18 Aug 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis


A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
1. SC favours lower storage at Mullaperiyar
1. Kung Fu comes to Kolkata’s Durga Puja
C. GS3 Related
1. ‘Proxy job data being cited doesn’t provide an accurate picture’
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
F. Tidbits
1. Proposal for city-level GDP under study
2. Living in fear of the Ganga in Bengal
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related


1. SC favours lower storage at Mullaperiyar

  • It is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in Idukki District of Kerala
  • The dam situated at the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers
  • The Periyar National Park in Thekkady is located around the dam’s reservoir.
  • The dam was built in the late 1800s in the princely state of Travancore (present-day Kerala) and given to British-ruled Madras Presidency on a 999-year lease in 1886.
  • The dam is located in Kerala on the river Periyar, but is operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu state.
  • The agreement was renewed in 1970.
    • Tamil Nadu was given rights to the land and the water from the dam as well as the authority to develop hydro-power projects at the site, and Kerala would receive rent in return.

Purpose of the dam

  • The Periyar river which flows westward of kerala Arabian sea was diverted eastwards to flow towards the Bay of Bengal to provide water to the arid rain shadow region of Madurai in Madras Presidency which was in dire need of a greater supply of water than the small Vaigai River could provide
  • For Tamil Nadu, the Mullaperiyar dam and the diverted Periyar waters act as a lifeline for Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramnad districts, providing water for irrigation and drinking, and also for generation of power in Lower Periyar Power Station.

Kerala Government

  • It states that it does not object to giving water to Tamil Nadu, their main cause of objection being the dam’s safety as it is 116 years old.
    • Mullaperiyar dam has leaks and cracks in the structure. Increasing the level would add more pressure to be handled by the already leaking dam
  • Idukki district, where the dam is located, is earthquake-prone and has experienced multiple low-intensity quakes. So, the dam is situated in a seismically active zone.
    • A 2009 report by IIT Roorkee stated that the dam “was likely to face damage if an earthquake of the magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter scale struck its vicinity when the water level is at 136 feet”
  • It poses danger to life and property to people living downstream.
    • Three million people living in the vicinity of the reservoir.

Tamil Nadu

  • On the orders of the CWC, the Tamil Nadu government lowered the storage level from 152 feet to 142.2 feet then to 136 feet, conducted safety repairs and strengthened the dam
  • It becomes difficult to sustain agriculture if water level is not increased.
    • One estimate states that “the crop losses to Tamil Nadu, because of the reduction in the height of the dam, between 1980 and 2005 is a whopping ₹ 40,000 crores.
  • The dam has been strengthened and there will be no threat to people and the tremors that felt in neighborhood was minor

Why controversy?

  • 2006: SC allowed Tamilnadu to raise water height to 142 feetafter strengthening the dam. (Total height of the dam is 176 feet) while permissible is 152 feet.
  • But Kerala passed a law the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006, to prevent the neighboring State (TN) from raising the water level beyond 136 feet.
  • Tamil Nadu challenged Kerala’s dam height law in Supreme Court.

 May 2014: Supreme Court order

  • Kerala dam Law of 2006 is unconstitutional and void. Because Mullaperiyar is a dispute between two states. In such disputes, one state legislature cannot unilaterally enact law in its own favor.
  • Besides, in 2006 SC allowed Tamilnadu to raise water height. By enacting this law, Kerala is interfering with our judicial function.
  • Permanent Supervisory Committee
    • The Committee shall inspect the dam periodically, more particularly, immediately before the monsoon and after the monsoon and keep close watch on its safety and recommend measures which are necessary.
    • The Committee shall be free to take appropriate steps and issue necessary directions to the two States Tamil Nadu and Kerala or any of them if so required for the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam in an emergent situation. Such direction shall be obeyed by all concerned.


1. Kung Fu comes to Kolkata’s Durga Puja

  • Over the last few years, ‘Durga Puja diplomacy’ has been gaining importance in, with countries that have consulates here making it a point to participate in the celebrations.
  • This year, China has decided to take a big step forward by actively collaborating with the BJ Block Durga Puja Committee in Salt Lake, on the eastern fringes of the city.
  • Not only will the Chinese Consulate be collaborating in constructing the canopy where the idol of the goddess will be housed, it will also be flying in over two dozen Chinese artists to put up cultural performances.


  • The pandal will house a 35-foot high and 20-foot wide replica of a Chinese bottle gourd, a plant whose fruit is used to make a Chinese musical instrument called Hulusi.
  • In Chinese, the gourd is called ‘Hulu,’ which signifies happiness and prosperity and is very popular in China, especially in the Yunnan province.


  • This will be the first time that a Chinese consulate is getting associated with Durga Puja in such a manner.
  • It is significant because it will draw the attention of the Chinese people and promote cultural ties between eastern India and China.
  • In political circles, one of the key objectives of ‘Durga Puja diplomacy’ is the pending visit of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to China.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. ‘Proxy job data being cited doesn’t provide an accurate picture’


  • The biggest concern for the country right now is the lack of jobs and employment data.
  • Unemployment and underemployment are growing. The small producers and the informal sector have done poorly over the last two years, and both agricultural and manufacturing have been performing poorly.
  • But more long run damage is likely from India’s global image taking a hit due to a spate of incidents of hatred towards minorities.
  • The increasing divisiveness and incidents of hatred directed at minorities, which are being covered by the international media are giving India a bad image and can hurt tourism and also foreign investment.
  • Overall, India’s investment to GDP ratio has been going down.

Employment data

  • The government has suspended quarterly labour force surveys by the Labour Bureau, and we also don’t have the NSSO’s employment-scenario surveys anymore.
  • It is using proxies like EPF or New Pension Scheme data which are not representative enough for a large nation like ours.
  • In India, the trouble is a huge amount of employment is in sectors that are not formally registered. So unless you directly go to households, like the National Sample Survey does, and check what’s happening there, you do not get an accurate picture.
  • However, the good news is that the government is planning to release annual data on employment, starting quite soon.

Human resource

  • A growing expertise deficit hurts policy making because there are some parts of economic policy, such as exchange rate management and fiscal policy that have lots of subtle needs, which a politician or career bureaucrat is likely to miss out on.
  • The absence of expertise also hurts the global image and that can have a negative fallout on the economy in the long run.
  • Mistakes in economic policy can happen with any government. But there will be fewer of those if we have talented professionals at the helm.

Trade skirmishes could escalate to currency wars

  • This is a risk and deserves to be heeded. India seems stable enough to be able to weather the fallout of a currency war.

Taper tantrum

  • Taper tantrum is the term used for the 2013 surge in U.S.
  • Treasury yields, which resulted from the Federal Reserve’s use of tapering to gradually reduce the amount of money it was feeding into the economy.

International Economic Association

  • It is a Non-Governmental Organization that was founded in 1950.
  • Its aim from the beginning has been to promote personal contacts and mutual understanding among economists in different parts of the world through the organization of scientific meetings, through common research programs and by means of publications of an international character on problems of current importance.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

To be updated shortly!

F. Tidbits

1. Proposal for city-level GDP under study

  • With urban India responsible for an increasingly large share of the national GDP, the Centre now hopes to bring out city-level GDP data.
  • City-level GDP data could help municipal bodies make better decisions on needed infrastructure and investment, and also leverage their economic strength to raise funds to finance their needs.


  • The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) — the research and analysis division of the same group which brings out the UK’s The Economist news magazine — recently did a feasibility study of various models to calculate city-level GDPs for the MoHUA.
  • The EIU has recommended a top-down approach based on sectoral income data for the calculation of city-level GDP as it would balance detail and resource-effectiveness in the long term.
  • However, it acknowledges that the data requirements may be too challenging and a top-down approach using household expenditure data may be more feasible in the short term.


  • The urban sector is likely to account for three-fourths or 75% of India’s GDP by 2020, according to government data as well as several external reports.
  • This is a sharp spike from 1951, when the urban sector only accounted for 29% of the national GDP. By 1981, it was 45%, and by 2011, it had crossed the 60% mark.
  • A recent study by Brookings Institution found that several Indian cities rank in the 300 global cities with the fastest GDP growth rate.
  • Its Global Metro Monitor report, released in June 2018, estimated that Hyderabad’s GDP was growing at 8.7%, followed by Surat at 7.9%, comparable with the fastest growing Chinese cities that dominate the list.

2. Living in fear of the Ganga in Bengal

  • Several areas of West Bengal’s Nadia and Malda districts are experiencing severe erosion of riverbanks over the last couple of weeks, rendering hundreds of people homeless.
  • Among the severely affected villages, three are in Nadia district while one is in Malda district.
  • The area residents claim that they go through this ordeal almost every monsoon.
  • About a couple of years ago, an entire village called Durgapur was swallowed up by the Ganga and at least 300 families became homeless. Most of them had then settled in adjoining villages.
  • The situation has caused severe discontent among locals against the State government.
  • Instead of wasting funds by doing small repairs on the riverbank, the government should take up a comprehensive project to deal with the matter.
  • Residents of Bamangola block in Malda district are also facing a similar situation due to the erosion of banks by the swelling Tangon river.
  • The Tangon is a tributary of Punarbhaba River which originates in the Thakurgaon, a district in north-western Bangladesh.
  • State Irrigation Minister Somen Mahapatra admitted that the government does not have any information regarding the number of people affected by the erosion.
  • He further alleged that despite being repeatedly urged by the State government to chalk out a master plan to deal with riverbank erosion by conducting a joint survey, the Centre didn’t even bother to respond to the letters by the State government.

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which of the following statement/s is/are incorrect? 
  1. A split in congress happened during the Surat session in 1907 due to violent clashes between the moderates and the extremists.

  2. Rash Behari Bose presided over the Surat session.

  3. Extremists effectively organized an alternative party afterwards.


  1. iii) only

  2. ii) and iii) only

  3. ii) only

  4. i) and iii) only




Type: Modern History
Level: Moderate

Rash Behari Ghosh presided over the Surat session of INC in 1907. Rash Behari Bose was one of the key organisers of the Ghadar Revolution and later, the Indian National Army. Extremists were not able to effectively organize their party as the Government immediately launched a massive attack on the Extremists and Tilak, their main leader, was sent to Mandalay jail for six years.

Question 2. Which of the following statement is correct regarding the power of Parliament in 
enacting the Budget?
  1. It cannot increase a tax but can reduce or abolish it.

  2. It can neither increase a tax nor reduce it.

  3. It can increase a tax but not reduce it.

  4. It can increase a tax as well as reduce it.




Type: Polity
Level: Moderate

The powers of Parliament in respect of enactment of budget are enshrined in the Constitution under Article 112 to 117. As per these, no demand for a grant or proposal for expenditure can be made except on the recommendation of the President. Also, the Parliament cannot increase tax though it can either reduce or abolish it.

Question 3. What is Rat hole mining? 
  1. Mining practice in North-East India with narrow long tunnel.

  2. Mining practice in western India with narrow long tunnel.

  3. Agricultural practice in tribes of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

  4. None of the above




Type: Geography
Level: Easy


Question 4. Consider the following statements: 
  1. U.P is the largest producer of Bajra in India.

  2. Maharashtra is the largest producer of Ragi in India.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. i only

  2. ii only

  3. Both

  4. None of these




Type: Geography
Level: Moderate

Bajra grows well on sandy soils and shallow black soil. Rajasthan is the largest producer of bajra followed by Uttar Pradesh. Ragi is a crop of dry regions and grows well on red, black, sandy, loamy and shallow black soils. Karnataka is the largest producer of ragi followed by Tamil Nadu.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Discuss the concept of multidimensional poverty and the challenges in eradication of poverty.
  2. “Skill Development in India is supply-driven but it should be demand-driven.” Analyze.


Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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