04 Dec 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 04 Dec 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. No move for e-voting, Rijiju tells Lok Sabha
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Australian wine may land ahead of FTA
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. India revokes PepsiCo’s potato patent
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. COP27, in Egypt, must focus on food systems
2. Corridors of death
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Recast this apples-and-oranges ranking method
F. Prelims Facts
1. Implement panel’s anti-pollution steps: SC to Centre, Delhi Govt.
2. Poshan Tracker data under wraps
3. Longest migration route of lesser florican from Rajasthan tracked
4. MGNREGA seeks ₹25,000 crore more
5. Tharoor moves Bill for permanent HC Benches
6. Shutterbug leads to a pretty find in Sikkim
G. Tidbits
1. Delhi ranks number one globally in CCTV coverage: CM
2. Afghan trucks can carry Indian aid via Pakistan
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Australian wine may land ahead of FTA

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Prelims: Free trade agreement (FTA)

Mains: India-Australia Free trade agreement (FTA), Significance and Challenges.

Context:

India and Australia are about to seal an early harvest trade deal which could include some market access concessions for Australian wines.

What is FTA?

  • A free trade agreement (FTA) or treaty is a multilateral agreement based on international law that establishes a free-trade zone between collaborating countries.
  • FTAs are a type of trade agreement in which nations agree to set taxes and charges on imports and exports with the purpose of lowering or removing trade obstacles.

India and FTAs:

  • Some of the major agreements that have had a significant influence on India’s foreign trade are the India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), the Indo Malaysia CECA (IMCECA), the India Singapore CECA (ISCECA), and the Japan India CEPA (JICEPA).
  • India and the UAE began talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2021.
  • Furthermore, India is attempting to expedite its FTA discussions with nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the European Union, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates.

Significance of FTA for India:

  • In principle, an FTA leads to both trading partners agreeing to lower or abolish tariffs and trade obstacles for mutual benefit.
  • In Asia, India has the most number of free trade agreements (FTAs) in place or in the works.
  • India’s exports have benefited from its FTA with SAFTA. Strategically, FTAs have aided India’s global competitiveness and growth.

Challenges:

  1. India’s experience with major free trade agreements has not been positive. Free trade agreements with Korea and the ASEAN have benefited other countries’ economies more.
  2. In the case of the treaty with Japan, bilateral trade has either decreased or remained unchanged after the first year of implementation, and the trade imbalance with that nation has increased significantly.
  3. Because certain markets are smaller, the impact of numerous FTAs reveals that India has always underperformed, with imports always exceeding exports.
  4. Domestic firms were hit the worst in some situations since the FTA reduced the cost of imports.
  5. Exporters are discouraged from adopting preferred routes by complex origin laws, a lack of information on FTAs, increased compliance costs, and administrative delays.
  6. Despite having strong pharma, IT, ITeS, and education sectors, India’s agriculture and industrial sectors, particularly MSMEs, are nonetheless vulnerable when compared to those of the nations with whom it is negotiating free trade agreements.

Way Forward

  • India needs to remove or lessen the barriers that exporters experience, and ensure that free trade agreements (FTAs) are focused on making doing business easier and growing trade prospects for exporters.
  • The focus should be on reducing the costs of compliance associated with obtaining advantages under FTAs.
  • India should integrate the production linked incentive (PLI) plan to the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ project to protect itself from the negative effects of free trade agreements.

2. Corridors of death

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Prelims: Mitigation Measures to prevent man-animal conflicts.

Mains:  Elephant deaths and country’s attempts to prevent man-animal conflicts.

Context:

The deaths of five elephants in the country as a result of railway collisions have once again highlighted the country’s attempts to prevent man-animal conflicts.

Details:

Importance of the Elephant:

  • The forest ecosystems are built by elephants. Many ecologists believe that without elephants, forests would perish.
  • Elephants are responsible for the seed dissemination of 30% of gigantic tree species and 40% of tall tree species in tropical forests.
  • They are known as nature’s ‘gardener’ and they play an important role in creating the landscape, pollination, seed germination, and boosting the fertility of forest soil with dung heaps.

Read more about the Asian elephant in the link.

Effective Solutions to Prevent Elephant Deaths:

  • Large-scale methods include hanging solar-powered fences, as proposed in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and growing citronella and lemongrass to repel elephants, as done in Golaghat district, Assam.
  • Authorities should make sure there are no unlawful electric fences or barbed wire fences, which might be replaced with solar-powered fences.
  • The involvement of local communities is critical. The importance of elephants in biodiversity protection must be emphasised, especially to individuals who live along elephant corridors.
  • Proposals for elevated wildlife crossings, eco-bridges, and underpasses for the safe passage of animals should be expedited by the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Railways.
  • Measures such as a periodic evaluation of elephant passage identification, increased sensitization programmes for railway workers, standardisation of track signs, and ‘honey bee’ sound-emitting devices near all known elephant routes should all be expedited by the authorities.

Conclusion:

The state governments concerned and the Central government must identify long-term solutions to the problem of man-animal conflicts. The effectiveness of mitigating measures and the impact of linear projects will determine the future of sustainable biodiversity in India.

Also read: Project RE-HAB
Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Recast this apples-and-oranges ranking method

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

Prelims: National Institute Ranking Framework

Mains:  Critical Evaluation of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) Ranking in India.

Context:

This article critically evaluates the ranking of State-run Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

What is NIRF?

  • The National Institute Ranking Framework, or NIRF, is the government’s first attempt to rate the country’s higher education institutions (HEIs).
  • While participation in the NIRF was initially voluntary, it became mandatory in 2018 for all government-run educational institutions.

Why did the Union government decide to rank HEIs?

  • The origins of the NIRF concept may be traced back to worldwide rankings.
  • The union government and government-run higher education institutions were dissatisfied with their rankings in the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
  • To address this, India opted to follow China’s example. When China faced the same dilemma around two decades ago, they replied by creating their own university rating system. The Shanghai Rankings, created by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2003, arose from this.

Critical Evaluation of NIRF Ranking:

  1. Deficiencies in the focus
  • The financial condition of state-sponsored higher education institutions is a well-kept secret, with wage and pension commitments barely kept under check.
  • As a result, comparing such organisations to centrally sponsored institutions is pointless.
  • On economic indicators, nobody does a cost-benefit analysis of state vs centrally sponsored HEIs.
  1. Structural Issues:
  • Given the challenges that State HEIs encounter on a daily basis, the NIRF appears to have focused solely on institutional strength while entirely ignoring the concerns.
  • It prevents state universities and colleges from competing on an equal footing with their state-sponsored equivalents.
  • Due to a lack of resources and scepticism on the part of governments, such institutions are unable to compete with centrally financed and strategically placed HEIs.
  1. Struggle of State HEIs
  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchains, smart boards, portable computing devices, and other new technologies are proving difficult for state HEIs to embrace.
  • They also struggle to adapt to various types of educational software/hardware in order to stay current with the New Education Policy.

Conclusion:

  • It is time for the NIRF to devise a framework for evaluating institutions’ production and performance in light of their limits and resources.
  • It is critical for policymakers to refocus resource allocation techniques toward state-run higher education institutions.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Implement panel’s anti-pollution steps: SC to Centre, Delhi Govt.

Context:

The Supreme Court approved the measures taken by the Centre’s Air Quality Commission to create an ‘Enforcement Task Force’ and flying squads in Delhi NCR.

Flying Squad:

  • The Flying Squad is a small standby squad of people who have been organised to respond rapidly in the event of an emergency.
  • It was established to take disciplinary action against offenders.
  • The flying squads would report directly to the commission’s ‘Enforcement Task Force.’

2. Poshan Tracker data under wraps

Context:

The government has spent crores of rupees on its Poshan or Nutrition Tracker programme, but it is yet to make the data public.

Poshan Tracker

  • Poshan Tracker is a management tool that gives a 360-degree view of an Anganwadi Centre’s (AWC) operations, service delivery by Anganwadi Workers (AWWs), and comprehensive beneficiary management for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children.
  • Simultaneously, the mobile application digitises and automates the physical registers used by AWWs, allowing them to increase their job quality.

3. Longest migration route of lesser florican from Rajasthan tracked

Context:

A Lesser Florican is a small and thin bustard-like bird that lives in tall grasses. Sypheotides indicus is the scientific name for Lesser Floricans. During the monsoon season, the endangered bird may be seen in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and other areas.

Lesser Floricans:

  • A Lesser Florican is a small and thin bustard-like bird that lives in tall grasses.
  • Sypheotides indicus is the scientific name for Lesser Floricans.
  • During the monsoon season, the endangered bird may be seen in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and other areas.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species classifies the bird as “endangered.”

4. MGNREGA seeks ₹25,000 crore more

Context:

The Centre has sought additional funding for the MGNREGA scheme as part of the supplementary demand for grants submitted to Parliament.

Supplementary Grants:

  • Article 115 of the Indian Constitution specifies it, along with Additional and Excess Grants.
  • When grants authorised by Parliament fall short of the needed expenditure, an estimate for Supplementary or Additional funds is provided to Parliament.
  • Before the conclusion of the financial year, these grants are presented to Parliament and approved.

5. Tharoor moves Bill for permanent HC Benches

Context:

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor introduced a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha proposing the establishment of a High Court Bench in the state capitals.

Background:

  • “Establishment of permanent benches of high courts at state capitals Bill” aims to provide for the establishment of permanent Benches of the High Courts in State Capitals.
  • It will be formed where the High Court’s major seat or a permanent bench is located somewhere other than the State Capital, and for cases related to it.

Permanent Bench: The creation of permanent Benches would mean that judges will sit there on a permanent basis ending inconvenience to them, advocates and litigants.

What is a Private Member’s Bill?

A member of parliament (MP) who is not a minister is a private member. Know more about private member’s bill in the linked article.

6. Shutterbug leads to a pretty find in Sikkim

Context:

A new butterfly species was discovered in Sikkim.

Chocolate-bordered Flitter

  • A new butterfly species called Chocolate-bordered Flitter was discovered by chance via photos.
  • The physical appearance of the species differs slightly and the internal structures of the males also differ slightly.

G. Tidbits

1. Delhi ranks number one globally in CCTV coverage: CM

  • Delhi has surpassed cities such as London, Washington, and Paris in terms of CCTV coverage, and now ranks first in the world.
  • CCTV coverage had increased women’s safety.
  • It had considerably aided the police force in the investigation of a number of crimes, with occurrences captured on CCTV cameras assisting in the capture of perpetrators.

2. Afghan trucks can carry Indian aid via Pakistan

  • As India stepped up efforts to send humanitarian aid to Afghanistan “without conditionalities”, Pakistan announced that it would allow Indian aid to pass through on Afghan trucks.
  • In addition to the humanitarian assistance in Kabul, the EU planned to reopen a “minimal presence” in Afghanistan, deploying a limited number of EU foreign officials and security personnel.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. With respect to the word ‘Democratic’ mentioned in the Preamble, which of the following 
statements is/are correct?
  1. Democratic polity stipulated in the Preamble is based on the doctrine of popular sovereignty.
  2. Independence of Judiciary can be considered as the manifestation of the democratic character of the Indian polity.
  3. The term used in the Preamble embraces political democracy and not social and economic democracy.

Options:-

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • As stated in the Preamble, a democratic government is founded on the notion of popular sovereignty, or the people’s possession of supreme authority. Hence Statement 1 is correct.
  • The democratic nature of the Indian polity is manifested through universal adult franchise, periodic elections, rule of law, judiciary independence, and the lack of discrimination on certain grounds. Hence Statement 2 is correct.
  • In the Preamble, the term “democratic” is used in a broad meaning, encompassing not just political democracy but also social and economic democracy. Hence Statement 3 is not correct.
Q2. Which of the following words were added to the Preamble by the 42nd Constitutional 
Amendment Act?
  1. Integrity
  2. Liberty
  3. Secular
  4. Socialist

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • India’s status was altered from “sovereign democratic republic” to “sovereign, socialist secular democratic republic” with the 42nd Amendment. It also modified the phrase “national unity” to “national unity and integrity.”
  • During the Emergency, the administration led by Indira Gandhi adopted the 42nd Amendment to the Indian Constitution, formally known as The Constitution Amendment Act, 1976.
  • The 42nd Constitutional Amendment introduced the phrases socialist, secular, and integrity to the Preamble.
  • Hence only terms 1, 3 and 4 are correct.
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Private Member's Bill:
  1. A member of the ruling dispensation who is not a minister or that of the opposition can be said to be a ‘Private Member’.
  2. No private member’s Bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970.

Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • A private member of parliament (MP) is a member of parliament who is not a minister. Private Member’s Bills are bills introduced by private members of Parliament.
  • Hence Statement 1 is correct.
  • So far, 14 such Bills have been enacted by Parliament, six of them were passed in 1956. 
  • According to PRS Legislative Research, no Private Member’s Bill has been enacted by Parliament since 1970.
  • Hence Statement 2 is correct.
Q4. With respect to Lesser florican, which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. It is endemic to the Indian Subcontinent.
  2. The bird is listed as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Lesser Florican is a small and thin bustard-like bird that lives in tall grasses.
  • Sypheotides indicus is the scientific name for Lesser Floricans.
  • During the monsoon season, the endangered bird may be seen in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and other areas. Hence Statement 1 is correct.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species classifies the bird as “Endangered.” Hence Statement 2 is not correct.
Q5. Consider the following statements:
  1. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) helps in promoting financial inclusion in the country.
  2. NPCI has launched RuPay, a card payment scheme.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is a government-owned corporation that manages retail payment and settlement systems and promotes financial inclusion in India.
  • It is the result of a collaboration between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
  • NPCI has launched RuPay which is an Indian-developed payment system that is tailored to the expectations and needs of Indian consumers, banks, and merchants.
  • Hence both statements are correct.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. MGNREGA remains crucial for integrated resource management and livelihood generation. Comment. (250 words; 15 marks) [GS-2, Governance]
  2. Elephant deaths due to train collisions and electric fences are avoidable with effective policy and implementation. Suggest such policies. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Biodiversity]

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 04 Dec 2021:- Download PDF Here

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