UPSC 2017: Comprehensive News Analysis - December 10

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. 24 years on, OBC workforce in Centre still short of Mandal mark
2. Policy on methanol in petrol soon
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. Sri Lanka formally hands over Hambantota port on 99-year lease to China
2. UN rejects U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital
3. 266 million adults can’t read, 12 million children out of school: UNESCO
HEALTH ISSUES
1. Only 31% Indians have separate health policies
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. RBI survey shows consumer confidence, perceptions of employment prospects at multi-year lows
2. Labour-intensive exports need a policy push
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. 24 years on, OBC workforce in Centre still short of Mandal mark

 In news:
 
  • President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed a five-member commission to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) “to achieve greater social justice,”
  • A reality check shows that representation of OBCs in the workforce in Central Government offices falls far short of achieving the 27% quota recommended by the Mandal Commission.

Key Fact:

  • Data furnished under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by 24 of the 35 Union Ministries, 25 of the 37 Central departments and various constitutional bodies reveal that 24 years since the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations, across various groups of employees, the OBCs have not optimally benefited from it.
  • As on January 1, 2017, only 17% of the Group A officers in the 24 Ministries belong to the OBCs. The representation among the Group B officers is even lower at 14%.
  • Only 11% of the Group C employees are from the OBCs and in Group D, the figure is 10%.

Basic Information:

  • The Mandal Commission, or the Second Backward Classes Commission, was established in India on 1 January 1979 by the Janata Party government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai with a mandate to “identify the socially or educationally backward classes” of India. It was headed by Bhindeshwari Prasad Mandal, an Indian parliamentarian from Bihar, to consider the question of reservations for people to redress caste discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness. In 1980, the Commission’s report upheld the affirmative action practice under Indian law by recommending that members of Other Backward Classes (OBC) be granted reservations to 27 per cent of jobs under the Central government and public sector undertakings.

2. Policy on methanol in petrol soon

 In news:
 
  • The government is planning to come up with a policy for 15% blending of methanol in petrol to make it cheaper and to reduce pollution.
  • Key Fact: Methanol was made from coal and cost only ₹22 a litre as against the prevailing price of ₹80 a litre for petrol. China was making the coal byproduct for ₹17 a litre.

 

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS/BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. Sri Lanka formally hands over Hambantota port on 99-year lease to China

 In news:
 
  • Sri Lanka formally handed over the strategic southern port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease.

Key Fact:

  • The port, overlooking the Indian Ocean, is expected to play a key role in China’s Belt and Road initiative, which will link ports and roads between China and Europe.

 

2. UN rejects U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital

 In news:
 
  • UN Security Council urgent meeting: Eight of the 15 members of the UN Security Council had called for an urgent meeting to analyze the decision taken by Washington to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
  • Jerusalem is a final status issue for which a comprehensive, just and lasting solution must be achieved through negotiations between the parties.

 

3. 266 million adults can’t read, 12 million children out of school: UNESCO

Key Points:

  • 266 million adults are still unable to read and some 12 million children are yet to get enrolled in schools
  • 35% of the world’s illiterate population is in India
  • According to the UNESCO, if India can improve and change the education scenario, the total global education scenario will change

Children education:

  • There were some 12 million children who do not go to school
  • Part of sustainable development goals: Making education accessible to all as well as improving the quality of education available is one of the 17 sustainable development goals

Key focus areas:

  • The report also warns that “disproportionate blame on any one actor—in most cases teachers—for systemic educational problems can have serious negative side effects, widening inequality and damaging learning”
  • It also calls for “better regulation of private tutoring” globally as well as in India which was widening the education gap between the rich and the poor

Recommendations:

  • The report also recommends allocation of 4% of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for education or 15% of the total government expenditure
 

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. Only 31% Indians have separate health policies

 In news:
Highlights of  research conducted by Chrome Data Analytics and Media (CDAM):
  • Indians are more likely to have a vehicle or life insurance than health insurance
  • Only 31% of Indians had medical policies independent of those provided by their employers in spite of nearly half the survey respondents admitting to having faced a “financial emergency” due to medical needs.
  • The number of lives covered under health insurance policies during 2015-16 was 36 crore which is approximately 30% of India’s total population, according to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation.
  • Indians are also known to spend a significant fraction of their health expense out of their own pockets. 89% of health expenditure by India, in 2014, was out-of-pocket as compared to a global average of 18%. Also, government contributed no more than 30% of individual health expenditure in India according to a 2014 — the latest — assessment by the World Health Organisation.

 

B. GS3 Related

Category:ECONOMY

1. RBI survey shows consumer confidence, perceptions of employment prospects at multi-year lows

 In news:
 
  • RBI’s Consumer Confidence Index has slipped to 91.1 in November 2017, the lowest level in the last four years
  • A reading of above 100 denotes optimism, while one below 100 indicates pessimism
  • The RBI survey is conducted in the six metropolitan cities of Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi

Reasons:

  • One of the main reasons for consumer confidence to be so low is the perception on employment prospects
  • Clearly, demonetisation and the goods and services tax have had an adverse impact on employment.

2. Labour-intensive exports need a policy push

 In news:
 

Measures taken by the Government of India to boost exports:

  • Incentivized specific sectors such as ready-made garments and footwear.
  • Duty-free procurement of the inputs needed for exports on a self-assessment basis.
  • A New logistics division has been established in the department of commerce to coordinate development in the logistics space.
  • These measures, along with recent changes in the goods and services tax, are likely to help the export sector.

Reforms needed:

  • India needs structural changes to be able to attain higher and sustainable exports growth in the medium to long run, particularly in labour-intensive sectors.
  • India needs to work on increasing competitiveness to expand its exports share in the world market.
  • India needs to improve logistics to increase efficiency, both in terms of the time and costs involved.
  • The government will need to move forward with reforms in the factor market. India has a large number of small enterprises, which are not in a position to attain economies of scale and compete in international markets. As the Economic Survey highlighted, Indian firms in the apparel and leather sectors are smaller than those in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh. The reason for this is regressive labour laws. Firms in labour-intensive sectors will need more freedom to operate. Similarly, more flexibility in land acquisition will also help the manufacturing sector.
  • Threat of rising protectionism:  India needs to be prepared to protect its interests without compromising on its open trade policy. India has always supported rule-based multilateral trade negotiations under the WTO. But as progress has been limited in recent years, it should also look for opportunities to reduce trade barriers at the regional and bilateral levels.
  • Currency competitive: This is not to suggest that India needs an undervalued currency, but the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should not allow the rupee to appreciate sharply. The RBI has done well in recent months to absorb a significant amount of the foreign exchange flow by building reserves to keep the rupee in check.

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

E. PRELIMS FACT

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. In India, which one of the following states has the largest inland saline wetland?
  1. Gujarat
  2. Haryana
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Rajasthan

See

Answer
Question 3. Which of the following is the top level organizational structure of WTO?
  1. General Council
  2. Ministerial Conference
  3. Dispute settlement body
  4. Goods council

See

Answer
Question 4. Which if these is NOT one of the major styles or schools of ancient Indian art?
  1. Amravati
  2. Mathura
  3. Gandhara
  4. Sarnath

See

Answer
Question 5. Identify the correct statement with reference to K9 Vajra
  1. It is a Submarine
  2. It is an artillery gun
  3. It is a naval ship
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
GS Paper III
 
  • How globalization has led to the reduction of employment in the formal sector of the Indian economy? Is increased informalization detrimental to the development of the country?
GS Paper IV- Case Study
  • You are recently posted as district development officer of a district. Shortly thereafter you found that there is considerable tension in the rural areas of your district on the issue of sending girls to schools. The elders of the village feel that many problems have come up because girls are being educated and they are stepping out of the safe environment of the household. They are of the view that the girls should be quickly married off with minimum education. The girls are also competing for jobs after education, which have traditionally remained in boys’ exclusive domain, adding to unemployment amongst male population. The younger generation feels that in the present era, girls should have equal opportunities for education and employment, and other means of livelihood. The entire locality is divided between the elders and the younger lot and further sub-divided between sexes in both generations. You come to know that in Panchayat or in other local bodies or even in busy crossroads, the issue is being acrimoniously debated. One day you are informed that an unpleasant incident has taken place. Some girls were molested, when they were en route to schools. The incident led to clashes between several groups and a law and order problem has arisen. The elders after heated discussion have taken a joint decision not to allow girls to go to school and to socially boycott all such families, which do not follow their dictate.

  • I. What steps would you take to ensure girls’ safety without disrupting their education?

  • II. How would you manage and mould matriarchic attitude of the village elders to ensure harmony in the inter-generational relations? (250 words) (25 Marks)

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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