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2 Dec 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 2 Dec 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY
1. How do personality rights protect celebrities?
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1. Laying the ground to delegitimize the Supreme Court
2. Appointment of Election Commissioners
ENVIRONMENT
1. Road safety and environmental sustainability
F. Prelims Facts
1. Freshwater Turtles
G. Tidbits
1. Debt talks in Sri Lanka put spotlight on China loans
2. G-20 Presidency unparalleled, a crucial responsibility
3. India said to offer incentives to boost shipbuilding industry
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

2. Appointment of Election Commissioners

Syllabus: Election Commission of India

Mains: Various Issues with the appointment process of Election Commissioners

Context: The ongoing hearing before the Supreme Court on the need to have a neutral mechanism for the appointment of Election Commissioners raises questions on the body’s functional independence.

Introduction:

  • A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is examining a bunch of petitions recommending reforms in the process of appointment of members of the Election Commission
  • A batch of four public interest litigations (PILs) pressed for issuance of directives to the Centre for setting up a neutral and independent selection panel for recommending names to the President for appointments as CEC and ECs.

Read more on Issues with the appointment of Election Commissioners
Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Road safety and environmental sustainability

Syllabus: Disaster Management

Mains: Impact of Road safety on the environment

Impact of Road Safety on the Environment:

  • Safer roads have a positive impact on the environment. 
  • In 2021, India reported 4,03,116 crashes, each of which adversely impacted the environment in various ways and to different degrees. 
  • Most vehicles contain toxic metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chromium, which are detrimental to the environment. Vehicle crashes result in these fuel and fluid leaks.
  • Severe road crashes lead to automobile wreckage, which becomes a part of unusable end-of-life vehicles. This gives rise to scrappage. 
    • India is estimated to have about 22.5 million end-of-life vehicles by 2025. 

National Automobile Scrappage Policy:

  • The Vehicle Scrapping Policy was announced in March 2021 by the Union government.
  • The policy is estimated to cover 51 lakh Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) that are above 20 years of age and another 34 lakh LMVs above 15 years of age.
  • This aids in reducing pollution & would help in India’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.
  • Despite being one of the largest car and light commercial vehicle markets in the world, the policy is still in its nascent stages.
  • Absence of widespread, systematic facilities for proper recycling, old vehicles and vehicles after road crashes are left to rot by the wayside. 
    • Some end up at landfills or at informal recycling facilities where rudimentary hand tools are utilised to unscientifically dismantle them. 
    • This leads to the leakage of hazardous constituents such as oils, coolants and glass wool resulting in sub-optimal land usage and water and soil pollution for decades.

Speeding limits:

  • One of the biggest factors for road crashes is speeding. In 2020 alone, speeding was responsible for 91,239 road crash fatalities, comprising 69.3% of all road crash deaths registered. 
    • Speeding has consistently been responsible for over 60% of all road crash fatalities in India in the last five years. 
  • Simulation exercises in Europe have demonstrated that cutting motorway speed limits even by 10 km/h can deliver 12% to 18% fuel savings for current technology passenger cars, along with a significant reduction in pollutant emissions, particularly Nitrogen Oxides and particulate matter (PM) output, from diesel vehicles. 
  • Consequently, several governments globally have reduced speed limits to prevent crashes and lower air pollution. 
  • In India, the Zero-Fatality Corridor solution for road safety by the SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF) focuses on reducing speeding through advanced engineering and enforcement technologies.

Other initiatives:

  • All road safety initiatives undertaken and recommended by the SaveLIFE Foundation are designed to be impactful and environment-friendly. 
    • The Foundation’s Zero-Fatality Corridor (ZFC) programme, which was deployed on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in 2016, helped bring down road crash fatalities by 52%, as of 2020.
  • Similar interventions were introduced in 2018 on the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway and helped reduce the road crash fatalities on this stretch by 61%, as of 2021. 
    • Initiatives included guarding natural hard structures such as trees using crash barriers to prevent direct collisions, and installing retro-reflective signage on the trees to make them more visible to commuters. 
  • The Government of India is building green corridors to go over forests and animal paths as opposed to going through them.
  • Missing or inadequate signages are another leading cause of road crashes. Asbestos is used for creating signages along road stretches.
    • Asbestos has an adverse impact on the environment, therefore the ZFC programme opts for Aluminium Composite Panels despite being more expensive than asbestos.
    • Aluminium Composite Panels are free of toxic gas or liquids during the production process and they are recyclable separately as aluminium and plastic, without much value or quality loss. 

Nut Graf: Road safety and environmental sustainability are closely intertwined concepts. They are our shared resources and joint responsibility. Safer roads and a sustainable environment can be ensured through the joint efforts of road-owning agencies, enforcement officials and the public. Sustainable interventions will have a deep impact on preserving the environment while ensuring better road connectivity.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Freshwater Turtles

Syllabus: GS-3; Environment and Biodiversity

Prelims: About Freshwater Turtles in India

Context: Recently the West Bengal Police seized about 270 kg of Turtle calipee (a gelatinous layer found in the lower shells of turtles, believed to be used in traditional Chinese medicine) in Malda district. 

Freshwater Turtles in India

  • India is home to about 29 species of freshwater Turtles (24) and Tortoises (5). 
    • The key difference between Turtles and Tortoises is that Turtles are mainly aquatic whereas Tortoises are terrestrial and spend more time on land.
  • Out of these, over 50% of the Turtle species are threatened and 11 are protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, enjoying the same level of protection as Tigers.
  • Turtles and Tortoises are slow-moving, tough animals, which have adapted to various evolutionary processes and have survived cycles of mass extinctions. However, they are currently facing difficulties due to illegal trade.
    • These animals are smuggled mainly for three reasons namely their meat (mainly within the country), as pets (within and outside India) and to extract their calipee.
  • Species such as the Indian Roofed Turtle, Black-Spotted Turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii), Red-Crowned Roofed Turtle and the Indian star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans) are in huge demand in both the national and international illegal pet trade.
  • Species such as the Indian Flapshell Turtle (Lissemys punctata), the Indian softshell Turtle (Nilssonia gangetica), other species of the genus Nilssonia and the Indian narrow-headed softshell Turtle (Chitra indica) are in demand for their meat.
  • The Red-crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga), found only within the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary (NCGWS) spread across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh has made it to the list of the 25 most threatened freshwater Turtles in the world, along with Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska) which is now found only in the Sundarbans.
  • The Conference of the Parties (COP) recently accepted India’s proposal to transfer two species of freshwater Turtles found in the country namely the Red-crowned Roofed Turtle and the Leith’s Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia leithii) to Appendix I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES), which lists the most endangered species that need the highest level of protection.
    • The Indian star tortoise was transferred to Appendix I of CITES in 2017.
  • About four Turtle species of the genus of Nilssonia and N. leithii are endemic to India.
  • The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) which is a statutory body tasked with preventing wildlife trafficking in the country, carried out a national level crackdown on turtle smuggling.
    • WCCB launched “Operation Save Kurma” to prevent poaching, transportation and illegal trade of live turtles and tortoises. 
    • WCCB had also launched “Operation Turtshield-I” and “Operation Turtshield-II” to tackle the illegal trade of live turtles. 

G. Tidbits

1. Debt talks in Sri Lanka put spotlight on China loans

  • With Sri Lanka struggling to get financing assurances from its diverse creditors which is a pre-requisite for the provisional $2.9-billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) package, the loans obtained from China have come under the focus.
  • After opting for a pre-emptive and disorderly default on its $51 billion foreign debt, Sri Lanka had reached a staff level agreement with the IMF in September 2022. 
    • According to the Sri Lankan government, the programme would help Sri Lanka recover and reform from its economic crisis as the programme enables the bankrupt country eligible to borrow again from international sources. 
  • The IMF posed a condition on Sri Lanka to obtain adequate financing assurances from all its creditors. Private lenders who are mainly the holders of International Sovereign Bonds, account for the largest share of Sri Lanka’s external debt while China, India, and Japan are the top three bilateral creditors.
  • Opposition leaders in the Parliament of Sri Lanka have accused China of stalling Sri Lanka’s IMF deal and forcing down unnecessary projects by paying bribes.
  • Responding to these accusations, the Chinese Embassy has said the working teams of different Chinese banks had visited the island, and bilateral negotiations are taking place currently.
  • China is expected to play an important role in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process, with $7.4 billion (19.6%) of Sri Lanka’s outstanding public debt being from China at the end of 2021.
  • China’s approach to Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring will set a precedent for China’s role and behaviour in other countries as it is the first time that a major country that is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative is going through such a process.

2. G-20 Presidency unparalleled, a crucial responsibility

  • India on December 1st, 2022 took over the Presidency of the G-20 a year ahead of the summit of the grouping to be held in New Delhi and the External Affairs Minister said that the occasion bestowed India with a crucial responsibility as India assumes presidency at a very challenging time in world politics.
  • The External Affairs Minister also said that India’s presidency of G-20 is of extraordinary importance and one that is unparalleled in India’s history. 
  • During this period, about 200 meetings would be held at various levels across the country as the countrywide spread of the event would help citizens understand that as a result of the G-20, India would be “more world-ready” and the “world more India-ready”.
  • Further, the Prime Minister of India had earlier described India’s agenda at the G-20 to be “inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented”.

3. India said to offer incentives to boost shipbuilding industry

  • The Indian government plans to extend cash subsidies, lower taxes and other incentives to boost the shipbuilding industry and an effort to reduce the problems of high freight rates for the manufacturers of the country.
  • These plans include subsidies to build about 50 new vessels and granting “infrastructure status” to the industry which would help get financing from banks.
  • According to a government panel, local tax rules have impacted investment in the shipping industry as compared to the tax regimes of Singapore, Malta, Cyprus and Panama, where most of the global carriers were registered.
    • The panel also noted that the cost of ship making was about 20% lower in India compared with Indonesia and the Philippines.
  • According to experts, India can save around $25 billion annually in foreign exchange if government incentives encourage private firms to develop the local shipping industry.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. It is an annual festival celebrated from 1st to 10th of December in a North-Eastern
state. The festival represents all the ethnic groups of this state and hence, is 
also called the ‘Festival of Festivals’. It refers to – (Level - Moderate)
  1. Losar festival of Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Saga Dawa festival of Sikkim
  3. Ambubachi Mela of Assam
  4. Hornbill festival of Nagaland
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • The Hornbill Festival is an annual festival celebrated from the 1st to the 10th of December in Nagaland. 
  • As the festival represents all ethnic groups of Nagaland it is also called the “Festival of Festivals”.
Q2. ‘Agni Warrior’ is a military exercise between - (Level - Easy)
  1. India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
  2. India and Singapore
  3. India, Indonesia and Thailand
  4. India and France
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The Exercise Agni Warrior is a bilateral exercise between the Singapore and Indian armies.
Q3. Which of the following statements are incorrect? (Level - Moderate)
  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  2. It has been set up under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
  3. It is mandated to undertake the promotion of in-country adoptions and to facilitate inter-state adoptions in accordance with the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of inter-country adoption.

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4.  None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. 
  • Statement 2 is correct, CARA has been established under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
  • Statement 3 is correct, CARA is the designated authority in India for the promotion of in-country adoptions and to facilitate inter-state adoptions in accordance with the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of inter-country adoption as India ratified the convention in 2003.
Q4. The border town of Moreh, seen frequently in news, is located in - (Level-Difficult)
  1. Punjab along Pakistan border
  2. Sikkim along Nepal border
  3. Manipur along Myanmar border
  4. Assam along Bangladesh border
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Moreh is a border town located on the India-Myanmar border in the Tengnoupal district of Manipur.
Q5. If a major solar storm (solar flare) reaches the Earth, which of the following 
are the possible effects on the Earth? (Level - Moderate) PYP (2022)
  1. GPS and navigation systems could fail.
  2. Tsunamis could occur at equatorial regions.
  3. Power grids could be damaged.
  4. Intense auroras could occur over much of the Earth.
  5. Forest fires could take place over much of the planet.
  6. Orbits of the satellites could be disturbed.
  7. Shortwave radio communication of the aircraft flying over polar regions could be interrupted.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • There is no established relationship between the occurrence of solar storms and their impact on Tsunamis.
  • Further, forest fires are also not linked to the occurrence of solar storms.
  • All the other statements are correct as they refer to the possible effects of solar storms on Earth. Hence “Options C” is the correct answer.

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 2 Dec 2022:- Download PDF Here

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