24 Feb 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 24 Feb 2022:-Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. Understanding the Draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy, 2022
C. GS 3 Related
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
1. NASA’s plan to decommission the International Space Station
ENVIRONMENT
1. Railways installing solar fences to save elephants
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Ukraine as a Matryoshka doll set of crises
2. Turning to trade winds
ECONOMY
1. The Budget lacks the ‘power’ to transform services
F. Prelims Facts
1. Operation MILAN
2. Cobra Warrior
3. J&K delimitation panel gets 2-month extension
4. Scheme for COVID-19 orphans extended
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Railways installing solar fences to save elephants

Syllabus: Conservation

Mains: Various innovative measures employed to avoid man and animal conflicts

Context

Railways installing solar fences to save elephants.

Details

  • Railways have begun the installation of hanging solar fences at sensitive forest areas between Kanjikode and Walayar stations.
  • The Southern Railways installed hanging solar fences for the first time to prevent elephant movement across the tracks.
  • The hanging solar fences are being set up for 600 metres on both sides of the B-line railway track. Steel wires are hung in a row from a three-metre high overhead wire. The overhead wire is supported by posts at both ends. The hanging wires will touch the ground.
  • These fences hang like a curtain with a gap underneath for smaller animals to cross
  • As it is a mild shock, there will be no threat to the elephant’s life.

Nut Graf
As dozens of wild animals, particularly elephants have been mowed down by trains, there is an increasing demand to check the loss of wildlife on the tracks. Indian railways has come up with an innovative measure of installing a hanging solar fence for the first time to prevent elephant movement across the tracks.

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Ukraine as a Matryoshka doll set of crises

Syllabus: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries

Mains: The major consequences in case of a war in Ukraine.

Context

Russia has officially recognised Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, in Eastern Ukraine that have been seeking autonomy from Ukraine since 2014.

Background

  • Russia has sent its troops as being ‘Russian Peacekeeping Forces’, to protect the separatists and Russian ethnic minorities who populate the region.
  • The move has outraged the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and calls from the rest of the world for de-escalation.
  • The two provinces of Ukraine have been asserting independence since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
  • The provinces populated mainly by Russian ethnic minorities striving for independence, separatist leaders supported by Russia seized these regions and declared the ‘People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk’ in 2014.

Read more about the issue in the CNA dated 23 Feb, 2022

Peace talks so far

  • The NATO-led by the U.S. feels that Russia’s recognition of this independence and the building of its army on the Ukrainian border is a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law.
    • However, Russia justifies its position as safeguarding its own as well as the security of ethnic Russians living in the regions.
  • Talks between Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) led to the Minsk Protocols of 2014 and 2015.
    • This Protocol proposed a ceasefire, decentralising power without recognising the autonomous Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, a pulling out of forces and heavy weaponry 15 kilometres from the Line of Contact.
    • However, violations of the ceasefire have led to the death of 14,000 people in the fighting between the Ukrainian army and Moscow-supported rebels.
  • Talks again between France, Germany, Ukraine with Russia, called the Normandy-Paris Process in 2019, have not seen success as Russians want a legal guarantee of security that the West refuses.

Read about Normandy format talks and Minsk Protocol

Consequences of Ukraine joining the NATO

  • NATO membership would give Ukraine the strength to regain the autonomous regions of Luhansk, Donbas and also Crimea and hold the ports in the Black Sea region.
  • NATO has expanded to include 13 former Central East European countries, all of which are well armed and where Russia poses the major threat.
    • NATO missiles in Ukraine could reach Moscow in about five minutes.
  • Through the 1990s after the Soviet collapse, a weakened Russia made repeated offers of collaboration, equal treatment and better relations. Russian leaders were promised that NATO would not expand eastwards. However many central east European states joined NATO.
    • The OSCE and Europe’s Paris Charter signed mutual cooperation for steps forward in peace and security with Russia in 1990.
    • Russia made several concessions from the 1990s to accommodate NATO positions including in Serbia.
  • The Russia-NATO Partnership for Peace of 1994 and the NATO-Russia Founding Act 1997 committed that NATO and Russian security would not be undermined.
    • The 1999 OSCE-Charter for European Security declared that the security of countries in Europe would not be undermined at the expense of the other.
  • Ukraine is the rimland and bridge between Russia and Europe, all the attacks on Russia, from Napoleon to Hitler, came through Ukraine.
    • Also, Russia’s route to Europe for transport and oil pipelines is through Ukraine.
  • Post the 9/11 attacks, Russia was supportive of U.S. concerns.
    • Now, as Russia has achieved strategic equality, the U.S. has rejected any written commitment for Russian security from NATO.

The U.S. has gained traction

  • The faceoff with Russia has provided the U.S. with several opportunities.
  • The dominant narrative is that Ukraine is a sovereign nation that has the right to join NATO.
  • Russia’s actions of sending an army as peacekeepers will lead to heavy sanctions that could hurt and isolate Russia.
  • Russia has provided the U.S. the opportunity to strengthen a weakening European alliance.
  • Although France and Germany have been taking independent actions, they have been forced to accept U.S. leadership, presence and control in Europe.
  • The Nord Stream pipeline that is ready to be used will suffer delays and this will affect Russia, Germany and Europe.

Conclusion

The Ukrainian crisis is multiple crises unfolding as one. The crisis signifies the importance of inclusive citizenship and accommodating ethnic minorities. The crises call for inclusive and common security.

Nut Graf
A war in Ukraine would be a disaster for Europe and the world as the Ukrainian standoff does not address any of the existential crises of the century like climate, ecological damage, pandemics, and sustainable development. Hence, along with de-escalation, a review of the security architecture and reality and narrative checks are also essential.

2. Turning to trade winds

Syllabus: Bilateral groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Mains: Significance of FTA with UAE and the need for the arrangements with other countries.

Context

India announced the signing of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Significance of the arrangement

  • The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner with bilateral trade in 2019-20 valued at $59 billion.
  • India’s exports accounted for about $29 billion in the pre-pandemic fiscal year ended March 2020.
  • The UAE supplied India with $10.9 billion worth of crude oil in the same period and considers India as its second-largest trading partner.
  • The two countries aim to leverage the free trade deal to lift bilateral merchandise trade to $100 billion over the next five years.
  • India has expected that a range of exports including textiles and jewellery are set to benefit from a zero-duty regime once the accord is formally operationalised.
  • The two-way investment flows and remittances (major source of foreign exchange earnings for India, given the large Indian workforce in the UAE) are expected to receive a boost.

The need for trade pact with other countries

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the public health and economic vulnerabilities of an interconnected world. As a result, countries tried to look for domestic productions to protect populations. Now there is an imminent need for countries to negotiate FTAs to boost trade and economic output.
  • Even as India sought to promote atmanirbharta or self-reliance, the pandemic disrupted the domestic consumption demand, bringing down the overall economic output.
  • Exports have recovered strongly, and the growth is better than the pre-pandemic levels.

Conclusion

With multiple FTAs in the pipeline, India has an opportunity to reset its trade ties with the international community that in turn will help boost India’s exports and economic growth.

Nut Graf
The Government’s renewed focus to negotiate bilateral free trade agreements is a welcome sign and suggests that India is interested in strengthening trade ties with individual partners rather than being tied into multilateral pacts that do not always address its key concerns.

Category: ECONOMY

1. The Budget lacks the ‘power’ to transform services

Syllabus: Infrastructure: Energy

Mains: The role and significance of reliable energy in delivering services such as health and education.

Context

The Budget 2022-23 has shown intent to prioritise investments in clean energy and sustainable development, in line with the country’s commitments at COP26.

Analysis of the allocations in the Budget 2022-23

  • The health sector saw a 16% increase in Budget allocations compared to 2021-22.
  • Medical and public health spending declined by 45%.
  • The education sector saw an increase of 11.86% in the allocations.
  • Despite the push for digital education, which includes the e-Vidya program, the 2021-22 year revised allocation saw a reduction of 35%.
  • The health and education sectors continue to share only about 2% each of total annual allocations.
  • While the health sector was allocated ₹74,602 crores in 2021-22, the Government exceeded its spending by over ₹5,000 crores more on health in 2022-23.
  • Greater allocation of funds is a welcome sign, but research on health and education policies shows that the objectives of providing better healthcare facilities get hampered due to the absence of electricity and power facilities.

The importance of reliable energy

  • It is accepted that the availability of reliable power supply can enhance the delivery of health and education services.
    • 74% of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals are connected with universal access to reliable power supply.
  • Currently, 44% of schools and 25% of India’s primary health centres remain unelectrified.
  • The lack of integration of electrification requirements in development sector policies are due to lack of information about electricity, poor coordination between the sectors and departments, and poor access to finances.
  • The number of hours that electricity is available without any fluctuations also plays a significant role in delivering services.
  • Even as electricity is considered, it is limited to being a one-time infrastructure activity rather than a continuous effort required for the daily operations of services.

Way forward

  • Multiple policies should be formulated that complement each other to achieve the larger sectoral objectives.
    • Example: in Assam, the Energy Vision document that lays out the electricity and development outcomes is to be applied in tandem with the Solar Energy Policy 2017.
  • To successfully integrate electricity provisioning and maintenance, the policy frameworks should include innovative coordination and financing mechanisms.
  • The mechanisms, while constituting mandates, should also include room for flexibility to respond to local contexts.
    • Flexibility can be placed in funds to provide local decision-makers with some freedom to tackle obstructions.
  • Providing reliable electricity for health and education centres should be the responsibility of centralised decision-making entities at the State or national level.
    • Individual facilities should not be imposed with the responsibility to meet the eligibility criteria for policies or programs.
  • In India, there are gaps between “critical supply departments” (electricity and water) and “demand-generating departments” (health and education).
    • These gaps can be plugged when coordination mandates are met with sustained finance to support human resources and common activities.

Nut Graf
Considering the fact that the provisioning of reliable electricity, in turn, improves the delivery of health and educational services, the electricity and development sectors need more integrated approaches to achieve the vision outlined in the Union Budget.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Operation MILAN

Syllabus: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Prelims: Facts about Milan exercise

Context

MILAN exercise to be held in Vizag in February, 2022.

MILAN Exercise

  • The warships of Quad countries, France, Myanmar, South Korea and Vietnam and several others will come together at Visakhapatnam for the largest multilateral exercise, MILAN, hosted by the Indian Navy.
  • Russia, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia are participating in the exercise without ships.
  • The exercise will see participation from around 42 countries. The U.S. will be participating in the exercise for the first time.
  • Theme of the MILAN 2022: “Camaraderie – Cohesion – Collaboration”
  • Aim of MILAN: To hone operational skills, imbibe best practices and procedures, and enable doctrinal learning in the maritime domain through professional interaction between friendly navies.
  • The exercise was first started in 1995, with the participation of Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

To know more about the MILAN Exercise

2. Cobra Warrior

Syllabus: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Prelims: Facts relating to Cobra Warrior exercise and LCA Tejas.

Context

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will deploy the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas for multilateral air exercise ‘Cobra Warrior’ at Waddington, U.K.

Cobra Warrior Exercise

  • The Cobra Warrior exercise is an apex event organised by the Royal Air Force of U.K.
  • The exercise is for training the pilots and others in planning and executing complex airborne missions.
  • Aim: providing operational exposure and sharing best practices amongst the participating Air Forces, thereby enhancing combat capability and forging bonds of friendship.
  • The latest edition will also see the participation of Air Forces of Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the U.S.
  • Five Tejas aircraft will fly to the U.K., to participate in the event.

Read about LCA Tejas

G. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Temples of Khajuraho:
  1. Khajuraho group of temples are linked to two religions- Hinduism and Buddhism
  2. The Temples of Khajuraho are a magnificent example of the Nagara style of temples
  3. It was built by the Chandela rulers

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, The Khajuraho temples are a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Statement 2 is correct, The Khajuraho Temples are an example of the Nagara style of architecture.
  • Statement 3 is correct, The temples were patronised by the Chandela Kings.
  • Read about – Temple architecture in India
Q2. Which of the following statements with respect to Exercise Cobra Warrior is/are correct?
  1. They are a series of international Air Force exercises between the Indian Air Force and the United States Air Force
  2. The exercise showcases efforts and commitment of the two nations to a free and open Indo-Pacific region

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, The Cobra Warrior exercise is an apex event organised by the Royal Air Force of the U.K.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, The exercise is for training the pilots and others in planning and executing complex airborne missions and further provides operational exposure and shares best practices amongst the participating Air Forces, thereby enhancing combat capability and forging bonds of friendship.
Q3. Golan Heights often seen in news is related to affairs surrounding which amongst the 
following regions?
  1. Scandinavia
  2. Middle East
  3. Baltic region
  4. Western Africa
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:unnamed 2

  • Golan Heights is a hilly area overlooking the upper Jordan River valley in the west.
  • Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967 and formally annexed the territory in 1981.
  • To read more about Golan Heights
Q4. With respect to International Space Station (ISS), which of the following statements 
is/are correct?
  1. The ISS was launched in 1998 as part of joint efforts by the U.S., Russia, China, Canada and Europe.
  2. It is the largest artificial object in space and the largest satellite in low Earth orbit

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, The ISS was launched in 1998 by five space agencies, namely, NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), European Space Agency (ESA-Europe), JAXA (Japan) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA-Canada).
    • China was not involved.
  • Statement 2 is correct, It is the largest artificial object in space and the largest satellite in low Earth orbit.
  • To read more about the International Space Station (ISS)
Q5. “R2 Code of Practices’’ constitute a tool available for promoting the adoption of
  1. Environmentally responsible practices in the electronics recycling industry
  2. Ecological management of ‘’Wetlands of International Importance” under the Ramsar Convention
  3. Sustainable practices in the cultivation of agricultural crops in degraded lands
  4. “Environmental Impact Assessment’’ in the exploitation of natural resources
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • R2 stands for Responsible Recycling and is a standard specifically created for the electronics recycling industry by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI). 
  • The standards were then accredited by ANAB, and in 2008, R2 was released.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Despite the promises of 24×7 power supply, the power sector has not been complemented with enough reforms in India. Evaluate. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Infrastructure]
  2. This decade has the potential to reinvigorate India’s trade relations with a series of trade agreements in the pipeline or at the advance stages of discussion. Discuss. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Economy]

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 24 Feb 2022:-Download PDF Here

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