UPSC 2017: Comprehensive News Analysis - December 17


A. GS1 Related
1. Saudi women will be allowed to drive bikes, trucks
B. GS2 Related
1. Gender-based laws: a double-edged sword
2. Big push for Northeast roads
1. IMA tightens the screws on antibiotic prescriptions
C. GS3 Related
1. Internet access for all: Prasad says he denied permission’ to Facebook’s Free Basics
1. Reduce pesticide residue in rice, States told
2. Biodiversity under alien attack
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 


A. GS1 Related


1. Saudi women will be allowed to drive bikes, trucks

In news:

  • Saudi Arabian women will be able to drive trucks and motorcycles
  • The kingdom had earlier announced a historic decision to end a ban on women driving.
  • But women involved in road accidents or who commit traffic violations will be dealt with at special centres that will be established and run by women.
  • Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women: Under the country’s guardianship system, a male family member — normally the father, husband or brother — must grant permission for a woman’s study, travel and other activities.

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Gender-based laws: a double-edged sword

In news:


  • The Supreme Court’s notice to the government regarding Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), relating to adultery laws, has brought dated assumptions about gender to light

About the provisions of the law:

  • The law allows the husband to initiate criminal proceedings against his wife’s lover
  • It does not punish his wife since it presumes that only a man can seduce a woman into a sexual act
  • Also, it is the husband who has suffered due to the sexual relationship of his wife, carried out without his consent
  • At the same time, the wife is not protected from similar behavior committed by her husband


  • The problem with this law is that it treats men and women differently
  • It perpetuates the notion that women are somehow naive, gullible, and lack the agency a man possesses

Is this the only law doing discrimination?

  • The law criminalizes consensual sex between minors as rape committed by the boy
  • Women are legally entitled to maintenance from their father until they get married, while boys are only allowed this until they are 18
  • If a woman dies without a will, the Hindu inheritance laws put the rights of her husband’s heirs above those of her parents
  • Women cannot be jailed for not filing their income tax
  • Marital rape is considered an oxymoron

Provisions related to Women’s security:

  • In the light of its failure to provide security, the state has resorted to protecting the interests of women through ad hoc provisions.These have proved to be counterproductive
  • Example: The recent legislation mandating paid maternity leave of 26 weeks and crèche facility in companies hiring more than 50 employees
  • The law intends to benefit working women, but the second-order effects of the piece of legislation will likely be that firms will hire fewer women, and pay those they hire less salary to compensate for the maternity benefits
  • The law furthers several stereotypes as well—that all women want to have babies, that all women want 26 weeks of paid leave, that it is only the woman’s job to take care of the newborn

State has used the law to perpetuate cultural practices

  • If relationships are abusive, it should be easy for the parties to leave them
  • But till as recently as September 2017, the Hindu Marriage Act required that even couples seeking divorce through mutual consent demonstrate that they had tried to work on their marriage
  • They should wait for at least six months after they had first filed for divorce
  • There is, however, still no provision for divorce on grounds of ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’—a standard practice in other countries

Way forward

  • In a civilized society, physical strength should not determine your options in life
  • In the West, more social progress on gender equality has been made because women are relatively freer to live independent lives
  • It’s time to remove from the law all privileges and disadvantages that are based on gender



1. IMA tightens the screws on antibiotic prescriptions

In news:


  • The problem of multi-drug resistance due to widespread and indiscriminate use of antimicrobial and antibiotic drugs continues unabated in India.

In news:

  • Many bacterial infections could not be treated properly or the treatment won’t be effective cause of growth in multi- drug resistance.
  • The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has advised doctors to follow strictly guidelines while prescribing antibiotics.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had previously set up the National Anti-Microbial Resistance Research and Surveillance Network (AMRRSN) to enable compilation of data of such resistance at different levels of healthcare and publish the treatment guidelines for anti-microbial use in common syndromes.
  • Despite these steps the multi-drug resistance cases grew in India.
  • IMA guidelines:
  • Mandatory restriction on the usage of antibiotics for treatment of proven bacterial infections.
  • The doctors should henceforth write the antibiotic in a box to differentiate it from other drugs in the prescription.
  • When prescribing antibiotics, clear instructions should be given to the patient about no refill of antibiotic prescription without the signature of the doctor.
  • No antibiotics should be prescribed for small bowel diarrhoea, fever with cough and cold, dengue, chikungunya, malaria and fever with rashes.
  • Early initiation of antibiotics is the rule in suspected sepsis bacterial pneumonia meningitis and confirmed tuberculosis cases.

What can be done?

  • Prescription audit: the government should conduct random “prescription audits” in both private and public sectors to improve medication safety.



1. Big push for Northeast roads

In news:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated crucial connectivity and power projects in Mizoram and Meghalaya.

Key points:

  • Project Inaugurated: Mizoram: 60-MW Tuirial hydropower power project
  • In Meghalaya, P.M announced a grant of ₹90,000 crore for improving roads and national highways in the northeast over two or three years to improve connectivity.
  • M. dedicated to the nation a 271-km two-lane national highway connecting Tura in western Meghalaya to Shillong.
  • Act East Policy of the Union government would soon make Mizoram the gateway to the Southeast Asian countries, which include Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
  • The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, connecting Aizawl with the deep-water Sittwe Port in Myanmar, would provide great benefits to the people of the north-eastern States.
  • The development of the Rih-Tiddim road and the establishment of numerous rural markets along the Mizoram-Myanmar border would increase trade volume.


B. GS3 Related


1. Internet access for all: Prasad says he denied permission’ to Facebook’s Free Basics

In news:


  • Right to access of internet cannot be denied
  • India’s stand on Internet access: right of non-discriminatory access to internet is not negotiable

In news:

  • Law and IT minister said he had denied permission to Facebook’s Free Basics platform when he was handling portfolio of the communications ministry.
  • Facebook was offering free internet access to some websites that were available on its Free Basics platform.


Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regulations:

  • The TRAI had issued guidelines in February 2016 on discriminatory pricing over internet access which led to ban of platforms like Free Basics and Airtel Zero.
  • TRAI ruled against discriminatory pricing for different data platforms or content and said operators cannot enter into pacts with internet companies to subsidise access to some websites.
  • As per ruling, the companies violating the rules will be fined Rs 50,000 per day for the duration of contravention, subject to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh.


TRAI recommendations on net neutrality:

  • It prohibited internet service providers from making any discrimination in traffic while providing web access by either blocking or throttling some apps, websites and services or by offering ‘fast lanes’ to others.

Basic Information:

Free Basics:

  • io is a partnership between social networking services company Facebook and six companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that plans to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries by increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access.
  • The app delivering these services was renamed Free Basics in September 2015.
  • It has been criticized for violating net neutrality, and by handpicking internet services that are included, for discriminating against companies not in the list, including Facebook’s rivals.



1. Biodiversity under alien attack

In news:

  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has for the first time compiled a list of alien invasive animal species.

Biodiversity under alien attack

  • Just as alien plant species such as Parthenium hysterophorus (cotton grass) and Lantana camara (Lantana) are known to harm agriculture and biodiversity, invasive animal species pose a threat to biodiversity and human well-being.
  • Alien species become ‘invasive’ when they are introduced deliberately or accidentally outside their natural areas, where they out-compete the native species and upset the ecological balance..


  • Paracoccus marginatus (Papaya Mealy Bug), which belongs to Mexico and Central America but is believed to have destroyed huge crops of papaya in Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
  • Phenacoccus solenopsis (Cotton Mealybug) is a native of North America but has severely affected cotton crops in the Deccan.
  • Among the invasive fish species, Pterygoplichthys pardalis (Amazon sailfin catfish) has been destroying fish populations in the wetlands of Kolkata.
  • Achatina fulica (African apple snail) is said to be most invasive among all alien fauna. It is a mollusc and was first reported in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But today it is found all across the country and is threatening the habitats of several native species.
  • Tubastrea coccinea (Orange Cup-Coral), which originated in Indo-East Pacific but has now been reported in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Gulf of Kutch, Kerala and Lakshadweep.


2. Reduce pesticide residue in rice, States told

In news:

  • The pesticide level in rice exceeds the stipulated limit in the major rice producing States in South India.
  • Export of rice has faced problems in the last few years in different markets such as the U.S., E.U. and Iran owing to detection of pesticides exceeding the prescribed maximum residue limits (MRLs).
  • The centre has asked the Southern states to take necessary steps to reduce the pesticide residue.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana have been asked by the Union Ministry of Agriculture to keep a watch on the use of pesticides by farmers that could finally enter the food chain.

Permissible limits:

  • The European Union has brought the MRL of Tricyclazole to 0.01 gm/kg.
  • The U.S. does not permit the presence of residue of Isoprothiolane beyond 0.01 gm/kg.
  • Key Fact: Tricyclazole and Isoprothiolane, are the two pesticides commonly used in paddy cultivation to prevent blast disease, a major threat to the Basmati and non-Basmati crops. 


D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!



Nothing here for Today!!!


F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which one of the following conditions is most relevant for the presence of life on Mars?
  1. Atmospheric circulation
  2. Thermal Conditions
  3. Occurrence of ice caps and frozen water
  4. Occurrence of Ozone.




Question 2. If a new state of the Indian Union is to be created,
 which one of the following schedules of the Constitution must be amended?
  1. First
  2. Second
  3. Third
  4. Fourth


Question 3. Ease of doing business report is published by
  1. World Bank
  2. IMF
  3. Asian Development Bank
  4. United Nations




Question 4. Often we see “Air Independent Propulsion” term in news, it is associated with
  1. Submarines
  2. Cruise Missiles/li>
  3. Helicopters
  4. Aircrafts




Question 5.The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is associated with which one of the following cities? 
  1. Kochi
  2. Mumbai
  3. Mysore
  4. Pune




Type: Culture
Level: Moderate


  • Mumbai The Kala Ghoda festival is a most prominent cultural event in Mumbai. The nine-day long festival is a prominent attraction for thousands of visitors from all over the country as well as from the world. Kala Ghoda festival is held annually in the months of January or February.

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper I
  1. In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and sustainable all-weather inland navigation in India?
GS Paper IV
  1. One of the scientists working in the R & D laboratory of a major pharmaceutical company discovers that one of the company’s bestselling veterinary drugs, B has the potential to cure a currently incurable liver disease that is prevalent in tribal areas. However, developing a variant of the drug suitable for human beings entailed a lot of research and development having a huge expenditure to the extent of 50 crores rupees. It was unlikely that the company would recover the costs as the disease was rampant only in poverty-stricken area having very little market otherwise. If you were the CEO, then— (a) Identify the various actions that you could take; (b) Evaluate the pros and cons of each of your actions.

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis


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