06 Aug 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. J&K tense ahead of SC hearing on Article 35A
2. Backward Classes panel will get more powers
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. U.K. to have new organ donation law
GOVERNANCE
1. Amendments will dilute RTI Act
C. GS3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Launch of India’s second moon mission postponed
ECONOMY
1. U.S.-China trade war can make Indian products competitive, says CII report
2. Solar duty may do more harm than good
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
F. Tidbits
1. U.P. to list man-animal conflicts as disasters
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. J&K tense ahead of SC hearing on Article 35A

Context:

Last week, the State government, currently under Governor’s Rule, moved a plea in the Supreme Court to defer the hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A of the Constitution, citing the upcoming panchayat and urban local body elections.

Article 35 A

Article 35A lets the J&K Legislature decide the “permanent residents” of the State, prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for its residents.

Legislature a carte blanche to decide who all are ‘permanent residents’ of the State and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare. The provision mandates that no act of the legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.

How did it come about?

  • Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by the order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
  • The controversial Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order of 1954 followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement entered into between Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Presidential Order was issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution. This provision allows the President to make certain “exceptions and modifications” to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, Article 35A was added to the Constitution as a testimony of the special consideration the Indian government accorded to the ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The parliamentary route of law making was bypassed when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Constitution.
  • Article 368 (i) of the Constitution empowers only the Parliament to amend the Constitution.
  • A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in its March 1961 judgment in Puranlal Lakhanpal vs. The President of India discusses the President’s powers under Article 370 to ‘modify’ the Constitution. Though the court observes that the President may modify an existing provision in the Constitution under Article 370, the judgment is silent as to whether the President can, without the Parliament’s knowledge, introduce a new Article. This question remains open.

Issue:

  • A writ petition filed challenges the validity of both Article 35A and Article 370. It argues that four representatives from Kashmir were part of the Constituent Assembly involved in the drafting of the Constitution and the State of Jammu and Kashmir was never accorded any special status in the Constitution.
  • Article 370 was only a ‘temporary provision’ to help bring normality in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthen democracy in that State, it contends. The Constitution-makers did not intend Article 370 to be a tool to bring permanent amendments, like Article 35A, in the Constitution.
  • The petition said Article 35 A is against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens”. Restricting citizens from other States from getting employment or buying property within Jammu and Kashmir is a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
  • Another petition has challenged Article 35A for protecting certain provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, which restrict the basic right to property if a native woman marries a man not holding a permanent resident certificate. “Her children are denied a permanent resident certificate, thereby considering them illegitimate,” the petition said.
  • The National Conference argues that if the law goes, with it all other presidential orders passed since the 1950s will also become redundant and reopen the debate around the issue of accession.

2. Backward Classes panel will get more powers

Context:

Recently, Lok Sabha passed the Bill to give constitutional status to Other Backward Classes panel

Background:

NCBC is statutory body established under NCBC Act, 1993 in the aftermath of Mandal Case (1992) judgement. It was established on directives of Supreme Court as it had ordered to set up permanent statutory body to look into complaints of under-inclusion, over-inclusion or non-inclusion of any class of citizens in list of OBCs.

Details:

  • People belonging to the Other Backward Classes will soon be able to approach a new National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) with Constitutional status to get their grievances redressed.
  • The panel will come into being following the passage of the 123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill by the Lok Sabha
  • It will be able to enforce the safeguards provided to the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) and solve their grievances.
  • The present NCBC can only recommend inclusion and exclusion of castes from the OBC list and the level of income that cuts off the “creamy layer” among these castes from the benefits of reservation.
  • Till now, it was the National Commission of Scheduled Castes that addressed the grievances of the OBCs. Article 338 of the Constitution, which provides for a “Special Officer for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes” to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards available to them under the Constitution, says categorically that SC/STs “shall be interpreted as including references to Other Backward Classes”, once a Commission decides who they are.
  • So, with OBC reservations becoming a reality in the 1990s, the mandate of the SC Commission got extended. These functions will now get transferred to the NCBC.

Mandate of NCBC:

  • In the case of grievances related to non-implementation of reservations, economic grievances, violence, etc., people from the SEBC category will be able to move the Commission.
  • Clause-3 (5) of the Bill gives the proposed Commission the power to inquire into complaints of deprivation of rights and safeguards.
  • Clause 3 (8) gives it the powers of a civil court trying a suit and allows it to summon anyone, require documents to be produced, and receive evidence on affidavit.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. U.K. to have new organ donation law

Context:

The U.K. government announced new plans to change the law for organ and tissue donation to address the urgent need for organs within Indian-origin community in the country.

  • The proposed new system of consent for organ and tissue donation, which will presume that people have agreed to transplants unless they have specifically opted out, is expected to come into effect in England in 2020 as part of a drive to help Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people.
  • Legislation to introduce the new framework will be debated in Parliament later this year, the health department said on Sunday.

The announcement came after a report called on the NHS to take more proactive action to address the high death rate among Indian-origin people in Britain due to low levels of organ donation within the community.

According to NHS records, only 7% of donors last year were from BAME backgrounds, with Indians accounting for just 1.9%. Further, 21% of people who died on the organ donation waiting list in the U.K. last year were from a BAME background.

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Amendments will dilute RTI Act

Context:

A committee headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Justice BN Srikrishna submitted its report on “Data Protection Framework” to Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology. The Committee was constituted by the union government in July last year to deliberate on a data protection framework.

Issue:

  • The Chief Information Commissioner is warned by the Central Information Commissioner, that “The Right to Information Act will be rendered absolutely useless in securing access to public records pertaining to public servants.”
  • Terming the amendments as unconstitutional, he noted that the Justice Srikrishna panel had not consulted the Central Information Commission before making its recommendations.
  • The Justice Srikrishna panel’s draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 proposes to amend Section 8 of the RTI Act, which allows certain types of information to be exempted from disclosure. This includes “information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.”
  • The proposed amendment would instead exempt “information which relates to personal data which is likely to cause harm to a data principal, where such harm outweighs the public interest in accessing such information having due regard to the common good of promoting transparency and accountability in the functioning of the public authority.”
  • If amended, the Section would “expand scope of denial of information with several ambiguous and very wide expressions,” as the Bill contains no definitions for “common good”, “promotion”, “transparency”, “harm” or even “privacy.”
  • Since there is ambiguity with respect to the definitions, “harm” could be interpreted as “mental injury”, “loss of reputation, or humiliation” and “any subjection to blackmail or extortion”. Any of these could be used to reject information, as even embarrassment could be considered as “mental injury”, thereby diluting the very objective of the Act.

C. GS3 Related

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Launch of India’s second moon mission postponed

Context:

The launch of India’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, may be delayed till January 2019, according to a top official.

Why the delay?

  • The ambitious mission was supposed to be launched in April, and was later fixed for October.
  • The postponement comes in the wake of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) facing quick setbacks.
  • Earlier this year, the ISRO had launched GSAT-6A, a military communication satellite, but lost communication with it.
  • Following this, the ISRO also recalled the launch of GSAT-11 from Kourou, French Guiana, for additional technical checks.
  • Last September, the PSLV- C39 mission, carrying the IRNSS-1H navigation satellite, failed after the heat shield refused to open and release the satellite.
  • The ISRO is treading a cautious path after these two setbacks as Chandrayaan-2 is one of the crucial launches for the space agency, particularly after Chandrayaan-1 and Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission).

Chandrayaan 2:

  • It is ISRO’s first mission to land on any celestial body
  • Chandrayaan-2 will be ISRO’s first time attempt to land a rover, on the Moon. The rover, costing nearly Rs. 800 crore, will be made to land near the yet-unexplored south pole of the moon.
  • Chandrayaan-2 satellite will be launched using Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MK-III (GSLV MK-III), also called the ‘The Bahubali’, India’s heaviest rocket that weighs nearly 640 tons.
  • The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice
  • It will conduct an in-situ analysis of elements such as Na (Sodium), Mg (Magnesium), Al (Aluminium), Si (Silicon) etc; in the vicinity of the landing site. 

Category: ECONOMY

1. U.S.-China trade war can make Indian products competitive, says CII report

Context:

With the U.S. imposing an additional 25% duty on imports worth $34 billion from China, certain Indian products may become more competitive. India can focus on several goods for expanding its exports to the U.S. and China after the increase in duties by both countries on imports from each other.

Details:

  • An analysis by the industry chamber revealed that India should focus on the U.S. market for items in the categories of machinery, electrical equipment, vehicles and transport parts, chemicals, plastics and rubber products.
  • Top exports from India to the U.S. which are covered in the list of items for which the tariffs have been raised include pumps, parts of military aircraft, parts for electro-diagnostic apparatus, passenger vehicles of 1500-3000 cc, valve bodies and parts of taps.
  • It was noted by the Confederation of Indian Industries that countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia have increased their exports of these products to the U.S. in recent years and that India could also increase the exports with concerted efforts.

Way forward:

  • The US has raised tariffs for 818 product lines for imports from China. Considering this and India’s current exports, the products such as intermediate parts for the defence and aerospace sector, vehicles, and auto parts and engineering goods have a higher export potential.
  • Sectors like apparel and textiles, footwear, toys and games and cell phone manufacturing are becoming competitive industries in India and need to be encouraged.
  • Trade talks with the U.S. needs to be strategised taking into account India’s competitive advantage in these products.
  • Foreign Direct Investments from the US should be encouraged by boosting confidence of US firms in India’s business climate which might necessitate addressing their concerns regarding non-tariff barriers in India for better long term outcomes. 
  • In the domestic industry, it is important for India to enhance productivity while adding technology to its domestic production in the identified products.

2. Solar duty may do more harm than good

Context:

The government has accepted the Directorate General of Trade Remedies’ (DGTR) recommendation of imposing 25% duty on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia for the period between July 30, 2018 and July 29, 2019.

Why was the safeguard duty introduced?

  • The import duty prima facie has been placed in order to encourage local solar panel manufacturers in the country in a push to the ‘Make in India’ effort.
  • The government implemented a 25% safeguard duty on solar cell imports from China and Malaysia for the period between July 30, 2018 and July 29, 2019. Thereafter, the duty is to decrease to 20% for the six months following that period, and further to 15% in the subsequent six months.

Issue:

  • Safeguard duty on solar panels from China, Malaysia offers little to domestic makers
  • More than 10,000 MW capacity of solar panels are imported annually from China and Malaysia, the safeguard duty would also hurt existing projects that have already factored in the cheaper imports into their pricing, according to industry players and analysts.
  • The increased tariffs will be ultimately passed on to the customers, hampering the adoption of clean energy.
  • It would increase cost of solar power, making it less attractive to buying utilities, and thus jeopardising the pace of growth of development of solar power.
  • Further the duty does not provide any relief to developers in SEZs. Thereby defeating the very purpose of a safeguard duty, which is to protect and promote domestic industry.
  • The imposition of safeguard duty for a short period of two years is unlikely to lead to any significant increase in the domestic solar module/cell manufacturing capacity in the near term.

Way forward:

  • The government could procure solar power generated from units only using domestically manufactured panels at competitive rates.
  • It is logical to exempt SEZs from such safeguard duties, considering that it is being implemented to protect the domestic industries from cheap imports.
  • For projects already bid out, the amendment to bidding norms approved in April 2018 allowing pass-through of changes in taxation, duties and cess would allow the developers to pass through the tariff increase to off-takers.
  • The move could create doubt in the mind of developers, dampen investors interests, and question the viability of ongoing projects. The government must provide clarity on the pass through of such additional duties to keep the general sentiment optimistic.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

To be updated shortly!!!

F. Tidbits

1. U.P. to list man-animal conflicts as disasters

In possibly the first-of-its-kind move, the Uttar Pradesh government has given its in-principle approval to bring man-animal conflict under listed disasters in the State Disaster Response Fund.

The move will enable faster relief, creating awareness, ensuring police support in areas when such conflicts are reported, and proper guidelines to handle situations when wild animals venture in human inhabitation.

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which of the following countries have soft landed on the Lunar surface?
  1. Russia
  2. USA
  3. China
  4. India

Select the correct code:

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

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements:
  1. National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) is a statutory body.
  2. National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is a Constitutional body.

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. Article 35 A was incorporated into the Indian constitution through the Presidential order
  2. Article 35A lets the Central Government decide the “permanent residents” of the State of Jammu and Kashmir

Which of the statement/s is/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:
  1. The Ellora caves were initially built by the Rashtrakutas
  2. There are 32 caves in Ellora.
  3. The five Jain caves at Ellora belong to the Digambara Sect.

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

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

See

Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. With recent amendments to RTI, democracy will become government off the people, government buy the people and government far the people. Critically comment.

  2. Safeguard duty on solar panels is a boon or a bane. Discuss its implications for India.

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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