27 Feb 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
HEALTH ISSUES
1. Free sanitary napkins for schoolgirls in Odisha
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Trump administration faces setback on DACA
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. KYC compliance needed only for reloading e-wallets
2. Bank of Baroda’s role in South Africa’s Gupta scandal
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Jupiter’s moon Europa may host life
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1. The power of persuasion
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. Free sanitary napkins for schoolgirls in Odisha

The Naveen Patnaik government launched “Khushi”, a scheme to provide free sanitary napkins to schoolgirls across Odisha.

Under the scheme, the State will provide free sanitary napkins to 17 lakh girls in government and government-aided schools from Class VI to XII.

Women empowerment

In addition to this, the government will also expand social marketing of sanitary napkins for women and girls in the community at subsidised rates.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Trump administration faces setback on DACA

Why in news?

  • The Donald Trump administration on Monday faced a setback when the Supreme Court refused to take up its appeal against lower court rulings that stopped it from discontinuing a Barack Obama-era measure that protected residents who entered the country illegally as children from deportation.
  • The administration had set March 5 as the deadline to end the programme, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Nearly eight lakh people have availed of this protection, nearly 8,000 of them of Indian origin.
  • The administration argued that Mr. Obama exceeded his powers under the Constitution.
  • The programme was designed as an interim relief for a section of the 11 million undocumented residents in the U.S., even as the debate on a comprehensive immigration reform to address their status remained caught in a political logjam for years.
  • Efforts by U.S. lawmakers to move forward with a legislative solution have failed yet again, in recent weeks.
  • Two lower courts blocked the government from ending the DACA programme on March 5. The administration sought to bypass the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California and wanted the Supreme Court to hear an appeal. The SC refused to hear the case, before the appeals court heard it.

Uncertainty continues

  • The uncertainty over the fate of DACA beneficiaries does not end with this, and the SC has not commented on the merit of the administration’s decision.
  • Trump has added several preconditions to sign a law dealing with DACA beneficiaries. He wants severe curtailment of legal immigration to the country, financing for a border wall, and ending the diversity lottery programme that is a unique feature of the American immigration system.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. KYC compliance needed only for reloading e-wallets

 

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that customers can use their electronic wallets, which are not compliant with know your customer (KYC) guidelines, for payments to merchants after February 28, even as it clarified that reloading the wallet with more funds would need a fully KYC-compliant account.
  • In October, RBI had directed all mobile-wallet operators, to make all accounts fully KYC-compliant by December 31, 2017.
  • The deadline was later extended to February 28. Sufficient time has already been given to meet the prescribed guidelines.
  • In the event of PPI issuers not obtaining KYC related inputs from customers within the timeline, customers will not lose their money. They can continue to undertake transactions for purchase of goods and services as hitherto to the extent of available balance in the PPI. Reloading of the PPI and remittances can resume after completing the KYC requirement.

Licences to 55 wallets

  • RBI has issued licences to 55 non-bank mobile wallets while another 50 banks have their own wallets.
  • According to RBI, requirement of full KYC for PPIs is a step towards interoperability. The (PPI) guidelines are designed to strengthen safety and security of transactions and customer protection
  • A necessary step to pave the way for interoperability between PPIs, bank accounts and cards in a phased manner.
  • The regulator is expected to issue guidelines on interoperability shortly. In the first phase, wallets will be made interoperable; in the second, wallets and bank accounts would be interoperable; in the final stage, wallets and cards will become interoperable.
  • Since many wallet accounts are not fully KYC complaint, banks often do not allow users to transfer funds from their accounts to wallets.

2. Bank of Baroda’s role in South Africa’s Gupta scandal

  • Senior Bank of Baroda (BoB) officials suppressed numerous alerts filed by junior officials at the Johannesburg branch about transactions in accounts controlled by the Gupta brothers of the Sahara group, whose financial dealings resulted in the resignation of South African President Jacob Zuma.
  • These alerts or suspicious activity reports (SARs) were voided by BoB managers and thereby never reached the South African Financial Intelligence Centre.

Corporate maze

  • Over 17,000 transactions of the BoB’s South African operations since January 2012, as well as internal communications, show that the bank continued to allow the Gupta brothers to operate a web of accounts to create a complex corporate maze even as the political scandal about their influence on Mr. Zuma was playing out.
  • This continued even after other banks terminated their dealings with the brothers in 2016. Their accounts received payments from state-run enterprises against bills that are under scrutiny, moved large sums of money abroad and shifted equally large sums between accounts of a clutch of shell companies.
  • President Zuma’s fourth wife Bongi Ngema Zuma, who was gifted a house by the Guptas, was on the payrolls of a Gupta firm for a staggering $12,300 monthly salary, making her one of the higher paid private sector executives in the country.
  • The South African government’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) told a local court on February 23 that much of the money that the Guptas received in the BoB accounts was illegal.
  • Senior government officials have confirmed that the BoB has sought the Central Vigilance Commission’s nod for initiating major penalty proceedings against two of its officials, including the former CEO of South African operations. However, no criminal investigation is under way yet, they say. BoB has decided to shut down its South African operations in the wake of the scandal.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Jupiter’s moon Europa may host life

 

  • Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may host life in an ocean of liquid water hidden under its 10 kilometre-deep ice crust, scientists say.
  • Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in Brazil conducted a theoretical research to evaluate microbial habitability of Europa using data collected from similar environments on the Earth.
  • In the Mponeng gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa, at a depth of 2.8 km, researchers not only found traces of major changes linked to history of life on Earth, but also a terrestrial context similar to Europa.
  • It was recently discovered that the bacterium Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator survives inside the mine without sunlight by means of water radiolysis, the dissociation of water molecules by ionising radiation.
  • Jupiter’s powerful gravitational attraction causes the Europa’s orbit to be extremely elliptical, meaning the latter finds itself either to close or too far from the gas giant.
  • This makes the icy moon suffer geometrical deformation as it moves at the mercy of Jupiter’s immense tidal force. The energy released by the alternating states of elongation and relaxation makes Europa’s subsurface capable of hosting an ocean of liquid water.
  • Researchers evaluated how chemical imbalance in Europa could be initiated through the emanation of water leading to chain reactions between water and chemical elements found in Europa’s crust. However, a total lack of empirical data prevents scientists from unequivocally presuming any of these events.
  • Celestial bodies in the solar system with rocky cores share the same radioactive materials, ejected in space by the Supernova explosion that originated the Sun and the planets.
  • Uranium, thorium and potassium are the radioactive elements considered by the research, which estimated the concentrations for these materials in Europa, based on the quantities already observed and measured on Earth, in meteorites and in Mars.
  • According to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, pyrite is a crucial ingredient whose presence is indispensable for life in Europa.
  • The ocean bed on Europa appears to offer very similar conditions to those that existed on primitive Earth during its first billion years.
  • So studying Europa today is to some extent like looking back at our own planet in the past.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY

1. The power of persuasion

 

  • It is a good tool to develop scientific temper and fight superstition
  • The Indian Constitution lists the duty of each citizen “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform” (Article 51A).
  • Jawaharlal Nehru was the first to use the expression “scientific temper”, which he described with his usual lucidity in The Discovery of India.
  • And yet, decades later, superstitious practices mushroom in India, including among the highly educated.
  • Similarly, China suppressed superstition and occult practices during Mao Zedong’s rule.
  • But after the economic reforms and relative openness that began in the late 1970s, superstition reportedly made a comeback, with even top party officials consulting soothsayers on their fortunes.
  • In India, the rationalist movements of Periyar and others have barely made a dent.
  • On the positive side, internationally, increasing numbers of people live happily without need for superstition.
  • The most appalling beliefs and rituals have largely been eradicated the world over such as blood-letting in medicine to human sacrifice, and in India, practices such as sati.
  • This is due to the efforts put in by social reform campaigners, education and empowerment (of women in particular).
  • Yet, surviving superstitions can be dangerous too, for example when they contradict medical advice.

Why is it so hard to remove superstitions?

  • Fundamentally, a belief may be difficult to shake off simply because of deep-seated habituation.
  • Finally, the hypnotist announced that Feynman would not go straight back to his chair but would walk all around the room first.
  • Perhaps we are all hypnotised by our previous experiences, and superstition, in particular, is a form of deep-seated hypnosis that is very hard to undo.
  • Such beliefs are strengthened by a confirmation bias (giving importance to facts that agree with our preconceptions and ignoring others) and other logical holes.
  • Recent research even shows how seeing the same evidence can simultaneously strengthen oppositely-held beliefs (a phenomenon called Bayesian belief polarisation).

Disagreement in science

  • Dogmatism about science can be unjustified too. All scientific theories have limitations.
  • Newton’s theories of mechanics and gravitation were superseded by Einstein’s. Einstein’s theory of gravity has no known limitations at the cosmological scale, but is incompatible with quantum mechanics.
  • The evolution of species (Darwinism) is an empirical fact: the fossil record attests it, and we can also observe it in action in fast-breeding species.
  • Today’s version is a combination of Darwin’s original ideas, Mendelian genetics and population biology, with much empirical validation and no known failures. But it does have gaps.
  • For example, epigenetic inheritance is not well understood and remains an active area of research.

How then does one eradicate superstition?

  • Awareness campaigns against dangerous superstitions along with better education and scientific outreach may have some impact but will be a slow process.
  • The topic of “persuasion” is popular in the psychology, social science and marketing communities.
  • Pascal, whom Nehru cited on reason, wrote on persuasion too. He observed that the first step is to see the matter from the other person’s point of view and acknowledge the validity of their perception, and then bring in its limitations.
  • “People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.”
  • Such a strategy may be more successful than the aggressive campaigns of rationalists such as Richard Dawkins.
  • Nevertheless, “harmless” superstitions are likely to remain with humanity forever.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:
  1. Uranium, thorium and potassium are the radioactive elements.

  2. Jupiter’s powerful gravitational attraction causes the Europa’s orbit to be extremely elliptical.

  3. Europa is the natural satellite of Jupiter.

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 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):
  1. A measure that protected residents who entered the country illegally as children from deportation.

  2. It is an initiative of Donald Trump.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 3. Nyokum Festival is celebrated in:

 

  1. Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Sikkim
  3. Assam
  4. Manipur

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements:
  1. Nyishi tribes are the largest ethnic group in Arunachal Pradesh.

  2. The Nyishi are agriculturalists who practice jhum.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2 
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 5. Consider the following statements:
  1. Pre-paid Payment Instruments (PPIs) are defined in the RBI Guidelines.

  2. They are payment instruments that facilitate purchase of goods and services, including funds transfer, against the value stored on such instruments.

  3. There is no interest earned on the money saved in it.

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

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

General Studies II

 
  1. Discuss the border disputes in the Northeast region. What should the govt and civil society do to overcome this issue?

General Studies IV

  1. Cultural Ethos and values are different from Religious Commandments, it helps in building Unity. Explain with suitable examples.

 

 
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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