07 Feb 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Unregulated deposit schemes to be banned
2. Govt. diktat may cost privacy in WhatsApp
INTERNATIONAL ISSUES
1. State of the Union (SOTU) Address 
C. GS3 Related 
INTERNAL SECURITY
1. Centre bans Kashmir outfit
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 
1. Tough-talking
INDIAN ECONOMY  
1. Pension for informal sector workers
2. A worrying approach (Ayushman Bharat)
Education (Government Initiatives) 
1. Government announces hike in research fellowship
F. Tidbits
1. First career portal for students launched in Rajasthan
2. SC may curb advocates from speaking on cases
G. Prelims Facts
1. India's 40th Communication Satellite, GSAT-31, Launched
2. Liquidity Premium
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains practice Questions

A. GS1 Related

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

 

1. Unregulated deposit schemes to be banned

Context

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the official amendments to an Act that classifies any deposit scheme not registered with the government as an offence and bans it, the government announced.
  • The Cabinet has given its approval to move official amendments to the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, pursuant to the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance.
  • The amendments will further strengthen the Bill in its objective to effectively tackle the menace of illicit deposit-taking activities, and prevent such schemes from duping poor and gullible people of their hard-earned savings.
  • The Bill provides for “severe punishment and heavy pecuniary fines” to act as a deterrent. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said penalties could involve jail term as well as the sale of the offenders’ assets to pay back the defrauded party within set timelines.

Provisions of the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018

  • The proposed Bill aims to provide a comprehensive legislation to tackle illicit deposit schemes by completely prohibiting such activities
  • Nine regulators including the RBI, SEBI, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, and the State governments regulate financial activities
  • According to the Bill, all deposit-taking schemes are required to be registered with the relevant regulator, failing which the “Deposit Takers” will be considered “unregulated” and hence be banned
  • The Bill creates three different types of offences, namely, running of Unregulated Deposit Schemes, fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes, and wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes
  • A ‘Competent Authority’ will be appointed which has the powers similar to a civil court, including powers to attach properties of the deposit takers
  • It also empowers police to search and seize any property believed to be connected with an offence under the Bill, with or without a warrant
  • The Bill enables the creation of an online central database, for collection and sharing of information on deposit-taking activities in the country
  • “Deposit Takers” include all possible entities (including individuals) receiving or soliciting deposits, except specific entities such as those incorporated by legislation
  • “Deposit” is defined in such a manner that deposit takers are restricted from camouflaging public deposits as receipts, and at the same time not to curb or hinder acceptance of money by an establishment in the ordinary course of its business
 

2. Govt. diktat may cost privacy in WhatsApp

  • The Indian government’s proposal to make it mandatory for online platforms to trace the origin of unlawful messages is ‘overbroad’ and will require WhatsApp to re-architect the product into one without privacy, a spokesperson for the instant messaging app said.

Details of the issue

  • The government has recently published 609 pages of suggestions and comments from a range of relevant parties on a new set of guidelines for intermediaries that it issued at the end of last year.
  • End-to-end encryption on WhatsApp or Signal ensures that no one can read the messages shared between two users — no government, no third-party, no cyber criminals, not even the company itself.
  • Companies will have to help government agencies in locating the origin of content, if required to do so by law. For many, this could mean choosing between breaking their end-to-end encryption in India, or stopping the service in the country altogether.
  • Internet companies with more than 50 lakh users will be required to register themselves in India, and have an office in the country.
  • First, all intermediary companies will have to deploy technology based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms, with appropriate controls, for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content.
  • The firm, however, did not elaborate on the plans for India, its largest market with over 200 million users, if the proposal is accepted.

Category: INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

 

1. State of the Union (SOTU) Address

Context

  • President Donald Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) Address to Congress in Washington DC was his second, and the 96th in-person Address/Annual Message in the history of the United States. Franklin D Roosevelt’s 1945 address was read to a Joint Session of the US House and Senate — since the President did not deliver it himself, it is not officially counted as an in-person address.

Origin of SOTU

  • The formal basis of State of the Union Address lies in the US Constitution: Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 states the President “shall from time to time give to Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient”.
  • On December 13, 1913, Woodrow Wilson gave the first in-person Annual Message since President John Adams on November 22, 1800
  • From 1790, when President George Washington delivered the first of these messages, to 1946, the address was formally known as the Annual Message. Between 1942 and 1946, it was informally called the “state of the Union” message/address; since 1947, when President Harry S Truman gave his message to Congress (January 6), it has been officially known as the State of the Union Address.

Content

  • Annual Messages by earlier Presidents included agency budget requests and general reports on the health of the US economy. Subsequently, Congress required more in-depth reports on these aspects, separate from the Annual Message. The Budget Message was instituted by a 1921 law, and the Economic Report by an Act of 1946.
  • Since 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of speaking to Congress in person after a gap of 113 years, the SOTU has served as a platform for the President to rally support for his agenda. President Calvin Coolidge gave the first SOTU address to be broadcast on radio (1923), President Truman presented the first televised address (1947), and President George W Bush delivered the first address that was webcast live (2002) — consistently enabling Presidents to speak directly to increasing numbers of the American people.

Where? When?

  • Modern SOTU addresses have been delivered in the House Chamber. Prior to the move of the Capitol to Washington, DC., the Annual Message was often delivered in the Senate Chamber. A House concurrent resolution sets aside the day and time for a Joint Session to receive the communication. Until 1934, the Annual Message was delivered every December; since then, the Annual Message/SOTU has been delivered every January or February.

C. GS3 Related

Category: INTERNAL SECURITY

 

1. Centre bans Kashmir outfit

Context

  • The Union Home Ministry has banned the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for promoting terrorism and radicalising and recruiting youth for terrorist activities in India.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967

  • UAPA is anti-terrorist law aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
  • Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • It bans certain terrorist associations, punishes membership and association with such organizations and punishes terrorist activities.
  • The law been legislated to impose reasonable restrictions in interests of sovereignty and integrity of India on exercise of freedom of speech and expression, to assemble peaceably without arms and to form associations.
  • Crime under the Act – to support any secessionist movement; to support a foreign power’s claim over Indian territories; threatening economic security of India; raising funds for terrorist activities (including the production and circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes)

Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM)

  • Set up in the 1990s, TuM claims to be fighting for the “liberation of Kashmir.”
  • The TuM carried out a number of terrorist attacks besides subversive acts, namely grenade attacks, weapons snatching incidents, supporting other terrorist outfits such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), etc. in terms of financial and logistic support in the recent past.”

D. GS 4 Related

 Nothing here today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 

1. Tough-talking

Note to Students:

This article presents the gist of points discussed in two articles that featured in the Hindu on the 7th of February, 2019, namely, “Tough-talking” and “Talks with Taliban”.

Editorial Analysis:

  • Experts have opined that the Taliban reconciliation process is moving at a faster pace than was anticipated.
  • Talks facilitated by Russia in Moscow in early February 2019, with mainstream Afghan politicians sitting around the table with Taliban leaders, are similar in their approach to the recent U.S.-Taliban talks in Qatar, though the two are rival processes.
  • It is important to note that the U.S. and Russia have accepted the idea that peace in Afghanistan is not possible without major concessions to the Taliban, including dialogue without insisting on a cessation of violence.
  • As a matter of fact, in the duration of the Moscow conference alone, Taliban fighters killed 47 security forces personnel in attacks in Kunduz, Baghlan and Samangan provinces.
  • The U.S. and Russia have, in separate processes, agreed to sidestep the Ashraf Ghani regime in Kabul, and accepted the Taliban’s condition that it will not negotiate with the elected Afghan government at this stage.
  • Experts have opined that both the Russian and U.S. processes are dependent on cooperation from Pakistan, which retains its influence over the Taliban leadership.
  • Experts add that the current talks with the Taliban are not within the “red lines” agreed to by all stakeholders in the past: they are not Afghan-led, owned or controlled, and the Taliban has not abjured violence, or sworn allegiance to the Afghan constitution before joining talks.

Recent Talks with the Taliban:

  • The Taliban entered a second day of unprecedented talks on 6th February, 2019 with powerful Afghan politicians in, sidestepping the Kabul government.
  • This rare public appearance saw Taliban officials spell out their vision for Afghanistan in front of rolling cameras and a host of political heavyweights, including ex-President Hamid Karzai.
  • It is important to note that no government official was invited, despite President Ashraf Ghani’s offers to talk peace, underscoring the Taliban’s hostility towards the increasingly marginalised Kabul administration.

Ending fighting:

  • It is important to note that the Moscow meet comes a week after the Taliban held separate talks towards ending fighting with American negotiators in Doha.
  • The Taliban claimed on 6th February, 2019 that the U.S. agreed in Doha to withdraw half its ground troops by the end of April — and the process had begun.
  • “The Americans agreed to withdraw half of their troops immediately. The withdrawal will start from February 1, 2019 and continue until end of April 2019,” said Abdul Salam Hanefi, deputy head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha.
  • However, U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has stressed that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. ‘Everything’ must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire”.
  • Further, the U.S. has issued no details on any potential withdrawal plan.
  • Ghani spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late on 5th February, 2019, who had “underscored the central importance of ensuring the centrality of the Afghan government in the peace process”, the President said.
  • “The Moscow meeting is nothing more than a fantasy. No one can decide without the consent of the Afghan people,” Mr. Ghani told TOLOnews. “Those who have gathered in Moscow have no executive authority. They can say what they want, but who are they representing?”

Perspective on India:

  • Experts opine that despite the deep and obvious misgivings in India, it would be pointless to ignore or reject the outcomes of the talks, where some progress has been made.
  • It is important to note that the U.S. has managed to bring senior Taliban leaders to the table, and is discussing the contours of its ultimate withdrawal from the Afghan war.
  • Meanwhile, the Taliban has unequivocally renounced ties with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and committed to preventing Afghan soil from being used by foreign terrorists.
  • For its part, Russia has hosted conferences where Taliban leaders sat down with members of the Afghan High Peace Council and senior Afghan politicians, including some contesting in this year’s presidential elections.

What should India do?

  • While India’s principled position that it will not directly or publicly talk to the Taliban until it engages the Afghan government remains valid, it is necessary that India stays abreast of all negotiations and isn’t cut out of the resolution process.
  • It is hoped that a robust channel is open between Indian intelligence agencies and all important groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, in order to ensure that Indian interests, development projects and citizens are kept secure.
  • Further, India must intensify its dialogue with regional and global stakeholders, and impress upon them that any dialogue with the Taliban must not come at the cost of the hard-fought victories of the Afghan people in the past two decades: on establishing constitutional democracy and the rule of law, and securing the rights of women and minorities.

Category: INDIAN ECONOMY

 

1. Pension for informal sector workers

A Look at the Scheme:

  • A major announcement in the Interim Budget 2019-20 was the creation of the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan, a pension scheme for informal workers. Under this scheme, subscribers will receive an assured monthly pension of Rs. 3,000 per month from the age of 60 onwards.
  • Towards this, they will have to contribute Rs. 55 a month (if they join at the age of 18 years), or Rs. 100 a month (if they join at the age of 29 years). The government will match these contributions. The government has reportedly set a cap on the age of joining at 40 years, but this is yet to be officially confirmed by the Labour Ministry.

Whom does it include?

  • In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said half of India’s GDP comes from the work done by 42 crore workers in the unorganised sector, such as street vendors, rickshaw pullers, construction workers, rag pickers, agricultural workers, beedi workers, those engaged in the handloom and leather industries, and domestic workers.
  • He said the government must provide these workers with a “comprehensive social security coverage” in their old age.
  • The Shram Yogi Mandhan scheme is aimed at achieving that, and therefore includes all informal sector workers with an income of less than Rs. 15,000 per month. According to the government, this works out to 10 crore people.
  • Finance Ministry officials have suggested that the pension payouts could be made directly in the workers’ accounts, which would be Aadhaar-linked.

What will the government spend?

  • So far, the government has allocated just Rs. 500 crore for the scheme, but this is likely to be increased in the full Budget that will be presented in July.
  • Further, an analysis of the Interim Budget documents show that the allocation for the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan could possibly come at the expense of an existing pension scheme — the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) — announced last year to benefit more than three crore poor senior citizens, disabled people, and widows.
  • The NSAP had originally been allocated Rs.9,975 crore in the 2018-19 Budget, which was reduced to Rs. 9,200 crore in the Interim Budget 2019-20, which is a drop of Rs. 775 crore.

Will the scheme work?

  • Social sector workers have pointed out that creating a voluntary contributory pension scheme for informal sector workers is not likely to work as their salaries are low. The argument is that they already pay large amounts as indirect taxes.
  • Further, for a salaried worker, the pension contribution can be cut from the salary. A daily wage earner or migrant labourer will, however, have to regularly deposit her income each month, which is an uncertain proposition.

What lies ahead?

  • There are many questions that need to be answered.
  • The government is silent on what happens to the scheme if an informal sector worker misses a contribution.
  • Does the worker become disqualified from the scheme? If so, what happens to the amount already contributed?
  • Will the government refund the worker that amount, or will that amount be forfeited? Another matter to be considered is what happens to a worker who transitions to the formal workforce. Answers are awaited on all these questions.
 

2. A worrying approach (Ayushman Bharat)

Why in the news?

  • The States of West Bengal, Telangana, Delhi and Odisha are not joining the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
  • On taking a closer look, we realize that these states have their own reasons for not adopting the scheme.
  • The Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government has not joined Centre’s healthcare scheme and has instead gone for the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.
  • As a matter of fact, Naveen Patnaik, the CM of Odisha had once said that Odisha’s scheme is better than the Centre’s as it covers an extra 50 lakh people and provides Rs 7 lakh to women as against Rs 5 lakh by the central programme.
  • Further, on September 23, 2018, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) termed the Ayushman Bharat scheme “another white elephant in the making” and alleged that it covers only six lakh out of 50 lakh families in Delhi.
  • As a matter of fact, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) further claimed that the ‘Delhi model’ of healthcare is better than the Centre’s PMJAY.
  • Telangana has also chosen not to implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme for the time being, citing a state scheme that covers around 80 lakh families. This scheme is the Aarogyasri scheme. Thus, as of now Telangana is not participating in the (central government’s) scheme.

Editorial Analysis:

  • With West Bengal, Telangana, Delhi and Odisha not joining Ayushman Bharat, the question arises whether the scheme is hurting the idea of cooperative federalism.
  • It is important to note that the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India makes States responsible for hospital services.
  • The States have their own schemes to provide financial risk protection to those seeking medical relief.
  • As a matter of fact, based on the ongoing centrally sponsored scheme, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, the Central government launched an improved version in 2018 called the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) for a sum assured of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year.
  • Experts have remarked that the insistence to prefix Ayushman Bharat to existing State names and the despatch of a personalised letter to 7.5 crore families with only the Prime Minister’s photograph were seen as attempts to attribute the entire credit to the current administration, though State governments are equal partners — funding 40% of the scheme, bearing the responsibility of its implementation and covering double the number of beneficiaries.

A Critical View:

  • Further, experts have opined that given that the Central government transfers funds to States through the Finance Commission, Central Sector Schemes and the Centrally Sponsored Schemes, it is expected of the National Health Agency (NHA) to build an institutional architecture, standardise procedures, costs and access all data for effective monitoring.
  • This is important as it is accountable to Parliament and the Comptroller and Auditor General for the proper utilisation of allocated funds.
  • Further, it is important to note that such standardisation can stifle innovation and entail costly structures that may not accommodate local conditions, preferences, and cost-effective solutions.
  • Instead, when funds are provided, subject to achieving certain goals, States have scope to innovate, model the design to fit their context, resource base, epidemiological status, level of development, take total ownership and be accountable for outcomes.
  • Some experts believe that the NHA’s approach does not appear to be built on consensus. Its model consists of outsourcing the vital functions of pricing services, pre-authorisations, scrutiny of bills, grievance redressal, and fraud detection to private companies and third-party administrators.
  • This may increase administrative costs from the current 6% to 30%, as seen in the Medicare scheme of the U.S.
  • Experts point out that the policy of providing fiscal incentives to the private sector to establish hospitals in deficit areas without insulating government-owned facilities or the small and marginal hospitals that together provide 95% of hospital care will tighten the grip of corporates on secondary and tertiary markets.
  • This will result in cost escalations — more so because of the rapid consolidation and aggregation of tertiary hospitals by foreign financial conglomerates and private equity funding agencies, impacting prices, access to tertiary care and the very sustainability of the NHPS

Category: Education (Government Initiatives)

 

1. Government announces hike in research fellowship

Editorial Analysis:

Larger Context:

  • Central Government has enhanced the fellowship of Ph.D students and other research personnel enrolled in any area of science and technology, including Physical and Chemical Sciences, Engineering, Mathematical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Life Sciences, Pharmacy etc.

Details:

  • Fellowship of the Junior Research Fellows in the first two years of Ph.D programme is increased from the current rate of 25,000/- to Rs.31,000/- per month.
  • Similarly, in the remaining tenure of Ph.D, Senior Research Fellow will get Rs. 35,000/- per month instead of the present Rs.28,000/- per month.
  • Further, there is substantial 30-35% enhancement in the financial rewards for the scientists involved in the R&D projects as Research Associates. The top bracket of Research Associateship is fixed at Rs.54,000/-.
  • The government is planning to provide “financial and academic incentives to enhance and recognise the performance of research fellows”, for which an Inter-Ministerial Empowered Committee has been set up
  • All the research fellows are also entitled to HRA as per Central Government norms.

Significance:

  • The hike in fellowship will directly benefit over 60,000 Research Fellows and also provide a template to the States to consider increase in their fellowship rates.
  • D scholars, working in science and technology, are the most significant contributors to the knowledge base of the country for its industrial competitiveness, academic vibrancy and technology led innovations.

Background:

  • The decision comes after a series of protests by researchers from leading institutes like the Indian Institutes of Technology, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research and All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), who had been demanding a hike of at least 80%.

Concerns:

  • It is the lowest hike since 2006 (in percentage terms).
  • The increase is far less than the 80% hike that research fellows have been demanding so they have decided to continue with their protests.
  • Giving rewards based on papers published in journals, and determining the incentive based on whether the paper is published in an international or Indian journal, is fraught with problems.
  • In China, for example, researchers were given about $44,000 in 2016 for a single paper published in prestigious journals such as Nature and Science. The impact factor (a proxy for the relative importance of a journal) of journals was used to calculate the prize money for publication. This led to an unprecedented increase in unethical research practices and frauds committed by Chinese researchers.
  • This could also happen in India, which already has an ignominious record in this area and has no nodal body to address scientific frauds and unethical practices.
  • In addition, giving greater rewards for publication in international journals makes no sense as international journals are not uniformly superior in quality to Indian ones.
  • While Nature, Science, Cell and The Lancet are prestigious, there are many journals which are of poor quality. Similarly, some Indian journals are better than international ones despite having a low impact factor.
  • By giving 60% lower stipend to students publishing in Indian journals, the government will unwittingly be widening the gap between Indian and international journals, which will be self-destructive in the long run.

Reward for patents

  • The proposal to provide students an incentive of Rs. 1,00,000 on obtaining a patent (Indian or international) is a bigger recipe for disaster.
  • While obtaining a patent is not difficult, it costs Rs. 10,000-Rs. 30,000 to file a patent in India.
  • Drafting the patent costs an additional Rs. 50,000 and there is also an annual renewal fee.
  • Also, not all patents translate into products.
  • The Science Ministry has not learnt from the mistakes of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). In late 2016, the CSIR instructed its 38 labs to stop indiscriminate filing of Indian and foreign patents.
  • Then CSIR Director-General Girish Sahni had said that a “majority of patents are ‘biodata’ patents” and had been “filed for the sake of filing without any techno-commercial and legal evaluation”.
  • In such a scenario, a financial incentive for patent-filing will only exacerbate the problem.
 

F. Tidbits

 

1. First career portal for students launched in Rajasthan

  • India’s first “career portal”, addressing the needs of secondary and higher secondary students for information on scholarships and career choices, was launched with the support of United Nations Children’s Fund . The portal is expected to help the students take “informed decisions” about their academic and professional pursuits.
  • Minister of State for Education Govind Singh Dotasra and UNICEF-Rajasthan chief Isabelle Bardem inaugurated the portal, set to benefit about 23 lakh students, at Dr. Radhakrishnan Shiksha Sankul .
  • Dotasra said the portal would promote employment-oriented education in the State and provide information on 200 vocational and 237 professional careers, 455 employment avenues, 960 scholarships, 955 competitive examinations and 10,000 institutions of higher education to the students from Classes IX to XII.
  • Experts in UNICEF have developed the portal after an assessment of needs, awareness and perspective of students, teachers and system functionaries. Dr. Bardem said the assessment had indicated that most of the boys and girls in the State were keen to join the workforce as soon as they finished Class X or XII. Besides, the assessment revealed a substantial progress in terms of gender equality among the students.
  • UNICEF’s studies in Rajasthan have highlighted that two largest sources of career information for students are teachers and family members. About 69% of students mentioned that they were using Internet for their career-related queries, which indicates that the adolescents will quickly learn to use the career portal.
 

2. SC may curb advocates from speaking on cases

  • The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the possibility of imposing curbs on advocates airing their views in the media about pending cases and the judges handling them, during a hearing on contempt petitions filed by the government and the Attorney General of India against civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
  • A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha agreed that “though the flash of cameras and media attention may seem irresistible to some, a line needed to be firmly drawn.”
  • The temptation to talk was hard to get over when cameras were trained on you, the Bench said.
  • The Bench also observed that some lawyers rushed to the media as soon as their petition was filed. While the petition may contain all sorts of allegations and was even likely to be later withdrawn in court, the damage, however, would be done, it said.
 

G. Prelims Facts

 

1. India’s 40th Communication Satellite, GSAT-31, Launched

Context

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched its 40th communication satellite GSAT-31 by an Ariane 5 rocket from the spaceport in French Guiana on February 6.

What is the GSAT-31 communication satellite?

  • With a mission life of 15 years, the GSAT-31 will aim to provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites and augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit. Weighing around 2,535 kg, the satellite provides Indian mainland and island coverage.

What purpose will it be used for?

  • As per ISRO, the GSAT-31 will be used for supporting VSAT networks, television uplinks, digital satellite news gathering, DTH television services, cellular back haul connectivity and many such applications.
  • It will also provide wide beam coverage to facilitate communication over large oceanic region comprising vast swathes of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean using wideband transponder. Besides, two Ku-band beacon downlink signals are transmitted for ground tracking purpose.

From where was it launched?

  • The GSAT-31 was launched onboard the Ariane-5 (VA247) from Kourou in French Guiana.

 

2. Liquidity Premium

  • Also known as the illiquidity premium, this refers to the additional return that an investor can earn from any investment that cannot be immediately liquidatedfor cash in the market. 
  • Risk-averse investorsgenerally try to avoid investing in highly illiquid assets like real estatedue to the time it takes to sell these assets. 
  • This causes successful investors in illiquid assets to earn a much higher return than other investors who prefer to invest only in highly liquid assets
  • By the same logic, since most investors would be willing to invest in highly liquid assets, the returns from such investments generally turn out to be lower than the returns from illiquid investments.
    Please add thisa in prelims facts 
   

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Question 1.Consider the following about the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund (SCWF).
  1. It was established along with the Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB).
  2. It will be administered by an Inter-Ministerial Committee.
  3. The fund shall not be audited by the CAG due to its fundamental character as a welfare fund.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. Only 2                   
  2. Only 1 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 2         
  4. Only 2 and 3

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about ‘Graded Surveillance Measure’:
  1. It is developed by Reserve Bank of India
  2. It is launched in order to enhance market integrity and safeguard interest of investors
  3. It is aimed at advising market participants to carry out necessary due diligence while dealing in identified securities.

Select the correct statements:

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

See

Answer
Question 3. Which of the following areas are identified for the intensive conservation and 
management of coral reefs in India? 
  1. Gulf of Mannar
  2. Sundarbans
  3. Lakshadweep
  4. Gulf of Kutch
  5. Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

See

Answer
Question 4. Match following the Indian ‘Rivers’ and corresponding ‘National Parks’ 
No Rivers National Parks
1 Brahmaputra Orang National Park
2 Chambal Rajaji National Park
3 Narmada Kanha National Park

Select the correct match:

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

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. India shares a long border with several countries and the difficult nature of the terrain and open border poses special challenges for India. In this context analyse the need and scope of the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS). (12.5 Marks; 200 words)
  2. While terrorism results in large scale violence, conducted to exploit political objectives and religious or nationalist sentiments, organized crime is largely nonviolent and is carried out for economic objectives. Discuss (12.5 Marks; 200 words)

See previous CNA

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