09 Aug 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. ‘Jail term for adultery does not make sense’
C. GS3 Related
ECOLOGY
1. Alarm as deadly maize pest seen in Karnataka
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. GST and its differential economical impact to the government
F. Tidbits
1. To help clean the Ganga, visit an ATM
2. Strengthen PSB boards, IMF tells govt.
3. NRIs cannot file RTI applications, says govt.
4. Haryana launches portal
5. New breastfeeding policy comes into effect in Rajasthan
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. ‘Jail term for adultery does not make sense’

 

  • Sending a person to prison for five years for adultery does not appeal to common sense, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has orally observed.

Background

  • The five judge Bench was countering submissions by the Centre that adultery should remain in the Indian Penal Code as it ensures the sanctity of the marriage, and is for public good.
  • Section 497 gives a husband the exclusive right to prosecute his wife’s lover.
  • A similar right is not conferred on a wife to prosecute the woman with whom her husband has committed adultery.
  • Further, Section 497 does not take into account cases in which the husband has sexual relations with an unmarried woman.

Observations

  • Adultery does not even qualify as a criminal offence and is, at the most, a civil wrong.
  • Adultery has a civil remedy: divorce.
  • First, an adulterous relationship is carried on with the consent of the woman.
  • If a third party attacks or molests the wife of another, it amounts to rape. Rape is an offence. But if a relationship is carried with the consent of the woman, how does it amount to an offence? If there is consent between two adults, why punish the wife’s lover?
  • Secondly, the provision does not confer any right on the wife to prosecute her husband for adultery.
  • Protecting marriage is the responsibility of the couple involved. If one of them fails, there is a civil remedy available to the other.
  • Justice Indu Malhotra pointed out that there might be cases in which the couple would have been staying separate for decades, waiting for a divorce decree, and the husband could foist a case of adultery on his estranged wife’s paramour to trouble her.
  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed that there might be cases in which adultery was a consequence of a broken marriage.
  • Justice Chandrachud asked the Centre why it was always the woman’s burden to maintain the sanctity of marriage.
  • The government was planning to make adultery gender-neutral. But the court countered what good would that do if a consensual relationship, though adulterous, between two adults was still considered a crime.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECOLOGY

1. Alarm as deadly maize pest seen in Karnataka

 

  • The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has sounded the alarm after the invasive agricultural pest, Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), was discovered in Karnataka.

Fall Armyworm

  • The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a species in the order of Lepidoptera and is the larval life stage of a fall armyworm moth.
  • The fall armyworm is widely distributed in Eastern and Central North America and in South America.
  • Since 2016 it is invasive in Africa where it is causing significant damage to maize crops and has great potential for further spread and economic damage.
  • The Karnataka finding is the first report of the pest in Asia.
  • They practice cannibalism.

Concerns

  • The discovery is more worrisome because the pest feeds on around 100 different crops, such as vegetables, rice, and sugarcane.
  • Its discovery in Karnataka means its spread to the rest of the country, as well as neighbouring countries, could be just a matter of time.
  • Now, that the pest is here, not much can be done to keep it from spreading elsewhere in the subcontinent.
  • Africa’s experience shows how quickly the pest can colonise a new continent. First reported in Central and Western Africa in 2016, it has spread to 44 African countries today and has proved hard to control.
  • In India, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are at immediate risk.
  • And even though the pests reported in Shivamogga and Chikballapur, Karnataka, are only feeding on maize and sorghum at the moment, they are likely to spread to other crops.

Way forward

  • The first line of defence against the Fall Armyworm will be insecticides like lambda-cyhalothrin. It’s efficacy is currently being studied in field trials.
  • Also, the researchers have found some natural predators such as coccinellid beetles, that can aid biological control.
  • A fungal species called Nomuraea rileyi also infects the Fall Armyworm.
  • But these natural enemies may not be as effective as insecticides.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. GST and its differential economical impact to the government

Context

  • It’s been over a year since the GST(Goods and Services Tax) has come into play. But the revenue collections from the new indirect regime are at the centre of a debate.

  • The SGST(State Goods and Services Tax) and the CGST(Central Goods and Services Tax) are applied at the same rate on the identical tax base. Logically, the two levies should yield equal revenue collections. But SGST collections over the past several months have been consistently exceeding CGST collections.

Impact

  • According to the Central tax officials, there has been a lower number of returns filed under the Central GST (CGST), compared to the number filed under the State GST (SGST).

  • Then in the beginning of this financial year, both CGST and SGST collections dropped and IGST( Integrated Goods and Services Tax) collections took off sharply.

Reasons

  • Insecurity over loss of fiscal autonomy- The States succeeded in pressing a GST that is made of two types of levies, the CGST and the SGST. The Constitution empowers the Centre to tax sales anywhere nationally, but it allows a State to collect taxes only on sales within its territory. So, all 29 States and two Union Territories with legislatures have separately enacted their respective SGSTs. The SGSTs have almost identical features and rates — to prevent tax arbitrage across States — but in effect, they are distinct SGSTs. This complicates the collection and refunds processes and system.

  • The GST is being levied at the point of consumption, not the factory gate- Unlike many of the levies it has subsumed. Given the territorially limited tax jurisdictions of States, the collection of the SGST poses a problem every time goods and services get sold outside the State they were produced in. The solution that has been worked out to overcome this problem is the IGST. It is imposed on inter-State sales.

  • The IGST ought to be imposed as a substitute for the SGST such that the GST equals the SGST plus CGST for intra-State sales and IGST plus the CGST for inter-State sales. In practice, needless complications have been introduced into the IGST.

  • On inter-State sales, the IGST, at a rate equal to the applicable CGST and SGST, is levied. This means, despite its national tax jurisdiction, the Centre has confined the levy of the CGST to intra-State sales.

Conclusion and recommendation

  • The IGST would be simplified as a substitute for SGST in inter-State supplies, and exporters, while not subjected to the IGST, would be truly zero-rated.

  • The focus on GST collections is narrow.

  • Collections are not necessarily proof of the success, or non-success, of an indirect tax.

  • In truth, the complexity of the GST is complicating collections and diminishing the potential benefits.

  • The economic impact of the GST ought to be the focus.

F. Tidbits

1. To help clean the Ganga, visit an ATM

 

  • The cleaning of the Ganga is not only an environmental imperative but also an issue weighted by public sentiment and national prestige.
  • In a bid to make it easier for the public to participate in the efforts, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is talking to the State Bank of India (SBI) to make it possible to donate to the Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) from ATMs.
  • A major aspect of the CGF is that it isn’t about collecting a lot of money but about ensuring that people from all walks of life are involved in the task of cleaning the river.
  • Many individual donors contribute fixed amounts, and the ATM facility could be useful for them.

CGF

  • While the NMCG, an affiliate of the Union Water Resources Ministry, is executing the government’s 20,000-crore commitment to clean the Ganga, the CGF is a separate corpus made up of donations from corporates and individuals.
  • At present, it has 250 crore in its kitty, which is being managed by the NMCG.

Background

  • The Mission already has an agreement with Yes Bank, under which its ATMs display messages on keeping the river clean.
  • Since Ganga rejuvenation projects have been notified as Corporate Social Responsibility activities, donations to the CGF qualify for income tax exemption.
  • A web page on CSR activities lists projects such as ghat/crematoria construction and development and cleaning of ghats and drains through bio-remediation, river surface cleaning, solid waste disposal and afforestation.
  • As of now, about 90% of the CGF comes from State and Central government public sector units, according to information from the Lok Sabha.

2. Strengthen PSB boards, IMF tells govt.

 

  • India needs to improve the way state-owned banks are run by bolstering board-level autonomy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report, adding that the government should consider eventually privatizing them.

Recommendations and observations

  • A key area of reform is to strengthen governance in public sector banks.
  • This is needed to improve incentives to enhance the efficiency of bank operations and foster more disciplined lending practices by banks.
  • A first step would be to strengthen the quality and independence of these banks’ boards, and privatisation could also eventually be considered.
  • Projecting India’s economic growth to recover in 2018/19 and strengthen in 2019/20 as stability-oriented macroeconomic policies and progress on structural reforms continue to bear fruit, the IMF said that high foreign reserve buffers and strong FDI inflows had helped contain external vulnerabilities.
  • However, more can be done to sustain the recent foreign direct investment inflows and remove trade barriers — which remain significant.
  • These include: reducing trade documentation requirements and procedures, lowering tariffs, continuing to improve the business climate, and improving governance.
  • The IMF said risks to the outlook were, however, tilted to the downside.
  • The Fund listed higher global oil prices and tighter global financial conditions as key external risks that had grown in recent months.
  • Domestic risks include tax revenue shortfalls and delays in addressing the twin bank-corporate balance sheet problems.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would need to gradually tighten monetary policy further due to rising inflation, driven mainly driven by higher oil prices and a falling rupee.

3. NRIs cannot file RTI applications, says govt.

 

  • Non-Resident Indians cannot file RTI applications to seek governance-related information from the Central government departments, the Lok Sabha was informed.
  • Only citizens of India have the right to seek information under the provisions of Right to Information Act, 2005.
  • Subject to the provisions of the Act, the citizens of India could file online application under the Right to Information Act, 2005. 

4. Haryana launches portal

 

  • The Haryana government has launched an online portal for releasing grant-in-aids to various government departments.
  • The initiative is in sync with the vision of ‘Digital India’ to assure transparent financial management.
  • The online system of budgetary transaction would not only enhance transparency but also increase working efficiency of drawing and disbursing officers, treasury officers and other employees of the Finance Department.
  • In future all government departments would have to keep a single bank account for all their transactions.

5. New breastfeeding policy comes into effect in Rajasthan

 

  • A new breastfeeding policy has come into effect in Rajasthan for encouraging the rural communities to promote exclusive breastfeeding along with its early initiation.
  • The new policy stipulates initiation of breastfeeding within an hour inside the labour room, supporting mothers to ensure the continued exclusive breastfeeding and counselling till two years of the child’s age.

Background     

  • The initiative has been taken as part of the National Nutrition Mission-2022 on conclusion of the World Breastfeeding Week observed between August 1 and 7.
  • The early initiation of breastfeeding in the State was only at 28.4%, while only 58% infants were able to exclusively breastfeed during the first six months of their lives.

Significance

  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which has been working with the State government on the fronts of maternal and child health care, said the initiative should be utilised for reducing infant and neonatal mortality and improving children’s immunity towards infections.
  • The policy is also expected to meet the nutritional needs of young children.

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Choose the incorrect statement:
  1. FICCI was established by the capitalists like G.D. Birla and Purshottamdas, to lobby with the colonial government
  2. Post War Economic Development Committee drafted the Bombay plan
  3. The Bombay Plan, drafted by the capitalists, took up the question of equitable distribution
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. Which of the following is incorrectly matched?
  1. Kisan Manifesto – All India Kisan Committee
  2. Karshaka Sanghams – Malabar
  3. Summer Schools of Economics and Politics – Andhra Pradesh
  4. Utkal Provincial Kisan Sabha – Maharashtra

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements with regards to the Clean Ganga Fund:
  1. Activities outlined under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme for cleaning of river Ganga will be financed from the Clean Ganga Fund.
  2. NRIs and PIOs can contribute to the fund.
  3. It is being managed by the National Mission for Clean Ganga

Which of the statement/s is/are incorrect?

  1. i) only
  2. ii) only
  3. ii) and iii) only
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements:
  1. Right to Information Act, 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information.
  2. All the citizens have the Right to Information.
  3. Exemptions from disclosure of information have been provided in the Act.

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

  1. i) and ii) only
  2. ii) and iii) only
  3. i) and iii) only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Important safeguards and a cost-benefit analysis are still lacking for the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018. Discuss.

  2. The lateral entry scheme, if implemented properly, may foster more competitive spirit, break the complacency of the higher civil servants and eventually prove to be a pioneering initiative in public interest. Critically analyse.

     

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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