30 Aug 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

August 30th, 2019 PIB:-Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A.GS1 Related
B.GS2 Related
HEALTH
1. ‘Fit India Movement’ kicked off on National Sports Day
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Russia set to offer submarines during Modi-Putin summit
C.GS3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Rs.47,436 crore released for afforestation
2. UN warns of rising seas, storm surges
3. Two new species of eels discovered
ECONOMY
1. Digital media firms say FDI norms are ‘restrictive’
2. ‘100% FDI in coal will boost competitiveness’
SECURITY
1. Tribunal upholds ban on SIMI for another five years
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. FDI Policy Reform- Tinkering for optics
F. Tidbits
1. Skull found in Ethiopia yields clues on how humans evolved
2. Bank frauds rise 74%, says RBI
G. Prelims Facts
1. GI tag for T.N.’s Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: HEALTH

1. ‘Fit India Movement’ kicked off on National Sports Day

Context:

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launched the ‘Fit India’ Movement’ on National Sports Day.

Issues:

  • In India, there is a worrying trend of the younger generation grappling with lifestyle diseases.
  • There is a surge in diabetes and hypertension cases and other lifestyle diseases.

Fit India Movement

Details:

  • The Fit India Movement aims to encourage people to inculcate physical activity and sports in their everyday lives.
  • The PM, launching the event, said that the initiative is the need of the hour and will take the country towards a healthier future.
  • Stressing the need to stay fit and healthy, this day was observed to spread awareness on the importance of sports and daily activities in every individual’s life.
  • A committee, headed by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and comprising government officials, members of Indian Olympic Association (lOA), national sports federations, private bodies and fitness promoters, has been formed to take the movement forward.
  • Countries like China, Australia and Germany have already started campaigns to make their country fitter.

National Sports Day:

  • The Sports Day of India (Rashtriya Khel Divas) marks the birth anniversary of the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand, who was born on August 29 in the year 1905.
  • On this day, President of India honours eminent sports personalities with major awards including Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards, Dronacharya Awards and Dhyan Chand Award.

Read more about: Khelo India Scheme

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Russia set to offer submarines during Modi-Putin summit

Context:

Russia is likely to offer India its conventional submarines at the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin at Vladivostok.

Details:

  • Modi is to visit Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum as well as the annual bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • This is the 20th summit between the leaders of the two countries since the year 2000 when the mechanism was institutionalized.
  • The meeting between Modi and Putin will be their third this year—previously they met on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and the G20 meet in Osaka.
  • The two countries are looking to get Indian investment into Russia’s Far East that borders China, a region rich in mineral resources.

Strengthening Defence

  • The submarines will be offered on the government-to-government route under the Navy’s Project-75I at the summit.
  • This is expected to save a lot of time in the procurement process.
  • The Navy is looking to buy six advanced conventional diesel-electric submarines under Project 75I that, after several delays, has made progress in the past several months.
  • The procurement is under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model, and is the second project to be processed through this route after the Navy’s tender for utility helicopters.
  • The Russian submarine will likely be based on the Amur 1650 conventional submarine, modified to suit Indian requirements.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Rs.47,436 crore released for afforestation

Context:

The Union Environment Ministry transferred Rs. 47,436 crore to 27 States for afforestation.

Background of CAMPA:

  • With the initial experience of the States regarding under-utilisation of the money collected towards compensatory afforestation, Supreme Court of India ordered for establishment of Compensatory Afforestation Fund and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in 2001.
  • In 2006, separate bank accounts were opened in which the compensatory levies were deposited and ad hoc CAMPA was established for the management of Compensatory afforestation fund (CAF).
  • This Act has provisioned that CAMPA funds shall be kept in interest bearing non-lapsable Public Account.
  • After detailed deliberations with CAG and Ministry of Finance and deliberations with other Stakeholders, the fund flow mechanism could be finalized and the CAF Rules were finally put in place in 2018.
  • After notification of CAF Rules, with approval of the Supreme Court on 28 Jan 2019, an amount of Rs.54,685 Crore from Ad-hoc CAMPA has been brought under the control of Government of India.
  • So far 27 States/UTs have created accounts for receiving the Funds from Union Government and now funds to the tune of Rs.47,436 crore have been transferred to those States.
  • The Fund shall be utilized as per the provisions of the CAF Act and CAF Rules.

Details:

  • These are long-pending dues part of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF), a Rs. 54,000 crore tranche that has been collected for nearly a decade as environmental compensation from industry, which has pulled down forest land for its business plans.
  • The amount to be paid by industry depends on the economic value of the goods and services that the razed forest would have provided.
    • These include timber, bamboo, firewood, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, water recharge, and seed dispersal.
    • Industrialists pay this money and this is eventually transferred to the States concerned to carry out afforestation.
  • Only a fraction of this corpus had actually been disbursed to States, due to the lack of a legal framework and instances of States using it for non-forestry purposes.
  • It was emphasised that the State budget for forests shall remain unaffected.
  • The fund being transferred would be in addition to State Budget.
  • It is expected that all States will utilize this fund towards forestry activities to achieve the objectives of the Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) of increasing its forest & tree cover, which will create an additional carbon sink equivalent to 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by the year 2030.
  • CAMPA funds cannot be used for payment of salary, travelling allowances, medical expenses, etc.
  • The money will be utilised for compensatory afforestation, catchment area treatment, wildlife management, assisted natural regeneration and forest fire prevention and control operations.

Concerns:

Activists and environmentalists have raised concerns that the funds are used by the State to ride roughshod over tribal rights and unscientific afforestation methods were often implemented to make good razed forests.

2. UN warns of rising seas, storm surges

Context:

According to the draft of a major UN report, there would be serious blowbacks over the next few centuries from oceans and Earth’s frozen zones.

Issues:

  • According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), our long-time habit of loading the atmosphere with planet-warming CO2 has spawned a host of consequences, starting with irreversible sea-level rise.
  • Destructive changes already set in motion could see
    • A steady decline in fish stocks
    • A hundred-fold or more increase in the damages caused by superstorms
    • Hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seas
  • Without deep cuts to manmade emissions, at least 30% of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt by century’s end, unleashing billions of tonnes of carbon and accelerating global warming even more.

Concern:

  • The 900-page scientific assessment is the fourth such tome from the UN in less than a year, with others focused on a 1.5-Celsius cap on global warming, the state of biodiversity, and how to manage forests and the global food system.
  • All four conclude that humanity must overhaul the way it produces and consumes almost everything to avoid the worst ravages of climate change and environmental degradation.

Details:

  • The report found that, even under optimistic scenarios in which warming is capped at two degrees Celsius, Earth will likely see more than a 100-fold increase in the damages caused by superstorms and 280 million people displaced by rising seas.
  • Earth’s ice- or snow-covered regions, known as the cryosphere, have also been hammered by man-made warming, with ice sheets shedding more than 400 billion tonnes in mass each year.
  • Mountain glaciers, the fresh water source for a billion people in the Andes, Himalayas and elsewhere is threatened with local extinction.
  • According to the findings, a third to 99% of the world’s permafrost could also melt by 2100 if emissions continue unabated, potentially releasing a carbon bomb of greenhouse gases.
  • It finds that, as the 21st century unfolds, melting glaciers will first give too much and then too little to billions who depend on them for fresh water.
  • The report concludes that, by 2050, many low-lying megacities and small island nations will experience “extreme sea level events” every year.
  • It is said that, even if the world manages to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius, the global ocean waterline will rise enough to displace more 250 million people.

3. Two new species of eels discovered

Context:

Two new species of marine eel are discovered and documented this year by Estuarine Biology Regional Centre (EBRC) of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at Gopalpur-on-sea in Odisha.

Details:

  • Till now, 10 species of short brown unpatterned moray eels have been discovered in the world, out of which two were found in Indian waters.
  • One of them is a short brown un-patterned moray eel now named ‘Gymnothorax andamanensesis’.
  • With this new discovery, the number of short brown un-patterned moray eels discovered from the Indian coast has increased to three.
  • Similarly, a new white-spotted moray eel, named ‘Gymnothorax smithi’ has also been identified.
  • Marine eels are mostly found in shallow waters but some of them live offshore in sandy or clayey bottoms ranging up to 500 metres.

Conclusion:

Marine biodiversity is still considerably unexplored in India, which has a long coast line. Increased knowledge about it through exploration will be a great help in its conservation and proper utilisation.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Digital media firms say FDI norms are ‘restrictive’

Context:

Companies operating news portals expressed disappointment with the government’s new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy capping the investment in digital media at 26%.

Concerns:

  • According to experts, until now there has been no clarity on FDI in digital media and there may be many with 100% foreign investment.
  • The Indian investors are not bullish and are mostly reluctant to invest in media portals; more so in the current economic situation.
  • The new policy is likely to hurts smaller players and the ones who are looking to launch new projects.
  • When firms have to look at investments to scale up their operations, this kind of cap will be very discouraging.

Details:

  • Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal announced that the Cabinet had cleared FDI up to 26% under the “government route” for digital media companies that upload or stream news and current affairs.
  • This is a departure from existing policy, as until now only the print media and news broadcast television companies in India have had FDI caps of 26% and 49% respectively, while there have been no restrictions so far on foreign investors or entities running digital media ventures aimed at Indian consumers.
  • The policy is being viewed in the industry as an effort to indirectly regulate the content at digital news outlets.
  • The move is being seen as restrictive by media industry experts.
  • Yet there are others who have welcomed the move. It is believed that the cap will now allow digital platforms to be unlocked from the bigger companies and seek separate valuation.
  • With the given penetration of mobile networks and the easy availability of broadband and data services in India, this move is expected encourage growth in development of content and distribution in the digital media business.

Conclusion:

The policy details are still awaited. Another major question is how this would be monitored, as several media experts opine that it looks incredibly complex at the moment. Also, clarity on various issues is awaited.

2. ‘100% FDI in coal will boost competitiveness’

Context:

The Centre’s recently announced 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coal sector.

Details:

  • India is one of the largest importers of thermal coal. Government allowing 100% FDI in coal mining will attract global miners. This will result in FDI inflow along with updated technology, and increase India’s coal production.
  • It is believed that the Centre’s announcement allowing 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coal sector should enhance Coal India Limited’s (CIL) competitiveness and efficiency.
  • 100% FDI in mining is believed to send a positive signal to global investors and give a significant push to the economy.
  • Increased mining will also lower “avoidable imports of coal that India has to make due to the prevalent demand-supply gap.

Scope for improvement:

  • It is opined that the government has taken a slew of measures, but more needs to be done.
  • The FDIs look for large mines and a simplified single-window for mining leases and environmental and forest clearances.
  • While the announcement would kindle the interest of global miners, they would need increased ease-of-doing business and time-bound approvals before they invest here.
  • In India, it takes at least six years from getting a mine allocation to actually starting mining operations.
  • This has now been fixed at 66 months. The Coal Ministry is taking steps such as doing away with the need for prior approval before a State government hands over the mining lease, which typically takes 6-12 months.
  • Overseas investors usually do not view such long timelines favourably.

Category: SECURITY

1. Tribunal upholds ban on SIMI for another five years

Context:

A tribunal constituted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) has upheld the ban against Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for another five years.

Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI):

  • The Students’ Islamic Movement of India (abbreviated SIMI) is a banned Islamist organisation.
  • It was formed in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in April 1977.
  • The stated mission of SIMI is the “liberation of India” from Western materialistic cultural influence and to convert its Muslim society to live according to the Muslim code of conduct.
  • The Indian government describes it as a terrorist organisation.
  • It was banned in 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
  • The ban was lifted in August 2008 by a special tribunal, but was reinstated by K.G. Balakrishnan, then Chief Justice, on 6 August 2008 on national security grounds.
  • In February 2019, the Government of India extended ban on SIMI for a period of five more years starting February 1, 2019 under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
  • The tribunal has now upheld the ban.

Details:

  • The outfit was first banned in 2001, and this is the eighth time it has been banned.
  • The Union Home Ministry has told a tribunal that the Students Islamic of India (SIMI) is filing applications under the Right to Information Act (RTI) to help its members who are facing trial in various courts.
  • To impose the fresh ban, the tribunal examined at least 34 cases registered against the members and former members of SIMI by the police across the country after January 2014.
  • Based on the submissions made by the Ministry and State police departments, a tribunal constituted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) has upheld the ban against SIMI for another five years.
  • The tribunal said that it was evident that they were continuing to receive funds within India as also through foreign funding.

Concerns:

  • The Tamil Nadu police deposed that SIMI activists/cadres are regrouping themselves under the banner of Wahadat-e-Islaami Hind (WeIH) to expand their militant outreach among Muslim youth under the guise of spreading Islamic ideology.
  • SIMI activists under the guise of WeIH continue to hold meetings, classes, symposium, seminars, etc. to spread their anti-national ideology.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. FDI Policy Reform- Tinkering for optics

Context

  • The Union cabinet cleared a raft of changes in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations, including easing rules for overseas single-brand stores and permitting FDI through the automatic route in contract manufacturing and all areas of coal mining.
  • The government, clearly concerned by the economic slowdown and persistently weak investment activity, has sought to provide a policy fillip to attract more foreign capital into sectors that it sees as having a multiplier effect particularly in terms of job creation.

Single-Brand Retail

  • In single-brand retail, the government allowed companies to conduct online retail trading prior to opening of physical stores, subject to the condition that brick-and-mortar stores come up within two years from the date it starts online operations.
  • To provide greater flexibility and ease of operations to foreign single-brand retail entities with more than 51% FDI, the cabinet decided that all procurements made from India by the entity for that single brand shall be counted towards local sourcing of 30%, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported.
  • Further, the current cap of considering exports for five years only was removed, to give an impetus to exports.
  • So far, only incremental sourcing of the single brand entity was taken into account while current sourcing was not considered. From now on, total sourcing, including by group companies, will be considered for meeting the 30% local sourcing norm.

Contract Manufacturing

  • The cabinet allowed 100% FDI in contract manufacturing, allowing large foreign electronics and pharmaceutical companies to directly invest in local or foreign contract manufacturers. This will give a big boost to the government’s Make in India policy.
  • Manufacturing activities may be conducted either by the investee entity or through contract manufacturing in India under a legally tenable contract, whether on Principal to Principal or Principal to Agent basis

Coal Sector

  • As per the present FDI policy, 100% FDI under automatic route is allowed for coal & lignite mining for captive consumption by power projects, iron & steel and cement units and other eligible activities permitted under and subject to applicable laws and regulations.
    • Further, 100% FDI under automatic route is also permitted for setting up coal processing plants like washeries subject to the condition that the company shall not do coal mining and shall not sell washed coal or sized coal from its coal processing plants in the open market and shall supply the washed or sized coal to those parties who are supplying raw coal to coal processing plants for washing or sizing.
  • The Union cabinet has now allowed 100% FDI under the automatic route for coal mining as well as sale and export of coal.
  • This is expected to end the monopoly enjoyed so far by Coal India Ltd (CIL), which is often considered lacking capability to mine the coalfields.

Significance

  • The changes in FDI policy will result in making India a more attractive destination, leading to benefits of increased investments, employment and growth
  • Online sales will lead to creation of jobs in logistics, digital payments, customer care, training and product skilling
  • Further, manufacturing through contract contributes equally to the objective of Make in India. FDI now being permitted under automatic route in contract manufacturing will be a big boost to Manufacturing sector in India.
  • In the coal sector, for sale of coal, 100% FDI under automatic route for coal mining,activities including associated processing infrastructure will attract international players to create an efficient and competitive coal market.
  • The reforms are part of India’s strategy to become part of the global supply chain amid its disruption due to the US-China trade war.

A closer examination, however, raises several concerns about the ultimate attractiveness of these changes.

  • For instance, the tweaks to investment norms on coal appear at first flush to be a win-win for both the economy at large and the coal industry, but the environmental costs of focusing on one of the most polluting fossil fuels needs focus
  • This is predicated on the prospect of seeing an influx of both capital and modern technology into mining and processing, as well as raising domestic supply of the key raw material for power, steel and cement production thereby cutting costly and burgeoning imports.
    • But for foreign mining companies to make a beeline to pitheads, several related regulatory and market challenges will have to be addressed post-haste.
  • While domestic thermal power plants have had to rely on increased imports in recent times, many of the electricity producers themselves are in financial stress. How much additional investments may actually accrue is not clear.

Steps that need to be taken up

  • Large miners will need economies of scale and so require access to large contiguous fields with minimal bureaucratic constraints on operations.

F. Tidbits

1. Skull found in Ethiopia yields clues on how humans evolved

  • Scientists have discovered a nearly complete skull of an early human ancestor that lived 3.8 million years ago, in Ethiopia.
  • It is a species boasting an intriguing mixture of ape-like and human-like characteristics.
  • The fossil belongs to the species Australopithecus anamensis, which first appeared roughly 4.2 million years ago.
  • This species is considered the direct ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis, the species best known from the famous partial skeleton nicknamed ‘Lucy’.
  • It is believed that the species which was bipedal may also have been able to move around in trees, was much smaller than modern humans.
  • The researchers said it apparently inhabited arid shrubland near a river delta and lake.
  • The skull shows a combination of primitive traits seen in older species as well as characteristics resembling those in later hominins.
  • The MRD fossil’s age indicates this species co-existed for approximately 100,000 years with Lucy’s species, challenging previous notions that the earlier species had evolved into the later one with no overlap.

2. Bank frauds rise 74%, says RBI

  • RBI’s annual report states that the Bank frauds saw a whopping 73.8% jump in value in 2018-19 as compared to the previous year. In terms of number of cases, it was up 15%.
  • RBI’s annual report says that frauds related to loans constituted dominant share of the total amount involved in frauds.
  • Banks had taken 55 months, on an average, to report large frauds. The overall average lag between the date of occurrence and its detection by banks was 22 months.
  • Among bank groups, public sector banks (PSBs), which constitute the largest market share in bank lending, have accounted for the bulk of frauds reported in 2018-19. These were followed by private sector banks and foreign banks.
  • Cheating and forgery was the major component, followed by misappropriation and criminal breach of trust.
  • The number of Rs.2,000 counterfeit notes detected also increased in 2018-19 to 21,847 pieces from 17,929 pieces, the data showed.
  • There was also a sharp increase in the new Rs.500 notes category, with 21,865 counterfeit notes detected as compared to 9,892 in the previous year.

G. Prelims Facts

1. GI tag for T.N.’s Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree

  • Dindigul lock and the Kandangi saree were given the GI tag by the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.

Dindigul Lock:

  • The famous Dindigul locks are known throughout the world for their superior quality and durability, so much so that even the city in Tamil Nadu is called Lock City.
  • The abundance of iron in this region is the reason for the growth of the lock-making industry.
  • Though machine-made locks are easily available, government institutions like prisons, godowns, hospitals and even temples use the older pattern locks.
  • These lock manufacturing units are limited to an area of 5 km in and around Dindigul.
  • There are over 50 varieties of locks made by the artisans using raw materials such as MS flat plates and brass plates procured from the nearby towns, including Madurai and Salem.

Kandangi saree:

  • The Kandangi saree, manufactured in Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu.
  • The original Kandangi saree is manually made using a winding machine, loom, shuttle and bobbin.
  • It is a team effort of the families who live in the town of Karaikudi and it forms part of their livelihood.
  • These sarees are characterised by the large contrast borders, and some of them are known to have borders covering as much as two-thirds of the saree.
  • The sarees are usually around 5.10 meters – 5.60 meters in length.
  • The Kandangi sarees exude brilliant colours like bright yellow, orange, red and a minimal black in the traditional pattern of stripes or checks with broad borders woven in coarse cotton.
  • Over the years, more interesting colours have been introduced for the saree, which is worn in a particular manner.

Read more about: GI Tags

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Q1. Consider the following statements:
  1. The Sports Day of India marks the birth anniversary of the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.
  2. On Sports Day, the President of India honours eminent sports personalities with awards including Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards, Dronacharya Awards and Dhyan Chand Award.

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

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Answer
Q2. Consider the following statements:
  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations.
  2. Its membership is restricted to the members UN alone.

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

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Answer
Q3. Consider the following statements:
  1. CAMPA funds are kept in interest bearing non-lapsable Public Account.
  2. CAMPA funds cannot be used for payment of salary, travelling allowances, medical expenses, etc.

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

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Answer
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to Kandangi sarees:
  1. The Kandangi sarees are manufactured in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  2. It has been given a Geographical Indication Tag.

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

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practise Questions

  1. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy capping the investment in digital media at 26% would adversely impact both existing digital platforms as also affect new platforms that may be looking to expand. Critically comment. (15 Marks, 250 Words)
  2. What is GI Tag? Instances show that GIs are certainly valuable for India but the various other initiatives must go hand in hand to save the vanishing Indian GI products. Discuss with examples. (15 Marks, 250 Words)

Read previous CNA.

August 30th, 2019 PIB:-Download PDF Here

Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*