16 Feb 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Funds Unutilized In Nirbhaya Fund
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. SC verdict today on sharing of Cauvery waters
2. Encounter Killings
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Beijing fumes at PM Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh
2. Oli sworn in as Nepal PM for second time
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Parliamentary Panel seeks FinMin report
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Shellfish reefs
2. Save the krill
3. Drones can help measure water resources
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
EDUCATION
1. A deepening crisis
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Making up for lost time
SECURITY
1. New Hijacking rules
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Funds Unutilized In Nirbhaya Fund

  • As per data released by the Home Ministry, various projects under different ministries have not even used half the funds allocated to them
  • One such example is the Integrated Emergency Response Management System (IERMS) under the Ministry of Railways. The project was to provide 24×7 security to women across railway stations, strengthen security control rooms, deploy more Railway Police Force (RPF) and install CCTV cameras. The project was appraised at Rs 500 crore, out of which a meager Rs 50 crore has been used so far.
  • The Home Ministry’s Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children project was appraised at Rs 195.83 crore, out of which only Rs 82 crore has been utilized.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development’s Abhaya Project, which was proposed by the Andhra Pradesh government to ensure safety of women and children during transport, was appraised at Rs 138.49 crore, but only Rs 58.64 crore has been used.

The under-utilization or no utilization of Nirbhaya fund has now come under the radar of the Supreme Court. The apex court has asked the states to reveal the amount they’ve received under the Nirbhaya fund and to apprise the court of how the money has been disbursed to victims of sexual assault.

Criticism

  • In 2016, a Parliamentary Standing Committee slammed the Ministry of Women and Child Development over the slow implementation of schemes under the Nirbhaya fund.
  • A report by the Centre for Development and Human Rights (CDHR) stated that lengthy inter-ministerial coordination for project approval had created problems in implementation of Nirbhaya fund schemes.
  • The court questioned the MP Govt, as to why the compensation paid is way too less while it received large amount under Nirbhaya Fund
  • The Haryana government also faced the wrath of the top court for not filing its affidavit giving details of the Nirbhaya Fund disbursement.
  • In what is clear case of apathy from states as many as 24 States and UTs are yet to file their affidavits.

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. SC verdict today on sharing of Cauvery waters

Why in news?

  • A Special Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, will pronounce its verdict on appeals filed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against the final award of the Cauvery Tribunal in 2007 on the allocation of the river waters to the three States.

What is Tamil Nadu’s plea?

  • The Tamil Nadu government urged the Supreme Court to initiate a fundamental change in the water-sharing arrangement..
  • Tamil Nadu said it wanted a judicial order and did not want to depend on the Centre that took six years to publish the Tribunal award in the gazette in 2013.

Is it the Parliament’s call?

  • Centre had tried to apprise the Bench that it was Parliament’s call to finalise the water-sharing scheme under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  • But the court remained firm, saying the judiciary had a role and the judgment in the appeals would speak for itself.

2. Encounter Killings

Stats

  • As many as 591 custodial deaths were recorded across India between 2010 and 2015
  • As many as 35,831 cases were registered against the police with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in 2015-16
  • Cases against the police involve illegal detentions, extortion, torture, fake encounters and others. The numbers do not include deaths in police custody, for which 153 cases were registered with the NHRC.

Reasons for Encounters and custodial deaths

  • Political motivations and Personal Grudges
  • Custodial deaths largely occur due to torture by third degree methods. Police personnel resort to third degree methods to draw confessions from the accused in the shortest possible time. Little thought is given to the consequences of the torture causing death.
  • The lack of patience and technical skills drive them to adopt crude methods. That erring policemen go scot-free in most cases spur others to ignore the due process.
  • The proclivity of superior officers and even politicians to shield them prevents action against them.
  • The natural propensity of the state police to defend its own personnel when custodial deaths are investigated makes it necessary for outside agencies to be involved in probes.

SC

  • The Supreme Court ruled that in all cases of encounter deaths there shall be mandatory registration of FIRs and investigation by CID or any other independent agency
  • No officer shall be given out of turn promotion or a gallantry award for encounter operations till the inquiry is completed on its genuineness.
  • The court said that the magisterial inquiry should be completed expeditiously and of a police officer is found guilty of involvement in a fake encounter, he should be proceeded against legally and departmentally.

Independent bodies in other countries

  • Civil complaints review Boards in USA
  • Independent Police Complaints Commission as in the United Kingdom
  • Independent Police Investigative Directorate in South Africa

What needs to be done?

  • If stringent and timely action is not taken against delinquent policemen, custodial deaths are bound to become more frequent.
  • The responsibility devolves on senior police officers, who need to devise methods to monitor the number of suspects in each police station and the reasons for their detention.
  • Any detention or arrest should be promptly reported to district superintendents, who should, thereafter, ensure that SC and NHRC guidelines are strictly adhered to.

It is important that fake encounters and custodial deaths are probed impartially, and if necessary by outside agencies, so that the message goes out to the police that the rule of law can’t be compromised.

Taser Guns

  • An electroshock weapon, a taser gun fires dart-like electrodes at the target.
  • These electrodes induce temporary immobility by incapacitating neuromuscular functions that is the reflexes of the body. The gun is helpful in nabbing criminals.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Beijing fumes at PM Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh

Why in news?

  • China has slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying it was not helpful in creating enabling conditions for boundary talks and improving Beijing-New Delhi ties.
  • China’s position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear-cut. The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leaders visiting the disputed area.
  • China and India had reached important consensus on properly managing disputes and the two sides were working to resolve territorial disputes through negotiation and consultation.

2. Oli sworn in as Nepal PM for second time

 

  • K.P. Sharma Oli was sworn in as Nepal’s Prime Minister for the second time, weeks after his Left alliance with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) swept the parliamentary polls.
  • President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Oli and two other Ministers, both from the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML).
  • The CPN-UML secured 121 seats in the 275-member Parliament and became the largest party. The Nepali Congress won 63 seats while the CPN-Maoist secured 53 seats.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Parliamentary Panel seeks FinMin report

Why in news?

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance questioned finance ministry officials about the $1.77 billion fraud in the state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) and asked them to submit a report on it.
  • The committee, which met to deliberate on the demands for grant, asked officials as to how tax payers’ money could be used for recapitalising the bank which was not managed well.
  • Members expressed their concern over such large scale fraud in the Punjab National Bank and questioned the recapitalisation process of the state-run banks when they are not well managed and tax payers money is leaking.
  • The committee is headed by senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily, while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also member.
  • The committee has asked the finance ministry officials to submit a report before the panel on this fraud.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Shellfish reefs

Why in news?

  • Virtually all of Australia’s shellfish reefs have disappeared, making them the country’s most threatened ocean ecosystem, scientists have said, calling for more investment to rescue the important marine habitats.

Coral reefs versus Shell reefs

  • While recent global focus has been on the destruction of coral reefs, a study led by the Nature Conservancy found that between 90 and 99 % of shellfish reefs have vanished since British colonisation 230 years ago.
  • Few people were aware of the issue, with the Great Barrier Reef being what first springs to mind as Australia’s most endangered ocean ecosystem.
  • Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs are under threat, but it’s the shellfish reefs that have really suffered the most.

What is the significance of Shell reefs?

  • The reefs, formed by millions of oysters or mussels clustering together, used to occur in bays, estuaries and nearshore coastal waters in both tropical and temperate regions across every State in Australia.
  • They are complex living structures that provide food and shelter for a range of other invertebrate and fish species, while aiding water filtration and shoreline protection.
  • Scientists said their degradation contributed to the release of stored carbon, worsening climate change and increasing coastal risks associated with more frequent and intense storms, sea level rise and ocean acidification.
  • The study confirms the situation for these important marine habitats in Australia is even worse, with less than 1 % of flat oyster and 10 % of rock oyster habitats remaining.

What caused the decline of Shellreefs?

  • Much of the destruction occurred during the 1800s and early 1900s due to overfishing, habitat modification, disease outbreaks, invasive species and a decline in water quality.
  • The study said the most dramatic decline had been for reefs formed by the flat oyster, with just one known location left – Georges Bay in Tasmania – from 118 historically.
  • The second worst was the rock oyster, with only six reefs remaining from 60 previously.

What can be done?

  • The reefs can be restored by eliminating the threats that previously wiped them out.
  • The study recommended better education on the function and value of shellfish ecosystems, extra protection for those that remain, and more money for restoration projects.
  • There is still time to arrest the decline in shellfish reefs and restore them to places where they once provided people and nature these benefits.

2. Save the krill

Why in news?

  • Declining numbers in the population of krill – small, oceanic crustaceans – threaten Antarctic wildlife, from whales to penguins

Where is it occurring?

  • The Antarctic, one of the world’s last great wildernesses and home to animals such as whales, penguins and leopard seals, is being threatened by the plight of an animal just a few centimetres long, according to scientists.

What is the cause?

  • Researchers and environmental campaigners warn that a combination of climate change and industrial-scale fishing is threatening the krill population in Antarctic waters, with a potentially disastrous impact on larger predators.
  • Climate change is having an impact on the krill population at the same time as a resurgence in krill fishing, with increasing numbers of fishing vessels and changes in technology that are causing increasing krill catches.
  • Krill populations have declined by 80 % since the 1970s. Global warming has been blamed for part of that decrease because the ice that is home to the algae and plankton they feed on is retreating.
  • Campaigners say recent developments in fishing technology are exacerbating the problem, allowing ‘suction’ harvesting by large trawlers which are now able to gather up vast quantities of krill.
  • These fishing fleets are feeding a growing global demand for krill-based health products which are claimed to help with a range of ailments from heart disease and high blood pressure to strokes and depression.
  • A recent analysis of the global krill industry predicted it was on course to grow 12 % a year over the next three years.

What is the impact of decline in Krill population?

  • Krill are a key part of the delicate Antarctic food chain. They feed on marine algae and are a key source of food for whales, penguins and seals.
  • They are also important in removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by eating carbon—rich food near the surface and excreting it when they sink to lower, colder water.
  • A study by the U.S. government delegation to the Antarctic decision-making body Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), warns that the penguin population could drop by almost a third by the end of the century due to changes in krill biomass.
  • The report warned that climate change could reduce krill size by up to 40 % in some areas of Antarctica’s Scotia Sea causing a drastic reduction in predator numbers.
  • Researchers also said that current permitted rates of krill fishing increased the risk for depletion of some predator populations although it had less impact than ocean warming.

What are the steps taken in this regard?

  • A global campaign has been launched to turn a huge tract of the seas around the Antarctic into the world’s biggest sanctuary, protecting wildlife and banning all fishing.
  • The 1.8-m sq.km. reserve would cover a vast area of the Weddell Sea and a small part of the Antarctic Peninsula, and is one of three proposed new sanctuaries under consideration by CCAMLR.
  • The idea was originally put forward by Germany and is now supported by the EU. A decision is likely to be made at a CCAMLR conference in October.
  • Last month, Greenpeace launched a campaign in support of forming the Antarctic sanctuary.

3. Drones can help measure water resources

How can drones be helpful in water measurement?

  • Aerial imagery from helicopters and drones can be used to measure the water flow of rivers. Aerial imagery gathered from helicopters and drones can be used to measure changes in the water flow of rivers, suggests new research.
  • The study found that aerial imaging can be just as accurate as older, more expensive field methods in some cases.
  • Remote sensing methods like these can significantly improve our ability to understand hydrologic responses to a changing climate in small, un-gauged watersheds around the world.

What are the issues with existing system?

  • With an ever-growing human population and its inherent demand for water, there is a critical need to monitor water resources.
  • There are limited locations where river discharge is measured directly at gauging stations.
  • Establishing and maintaining these stations is expensive and time consuming. As a result, preference is often given to large rivers of significant economic and social importance.
  • Additionally, other remote sensing methods have been developed, but rely on relatively coarse data collected by satellites and, as such, also focus on the larger rivers of the world.
  • As a result, scientists often lack a complete view of what is happening in smaller river basins, leaving limited understanding of the processes controlling river water quantity and quality.

How does the new technique help?

  • The new approach, which uses a unique combination of image processing techniques and hydraulic modelling, aims to fill this data gap by using high resolution aerial imagery to estimate flows at many locations along smaller rivers and streams.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: EDUCATION

1. A deepening crisis

 

  • In 1966, the Kothari Commission aforementioned that India should target at spending 6% of its GDP on education.
  • More than half a century later, we are spending less than 3% of our GDP on education.
  • India is more affluent today and people’s aspirations are higher.
  • Despite this favourable social climate, education has failed to become a matter of national concern.
  • This year’s Budget offers a marginal increase on different routine expenses and reduction on some.
  • Elementary education faces crunch in supply of funds for improvement in quality.
  • Finance Minister referred to the importance of teacher education.
  • Teacher training seldom receives high-level attention.
  • A commission appointed by the Supreme Court under the chairpersonship of the late Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma reported the dismal state of teacher education, and the corruption.
  • Commission on the other hand also offered several good remedies to improve the regulatory structure. But the progress could not be sustained.

Four-year option

  • The Finance Minister made a special mention of the four-year integrated B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education) programme as a way forward for achieving quality in teacher training.
  • But the major hurdle being that teacher education will have to pay for its own growth.
  • What the government is willing to invest in is mainly the in-service part of the sector.
  • Institutions of higher education directly or indirectly affect teachers for all levels.
  • A nursery teacher needs the knowledge in child psychology, and language in primary classes to make children learn read and also to impart bilingual skills.
  • The teachers affected by conditions in undergraduate colleges degrade the state of education.
  • On the other hand Yash Pal report on renovation and rejuvenation of higher education presented a miserable picture of undergraduate education.

Why India does not worry about its educational crisis or why it does not invest more public funds in education?

  • Initially Independence, resources were limited and they were used for other, more immediate needs.
  • Now, it is a stage of fascination where any suggestion is welcome provided it avoids arguing for more funds from the public exchequer.
  • Its time to identify that growing inequality and difference among youth.
  • These are a consequence of malnourished institutional experience.
  • The United Nations discourse of sustainable development should remind us that our national aspirations might get a jolt if we fail to prioritize education.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Making up for lost time

 

  • Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister is on his five-city state visit of India on February 17.
  • Indian diaspora comprising 3.6% of the Canadian population are well-educated, affluent and politically polished.
  • During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada in April 2015, both sides agreed to elevate their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.
  • The bilateral ties fundamentally rest on 3Es — economy, energy and education.

Major Benefits

  • India is importing uranium from Canada since 2015.
  • Canada has ample reserves of oil and gas. Thus being a potentially a key partner in India’s quest for energy security.
  • Indian students have also initiated migration to Canada for vocational and higher education.
  • In agricultural sector, Canadian pulses were being imported by India.
  • Also both nations also have some collaboration in agri-tech.
  • There is enough potential for stepping up cooperation in areas like information technology, science and technology, clean and green tech, aviation and outer space, cold-climate warfare, cybersecurity, counterterrorism and tourism.
  • The need of the hour is to strengthen mutual trust and confidence, by taking a long-term view of the relationship

Category: SECURITY

1. New Hijacking rules

Hague Hijacking Convention

  • The Hague Hijacking Convention (formally the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft) is a multilateral treaty by which states agree to prohibit and punish aircraft hijacking.
  • The convention does not apply to customs, law enforcement or military aircraft, thus it applies exclusively to civilian aircraft.
  • The convention only addresses situations in which an aircraft takes off or lands in a place different from its country of registration.

Beijing Convention

  • It is a 2010 treaty by which state parties agree to criminalize certain terrorist actions against civil aviation.
  • Parties that ratify the Convention agree to criminalize using civil aircraft as a weapon and using dangerous materials to attack aircraft or other targets on the ground.
  • The illegal transport of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons is also criminalized under the Convention.

Penalties

  • From a punishment perspective, the act prescribes the death penalty where the offence results in the death of a hostage or security personnel, and life imprisonment in all other cases, there is no chance of remission.
  • It also provides for capital punishment against conspirators and abductors of any of the acts of hijacking
  • For the first time, the act provides for the confiscation of moveable and immoveable property of a person convicted under its purview.
  • Another notable inclusion relates to a designated court to provide a speedy trial for offences relating to hijacking.

Shortcomings

  • The term ‘aircraft’ is identified as any aircraft, whether or not it is registered in India. But it excludes an aircraft that is used in customs or police service, which should have been included.
  • It would have helped if there was also a provision to cover ‘hoax calls’ with proportionate punishment. Hoax calls create panic, resulting in serious complications for passengers. They also cause a nightmare for security agencies who end up wasting resources and time to verify the authenticity of the call.
  • The act also does not protect ground staff and security personnel at the airport. In its current form, the act defines the punishment for acts of violence connected with hijacking and covers only violence against passengers or airline crew.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about Nirbhaya Fund:
  1. The Ministry of Finance had set up a dedicated fund called Nirbhaya Fund in 2013.

  2. Ministry of Women and Child Development is the nodal Ministry to appraise schemes under Nirbhaya Fund and also to review and monitor the progress of sanctioned Schemes.

  3. It is a lapsable corpus fund.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 3 only

  2. 2 and 3 only

  3. 1 and 2 only

  4. All of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about Emergency Response support System:
  1. It aims to integrate all emergency numbers to 112 with state of art technology.

  2. ERSS envisages an integrated computer aided emergency response platform to respond to distress calls and ensure speedy assistance to the distressed persons.

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 Minimum Support Prices (MSP):
  1. MSP is price at which government purchases crops from the farmers, whatever may be the price for the crops.

  2. The minimum support prices are announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Ministry of Agriculture.

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 Fair Average Quality (FAQ)):
  1. FAQ is used to describe food products that are of good enough quality to be sold.

  2. Samples from different parts of the available stock of produce offered for sale are collected and they are submitted under seal to independent assessors for appraisal.

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 about McMahon Line:
  1. The McMahon Line is a line agreed to by Britain and Tibet as part of the Simla Accord, a treaty signed in 1914.

  2. The McMahon Line is regarded by India as the legal national border. It is disputed by China.

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. Trace and analyze the India-Iran relationship and discuss how priorities of engagement with Iran has changed.

GS Paper III

  1. With CM of UP saying encounters won’t stop, examine the issues with encounter killings. Also, provide details about supreme court ruling and recommendations from National Police Commission. How can this problem be addressed?
  2. The new Anti Hijacking rules overcome the problems of the 1982 Act. Discuss.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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