UPSC Exam: Comprehensive News Analysis - February 01

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. Refugee Crisis
HEALTH ISSUES
1. Budget 2018: India’s health sector needs more funds and better management 
The utilization and management of funds allocated for healthcare leave much to be desired
EDUCATION
1. Ads on the walls of Schools in Karnataka
2. Graduates from IIT, NIT to teach in rural areas
3. Rise in research publications in earth sciences
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Will Budget 2018 signal India’s commitment to fight climate change?
SECURITY
1. Border Infrastructure to be strengthened
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC)
2. INS Karanj
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. Refugee Crisis

  • The Union government has informed the Supreme Court that it does not want the country to become the refugee capital of the world.

Context

  • The government was responding to a submission made by Rohingya refugees that the Border Security Force was “pushing back” their compatriots, fleeing persecution in native Myanmar

Background

Refugee Convention 1951

  • India not a member
  • It is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum.
  • The UN Refugee Convention (1951) grants certain rights to people fleeing persecution because of race, religion, nationality, affiliation to a particular social group, or political opinion
  • The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals. The Convention also provides for some visa-free travel for holders of travel documents issued under the convention.
  • The Convention builds on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. A refugee may enjoy rights and benefits in a state in addition to those provided for in the Convention
  • The 1967 Protocol included refugees from all countries appose to the 1951 Convention that only included refugees from Europe.
  • Today, the 1951 United Nations Convention and the 1967 Protocol together remain the foundation of refugee protection, and their provisions are as relevant now as when they were drafted.

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. Budget 2018: India’s health sector needs more funds and better management The utilization and management of funds allocated for healthcare leave much to be desired

  • Notwithstanding a significant rise in healthcare allocation in Budget 2017 over the previous year, the government’s spending on health and family welfare amounted to merely 0.3% of GDP.
  • The growing reports of child deaths from different parts of the country since last summer’s Gorakhpur tragedy have finally put the spotlight on India’s growing healthcare crisis.
  • Poor funding is one big reason behind the crisis but poor management of health funds is equally to blame.
  • India’s disease burden is higher than most peers while it is spending to combat such diseases is lower than most peers.
  • The poor provision of healthcare and low insurance cover leads to very high out-of-pocket expenditure on health, impoverishing a large number of households.
  • Health shocks add at least seven percentage points to India’s poverty figures .
  • One reason why the finance ministry may not have been impressed with the health ministry’s demands for more funds is because a good chunk of health funds remain unutilized.
  • There is also wide variation in utilization rates across the country. Among states, some with the poorest health outcomes, such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, were among those with the highest share of unspent funds allocated under the National Health Mission (NHM) in 2016-17.
  • One reason for unutilized funds could be delays.
  • In Bihar and Maharashtra, funds under National Health Mission were delayed by two to three months in 2015-16 and 2016-17. In 2016-17, nearly 40% of total expenditure under National Health Mission took place in the January-March quarter.
  • The utilization of funds in the health sector is also hampered by a lack of adequate staff who can plan their use.
  • Even where funds are channelled, quality of care remains poor.
  • 47% of the people who visit a public hospital do so because they have no choice.
  • Yet, public sector doctors are often unavailable or offer poor quality care, data from the latest round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted in 2015-16 shows.
  • Fifty-five percent of households reported not using government health facilities when sick, and 48.1% of such households cited poor quality of care as one reason for avoiding public health facilities.
  • There seems to be a broad correlation between quality of care and usage, the data shows.
  • A key reason for the poor quality of public healthcare services in India is the lack of adequate data and monitoring.
  • The lack of adequate monitoring also threatens India’s disease surveillance system.
  • The integrated disease surveillance programme (IDSP) initiated by the health ministry in 2004 with funding from the World Bank is in poor shape.
  • According to a 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) field study, only 41% of 70 district hospitals visited had a district surveillance committee in place. And of the 117 district laboratories under IDSP, many fail to conduct recommended tests
  • India remains highly vulnerable to infectious diseases even as it under-reports several major infectious diseases.
  • The World Malaria Report 2017 shows India has among the weakest malaria surveillance system with only 8% cases detected, lower than countries such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc.
  • Clearly, more funds for the health sector need to be complemented with institutional reforms to ensure greater transparency and accountability.

Category: EDUCATION

1. Ads on the walls of Schools in Karnataka

  • Walls of school in Karnataka could soon be bed of Advertisement, painting anything from cars to cement, as the State government has decided to let private companies use government school walls to advertise products.
  • The move is to get the private companies to build compound walls for govt. schools

Process

  • Proposals will be screened first
  • The product the companies wish to promote and the content of the advertisement will be looked into.
  • Then they will have to pay for the space and also paint the compound wall.
  • So the department after scrutinization will allow only those products that are in “good taste for children”.

Critics

  • If the department wants walls to be colorful, then they should paint things on the history of a region
  • It is an act of commercializing sacred place
  • Government is evading its responsibility to build compound walls.

2. Graduates from IIT, NIT to teach in rural areas

  • More than 1,200 youngsters with Ph.D and M. Tech degrees from institutions like Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and National Institutes of Technology will spend the next three years teaching at 53 government engineering colleges in rural areas of districts lagging behind in technical education.
  • The teachers will be there on a three-year contract and get paid Rs. 70,000 a month.
  • This initiative, entailing an expenditure of Rs. 370 crore, is a result of the Centre helping state governments fill up vacancies in backward districts in 11 states where engineering students were suffering because of dearth of teachers.
  • The focus is on states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and the Andaman and the Nicobar Islands.

3. Rise in research publications in earth sciences

India’s Growth

  • Between 2006 and 2015, India published 19, 938 research papers in the domain of earth system sciences, nearly twice what it published in the previous decade.
  • However in terms of high quality publications, it improved its share from 4.7% in the previous decade (1996-2005) to 5.7% across the two comparative periods, says a report commissioned by the Ministry of Earth Sciences and prepared by analytics firm, Clarivate Analytics.
  • India is placed 9th among the world’s countries in terms of the number of research publications related to earth sciences.
  • In the sub-domain of Antarctica-related research, for instance, India had only 3 top papers in 1996 and this had risen to 34 in 2015 and top papers, in Arctic research had gone from 1 to 8 during the same period.
  • The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the India Meteorological Departments were the leading sources of top research publications.

Details

  • The analysis included publications in six major areas of earth-science research: Geo research, atmospheric research, Ocean research, Arctic research, Antarctica research and Himalayas research.
  • Of these, the majority of Indian publications were in the geosciences.
  • Particularly, Himalayas-related research nearly tripled across the two periods but the citation impact—a proxy for the quality of the paper among peers—was the lowest among all research areas.

Other Countries Growth

  • Global research output in the field increased from about 3,40,000 to 5,70,000 of which high quality publications comprised 11% in both decades.
  • The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and France led the world in the number of high quality research publications.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Will Budget 2018 signal India’s commitment to fight climate change?

  • This year’s Economic Survey published by the finance ministry has a complete message.
  • Climate change can dent farm incomes by as much as 25% in rain-fed areas over the medium term.
  • Roughly 50% of India’s workforce is employed in agriculture, which is a big risk factor.
  • India’s ability to mitigate the impact of climate change depends partly on global action to fight climate change.
  • It also depends on what actions the government takes to fight climate change, and to invest in climate mitigation efforts.
  • Over the past few years, the government has been very successful in imposing new taxes to protect the environment.
  • But it has been easygoing in utilizing proceeds from such taxes for fighting climate change, an analysis of budget documents show.
  • What makes matters worse is that the resources to fight climate change are under threat since most of these were in the form of fuel taxes.
  • Given the rise in global oil prices and a possible political backlash against further rise in fuel prices, the headroom for the government to raise carbon taxes seems to have shrunk considerably.
  • Taxes, which penalize the use of fossil fuels and automobiles, are an effective weapon to fight climate change as the 2015-16 Economic Survey pointed out.
  • These taxes discourage carbon emissions even while raising revenues.
  • Government spending on environment and renewables has been consistently low, despite the twin bonanza of increased revenue from carbon taxes and reduced burden of petroleum-related subsidies.
  • The actual spending of the renewable energy and environment ministries and that of the power ministry on energy conservation has been lower than budgeted over the past few years.
  • Moreover, funds earmarked for fighting climate change have often been unspent and are at the risk of being diverted for other purposes.
  • Consider the example of cess on coal, which was introduced in 2010 by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, amounting to Rs50 per tonne. Subsequently, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government raised it to Rs400 per tonne by 2016. However, only 34% of coal cess collections were transferred to the National Clean Energy and Environment Fund (NCEEF) between 2011-12 and 2017-18.
  • The standing committee on finance in 2014-15 had recommended transferring the unutilized funds for financing other unrelated schemes, as noted in a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
  • The government reportedly plans to divert the un­spent funds for GST compensation to states, said a Scroll report.
  • The government has also failed to efficiently utilize the penalties received from industrial projects for using forest land.
  • India’s fight against climate change cannot be sustained unless there is a coherent framework to deal with this challenge backed by adequate resources.
  • It is in India’s economic interest to take the threat of climate change more seriously, and it is in India’s strategic interest to take leadership on this issue on the global stage.

Category: SECURITY

1. Border Infrastructure to be strengthened

  • Laying emphasis on building infrastructure along the Indo-Pak and Sino-India borders, the government has sanctioned nearly ₹370 crore to the BSF and the ITBP
  • The amount will be spent for construction of bunkers, fortifying border out posts of the BSF along the Indo-Pak border, construction of climate-controlled huts, procurement of snow scooter for the ITBP besides other necessary works of the two forces.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC)

  • NFC established in the year 1971 is a major industrial unit of Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India.
  • The complex is responsible for the supply of nuclear fuel bundles and reactor core components for all the nuclear power reactors operating in India.
  • It is a unique facility where natural and enriched uranium fuel, zirconium alloy cladding and reactor core components are manufactured under one roof starting from the raw materials.

Context

  • Dinesh Srivastava is new NFC chief executive

2. INS Karanj

  • It is the third of the six Scorpene-class submarines being built by MDL under the Project 75 programme of Indian navy
  • The new submarine is named after the earlier Kalvari class INS Karanj, which was decommissioned in 2003.
  • It is a diesel-electric attack submarine based on the Scorpène class weighing about 1600 tonnes
  • The technology being used for construction of the Scorpene class submarines has ensured superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels and hydrodynamically optimized shape. These stealth features give it an invulnerability, unmatched by most submarine.

Background

Project 75I-class submarine

  • It is a follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarine for the Indian navy.
  • Under this project, the Indian Navy intends to acquire 6 diesel-electric submarines, which will also feature advanced Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems to enable them to stay submerged for longer duration and substantially increase their operational range.
  • All six submarines are expected to be constructed in Indian shipyards.

Scorpene-class submarine:

  • The Scorpene class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarine jointly being developed by the French DCN and the Spanish company Navantia and now by DCNS.
  • It features diesel propulsion and an additional Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system.
  • The state-of-art features of the Scorpene include superior stealth and the ability to launch an attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons.
  • The attack can be launched with torpedoes, as well as tube launched anti-ship missiles, underwater or on surface.
  • Designed to operate in all theatres including the tropics, the submarines can undertake multifarious missions including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, operations by special forces and mine laying etc.
  • The Scorpene is believed to be stealthier than the average submarine because of its advanced combat management system and low acoustic signature.
  • It also uses a noise-cancelling technique, whereby its equipment is mounted on elastic to prevent noisy vibrations from travelling outside the vessel. Its body is also designed to be more difficult for sonar to detect.

What is Air-independent propulsion?

  • AIP is any technology which allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without the need to access atmospheric oxygen (by surfacing or using a snorkel).
  • It can augment or replace the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels.
  • It is based on the combustion of stored oxygen and ethanol to augment battery-powered propulsion.

Significance of AIP:

  • Significantly improves stealth because it enables a submarine to generate electricity for services and battery charging and propulsion while completely submerged. AIP systems also generate electricity, powering a submarine’s to operate and also generate oxygen, lighting and amenities for crew.
  • They enable conventional diesel-electric submarines to remain submerged for two to three weeks at a time. This significantly increases the risk of detection. Another advantage is that the Non-nuclear submarines running on battery power or AIP can be virtually silent.

India’s submarine fleet

  • The Indian fleet consists of Russian Kilo-class and German HDW class 209 submarines. Limited serviceability is also an issue — not all these boats are battle-ready at any given point of time.
  • India’s sub-sea warfare capability is secondary. The Communist neighbour China operates 53 diesel-electric attack submarines, five nuclear attack submarines and four nuclear ballistic missile submarines.

Kalavari- Scorpene Class Submarines

  • Kalvari is first of Indian Navy’s Scorpene-class stealth submarines being built under the Project 75.
  • Kalvari is the Malayalam word for tiger shark, a deep-sea predator in the Indian Ocean. The name symbolizes agility, strength and predatory power.
  • The navy is betting on the ‘Make in India’ Scorpene project to sharpen its underwater attack capabilities.
  • Kalvari can carry 18 torpedoes and travel 1,020km underwater. The 66-metre submarine can dive up to a depth of 300 metres to elude enemy detection.
  • The Kalvari was built with a special kind of high-tensile steel that is capable of withstanding high yield stress. This feature allows it to withstand pressure exerted by water, hydrostatic force, while diving deeper to enhance stealth.
  • In keeping with India’s’ mythologies and naval tradition, the Kalvari is a ‘reincarnation’ of the first Indian submarine to be commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 8, 1967. The previous Kalvari served for nearly three decades, before being decommissioned in May 1996.

Khanderi

Khanderi, the second Scorpene submarine under Project-75 being built at Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.

  • Khanderi is named after the Island fort of Maratha forces, which played a vital role in ensuring their supremacy at sea in the late 17th century.
  • It is built according to the principle of modular construction, which involves dividing the submarine into a number of sections and outfitting them concurrently.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

  1. Legion of Honour
  • The Legion of Honour, full name, National Order of the Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte and retained by all the divergent governments and regimes later holding power in France, up to the present.
  • The order’s motto is “Honneur et Patrie” (“Honour and Fatherland”) and its seat is the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur next to the Musée d’Orsay, on the left bank of the River Seine in Paris

Context

  • Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee receives the Legion of Honour

2.  Red Queen hypothesis

  • This refers to an idea in evolutionary theory which states that all species are under constant pressure to evolve into better organisms in order to survive amidst competition.
    • Rabbits, for instance, need to continuously evolve to run faster over time, or their population would be completely destroyed by foxes.
    • Foxes, on the other hand, will have to constantly evolve to run faster over time, or they would be unable to hunt down rabbits that satisfy their dietary needs for survival.
  • The hypothesis, which is named after the Red Queen’s race in Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, was first proposed by American biologist Leigh Van Valen.

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which of the following scripts are written from right to left
  1. Arabic
  2. Hebrew
  3. Chinese
  4. Urdu
  5. Sarada

The correct code is

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 1,2, and 4
  3. 1,2,4 and 5
  4. All of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. Look at the following statements about Orphan crops 
  1. These are used in Research and development for producing Bio Energy products
  2. They are not traded internationally
  3. The help to fight climate change

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

See

Answer
Question 3. In which city the Indian Railways flagged off India's first air-conditioned suburban
local train? 
  1. Mumbai
  2. Jaipur
  3. Chennai
  4. Kolkata

See

Answer
Question 4. The government of India Provides Muktijodha Scholarship Scheme to
  1. Children of Kashmir to prevent them in engaging in Stone Pelting
  2. To study in IIT’s for economical weak students from North east region
  3. children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh
  4. Women after the withdrawal of Haj Subsidy

See

Answer

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper III
  1. With the US Govt planning to cut tax rates what would be the possible implications to India and the world? How should India react to such decisions?
  2. With the Govt planning to fund Infrastructure projects in Border Areas, what are the various challenges that the security forces face in the borders and what has the Govt done to overcome this?
  3. The budget is more than the economic horoscope of the nation. Comment.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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