24 Apr 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. RS Chairman rejects motion against Chief Justice Misra
2. SC notice to govt. on petition to outlaw Section 377
3. SC to review order on dowry cases
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India, China are guardians of multipolar world
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. India highest recipient of remittances
2. TCS now in $100 bn market capitalisation club
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. The risks in fracking
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. The Asian ripple effect
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. RS Chairman rejects motion against Chief Justice Misra

 

  • Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu refused to admit the motion for removal of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, a first in India’s constitutional history.
  • Naidu ruled that the Opposition’s petition was based on suspicion, conjectures and assumptions, and doesn’t constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt.
  • Other Observations of Chairman
    • The same certainly does not constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt, which is required in a case of ‘proved misbehaviour’ under Article 124 of the Constitution.
    • Conversations between third party with dubious credentials, which have been extensively relied upon, cannot themselves constitute any material evidence against the office of Chief Justice of India.
  • As for the charge of the CJI arbitrarily assigning politically sensitive cases to select judges, Mr. Naidu quoted a five-judge Bench order of the SC that reiterates the CJI as being master of the roster.

2. SC notice to govt. on petition to outlaw Section 377

 

  • Plea seeks inclusion of ‘right to choice of sexual orientation’ as a fundamental right of the Constitution.The Supreme Court asked the government to respond to a plea by a hotelier to strike down the colonial Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality.
  • A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra issued notice to the Centre on the plea by the Lalit Suri hospitality group head Kesav Suri, seeking the ‘Right to choice of sexual orientation’ to be declared as part of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

January 8 ruling

  • On January 8, the three-judge Bench decided to re-visit a December 2013 verdict of the Supreme Court in Suresh Kumar Kaushal versus Naz Foundation , which dismissed the LGBT community as a negligible part of the population while virtually denying them the right of choice and sexual orientation.
  • The court said a section of people cannot live in fear of a law which atrophies their right to choice and natural sexual inclinations. It said societal morality changes with time and the law should change pace with life, adding that the concept of consensual sex may require more protection.
  • While the court noted that Section 377 punishes carnal intercourse against order of nature, it added that the determination of order of nature is not a common phenomenon. Individual autonomy and individual natural inclination cannot be atrophied unless the restrictions are determined as reasonable.
  • It observed that what is natural for one may not be natural for the other, but the confines of law cannot trample or curtail the inherent rights embedded with an individual under Article 21 (right to life).

3. SC to review order on dowry cases

 

  • Dowry has a chilling effect on marriage, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said, agreeing to decide whether a July 2017 order of the top court, which bans the immediate arrest of accused persons and allows grant of bail to them on the same day, dilutes anti-dowry harassment law.
  • A three-judge Bench, led by the Chief Justice, reserved for judgment a bunch of writ petitions, filed challenging the July 27 order by another Bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit.

July 27 : Directions issued by the Court

  • The order had said that women were filing frivolous dowry complaint against husbands and in-laws. Among a series of directions, Justice Goel’s Bench said there should be no arrest of accused until the local Family Welfare Committees, set up by the National Legal Services Authority, composed of social workers, homemakers, retired persons, etc., vet the complaint.
  • The July 27 order said that criminal proceedings in dowry harassment cases can be settled and the accused can get bail. Even the recovery of dowry articles should not be a deterrent for grant of bail. The order was passed by invoking the extraordinary powers of the Supreme Court to administer complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution.

Not practical

  • The Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha, said the order was not practical. He said the States had written back to the Centre, saying that setting of family welfare committees and monitoring them were not implementable. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, for a petitioner, said the court should lay down directions only if there was a vacuum in law.
  • Section 498A (dowry harassment) of IPC protects gender justice and rights. There should not be any kind of cruel treatment of women.
  • Senior advocate Indu Malhotra, for a petitioner, objected to how the order bars the issuance of Red Corner Notice. Ms. Malhotra submitted that investigation of a crime is the police’s job and not that of a family welfare committee composed of non-legal persons.
  • Earlier, Chief Justice Misra had said that the July 27 order blunted the purpose of Section 498A as an effective law to protect human rights of married woman who live in torture.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India, China are guardians of multipolar world

 

  • China asserted that Beijing and New Delhi are at the vanguard of a new wave of globalisation and are the guardians of a multipolar world.
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in response to questions regarding the upcoming informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Wuhan that India and China are important forces in promoting the multipolar world and economic liberalisation, and as well as ensuring peace, stability and development.
  • Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi and visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday jointly announced that a two-day summit between Mr. Xi and Mr. Modi will be held in Wuhan from April 27.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. India highest recipient of remittances

 

  • India retained the top position as a recipient of remittances with its diaspora sending about $69 billion back home last year, the World Bank said.
  • Remittances to India picked up sharply by 9.9%, reversing the previous year’s dip, but were still short of $70.4 billion received in 2014. In its latest Migration and Development Brief, the World Bank estimated that officially recorded remittances to low-and middle-income countries reached $466 billion in 2017. This was an increase of 8.5% over $429 billion in 2016.
  • Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, grew 7 per cent to USD 613 billion last year, from USD 573 billion in 2016, the bank said. The stronger-than-expected recovery in remittances was driven by growth in Europe, Russia and the U.S. The rebound in remittances, when valued in U.S. dollars, was helped by higher oil prices and a strengthening of the Euro and the Ruble, it added.
  • India continued to top in terms of receiving remittance, and was followed by China ($64 billion), the Philippines ($33 billion), Mexico ($31 billion), Nigeria ($22 billion) and Egypt ($20 billion).
  • The Bank said remittances to South Asia grew a moderate 5.8% to $117 billion.Reversing the previous year’s sharp decline (8.9% in 2016), remittances to India in 2017 picked up by 9.9%, the Bank said. As against $62.7 billion in 2016, it received $69 billion last year.

‘Upsurge to continue’

  • The upsurge is likely to continue into 2018 on the back of stronger economic conditions in advanced economies (particularly the U.S.) and an increase in oil prices that should have a positive impact on the GCC countries.
  • Barriers to reducing costs are derisking by banks and exclusive partnerships between national post office systems and money transfer operators. These factors constrain the introduction of technologies, such as mobile apps and the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain in remittance services.

2. TCS now in $100 bn market capitalisation club

 

  • Tata Consultancy Services became only the second Indian company to cross the $100 billion mark in market capitalisation, buoyed by a robust outlook for its business and a weakening rupee. The software major, which listed in 2004, follows Reliance Industries Ltd., which touched the milestone on October 29, 2007.
  • On the BSE, TCS shares touched an intraday high of Rs. 3,557, which lifted the market capitalisation to almost $103 billion. The stock, however, could not hold on to the gains amid profit-booking and closed the day just 0.26% higher at Rs. 3,415.20, giving it a market value of $98.2 billion.
  • In contrast, RIL’s current market capitalisation is about $89 billion, while TCS’s smaller competitor Infosys Ltd. has a market value of $38.8 billion. Though much larger than TCS, the global $100 billion club includes Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc., Amazon, Facebook, ExxonMobil, Walmart Inc. and Samsung.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. The risks in fracking

 

  • Many scholars believe that fossil fuel energy will decline markedly by 2050. Such conclusions have been challenged by others who say that the earth has enough resources to quench humankind’s thirst for development for many centuries to come. Among other energy supplies, shale gas and oil are likely to be abundant and available.

What is Shale gas?

  • Shale gas and oil are unconventional natural resources found at 2,500-5,000 m below the earth’s surface, as compared to conventional crude oil found at 1,500 m.
  • The process of extracting shale oil and gas requires deep vertical drilling followed by horizontal drilling. The most common way to extract shale gas is ‘hydraulic fracturing’ (fracking), where high volumes of water mixed with certain chemicals are pushed down to break the rocks and release the trapped energy minerals.

Fracking in India

  • Because of its benefits, shale gas is being perceived by some as a ‘saviour’ of humanity. Fracking seems an attractive tool, both politically and economically.
  • To gain such benefits, the government introduced a policy on shale gas and oil in 2013, permitting national oil companies to engage in fracking.
  • Under the first phase, shale gas blocks were identified in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
  • However, environmental groups have strongly criticised this move, which they say will have adverse environmental impacts. Countries like Germany and France and subnational governments like Scotland have banned fracking.

Positive and negative impacts

  • Fracking is bound to have positive economic and political impacts. In the U.S., where shale gas has been commercially exploited for two decades, the prices of fuel and electricity have dropped.
  • Recent negotiations between the Secretary of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and American shale producers to control oil production and prices show that the U.S. has gained significant political advantage.
  • Similarly, if India commercially exploits shale deposits, it could meet its ever-increasing energy demand, decrease oil and gas imports, and improve the balance of payments.
  • While this paints a possible bright future, fracking is bound to have a detrimental impact on local communities and the environment.
  • As fracking consumes large amounts of water (average 15,000 m3/well) and relatively larger surface area, it is bound to impact irrigation and other local requirements.
  • In the U.S. experience, out of 260 chemical substances, 58 have been identified to pose a risk to human life and environment, eight are carcinogens and 17 are toxic to freshwater organisms.
  • Further, as 25-90% of the fluid is not retrieved and cracks in the shaft are possible, there is a high risk of pollution to nearby underground water. Instances of groundwater pollution have been reported in the U.S. (Pennsylvania) and Canada.
  • Fracking has other impacts such as increased air emissions (including greenhouse gases) and seismic activity. Environmental impact assessments of the European Union and the U.K. have recognised these risks.

Legal hurdles

  • The Supreme Court of India has ruled that every person has the right to enjoy pollution-free water and air.
  • It is also an established principle that the state holds its natural resources in trust for the benefit of the people, and has the duty to protect these resources from harm.
  • If the risk from fracking to underground water materialises, courts can hold the state responsible for it, stop the activity, and order other corrective and preventive measures.
  • Another hurdle that fracking might face is the ‘precautionary principle’, which has been incorporated into law.
  • It dictates that where there is a significant risk to the environment or human health, precautionary measures must be undertaken, irrespective of any scientific uncertainty.
  • Therefore, even though some scholars might contest the above-mentioned risks posed by fracking, the government would be obliged to adopt measures to reduce those risks.

Model Bill for the Conservation, Protection, Regulation and Management of Groundwater, 2016

  • The Model Bill for the Conservation, Protection, Regulation and Management of Groundwater, 2016, sets a priority for use of groundwater — right to water for life, and water to achieve food security, supporting sustenance agriculture, sustainable livelihoods and eco-system needs.
  • Only after satisfying these priorities can underground water be used for other purposes. In the light of the risks involved, the government should impose a moratorium on fracking.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. The Asian ripple effect

China, Japan and India seem to be adapting quickly to the possibility of a post-U.S. world order

  • The ‘America First’ approach of the Donald Trump presidency, buttressed by growing protectionism, has had the unintended fallout of Asia looking inwards, in search of new supply chains and markets.
  • Asia’s three main pillars — China, Japan, and India — seem to be adapting quickly to the possibility of a post-U.S. world order. Even some heavyweights within the 10-nation ASEAN group, which have unquestioningly relied on U.S. power as the guarantor of their well-being, are feeling the strain of their umbilical relationship with the U.S.
  • The signs are already unmistakable that Asia is seeking a “new balance” with the world’s largest and second-largest economies. India’s reset of ties with China therefore needs to be viewed as part of a larger Asian reset with Beijing and Japan, the world’s third largest economy.

When Mr. Trump levied steel and aluminium tariffs on Japan, China’s Vice President Wang Qishan saw a fresh opening to reach out to Tokyo. Within days, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi was off to Tokyo on an unscheduled visit.

  • A strategic economic dialogue between China and Japan was quickly reconvened. Mr. Wang’s visit was significant because under the shadow of Mr. Trump’s threat of sanctions, China and Japan began a conversation on two potentially divisive themes: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
  • It is likely that when Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang goes to Japan next month, there could be further discussion on President Xi Jinping’s blueprint of industrialising Eurasia through the BRI, and Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy covering an engagement with the Indian and the Pacific Oceans and with Asia and Africa.
  • Significantly, both China and Japan, under the new circumstances, are not enamoured by a classic zero-sum balance of power game. In their ongoing dialogue, the compelling logic of geoeconomics seems to be winning over the obsolescence of geopolitical fundamentalism.
  • After Premier Li’s visit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will head to Beijing for a summit with President Xi. The cycle of China-Japan re-engagement is likely to conclude with Mr. Xi’s visit to Japan, possibly for the Osaka G20 summit next year.
  • China is the key to a new wave of globalisation, with Asia at its core. But despite its economic heft, it is not in pole position to command a new Asian hierarchy.
  • The brewing trade war with the U.S. threatens to undermine its ‘Made in China 2025’ project for achieving advanced digital manufacturing. China would therefore need solid partnerships with regional countries such as Japan, South Korea and India, as well as a free trade deal such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, to achieve further success.
  • India is well positioned to forge a new geoeconomic relationship with China, which could be coordinated with Tokyo’s growing engagement with Beijing, to establish an extensively collaborative but multipolar Asia.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about Earth Bio-Genome Project (EBP): 
  1. The initiative will analyze and catalog the DNA of every documented eukaryotic species.

  2. Eukaryotic species include all plants, animals, fungi and other organisms whose cells have a clearly defined nucleus surrounded by a membrane.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about Endo-ultrasound (EUS).
  1. A new equipment, endoultrasound (EUS) has been able to identify and manage malignant tumours.

  2. The EUS can be used to identify tumours starting from oesophagus.

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements about North Atlantic right whale:
  1. Climate change poses a threat to the North Atlantic right whale.

  2. Right whales have such a long reproduction and migratory cycle that the population was greatly affected by the minimal food availability.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF):
  1. The name in vitro fertilization refers to the fact that the egg is fertilized by the sperm in the laboratory and not in the woman’s reproductive tract.

  2. Fertility therapies are collectively called Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 5. Consider the following statements about Malaria:
  1. Malaria is a life-threatening disease which is caused by mosquito bites.

  2. Malaria is caused by plasmodium parasite and is transmitted in humans through the bite of Anopheles mosquito.

  3. After an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites begin to multiply in the person’s liver.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

 
 General Studies II
  1. Is AFSPA a Necessary Evil? Critically analyze. Also, comment on various recommendations by different Committees.

General Studies III

  1. What is a GI Tag? Explain in detail how this is useful and also comment on issues with GI tag.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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