19 Aug 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

19 Aug 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. No need to audit PM CARES: SC
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Well ‘killing’ work suspended
2. Indian copters fight oil spill in Mauritius
ECONOMY
1. RBI unveils framework for retail payments entity
2. Centre targets PSBs’ stake sale by March
SECURITY
1. Railways deploys ‘Ninjas’ for surveillance
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Troubled waters
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Resurrecting the right to know
2. Aiming to decolonise through colonial logic
F. Prelims Facts
1. African cheetah
G. Tidbits
1. Integrate depression and diabetes treatment: study
2. Report predicts 12% rise in India’s cancer burden
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Indian copters fight oil spill in Mauritius

Context:

India has sent copters and equipment to help Mauritius deal with an oil spill.

What caused the Mauritius oil spill?

  • Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio struck a coral reef off the capital, Port Louis, in July 2020 resulting in an oil spill of over 1,000 tonnes into the Indian Ocean.
  • The ship was carrying an estimated 4,000 tonnes of oil.

Concerns:

  • It has raised concerns over the ecological damage caused to the region.
  • The accident had taken place near two environmentally protected marine ecosystems and the Blue Bay Marine Park Reserve, which is a wetland of international importance.

How dangerous are oil spills?

  • Oil spills affect marine life by exposing them to harsh elements and destroying their sources of food and habitat.
  • According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), both birds and mammals can die from hypothermia as a result of oil spills. For instance:
    • The insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals such as sea otters is destroyed by oil.
    • It also decreases the water repellency of birds’ feathers, without which they lose their ability to repel cold water.

How are oil spills cleaned?

  • Skimming: involves removing oil from the sea surface before it is able to reach the sensitive areas along the coastline.
  • In situ burning: means burning a particular patch of oil after it has concentrated in one area.
  • Releasing chemical dispersants: helps break down oil into smaller droplets, making it easier for microbes to consume, and further break it down into less harmful compounds.

India’s Assistance to Mauritius:

  • India’s assistance is in line with its policy to extend humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to its neighbours in the Indian Ocean region, guided by the Prime Minister’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region).
    • India has dispatched over 30 tonnes of technical equipment and material on board an Indian Air Force (IAF) Aircraft to Mauritius to help the island nation deal with the oil spill on its south-east coast.
    • The indigenous Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Chetak helicopters given by India to Mauritius are being used extensively for rescue missions to clear the oil spill.
    • A 10-member technical response team, consisting of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel specially trained for dealing with oil spill containment measures, has also been deployed to Mauritius.

Category: ECONOMY

1. RBI unveils framework for retail payments entity

Context:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released a framework for setting up of a pan-India umbrella entity for retail payments systems.

Details:

  • The entity that will focus on retail payments systems would be incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The formation of the umbrella entity has been authorised under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.
  • The entity will be permitted to participate in Reserve Bank’s payment and settlement systems, including having a current account with Reserve Bank, if required.

Functions:

  • The umbrella entity will set up, manage and operate new payments systems in the retail space comprising ATMs, white label PoS, Aadhaar-based payments and remittance services.
  • The entity will operate clearing and settlement systems for participating banks and non-banks, identify and manage relevant risks, monitor retail payments system developments and related issues in the country and internationally.
  • It will be the responsibility of the entity to frame necessary rules and the related processes to ensure that the system is safe and sound, and that payments are exchanged efficiently.

2. Centre targets PSBs’ stake sale by March

Context:

The Finance Ministry is working to expedite the sale of stakes in four state-owned banks with the aim of completing the disinvestment process in the current fiscal.

Background:

  • The Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan announced a stimulus package that had promised a new Public Sector Enterprise Policy that would notify specific strategic sectors in which no more than four PSU players would be allowed, with the rest being privatised, merged or brought under holding companies.
  • Also, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian asserted that banking would be categorised as a strategic sector, meaning that apart from four public sector banks, all others would have to be privatised or merged.

Details:

  • The four banks are IDBI Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Punjab & Sind Bank and UCO Bank.
    • The government currently owns about 47% stake in IDBI Bank.
    • In 2019, state-run LIC completed the acquisition of 51% controlling stake in the lender.
  • The government is looking to divest its stakes in multiple public sector companies at a time when its finances have taken a hit from significant shortfalls in tax revenue amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This topic has been covered in the 28th July 2020 CNA.

Category: SECURITY

1. Railways deploys ‘Ninjas’ for surveillance

Context:

The Railways has introduced a drone-based surveillance system to enhance security at railway stations, tracks and workshops.

This topic has been covered in the 18th August 2020 PIB Analysis.

G. Tidbits

1. Integrate depression and diabetes treatment: study

What’s in News?

A joint Indo-U.S. research study found that integrating depression and diabetes treatment (‘INDEPENDENT’) improved parameters for both conditions. The study was published in a recent issue of the peer-reviewed journal JAMA.

  • The study found that a low-cost one-year collaborative care model delivered in diabetes clinics can lower depressive symptoms and improve cardiometabolic health at the same time.
  • The key takeaway from the study was that depression and diabetes have a bi-directional relationship.
  • Depression causes counter-regulatory hormones to be secreted — adrenaline and noradrenaline — which nullify the effect of insulin on the body.
  • This study has shown that treating both together has a supportive impact on both diabetes and depression among patients.

Read more about “Diabetes” covered in 14th November 2019 Comprehensive News Analysis.

2. Report predicts 12% rise in India’s cancer burden

What’s in News?

The figures relating to cancer cases have been released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Centre for Disease Informatics & Research (NCDIR), Bengaluru.

  • According to the National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020, cancer cases in the country are likely to increase to 15.6 lakhs by 2025 (12% increase) from the current estimated cases, based on current trends.
  • The report also found that in 2020, tobacco-related cancers are estimated to contribute to 27.1% of the total cancer burden, and highest in the northeastern region of the country.
  • Cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach and oesophagus were the most common cancers among men.
  • Cancers of the breast and cervix uteri were the most common cancers among women.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following country/s has/have not signed the United Nations Convention 
on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)?
  1. France
  2. Greece
  3. Turkey
  4. Israel

Choose the correct option:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

Turkey and Israel are not signatories of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Q2. N.N Vohra committee report is associated with:
  1. Criminalisation of Politics
  2. Banking Reforms
  3. Draft National Education Policy
  4. Panchayati Raj Institutions
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The Vohra Committee report dealt with the issue of nexus between politicians and criminals.
  • It studied the problem of criminalisation of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India.
Q3. Consider the following statements:
  1. In India, the first coal mine was opened at Raniganj in West Bengal.
  2. Odisha has the largest coal reserves in India.
  3. Commercial mining is prohibited in the coal sector in India.

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

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • In 1774, the first coal mine was opened at Raniganj in West Bengal.
  • Jharkhand has the largest coal reserves in India, followed by Odisha and Chattisgarh.
  • In India, commercial mining in the coal sector has been permitted. Permission has also been granted for the allotment of partially explored blocks.
Q4. Which of the following countries border Libya?
  1. Mali
  2. Morocco
  3. Tunisia
  4. Egypt
  5. Sudan

Choose the correct option:

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

Libya is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the north, Egypt on the east, Sudan on the southeast, Niger and Chad on the south, and Tunisia and Algeria on the west.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. In the light of the tension in the eastern Mediterranean Sea region over differing maritime claims, discuss the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper 2/International Relations)
  2. Discuss the major judicial observations with respect to the often contradicting need to balance the right to information of the people and the need to maintain secrecy in sensitive issues. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper2/Polity and Governance)

Read the previous CNA here.

19 Aug 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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