13 Feb 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
HEALTH ISSUES
1. Haryana needs to monitor ammonia levels in drinking water
2. Tackle quackery urgently: IMA
POLITY
1. SC slams CBI in Manipur deaths probe
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Russia seeks Rs. 125 cr. to carry out repairs on INS Chakra
C. GS3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. India records marginal increase in forest cover
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1. The jallikattu challenge
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Expanding horizons
GOVERNANCE
1. A pressing need for a national urban policy
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. Haryana needs to monitor ammonia levels in drinking water

In news

The Delhi Jal Board moved an application in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking directions to the Haryana government to take active measures in controlling pollution in the Yamuna, which is a source of drinking water.

A Bench headed by judicial member Jawad Rahim and expert member Nagin Nanda issued a notice to the Haryana government.

High pollution levels

  • The Delhi Jal Board contended in its petition that sewage treatment plants were unable to treat the water properly as pollution levels were extremely high. Further, it said that presence of high levels of ammonia was affecting the quality of drinking water.
  • The present application is being filed by the Delhi Jal Board to seek directions to the Haryana government to urgently take steps and reduce dangerous ammonia levels and other consequent pollution being caused in the drinking water source or the Yamuna.
  • The Jal Board sought directions to the Haryana government to constantly monitor ammonia levels before the water enters Wazirabad pond in Delhi from Haryana and take immediate steps to reduce the blackish colour and foul smell in the water being supplied at Wazirabad pond from Haryana.
  • Ammonia levels have to be kept below 0.3 PPM and under no circumstances it can go above 0.5 PPM.

2. Tackle quackery urgently: IMA

In news

  • A week after at least 46 people were found to have contracted HIV in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district after a quack allegedly administered injections to them using a common syringe, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has come out strongly against unqualified medical practitioners and has sought a central Act against quackery.
  • An unlicensed doctor from Unnao district was arrested earlier this month on charges of infecting at least 46 people with HIV by reusing a syringe.
  • He allegedly provided cheap door-to-door medical services to poor villagers. A criminal case was filed against him over the spread of the infection in the district. This is the most recent case highlighting the paucity of healthcare in the country of 1.25 billion and the spread of quackery.

Challenges in India

  • The GDP spending on public healthcare in India is a little over 1%, one of the lowest in the world. One of the major outcomes of this is the rising number of unqualified medical practitioners, or more plainly, quacks.
  • Employed as an assistant with a registered medical practitioner, these people supposedly learn the tricks of the trade and start prescribing drugs for practically all outpatient conditions.
  • Even in the presence of free medical facilities in the vicinity, people choose to visit these quacks because the drugs are cheaper and available round the clock, which seems like an instant and best solution.
  • Quackery is a huge issue today. Unqualified people are prescribing medication they are not even aware of. This leads to complications and further we, doctors, are accused of neglect. It also leads to mortality in our hospitals.
  • Recent government screenings in Unnao district uncovered a high concentration of HIV cases. The limited public healthcare services in India, combined with lack of regulation, have made it easy for unlicensed doctors to thrive, more so in rural areas where people trust anyone who they think can cure them.
  • Data from WHO indicate that around 57% of people practising modern medicine in India may be quacks. This count only seems to increase with most of these quacks possessing nothing more than a school education. Framed certificates and diplomas adorn their clinics and these are easily fabricated.

Category: POLITY

1. SC slams CBI in Manipur deaths probe

In news

  • The Supreme Court declared its unhappiness with the CBI probe into alleged extra-judicial killings and fake encounters by security personnel in Manipur, saying that it only seems FIRs have been re-registered against the victims.
  • A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit expressed its displeasure after the CBI informed that 42 cases have so far been registered.
  • The Bench said it was not satisfied by the progress in the investigation and said it wanted the agency to speed up the investigation and speed up the process.It asked the CBI to file counter FIRs immediately.
  • The top court is hearing a PIL seeking probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.
  • The Bench also directed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to depute three persons to associate with the CBI’s SIT to carry out investigation in 17 out of the 42 cases.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Russia seeks Rs. 125 cr. to carry out repairs on INS Chakra

 

  • Centre trying to fix responsibility for damage to nuclear submarine.
  • Russian authorities have demanded over $20 million for rectifying the damage suffered by nuclear submarine INS Chakra , which was dry-docked last week, even as the government is seeking to fix responsibility for the mishap.
  • According to defence sources, Russia has quoted $20 million (approximately Rs. 125 crore) for fixing the front portion, which was damaged while the submarine was entering the harbour in Visakhapatnam. The accident details emerged in public in early October last year.
  • The developments around INS Chakra come even as the indigenously built nuclear ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant, which had suffered extensive damage because of human error over a year ago, is yet to be back to active sailing.
  • After extensive flushing and replacement of many of its pipes, Arihant was floated recently but sailing it will take more time, the defence sources said.
  • On INS Chakra , Russian officials have conveyed to India that they would be making all the replacement panels in their own facility, and would not be using any Indian facilities. The almost 5×5 ft. panels of the sonar dome would be brought to Visakhapatnam and fitted on to the leased submarine.

Fixing responsibility

  • Meanwhile, government sources indicate that they want responsibility fixed for the damage suffered by INS Chakra .
  • As part of the firm stand taken by the government, it is believed to have put on hold the proposal to appoint Inspector General of Nuclear Safety Vice Admiral Srikant as the new Commandant of the New Delhi-based National Defence College (NDC), until responsibility is fixed for the Chakra mishap.
  • Vice Admiral Srikant is the senior most naval officer responsible for nuclear submarines. Lt. Gen. YVK Mohan moved out as NDC commandant early in January to take over as the General Officer Commanding IX Corps headquartered at Yol in Himachal Pradesh.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. India records marginal increase in forest cover

 

  • Biennial report says Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala registered the maximum growth; northeast States show a decrease.
  • India posted a marginal 0.21% rise in the area under forest between 2015 and 2017, according to the biennial India State of Forest Report (SFR) 2017.
  • The document says that India has about 7,08,273 square kilometres of forest, which is 21.53% of the geographic area of the country (32,87,569 sq. km).
  • Getting India to have at least 33% of its area under forest has been a long standing goal of the government since 1988.
  • However various editions of the SFR over the years, have reported the area under forests as hovering around 21%.
  • So the government also includes substantial patches of trees outside areas designated as forests — such as plantations or greenlands — in its assessment.
  • The total tree cover, according to this assessment, was 93,815 square kilometres or a 2% rise from the approximately 92,500 square kilometres estimated in 2015.

Increase in southern states

  • Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala topped the States that posted an increase in forest cover. Much of this increase can be attributed to plantation and conservation activities both within and outside the Recorded Forest areas as well as an improvement in interpretation of satellite data.
  • Currently, 15 States and union territories have 33% of their geographical area under forests.

Status of NE states

  • In India’s north-east however, forest cover showed a decrease; 1,71,306 square kilometres, or 65.34%, of the geographical area was under forest and this was a 630 square kilometre decline from the 2015 assessment.
  • The category of ‘very dense forest’— defined as a canopy cover over 70% — and an indicator of the quality of a forest, saw a dramatic rise from 85,904 square kilometres to 98,158 square kilometres this year but the category of ‘moderately dense forest’ (40%-70%) saw a 7,056 square kilometre-decline from 2015.
  • In different categories of forests there may be fluctuations within categories. However we are soon coming up with a comprehensive policy to address this.

India’s ranking

  • India is ranked 10th in the world, with 24.4% of land area under forest and tree cover, even though it accounts for 2.4% of the world surface area and sustains the needs of 17% of human and 18% livestock population.
  • The forest survey for the first time mapped 633 districts and relied on satellite-mapping. Earlier this year, the government ceased to define bamboo as a tree to promote economic activity among tribals. The survey found that India’s bamboo bearing area rose by 1.73 million hectares (2011) to 15.69 million hectares (2017).

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY

1. The jallikattu challenge

What must the Supreme Court do when a community’s right to cultural freedom comes into conflict with values of animal welfare?

  • To provide a morally justifiable answer, the court would have to make a hugely imaginative leap in its interpretation and also overcome a series of puzzling doctrinal problems that limit the reach of constitutional theory.

Amendment the crux

  • The issue before the Supreme Court arises out of Tamil Nadu’s amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA Act) made early last year.
  • The amendment discharges the practice of jallikattu, which it defines with a sloppy lack of precision as “an event involving bulls conducted with a view to follow tradition and culture”, from the various rigours of the PCA Act.
  • The petitioners, including the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, argue that the amending law violates a slew of fundamental rights.

Several questions arose.

  1. Is the amendment an instance of colourable legislation?
  2. Can the law be considered as a measure introduced in furtherance of a community’s cultural right under Article 29?
  3. Was Tamil Nadu’s intention in making the amendment aimed at ensuring the survival of a native breed of bulls?
  4. Does the exemption granted to jallikattu run counter to some of the fundamental duties imposed by the Constitution, thereby impinging on rights guaranteed by Articles 14 and 21?
  5. And, finally, has the amending law validly overcome the Supreme Court’s 2014 judgment in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, where the practice of jallikattu was found to offend the PCA Act?
  • Part III of the Constitution, which lists the various fundamental rights, provides to persons different manners of guarantees, including in Article 14 a right to equality, and in Article 21 a right to life. However, do not explicitly recognise animals as persons.
  • Indeed, until now, the liberties contained in Part III have largely been understood as promises made to human beings, and, in appropriate cases, to associations of human beings, such as corporations, partnerships and other similar entities.
  • As a result, when a movement for animal welfare in India was initially launched, it stemmed not through an argument predicated on rights, but through an effort founded on qualities of decency, on a belief that to inflict unnecessary pain on animals was morally unconscionable.
  • Since the Constitution imposed no binding obligation on the state to protect animal welfare, it was left to campaigners to beseech Parliament into enacting a proper law for the purpose.
  • It was to this end that in 1960 the Union government brought into force the PCA Act, which criminalised several different types of actions resulting in cruelty to animals. Notably, these include exceptions like the performance of experiments on animals aimed purportedly at advancing discovery of drugs and a wide and general concession for “killing any animal in a manner required by the religion of any community”.

A case of violations

  • It was clear that the bull-taming spectacle jallikattu, which is traditionally held during the Pongal period in southern States, violated many of the provisions of the PCA Act.
  • Given that the subject of preventing animal cruelty falls in the concurrent list of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, State governments possess an equal authority to determine what actions constitute cruelty to animals within their respective territories.
  • It was on the basis of this power that the Tamil Nadu government legitimised jallikattu, by amending the PCA Act, and by exempting the practice entirely from the statute’s demands.
  • Therefore, this law, which also secured the President’s assent, ethically reprehensible, as it might seem to us, cannot be described as a colourable legislation.

Defending the Statute

  • One, that the amendment serves to preserve native varieties of bulls; and,
  • Two, that the exemption in favour of jallikattu furthers the Tamil people’s right to conserve their culture.

A way out

  • Court can do one of two things: it can simply follow its decision in A. Nagaraja, and hold that animals too possess a right to live with dignity, and, therefore, enjoy a right to life under Article 21.
  • Or, it could hold that this right under Article 21 includes within its ambit a larger freedom to live in a society free of animal cruelty.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Expanding horizons

Context:

  • As India seeks to pursue a multi-dimensional engagement with West Asia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest visit to the region has merely underscored its growing salience in the Indian foreign policy matrix.
  • While much focus is often given to India’s ‘Act East’ policy, India’s ‘Look West’ policy too is evolving rapidly.
  • This is Mr. Modi’s fifth visit to West Asia in the last three and a half years and sustained high-level engagements have ensured that India’s voice is becoming an important one in a region that is witnessing major power rivalries playing out.
  • Modi’s Palestine visit is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister, coming just weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s high profile visit to India, has been being looked at with significant interest.
  • Underlining India’s credentials as a “very respected country in the international arena”, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had called for a potential Indian role in the West Asian peace process.
  • In line with New Delhi’s policy of trying to build capacity of Palestine, India signed six agreements worth around $50 million with the Palestinian Authority that include setting up of a super speciality hospital in Beit Sahur, a centre for empowering women, procurement of equipment and machinery for the National Printing Press and significant investment in the education section.
  • Abbas also conferred the ‘Grand Collar of the State of Palestine’ on Mr. Modi in recognition of his key contribution in promoting ties between India and Palestine. Though Mr. Modi said, “India hopes for Palestine to soon emerge a sovereign and independent country in a peaceful atmosphere”, he dropped any mention of a “united” and “viable” Palestine in his remarks, in a departure from past practice.

Bringing in a focus India-UAE Relations

  • Trade and economic ties are becoming central to the India-UAE relationship. A landmark pact awarding a consortium of Indian oil companies a 10% stake in offshore oil concession will be the first Indian investment in the UAE’s upstream oil sector, transforming a traditional buyer-seller relationship into a long-term investor relationship with stakes in each other’s strategic sectors.
  • There was also an MoU aimed at institutionalising the collaborative administration of contractual employment of Indian workers.
  • In their joint statement, the two countries “reiterated their condemnation for efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries, or to use terrorism as instrument of state policy.”
  • There is also growing convergence between the two countries on tackling terrorism.

Containing China

  • Oman has been a long-standing partner of India in West Asia, where Indians constitute the largest expatriate community.
  • China’s expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean Region has alerted India to the possibility of strengthening security ties with littoral states.
  • India is likely to step up its military presence in Oman. Naval cooperation has already been gaining momentum with Muscat giving berthing rights to Indian naval vessels to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
  • Regular naval exercises have now become the norm.
  • India and Oman have not only made military cooperation more expansive during the Modi visit but also made an attempt to take the relationship to other domains: by enhancing cooperation in the field of health, tourism and peaceful uses of outer space.
  • But bureaucratic inertia in New Delhi continues to hamper India’s outreach. India’s engagement with West Asia should now focus on delivering on its commitments and strengthening its presence as an economic and security partner.
  • This will be crucial as traditional powers such as the U.S. and Russia are jostling militarily, even as America’s stakes in the region decline by the day.
  • China and India, as two emerging powers, are yet to articulate a clear road map for the region.
  • While India is still stuck in the age-old debates of Israel-Arab rivalry, West Asia has moved on.
  • Growing rivalry between the Sunni Arabs and Shia Iran is reshaping old relationships and India will have to be more pragmatic in its approach towards the region. The Prime Minister’s visit has underlined this new reality for India.

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. A pressing need for a national urban policy

 

  • As per Census 2011, 377 million Indians comprising 31.1% of the total population lived in urban areas. This is estimated to have risen to 420 million in 2015.
  • But India’s level of urbanization is lower than its peer group of developing countries: China (45%), Indonesia (54%), Mexico (78%) and Brazil (87%)
  • India is in the midst of a major urbanization boom

Challenges

  • Indian cities face challenges in terms of deficits in infrastructure, governance and sustainability
  • With rapid urbanization, these problems are going to aggravate, and can cumulatively pose a challenge to India’s growth trajectory

 Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut)

  • The mission lays emphasis on creating infrastructure, improving service delivery, making cities smarter for improved livelihood and providing for faster and integrated mobility
  • It envisages convergence across various initiatives such as Amrut, Smart Cities, Hriday (National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Swachh Bharat

What should be done?

  • What is truly required is a comprehensive framework that takes a holistic approach to the interrelated challenges that have an impact on the growth of cities
  • Sustainable urban development needs to be led by the central government working closely with state and local governments
  • To address this, India needs to develop its own national urban policy (NUP)
  • Globally, around one-third of countries have a NUP in place

 How can a NUP help?

  • First, such a policy will outline and highlight the importance and objectives of cities
  • Second, urbanization in India is a complex issue, with the majority of city-related issues being state subjects
  • States would have to take the lead in order to make cities vibrant economic centres
  • However, there is a need to build adequate capacities at the state/urban local bodies level to prepare cities for future challenges
  • The NUP would set the common minimum agenda, involving participation of all stakeholders
  • Third, a NUP will provide a framework for states, which would be encouraged and nudged to adopt a state version of this policy

 

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

 

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen 
(GROWTH) project is related to:
  1. An international network specifically designed to watch dynamic events in the universe
  2. NASA project on Solar Flares
  3. ISRO communication satellite
  4. China’s Space observatory

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about Transients in Astronomy:
  1. They are objects and events occur in the universe which needs to be caught very young and soon after they happen.

  2. Gravitational wave events too fall in this category of transients.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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

See

Answer

 

Question 3. Consider the following statements about Magnesium diboride:
  1. Indian scientists have developed world’s thinnest material with this material.
  2. Such a material can find a range of applications – from next-generation batteries to ultraviolet absorbing films.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements about Magnesium diboride:
  1. Graphene – a single layer of carbon arranged in a honeycomb – isolated from pencil graphite.
  2. The graphene discovery had won the Nobel physics prize in 2010.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 5. Consider the following statements:
  1. Boron has attracted nanotechnology researchers because of its rich properties.

  2. The rich chemistry of boron is expected to make these nanosheets useful for not only storing energy but also for generating energy in a green way.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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

See

Answer

 

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II
  1. In the light of recent incident of HIV infections, Discuss the steps to be taken to deal with quackery in medicine in India.

GS Paper III
  1. Fiscal Deficit is not just a financial issue but it has elements of politics involved in it as well. Comment.

 

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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