UPSC 2017: Comprehensive News Analysis - June 23

G.S. Paper -1

Topic: Societal Issues

  1. Facebook offers Indian women tools to protect privacy

New tool and Privacy:

  • Tool offers women greater control over their profiles and help keep them safe online
  • The first safeguard—identified by a small shield and blue border on the image—prevents strangers from downloading, sharing or tagging themselves in someone else’s profile picture, or taking a screen shot of the image.
  • The second overlays an additional design on the image that research shows dissuades people from making a copy of the image

Privacy Issue: Indian women were reluctant to show their faces in their profile pictures, fearing the images could be misused.

Key Fact: Facebook has 184 million active monthly users in India, its second-largest market after the United States.

Topic: Geography

  1. A law, this time for Antarctica


  • Preparing for a populous future in which Antarctica — the world’s only continent without countries and citizens — may see more tourists, over-exploited fisheries, disputes and crime.
  • India is drafting a dedicated Antarctica policy and a law that will likely be tabled in the winter session of Parliament.

In news:

  • Ministry of Earth Sciences officials tasked with drafting the law said that India, being among the countries that have acceded to the Antarctica Treaty, is expected to have a clear policy on the consequences of its activities in the region.

India and Antarctica:

  • India is expanding its infrastructure development in Antarctica.
  • The government is rebuilding its station, Maitri, to make it bigger and last for at least 30 years.
  • Dakshin Gangotri, the first Indian base established in 1984, has weakened and become just a supply base.
  • Bharati is an Antarctic research station commissioned by India. It is India’s third Antarctic research facility and one of two active Indian research stations, alongside Maitri. India has demarcated an area beside Larsemann Hills at 69°S, 76°E for construction. Bharati’s research mandate focuses on oceanographic studies and the phenomenon of continental breakup. It also facilitates research to refine the current understanding of the Indian subcontinent’s geological history.
  • The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research—a research and development body functioning under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India—controls the Indian Antarctic program. The NCAOR and the Department of Ocean Development select the members for India’s Antarctic expeditions.

Antarctica Treaty

  • Objective: The treaty is framed to ensure ‘in the interests of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.’
  • To this end it prohibits military activity, except in support of science; prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of nuclear waste; promotes scientific research and the exchange of data; and holds all territorial claims in abeyance.
  • Added conventions to the treaty:
  • Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972)
  • Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980)
G.S. Paper -2

Topic: Bilateral Relations

  1. Kulbhushan Jadhav files mercy petition before Pakistan Army Chief

Context: Kulbhushan Jadhav case

  • Jadhav had been sentenced to death by a military court in April this year for espionage and terrorism.
  • International Court of Justice in May halted the execution on India’s appeal.
  • Jadhav had earlier filed an appeal to the Military Appellate Court, which was rejected.

In news:

  • The Pakistan army announced that Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, awaiting death sentence in its country, has filed a mercy petition before its chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
  • In a statement, the ISPR(Inter service press release) has claimed that Jadhav has admitted to his involvement in espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan and expressed remorse at the resultant loss of many precious innocent lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions.
  • The statement also claimed that Jadhav is seeking forgiveness for his actions and he has requested the Chief of Army Staff to spare his life on compassionate grounds.

Options available:

  • Under the law he is eligible to appeal for clemency to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and if rejected, subsequently to the Pakistan President.
  1. India flags U.S. military aid to Pakistan

In news:

  • India has once again raised the issue of continued American military assistance to Pakistan and sought an end to cross-border terrorism.
  • India pointed out that Pakistan diverts U.S. military aid to target India.

U.S. drones for India

  • The U.S. has cleared the sale of 22 drones to India.
  • The deal being termed as a “game changer” ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit here for his meeting with President Donald Trump. The deal is estimated at about $3 billion.
G.S. Paper -3

Topic: Economic

  1. GST to help lower overall tax burden over time: Patel

In news:

  • Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel said the soon-to-be implemented goods and services tax (GST) will not only create a national market but will also broaden the tax base which in turn will lower the overall taxes in the long-term.
  1. SEBI eases norms to buy stressed assets

In news

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has relaxed norms for investors acquiring assets in companies with stressed assets and facing bankruptcy proceedings
  • Other Decisions:
  • SEBI has also decided to provide exemption for acquisitions post the resolution plans approved by National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016
  • SEBI has decided to levy a ‘Regulatory Fee’ of $1,000 on each subscriber of offshore derivative instrument (ODI)
  • This Fee will have to be collected by the registered foreign portfolio investor (FPI) that issues the ODIs

Forensic Audit

  • The SEBI is in the process of appointing a forensic auditor to look into the co-location matter of the National Stock Exchange (NSE)
  • At NSE, it is alleged that certain brokers had received preferential access to the exchange systems for execution of trades
  • The regulator is examining whether there was any connivance between NSE staffers and brokers

Basic Information:

The term “offshore derivative instrument“ (“ODI”) means any instrument, by whatever name called, which is issued overseas by a foreign portfolio investor against securities held by it that are listed or proposed to be listed on any recognised stock exchange in India, as its underlying.

  1. ‘Solar push could mean 3 lakh jobs by 2022’

In News:

  • A new report by the think tanks, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says solar and wind power could generate employment for 3,00,000 new workers
  • This will be possible if India is able to meet its commitment of adding 1,60,000 MW of renewable power (solar and wind power) by 2022

Current situation:

  • Currently both these industries employ around 21,000 people (Don’t remember data, but see low level of employment)

Future prospects:

  • With a strong domestic manufacturing policy in place, another 45,000 could find indirect full-time jobs
  • Solar jobs would be distributed fairly evenly across the country, with a pronounced tilt in favour of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh
  • Wind jobs were likely to be concentrated in a few States that have high wind potential

India’s commitment:

  • As part of its commitments to dealing with global warming, India has committed to installing 1,75,000 MW of green power by 2022
  • Of this, only 10% has been installed so far

Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)

  • The Council on Energy, Environment and Water, commonly known as CEEW, is a Delhi-based not-for-profit policy research institution.
  • Some of CEEW’s research areas include resource efficiency and security; water resources; renewable energy; sustainability finance; energy-trade-climate linkages; integrated energy, environment and water plans; and climate geoengineering governance.
  • The think-tank advises the Indian government
  1. India’s increasing green growth

India’s declining energy(non-green) dependency

  • India’s energy intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) has declined from 1.09kg unit of oil equivalent (koe) in the 1980s to 0.66 in recent times
  • China’s energy intensity is roughly 1.5 times that of India

Energy efficiency: Urban vs. Rural

  • Energy efficiency has improved in urban areas
  • Why: As urban settings have reduced the cost of electricity use per output level due to denser customer bases and more efficient plant sizes for local energy producers
  • Energy efficiency has not improved in rural regions when compared with urban regions
  • But large manufacturing enterprises are now de-urbanizing and moving into rural areas in search of lower land costs

Performance of Energy intensive Industries on Energy Efficiency front

  • The energy-intensive industries such as iron and steel, fertilizer, petroleum refining, cement, aluminum, and pulp and paper; account for the bulk of the energy consumed
  • They have recorded greater energy efficiency improvement
  • But many industries still remain inefficient by both national and international standards
  • There is substantial potential for energy savings in energy-intensive industries

Comparison among Indian States

  • The usage of electricity per unit output is remarkably high in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, and in some cases twice the level of India as a whole
  • But in states like Delhi and Haryana, electricity consumption levels are lower than the national average

How to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions?

Policymakers need to move on three fronts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(1) Increase energy efficiency

(2) Improve access to technology

(3) Promote renewable fuel

Where India stands on Energy Consumption?

  • India’s power system is the fifth-largest system in the world (after China, the US, Japan, and Russia) but it is still insufficient to meet India’s rapidly increasing demand
  • Electricity consumption in India is only around 566 KWh per capita, compared to the world average of 2,782 KWh per capita

The Way forward

  • Electricity shortages are frequent in India and are estimated to cost the country around 7% of GDP
  • India is still home to more than 250 million people who have no access to electricity
  • India’s green growth agenda should be extended beyond urban areas and also include rural areas
  • Policymakers need to review the incentives and regulations that govern self-production of electricity

Topic: Science and Technology

  1. PSLV will lock heavy weight Cartosat-2 into orbit today

In news:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying the Cartosat-2 series satellite, along with 30 co-passenger satellites.
  • It will be the 17th flight of the four-stage PSLV in the XL (extended) version with strap-on motors.
  • The rocket weighing 320 tonnes at lift-off uses solid propellant for the first and third stage and the strap-ons, while the second and fourth stage use liquid propellant.
  • Key feature: the second highest number of satellites to be launched by ISRO using a single rocket. In February this year, the PSLV-C37 mission launched 104 satellites into orbit, in a milestone achievement.
  • Satellites from 14 countries- Austria, Belgium, Chile, the Czech republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, United Kingdom and the U.S.
  1. ISRO plans complex manoeuvres

In news:

What is this complex manoeuvreing technique?

  • Technique involves series of shutting down and reignition of rocket engine in space.
  • The engines in the fourth stage will be reignited three times, in a bid to master the technique that will enable ISRO to inject satellites into different orbits in a single launch.
  • Once the last satellite has been separated from the rocket at a height of 520 km, the fourth stage of the rocket (PS4) comprising two liquid propellant engines will be shut down and reignited three times

Advantages: The multiple reignition of the on board engines will validate the technique and provide ISRO with the mission flexibility to inject satellites into three different orbits in a single flight to reduce the launch cost and save time.

Different orbits:

PSLV, is capable of launching satellites into different types of orbits like Sun Synchronous Polar Orbit (SSPO), Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Practice questions

1. Identify the correct statement with reference to Connshing syndrome

  1. Connshing syndrome is related to Hypertension
  2. Connshing syndrome is related to Hypotension.
  3. Connshing syndrome is linked to over production of stress hormone cortisol
  4. Both A and C.
2. Consider the following statements

  1. Higher aerosol loading results in delayed but more rainfall over Central and Northern India.
  2. Higher aerosol loading results in earlier but less rainfall over Central and Northern India.
  3. Aerosol has no effect on the monsoon


Choose the correct options

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 2 and 3 only

What’s in news?

  • Earlier belief: pre-monsoon aerosol loading results in decrease in seasonal rainfall due to aerosol-solar radiation interactions.
  • New Findings:
  • Long-term (2002-2013) satellite observational study and model-based analysis by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has found that higher aerosol loading results in delayed but more rainfall over Central and Northern India.
  • Higher aerosol loading changes cloud properties in terms of size (both height and width) and microphysics, which results in more rainfall.
  • When aerosol particles are higher, the number of nucleation sites increases resulting in far too many number of droplets. Under such circumstances, it takes time for the droplets to grow in size through condensation.
  • linkages; integrated energy, environment and water plans; and climate geoengineering governance.
  • The think-tank advises the Indian government

3. Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. There is a time limit of 30 days to file a Curative petition.
  2. The Curative petition is circulated among three senior most judges.

Choose the correct answer

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

4. Lingaraja Temple is built on which architectural style

  1. Kalinga Architecture
  2. Dravida Architecture
  3. Nagara Architecture
  4. Vasera Architecture

5. Consider the following statement with reference to Swadesh Darshan Scheme

  1. It is completely funded by Central government
  2. Ministry of tourism is the implementing agency
  3. It has two components – PRASAD and Swadeshi Darshan under its ambit.

Choose the correct statement

  1. Only 1
  2. Only2
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All are correct

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