UPSC Exam: Comprehensive News Analysis - February 06

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. When two adults have mutual consent others cannot interfere
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. Maldives Govt declares Emergency
2. India’s de-hyphenated policy
HEALTH ISSUES
1. Over a third of drug combinations sold are unapproved
2. Indians don’t want free toilets, they want sewage systems
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Long-Term Capital Gains
2. Gobardhan Yojana
SECURITY
1. Odisha seeks special battalion for its coasts
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: POLITY

1. When two adults have mutual consent others cannot interfere

Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. Maldives Govt declares Emergency

  • In what is seen as a political crisis after the SC judgement, the Govt led by Yameen has declared a state of emergency for 15 days.
  • Two Supreme Court judges, including the Chief Justice, were arrested hours after the government declared a state of emergency
  • Heavily armed troops stormed the country’s apex court and Former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was arrested shortly after the state of emergency

Why was he arrested?

  • Gayoom had sided with the main Opposition and was campaigning for the toppling of his half-brother.

Emergency Declaration

  • This is the second time Mr. Yameen has declared a state of emergency. He last took the step in November 2015 after an alleged attempt to assassinate him.
  • Officials said the President is required to inform the Parliament about any declaration of emergency within two days, but the country’s legislature has been suspended indefinitely by authorities.

What would be the status?

  • The 15-day emergency decree issued gives the government sweeping powers to make arrests, search and seize property and restricts freedom of assembly
  • Emergency rule gives security officials extra powers to arrest dissidents

What has the opposition said?

  • Nasheed said the banning of fundamental freedoms, and the suspension of the Supreme Court was “tantamount to a declaration of martial law.”
  • Terming it “unconstitutional and illegal,” he said in a statement that “nobody in the Maldives is required to, nor should, follow this unlawful order.”

2. India’s de-hyphenated policy

Context

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Plans to go on a tri-nation trip covering Palestine, Oman and the UAE.
  • It is going to be a continuation of an orchestrated re-visit of India’s longstanding policies on West Asia.

How is it managed?

  • Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel, breaking a decades-long self-inflicted embargo of Indian foreign policy.
  • Modi also hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a balancing act to reaffirm India’s commitments towards the cause of the Palestinians, a historic stance that has stood the test of time and survived multiple governments.

India’s interests and ambitions in West Asia are protected via a web of diplomacy

  • Indian engagement revolves around protecting a demographic base of more than seven million of the country’s citizens working in the region, responsible for sending over $60 billion in remittances every year into the Indian economy
  • It largely steers clear of taking sides in the political and sectarian quagmire that regularly engulfs the region

So as India moves towards becoming a larger player in global politics and economics, these pre-existing policies need review, and de-hyphenating Israel and Palestine was due.

So how will this de-hyphenation help?

  • Modi’s visit to Ramallah is important not only to reaffirm his own government’s commitment towards a legacy policy, but also to re-establish to the Palestinians and, perhaps more importantly to the Arab states in the region that India does value the relationship of Arab and Palestine.
  • From an Indian point of view, its policies towards Israel and Palestine are shifting from mere symbolism towards one driven by substantial outcomes for its interests on a global level.
    • India went against the US in a vote at the UN to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with New Delhi backing its decision by highlighting that its views on the issue are independent and do not coincide with anyone else.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, it also pulled up Ramallah when the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan was photographed sharing the stage with terrorist Hafiz Saeed, forcing Ramallah to recall their diplomat.

Israel realizes this fact that India has to maintain a certain posture regarding Palestine, and the same is accepted by the Palestinians with regard to India’s developing relations with Israel.

Issue Area

  • The political history of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hamas and its military wing the al-Qassam Brigades today would stand at uncomfortable odds with India’s global stance against the idea of distinguishing between good terrorism and bad terrorism, specifically when the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, has now made it to the US blacklist of global terrorists.
  • This is despite India seeing “high legitimacy” of an elected Palestinian government, even if led by actors such as Hamas.

However this de-hyphenation does not delegitimize New Delhi-Ramallah relations—India’s former president Pranab Mukherjee, in fact, visited both Israel and Palestine in 2015—and is aimed at maximizing the advantages of the unique power-play in the larger West Asian region and to link Israel directly with India’s national interests.

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. Over a third of drug combinations sold are unapproved

FDCs are a blend of two or more drugs to maximise drug efficacy and can promote antibiotic resistance if they are not designed rationally.

  • Using statistics from the PharmaTrac sales database, the study found that of the 118 FDCs sold in India, only 43 were approved by the Indian drug regulator, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), while five were approved by the U.S. and the U.K. regulators.

Details

  • Seven of the FDCs that were not approved by the CDSCO were among the top 20 bestselling FDCs in 2011-12.
  • Sixteen of these bestsellers were not approved in the U.S. and the U.K. either.
  • For example, the second-most popular Indian FDC, a combination of ofloxacin and cloxacillin, is not approved by the CDSCO.
  • The study also identified approved drugs that were irrational — ofloxacin and the anti-protozoa drug ornidazole were combined even though they had different dosing schedules and could worsen diarrhoea.
  • Around 42% of the FDCs sold in India in 2011-12 included at least one “highest priority critically important antimicrobials” as designated by the World Health Organisation. These are antibiotics that are a last resort, where loss of efficacy would have a large impact on public health.
  • Eight of these combinations included two antibiotics, and only two of the eight were approved in India, while none were approved in the U.S. and the U.K.

While the idea behind antimicrobial combinations is to reduce the risk of resistance by attacking a bacterium from two fronts, studies have shown that if the two drugs aren’t carefully chosen, combinations can trigger resistance to multiple antibiotics.

2. Indians don’t want free toilets, they want sewage systems

Stats

  • India has far higher levels of open defecation than other countries of the same GDP (gross domestic product) per capita.
  • For example, India has a higher GDP per capita than Bangladesh, but in Bangladesh only 8.4% households defecate in the open, compared to 55% in India.

Basic latrines are not that expensive, and people in countries far poorer than India build inexpensive latrines to avoid defecating in the open. Typically, as nations get wealthier, open defecation decreases. Despite increases in GDP per capita, and increase in latrine availability through the SBA, India has witnessed little decrease in open defecation.

Why do Indians, even with accessible toilets, go in the open?

The latrines provided by governments are often used for storage, washing clothes, and as play areas—everything except the intended use.

  • It is considered polluting to the individual and the home, and historically associated with untouchability.

Solutions

Indian policymakers need to rethink the solution to this problem. It is not just a matter of access but a problem of perceptions of pollution, ritual purity, and caste.

  • India needs to change perceptions of ritual purity through education and awareness in rural areas.
  • To change the SBA from a scheme providing free toilets, to one encouraging and enabling local governments to construct sewage systems.

So if there is a functional sewage system, it is relatively low cost for households to build a toilet in every home that is connected to the sewage system.

Why is it difficult to build Sewage System?

  • It takes years to build sewage systems, and local politicians face all the costs upfront, and the benefits are far in the future.
  • Disgruntled citizens and voters complain about the digging of neighbourhoods for years, causing much nuisance to their daily lives

So the government needs to rethink the solution to the problem of open defecation and focus on providing public goods like sewage systems instead of free toilets.

Awareness Programs

Asli Tarakki

  • It is aimed at sanitising six cities of the National Capital Region (NCR). Further, it will be replicated in other States if it succeeds.
  • About 450 young men and women with “communication skills and leadership qualities” have been selected as “lead motivators” to spread awareness on Swachh Bharat Mission.

Banko Bikano

  • Overcoming all odds including water scarcity and the size, Rajasthan’s desert district Bikaner built the largest number of toilets in 2014-15 taking its overall sanitation coverage to 80 per cent in just two years.
  • Bikaner also has the highest number of open defecation-free (ODF) panchayats in Rajasthan. Of the 219 gram panchayats, 180 are now open defecation-free.
  • All this was achieved in just two years under a special sanitation programme ‘Banko Bikano’ (brave and beautiful) supported by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank.

Darwaza Band Campaign

  • The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has launched a nationwide campaign titled ‘Darwaza Band’ to promote toilet use and freedom from open defecation across the villages of the country.
  • The campaign has been launched in Maharashtra in the presence of actor Amitabh Bachchan, Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Narendra Singh Tomar, and Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis.
  • Darwaja Band symbolically stands for shutting the door on open defecation.
  • The campaign is supported by the World Bank.
  • The campaign envisages to bring about a behaviour change in men who have toilets but are not using them. Actress Anuskha Sharma is also part of the campaign who will encourage women to stand up for this issue and assume leadership roles in their villages.

INDOSAN

  • INDOSAN is envisaged as an annual national event that brings together all stakeholders working in sanitation government, NGOs, academicians, researchers, partner agencies, and corporates on one platform for a shared vision.
  • Bringing together all such stakeholders will create an opportunity for collective vision, collective understanding of the key elements of the Swachh Bharat Mission programme.
  • INDOSAN is the platform, where unfolding story of Swachh Bharat will actually happen, where each state will share their approaches most suitable to them to reach ODF.
  • INDOSAN will discuss on all these approaches, emerging innovations, learnings are cross shared, for the benefit of all.

Swachh Bal Sena

  • Kids were given whistles to blow whenever someone goes out for open defecation. It was promoted by village panchayat.
  • This was promoted by Pondicherry government under Kiran Bedi.

 

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Long-Term Capital Gains

  • LTCG or long-term capital gains refer to the gains made on any class of asset held for a particular period of time. In case of equity shares, it refers to the gains made on stocks held for more than one year.
  • In other words, if the shares are bought and held for more than a year before selling, then the gains, if any, on the said sale are referred to as long term capital gains or LTCG.

Why is LTCG tax in the news?

  • The Centre’s decision to bring back the long-term capital gains tax (LTCG) on equities, which was scrapped in 2004-05
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley re-introduced LTCG tax on equity shares. Investors have to pay 10% LTCG tax on gains exceeding ₹one lakh on the sale of shares or equity mutual funds held for more than one year.
  • Previously, Short-Term Capital Gains (STCG) tax of 15% was levied.

Advantages

  • One, it corrects, somewhat, the prevailing imbalance on market investments because though investment instruments are taxed gains from holding shares for long are not. Even short-term capital gains – money made by selling shares after holding for less than a year – are taxed at 15%.
  • Two, investors who park wealth in the stock markets would be encourage to deploy the capital in ways that are more economically productive, say, in manufacturing activities.
  • Three, it makes the government seem a little less pro-rich, little more benevolent towards the no-so-rich as much of the capital gains are collected by corporates, not individuals.

Issues

  • The introduction of LTCG tax can only increase the cost of trading stocks at a time when various market participants have been highlighting the ‘export of capital’ to other countries due to lower transaction costs in those nations.
  • It will hit the average middle class investor. This might serve to improve liquidity in Indian markets and add to the government’s revenue, it is also likely to discourage to some extent the growing culture of investing in equities for the long run
  • The Securities Transaction Tax (STT), which was introduced in lieu of the LTCG in 2004 and penalises the buying of stocks for purposes other than just intra-day trading, has been left untouched by the government.
  • The double whammy of the STT and LTCG will further privilege short-term trading in stocks over long-term investment. Being the only country in the world to impose both the STT and LTCG, India is also likely to become a little less attractive to foreign investors when compared to its peers.

2. Gobardhan Yojana

  • The Haryana government has launched the ‘Gobardhan Yojana’ to provide organic manure and cow urine with an aim to benefit farmers
  • A provision of Rs. 11 crore has been made to provide benefits of various projects under this scheme
  • The Gobardhan Yojana would help in doubling the income of farmers and next time, the MSP would be given with additional benefit of 50 per cent over the cost of production

Category: SECURITY

1. Odisha seeks special battalion for its coasts

  • The Odisha government has sought the Centre’s sanction for raising a special police battalion exclusively for strengthening security along its 480-km-long coastline

Significance

  • Setting up the proposed Indian Reserve Battalion (in Odisha) will go a long way in supplementing the efforts of the marine police in tightening the security along the coast
  • Odisha also needs an IRB unit to ensure effective vigil along its long coastline as the marine police stations are not properly equipped for the purpose

Present Status

  • At present, Odisha has 18 marine police stations. While five marine police stations have become functional at Paradip, Balaramgadi, Dhamra, Jamboo and Arjipalli in the first phase, the rest 13 are yet to be fully equipped.
  • The marine police stations keep a watch on illegal activities like arms smuggling, infiltration, unauthorised fishing, and entry of anti-nationals through sea route and guard vital installations along the coast.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)

  • It is the Central Drug Authority for discharging functions assigned to the Central Government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  • It is the national regulatory body for Indian pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and serves parallel function to the European Medicines Agency of the European Union, the PMDA of Japan, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency of the United Kingdom.
  • Within the CDSCO, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) regulates pharmaceutical and medical devices, under the gamut of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Functions
    • Regulatory control over the import of drugs,
    • approval of new drugs and clinical trials

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Refugee’s communities and their Origin 
  1. Chakmas Buddhists from Bangladesh

Which of them are correctly matched?

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

See

Answer
Question 2. The oldest rocks are found in  
  1. South Africa
  2. Brazil
  3. Alaska
  4. Western Australia

See

Answer
Question 3. With 980 arrivals and take offs in 24 hours, it has become the world’s busiest single 
runway airport. We are talking about  
  1. Gatwick airport
  2. Delhi Airport
  3. Glasgow Airport
  4. Mumbai Airport

See

Answer
Question 4. Arrange these from east to west 
  1. Port Louis
  2. Male
  3. Victoria
  4. Moroni
  1. 2431
  2. 2341
  3. 1234
  4. 2134

See

Answer
Question 5. Which of the following air pollutants are considered for determining the Air Quality 
Index?
  1. Ozone
  2. Carbon dioxide
  3. Sulphur dioxide
  4. Nitrogen dioxide
  5. Carbon monoxide
  6. Particulate Matter
  1. 1,2,3,4,5
  2. 1,3,4,5,6
  3. 2,3,4,5,6
  4. 1,2,3,5,6

See

Answer

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper III

Economy

  1. The Centre has decided to bring back the long-term capital gains tax (LTCG) on equities, which was scrapped in 2004-05. What are its possible implications? Discuss.
  2. India has an unsatisfactory record of enforcing contracts. How can India overcome this challenge to improve ease of doing business?
GS Paper IV
  1. With the number of cases increasing where the students are stabbing teachers, where do you think have the lessons gone wrong? In the light of this statement, comment on the importance of educational institutions in inculcating values.

 

 

 

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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