16 Apr 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 16 Apr 2022:-Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY
1. No one can insist that judge disclose reason for recusal: Delhi HC
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Egypt to import wheat from India
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. A profitable winter in Kashmir
HEALTH
1. The food vaccine as right, more so for TB patients
EDUCATION
1. Take two
F. Prelims Facts
1. e-DAR portal
2. Cyclopean wall
G. Tidbits
1. ‘India to get record number of doctors in next 10 years’
2. If harmed, India will not spare anyone, says Defence Minister
3. India gets S-400 training equipment
4. Navy accelerates indigenisation efforts, focus on weapons and aviation items
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Egypt to import wheat from India

Syllabus: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries

Mains: Analysis of trade relations between Egypt and India.

Context

The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry said that Egypt has approved to import wheat from India.

Background

  • Egypt is one of the biggest importers of wheat.
  • Most of its imports are from Ukraine and Russia.
    • Nearly 80% of Egypt’s wheat imports estimated to be around $2 billion in 2021 were from Russia and Ukraine.
  • In the wake of trade disruptions caused due to the Ukraine conflict, Egypt is exploring other sources to import wheat to meet its demand.

Wheat exports to Egypt

  • Officials from agriculture quarantine and pest risk analysis of Egypt examined the processing units, port facilities and farms in various states in India and agreed to import wheat from India.
  • India is undertaking measures to ensure that the best quality of wheat will be exported to Egypt.
  • India is looking to export about 1 million tonnes of wheat to Egypt.
    • India aims to export about 10-11 million tonnes of wheat in FY23 due to the increase in global demand post the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • India is having trade talks with various other countries that look to import wheat from the country.
India – Egypt Trade Relations

  • Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important trading partners in Africa.
  • The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement has been in operation since 1978.
  • The bilateral trade was valued at $ 4.15 billion in 2020-21.
    • Egypt’s exports to India were valued at $ 1.89 billion
    • Imports from India at $ 2.26 billion
    • India has a favourable trade balance of about US$ 372 million.
  • Top imports from Egypt – Mineral Oil, Fertilizers, Inorganic Chemicals and Cotton
  • Top exports to Egypt – Buffalo Meat, Light Vehicles and Heavy Machinery.
Wheat production in India

  • India is the second-largest wheat producer in the world.
    • Indian wheat accounted for about 14.14% of the world’s total production in 2020.
  • India produces nearly 107.59 million tonnes of wheat per year and most of it is consumed domestically.
  • Major wheat-growing states: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat.
  • In 2019-20, wheat exports were worth 61.84 million USD, which increased to 549.67 million USD in 2020-21.
  • Key export destinations: Bangladesh, Nepal, the UAE, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar, Indonesia, Oman and Malaysia.
Nut Graf
The surge in the demand for wheat worldwide following the crisis in Ukraine and the low pricing of Indian wheat have provided a golden opportunity for India to boost its wheat exports to various countries which did not traditionally import wheat from India.

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. A profitable winter in Kashmir

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to growth, development and employment.

Mains: Reasons for increasing tourists in Jammu and Kashmir, various challenges associated with the industry and key initiatives by the government.

Context

The tourism sector in Kashmir is witnessing a surge.

Background

  • Tourism is one of the most important sectors of the economy in Jammu and Kashmir but the sector has been going through a lean patch in recent years.
  • Strict security measures were imposed and communication channels were suspended after the Union government decided to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status in August, 2019.
  • The pandemic also severely impacted the tourism sector in Kashmir.
  • However, Kashmir Valley has broken all the previous records of tourist arrivals in the first three months of 2022.
    • The valley witnessed about 3.5 lakh tourist arrivals in the months of January, February and March.
  • Experts feel that the numbers will increase further and expect to break a decade-old record when 13 lakh tourists visited Kashmir in a year.

Surge in the number of tourists

  • For the first time in the history of the houseboats, they were occupied during all the months of the winter season.
    • Generally, houseboats are closed in Kashmir around November and are reopened in February or March. But this winter (2021-22), nearly 65% of the houseboats did not close due to the rush of tourists.
  • There was a surge in the number of people at the Gondola which has Asia’s highest ropeway located at a 13,000-feet altitude in north Kashmir’s Gulmarg.
  • Over 3 lakh tourists visited the seasonal Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, the highest ever since the opening of the garden in 2007.
  • On April 13th 2022, over 16,000 passengers on 100 flights landed at the Srinagar airport, compared to 30 flights a day two years ago.

Key reasons for the surge in the number of tourists

  • Post covid tourism (revenge tourism) has increased the number of tourists significantly.
  • the higher and upper middle-class travellers who toured Europe are stranded due to the travel restrictions and have started exploring Kashmir which offers cheaper options.

Key challenges to the tourism sector in Kashmir

  • Security continues to be a major issue for the tourism industry.
    • Nearly 60 hotels are occupied by security forces.
  • Guidelines issued by the countries, such as the European countries and the U.S. which suggest their citizens restrict their visits to Srinagar and designating the rest of the Valley as “unsafe”, are still in place.
  • Surge in the prices due to increased demand.

Various initiatives by the government to support tourism sector in Kashmir

  • Newer routes and places for trekking have been identified to attract foreign travellers who prefer trekking over sightseeing.
  • Residential places are converted into guest houses.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir government offers a subsidy of up to 50% of the total cost to house owners for converting their homes into home stays, subjected to a ceiling of ₹5 lakh.
  • The land ceiling was also relaxed by the government to encourage the locals toward tourism.

Nut Graf
The surge in tourism in Jammu and Kashmir despite various security concerns is a welcome sign. In this context, it is crucial for the government and the industry to collaborate and come up with solutions to address various challenges in the sector to sustain the inflow of tourists in the region.

Category: HEALTH

1. The food vaccine as right, more so for TB patients

Syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

Mains: Significance of nutritional status in addressing the incidence of TB and TB mortality.

Context

This article talks about the importance of addressing undernutrition in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB)

Background

  • Earlier, it was believed that “every ill had a pill and the pill killed the germs that made you ill”.
  • Various aspects such as genetic and metabolic causes, hormonal imbalance and altered neuro-chemical transmitters causing illnesses were less known then. But there was a good understanding of the importance of good air and nutrition which helped reduce illnesses such as tuberculosis (TB).
    • Hence, sanatoriums/sanatoria to cure TB were set up in mountain terrain, with fresh air, pure water and good food.
  • There was no medicine to cure TB until the discovery of streptomycin in 1943.

Significance of nutritional status in curing TB

  • The improved wages, better living standards and the higher purchasing power for food, had resulted in reducing the TB mortality rate from 300 people per 1,00,000 population to 60 in England and Wales.
  • TB was also suppressed to a large extent in socio-economically developed countries even before the rise of chemotherapy.
  • Reports from the Second World War suggest that there was a 92% decrease in the TB infections among British soldiers who had access to an additional Red Cross diet of 1,000 calories with 30 grams of protein when compared to Russian soldiers who were fed only a camp diet.
  • An expert from the World Health Organization (WHO) says that “nutrition of the individual, is the most vital factor in the prevention of tuberculous disease,”.
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that it is highly unlikely that drugs alone can combat TB in underdeveloped countries without rising nutritional status.

Issues associated with the treatment of TB

  • After the discovery of drugs such as streptomycin injection, isoniazid and para-aminosalicylic acid to cure TB, various other aspects of therapy were ignored.
  • With the extensive use of new drugs such as rifampicin, ethambutol, pyrazinamide, the TB bacteria have become multidrug resistant.
  • All the treatment mechanisms have generally been bacteria-targeted and not patient-centric.

Status of TB in India

  • India has about 28 lakh active TB cases.
  • TB is regarded as the disease of the poor and the poor are three times less likely to go for treatment and four times less likely to complete their treatment for TB.
  • A team at Jan Swasthya Sahayog hospital in Chhattisgarh found that poor nutritional status was associated with a higher risk of TB.
    • During 2004-09, out of the 1,695 pulmonary TB patients they treated, men had an average body weight of 42.1 kg and a body mass index (BMI) of 16. women had an average body weight of 34.1 kg and a BMI of 15.
    • These levels of undernutrition resulted in a two-four times increase in mortality due to TB.
  • Research in 2014, also established that undernutrition is the main cause of India’s TB epidemic.
  • It is said that 90% of Indians exposed to TB remain dormant if their nutritional status is good which ensures better immunity against infection.

Government’s initiatives to address the problem of malnutrition among TB patients

  • The central TB division of the Ministry of Health drafted a “Guidance Document – Nutritional Care and Support for Patients with Tuberculosis in India”
  • Several organisations have started to provide eggs, milk powder, dhal, Bengal gram, groundnuts and cooking oil to the TB patients along with drugs.
  • Chhattisgarh provided a supply of groundnut, moong dhal and soya oil,
  • Since April 2018, under the Nikshay Poshan Yojana of the National Health Mission, all the States have started to extend cash support of ₹500 per month to TB patients to buy food.

The need for “Food vaccine”

  • According to the experts, undernutrition and TB are “syndemics” and the intake of sufficient nutrition will act as a vaccine to prevent TB.
  • This vaccine is “polyvalent” i.e. it acts against various gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections.
  • The food vaccine can be produced without patent rights, without any side-effects and is safe.
  • Further, the food vaccine is guaranteed through the “right for life” under the Constitution for all citizens.

Nut Graf
It is important for the government to increase the amount extended to TB patients and widen the nutrition education and counselling support to address the problems of undernutrition, as it is crucial for achieving the goals of reducing the incidence of TB and TB mortality in India.

Category: EDUCATION

1. Take two

Syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education.

Mains: Critical evaluation of new guidelines of UGC that allows students to pursue two full-time academic programmes simultaneously

Context

The University Grants Commission (UGC) issued guidelines that permit students to take up two academic programmes simultaneously at higher education institutes.

Details

  • The move is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, “which emphasises the need to facilitate multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education”.
  • The guidelines will be applicable for academic programmes other than Ph.D. and the students cannot claim retrospective benefits.
  • The UGC has proposed a three-way choice for dual programmes that involve a combination of;
    • Offline only
    • Offline with distance mode
    • Distance/online only modes
  • The UGC has also mandated that open/distance learning and online mode courses should be pursued only in higher education institutions recognised by UGC or any other statutory councils or the Government of India.

Arguments in favour of the new guidelines

  • The move will widen the horizons and impart more flexibility to higher education.
  • The move which aims to facilitate “anytime, anywhere and any-level learning” in higher education will help create a system that will be very flexible and devoid of any restrictions posed by institutions.
  • Granting students the liberty to enhance their skills and scope of employability through an additional degree is welcome.
  • The main provision of these reforms is the academic bank of credits that would ease global and national mobility of students who can avail multiple entry and exit options while pursuing multiple courses at the same time.
  • Digital technology-enabled learning has helped students become a part of the global community of learners.
  • The mandate to pursue higher education only from recognised institutions will eliminate dubious players in the online education segment.

Arguments against the guidelines

  • Critics feel that the move is elitist and could impede the nurturing of expertise in disciplines.
  • The move is also criticised by experts stating it will increase the burden on the universities and teachers.
  • Considering the aspects of competition, accessibility, academic- and physical infrastructure issues in education institutions, there is a need to revisit the guidelines.
  • The move to allow a student to pursue two full-time programmes in physical mode can cause problems because students, who are academically proficient or economically stronger can block seats in two in-demand courses thus robbing other’s chances.

Recommendations

  • The UGC’s Furqan Qamar Committee had recommended dual programmes with a second degree in open/distance mode and ruled out offering simultaneous degree courses under regular mode as it may create “logistic, administrative and academic problems”.
    • The UGC should consider this recommendations and revisit its guidelines for the physical mode option
  • UGC must further look to strengthen and streamline the open/distance learning courses
  • UGC’s 2004 document for the provision of a double/multiple degree programme in engineering disciplines, it had proposed a “gap” before an engineering degree holder could enrol for an additional degree course.
    • This approach is pragmatic and could be applied to courses in arts and science.
Nut Graf
Although the fresh guidelines by the UGC are in the right spirit, which ensures a greater degree of flexibility in higher education, various loopholes in the guidelines have to be plugged to realise its complete potential.

F. Prelims Facts

1. e-DAR portal

Syllabus: GS-2; Governance; Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors.

Prelims: e-DAR portal

Context

A web portal named e-DAR has been developed by the government.

e-DAR (e-Detailed Accident Report) Portal

  • It has been developed by the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in consultation with the insurance companies.
  • It is a web portal that will help provide instant information on road accidents and accelerate accident compensation claims, bringing relief to victims’ families.
  • Digitalised Detailed Accident Reports (DAR) will be uploaded on the e-DAR portal for easy access and the web portal will be linked to the Integrated Road Accident Database (iRAD).
  • The portal will also be linked to other portals like “Vaahan” and will have access to information on driving licence details and registration of vehicles.
  • The e-DAR portal will be conducting multiple checks against fake claims by conducting a sweeping search of vehicles involved in the accident, the date of the accident, and the First Information Report number.
  • The portal will help in geo-tagging the accident location along with the site map.
  • Various information such as photos, videos of the accident spot, damaged vehicles, injured victims, eye-witnesses, etc., will be uploaded immediately on the portal.

2. Cyclopean wall

Syllabus: GS-1; Indian Heritage and Culture; Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Prelims: Cyclopean wall

Context

Bihar seeks UNESCO’s tag for ‘Cyclopean wall’.

Cyclopean wall

  • The Cyclopean Wall is a 2,500 years old structure at Rajgir in Bihar.
  • The Cyclopean Wall of Rajgir is a 40 km long wall built before the 3rd century BC, which encompasses the ancient city of Rajgriha and was built to protect it from invaders.
  • The Cyclopean Wall of Rajgir is believed to have been built in the pre-Mauryan era, using massive undressed stones.
  • It is among the oldest examples of cyclopean masonry in the world.
    • Cyclopean masonry is a type of stonework built with limestone boulders fitted together with minimal gap between adjoining stones and with clay mortar or no use of mortar.
  • The wall is said to have been constructed by the rulers of the Brihadratha (Rawani) Dynasty.

G. Tidbits

1. ‘India to get record number of doctors in next 10 years’

  • The Prime Minister of India said that the Union government’s policy of establishing a minimum of one medical college in every district will result in creating a record number of doctors in the next 10 years.
  • He further stated the example of Gujarat which had only nine medical colleges with around 1,100 MBBS seats 20 years ago and now the state has one AIIMS and over three dozen medical colleges and around 6,000 students get admission to these colleges.

2. If harmed, India will not spare anyone, says Defence Minister

  • In his address to the Indian-American community, the Indian Defence Minister said that India would not spare anyone if harmed.
  • He also said that India has emerged as a powerful country and is marching towards becoming one of the top three economies of the world.
  • The Defence Minister further added that India does not believe in a diplomacy of “zero-sum game” and its relationship with one country could not be at the expense of the other.
  • India believes in maintaining a bilateral relationship that is based on a “win-win” for both the countries.

3. India gets S-400 training equipment

  • A few simulators and training equipments have arrived in India from Russia, whereas the delivery of a second operational unit would be delayed due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
  • In December 2021, India took delivery of the first S-400 regiment, five of which were contracted from Russia under a $5.43 billion deal signed in October 2018.
  • The first unit has been deployed in Punjab and is operational.
  • In the wake of U.S. sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), India and Russia have worked out payments through a rupee-rouble exchange for this deal.
  • The countries now are exploring the same payment method for larger bilateral trade.

4. Navy accelerates indigenisation efforts, focus on weapons and aviation items

  • The Indian Navy had taken steps towards indigenisation in 2014 by promulgating the Indian Navy Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030 to enable the indigenous development of equipment and systems.
  • This is in line with the Government’s move to reduce defence imports and boost domestic manufacturing which has gained further significance during the ongoing war in Ukraine and the large scale dependency of India on Russian arms and equipment.
  • The Navy is collaborating with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to reduce the timelines of development.
  • The focus currency is on the indigenous development and production of Anti-Submarine Weapons, Satcom, Anti-Ship Missiles, Medium Range Surface to Air Missile, combat management systems, software defined radios, network encryption devices, distress sonar systems, components of missiles and torpedoes, etc.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Nihangs are a prestigious armed Sikh order established by
  1. Guru Gobind Singh
  2. Maharaja Ranjit Singh
  3. Guru Hargobind
  4. Maharaja Sher Singh
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Nihang is an order of Sikh warriors, characterised by blue robes.
  • The order can be traced back to the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC):
  1. In case of a difference of opinion amongst the CEC and/or two other election commissioners, the matter is decided by the CEC.
  2. He holds office till the pleasure of the President, as he is appointed by him.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, All the commissioners possess equal powers and in case of a difference of opinion amongst the CEC and/or two other commissioners, the matter is decided by the Commission by a majority.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, CEC does not hold his office until the pleasure of the president, even though he is appointed by him.
    • The CEC is provided with security of tenure. He cannot be removed from his office except in the same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.
Q3. Consider the following statements:
  1. The Cyclopean Wall of Rajgir is given the status of a UNESCO world heritage site.
  2. Cyclopean Wall of Rajgir is believed to have been built in the pre-Mauryan era, using massive undressed stones.
  3. The ancient city of Rajgir was the capital city of King Bimbisara and he was a contemporary of Buddha.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, The Bihar government has recently sent a proposal to the Archaeological Survey of India to get the Cyclopean Wall of Rajgir listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
  • Statement 2 is correct, the Cyclopean Wall of Rajgir is believed to have been built in the pre-Mauryan era, using massive undressed stones.
  • Statement 3 is correct, The ancient city of Rajgir was the capital city of King Bimbisara and he was a contemporary of Buddha.
Q4. Gandhi went on an indefinite fast to protest against the Communal Award for the depressed 
classes in
  1. Ahmednagar Fort prison
  2. Central Jail Mianwali
  3. Madras Central Jail
  4. Yerwada Central Jail
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Gandhiji went on an indefinite fast to protest against the Communal Award for the depressed classes in the Yerwada Central Jail.
  • Yerwada Central Jail, built in 1871 by the British, had housed many freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi who was lodged in the jail thrice.
  • He spent several years in the Yerwada Jail during India’s freedom struggle, notably in 1932-33.
Q5. With reference to ‘Water Credit’, consider the following statements:
  1. It puts microfinance tools to work in the water and sanitation sector.
  2. It is a global initiative launched under the aegis of the World Health Organization and the World Bank.
  3. It aims to enable the poor people to meet their water needs without depending on subsidies.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Water Credit is a powerful solution and the first to put microfinance tools to work in the water and sanitation sector.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, It is a global initiative launched by Water.org. Water.org is a global non-profit organization working to bring water and sanitation to the world.
  • Statement 3 is correct, Water Credit helps bring small loans to those who need access to affordable financing and expert resources to make household water and toilet solutions a reality.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The lack of an objective standard in recusal of judges may cause uncertainty and judicial backlogs. Analyze. (10 Marks, 150 Words)[GS-2, Polity]
  2. Without addressing undernutrition the goals of reducing the incidence of TB and mortality in India cannot be reached. Examine. (10 Marks, 150 Words)[GS-2, Health]

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 16 Apr 2022:-Download PDF Here

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