18 Feb 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Sex ratio at birth dips in 17 of 21 large states 
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. Jail Reforms- Empowerment in Tihar jail
2. Gender Imbalance in Lower Judiciary
3. River water dispute between Rajasthan and Haryana Resolved
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Chabahar Port
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
1. Why LTCG tax on stock market investments is a welcome move
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

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A. GS1 Related

Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Sex ratio at birth dips in 17 of 21 large states

 Sex ratio at birth is an important indicator and reflects the extent to which there is reduction in number of girl children born by sex-selective abortions

Context

  • A report was released by Niti Aayog about Sex Ration at Birth (SRB) which said there was decline in 17 out of 21 states of the country and laid emphasis on the need to check on sex selective abortion and implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 effectively.
  • Gujarat recorded an alarming dip of 53 points where SRB fell to 854 females from 907 females per 1,000 males born from 2014-15 (base year) to 2015-16 (reference year) in this indicator

Details

  • Gujarat is followed by Haryana, which registered a drop of 35 points, Rajasthan (32 points), Uttarakhand (27 points), Maharashtra (18 points), Himachal Pradesh (14 points), Chhattisgarh (drop of 12 points), and Karnataka (11 points), the Healthy States, Progressive India report states.
  • However certain states did witness some progress and improvement. Punjab registered a rise of 19 points, followed by Uttar Pradesh (10 points) and Bihar (9 points).

 

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Jail Reforms- Empowerment in Tihar jail

 Context

  • A product named ‘Wah-O’ a perfume brand was launched by Tihar jail to provide opportunities to inmates to become economically independent and “productive members” of society.

Details

  • Ten per cent of the profit will go to the Prisoner’s Welfare Fund while 25% of the annual profits will also be channelised into the Victims Welfare Fund.

 

2. Gender Imbalance in Lower Judiciary

 

  • A report by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy shows that the lower judiciary across India has a mere 27.6 per cent female judges

Details

  • In its report titled Tilting The Scale: Gender Imbalance In Lower Judiciary, it shows how of the total 15,959 judges in the lower judiciary across India, 11,397 are male judges which make up for 714 per cent while women judges are a mere 27.6 per cent at 4,409.
  • Only in three of the smallest states—Goa, Meghalaya, and Sikkim, with a collective total of a mere 103 judges—does the percentage of women judges cross 60%.
    • Goa has 65.9 per cent lady judges at 29 and 34.1% male judges numbering at 15. Meghalaya has 73.80 per cent judges with 31 lady judges and 11 male judges aggregating to 26.2 per cent. Sikkim’s 11 female judges in lower judiciary make up for 64.7 per cent
    • On the other hand, states like Gujarat has 811 male and 148 female judges while in case of Maharashtra there are 1484 male judges and just 574 female judges
  • Barring Telangana and Puducherry, the percentage of women judges remains below 40% for all other states.
  • Bihar (11.52%), Jharkhand (13-98%), Gujarat (15.11%), Jammu & Kashmir (18.62%), and Uttar Pradesh (214%) have the lowest representation of women in the lower judiciary

Stats

  • Since inception in 1950, the Supreme Court of India has on seen 6 women judges, and currently has one woman judge out of 25.
  • 8 Across India’s 24 High Courts, slightly over 10% judges are women, with not even a single woman judge in eight High Courts.
  • Further, women have occupied the post of a High Court judge only 86 times since the elevation of the first woman judge to the Kerala High Court in 1959 (as of November 2017),’ says the report.

Reasons for Gender Imbalance

  • The gender imbalance in the judiciary include the disproportionately low number of women lawyers and the challenges they face on entering litigation.
    • “For instance, only 10% of advocates are estimated to be women and when it comes to Senior Advocates in the Supreme Court”.
  • Sexual harassment and the lack of supportive infrastructure from toilets to maternity leave, also contribute to a high attrition rate amongst women lawyers, with many preferring to join the corporate sector instead.
  • All these factors come together to result in disproportionately low women bar appointees to the bench.
    • For instance, in its 68 years of existence, the Supreme Court has only seen one woman elevated from the bar to the bench, as recently as January 2018
  • The report cites how several prominent lawyers and judges have also described outright bias against women in appointment and promotion processes

Positive Zone

  • Despite the abysmal representation of women in the lower and higher judiciary, recent developments have suggested an encouraging if slow trend.
  • In 2017, for the first time, all four High Courts of Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were headed by women Chief Justices.
  • Last month, Ms. Indu Malhotra became the first woman Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court to be recommended for elevation to the bench
  • In 2016, the Parliamentary Standing Committee submitted its 87th Report recognized that the data on women representation in the higher judiciary was not encouraging and suggested that suitable measures be taken to ensure that the higher judiciary would be reflective of the composition of the society and its diversity.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind acknowledged the gender imbalance in the judiciary in his National Law Day speech, prompting political leaders to call for reservations

Way forward

  • Need to regularly collect and publish statistics on the social composition of the judiciary. The regular collection of data on diversity is a prerequisite to diagnosing exclusion of social groups in the judiciary and designing appropriate interventions. The appropriate governmental authority, whether this be the Union Law Ministry or the concerned High Court, thus must monitor and make data on diversity in the lower judiciary publicly available.
  • Mainstream discourse tends to focus on judicial appointments either in the context of the tussle between the judiciary and executive, or vacancies and delay. There is an urgent need to expand this discourse so it can also accommodate concerns over diversity and equitable social composition

3. River water dispute between Rajasthan and Haryana Resolved

 

  • Rajasthan will get its full share of 1.119 billion cusec metres of water from the Yamuna, with the Upper Yamuna Review Committee deciding over the weekend that 1,917 cusecs water will be released from the Tajewala headworks to Jhunjhunu, Churu and Sikar districts for drinking and irrigation.

Background

  • Rajasthan was allocated 9% share in the Yamuna waters, but it was not getting it even when excess water was available in the river between July and October every year.

Category:INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Chabahar Port

Background

  • In the early 2012, US put sanction against Iran Oil export, i.e. if any country imports crude oil from Iran, then that country’s bank (through which payments are made to Iran) will not be allowed to do transactions in USA.
  • Because of this sanction, most of the nations stopped importing oil from Iran, except some big ones like India and China, but India too felt the heat of US diplomatic pressure and agreed to cut down oil imports from Iran.
  • Majority of Iran’s nation income comes from Oil export, so, they’re also feeling the heat. They wanted money, so, Iranian Government allowed India do invest upto $100 million in the Chabahar Port Development project.

 Details

  • The $500 million deal promises to lead to the development of a deep-water port, a 500-km rail line linking it to Iran’s rail network, and new aluminium and urea plants.
  • The Chabahar agreement marks a new level in India’s overseas ambitions, establishing a genuinely strategic presence not just in one of the world’s great energy markets, but potentially giving Indian business access to some of the fastest-growing economies of the future.
  • Freed of sanctions, Iran’s economy is expected to grow sharply in coming years; Indian businesses will now be in a position to capitalise on the coming boom.
  • Though Central Asia has faced severe economic difficulties in recent years, as a consequence of low energy prices, there’s little doubt about the region’s long-term potential.
  • The deal will also allow India to expand its strategic presence in Afghanistan, allowing businesses in both countries to bypass a Pakistan that has proven reflexively hostile to allowing transit rights to trade between them.
  • In short, the deal signals that India, like China, has big-league ambitions.

Strategic importance of the move

  • India has also been able to convince USA that Indo-IRAN relations should not be looked in the context of US-IRAN relations as Afghanistan is important and IRAN hence becomes important link.
  • Through IRAN, India is also having its focus on Central Asia beyond to Russia and Europe.
  • So, India with Australia, USA, Japan and IRAN are also trying to have an alternative maritime route to OBOR
  • USA was not able to achieve much in the region despite all security & military measure, and economic assistance, so it is looking towards India as a prospective partner to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan.
  • USA is now willing to put pressure on Pakistan so that it does not destabilise Afghanistan any more than what it has been doing.
  • Indian strategic goal is achieved proving Pakistan to be the roadblock in stabilising Afghanistan and its trade with India through land route.
  • There can be no stable Afghanistan without Pakistan ceasing its interference and India can’t be a major player in Afghanistan which Pakistan sees as a strategic depth.
  • If this route becomes successful and viable then Afghanistan’s growth will take-off India’s investment in a big way, but India should also keep Chinese and Pakistan’s interruption in mind.

Issue Area

  • The fate of the Chabahar project will depend on successive governments showing sustained resolve in the face of geopolitical hurdles.
  • Relations between Tehran and the West, though vastly improved, remain fraught, with many hardliners in Iran believing the country was short-changed in the nuclear deal that paved the way for an end to sanctions. Differences over Iran’s role in Syria and Afghanistan.
  • Indian governments will also have to incentivise private corporations for using the Iranian route to transit goods to Central Asia, rather than the fast, cheap networks they now use through Singapore and China.
  • Finally, the project can only be successful if Indian manufacturing is globally competitive

Way forward

  • One is that the port itself, with a relatively modest capacity, must not become a casualty of dilatory work by the Indian agencies responsible.
  • Second is that ambitions must not be moderate should indeed be expanded. Not just Afghanistan,but all of Central Asia should be opened up to trade with India through Chabahar.
  • India has been rightly wary of the Chinese international infrastructure investment programme that goes by the name of “One Belt, One Road”; but the extent that it plans to link Iran to eastern China through Central Asia should not be ignored in the development planning for Chabahar.
  • India needs to energize its diplomacy to keep engagement with Iran on an even keel,irrespective of outside pressure.
  • On both security and economic grounds, therefore, the re-emergence of Iran has given India a big new card to play in its neighbourhood. It must use the additional strategic space wisely, and follow up on commitments swiftly.

Chabahar-Zahedan railway

  • In May 2016, during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Iran, agreement was signed to develop two terminals and five berths at Port of Chabahar and to build a new railway line between Chabahar and Zahedan, as part of North–South Transport Corridor, by Indian Railway’s public sector unit Ircon International

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

1. Why LTCG tax on stock market investments is a welcome move

  • Recently, the government has levied 10% tax on long term capital gains (LTCG) from equities
  • India had abolished the LTCG tax on equities in 2004-05
  • To prevent the round-tripping of funds arising from the India Mauritius Tax Treaty
  • To mitigate the discriminatory tax treatment towards Indian investors, and
  • To promote investment in stock markets, India abolished the LTCG tax on equities in 2004-05. This, however, did not resolve the round-tripping problem
  • Therefore, the Indian government amended the India Mauritius Tax Treaty in May 2016, reserving the right to tax capital gains on transfer of shares acquired on or after April 2017
  • With this amendment in place, there is now no need to exempt Indian investors from the LTCG tax
  • According to the Global Competitiveness Report: 2017-2018, the total tax rate as a percentage of profit was around 60% in India
  • Despite the heavy tax rates, India’s budget balance as a percentage of GDP is much higher than that of the most competitive countries in the world
  • The LTCG will help in improving this situation
  • As per the Global Inequality report, the richest 1% of the population owned 58% of the wealth generated in 2016 and 73% in 2017
  • A comparatively larger share of indirect taxes, which are considered to be regressive in nature, further accentuates income inequality
  • An LTCG tax will help improve the share of direct taxes in total tax revenue and moderate the gap between the rich and the poor to some extent
  • With the tax, there is better parity in India’s tax treatment of LTCG from equities with other countries and better integration of Indian markets with global ones
  • Though the LTCG tax on equities is not as revolutionary as the goods and services tax, it can bridge an important gap in India’s direct tax structure

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1.Consider the following statements with respect to IRCON
  1. It is a private Company working in collaboration with Govt in PPP Projects

  2. It is a natural Gas organization which explores new regions for deposits

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 only

  2. 2 only

  3. Both 1 and 2

  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 2.India has signed which of these conventions?
  1. Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

  2. Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

  3. Convention on Cluster Munitions

  4. Wassenaar Arrangement

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only

  2. 2 and 4 only

  3. 3 and 4 only

  4. 1, 2 and 4 only

See

Answer
Question 4.Consider the following statements
  1. Dawn is the only mission ever to orbit two extra-terrestrial targets.

  2. The Dawn mission orbited giant asteroid Vesta and now continues to orbit Ceres.

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 only

  2. 2 only

  3. Both 1 and 2

  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 5.INS Chakra 
  1. Is an indigenously constructed ballistic missile submarine.

  2. Is a nuclear propelled, hunter-killer submarine.

  3. is an Akula class Submarine and is to provide escort to INS Arihant.

  4. Is a Russian made ballistic missile submarine

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 only

  2. 4 only

  3. 1 and 3 only

  4. 3 and 4 only

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II

    1. There is need for Prison Reforms in India. What are the different problems faced by people in Jails? Illustrate with examples the reforms initiated and also suggest some measures

GS Paper III

  1. Increased consumption of ultra-processed food linked to rising cases of cancer. Explain.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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