11 Aug 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
C. GS3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Centre launches portal for scientific research, funding
ENVIRONMENT
1. Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve enters UNESCO list
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1. The controversial Article 35A of the Indian Constitution
F. Tidbits
1. IIP surges to five-month high of 7%
2. U.S. cuts training for Pak. military
G. Prelims Fact
1. Ethanol blending
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

C. GS3 Related

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Centre launches portal for scientific research, funding

 

  • The Union science ministry’s communication wing, Vigyan Prasar, has launched the India Science Technology and Innovation portal.

India Science Technology and Innovation portal

  • Currently the portal can be queried for information about the organizations carrying out research, those funding them, international collaborations, the scientists involved in the research, the states in which they are being carried out, their achievements and impact.
  • There’s also a compilation of technologies developed in India, the organizations that have developed these technologies, those that have funded them and the status of the technologies.
  • A major thrust of the portal is to reach out to students, researchers, scholars, scientists both from India and abroad, so that they can choose from the mine of fellowships, scholarships and funding and startup opportunities that India puts on their plate.
  • It can help funding agencies & science administrators take decisions about project funding, policy makers make science policy decisions & researchers study trends in Indian science & trace policy movements.
  • The web portal is a repository of all the active research activities being carried out in all the scientific labs and institutions in the country, which brings together scientists and researchers, so that they can pool expertise, skills and so on required for their research, translation, technology transfer & escalation.
  • It reaches out to a wide range of audience through public engagement garnering their support in the celebration of science.

Way forward

  • The portal follows a launch this week of India Science (indiascience.in), an Internet-based science channel, to showcase the developments in science and technology in India.
  • Both the portal and the channel are part of a push by the Science Ministry to improve its public outreach.
  • By next year, the Ministry hopes to offer science programmes on Doordarshan and eventually launch a dedicated science channel.
  • According to a roadmap prepared by the Union government, the Science Ministry proposes to spend Rs.15 crore over five years to cover costs of portal development and updates.

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve enters UNESCO list

 

  • The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR) of Sikkim, the highest biosphere reserve in the country that includes the third highest mountain peak in the world, Kanchenjunga (8,586 m), has been included in the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserve (WHBR).
  • The decision was taken at the International Coordinating Council of Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme, UNESCO, in its 30th Session held at Palembang, Indonesia.

Facts

  • With the inclusion of the KBR, one of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1,220 m to 8,586 m above sea level, the number of biosphere reserves from the country included in World Network of Biosphere Reserves has increased to 11.
  • The last biosphere reserve to be included was the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve in Kerala in 2016.
  • The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was the first reserve from the country to be included in the WNBR.
  • India has 18 biospheres reserves, of which 11 have been included in the WNBR.
  • Sikkim, with a population of about 6 lakh, gets15 lakh tourists annually.

Significance

  • The inclusion of the KBR in the UNESCO list will boost the unique ecosystem of Sikkim on two counts: collaborative research and tourism.
  • This development will boost international research collaboration relating to flora, fauna and ecosystem of the KBR.

The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve

  • The biosphere reserve comprises 41% of the entire geographical area of Sikkim.
  • Of the 2,931 sq km area of the KBR, 1,784 sq km is the core area of the biosphere sphere, 835 sq km buffer area and 311 sq km comprises transition area between habitation and the biosphere reserve.
  • Eighty six per cent of the core lies in the Alpine zone and the remaining portions are located in the Himalayan wet temperate and sub-tropical moist deciduous forest.
  • The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots that has good species diversity with high levels of endemism, with many mountains, peaks, lakes, caves, rocks, stupas (shrines) and hot springs.
  • There are 4,500 species of flowering plants in the KBR, including 424 medicinal plants and 36 rhododendrons, 60 species of primulas and 11 varieties of oaks.
  • The biosphere reserve has also listed 362 species of ferns.
  • Over 118 species of the large number of medicinal plants are found in Dzongu Valley in north Sikkim.
  • Many species protected under the Wildlife Protection Act have their home in the KBR.
  • This includes the Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Beer and herbivores species of Musk deer, Great Tibetan Sheep, Blue Sheep, Boral and Barking Deer.
  • Over 500 species and sub-species of birds, including high-altitude pheasants — Monal Pheasants, Tragopan Pheasants and Blood Pheasants (the State Bird) — are also found in the reserve.
  • The Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP), which comprises the core area of the KBR, was inscribed as India’s first “Mixed World Heritage Site”.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY

1. The controversial Article 35A of the Indian Constitution

Context

  • The Supreme Court of India heads towards a decision on the validity of Article 35A of the Constitution of India.
  • The Union government is not defending the case but has left it to the court. That can be attributed to the ruling BJP’s agenda of scrapping the special status of the state altogether.
  • Scrapping of the special laws would close the last opening for reconciliation in Kashmir and therefore in South Asia

What is Article 35 A?

  • It is a constitutional provision that allows the Jammu-Kashmir assembly to define permanent residents of the state.
  • According to it a Permanent Resident is defined as a person who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been residing in the state for a period of 10 years, and has “lawfully acquired immovable property in the state”.
  • It was brought in by a presidential order in 1954 in order to safeguard the rights and guarantee the unique identity of the people of Jammu-Kashmir.

Background

  • The Article was introduced larger Presidential Order package, which made several additions to the Constitution (not just Article 35A).
  • Initially Kashmir was conceived as a State with “special status”.
  • The controversial Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1947 brought the State into the Union of India gave New Delhi control only over Kashmir’s defence, foreign policy and communications
  • It enjoyed limited sovereignty under the protection of India.
  • Furthermore New Delhi’s international commitment to hold a plebiscite in the State to decide its eventual fate further complicated the issue.
  • It is because of this weak India-Kashmir constitutional link that Sheikh Abdullah became “Prime Minister” of Kashmir; the State had its own Constituent Assembly and flag; there were customs checks between India and the State; the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction over key issues in the State; Kashmir militia was constituted as a separate force; and Srinagar tried to send its own trade commissioners to foreign countries.
  • With the coming into effect of the Indian Constitution in January 1950, New Delhi’s powers over Jammu and Kashmir were defined more clearly through a Presidential Order (a predecessor of 1954 Order).
  • The overall gist of this Order was to give the Government of India enormously more powers over the State than it had enjoyed before.
  • For the first time, India’s fundamental rights and directive principles were applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and the State’s finances were integrated with India and the order also extended the Indian Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over certain aspects of Jammu and Kashmir

Issues

  • The view from the Right is that by striking down Article 35A, it would allow people from outside Jammu-Kashmir to settle in the state and acquire land and property, and the right to vote, thus altering the demography of the Muslim-majority state.
  • Thus the constitutional validity of the Article is challenged as it goes against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens”. And it discriminates against a woman’s right to property.
  • The state’s two main political parties, PDP and NC, contend that there would be no J&K left if this provision is tampered with.
  • The Centre had, however, refused to take a stand on the issue.

Conclusion

  • India’s effort to bring Kashmir into its need is to have some kind transparent democratic process.
  • And regarding the removal of article 35, it must be an expression of the will of the people, through a political process which includes the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the discussion.

F. Tidbits

1. IIP surges to five-month high of 7%

 

  • Growth in industrial activity picked up to a five-month high of 7% in June, driven by an across-the-board acceleration in growth rates including in sectors such as manufacturing, electricity, infrastructure, and capital and consumer goods.

Stats

  • The Index of Industrial Production registered a growth rate of 7% in June, rising from 3.93% in May.
  • Within this, the manufacturing sector grew 6.9% in June, an increase from 3.66% in May.
  • The primary goods segment within the IIP registered a growth rate of 9.28% in June, up from 5.74% in May.
  • Capital goods witnessed a similar acceleration in growth rates, coming in at 9.62% in June up from 6.92% in the previous month.
  • The infrastructure sector showed strong growth of 8.53% in June, up from 7.42% in May.
  • Consumer goods saw growth accelerating to 5.92% in June from 1.57% in May.
  • Within this, consumer durables witnessed a strong surge, registering a growth rate of 13.1% in June, up from 6.39% in May.
  • Consumer non-durables, however, grew only 0.47% in June, although this reversed the contraction of 2.06% witnessed in the previous month.

Reasons

  • There is a pickup in investment demand overall.
  • This is partly driven by an increase in government expenditure.
  • The stimulus by the government on the current and capital sides and a pickup in private investment has led to industrial growth.
  • This is shown by a pickup in other indicators as well, such as credit data and exports.

Concerns

  • However, there is a slight concern with the weakness in consumer non-durables, though this could reverse on the back of normal monsoons and government support aiding rural income as we go ahead.

2. U.S. cuts training for Pak. military

 

  • President Donald Trump’s administration has quietly started cutting scores of Pakistani officers from coveted training and educational programmes that have been a hallmark of bilateral military relations for more than a decade.
  • The move, which has not been previously reported, is one of the first known impacts from Mr. Trump’s decision this year to suspend U.S. security assistance to Pakistan to compel it to crack down on Islamic militants.
  • The effective suspension of Pakistan from the U.S. government’s International Military Education and Training programme (IMET) will close off places that had been set aside for 66 Pakistani officers this year.
  • Pakistan has also been removed from programmes at the U.S. Naval War College, Naval Staff College and courses including cyber security studies.

Significance

  • The decision could undermine a key trust-building measure.
  • It could push Pakistani military to further look to China or Russia for leadership training.
  • It is unclear precisely what level of military cooperation still continues outside the IMET programme, beyond the top level contacts between U.S. and Pakistani military leaders.
  • The U.S. military has traditionally sought to shield such educational programmes from political tensions, arguing that the ties built by bringing foreign military officers to the U.S pay long-term dividends.

G. Prelims Fact

1. Ethanol blending

 

  • Ethanol blending is the practice of blending petrol with ethanol.
  • Many countries, including India, have adopted ethanol blending in petrol in order to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions and also to reduce the import burden on account of crude petroleum from which petrol is produced.
  • The renewable ethanol content, which is a byproduct of the sugar industry, is expected to result in a net reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC).
  • Ethanol itself burns cleaner and burns more completely than petrol it is blended into.
  • In India, ethanol is mainly derived by sugarcane molasses, which is a by-product in the conversion of sugar cane juice to sugar.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Majority as under Article 368 is needed in which of the following?
  1. for the passage of Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Parliament.
  2. for the removal of judges of SC and HCs.
  3. for the continuation of national emergency.
  4. for the removal of Speaker of Lok Sabha.
  5. for the removal of Vice-president in Rajya Sabha.

Choose the correct option:

  1. Only 1
  2. 1, 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 4 and 5 only
  4. 4 and 5 only

See

Answer
Question 2. The objective(s) of the Theory of Separation of Power is/are:
  1. To prevent the concentration of powers of government in a single authority.
  2. To safeguard the individual’s liberty.

Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 3. The real aim of the political work of the Congress, in words of the moderates, was:
  1. Indian independence
  2. Swaraj (self-rule)
  3. To educate Indian people
  4. Change in government policies

See

Answer
Question 4. Which of the following introduced bicameralism and direct elections in India?
  1. Government of India act, 1919
  2. Government of India act, 1935
  3. Indian council act of 1909
  4. None of the above

See

Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Media can be accorded the status as the fourth pillar of Democracy. Critically analyze.

  2. Discuss poverty as a challenge to Sustainable development.

     

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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