11 Dec 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Plea questions appointment process of heads of CBI, CVC
2. Hearings punctuated by candour
3. Land acquisition law challenged in court
4. NRC: Assam seeks month’s extension
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Shock resignation (RBI)
HEALTH
1. Anchored in human rights (Tuberculosis (TB)
F. Tidbits
1. RBI Governor Urjit Patel quits citing personal reasons
2. Too much screen time affects brains
3. In China, cockroaches put on job to crunch kitchen waste
4. ‘Many combination drugs not approved by regulator’
G. Prelims Fact
1. Nobel Peace Prize 2018
2. U.S. and India call for more joint air exercises
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Plea questions appointment process of heads of CBI, CVC

Context

  • The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to respond on a plea that the appointment process of the CBI Director and the heads of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Information Commission (CIC) and the Lokpal – the four regulators of governmental was flawed from the very start
  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to the government on a petition filed by NGO Youth for Equality

Petition Highlights

  • The CBI, CVC, CIC and the Lokpal had all been limited in their functioning and interfered with by virtue of overwhelming governmental control.
  • The heads of these institutions were not truly independent and transparent.
  • The committees meant to appoint the heads of these institutions function by pure majority, thereby rendering the balancing voice a minority.
  • The Leader of the Opposition was a member of the appointing committee, the government took cover under the fact that where such individual was not explicitly recognised, he or she would merely be called upon as an ‘invitee’, thereby subverting the statutory intent.
  • The petition sought the court to interpret the statutory provisions so that appointments were made by a unanimous vote and not a majority one.
  • Wherever the appointing committee included the Leader of the Opposition, the same may be read to mean the leader of the single largest opposition party in that House.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • The CBI was established as the Special Police Establishment in 1941, to enquire into cases of corruption in the procurement during the Second World War.
  • With time the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption recommends the establishment of CBI. The CBI was then established by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry of Personnel eventually took over the responsibility of CBI and now it plays the role of an attached office.
  • The CBI is the premier investigating agency of the Central Government. It is not a statutory body; it derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
  • The important role of CBI is prevention of corruption and maintaining integrity in administration. It works under the overall supervision of Central Vigilance Commission in matters related to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • The CVC act provides for a security of two year tenure in office for CBI Director. The CVC Act also provides the mechanism for the selection of the Director of CBI and other officers of the rank of SP and above in the CBI.
  • Central government appoints The CBI director based on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Central Vigilance Commissioner as Chairperson, the Vigilance Commissioners, the Secretary to the Government of India in-charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Secretary (Coordination and Public Grievances) in the Cabinet Secretariat.
  • Section 4B(2) of the DSPE Act lays down guidelines for removal of CBI Director, which mandates that the CBI Director cannot be “transferred” without the previous consent of a high-power committee chaired by the Prime Minister.
  • All the major crimes in the country having National and International ramifications will be investigated by CBI. It is also involved in collection of criminal intelligence pertaining to three of its main areas of operation, viz., Special Crimes, Economic Crimes and Anti-Corruption

Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)

  • In 1964 CVC was established with the aim of addressing corrupt practices within the government.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) works in coordination with the government authorities for the betterment of the system.
  • It must be noted that Central Vigilance Commission is not an investigating agency. It operates in coalition with the Departmental Chief Vigilance Officers or CBI. Investigating Civil Works of the government through the Chief Technical Officer is the only search that Central Vigilance Commission conducts.
  • All the investigations into corruption cases against government officials has to be approved by the government. The Central Vigilance Commission also publishes list of corrupt officials and recommends punitive action against them.

Functions and powers of CVC

  • To exercise superintendence over the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) with respect to investigation under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; or offence under CRPC for certain categories of public servants and to give directions to the DSPE for purpose of discharging this responsibility;
  • To review the progress of investigations conducted by the DSPE into offences alleged to have been committed under the PC Act;
  • To undertake an inquiry or cause an inquiry or investigation to be made into any transaction in which a public servant working in any organisation, to which the executive control of the Government of India extends, is suspected or alleged to have acted for an improper purpose or in a corrupt manner;
  • To tender independent and impartial advice to the disciplinary and other authorities in disciplinary cases, involving vigilance angle at different stages i.e. investigation, inquiry, appeal, review etc.;
  • To exercise a general check and supervision over vigilance and anti-corruption work in Ministries or Departments of the Govt. of India and other organisations to which the executive power of the Union extends; and
  • To chair the Committee for selection of Director (CBI), Director (Enforcement Directorate) and officers of the level of SP and above in DSPE.
  • To undertake or cause an inquiry into complaints received under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informer and recommend appropriate action.

Central Information Commission (CIC)

  • CIC was established in 2005 by Central Government under provisions of Right to Information (RTI) Act (2005).
  • The Chief Information Commissioner heads the Central Information Commission.
  • The general superintendence, direction and management of affairs of Commission are vested in Chief Information Commissioner who is assisted by Information Commissioners.
  • CIC hears appeals from information-seekers who have not been satisfied by the public authority, and also addresses major issues concerning the RTI Act.
  • CIC submits annual report to Union government on the implementation of the provisions of RTI Act.
  • The central government inturn places this report before each house of Parliament.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of – The Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee; the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha; a Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

Functions and Powers of CIC

  • It can order inquiry into any matter if there are reasonable grounds.
  • It can secure compliance of its decisions from the public authority.
  • It can recommend steps to be taken for promoting such conformity, if public authority does not conform to provisions of RTI Act.
  • It receives and inquires into a complaint from
  • It examines any record which is under control of the public authority and which may be withheld from it on any grounds during the enquiry. While inquiring, it has powers of civil court.

Lokpal and Lokayukta

  • The ‘Lokpal’ is the central governing body that has jurisdiction over all members of parliament and central government employees in case of corruption. Whereas, the ‘Lokayukta’ is similar to the Lokpal, but functions on a state level. Scope of the ‘Lokpal’ is based on a national government level basis and the scope of the ‘Lokayukta’ relied on a state level.
  • The main function is to address complaints of corruption, to make inquiries, investigations, and to conduct trials for the case on respective state and central government with having responsibility to help in curbing the corruption in the central and state government.

2. Hearings punctuated by candour

Context

  • India on Monday welcomed the decision of a U.K. court to extradite wanted businessman Vijay Mallya.
  • “We express our deep satisfaction at the judgment and note that justice has been delivered today. We thank the U.K. authorities for their help in this matter. We will continue to work with the U.K. Government for expeditious implementation of today’s court order and early extradition of Mr. Mallya to India,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said.

Background

Extradition

  • In its simplest form, extradition is a process which involves one governmental authority formally turning over an alleged criminal to another governmental authority for prosecution for a criminal charge.
  • Extradition is the surrender of a criminal to one country by another. It also helps in maintaining the territoriality of the penal code which says that a country should not apply its criminal law to a person who committed an offence outside its territories except when the crime is related the countries national interest. The process is regulated by treaties between the two countries.

The internationally accepted conditions for extradition

  • There is a general consensus about few conditions of extradition. The crime should fulfill the criterion of dual criminality, i.e. it is a punishable offence in both countries. For instance, homosexuality might be a crime in country A while it is accepted in B. The country A can not request B to extradite a person who is charged with a homosexuality related offence.
  • Persons charged for political reasons are generally not extradited. Some countries refuse to extradite if the kind of expected punishment is abolished or is not administered in their own territories. For instance, Australia, Canada, Macao, Mexico, and most of the European nations refuse to extradite a criminal if the person in question might get capital punishment after his extradition.

The extradition laws of India

  • In India, the Extradition Act, 1962 regulates the surrender of a person to another country or the request for arrest of a person in a foreign land. The act specifies that any conduct of a person in India or in a foreign state that is mentioned in the list of extradition offence and is punishable with minimum one year of imprisonment qualifies for extradition request. The process has to be initiated by the central government.
  • In the case of countries with which India does not have such a treaty, the central government can by notified order treat any convention to which India and the foreign country is a party as the extradition treaty providing for extradition with respect to the offences specified in that convention.
  • If the extradition request has come from two or more countries then the government has the rights to decide which of them is the fittest for the request.

3. Land acquisition law challenged in court

Context

  • The Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine a plea challenging the legality of amendments brought in by Tamil Nadu and four other States, which allow authorities to bypass the need to take farmers’ consent before their land is acquired for large infrastructure projects.

Details of the Petition

  • A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued notice to the Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand governments for amending their land acquisition laws to the extent that consent of farmers or land owners is not required before their land is acquired for projects like industrial corridors, expressways and highways.
  • The petition filed by activist Medha Patkar, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, said the States allow land acquisition without participation of representative local bodies like gram sabha in social impact assessment studies, without expert appraisal processes, public hearings, objections, and safeguard provisions to ensure food security.
  • The petition said the amendments violate the “core spirit” of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013. It mandates that 70% of the affected land owners should consent to the acquisition of land for a public private participation project. The 2013 Act replaced its colonial predecessor of 1894 and was intended to uphold the farmers’ right to dignity and life.
  • The States have removed the consent clause of PPP, paving the way for many private projects that are running under the garb of PPP. Tax payers’ money is spent while acquiring land and creating infrastructure but private players take away the maximum share at the profit-making stage.

Key features of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013

  • Public purpose: The Act shall apply when land is acquired for ‘public purpose’. This includes land acquisition for defence purposes, infrastructure development, housing for the poor, etc.
  • Consent: Consent is not required for government projects. Private projects require the consent of at least 80% land owners. Public-private partnership projects require the consent of at least 70% land owners.
  • Social Impact Assessment (SIA): Conducting an SIA is mandatory for all acquisition cases except irrigation projects where an Environmental Impact Assessment has already been done or those cases exempted under the urgency provision.
  • Compensation: Compensation for land shall be two to four times the market value of land in rural areas and two times the market value of land in urban areas.
  • Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R): R&R will be given to all affected families, including landowners, and families whose livelihood is primarily dependent on the acquired land. R&R must be provided in case land is purchased (not acquired) by a private company, when the area to be purchased is more than that specified by the state.
  • The provisions of this act shall not apply to acquisitions under 16 existing legislations including the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, the Railways Act, 1989, etc.
  • One interesting feature is that, in case land is further sold without any development, 20% of such incremental profit in every case shall accrue to people from whom land was acquired.

4. NRC: Assam seeks month’s extension

Context

  • The Assam government moved the Supreme Court on Monday for extending by a month the deadline to file claims and objections for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Background

  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman on November 1 approved the Centre’s draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for submission of claims. It kept December 15 as the last date for filing claims by those excluded from the draft published on July 30.

Main reasons

  • The panchayat elections in the State and the exhaustive nature of the claims and objections form are the major reasons for seeking more time. It was not easy for semi-literate and illiterate persons to fill the forms.
  • The Assam government said people across the panchayat areas of Brahmaputra and Barak valley were “taking active part in the democratic process”. This and the lack of proper knowledge of the SOP among the masses may be two reasons why the number of claims lodged so far had been minimal.
  • It said the decision of the apex court to allow claimants to bank on five additional documents for inclusion in the final NRC has put an additional burden on the NRC authorities to make the inclusion process fool-proof, especially when an overwhelming majority of more than 93% of the 3.28 crore applicants have applied for inclusion on the basis of the 1951 NRC or voters’ list up to March 24, 1971.

National Register of Citizens

  • It is a register containing the list of bona fide (genuine/real) Indian citizens. Those failing to enlist their names in the register would be deemed, illegal migrants.
  • The first list was made in 1951, covering the whole of India, as per the census of that year.
  • Currently, the list has been updated for the first time, and only in Assam
  • Officially, the NRC process will address the issue of illegal migrants, specifically from Bangladesh.
  • The National Register of Citizens was first published in 1951 to record citizens, their houses and holdings. Updating the NRC to root out foreigners was a demand during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985).
  • There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.

C. GS3 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. Shock resignation (RBI)

Editorial Analysis:

  • In a recent development, the Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel has cited personal reasons for resigning with immediate effect.
  • However, experts point out that anyone who has followed the events of the last couple of months will know it was anything but that.

The events preceding the Governor’s resignation

  • The last couple of months was a period during which the Centre and the RBI were engaged in an unseemly tussle over a clutch of issues that had a bearing on the RBI’s autonomy.
  • The RBI’s autonomy was something that Mr. Patel had sought to preserve.
  • His predecessor Raghuram Rajan had once pointed out that when a public servant resigns, it is a sign of protest.
  • It is important to note that Mr. Patel’s decision clearly caught everyone by surprise as it came following perceptions of a thaw in relations between the Centre and the RBI, after an agreement was hammered out at a board meeting last month on some of the contentious issues, including a controversial proposal to use the central bank’s reserves for fiscal purposes.
  • Experts point out that clearly, the larger issue that divided the Centre and the RBI — which related to autonomy and the independent functioning of the Governor — was never fully resolved.
  • Mr. Patel’s resignation is being regarded by experts as a serious embarrassment to the NDA government, which has scrambled to make statements expressing surprise at his action and praising him for his work.

Concluding Remarks:

    • In conclusion, experts opine that Mr. Patel’s resignation is bound to raise questions about the Centre’s ability to work with independent-minded economists.
    • Further, his resignation comes following the departures of former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, who was at odds with the Centre on many issues, and the sudden resignations of Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya and Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian.
    • Lastly, it is true that Mr. Patel’s reclusive and non-communicative style may not have endeared him to some bankers, but his eminence as an economist and his understanding of macro-economic issues is undisputed.
    • Further, Governments have sparred with the RBI before on the issue of autonomy, but experts opine that the NDA government went one step further by starting consultations under Section 7 of the RBI Act, which gives the Centre the power to direct the RBI to act in specific ways.
    • The immediate priority for now is that the Centre should fill the breach without wasting time.
    • Currently, global investors and the markets are already on edge, and they will be keenly watching, along with the ratings agencies, how the Centre handles this self-created crisis.
    • It is important to note that the incoming Governor is bound to be judged, among other things, by perceptions about his independence.
  • Lastly, the RBI cannot be treated as if it is just another government department. And the Centre will now need to demonstrate that a post-Patel central bank will continue to enjoy operational autonomy. Anything less will not go down well with both investors and the markets.

Category: HEALTH

1. Anchored in human rights (Tuberculosis (TB)

Editorial Analysis:

  • Experts point out that decades of global neglect have resulted in tuberculosis (TB) becoming the leading cause of adult deaths in most of the global south.
  • It is important to note that Tuberculosis (TB)  kills nearly two million people a year.
  • This statistic is shocking, especially given that TB is curable and preventable.
  • However, there are signs of change as the spotlight shines on TB; including the United Nations Declaration of September 2018 titled “United to End Tuberculosis: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic”, where heads of state and government have “reaffirmed their commitment to end the global TB epidemic by 2030”.

Emergent technologies:

  • Experts point out that there is an emergent and disturbing arsenal of surveillance technologies, which has caught the attention of international and domestic policy makers. What compounds matters is that these technologies threaten to detract from an effective response to TB that is anchored in human rights and has a human touch.

A couple of examples come to light:

  1. A plan in India is to implant microchips in people in order to track them and ensure they complete TB treatment.
  2. There are also seemingly endless technological tweaks to the Directly Observed Treatment, short course (DOTS) strategy, which requires patients to report every day to a health authority, who watches them swallow their tablets. Now, governments use, or plan to soon use, a strategy of video, tablets, phones and drones to carry the old DOTS strategy into the technology era.
  • It is important to note that an obsession with new gadgets in disease management — in the context of a disease that could be eliminated in a relatively inexpensive way through human-rights based interventions — is strange.
  • Further, this thinking envisions a TB response that is not with and for people who have TB but rather against suspects who must be targeted, tracked, traced and, above all, never trusted.

A Perspective on Interventions Made:

  • Experts opine that we can only beat TB using an approach anchored in human rights.
  • The way forward should focus on creating health systems that foster trust, partnership and dignity. This approach should regard people with TB not as subjects to be controlled but as people to be partnered with.
  • It is important to note that we cannot beat TB through a response rooted in control and coercion.

Experts suggest three interventions to which the funding for surveillance technology should be redirected.

  1. The first is new treatment. Bedaquiline and Delamanid, the only new TB drugs to have come to the market in 50 years. These drugs are far more effective against drug-resistant TB than prevailing treatments made up of toxic drugs and painful injections that only work about half the time and often cause disability and psychosis.

Further, new guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the use of bedaquiline and delamanid against drug-resistant TB. However, till date, only about 30,000 people have received the new drugs; compare this to the over 500,000 people who get sick with drug-resistant TB every year.

Experts point out that international institutions, donors and countries need to focus and collaborate on the urgent production and distribution of affordable generics of bedaquiline and delamanid.

  1. The second is the human touch. Employ and deploy community health-care workers. Many domestic TB policies envision community health-care workers as the backbone of the response, yet, in practice, these front-line workers remain shockingly underused. Further, in sufficient numbers equipped with proper training and dignified conditions of employment, they would lead the response by bringing care to those furthest from the reach of traditional health-care systems.
  • Experts opine that such programmes would also have the incidental, yet hugely significant, benefit of employing millions of people.
  • It is believed that WHO should focus on recommendations around this cadre of workers and donors should focus funding to programmes that make the most of them.
  1. The last is accountability. It is important to note that the TB response can only be as good as the health-care systems through which it is implemented, and health-care systems are only as good as the structures that hold them to account.
  • Community-based structures such as “clinic committees” ensure accountability while also fostering partnership and trust between communities and their health-care systems.
  • Grassroots civil society and community-based organisations also ensure accountability. Such organisations are indispensable and would thrive on comparatively small amounts of funding. It is important to note that Accountability is a necessary condition for success.
  • We must recognise that it is owed to communities, not donors or international institutions, and fund their efforts to ensure it.
  • Further, experts point out that people with TB do not need to be watched, they need to be heard. People with TB are saying they want what anyone wants — including health and dignity.
  • In conclusion, the shiny allure of surveillance technology threatens to distract us from the real work of the TB response; work that involves partnering with communities to employ human-rights based strategies to beat TB.

F. Tidbits

1. RBI Governor Urjit Patel quits citing personal reasons

  • In a surprising move, Reserve Bank of India’s Governor Urjit Patel resigned on Monday, citing personal reasons, amid tensions between the government and the central bank on various issues.
  • In a statement, Dr. Patel, who was appointed the Governor in September 2016, thanked RBI employees and the board of directors and wished them the best for the future.
  • “On account of personal reasons, I have decided to step down from my current position effective immediately. It has been my privilege and honour to serve in the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities over the years. The support and hard work of RBI staff, officers and management has been the proximate driver of the Bank’s considerable accomplishments in recent years. I take this opportunity to express gratitude to my colleagues and Directors of the RBI Central Board, and wish them all the best for the future,” the Governor said.
  • According to sources, N.S. Vishwanathan, who is the seniormost among the four Deputy Governors, has been given charge till the government finds a successor. Mr. Vishwanathan was appointed as Deputy Governor in July 2016.

2. Too much screen time affects brains

  • Researchers have found “different patterns” in brain scans among children who record heavy smart device and video game use, according to initial data from a major ongoing U.S. study.
  • The first wave of information from the $300 million National Institute of Health (NIH) study is showing that those nine and 10-year-old kids spending more than seven hours a day using such devices show signs of premature thinning of the cortex, the brain’s outermost layer that processes sensory information.
  • The NIH data also showed that kids who spend more than two hours a day on screens score worse on language and reasoning tests.
  • The study — which involves scans of the brains of 4,500 children — eventually aims to show whether screen time is addictive, but researchers need several years to understand such long-term outcomes.
  • The academy now recommends parents “avoid digital media use — except video chatting — in children younger than 18 to 24 months.”

3. In China, cockroaches put on job to crunch kitchen waste

  • Expanding Chinese cities are generating more food waste than they can accommodate in landfills, and cockroaches could be a way to get rid of hills of food scraps, providing nutritious food for livestock when the bugs eventually die and, some say, cures for various stomach-related illness, and beauty treatments.
  • In Jinan, capital of Shandong province, a billion cockroaches are being fed with 50 tonnes of kitchen waste a day — the equivalent in weight to seven adult elephants.
  • Shandong Qiaobin, which runs the plant, plans to set up three more facilities next year, aiming to process a third of the kitchen waste produced by Jinan, home to about seven million people.
  • Elsewhere in Sichuan, a company called Gooddoctor is rearing six billion cockroaches. “The essence of cockroach is good for curing oral and peptic ulcers, skin wounds and even stomach cancer,” said Wen Jianguo, manager of Gooddoctor’s cockroach facility.
  • When cockroaches reach the end of their lifespan of about six months, they are blasted by steam, washed and dried, before being sent to a nutrient extraction tank.

4. ‘Many combination drugs not approved by regulator’

  • Of the 110 anti-TB (tuberculosis) Fixed Dose Combinations (FDCs) available in India, only 32 (less than 30%) have been approved by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), the country’s drug regulator. In the case of malaria FDCs, only eight out of 20 (40%), have been approved.
  • These statistics, that give rise to safety and efficacy concerns, have been brought out in a study published online in the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health by researchers from the Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
  • An FDC or combination product is a formulation with more than one active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in a fixed ratio of doses formulated into a single dosage form.
  • Swapnil J. Dengale from the Department of Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance in the Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the corresponding author of the study, told The Hindu that “an opaque regulatory framework and ambiguity over licensing powers have contributed to the problem. The rationality of unapproved FDCs should be reviewed and irrational formulations should be banned.”
  • “As of April, the CDSCO had approved 1,288 FDCs. This is disproportionately high compared with the availability in a tightly regulated market like USFDA, which has only a few hundred approved FDCs.”
  • Pointing out that even the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) list of essential medicines mentions only 24 FDCs, Dr. Dengale said: “It is unfortunate that a majority of approved FDCs in the Indian market are irrational and lack scientific justification. The scientific rigour of the CDSCO in approving these FDCs has been questioned time and again in Parliamentary and academic reports.”

G. Prelims Fact

1. Nobel Peace Prize 2018

Context

  • Nobel laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad called on the world to protect victims of wartime sexual violence in their Peace Prize acceptance speeches on Monday, slamming indifference to the plight of women and children in conflict.
  • Congolese gynecologist Mukwege, whose work has made him a global expert on rape in conflict, and Yazidi activist Murad, a survivor of IS sexual slavery, both said victims were sometimes valued less than commercial interests.

Nobel Peace Prize – 2018

  • The Congolese gynaecologist, Denis Mukwege, who has treated thousands of rape victims, and Nadia Murad, the Iraqi Yazidi, who was sold into sex slavery by Isis, have been jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel peace prize.
  • They have both put their own personal security at risk by courageously combatting war crimes and securing justice for victims.
  • They had both helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence.
  • The joint award comes a decade since the UN security council adopted Resolution 1820 (2008), which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict constitutes both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security.
  • Murad is the second youngest Nobel Prize laureate after Malala Yousafzai.
  • Murad was 21 in 2014 when IS militants attacked her village in northern Iraq. The militants killed those who refused to convert, including six of her brothers and her mother.
  • Along with many other young women in her village, she was taken into captivity by the militants, and sold repeatedly for sex as part of IS’s slave trade. She escaped with the help of a family in Mosul, and became an advocate for the rights of her community around the world.

Facts for Prelims – Nobel Prize

  • 1896 – Dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel (Sweden) died,
  • He had left fund to give awards in 5 categories → Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace
  • Later 6th Category added → Economics funded by Bank of Sweden exclusively
  • Started in 1901, Maximum 3 persons can be awarded in each category
  • A person must be alive to be nominated
  • Nobel prize recipients are called laureates
  • Actual medals are given on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death
  • Get medal, diploma, and 8-million Swedish kroner ~ $1.1 million
  • Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway
  • Other prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden

2. U.S. and India call for more joint air exercises

  • As ‘Cope India 2018’ — the 12-day joint exercise between the U.S. and Indian Air Force being held at the air station in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district — draws to a close, officials of both countries called for such joint exercises to be held more frequently.
  • More than 100 personnel of the U.S. Air Force, along with 400 personnel of the Indian Air Force, are participating in the exercise that will conclude on December 14.
  • The U.S. Air Force has sent a dozen F-15 whereas the IAF is participating with a fleet of 10 Sukhoi 30, six Jaguars and four Mirage 2000. Along with the Kalaikunda Air Station, the exercise is being conducted from the adjoining Air Station Arjan Singh (located at Panagarh).
  • Speaking to journalists on Monday, Cope India 2018 director, Air Commodore J.S. Mann, said that mutual understanding of operational air power and the best practices learnt from each other during the joint exercise would help the countries “operate together in the times to come”.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Recently Law Commission of India suggested government for regulating gambling in sports.
Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to the Law Commission of India?
  1. It is a statutory body.
  2. The First Law Commission was established in 1834 by the British Government under the Chairmanship of Lord Macaulay.

Select the correct code:

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. With reference to Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, which of the following statements
is/are correct?
  1. The act extends to the whole of India.
  2. MPs and MLAs have been kept out of this act.

Select the correct code:

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following:
  1. Section 295A of IPC- deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.
  2. Section 124A of IPC- defamation.

Which of the above pair(s) is/are correctly matched?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. The CBI, CVC, CIC and the Lokpal had all been limited in their functioning and interfered with by virtue of overwhelming governmental control. Critically evaluate the statement. (200 words; 12.5 Marks)
  2. The Supreme Court has recently decided to examine a plea challenging the legality of amendments brought in by Tamil Nadu and four other States, which allow authorities to bypass the need to take farmers’ consent before their land is acquired for large infrastructure projects. In this context, analyse the challenges associated with land acquisition in India. (200 words; 12.5 Marks)

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