytorid waste 
water treatment technology:
  1. It involves a constructed wetland exclusively designed for the treatment of municipal, urban, agricultural and industrial wastewater.
  2. Technology developed by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Question 5: Which of the following launched India Innovation Index?
  1. NITI Aayog
  2. Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)
  3. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
  4. All of the above
See
Answer

 

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