22 Feb 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. SC stays HC order on Bar Council poll rules
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Canada will not support separatists, says Trudeau
2. South Asians protest ‘unjust’ treatment of ‘Tier I’ visa-holders
3. Bangladesh fears exodus of Bengalis from Assam
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Blockchain tech could help prevent frauds like at PNB
2. Centre reboots eNAM to draw more farmers
3. ‘NITI Aayog preparing new list of sick PSUs’
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ELECTORAL REFORMS
1. For cleaner, fairer elections
ECONOMY
1. As the borders begin to close
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. SC stays HC order on Bar Council poll rules

 

  • The Supreme Court stayed a Madras High Court order of February 16 containing a series of directions and remarks about the need to conduct transparent and clean elections to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
  • A Division Bench of the high court led by Justice Kirubakaran had passed the order on writ petitions alleging that the elections due on March 28 may see widespread corruption.

Eligibility condition

  • The High Court had upheld the demand made in the petitions to quash the Bar Council of India’s resolution to defer its decision on amendment proposes in the State Bar Council Rules.
  • The amendments had introduced new eligibility conditions for members to contest the State Bar Council polls.
  • These included a bar on lawyers who had already been elected twice before, those holding office in any political party and those who had been punished for contempt of court and those against whom criminal cases were pending from contesting elections.
  • The amendments proposed by a Special Committee of the State Bar Council had even barred lawyers with less than 10 years of legal practice from contesting the elections.
  • The apex court however retained the proposed amendment that candidates should declare if they have any criminal antecedents.
  • While issuing notice to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the Bar Council of India, among others, the apex court stayed all proceedings before the Madras High Court.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Canada will not support separatists, says Trudeau

List of operatives given

  • Singh handed over a list of nine Category ‘A’ Canada-based operatives alleged to be involved in hate crimes in Punjab by financing and supplying weapons for terrorist activities, and also engaged in trying to radicalise youth and children in Punjab.
  • At the meeting, in which Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Punjab Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were also present, Capt. Singh also raised the issue of Indo-Canadians believed to be involved in targeted killings in Punjab, urging him to initiate stern action against such elements.
  • Though freedom of speech is enshrined in the Indian Constitution, separatists and hardliners as well as those propagating violence have lost any such right as they have been rejected outright by the people of Punjab.

Local Politics or International values?

  • India has often accused Canada of sheltering Sikh separatists.
  • Sikhs in Canada form a voting bloc for Trudeau, so much so that he even attended a Khalsa Day parade organized by a radical Gurudwara, or Sikh temple, in Toronto.
  • To add to the tensions, last month, 16 Canadian gurdwaras announced a “ban” on the entry of Indian elected officials, consular officials, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Shiv Sena members, without any action from the Trudeau government.
  • Another sore was Mr. Trudeau’s insistence on taking along with him the Ministers in his Cabinet accused of sympathising with the Khalistan movement like Mr. Sajjan and Navdeep Singh Bains to Amritsar.
  • Sikhs, numbering less than half a million, form the largest ethnic group among Indian-origin Canadians. All four of Trudeau’s Indian-origin ministers are Sikh

Background

  • The violent Khalistan movement in the 1980s wreaked havoc in Punjab, resulting in India crushing the Khalistan militancy. After the Indian army cleared the Golden Temple of militants, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
  • Anti-Sikh riots followed in Delhi and elsewhere, killing thousands of Sikhs. The next year, Khalistan militants blew up an Air India plane flying from Canada to Mumbai.

What does New Delhi want?

  • New Delhi wants Trudeau to publicly distance himself from Sikh separatists.

Canada’s View

  • Canada’s position is that it cannot curtail the right to freedom of speech and expression of its Sikh citizens
  • However, in a meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Trudeau has affirmed that Canada does not support any separatist movement in India or elsewhere.

2. South Asians protest ‘unjust’ treatment of ‘Tier I’ visa-holders

 

  • A group of South Asians in the U.K. are considering a hunger strike alongside legal action, as they continue to build a campaign against what they believe is an unjust treatment meted out to those attempting to gain an indefinite leave to remain in the country.
  • The campaign focusses on the increasing number of migrants from the subcontinent who have come on a Tier 1 Highly Skilled Visa and have had their applicants to remain rejected or delayed because of amendments made to their tax filings.
  • Campaigners say that with increasing regularity, a clause within Britain’s immigration legislation — which focusses on a person’s character and is intended to prevent the settlement of criminals — is being used to reject applicants.
  • Britain’s Labour Party has called for a fairer immigration system, which creates a level-playing field for those from within the EU and outside it, and in which people aren’t discriminated against based on the skin colour of the majority of the population.
  • The government’s immigration regime has come under increased scrutiny, after it emerged that a monthly cap on Tier 2 visas (part of a wider system of controls to help the government meet its ambitions of reducing net immigration) has been repeatedly hit, in the past couple of months, leaving some NHS trusts and hospitals unable to recruit the talent they need from outside the EU.

3. Bangladesh fears exodus of Bengalis from Assam

 

  • The ongoing process of compiling the National Register of Citizens in Assam may trigger an exodus of Bengalis and create one more Rohingya-like refugee crisis for Bangladesh.
  • They said the process in Assam is threatening India-Bangladesh ties and will be exploited by anti-India elements and Islamic fundamentalists who are challenging the Awami League rule.
  • Bangladeshi policymakers are unanimous that the failure to conclude the Teesta water sharing agreement between New Delhi and Dhaka has been disappointing and the ongoing process in Assam will complicate the situation further.
  • These observations have gained significance as a section of the ruling Awami League believes that India has not reciprocated Ms. Hasina’s support on counter-insurgency steps in the northeastern states.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Blockchain tech could help prevent frauds like at PNB

 

  • The adoption of blockchain by India’s banks could help avert frauds such as the one at Punjab National Bank as the disaggregated and transparent nature of the technology, which updates information across all users simultaneously, would have ensured that various officials would have instantly been alerted to the creation of the letters of undertaking (LoUs), according to bankers and blockchain specialists.
  • Transaction reconciliation systems at present do not result in immediate notification. Using blockchain, all parties on the chain will be immediately notified about a transaction.
  • Blockchain, a distributed ledger technology originally developed as an accounting system for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is being researched across the banking and financial services industries for the potential benefits it may offer in an increasingly digitised business environment.
  • Central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of India have been examining the technology to understand the regulatory challenges it may pose.
  • Blockchain potentially has far-reaching implications for the financial sector, and this is prompting more and more banks, insurers and other financial institutions to invest in research into potential applications of this technology.
  • Market participants in other securities markets are exploring the usage of blockchain or distributed database technology to provide various services such as clearing and settlement, trading.
  • Indian securities market may also see such developments in the near future and, therefore, there is a need to understand the benefits, risks and challenges such developments may pose.

Implementation at SBI

  • SBI was convinced of blockchain’s utility, especially its potential to improve internal fraud monitoring, and had already implemented it in its reconciliation systems and in several cross-country payment gateways.
  • In blockchain, from the source system it will try to match the transactions, so one can immediately verify any transaction using blockchain.
  • If the LoUs were on the blockhain, then they would have been there for everybody to see, and every entry into the chain leaves a clear record of who made that entry.
  • Blockchains are immutable and distributed ledgers, which means that anything recorded on them cannot be changed or deleted, and is instantly uploaded to all users on that blockchain.
  • If a bank wants to lend to a borrower, we need to know what all he has borrowed from other institutions as well. For that, we have the CIBIL score at present, but that data is prone to human error.
  • Simply depending on technology to prevent frauds is fraught, since they take place at the human level, where an official with the correct authentication can misuse the system.
  • The modus operandi of the fraud as it appears right now is that somebody used all the authentication methods and it was compromised at the user level.
  • If that is the case, then any technology can be hoodwinked. Here, what was given into the system is not in doubt, the one who gave it into the system is in doubt.
  • Still, blockchain’s technology is such that even human error can be greatly mitigated.
  • Blockchain can fix this by having everything linked to the same database.

2. Centre reboots eNAM to draw more farmers

 

  • In a bid to engage more farmers on the electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) platform, the government unveiled mobile payment facility BHIM, and other features in regional languages as well.
  • The eNAM website is now available in Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Odia besides Hindi and English, while the eNAM trading facility is available in six languages.
  • The eNAM has been strengthened with features like MIS dashboard, BHIM and other mobile payment facilities, enhanced features on mobile app such as gate entry and payment via mobiles

3. ‘NITI Aayog preparing new list of sick PSUs’

 

  • NITI Aayog is working on a new list of sick and loss-making Public Sector Units (PSUs) that could be privatised.
  • NITI Aayog has already given recommendations with regard to strategic disinvestment of 40 PSUs. Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is working on it and the process is in an advanced stage.
  • The government has set a target of Rs. 80,000 crore from disinvestment proceeds in 2018-19.In the current fiscal, the government has earned more than Rs. 1 lakh crore from stake sales in public sector firms, as against the Budget estimate of Rs. 72,500 crore in 2017-18 for the disinvestment process.
  • Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh, who was also present at the conference, pointed out that the Budget allocation for NITI Aayog had been increased by more than 20% to Rs. 339.65 crore in 2018-19 from Rs. 279.79 crore in 2017-18.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ELECTORAL REFORMS

1. For cleaner, fairer elections

 

  • Supreme Court has introduced electoral reforms that are directed at candidates, and rarely at the parties

Related cases

  1. Lok Prahari v. Union of India:
  • The Supreme Court’s current choice on information disclosure clears a path for future constitutional interventions in India’s party funding regime, including the scheme of electoral bonds
  1. Association for Democratic Reforms v. Union of India (ADR):
  • In 2002, the Supreme Court directed to disclose the information relating to criminal antecedents, educational qualification, and personal assets of a candidate contesting elections
  • Now, the court has extended the disclosure obligation to further include information relating to sources of income of candidates and their “associates”

Other Information

  • Supreme court believes that the decision is based on the principle of Voters’ right to know about their candidate, which is an extension of their freedom of expression.
  • Indian voter is deprived of information related to party funding
  • The provision of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 exempts political parties from disclosing the source of any contribution below Rs. 20,000
  • This gives political parties a convenient loophole to hide their funding sources by breaking contributions into smaller sums, even Rs. 19,999 each
  • As a result, a vast majority of donations to political parties come from sources unknown to voters
  • “The sources of a candidate’s financial support also alert the voter to the interests to which a candidate is most likely to be responsive”
  • Parties occupy a special space in India when it comes to agenda setting
  • By virtue of a strong anti-defection law in India, all elected legislators are bound by their party agenda

Category: ECONOMY

1. As the borders begin to close

Situation after the global financial crisis in 2008:

  • The world began centering at the emerging countries to demonstrate the best approach to high monetary development and advancement.
  • Emerging economies, India and China for example, have become increasingly associated with impacting worldwide financial strategies and voicing their improvement concerns and needs in different multilateral fora.
  • These economies have benefited from increasing globalisation and the growing movement of goods and people between countries.
  • Therefore, they are among the biggest beneficiaries of worldwide remittances.
  • Rich nations starts to rely on its own workforce and tightly controlled borders, the less a poorer nation can rely on remittances for its development needs and to achieve the sustainable development goals
  • Twenty-three countries, led by India and followed by China, the Philippines, Mexico, Pakistan and Nigeria, receive over 80% of global remittances.
  • However, the top five recipients are smaller nations: Haiti, the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Nepal and Tajikistan where remittances have helped lift millions out of poverty and unemployment and enhanced their standard of living and human development.

Certain factors have been hurdles in the way of progressive remittances

  1. Rapid changes in the economy and the sociopolitical climate in West Asia
  2. Brexit
  3. Trump presidency in the U.S.

The case of West Asia

  • While it was expected that remittances would recede after the recession in 2008, they barely did.
  • Arab Spring in 2010 and subsequent counter-revolutionary moves by states had an impact.
  • The declining oil prices and inactive regional economies, decided to prioritise filling their workforce with their nationals.
  • Among the six GCC countries, only the United Arab Emirates and Oman continue to maintain their erstwhile immigration policy.
  • Oman began “Omanisation”, a policy aimed at replacing emigrant workers with trained Omani personnel, back in 1988.
  • In 2011, the Saudi government enacted “Saudisation”, officially known as Saudi Nationalisation Scheme or Nitaqat system in Arabic.
  • Kuwait, for example, between 2016 and 2017, reduced unemployment from 16.5% to 1%.
  • Saudi Arabia regularised five million irregular workers and cracked down on illegal migrants.

Indian scenario: The positive impact of migration on economic growth and development through increased remittances.

  • Kerala receives remittances totaling 36.3% of its gross State domestic product.
  • India has seen sharp remittances development since 1991. Remittances, which were esteemed at $2.1 billion out of 1991, touched $70.4 billion out of 2014.
  • Since then, the value of remittances to India has seen a modest decline: $68.9 billion in 2015 and $62.7 billion in 2016. However a slight improvement last year with $65.4 billion.
  • India receives about 56% of its remittances from migrants in West Asia, with the remainder from mainly North America and Europe.
  • Kerala would have had to adopt an entirely different economic growth path.
  • The Kerala Migration Surveys, led by the Center for Development Studies, have examined movement from Kerala since 1998.
  • In 2016, without precedent for a long time, the Malayali transient group got littler by 10% to 2.2 million.
  • It’s the time for the government to adopt measures to utilise local resources and create jobs, as it might end up in a better position overall.

 

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:
  1. A majority disinvestment is one such that, at the end of it, the government retains a majority stake in the company, typically greater than 51%, thus ensuring management control.

  2. A minority disinvestment is one in which the government, post disinvestment, retains a minority stake in the company i.e. it sells off a majority stake.

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 2. Consider the following statements about Privatisation:
  1. Complete privatisation is a form of majority disinvestment wherein 100% control of the company is passed on to a buyer.

  2. Improving public finances is one of the objectives of privatization.

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:
  1. The Haryana government launched Parivartan, a scheme designed to address 10 issues, including cleanliness and pollution

  2. ‘Sadhikara mitras’ are leaders of self help groups in Andhra Pradesh

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 NAM scheme:
  1. Under the NAM scheme, the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium will be the lead agency responsible for the development of the national agricultural market under the ministry of agriculture

  2. Under the scheme, private markets will not be allowed access to the e-platform thereby enhancing its outreach.

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

General Studies II 

 
  1. Post Truth Politics and Nationalization has led to drop in remittances. Discuss its impact on India and how can India overcome the issue?
General Studies III 
 
  1. Full benefit from linking agricultural markets in the country and putting them on electronic platform will come when a single trading license is valid across the country and when a farmer gets the option to sell her/his produce in any market throughout the country. Critically Examine in reference to NAM.

 

 
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