9 Feb 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
EDUCATION
1. Tezpur University ranked 100th in Asia, 7th in country
2. Cabinet clears PM’s Research Fellows Scheme
GOVERNANCE
1. Gujarat may face severe water crisis
2. Govt. obliged to ensure entitlements irrespective of authentication methods: court
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India rejects Maldives offer
2. China offers mediation, rejects UN intervention
HEALTH ISSUES
1. High migration may also be responsible for HIV spike
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. No curtailment in demand for funds under MGNREGA
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Protect investors from unfair trading, says SC
2. Taxmen send one lakh notices to cryptocurrency investors
3. Auto policy will fix tax issues
4. Remit unclaimed insurance funds: IRDAI
5. CCI slaps Rs. 136 cr. fine on Google
6. INDIA-IP-RANKING
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Small asteroid to closely pass by Earth on February 10
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. TERI, EPTRI team up with NOAA
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. In different courts
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: EDUCATION

1. Tezpur University ranked 100th in Asia, 7th in country

 

  • Tezpur University in Assam has been ranked 100th in Asia in an annual universities ranking for the continent this year, improving its position from 131-140 in 2017, a statement by the university said.
  • The ‘Times Higher Education’ rankings also accorded seventh position to the central university among all the higher educational institutions of the country.
  • At 29th position in Asia, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, topped the list in the country.
  • The other Indian institutions ahead of Tezpur University in ranking are IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi. In the category of research, Tezpur University is ranked fourth in India just behind IISc, Bangalore, IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur, it said.
  • The National University of Singapore is Asia’s top university for the third year in a row.

2. Cabinet clears PM’s Research Fellows Scheme

 

  • Hailing the Cabinet’s decision to clear the Prime Minister’s Research Fellows Scheme, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Thursday that 1,000 students who have completed or are in the final year of B.Tech or Integrated M.Tech or M.Sc. in science and technology streams from IISc, IITs, NITs, IISERs and IIITs, and with CGPA over 8, can apply for fellowship.

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Gujarat may face severe water crisis

 

  • Despite heavy rainfall last year, Gujarat is set to face a severe water crisis because of the low water availability in Narmada dam — the main source of water in the State — due to deficient rainfall in the Narmada catchment area in Madhya Pradesh.
  • As a result, the State government has repeatedly announced that it will not supply water for irrigation. The entire stock will be reserved for drinking water in Saurashtra and North Gujarat regions, both water starved provinces and highly dependent on water from Narmada canals.

Appeal to farmers

  • In a statement, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) appealed to farmers not to sow a summer crop unless they had a local water source which could irrigate their fields because in the Narmada dam, the storage level was at 45% of the 15-year average.
  • However, the government’s move to curtail supply has irked farmers as well as the Opposition party, who allege mismanagement by the State authorities.
  • According to Gujarat government officials, they had the inkling that this year Narmada water would not be available for irrigation.
  • However, due to the Assembly polls in November-December, the State government, instead of making proper arrangements, did not even inform the farmers and the public of the likely shortfall.

Warning signs

  • October 2017 onwards, it became evident that the availability of water from the Narmada dam would be substantially lower than the State’s quota of 9 million acre feet (MAF) that it gets as per the Narmada water sharing award. Now, we will get only 4.71 MAF. That is enough for drinking water but not for irrigating fields.
  • Interestingly, when the State government was apparently aware of a sharp drop in water inflows in the Narmada dam, it celebrated the Narmada Festival while Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended an event to announce the completion of dam over the river.

2. Govt. obliged to ensure entitlements irrespective of authentication methods: court

 

  • The Supreme Court asked the government and UIDAI whether it was not their obligation to ensure that ordinary people, especially pensioners and the marginalised sections, were able to access their entitlements till an adequate mechanism for authentication of identity under the Aadhaar Act is put in place.
  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud informed that possession of Aadhaar is enough to access entitlements if online authentication is not feasible.

Nationwide problems

  • This shows that the Cabinet Secretary perceived a countrywide problem. But the government insisted that the law does not exclude anyone from accessing their entitlements merely because of authentication failures by fingerprint and iris scanners.
  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, on the five-judge Constitution Bench, termed exclusion of people from their rightful entitlements because of biological reasons like old age was of a permanent nature unlike exclusion due to infrastructural failure like lack of electricity, Wi-Fi or biometric scanners in certain regions of the country.
  • The latter can be remedied, while the former cannot, the judge pointed out to the government.
  • The court was hearing submissions by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, on behalf of petitioners, that Aadhaar was a scheme which works against people like the poor, the marginalised and the old who already have entitlements.
  • He submitted that the elderly were unable to get their pension because the scanners were unable to read or scan their fingerprints or irises.
  • Nobody is being excluded. It is enough to furnish proof of Aadhaar number wherever infrastructure is not functioning.
  • That is what the government wants, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, for UIDAI, countered by reading out provisions from the Aadhaar Act.

Lack of awareness

  • But many people are illiterate and may not know about these provisions.
  • Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal intervened to say that there was no need for an interim order as the government had extended the deadline for Aadhaar linkage to subsidies, benefits and services to March 31, 2018.
  • Chief Justice Misra said there was no need to pass any interim orders for now and the hearing should proceed.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India rejects Maldives offer

In news

  • India rejected an offer by Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen to send a special envoy to discuss the ongoing emergency in the country, calling instead on the embattled President to first address its concerns over the suspension of constitutional rights in the Maldives.
  • The response indicates a growing strain in ties between New Delhi and Male.
  • President Yameen has sent special envoys to what he called “friendly countries” — China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Why did India reject the offer?

  • Sources confirmed that New Delhi had rejected the offer of an envoy because of protocol and scheduling reasons, but also because the government was unhappy with Mr. Yameen’s declaration of emergency and the military crackdown that followed.

2. China offers mediation, rejects UN intervention

 

  • China rejected UN intervention to resolve the crisis in Maldives, but offered to mediate between the feuding parties in the archipelago.

China’s Stand

  • China has always closely followed the development of the situation in the Maldives. China thinks that the current situation and disputes in Maldives belongs to its internal affairs.
  • It should be properly resolved through dialogue and consultation by the relevant parties. The international community should respect Maldives’ sovereignty and territorial integrity and play a constructive role for the dialogue between the relevant parties.
  • China is willing to maintain close communication with the relevant parties in Maldives so as to promote (and) restore normal order in the Maldives as soon as possible.

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. High migration may also be responsible for HIV spike

 

  • Rajesh Yadav alias Rajendra, the quack accused of infecting at least three dozen persons with HIV in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh through multiple use of syringes was sent to judicial custody, police said.
  • However, while he is being charged with attempt to culpable homicide, a preliminary fact-finding joint team of the Centre and State has found his role in the transmission of HIV to be inconclusive.
  • The probe team has pinpointed high-migration and transit as reasons for the incidence of HIV in the Bangermau area.
  • Besides housing a large mandi, Bangermau also witnesses a high in and out migration and has a considerable number of persons working in places like Surat and Ludhiana.
  • The eight-member team, comprising three senior consultants of the National AIDS Control Organization and five from the U.P. State AIDS Control Society, conducted a field study in Bangermau.

Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

1. No curtailment in demand for funds under MGNREGA

 

  • The Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was a demand-driven scheme and it has not curtailed the demand for funds made by the States.
  • Attorney General K. K. Venugopal told a Bench comprising justices Madan B. Lokur and N. V. Ramana that there were no instances where the Centre has either capped the number of days of employment under the Act or not released funds to the States.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Protect investors from unfair trading, says SC

 

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre to frame a more comprehensive legal framework to govern the securities market where ingenious means of manipulation affect gullible investors.
  • Fairness, integrity and transparency are the hallmarks of the stock market in India. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the vigilant watchdog. As the market grows, ingenious means of manipulation are also employed.
  • In such a scenario, it is essential that SEBI keeps up with changing times and develops principles for good governance in the stock market which ensure free and fair trading.
  • Justice Kurian observed that there is an imminent need to prevent instances of synchronised trading as they are fundamentally violative of transparent norms of securities trading.
  • The stock market is not a platform for any fraudulent or unfair trade practice. The field is open to all the investors. By synchronization and rapid reverse trade, as has been carried out by the traders in the instant case, the price discovery system itself is affected.
  • Unfair trade practices affect the integrity and efficiency of the securities market and the confidence of the investors.
  • The court upheld SEBI’s plea to proceed against a group of traders, Rakhi Trading and others, for unfair trade practice in the market.

2. Taxmen send one lakh notices to cryptocurrency investors

 

  • The Income Tax Department has issued one lakh tax notices to people who have invested in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra said.
  • The tax department had conducted a nationwide survey which showed $3.5 billion worth of transactions on various cryptocurrency exchanges across India over a period of 17 months.
  • People who have made investments in cryptocurrency and have not declared income while filing taxes and have not paid tax on the profit earned by investing, we are sending them notices as we feel that it is all taxable.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had, in his Budget speech last week, stressed that cryptocurrencies were not legal tender. The government would clamp down on any such illegal transactions.
  • However, industry players said the action taken by the Income Tax Department still did not mean that holding cryptocurrencies was illegal.
  • India is a very attractive market for cryptocurrency companies, both domestic and international.
  • A worldwide study of the market by Malaysian firm Pundi X, which is looking to enter the Indian market, found that India accounted for 10% of the global trade in cryptocurrencies.
  • Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, saw its value soaring 1,700% over the course of 2017 to settle at about $20,000. It has, however, fallen sharply in 2018 on concerns about a global regulatory clampdown.

3. Auto policy will fix tax issues

 

  • The Centre is working on a new foolproof policy for the automobile sector to address issues raised by the industry, particularly related to tax rates.
  • The minister’s comments came after Abhay Firodia, President, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), highlighted the lack of uniform taxation.
  • Pointing out that automakers had been given only 4 years to shift to BS-VI, premature , immature introduction of the norms could significantly add to costs.
  • Acknowledging that the move to BS-VI emission norms had been rushed, the minister said industry must be ready to accept the challenge of change and adopt new technologies.

4. Remit unclaimed insurance funds: IRDAI

In news

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has directed all insurers having unclaimed amounts of policyholders for a period of more than 10 years, as on September 30, 2017, to transfer the money to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF) by March 1 this year.

Accounting procedure

  • In doing so, the insurers must adhere to the accounting procedure for transfer of unclaimed amount into the Fund issued by the Department of Economic Affairs, IRDAI said in a circular to all life, non-life and health insurers.
  • Insurers, according to the regulator, need to make transfers to the Consolidated Fund of India on or before March 1 each year.
  • Following an announcement in the Budget Speech 2016, the SCWF was established for promoting the welfare of senior citizens.
  • Beyond a specified period, unclaimed amounts in small savings and other savings schemes of the Centre, in PPF, EPF, bank and Coal Mines PF accounts as well as life and non-life insurance schemes need to be transferred to the SCWF.

5. CCI slaps Rs. 136 cr. fine on Google

In news

  • The Competition Commission of India on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs. 136 crore on search engine major Google for unfair business practices in the Indian market for online search.
  • Passing the order on complaints filed back in 2012, the regulator said the penalty was being imposed on Google for infringing anti-trust conduct.
  • It was alleged that Google was indulging in abuse of dominant position in the market for online search through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation, among others.

6. INDIA-IP-RANKING

In news

  • India has “increased substantially” its score in the latest international Intellectual Property (IP) index released by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce on Thursday, ranking 44th out of 50 countries. India’s overall score has increased substantially from 25% (8.75 out of 35) in the 5th edition of the Index to 30% (12.03 out of 40) in the 6th edition, according to the annual report.
  • Despite improvement in the score, India continues to remain towards the bottom of the ladder. It now ranks 44 out of 50 countries. Last year, India ranked 43rd out of 45 countries in the index, with an overall score of 8.4 points.
  • India’s ranking, the report said, reflects a relatively strong performance in the new indicators as well as positive reform efforts on patentability of computer-implemented inventions (CIIs) and registration procedures for well-known marks.
  • The U.S. tops the list with 37.98 points, followed by the U.K. (37.97) and Sweden (37.03).

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Small asteroid to closely pass by Earth on February 10

In news

  • A small asteroid, estimated to measure between 15 and 40 metres, is set to brush past Earth at a distance of just 64,000 km.
  • Dubbed 2018 CB, the asteroid is the second one to pass by Earth this week.
  • The first close-approaching asteroid – discovered by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) on February 4 – is designated asteroid 2018 CC. Estimated to be between 15 and 30 metres in size, the asteroid safely passed by Earth on February 6, at a distance of about 184,000 km.
  • The asteroid 2018 CB, will pass closely by Earth on February 10, at around 4:00 a.m. IST, at a distance of less than one-fifth of that between the Earth and the Moon.
  • The asteroid, which is estimated to be between 15 and 40 metres in size, was also discovered by CSS on February 4.
  • Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013.
  • Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet – maybe only once or twice a year.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. TERI, EPTRI team up with NOAA

In news

  • The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Environmental Protection Training Research Institute (EPTRI) on Wednesday announced a partnership with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to strengthen climate modelling capacity in India.
  • A TERI statement said the move would strengthen disaster risk reduction and reduce the population’s vulnerability to climate risk and extreme weather events through enhanced awareness, coordination and adaptive capacity of local communities.
  • The goal is to empower India in understanding and analysing climate model projections and assess their outputs for consideration in developing the State Action Plans.
  • NOAA would like to exchange expertise and experiences on uses and applications of climate model outputs across various sectoral decision contexts, including agriculture, energy planning, and infrastructure development, and understand the implications of too much water or not enough water.
  • Climate impacts can lead to human suffering, but much of it can be avoided with good quality modelling at small enough scales so that district-level responses can be effectively planned and implemented.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. In different courts

 

  • Selective judicial activism is now seen as the dominant force against democratic representation in Pakistan
  • The deposed former Prime Minister of Pakistan(Nawaz Sharif), who has been debarred from public office by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, is not just fighting back, but has been strengthened by the huge public response.
  • Confusion still exists whether Mr. Sharif has been barred for life or for a number of years, and the stipulated time period is under review by the Supreme Court.
  • He continues to speculate the superior judiciary against the people, particularly the voters who brought him to power in 2013.

Recent developments

  • It is not only Mr. Sharif who has been removed from the Prime Minister’s Office by the Supreme Court in recent years, so was Yousuf Raza Gilani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), who had been elected following Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, when the PPP formed the government in 2008.
  • Moreover two ministers have been issued notices for contempt of court, and asked to present themselves at the Supreme Court to explain themselves, also for making statements against the Supreme Court judges.
  • For the moment, selective judicial activism has replaced military interference and adventurism as the dominant force against democratic voice and representation on the political map of Pakistan.
  • In the past when the military has rightly been seen as Pakistan’s main anti-democratic institution, it had always been the Supreme Court which provided constitutional cover to military regimes.
  • Under a notion of the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’, the Supreme Court legitimised the three military takeovers in 1958, 1977 and 1999.
  • Each time, while the military regime differed as did its actions, the Court came to support such anti-democratic intervention, allowing ample space for military rule in Pakistan.
  • Some lawyers, who have analysed the role of the judiciary since 1947, have made the argument that this support has not been simply on account of military pressure, but because the judges of the superior court themselves, and independently, shared the same world view as the military and were happy to articulate their position when called upon.

Inflexion point?

  • Pakistan’s last military general-president, Pervez Musharraf, trampled on the toes of the judiciary, dismissing the Chief Justice of Pakistan in 2007.
  • Since then, following great popular support, the judiciary had acquired considerable respect for its independence and pro-democratic position and statements, declaring on numerous occasions that it would never again support or condone a military takeover.
  • Yet, as the possibility of a military intervention at least in the form of a direct military takeover recedes, one does find the revived institution of the judiciary flexing its muscles demonstrating considerable confidence and much independence.
  • This confidence is also being manifest by a hyperactive judiciary taking up suo motu cases largely seen to be in the public interest.
  • Some lawyers have criticised this recent activism by the Supreme Court on account of it undermining the overall legal process and procedures and its many associated institutions, and have made the valid argument that only a few high-profile cases are selectively chosen, the first port of call for anyone with a grievance of any kind is now the Chief Justice of Pakistan himself, who is asked to intervene directly. Such activism has made the judiciary immensely popular in the public mind.

The Musharraf test

  • Public discourse now pivots around this new-found ambition of the judiciary, although it has been often suggested that it is still a junior partner of the military, and doing the latter’s bidding.
  • The one key case on which such allegations rest is General Musharraf’s treason trial. While Prime Ministers have been debarred and dismissed, and Ministers and Senators hauled up in front of the court, an undertrial military dictator is absconding with much ease and living in luxury abroad.
  • Failing to address this key case makes one suggest that it seems that the judiciary has been more concerned with the contempt of court, rather than the contempt of the Constitution.
  • Perhaps the key test of how independent the judiciary really is, whether its pro-democracy credentials are substantive and how much respect and trust it truly deserves, rests on how the Musharraf case is addressed.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

 

  • The Economic Survey 2018calls for doubling research and development expenditure from its current level of about Rs. 1 lakh crore, amounting to 0.8% of the GDP
  • Even if instantly doubled through a miraculous diktat, it would still lag behind China, Israel, Japan and the U.S., each spending more than 2% of their GDP on research
  • The other critical part is ‘diminishing funds for exploratory small-scale science research’
  • But it escapes attention due to the debate based on comparative GDP figures
    Consider the fine print in this year’s Budget
  • Of the Rs. 27,910 crore allotted to science ministries, Rs. 900 crore(or 3.22%), is earmarked for basic science projects to be disbursed as competitive research grants
  • While in the US, the National Institutes of Health, alone disbursed $25 billion as research grants in 2017, representing 36% of the country’s non-defence science budget
  • The U.K.’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council distributes nearly 10% of the research budget as grants
  • Clearly, India’s provision for competitive research grants needs upward revision

Why is small-scale science research important?

  • In 2012, the discovery of Higgs boson hit the world’s headlines
  • The Higgs boson had its humble origins in seminal theoretical works of several scientists, including Peter Higgs, working independently
  • Even the $100 billion enterprise Google began as an innovative mathematical idea of Larry Page and Sergey Brin
  • Which was funded by modest grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), at Stanford University
  • The global market for Raman spectrometers is about $1.2 billion
  • In 1928, C.V. Raman spent about Rs. 200 on his laboratory-built spectrometer that heralded the era of Raman spectroscopy as an analytical tool and also brought to India its first science Nobel prize
  • Through the 1960s, Vikram Sarabhai was experimenting with simple sounding rockets that ultimately grew into the ISRO of today

Way forward

  • Enhanced competitive research grants for the IITs, the IISER, and universities will help address the needs of a larger pool of scientific talent outside national labs
  • This will bring in returns by way of publications, patents and innovations that can meet immediate needs
  • The Economic Survey offers a glimmer of hope

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Kelyanchi Zatra is related to: 
  1. Festival in Goa
  2. Tribal event in Nagaland
  3. Animal race in Maharashtra
  4. Annual Village fair in Telangana

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about Rafale Jets:
  1. Rafale jets are manufactured by the German company Dassault Aviation.

  2. They are medium multi role combat aircraft.

Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer

 

Question 3. Consider the following statements about Research Fellow Scheme: 
  1. Under the scheme, the top 3000 B. Tech graduates will get grants to puruse a PhD.

  2. The scheme was announced by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley during his budget speech.

Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer

 

Question 4. Consider the following statements about Down Syndrome: 
  1. Down syndrome (DS or DNS), also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder.

  2. There is no cure for Down syndrome.

Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer

 

Question 5. Consider the following statements about Nathu La Pass: 
  1. It is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in East Sikkim district.

  2. Nathu means “listening ears” and La means “pass” in Tibetan.

Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer

 

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II
  1. Explain the political set up in Bangladesh and also throw light on their relationship with India and its implications on India.

GS Paper III
  1. The recently released Economic Survey has focussed and stressed that there should be an Increase in the budget for research in Science. Comment.

 

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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