19 Feb 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

19 Feb 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Pakistan to remain in terror financing watchdog’s ‘Grey List’
2. Ashraf Ghani named winner of Afghanistan presidential election
3. Trump’s visit may seal helicopter deal
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Sanjay Kothari tipped to be CVC; Bimal Julka is CIC
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. Karbis protest against ST status for hill Bodos
2. One in three adolescents face online abuse, finds study by NGO
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. In U.S. trade action, an Indian counter-strategy
HEALTH
1. Powering the health-care engine with innovation
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Birds hit
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. It’s time to empower mayors
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. Foodgrain production set to touch a record high
2. China’s envoy thanks India for support during coronavirus crisis
3. J&K woos investors with 6,000-acre land bank
4. Centre’s response sought on plea by Arjuna awardee
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Ashraf Ghani named winner of Afghanistan presidential election

Context:

Afghanistan has declared incumbent Ashraf Ghani winner of a disputed presidential election.

Details:

  • Afghanistan’s independent Election Commission has announced that incumbent President Ashraf Ghani has won a second term. The announcement comes more than four months after polls closed.
    • Polls were held in September 2019 to elect a president for the fourth time since U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in 2001.
    • But the process was marred by allegations of rigging, technical problems with biometric devices used for voting, attacks and other irregularities.
    • On election day, many Afghans found incomplete voters’ lists and in some cases hostile election workers.
    • Election results were repeatedly delayed amid accusations of misconduct and technical problems with counting ballots.

Concerns:

  • The opponent, Mr. Abdullah contested the results and vowed he would form his own parallel government. This threatens a new turmoil, as the United States strives to seal a U.S. troop withdrawal deal with Taliban militants.
    • Ghani and Mr. Abdullah head a fragile national unity government that was put together under U.S. pressure after both leaders claimed victory in Afghanistan’s 2014 elections.
  • A potential political crisis looms as the United States and the Taliban near an agreement in Doha, which officials on both sides say could be announced by the end of February 2020 if an initial seven-day reduction in violence (RIV) is successfully observed. The RIV also would cover Afghan forces.
  • The election results come days after U.S. Defence Secretary announced a truce agreement between the United States and the Taliban that could lead to the withdrawal of American troops from the country.
    • The agreement was expected to be formally announced on February 23, 2020 and the reduction in violence would subsequently begin, according to people familiar with the plan.
    • That would be followed by all-Afghan peace talks that envision the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces over 18 months, ending 18 years of war.
  • Ghani has been critical of the way U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has conducted the talks with the Taliban, complaining about being kept in the dark.
  • The Taliban has also rejected the result and termed Ghani’s re-election to be against the peace process.
    • However, Ghani is seeking to appoint a team to negotiate with the Taliban. That effort has been mired in political wrangling and the dispute with Abdullah could add further complications.

3. Trump’s visit may seal helicopter deal

Context:

President Donald Trump is set to make his maiden visit to India on February 24-25, 2020. With no headway in the talks for a trade deal, there are expectations that a few big-ticket defence deals will be announced.

Details:

  • The deal for 24 MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) for the Navy, which is likely to be announced during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, is lined up for the final approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
  • The 24 Lockheed Martin-built helicopters, worth $2.4 billion, are being procured through the Foreign Military Sales route of the U.S. government.

Deal for MH-60R

Need for Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH):

  • The Navy is facing an acute shortage of MRHs, with several warships operating with empty helicopter decks.
  • These helicopters are being procured as replacement for 15 Sea King Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopters de-inducted in 1991 and one Sea King 42B MRH lost in an accident.
  • The MRHs in service, Sea King 42Bs, were inducted in the 1980s and are in need of replacement.

Several big-ticket deals in the pipeline:

  • Six Boeing P-8I long-range surveillance aircraft.
  • Thirteen BAE Systems-built 127-mm MK-45 naval gun systems worth around $1 billion for the Navy.
  • Six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the Army.
  • Thirty armed drones for the three services.
  • A tactical air defence system for Delhi.

However, these are at various stages of procurement.

For more details refer to the 13th February 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Sanjay Kothari tipped to be CVC; Bimal Julka is CIC

Context:

  • Sanjay Kothari, Secretary to the President of India, is tipped to be the next Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).
  • Former Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka will be the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC).

Issues:

  • The post of CVC has been vacant since June 2019. Vigilance Commissioner Sharad Kumar has been functioning as the interim CVC.
  • A few other posts in the CIC are lying vacant and, the Commission has been working with a reduced strength of six Information Commissioners as against the sanctioned strength of 11.

Read about the Central Information Commission.

Details:

  • The decision, however, was arrived at by a majority opinion as the Opposition leader objected to the process and pointed to “certain legal infirmities”.
    • The opposition leader is reported to have objected to the fact that the government had not shared the names of the short-listed candidates for the post of CIC before the meeting, as is the norm.
    • The Opposition leader also objected to the fact that for the post of CVC, a member of the search committee was included as a short-listed candidate.
  • The government is yet to make a formal announcement.

Central Vigilance Commission:

  • The Indian government introduced the Central Vigilance Commission in the year 1964 to address governmental corruption.
  • The Commission was set up on the recommendation of the K.Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission is led by the Central Vigilance Commissioner and has two Vigilance Commissioners.

Read more about Central Vigilance Commission.  

Selection Committee for CVC chief:

  • The Prime Minister heads the selection committee for choosing the CVC chief.
  • The Home Minister and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the Leader of the largest Opposition Party make up the rest of the panel.

2. One in three adolescents face online abuse, finds study by NGO

Context:

A study on school students has revealed that one in every three adolescents exposed to the Internet are victims of cyberbullying and other forms of online abuse and nearly half of the users display some level of addiction.

Details:

  • In an attempt to assess the pattern of Internet use and online safety, an NGO — Child Rights and You (CRY) — conducted a survey in collaboration with Forum for Learning and Action with Innovation and Rigour (FLAIR).

Key findings:

  • The study shows that adolescents had easy access to the Internet with 93% of them using it in their homes.
  • There was a clear gender disparity in access to personal devices with 60% boys and 40% girls owning a device.
  • 30% of adolescents had a negative experience online, the study points out.
  • There was also a lack of awareness among the students on Internet safety guidelines developed by the NCERT with only 30% of respondents being familiar with them.
  • However, access to the Internet is not all harmful as 40% of the respondents said they used it to take help in their studies such as through online search for words or information, tutorials and access to their school’s online education programme.
  • The same ratio of children also used the Internet for extra-curricular activities such as for music, painting or sports.

Suggestions:

  • The study recommends facilitating among students, familiarity with Internet safety rules, with it being built into the school curriculum.
  • It highlights the need to modify the Central government’s child protection scheme to build infrastructure to deal with cybercrimes against children.
  • It also presses for schools to recognise an increase in online crimes against children and develop strategies on prevention, reporting and redressal.

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