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03 Feb 2023: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 03 Feb 2023:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Putting Budget 2023 into perspective
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Trade Integration Across Asia
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Budget Allocation for Science
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. Cut in MGNREGS outlay is not a concern: Somanathan
2. CITES database reveals red sanders smuggling
3. No bar on contesting two seats in one poll
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Budget Allocation for Science

Syllabus: Indigenization of Technology & Developing New Technology

Mains: India’s budget policy on Science and Technology

Context: The Ministry of Science & Technology has received an increased allocation in the Union Budget 2023-24.

Key Details:

  • The Ministry of Science & Technology has been granted an allocation of ₹16,361.42 crores which marks a nominal increase of 15% from the previous budget estimate. 
  • Out of this, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has received ₹7,931.05 crores (32.1% increase compared to the previous year).
    • It was ₹2,683.86 crore for the Department of Biotechnology, or DBT (a nominal hike of 3.9%), and ₹5,746.51 crore (1.9%) for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR).
  • However, between 2021-22 and 2022-23, the Ministry has seen a 3.9% decrease. 
  • The Ministry of Science & Technology was crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in supporting research and innovation on vaccines, medical devices, and drugs.
  • Most of the DST’s increase comes from a ₹2,000 crore allocation to the National Research Foundation (NRF). 
    • The government announced NRF in 2021 with an outlay of ₹50,000 crore over five years to “strengthen the governance structure of the research-related institutions and to improve linkages between R&D, academia, and industry”.
  • The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) under the DBT, an implementing body under the government’s ‘Mission COVID Suraksha’ in 2020 to develop COVID-19 vaccines and augment vaccine manufacturing, has received a 40% cut.
  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences has received ₹3,319.88 crore, a hike of 25.11%. While high, this is relatively lower than the previous hike of 40%.
    • The Deep Ocean mission, which includes among other components developing a deep-submersible vehicle, has substantially higher hikes than in previous years.

Analysis of budget allocation:

  • Allocation of ₹16,361.42 crore for the Union Ministry of Science and Technology makes up only 0.36 per cent of the overall Union Budget 2023-24. 
    • The allocation is very less in comparison with South Korea’s 4.8 percent of GDP in science and technology, according to the World Bank. The United States and China spend 3.45 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively.
  • India’s gross expenditure on research and development (GERD), which includes State government and private-sector investments, has been steadily declining since 2009-2010, making higher public sector investment in R&D a longstanding demand of the national research community.
  • The budget speech made several references to investing in dedicated centres for excellence in ‘Artificial intelligence’ research, initiatives to scale up the technology to produce laboratory-made diamonds and a centre for research in sickle cell anaemia. 
    • To realise the vision of “Make A-I in India and Make A-I work for India”, three centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence will be set up in top educational institutions. 
  • However, none of the budgetary allocations suggests a significant scale-up of basic research.
    • The numbers mentioned in the Budget do not translate into meaningful results on the ground many times. 
    • For example, DST has announced a new scheme called Women in Science and Engineering Post-doctoral fellowship which awards women researchers a fellowship of Rs 55,000 per month and a research grant of Rs 2 lakh annually to help close the gender gap in science.
    • Rs 2 lakh covers research expenses, contingency, travel and the like. But the grant is restrictive which demotivates individual women post-doctoral researchers, who are not employed but get research support from the government.
  • A major challenge continues to be research scholars not getting promised funds on time and the wait for quality equipment required by researchers due to bureaucratic hurdles.
  • The bulk of research continues to be funded by the government and the participation of the private sector has grown only incrementally. 
  • Therefore, the government must increase the size of the funding and also ease the procedures to make the most efficient use of it in the coming years. 

Nut Graf: The Ministry of Science & Technology has been allocated ₹16,361.42 crores in the 2023-24 Union Budget. Although it marks a nominal increase of 15% from the previous Budget estimate, it still makes up only 0.36 per cent of the Budget. Experts believe that the present allocation is not sufficient as it does not account for inflation or foster a research ecosystem.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. Cut in MGNREGS outlay is not a concern: Somanathan

  • The Union Finance Secretary has defended the reduction in the outlay for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the Budget 2023-24 by saying that the economy was in better shape and there has been an increase in the rural outlays under various other schemes which would create similar employment opportunities.
  • In the Union Budget 2023-24 the MGNREGS was allocated ₹60,000 crores which is said to be 18% lower than the current year’s Budget Estimates and about 33% lower than the Revised Estimates of ₹89,000 crores.
  • Defending the move by the government, the Union Finance Secretary has said that there has been a significant increase in the allocations to PM Awas Yojana (Grameen) and other initiatives such as Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • The Finance Secretary further added that MGNREGS is a demand-driven scheme and the allocations to the scheme would be increased during the year if there exists a higher demand.
  • Further, answering the questions on the reduction in the allocation for the PM Kisan scheme from ₹68,000 crores to ₹60,000 crores, the Finance Secretary said that the database of the scheme has been updated after a three-year gap and this found a few of the beneficiaries to be ineligible, people were availing benefits in two places, there were those who had migrated and those who were taxpayers but had not disclosed, which has reduced the number of eligible people by about 10% due to the database cleaning.

2. CITES database reveals red sanders smuggling

  • According to a fact sheet prepared by TRAFFIC, the trade database of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has recorded 28 incidents of red sanders confiscation and seizure while being exported from India. 
    • CITES is an international agreement between countries that aims to ensure that the international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
  • The consignments of red sanders were exported to China (53.5%), Hong Kong (25.0%), Singapore (17.8%) and the US (3.5%) from 2016 to 2020.
  • Red Sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus) which is also known as red sandalwood, is an endemic tree species with distribution restricted to the Eastern Ghats in India. 
    • The tree which is found in the State of Andhra Pradesh is said to be one of the most exploited tree species in the country.
    • According to the foreign trade policy of India, the import of Red Sanders is prohibited, while export is restricted. However, the heartwood of the tree is in great demand both in domestic as well as international markets 
    • Heartwood is used in the manufacturing of furniture and handicrafts, and red dye obtained from the wood is used as a colouring agent in textiles and medicines. 
    • The tree species is listed under:
      • Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule IV
      • IUCN status: Endangered

Read more about – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

3. No bar on contesting two seats in one poll

  • The Supreme Court recently refused to discard a provision in the election law that permits candidates to contest polls from two constituencies simultaneously by saying that it is an issue concerning political democracy and it is for the Parliament to decide.
  • Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act (RP Act) permits an individual to contest a general election or a group of by-elections or biennial elections from two constituencies.
  • A petition was filed by an advocate which sought to declare Section 33(7) of the RP Act invalid as it violated the one person, one vote, one candidate, one constituency dictum of democracy.
  • The government in the past has objected to the petition and had said that the one-candidate-one-constituency restriction would require a legislative amendment but the current restriction on two constituencies was reasonable enough, and there was no need for any amendments at present.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following statements is/are correct? (Level – Moderate)
  1. As per Section 33(7) of the Representation of People’s Act (RPA), 1951, one candidate can contest from a maximum of two constituencies.
  2. Section 70 of RPA bars candidates from representing two constituencies in the Lok Sabha/state Assembly.
  3. The Law Commission was not in favour of the Election Commission’s recommendation to amend Section 33 (7).

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:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act (RP Act) permits an individual to contest a general election or a group of by-elections or biennial elections from two constituencies.
  • Statement 2 is correct, Section 70 of RPA bars candidates from representing two constituencies in the Lok Sabha/State Assembly.
  • Statement 3 is not correct, The Law Commission had recommended an amendment of section 33(7) of the RPA to permit candidates to contest from only one constituency.
Q2. With respect to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, which of 
the following statements is/are correct? (Level – Moderate)
  1. The Act extends to the whole of India and it applies also to all Indian citizens outside of India.
  2. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) helps in the implementation of countermeasures against illicit traffic under various international conventions.

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, The Act extends to the whole of India and it applies also to all citizens of India outside India and to all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was constituted in 1986 under the provisions of the NDPS Act.
    • The NCB is a nodal agency that is responsible for coordination with various ministries, other offices & State/Central enforcement agencies with regard to drug law enforcement and also in respect of matters relating to drug abuse.
    • The NCB also helps in the implementation of the obligation in respect of countermeasures against illicit traffic under various international conventions.
Q3. Consider the following statements: (Level – Difficult)
  1. Red Sanders is a flora species that is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in the Eastern Ghats region of Andhra Pradesh.
  2. It is listed as ‘endangered’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
  3. Under the foreign trade policy of India, the import of Red Sanders is prohibited, while export is restricted.
  4. It is listed under Schedule VI of the Wildlife Protection Act.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  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: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Red Sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus) which is also known as red sandalwood, is an endemic tree species with distribution restricted to the Eastern Ghats in India.
    • The tree largely found in the State of Andhra Pradesh is said to be one of the most exploited tree species in the country.
  • Statement 2 is correct, The species is listed as “Endangered” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
  • Statement 3 is correct, Under the foreign trade policy of India, the import of Red Sanders is prohibited, while export is restricted.
  • Statement 4 is not correct, The species is listed under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act.
Q4. With respect to Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which of the following 
statements is/are correct? (Level – Easy)
  1. It is an agreement between the United States and South Korea.
  2. The agreement commits the two countries to provide mutual aid if either faces external armed attack and allows the United States to station military forces in South Korea.

Options:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is an agreement between the United States and the Philippines.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, The EDCA supports combined training, exercises, and interoperability between the forces of the United States and the Philippines.
    • Further, EDCA will allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges.
Q5. Which one of the following cities does not have the same clock time as that of 
the other three cities at any given instant? (Level – Difficult) PYQ (2007) 
  1. London (UK)
  2. Lisbon (Portugal)
  3. Accra (Ghana)
  4. Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • London, Lisbon and Accra cities are situated approximately on the same longitude away from Addis Ababa showing the same clock time.

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 03 Feb 2023:- Download PDF Here

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