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6 Dec 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 06 Dec 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
C. GS 3 Related
INFRASTRUCTURE
1. Why are fisherfolk protesting the Vizhinjam port project?
ECONOMY
1. The lingering crisis of labour post-pandemic
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. No uniformity in parole and furlough rules
2. EWS quota: beyond the smokescreen
3. Faith and freedom
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. SC offers to find solution to ‘deceitful conversion’
2. India, Germany ink migration agreement
3. Sri Lanka seeks India’s help to boost dairy output
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: ECONOMY

1. The lingering crisis of labour post-pandemic

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to growth, development and employment.

Prelims: About International Labour Organisation (ILO) and its reports

Mains: Key findings about the trends in employment in India and worldwide and important recommendations.

Context

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released two reports that provide an idea about the situation and trends in global employment post-pandemic. 

Details

  • The “Global Wage Report 2022-2023: The Impact of inflation and COVID-19 on wages and purchasing power” report talks about the twin crises namely the inflation and economic slowdown which have led to a fall in the real monthly wages across the world.
    • This report also discussed the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war in worsening the global energy crisis.
    • In the Global Wage Report, the main aim is to collect wage data from about 190 countries and territories which are then categorised into five separate regions.
  • The “Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2022: Rethinking sectoral strategies for a human-centred future of work” report points out that the Asia-Pacific region has lost over 2.2 crore jobs in 2022.

Key findings of the reports

  • The Global Wage Report analysed the trends in the real and nominal wages of employees. 
    • According to the report, the term “wage” was defined as the total gross remuneration including regular bonuses extended to employees during a specified period for time (monthly for the report) worked and also for the time not worked which includes paid leaves and paid sick leaves.  
    • As per the report, the nominal wage refers to the adjusted figures after considering consumer price inflation and real wage growth is nothing but the year-on-year change in the real average monthly wages of all employees. 
  • The reports note that the nominal wages increased from ₹4,398 in 2006 to ₹17,017 per month in 2021 in India.
    • This data for the computation of the report was taken from the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.  
  • Despite the increase in nominal wages, the real wage growth rate in the country has fallen from 9.3% in 2006 to -0.2% in 2021 when inflation is accounted for. 
    • This negative growth in India has begun ever since the COVID pandemic.
  • The real wage growth rate has plunged not just in India but also in countries like China, where the growth rate has declined from 5.6% in 2019 to 2% in 2022 and Pakistan, where the growth is -3.8%. In 2022.
  • The report also notes that the increasing cost of living has had a severe impact on lower-income earners and their households because they are spending most of their disposable income on essential goods and services, which are experiencing greater price increases as compared to non-essentials.
  • According to the report on employment in Asia-Pacific, only the trends in the high-skill jobs showed a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also seen across all subregions. 
  • There have been concerns about the increasing inequality as the employment gain was seen to be 1.6% among high-skill workers between 2019 and 2021 and there was no improvement among low-to-medium-skill workers. 
  • Further, among the G-20 countries, there was a significant gap in the average level of real wages between advanced G-20 countries and emerging G-20 countries. 
    • The average level of real wages was found to be around $4,000 per month in advanced economies and about $1,800 per month in emerging economies.

Recommendations

  • Reports recommend a set of policy measures to address the issue of the cost-of-living crisis. Acknowledging the fact that over 7.5 to 9.5 crore people were pushed into extreme poverty during COVID-19, the report said that the bargaining process for future nominal wage adjustments should adopt a sufficiently large and prudent price expectation.
    • This way the standard of living of households, especially low-income households could be protected against unexpected future inflation and prevent an undesirable wage-inflation spiral.
  • The reports also say that there is a need to strengthen labour market institutions and wage policies. 
  • The ILO opines that the development of decent formal wage employment is a prerequisite for an equitable distribution of wages and income, and the major contributor to equitable and sustainable wage growth. 
  • Further, the ILO has urged governments to focus on the gender pay gap because when women leave the labour market, they are less likely to return than men. 
  • There is also a need for adopting a multilateral approach that helps tackle the adverse effects of climate change, increasing inequalities, poverty, discrimination, violence and exclusion and also the increasing digital divide between poor and rich countries.

Nut graf: The recent ILO reports have indicated that the existing global crises have led to a decline in real wages and have pushed millions of workers into unemployment as a result of which the income inequality and poverty levels are expected to increase in the coming days undermining the goal of achieving prosperity for all. Thus, there is an urgent need to adopt well-designed policy measures that help maintain the purchasing power and living standards of workers.

2. EWS quota: beyond the smokescreen

Syllabus: Welfare schemes for the vulnerable section of the population.

Mains: Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota.

Prelims: EWS.

Details: 

  • The aim of reservation was laudable as it was introduced as a short-term measure to give opportunities to socially and educationally backward (SEBCs) or inadequately represented groups in various fields like education and employment.
  • It resulted in improving the standard of living of many people. 
  • The author argues that even after seven decades, the reservation system is extended for political and sociological reasons, despite being a short-term measure. It is further argued that those who really needed reservation were deprived of its benefits.
  • The Indian economy was largely agrarian and was based on traditional commerce at the time of Independence. People were largely unskilled. But free school education and industrialization equipped people with new skills. The class divide became a thing of the past as cities became cosmopolitan.
  • According to the author, the cause for social inequality and oppression was wrongly attributed to a particular faith and the practice of the caste system prevalent in those days. In the present age of technology and information, the expanding middle-class population has made the caste system less prevalent. The present-day economic prosperity has neutralized the reason for social injustice to a large extent. 
  • It is the constitutional and moral obligation of the government to achieve the goal of “social, economic and political justice,” as mentioned in the Preamble. As per the author, the 10% quota for the Economically Weaker Section(EWS) is a step in the right direction that will ensure economic and social justice.
  • The author puts forth certain misconceptions associated with the EWS quota:
    • There is a widespread belief that the basic structure of the Constitution has been violated as the EWS quota empowers the privileged sections of society who are neither socially and educationally backward nor inadequately represented. 
    • Moreover, the 10% quota in the open category in favour of ‘forward’ communities might reduce the availability of seats in the open category for other classes and communities. It was clarified that this 10% is in addition to the existing reservation in favour of SEBCs. 

Also read: Sansad TV Perspective: EWS Quota

Nut Graf: Affirmative action for the Economically Weaker Section can help ensure the ‘economic and social justice’ that is enshrined in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

3. Faith and freedom

Syllabus: Issue arising out of design and implementation of policies.

Mains: Freedom of religion and anti-conversion laws.

Context: The Supreme Court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation seeking action to curb deceitful religious conversion in the country.

Details: 

  • The Supreme Court is hearing an alleged Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking action to check deceitful religious conversion in India. 
  • The Gujarat government is also looking forward to the removal of a stay on a specific provision of its anti-conversion law that requires prior permission from the District Magistrate for any conversion done “directly or indirectly”. The Gujarat High Court had stayed Section 5 of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003 (amended in 2021 to incorporate ‘conversion by marriage’), along with staying the implementation of other provisions that tried to consider inter-faith marriages as instances of illegal conversion. 
  • The High Court noted that the requirement of prior permission would force the individual to disclose one’s religious belief or any change of faith, contrary to SC rulings that said that marriage and faith involve a person’s choice.
  • However, the Gujarat government has claimed that the stay on Section 5 is impacting even genuine inter-faith marriages that do not involve any fraud or coercion. This is based on a claim that the prior permission requirement obviates the need to question the genuine nature of the conversion, if any, consequent upon an inter-religious marriage.
  • It should be noted that the Freedom of religion is protected only when no questions/suspicion is raised or entertained based on the mere fact of solemnizing inter-faith marriage. 
  • Compelling a person to disclose his/her intent to change faith violates both freedom of conscience and the right to privacy
  • The observations of a Supreme Court Bench in the context of religious conversion through “allurement” or charity work further provoke the Government to formulate anti-conversion measures at a national level. 
  • It is argued by many that the court should not entertain exaggerated allegations of rampant fraudulent conversions and instead leave it to States to identify the extent of the issue (if any) and adopt measures to protect religious freedom and communal harmony.

Also read: Love Jihad Laws Explained

Nut Graf: A recent public interest litigation in the Supreme Court regarding religious conversion has once again brought to the limelight the issue of anti-conversion laws. It is a sensitive issue as it is related to the right to privacy and freedom of religion and should be dealt with utmost consideration to maintain peace and harmony in the country.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. SC offers to find solution to ‘deceitful conversion’

SC offers to find solution to ‘deceitful conversion

Image source: The Hindu

  • The Supreme Court said that acts of charity or good work to help a community or the poor must not be used as a cover-up to hide the intention of converting them religiously as payback and also said that forcible conversions in the country are a very serious issue as it affects the basic principles of Indian Constitution.
  • The Supreme Court held that conversion on the basis of a voluntary belief in the deity of a different faith was different from the belief gained through allurement and said that the court would examine such disguised intentions behind religious conversions through allurement by offering food, medicines, treatment, etc.
  • The Solicitor-General appearing for the Centre raised the importance of setting up a statutory mechanism wherein a neutral authority would examine if the purpose of offering grains, medicines, or treatment is to facilitate religious conversions.
  • The apex court in the past has upheld such statutes that monitored religious conversions and the court has directed the Union government to provide details of anti-conversion laws and statutes in various States and other materials.

2. India, Germany ink migration agreement

  • During the recent meeting of the Foreign Ministers of India and Germany, the two countries signed a comprehensive partnership on migration and mobility which aims to ease travel for research, study and work for people in both countries.
  • According to the Indian Foreign Minister, the new agreement would be the basis for a more contemporary partnership.
  • The Ministers held discussions on bilateral issues such as Germany’s assistance to India on renewable energy and energy transitions, their Indo-Pacific strategies, and other international issues relating to China, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • During the bilateral talks, the Indian Foreign Minister defended the Indian government’s decision to increase the intake of Russian oil since the war in Ukraine by telling that India’s consumption of Russian oil is just about one-sixth of Europe’s consumption and must not be compared unfavourably.

3. Sri Lanka seeks India’s help to boost dairy output

  • In a move to ramp up its dairy production and become self-sufficient, Sri Lanka has sought technical assistance from India’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and Amul.
    • Sri Lanka had attempted a similar collaboration in the late 1990s, but it had not materialised. 
  • The former President of Sri Lanka Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had invited India’s “milkman” Verghese Kurien to set up the “Kiriya” dairy project, named after the Sinhala word for milk. 
    • A $20 million joint venture between the NDDB and Sri Lanka’s MILCO was also announced, but the project failed to take off due to resistance from nationalist worker unions and business lobbies in Sri Lanka.
  • President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe has recently appointed a committee with representatives from Sri Lanka’s public and private sectors, to work with the NDDB and devise short, medium and long-term plans to increase local milk production.
  • Currently, Sri Lanka’s domestic dairy production accounts for less than 50% of its requirements and the country spends about $300 million annually on dairy imports, mostly from New Zealand.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. The Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2022 report was released by
  1. International Labour Organisation
  2. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  3. World Economic Forum
  4. World Bank
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The “Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2022: Rethinking sectoral strategies for a human-centered future of work” was released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to the Monetary Policy Committee 
(MPC):
  1. The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India is the Chairperson of the MPC.
  2. The MPC determines the policy repo rate required to achieve the inflation target.
  3. The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee shall be binding on the Bank and the quorum for the meeting of the MPC is three members.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  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:

  • Statement 1 is correct, The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India is the ex-officio chairperson of the Monetary Policy Committee.
  • Statement 2 is correct, The MPC determines the policy repo rate required to achieve the inflation target. 
  • Statement 3 is not correct, The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee shall be binding on the Bank and the quorum for the meeting of the MPC is four members.
Q3. Consider the following statements:
  1. The World Bank defines the extreme poor as those living on less than $1.90 a day.
  2. The extreme poverty line is based on the 2017 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, The World Bank updated the global poverty lines in September 2022 and the new extreme poverty line is $2.15 per person per day, which replaces the $1.90 poverty line.
  • Statement 2 is correct, The extreme poverty line is based on the 2017 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
Q4. Which country is not among the five largest spenders in military expenditure in 2021?
  1. China
  2. India
  3. Russia
  4. France
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the five largest military spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia.
  • Together these five countries accounted for 62% of the total military expenditure.
Q5. Which of the following is not a bird? PYQ (2022)
  1. Golden Mahseer
  2. Indian Nightjar
  3. Spoonbill
  4. White Ibis
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Golden Mahseer is a freshwater fish species belonging to the genus Tor.
  • Golden Mahseer is regarded as the “tiger of Indian rivers”.
  • The Golden Mahseer can be found in the rivers of the Himalayan foothills, the Indus, Ganga, Brahmaputra basins, the Cauvery, Tambraparini, and Kosi rivers.

CNA 06 Dec 2022:- Download PDF Here

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