27 Apr 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
HEALTH
1. World Bank loan for Biopharma Mission
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Impact of anti-Russia sanctions on India
2. H-4 visa move draws criticism
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. States unable to implement farmer price support schemes
2. India to lose if oil prices climb more
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1. Death Penalty for Raping Minors
HEALTH
1. Nutritional politics
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: HEALTH

1. World Bank loan for Biopharma Mission

 

  • The government has secured a loan of about Rs. 1,600 crore from the World Bank to develop new vaccines, medical devices and medicines.
  • The money will be disbursed over five years and is part of the Department of Biotechnology-led National Biopharma Mission.
  • The goal is to have 6 to 10 new products in the next five years and in the process create a slew of jobs. It was approved by the Cabinet in May 2017 and launched on June 30, 2017.

About National Biopharma Mission

  • The mission aims to enable and nurture an ecosystem for preparing India’s technological and product development capabilities in biopharmaceuticals to be globally competitive level over the next decade. It will also strive to transform the health standards of India’s population through affordable product development
  • The mission will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a PSU of Department of Biotechnology. It will bring together expertise from national and international corridors to provide strategic direction and guidance to move promising solutions through the product development value chain.
  • It will provide a holistic and integrated approach to strengthen and support the entire product development value chain for accelerating the research leads to product development. This will help not only in immediate product development for addressing public health needs, but also help to create an ecosystem which will facilitate development of a continuous pipeline of products.
  • The mission will concentrate on development of specific products such as vaccines, medical devices, biotherapeutics and diagnostics etc. Besides, it will also work on establishment of shared infrastructure and facilities. It will help in building and strengthening domain specific knowledge and management skills at the same time creating and enhancing technology transfer capabilities in public and private sector.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Impact of anti-Russia sanctions on India

American defence companies and business bodies are lobbying lawmakers and the Donald Trump administration to take measures to ensure that India is not caught in the crossfire of anti-Russia sanctions.

At the heart of the debate is a recent piece of legislation, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which requires the Trump administration to punish entities engaging in significant transactions with the defence or intelligence sectors of Russia.

India has significant defence cooperation with Russia and is currently negotiating the purchase of five S-400 air defence system from it at an estimated cost of $4.5 billion.

Way forward

  • The words significant transactions remain undefined and the President has the authority to waive secondary sanctions that are authorised by the law.
  • But the uncertainty and ambiguity triggered by these words could negatively affect the booming bilateral cooperation between India and the U.S. in defence.
  • American defence giants such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin that have significant interest in Indian defence markets are lobbying the administration and lawmakers to make amends.
  • Sources in New Delhi said India has already lodged a strong protest with the U.S. government against any plans to implement the CAATSA provisions.
  • Indian officials said the trend of India’s defence purchases should be seen over a decade, where much of its defence procurement has diversified and some has moved from Russia to the U.S.
  • The officials also told U.S. State Department and Pentagon officials that it must be noted that no equipment bought from Russia or energy trade directly threatens the U.S.’s interests.

2. H-4 visa move draws criticism

 

  • The move by the Donald Trump administration to end work permits for spouses of H-1B visa holders is a regressive measure that would also adversely impact the American economy.

Gender discrimination

  • Lawmakers also underscored the gender discriminatory impact of the move as most of the beneficiaries of the current rule that was enacted in 2015 are women.

Women who are just as qualified, sometimes more qualified than their spouses but haven’t been able to work, got their right to work in 2015.

More on H-4 Visa

  • H-4 is the category of visas allotted for spouses of H-1B visa holders.H-4 visa is a work permit issued to the spouses of H1-B visa holders under a special order by the previous Obama administration.
  • The H1-B Visa, meanwhile, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis in speciality occupations such as Science and Information Technology.
  • The 2015 Obama administration order allows work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed without waiting for their spouses to receive permanent resident status, a process that could take a decade or longer.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. States unable to implement farmer price support schemes

 

  • The Centre’s proposals to decentralise price support schemes for farmers are not viable as State governments do not possess the infrastructure or the willingness required to implement them, said additional managing director of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED).

NAFED

  • NAFED is responsible for the procurement of oilseed, pulses and copra under the current Central price support scheme. The Centre declares minimum support prices (MSP) for 23 crops.
  • While paddy and wheat farmers can depend on the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to procure their crops at the MSP rates, the system is less widespread for other crops, as State governments must request the Centre to step in and procure the harvest when prices fall below the MSP.
  • States fail to maintain a revolving fund from which they can pay farmers over the 10-day window before they receive payment from the Centre; some also lack storage space, adequate number of procurement centres, and trained surveyors.
  • The new proposals, made by Niti Aayog and communicated to States last month, shift the responsibility of procurement of oilseeds, pulses and coarse cereals from the Centre to the States.
  • Under the Market Assurance Scheme, States are responsible for the procurement and disposal of crops, while the Price Deficiency Procurement Scheme will directly pay farmers the difference between the MSP and the sale price, instead of procuring his crop.

2. India to lose if oil prices climb more

 

  • India, along with other emerging economies like Turkey and the Philippines, will be a loser if the recent oil price rise continues, according to a Nomura report.
  • The supply side-driven increase in crude oil prices is likely to spur a major differentiation in emerging markets’ performance, hurting large net oil importers with weak economic fundamentals, possibly by more than it benefits large net oil exporters.
  • Turkey and Ukraine, with high inflation and large twin deficits, appear to be the most at risk of a vicious spiral from a continued rise in oil prices while India, Cambodia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Romania are also susceptible, albeit to a lesser extent.
  • For India, the rising oil prices risk reversing the improving economic fundamental ‘sweet spot’ experienced during 2014-16, at a time when there are heightened market concerns over pre-election populist government policies, the costs of cleaning up the banking sector and the lack of progress in rejuvenating private investment.

Worsening CAD

  • The clear cut winners from the rise in oil prices include exporters Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Colombia. Additionally, rising inflationary risks would push the Reserve Bank of India to hike cumulatively by 50 bps in H2 2018 against the current base case of no change.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY

1. Death Penalty for Raping Minors

 

  • The death penalty is warranted in today’s age because I think it acts as a strong deterrent.Back then, people were governed by superstition; today, they are governed by laws, and people should fear violating the rule of law.

Faith and fear

  • If the purpose of laws is to achieve some semblance of justice, we have to bear in mind that it must fulfil two purposes.
    • One, people should have faith in the law which has been enacted.
    • And two, the law should generate fear in the hearts of potential criminals and violators.
  • If a child below the age of 12 becomes the victim of a traumatic event like rape, we have to deal with the offender or offenders firmly. Anyone who takes advantage of a child’s innocence must be dealt with firmly under the law of the land. Only a severe penalty will act as a deterrent to a heinous crime.
  • And only then will people’s faith in the law be restored and potential criminals be afraid of breaking the law. Raping a child deserves a very harsh sentence, and that sentence is death.

Ordinance will help

  • But just making a law doesn’t change anything. It needs to be followed by a stringent justice system. The ordinance will definitely act as a check. There is a reason why rapes are under-reported and registration of cases is not the norm.
  • There is a certain stigma associated with the subject of rape — more so when it happens within the family, by someone known to the child. That’s why the number of cases reported are few.
  • But if society gets reassurance that in cases like this there is a law which will come to the aid of the victim, the secrecy surrounding this issue will disappear. Once this is established, reporting will increase.
  • We must remember that in most cases, someone who the victim is familiar with commits the rape. So, this new law is more likely to embolden people to report such cases. Also, the death penalty for raping minors does not mean that all the accused will be hanged. The due process of law will kick in as soon as a complaint is registered.

We also have to bear in mind that there is a consensus on the subject of capital punishment — if anyone rapes a child, a severe punishment is required to be meted out.

Category: HEALTH

1. Nutritional politics

 

  • Many children have died of malnutrition in India and yet Women and Child Development Ministers over the years haven’t decided what food to give children in anganwadis.
  • The Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, and her predecessor, Renuka Chowdhury, have always exercised the easy option: dense, fortified food for malnourished children, courtesy the manufacturers.
  • But early this month, Ms. Gandhi locked horns with her own officials on arriving at a solution. While her officers are batting for take-home rations that are locally available and processed, Ms. Gandhi favours a quickly served, nutrients-fortified alternative.
  • It is an old debate; one that involves big biscuit-makers and assorted corn puff manufacturers on the one hand and social activists on the other, with children caught in between.

Data on malnutrition

  • Data on malnutrition should serve as a wake-up call for the government: 38% of children are stunted and 35.7% are underweight in India. About 21% of children under the age of five are wasted (low weight for height), according to the National Family Health Survey-4 data.
  • Eight years ago, when malnutrition deaths occurred in some districts in Maharashtra, a simple solution involving a protein-rich diet called Lapsi — a green millet mixture combined with water and milk — was given to malnourished babies. In Jharkhand, dry rations such as oil, dal, wheat or rice were given to mothers — until the contractor lobby forced the government to shift in favour of processed food.

The point is to address malnourishment through locally produced, diverse food options that the country offers.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:
  1. Mumbai to Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) is scheduled for completion in December 2023.

  2. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will fund it at a low rate of interest.

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 Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):
  1. AIM is flagship initiative to promote culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in country.

  2. Its mandated is to create umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of country.

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 Virtual Bronchoscopy Navigation (VBN):
  1. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has become the country’s first hospital to set up Virtual Bronchoscopy Navigation (VBN).

  2. VBN is an advanced facility for diagnosis and treatment of patients with small tumour-like spots in the lungs, which can be cancerous.

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 World Press Freedom Index (WPFI):
  1. WPFI is produced by France-based international non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB).

  2. WPFI aims to promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press.

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 Zonal Councils:
  1. Zonal Councils were set up under the States Reorganization Act, 1956.

  2. They are not constitutional bodies and they are only deliberative and advisory bodies.

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

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

 
 General Studies II
  1. Separation of Powers affords freedom from ‘tyranny’ of absolute power in government. Discuss in the light of segregation of names by the govt in appointment of Judges.

General Studies III

  1. Is Bullet train a white elephant for India or will it leap-frog India into a new era of advanced technology? Critically Analyze.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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