19 Aug 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Quote for the day Set 5 11

CNA 19 Aug 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. Information Technology Rules
C. GS 3 Related
DISASTER MANAGEMENT
1. Endosulfan Victims
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Hard truths about India’s labour reforms
GOVERNANCE
1. Should there be limits on ‘freebies’?
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Too good to be true
F. Prelims Facts
1. Karakoram Ranges
2. Milk Adulteration
G. Tidbits
1. Farmers Suicide
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Should there be limits on ‘freebies’?

Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Mains: Difference between freebies and welfare measures and the status of welfare spending in India

Background

  • The Supreme Court in a recent hearing of a petition that sought to derecognise political parties that promised “irrational freebies to attract voters” highlighted the significant financial costs of freebies. 
  • The apex court held that a law ordering a blanket ban on freebies is not feasible but there is a need to balance the various welfare measures and loss to the public exchequer. 
  • The Supreme Court further suggested that freebies must not be confused with welfare measures and the difference between what can be termed freebies or welfare measures must be established. 

Read more about – Supreme Court’s Observations on the freebie issue in CNA dated Aug 3, 2022.

Difference between freebies and welfare measures

  • There is a very thin line between what can be called freebies and welfare measures and it also depends on the perspective of an individual and where he stands in the income distribution pyramid.
    • A few measures (like free electricity) might seem like a freebie to a privileged individual but they might be important for the welfare of a poor individual.
  • The Directive Principles guide the state policy to ensure the welfare of the citizens but it is difficult to differentiate between welfare and freebies.
  • According to public policy and economic experts, 
    • A welfare measure is a public policy intervention that has a long-term impact on production and productivity.
    • A freebie is a public policy intervention that doesn’t support medium-term to long-term production and productivity.
  • For distinguishing between welfare measures and freebies it is important to determine the long-term impact as well as identify the beneficiary sets of such policies.

To read more about “freebies politics” refer to the following article:

UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis dated 20 Apr 2022

Welfare spending in India

  • Welfare spending is said to be very low in India as compared to other developing or emerging economies.
  • Studies by the Reserve Bank of India indicate that the social sector spending at the State levels has been reducing since 2014 despite being accorded more resources. 
  • Allocation to key sectors such as health and education has been very low and has further reduced.
    • Public spending on health and education was estimated to be 4.7% in India, while it is about 7% in much poorer countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • With many states experiencing fiscal pressure post the pandemic, social or welfare spending would be further impacted in the country.

Feasibility of increasing tax to fund welfare measures

  • The income tax base (less than 6% of the population) of the country has remained stagnant despite the economic growth in recent years. 
  • Experts believe that an increase in taxation helps in raising more revenues which helps in the redistribution of wealth. However, this will attract severe opposition from the individuals who pay these taxes. 
  • Further, India does not have tax instruments such as wealth tax, estate tax, inheritance tax, etc. with poverty tax being very low compared to other countries.
    • There is a great scope for increasing the revenues to the public exchequer by increasing property tax and levying wealth tax on high net worth individuals.

Way forward

  • Along with the problems of distribution of freebies to the underprivileged the issues of providing various sops to the privileged class which includes bad loan waiver and reduction in corporate taxes needs to be addressed.
  • Further, there is a need for revisiting the policies of distributing subsidies as there is a large share of non-merit subsidies being distributed currently across sectors. This will free up resources for welfare or social sector spending.

Nut graf: The number of services that the Government provides to meet its constitutional obligations towards citizens is often seen to be confused with the ‘freebies’ culture and in this context, it is essential to draw a line between welfare measures and freebies.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Too good to be true

Syllabus: India and its neighbourhood- relations

Mains: Details about the Rohingya crisis

Context: The Urban Development Minister announced that the Rohingya migrants who are living in makeshift slums in Delhi will be moved to flats with basic amenities.

Details

  • The Urban Development Minister also said that the migrants would be provided various facilities and protection by the Delhi police.
  • However, the Home Minister’s Office reiterated that there are no such plans of moving Rohingya migrants and termed them “illegal foreigners”.
  • There has been a long-standing debate about managing 40,000 Rohingya migrants in India as India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN convention of refugees.

To read more about the Rohingya crisis refer to the following article:

UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis dated 21 May 2019

Nut graf: India which follows the principle of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” must ensure that the Rohingya migrants are provided with better living conditions until they return home.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Karakoram Ranges

Prelims: Geomorphology

Context: Recently, China tested an air defense system near the India border in the Karakoram Plateau.

Key Details:

  • China tested a short-range surface-to-air defense missile system in the “Karakoram plateau region” near the India border in a high altitude region above 4,500 m.
  • It is a new type of HQ-17A short-range air defense missile with improvements made to the performance of its search and radar tracking ability.

About the Karakoram:

  • The Karakoram is a mountain range in Kashmir spanning across China, India, and Pakistan with the northwest extremity of the range extending to Afghanistan and Tajikistan. 
  • Its highest peak of Karakoram, ‘K2’ is located in Gilgit-Baltistan. 
  • The Karakoram is bounded on the east by the Aksai Chin plateau, and on the northeast by the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Pamir mountains are at the northwest corner. The southern boundary of the Karakoram is formed, west to east, by the Gilgit, Indus and Shyok rivers.
The Himalayas

Image source: NCERT

2. Milk Adulteration

Prelims: Dairy Development Board, Adulterants

Context: The inflow of adulterated milk from Tamil Nadu into Kerala has increased in recent times.

Key Details:

  • The presence of a high amount of urea was detected during routine testing done at the Dairy Development department laboratories in Kerala.
  • During the Onam season, a large quantity of milk is being supplied to Kerala both from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka which are prone to adulteration.
  • Several milk producers are adding chemicals, including urea, to a tolerable level to strengthen the milk.
  • Urea is added to the milk so that the milk appears to have higher fat content than before. Thus it appears thick and pure and is mostly preferred by the people.
  • Urea, being a natural constituent of raw milk, has a maximum limit imposed by PFA (Prevention of Food Adulteration) Rules 1955  and FSSAI Act 2006 which is to be 70 mg/100 ml.
  • Other adulterants in milk mainly include the addition of vegetable protein, milk from different species, the addition of whey and watering which are known as economically motivated adulteration.

Read more on Food Adulteration

G. Tidbits

1. Farmers Suicide

  • 137 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra in 45 days.
  • They have committed suicide as they were affected by heavy rainfall and floods.
  • The state government has announced ₹13,600 per hectare aid to the affected farmers.

Read more on Farmers’ Suicide

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Chhau dance: (Level-Medium)
  1. It is mainly performed during festivals in the region of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha
  2. Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance does not use masks.
  3. Chhau dance was the first to be enlisted in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

Read more on Chhau Dance

Q2. With respect to Annie Besant, which of the following statements is/are correct? 
(Level-Easy)
  1. The first woman president of the Indian National Congress was Annie Besant.
  2. New India was a daily newspaper published in India by Annie Besant

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Annie Besant was the first woman President of Indian National Congress. She presided over the 1917 Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress. 
  • Annie Besant started a newspaper called “New India” to highlight issues related to the freedom struggle in India.

Read more on Annie Besant

Q3. Who among the following were the members of the Landholders' Society? 
(Level-Difficult)
  1. Bhabani Charan Bandyopadhyay
  2. Dwarkanath Tagore
  3. Jadugopal Mukherjee
  4. Kanailal Bhattacharjee
  5. Prasanna Kumar Tagore
  6. Radhakanta Deb
  7. Ramkamal Sen

Options:

  1. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 only
  2. 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 only
  3. 1, 2, 5, 6 and7 only
  4. 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation: 

  • Landholder’s Society formerly known as Zamindari Association was the first political association of modern India. It was launched in Calcutta in March 1838. Landlords like Raja radhakant dev, dwarkanath tagore, Prasanna Kumar Tagore, Ramkamal Sen and Bhabani Charan Mitra were its leading members. 
  • The promotion of landholders’ interests through petitions to government and discreet persuasion of the bureaucracy was its main objective. 
  • The demand for reform of the judiciary, the police and the revenue departments was also on its agenda.
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to River Hooghly:(Level-Medium)
  1. Fort William is located on the banks of the River Hooghly
  2. Earlier it was known as the Sorrow of Bengal
  3. It is formed by the junction of the Bhagirathi and Jalangi rivers at Nabadwip

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: b

Explanation: 

  • Fort William is a fort in Hastings, Calcuta. It was built during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India. It sits on the eastern banks of the Hooghly River.
  • River Damodar is known as the ‘Sorrow of Bengal’ because of its destructive floods in the plains of West Bengal.
  • River Hooghly  is formed by the junction of the Bhagirathi and Jalangi rivers at Nabadwip. From there the Hugli flows generally south to the Bay of Bengal, through a heavily industrialized area in West Bengal.
Q5. Which of the following is/are the exclusive power(s) of Lok Sabha? (Level-Easy)
  1. To ratify the declaration of Emergency
  2. To pass a motion of no-confidence against the Council of Ministers
  3. To impeach the President of India

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The Lok Sabha has certain powers that make it more powerful than the Rajya Sabha. Motions of no confidence against the government can be introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha only. The Council of Ministers is not responsible to the Rajya Sabha. Therefore, a no-confidence motion cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The proclamation of emergency must be approved by both the houses of parliament within one month from the date of its issue.
  • Both houses of the parliament can initiate the motion to impeach the President of India.

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 19 Aug 2022:- Download PDF Here

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