UPSC 2017: Comprehensive News Analysis - December 12

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. Max, Fortis effect: IMA for self-regulation for doctors
2. Venkaiah for automatic suspension of members disrupting Parliament
3. SC notice to Kerala on contempt plea by Endosulfan victims
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
1. No WTO deal without food security: India
2. India hardens stand on e-commerce, investment and small firms
3. Need all-out push on terror: RIC
4. India and China in UNPKF
5. India: a responsible nuclear power
HEALTH ISSUES
1. Air Pollution:  A Public Health Emergency
2. Health Care and Renewable Energy
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. ‘Growth may rebound to 7.2% in FY19’
CYBER-SECURITY
1. Govt. sets up NIC-CERT centre to detect, prevent cyberattacks
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. ISRO developing a compact launcher for small satellites
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Max, Fortis effect: IMA for self-regulation for doctors

 What’s the issue?

  • At Max Hospital a premature baby was wrongly declared dead by the doctors.
  • Medical negligence and overcharging by private hospitals.

Indian Medical Association’s recommendations:

  • Urged State governments to subsidise emergencies in the private sector and create a reimbursement mechanism.
  • No hospital can force its consultants to work on targets and the choice of drugs and devices should rest with the doctors based on the affordability of a patient and not the hospital management.

IMA president Dr. K.K. Aggarwal said:

  • It is time for the medical profession to introspect and come out with self-regulation procedures. From today onwards, all doctors in the country shall choose affordable drugs.
  • We also appeal to the State governments to come out with an urgent ordinance for ‘one drug-one company-one price policy’.
  • Doctors should actively participate in ensuring that no hospital sells any item priced higher than the Market Rate Price. No service charges should be added to procure drugs from outside.

2. Venkaiah for automatic suspension of members disrupting Parliament

 In news:                                                

  • Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu said that there should be a specific provision in the Rules of Business to automatically disqualify members who rush into the well of the House.
  • He added that legislatures should start displaying in public domain the names of members who violate rules and disrupt House proceedings.

Legislative effectiveness

  • To say that a legislature has met for 40 or 50 days and passed 30 or 40 bills gives only a brief glimpse into legislature’s functioning.
  • We need a more holistic assessment of efficiency based on different parameters like the number of sittings, Bills passed, Bills held up, the extent of participation of members, duration of debates on each Bill.

3. SC notice to Kerala on contempt plea by Endosulfan victims

In news:

  • The Supreme Court issued notice on a contempt of court petition filed by Endosulfan victims of Kerala for not complying with a January 2017 order of the court to disburse the entire compensation to all those who had been affected by the toxic pesticide within three months.
Basic Information:

Contempt of court

  • Contempt of court, often referred to simply as “contempt”, is the offence of being disobedient to or discourteous towards a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court. It manifests itself in willful disregard of or disrespect for the authority of a court of law, which is often behavior that is illegal because it does not obey or respect the rules of a law court.

In India contempt of court is of two types:

Civil contempt: Under Section 2(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, civil contempt has been defined as wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court.

Criminal contempt: Under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act of 1971, criminal contempt has been defined as the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:

  • Scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court, or
  • Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with the due course of any judicial proceeding, or
  • Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.

Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

1. No WTO deal without food security: India

 Context:
 
  • The ongoing meeting of the World Trade Organisation’s apex decision-making body at Buenos Aires.

Issue of public stockholding crucial

  • India has said it cannot envisage any negotiated outcome, at the ongoing meeting of the World Trade Organisation’s apex decision-making body, which does not include successful resolution of the food security right issue
  • At the Plenary Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC), India’s commerce and industry minister said the permanent solution for public stockholding for food security purposes is a matter of survival for 800 million hungry and undernourished people in the world

Requirements:

  • India wants the WTO membership to re-endorse the centrality of development (the agenda to improve the trading prospects of developing nations) in WTO negotiations without creating new sub-categories of countries
  • This is in the context of attempts by certain rich countries to wreck the broad unity among developing nations on a host of issues
  • Developed countries such as U.S. have suggested that countries such as India and China are currently emerging economies and reasonably strong in trade — unlike others in the developing world
  • Therefore, such powerful nations that are still in the ‘developing’ category do not deserve to gain from the favorable treatment meant only for developing nations in WTO Agreements

‘No’ to ‘new issues’

  • India opposed the endeavor of certain countries to include ‘new issues’ — such as e-commerce, investment facilitation and matters relating to small firms — in the ongoing Doha Round of negotiations
  • The Minister also pushed India’s proposal for a Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement, which, among other things, aims to liberalize rules on movement of professionals and skilled workers across borders for temporary work/projects

2. India hardens stand on e-commerce, investment and small firms

 In news:
  • India has hardened its position at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) meeting not only on issues relating to e-commerce, but also against investment facilitation as well as the proposed norms regarding participation of small firms in the global marketplace.

Regarding e-commerce:

  • The issue pertains to a ‘moratorium’ that was included in the 1998 ‘Declaration on Global E-commerce,’ adopted by the WTO member nations in May 1998 at the global trade body’s second Ministerial Conference (MC).
  • According to the WTO, the 1998 declaration on the ‘moratorium’ stated that “member countries will continue their current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmission”. This ‘moratorium’ – which is ‘temporary’ in nature — gets extended at every MC, which is held once in two years.

India’s contention:

  • India has taken a stand that its consent to extension of this ‘moratorium’ depends on the WTO members agreeing to certain conditions.
  • The matter will be subject to the decision of the other WTO members to extend a similar (‘temporary’) moratorium on Non-Violation Complaints (NVC) under the TRIPS (Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property rights agreement).
  • NVC refers to a situation where a “government can go to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body even when an agreement (of the WTO) has not been violated (by another country).”

Developed countries requirement:

  • Developed countries are demanding a ‘permanent moratorium’ on imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions.
  • India feels that such a move could reduce the negotiating leverage for developing countries to seek a ‘permanent moratorium’ on NVC.
  • Such a scenario would hurt the generic pharmaceuticals industry in the world, including in India.
  • However, for the time being, WTO members have agreed not to use NVC, and this ‘temporary moratorium’ (agreement not to use NVC) keeps getting extended, like the one on electronic transmissions.

3. Need all-out push on terror: RIC

Context:
  • RIC (Russia, India and China) grouping: 15th trilateral meeting of the three Foreign Ministers.

Key Highlights:

  • Agreed to uphold the rule of law in international affairs
  • Commended the victory of the Moscow-led counterterrorism operation in Syria.
  • Urged for “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” solution to the conflict and highlighted the need for dialogue to deal with the global “hotspots” such as North Korea and Ukraine.

Joint communiqué issued:

  • “We commend Russia-led counterterrorism efforts and achievements in Syria aimed at defeating international terrorism. We emphasise the achievements in Syria aimed at defeating international terrorism. We emphasise the need for a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, and in this context resolve to step up cooperation to prevent and counter terrorism and radicalisation… stop sources of terrorist financing, prevent travelling of and the supply of arms to terrorists, dismantle terrorist infrastructure…”.

Importance of the communiqué:

  • The communiqué is significant as it came in the backdrop of declaration of withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria by President Vladimir Putin as he declared success in the country.
  • The trilateral meeting also came out with a post-conflict plan for Syria.

4. India and China in UNPKF

In news

Last week at least 15 peacekeepers and five soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were killed and numerous peacekeepers wounded by armed militants in one of the worst attacks on United Nations personnel. A local Islamist extremist group overran the remote base. Most of the dead and wounded are from Tanzania.

In the midst of this, one must focus on China as its grip on UN affairs tightens and it starts deciding policy, to the detriment of India.

China rising

  • China has become the largest troop contributor among the permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC).
  • China is now the third-largest contributor to the UN’s regular budget and the second-largest contributor to the peacekeeping budget.
  • China’s participation in UN operations offers a low-cost means of demonstrating their commitment to global stability and allays fears about its military and economic strength.

Contribution to UN

  • In practice, a nation’s voice is in proportion to what it contributes towards the UN, especially funds — India’s contribution is only 0.737% when compared to China’s 7.92% and the U.S.’s 22%.
  • Troop contributions to peacekeeping do not get their due in UN power politics.

Self-serving Acts of China

  • In 2015, China committed a standby force of 8,000 peacekeepers and a permanent police squad for UN operations.
  • In addition, there is a 10-year $1 billion China-U.N. peace and development fund and $100 million in military assistance to the African Union.
  • It is no coincidence that Africa is where China has large economic interests. Peacekeeping is said to be a cover for China to test its strengths in overseas deployments.
  • The deployment of a People’s Liberation Army Navy submarine off the Africa coast for anti-piracy patrolling is to train its seamen in long-distance operations.

India and UNPKF

  • Chinese involvement in peacekeeping, along with its higher funding contributions will put Beijing in the driver’s seat in formulating peacekeeping mandates, thereby affecting India in more ways than one.
  • India has provided almost 200,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions over the past six decades.
  • India has also sent scarce aviation assets including Canberra bombers to a UN Mission in Congo in the 1960s and helicopters to Somalia, Sierra Leone and Sudan.
  • The truth is that though our troops have been on the front line of facing danger (168 soldiers lost in UN operations, till May 2017), the returns in UN power play have been low.
  • Chinese opposition to India’s candidature for a UNSC seat and its repeated vetos on the Masood Azhar issue are unwelcome indicators.
  • Peacekeeping missions are the raison d’etre of the UN and India’s generous contributions as far as peacekeeping troops are concerned should be key in its argument to have a greater say in the affairs of the UN.

5. India: a responsible nuclear power

 

  • India’s admittance into the Wassenaar Arrangement, a multilateral export control regime, as its 42nd participating member is a big step forward in its quest for formal acceptance as a responsible nuclear power.
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement was founded in 1996, and is clubbed with mechanisms such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group.
  • India is a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT )
  • The Australia Group, which focusses on biological and chemical weapons, may be easier to crack given that China is not a member. India obtained the membership of MTCR last year.
  • Its stated aim is “to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising accumulations.”
  • India’s Wassenaar presumes a broad acceptance among its members of the country’s credentials as a fastidious adherent to export controls.
  • India’s efforts at the NSG were stopped by China, which is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement.
  • Nonetheless, now that more and more countries are signing on to India’s steadily strengthening credentials in the nuclear area, there is hope that a fresh momentum will be imparted to a future bid for the NSG.
  • Wassenaar Arrangement will embed India deeper in the global non-proliferation architecture and enable access to critical technologies in the defence and space sectors.

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. Air Pollution: A Public Health Emergency

  • Air pollution is one of the biggest public concerns in India.
  • A report of the Lancet Commission on pollution and health states that around 19 lakh people die prematurely every year from diseases caused by outdoor and indoor air pollution.
  • A study by the Indian Journal of Pediatrics shows that the lungs of children who grow up in polluted environments like Delhi are 10% smaller compared to the lungs of children who grow up in the U.S. This is a public health emergency.

Curbing Air Pollution

  • There is a need for a comprehensive policy to curb pollution. At the heart of the problem of pollution are carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
  • About 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions are CO2 emissions produced through burning fossil fuels — oil, coal and natural gas — to generate energy.
  • Since the early 2000s, carbon emissions have increased because of high growth in the Indian economy.
  • In 2014, India’s total carbon emissions were more than three times the levels in 1990, as per World Bank data. This is because of India’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels and a dramatically low level of energy efficiency.

Energy Mix

  • A part of the carbon revenue thus generated can be used for a systemic overhaul of the energy mix would address the pressing problem of environmental degradation.
  • The Indian economy’s energy mix needs to be remodelled through investments in clean renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and low-emissions bioenergy, and by raising the level of energy efficiency through investments in building retrofits, grid upgrades, and industrial efficiency.
  • According to our estimates, this energy mix overhaul requires an additional 1.5% of GDP (to the current annual level of 0.6%) annually over the next two decades.
  • Assuming that the Indian economy grows at 6% per annum and the population is likely to rise from 1.3 billion to 1.5 billion over the next two decades, the per capita emissions will still fall as a result of this policy, from the International Energy Agency’s 2035 Current Policy Scenario of 3.1 metric tonnes to 1.5 metric tonnes — a 52% decline.
  • Since this expenditure is financed by the carbon tax revenue, it will be a revenue-neutral policy with no implications on the fiscal deficit.

Problems with carbon tax.

  • Carbon tax is regressive in nature — it affects the poor more than the rich.
  • Economists in the West have argued for a ‘tax and dividend’ policy according to which the revenue thus generated is distributed equally across its citizens and as a result, the poor are more than compensated for the loss, since in absolute amounts the rich pay more carbon tax than the poor.
  • Such a policy of cash transfer, which might work in the West, however, has a problem in the Indian context, which has been discussed in the context of the Right to Food debate.
  • Instead of a cash transfer, the other part of the carbon revenue can be used for an in-kind transfer of free electricity to the population that contributes less carbon than the economy average, and universal travel passes to compensate for the rise in transport costs and to encourage the use of green public transport.
  • As of 2014, more than 20% of India’s population did not have access to electricity. In July 2012, India experienced a blackout affecting roughly 70 crore people.
  • Through this Right to Energy programme, every household in India will have access to electricity, a feat that almost all the governments since Independence have dreamt of but have failed to deliver.
  • The free entitlement of fuel and electricity for a household works out to 189 kWh per month based on our calculations from the National Sample Survey data.
  • Anything above this limit will be charged in full to control misuse of this policy.
  • Travel passes with a pre-loaded balance amount of around Rs. 4,600 per household per annum, which can be used in any mode of public transport — private and government alike — will be available for every household.
  • The level of carbon tax required for this policy to come into effect is Rs. 2,818 per metric tonne of CO2. It will be levied upstream, namely, at ports, mine-heads, and so on.
  • While the prices of almost all the commodities will rise, the highest rise in price will be in fuel and energy since the carbon content is the highest in this category.

Other benefits of Cash transfer Policy

  • This policy curbs emissions and provides more employment since the employment elasticity in greener forms of energy is higher than those in fossil fuel-based energy.
  • Higher prices of commodities according to their carbon content will induce households, including the rich, to look for greener substitutes.
  • They have the effect of enticing even the poor to move away from traditional forms of energy consumption because the price of energy will be zero for them (provided they consume less than the cut-off limit) as compared to a shadow positive price in terms of the time used for collection of wood or cow dung cakes.
  • Availability of free energy also addresses the issue of stealing of electricity, since there will be no incentive left for those who steal.
  • In terms of health benefits,3% of India’s GDP currently spent on pollution-induced diseases will surely come down.

2. Health Care and Renewable Energy

  • Around 38 million Indians rely on health facilities without electricity. Without access to regular power supply, numerous life-saving interventions cannot be undertaken.
  • A recent study highlights the role of solar energy in bridging the gaps in electricity access in rural healthcare facilities.
  • In rural India, PHCs provide the last-mile delivery of healthcare services.
  • India has around 25,000 PHCs, and of the functional PHCs, 4.6% are not electrified.
  • Further, one in every two PHCs in rural India is either un-electrified or suffers from irregular power supply.

Moving to Renewable sources of Energy

  • The use of renewable energy sources such as solar could help PHCs augment or even substitute traditional grid-based power systems.
  • This would also help the transition towards a low-carbon, climate-smart healthcare system.
  • Moreover, solar systems can facilitate reliable and uninterrupted electricity supply critical for 24/7 emergency services, deliveries and neonatal care, as well as inpatient and outpatient services.
  • In order to augment electricity supply across PHCs in power-surplus Chhattisgarh, the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) installed off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) systems of 2kW each in 570 PHCs.

Impact of Solar power

  • Districts in Chhattisgarh with a higher share of power-deficit, showed a higher infant mortality rate, a higher under-five mortality rate, and a lower proportion of fully immunised children.
  • The CEEW study found that the solar-powered PHCs in Chhattisgarh admitted over 50% more patients and conducted almost twice the number of child deliveries in a month compared to the power-deficit PHCs without a solar system.
  • The ability of solar-powered PHCs to maintain cold chains to store vaccines and drugs and operate new-born care equipment has significantly improved.
  • Almost one-fourth of the power-deficit PHCs in Chhattisgarh relied exclusively on solar as a backup to run cold chain equipment.
  • Continuous electricity supply must be ensured to cold chains at PHCs, especially in rural Chhattisgarh, which has an infant mortality rate that is higher than the average for rural India.
  • Further, patients showed more willingness to get admitted for treatment at the solar-powered PHCs due to facilities like running fans.
  • Also, 90% of PHCs with solar systems reported cost savings due to lower electricity bills or reduced expenditure on diesel.

Scaling of Solar Energy

  • Scaling-up solar-powered systems across PHCs in rural India is dependent on three factors.
  • The first is to recognise the critical nature of electricity access in the entire health system infrastructure.
  • The Indian Public Health Standards has set minimum service-level benchmarks for all activities of PHCs, indicating that every PHC should have power supply with a back-up option.
  • The National Health Policy 2017 reiterates the commitment to improve primary healthcare by strengthening infrastructure.
  • The second is the ability to adapt solar systems around the local needs and considerations of PHCs including the burden of disease, weather, terrain, and power availability.
  • For example, disaster-prone areas that need blood storage units and other health services could invest in higher capacity systems or greater storage capacity.
  • Third, there must be a focus on making ‘Solar for Health’ a national priority.
  • Significant opportunities exist to simultaneously address the multi-sectoral goals of energy access, energy security, resource management, and health outcomes, often competing for resources and political attention.
  • Solar power for healthcare in Chhattisgarh is a crucial opportunity, with evidence that scaling this initiative can meet national and regional ambitions for energy access and improved health outcomes.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. ‘Growth may rebound to 7.2% in FY19’

Key Highlights of United Nations’ World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 report:

  • India is set to see growth accelerating to 7.2% in 2018-19 and 7.4% in 2019-20, up from the 6.7% in 2017-18.
  • However, it said, while the outlook for India remained positive on the back of strong private consumption and public investment, the poor state of private investment remained a key concern.
  • Gross fixed capital formation as a share of GDP has declined from about 40% in 2010 to less than 30% in 2017, amid subdued credit growth, low capacity utilisation in some industrial sectors and balance sheet problems in the banking and corporate sectors.

Monetary policy

  • There exists some degree of uncertainty over the monetary policy stance in India
  • Subdued inflation, coupled with a good monsoon season, offers scope for additional monetary easing. However, if inflation accelerates faster than anticipated, the loosening cycle could end abruptly.

Category: CYBER-SECURITY

1. Govt. sets up NIC-CERT centre to detect, prevent cyberattacks

 In news:
          • The Centre unveiled the NIC-CERT centre that would monitor and help in early detection and mitigation of cyberattacks on government networks.
          • All communications between government departments — Centre, State and district, as well as interactions between the government and the citizens takes place through NIC’s network
          • NIC’s (National Informatics Centre) networks handle about 500 GB of data at any given point in time.

Working in tandem

          • NIC-CERT will operate in close co-ordination and collaboration with other sectoral CERTs and more so with CERT-In.
          • The government had already announced setting up of sectoral CERTs (computer emergency response teams) for sectors such as finance and power.
          • Using various tools, the team at NIC-CERT will be able to identify vulnerabilities and possible exploits and the intelligence gathered will give CERT the ability to predict and prevent attacks.
          • It will also alert the concerned parties concerned in case it detects any malicious activity.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. ISRO developing a compact launcher for small satellites

In News:

  • Indian Space Research Organisation is all set to manufacture a low-cost small satellite launcher.
  • The launcher should be able to put satellites of up to 500-600 kg in orbits close to the Earth.
  • It could tremendously cut the launch fee that customers would have to pay. Which is what all space agencies aim at: low-cost access to space, as they call it.

Easy to assemble

  • Today, it takes 300-plus engineers and about 40 days to assemble a PSLV.
  • A small launcher that can be got up perhaps in three days by a small team would make a big difference in the market as well as to the launch provider.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

E. PRELIMS FACT

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. “Ajeya Warrior- 2017” is a combined military exercise between India and which 
country?
  1. Japan
  2. Russia
  3. Australia
  4. United Kingdom

See

Answer
Question 2. The Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary (AWS) is located in which state/UT?
  1. Tamil Nadu
  2. Andhra Pradesh
  3. Nagaland
  4. Assam

See

Answer
Question 3. Which of the following crop types are affected generally positively by 
western disturbances in India?
  1. Rabi Crop
  2. Kharif Crop
  3. Zaid Crop
  4. None of them

See

Answer
Question 4. If Panchayat is dissolved elections are to be held within:
  1. 1 month
  2. 3 months
  3. 6 months
  4. 1 year

See

Answer
Question 5. Which one among the following has highest energy?
          1. Blue light
          2. Green light
          3. Red light
          4. Yellow light

See

Answer

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper I
 
  1. Moderate phase of Congress was an important phase of our independence movement. Elucidate.
GS Paper II
 
  1. Discuss the Ethical Issues of Climate change across the Globe with special reference to India.
  2. Differentiate between Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.
 
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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