04 Aug 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

August 4th, 2021, PIB:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Governor’s pardon power overrides 433A: SC
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Insolvency code has strayed from intent: Parliament panel
2. ‘Improve social security for workers’
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Getting back in business in the Indo-Pacific
GOVERNANCE
1. Providing horizontal quota: the Bihar way
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Circumscription
F. Prelims Facts
1. ‘Payments banks can act as investment bankers’
2. Withdraw anti-dumping duty on viscose: DGTR
G. Tidbits
1. Lok Sabha passes two key Bills without debate
2. ‘Steep decline in cross-border firing’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. ‘Improve social security for workers’

Context:

  • Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour’s report on the impact of the pandemic on rising unemployment.

Impact of the pandemic:

  • The COVID-19 crisis in India had come in the backdrop of pre-existing high and rising unemployment.
  • The report notes the devastating impact of the pandemic on the labour market.
    • The PLFS quarterly bulletin for April-June 2020 showed the unemployment rate in urban areas for those above 15 years at 20.8%, an increase from 9.1% in January-March 2020.
  • This would have led to job losses and significant income losses particularly in the informal sector threatening the survival of millions of workers and their families.
  • The report has noted that the pandemic has made matters worse for women, the young, self-employed, migrants and workers with low and medium skills.

Recommendations:

  • Income support to the poor to compensate for the loss of jobs/employment through direct transfer of money into their bank accounts.
  • Budgetary allocation for MGNREGA should be increased.
  • Urban employment guarantee scheme on the lines of the MGNREGA should be implemented.
  • Strengthening of social security measures for workers.
    • Universal healthcare should be made a legal obligation.
  • Developing a national database of unorganised workers.

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Providing horizontal quota: the Bihar way

Context:

  • The Bihar government has announced 33% horizontal reservation for women in State engineering and medical colleges.

Background:

Vertical Reservation:

  • Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes is referred to as vertical reservation. It applies separately for each of the groups specified under the law.

Horizontal Reservation:

  • It refers to the reservation provided to other categories of beneficiaries such as women, veterans, the transgender community, and individuals with disabilities, cutting through the vertical categories.
  • The horizontal quota is applied separately to each vertical category, and not across the board.

Constitutional provisions related to reservation for women:

  • While Article 15 of the Indian Constitution bars discrimination on the basis of sex, clause (3) of Article 15 specifically provides that nothing in Article 15 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.

Details:

  • Bihar currently has 60% reservation in the state higher educational institutions.
  • The newly announced reservation for women in engineering and medical seats will be distributed across the existing vertical categories, including the non-reserved 40% seats open to all.

Significance:

Improve the FLFP:

  • Initiatives like reservation of seats for women could become an important driver for improving the rather low female labour force participation (FLFP) rate.
    • India’s female labour force participation (FLFP) rate is low and has been declining consistently. As per the World Bank data, FLFP has come down to 21% in 2019 from 31.79% in 2005.
    • Bihar in particular has a very poor FLFP rate compared to the all-India average. Only 6.4% and 3.9% women in Bihar were employed in the urban and rural areas compared to the all-India figures of 20.4% and 24.6% respectively.

Boost to the economy:

  • Economic experts have pointed out that increasing women’s participation in the workforce to the level of men boosts the economy.
    • As per the joint paper prepared by IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, raising women’s participation in the labour force to the same level as men can boost India’s GDP by 27 per cent.

Aid women in overcoming social barriers:

  • Welfare initiatives like this can go a long way in challenging the patriarchal mindset and systemic gender discrimination prevalent in the society.
  • This will provide an impetus to the women to overcome the social barriers to their entering the mainstream society and go a long way in reducing gender disparity in the country.

Recommendations:

Extending the model:

  • This initiative should be adopted across sectors, departments and States.
    • The reservation for women should be extended to all institutions of higher education, including private colleges and universities. Also, the quota should be gradually increased to 50%.
    • Other State governments and the Union government should follow the Bihar government’s lead and introduce a horizontal quota for women.

Addressing related aspects:

  • While the initiative is no doubt a step in the right direction, issues such as the low female literacy rate and FLFP rate could render the current initiative ineffective in truly empowering women. Hence the related aspects will need to be addressed.
    • The administration should work towards reducing the female dropout rate and ensure quality education at the primary and secondary levels.
    • One of the important factors for the low FLFP rate is the lack of employment opportunities for women even after matriculation and graduation. The administration needs to ensure adequate job opportunities for women in the government sector, by filling up pending vacancies in the health sector, police force, teaching and other government departments.

Other women-oriented initiatives taken in Bihar:

  • Various initiatives to empower women and improve their representation in various fields have been taken in Bihar.
    • In 2006 Bihar became the first State to reserve 50% seats for women in Panchayati Raj institutions.
    • In 2013, Bihar made a provision for 50% reservation for women in cooperative societies and reserved 35% seats for them in police recruitment. In 2016, the government extended the 35% reservation for women to all government jobs in Bihar for which direct recruitment is made.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Circumscription

Context:

Authorities in Kashmir’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have directed its officers to deny security clearance to the persons who are involved in law & order, stone-pelting cases, joining street protests in the past and other crimes “prejudicial to the security of the state”.

  • The police have now issued a circular aimed at gathering details and denying security clearance to those involved in such activities.

Legality of the circular:

  • The decision to subject applicants for passports and jobs to scrutiny is not illegal.
    • Under the Passports Act, 1967, passports can be denied to applicants for various reasons, including their likelihood of engaging in activities prejudicial to the country’s sovereignty and integrity, or detrimental to its security.
    • Also, it can be refused to those convicted in the preceding five years, or against whom proceedings are pending before any criminal court.
  • However, they have legal recourse. The Act allows them to approach the trial court for a ‘No Objection’ certificate to get a passport.

Details:

  • Reports suggest that the official list of street protesters increased drastically between 2008 and 2017 to include nearly 20,000 people.
  • The recent circular suggests that the administration is serious about preventing those with a likely link to protests in the past from either entering government service or travelling abroad.

Concerns:

  • Such a move could result in serious prejudice to the aspirations of many young men and women.
  • There is a danger that it may reignite alienation among the youth that led to the stone-pelting incidents in 2008 and 2010, and the wave of disaffection following the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani.
  • It also might lead to the widening of the trust deficit between the youth in the union territory and the government.

Conclusion:

  • According to the government, the change in J&K’s status in August 2019 has ushered in a new era of development and prosperity, and it is now time to strengthen grassroots democracy.
  • It is evident that the leaders of the Union Territory’s political parties are disappointed that the restoration of statehood is unlikely to be considered until after the Legislative Assembly elections.
  • In this situation, all efforts should be directed towards building on current gains in the Union Territory.
  • Any decision that points that collective punishment is on the way might reverse the trust-building process in Kashmir.

F. Prelims Facts

1. ‘Payments banks can act as investment bankers’

Payments Bank:

  • A payments bank is like any other bank, but operating on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk. In simple words, it can carry out most banking operations but can’t advance loans or issue credit cards. It can accept demand deposits, offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third-party fund transfers.
  • Nachiket Mor committee to study ‘Comprehensive financial services for small businesses and low income households’ suggested the introduction of specialized banks or ‘payments banks’ to cater to the lower-income groups and small businesses.
  • The main objective of payments banks is to widen the spread of payment and financial services to small businesses, low-income households, migrant labour workforce in a secured technology-driven environment.

Context:

  • In order to help provide easy access to investors to participate in public and rights issues by using various payment avenues, SEBI has allowed non-scheduled payments banks which have prior approval of the RBI to carry out activities of investment bankers.

2. Withdraw anti-dumping duty on viscose: DGTR

Anti-dumping duty:

  • An anti-dumping duty is a tariff imposed by the domestic government on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.
  • Dumping is a process wherein a company exports a product at a price that is significantly lower than the price it normally charges in its home (or its domestic) market.
  • The aim of the anti-dumping duty is to protect domestic businesses and the local economy.

Context:

  • The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has suggested the withdrawal of anti-dumping levy on viscose staple fibre originating in or exported from Indonesia or China and imported by India.
  • Viscose staple fibres (VSF) or artificial cotton fibres are natural and biodegradable. These fibres are obtained from wood pulp and cotton pulp.

G. Tidbits

1. Lok Sabha passes two key Bills without debate

  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 and the Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 by voice vote.
    • The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 seeks to prohibit any agitation and strike by anyone engaged in essential defence services.
    • The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 seeks to abolish tribunals or authorities under various laws by amending the Cinematograph Act, 1952; the Copyrights Act, 1957; the Customs Act, 1962; the Patents Act, 1970; the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994; the Trade Marks Act, 1999; and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act.

2. ‘Steep decline in cross-border firing’

  • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), there has been a steep decline in cross-border firing by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir till June 2021 as compared to the number of ceasefire violations reported in 2020.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the given statements with respect to project CHAMAN is/are correct?
  1. It is a pioneer project to provide strategic development to the horticulture sector in order to increase farmer’s income.
  2. Crops such as Rice, Wheat, Mustard and Jute are assessed under CHAMAN project using remote sensing technology and satellites.

Options

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Coordinated Horticulture Assessment and Management using geo-iNformatics (CHAMAN) is a pioneer project to provide strategic development to the horticulture sector in order to increase farmer’s income.
  • The project was launched for crop production forecasting of horticulture crops.
  • The seven crops assessed under the project are Potato, Onion, Tomato, Chilli, Mango, Banana and Citrus.
Q2. Which of the given statements is/are INCORRECT?
  1. The Battle of Pollilur and the Battle of Porto Novo were fought as a part of the Third Anglo-Mysore war.
  2. As per the Treaty of Mangalore signed after the Third Anglo-Mysore War, Tipu Sultan had to surrender two of his sons as surety to the British till he paid his due.
  3. Mysore entered into a Subsidiary Alliance with the British after the Third Anglo-Mysore War.

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The Battle of Pollilur and the Battle of Porto Novo were fought in 1781 as a part of the Second Anglo-Mysore War.
  • It was as per the Treaty of Srirangapatnam signed after the Third Anglo-Mysore War that Tipu Sultan had to surrender two of his sons as surety to the British till he paid the war indemnity as agreed upon in the treaty.
  • Mysore entered into a Subsidiary Alliance with the British after the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War.
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Saubhagya Scheme:
  1. The scheme was launched to provide free electricity to all households (both APL and poor families) in rural areas and poor families in urban areas.
  2. Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) is the nodal agency for the scheme.
  3. Beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme are identified using SECC 2011 data.

Which of the given statements is/are INCORRECT?

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The scheme was launched to provide free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor families) in rural areas and poor families in urban areas.
  • Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) is the nodal agency for the scheme.
  • Beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme are identified using SECC 2011 data.

Read more: Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – Saubhagya Scheme

Q4. Which among the following are applications of Coir geo-textiles?
  1. Rainwater Harvesting
  2. Promoting quick vegetation
  3. Improvement of sub-grade soil strength in road pavements
  4. Stabilization of side slopes to check soil erosion
  5. Construction of roads

Options:

  1. 1, 2, 3 and 4 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2, 4 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

All of the given options are applications of Coir geo-textiles.

Q5. Consider the following pairs: 

 Community sometimes mentioned in the news: In the affairs of

  1. Kurd: Bangladesh
  2. Madhesi: Nepal
  3. Rohingya: Myanmar

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched? [UPSC 2016]

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Kurds are an Iranian ethnic group that is native to southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria.
  • The term Madheshi people is used for people of Indian ancestry residing in the Terai of Nepal.
  • The Rohingya people predominantly follow Islam and reside in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Examine the evolving American strategy in the Indo-Pacific. How does it impact Indian interests? (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-2, International Relations]
  2. Illustrate the differences between horizontal and vertical reservation, while making a case for reservations for women and transgender persons in government jobs and education. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Polity and Governance]

Read the previous CNA here.

August 4th, 2021, PIB:- Download PDF Here

1 Comment

  1. Good source for current affairs preparation.

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