# 28 Feb 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Vietnam and India to discuss South China Sea
2. Maldives rejects invite for naval exercise
C. GS3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. NASA’s drone-like quadcopter may explore Titan
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. North Atlantic right whales may face extinction
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
HEALTH
1. Health outcomes index: nudging India to progress
ECONOMY
1. The changing politics of food price inflation
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

1. Vietnam and India to discuss South China Sea

• Vietnam will take up South China Sea-related issues during the March 2-4 visit by President Tran Dai Quang. Speaking to the media here on Tuesday, the Ambassador of Vietnam said that Hanoi wished to fully utilise the comprehensive strategic partnership with India and was likely to sign a civil nuclear agreement during the visit.
•  Beijing’s claims over most of the South China Sea is a major issue between the two countries, and Hanoi has been one of the more vocal countries in the 10-member ASEAN grouping to find a solution to China’s expansionist policy in the crucial water body. The Ambassador however assured that his country remained committed to maintaining cordial ties with Beijing.
•  Vietnam had not yet firmed up its position on the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative of China

The envoy acknowledged India’s support in capacity building by the Vietnamese naval forces and said that the Vietnamese army and the air force are in the process of considering some hardware purchase from India.

• The presidential visit will begin with a stopover at Bodhgaya where Mr. Tran will reach on March 2. The delegation will reach New Delhi later on the same day and both sides will hold official talks on March 3.

2. Maldives rejects invite for naval exercise

C. GS3 Related

1. NASA’s drone-like quadcopter may explore Titan

NASA is exploring a plan that could see a drone-like quadcopter buzz above the surface of Saturn’s largest moon Titan. The Dragonfly project would take advantage of Titan’s dense, calm atmosphere to fly from site to site as it measures and analyses the massive moon’s chemistry, geology, and potential for life. “There is something very ‘simple’ about having a little drone flying around Titan,” said Catherine Neish, professor at University of Western Ontario in Canada.

1. North Atlantic right whales may face extinction

The dwindling North Atlantic right whale population is on track to finish its breeding season without any new births, prompting experts to warn again that without human intervention, the species will face extinction.

Why decline?

1.  Last year saw a record number of deaths in the population. Threats to the whales include entanglement in lobster fishing ropes and an increasing struggle to find food in abnormally warm waters.
2. Whales becoming entangled are now far less able to break free. Some are killed outright, others cannot swim properly, causing them to starve or to lose so much blubber that females become infertile.
3. The whales migrate seasonally between New England and Florida, calving off Florida and Georgia from November to February. They primarily feed on phytoplankton. Scientists believe rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine, is drastically depleting that food source.

What is the impact?

1. The combination of rising mortality and declining fertility is now seen as potentially catastrophic. There are estimated to be as few as 430 North Atlantic right whales left in the world, including just 100 potential mothers.
2. Without action, North Atlantic right whales will be functionally extinct by 2040.
3. Several environmental groups demand greater protection for right whales.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

1. Health outcomes index: nudging India to progress

• “Healthy States, Progressive India” report has spurred a vibrant debate on the status and future of India’s health sector
• Through this report, the focus has been on the performance and annual progress of states and Union territories on a countless health indicator
• This index (Health outcomes index by the NITI Aayog) will help nudge states towards improving their health sector outcomes in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism
• Kerala is the leader among large states, closely followed by Punjab and Tamil Nadu
• Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar are the least-performing states
• The goal of the index is not just to rank the states based on their historical performance, but also on their incremental performance
• The attempt is to capture the change made during the course of the year
• For example, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh are ranked first, second and third in their incremental performance ranking
• The “Performance On Health Outcomes” index is made up of 24 indicators in three different domains—
1. health outcomes,
2. governance and information, and
3. key inputs and processes
• The “health outcomes” account for 70% of the weight, and the other two domains weighs 12% and 18%, respectively
• The “health outcomes” domain has indicators such as total fertility rate (TFR), neonatal mortality rate (NMR), sex-ratio at birth (SRB), etc.
• The governance and information domain measures the quality of data (data integrity indicator) and the average occupancy in important health-related posts such as principal secretary (health), chief medical officer, etc.
• Key inputs and processes measure the current status of healthcare professional vacancies, infrastructure at district hospitals, and the speed of financial governance in the states
• NITI Aayog is creating a framework to track the performance of government hospitals based on outcome metrics
• Together with the upgrading and setting up of health and wellness centres under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme and the National Health Protection Scheme these measures will help us realize the goal of “good health and well-being”( one of the UN-SDG) for all citizens

Results that emerge from the health index

• First, there are large gaps between states
• The gap between the best-performing states and the least-performing states is worrisome—Kerala and Uttar Pradesh are separated by 42.86 points
• Second, incremental performance reveals that there has been a decline in performance on some states
• Six states’ scores have declined—Kerala, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand
• Third, India has made significant strides in achieving the goals set out under the UN-SDG and our own National Health Policy
• Some of our states have already met or exceeded the goals a decade ahead of 2030

1. The changing politics of food price inflation

• In the 2018-19 Union budget, the government “decided to keep minimum support prices (MSP) for all unannounced crops of kharif at least at one-and-a-half times of their production cost”
• And rabi MSPs had already been adjusted pursuant to this formula
• This cost was later clarified as covering all input expenses incurred by farmers as well as the imputed value of unpaid family labour (A2+FL)
• The government has also launched medium-term initiatives, such as the E-National Agriculture Market, to meet its objective of doubling farmers’ real incomes
• An MSP at least 1.5 times the production cost sounds large, but it is not
• Consider this: Over the last four years, most rabi MSPs were already more than 1.5 times the production cost
• When it comes to kharif, the MSPs over the last four years were lower: 1.41 times for paddy, 1.36 times for maize and more than 1.5 times the cost for only a few pulses. So this kharif MSP increase is material
• The worry is that this MSP news comes during what is referred to as an agricultural “cobweb cycle”,
• As the sharp drop in food prices in the first half of 2017 has already resulted in a lower supply (by farmers) of crops with lower prices
• There will also be an inflationary impact, as the MSP increases are being announced in conjunction with complementary trade policies
• Higher MSPs make a prima facie case for higher inflation, as they form a floor for food prices and rising food inflation can feed into inflation expectations and higher wages
• There will be a fiscal impact too, although it should be relatively benign
• The food subsidy bill is set to rise
• Other fiscal costs depend on how the government ensures farmers benefit from MSPs
• It could be either via a price deficiency payment scheme similar to Madhya Pradesh’s Mukhyamantri Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojna
• Or it could take the form of a market assurance scheme under which states procure crops when prices fall below MSPs, creating an effective floor for all crops
• But both these schemes have their own drawbacks

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:
1. MILAN is a congregation of littoral navies.
2. It is conducted annually by the Navy under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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

See

Question 2. Consider the following statements:
1. Dragonfly Project of NASA will explore the satellite of Jupiter.
2. Titan is the only satellite of Saturn.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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

See

Question 3. Consider the following statements about Fragile Five:
1. It is a term coined to represent emerging market economies that have become too dependent on unreliable foreign investment.
2. The members of the Fragile Five include: China, Brazil, India.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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

See

Question 4. Consider the following statements:
1. The Madhya Pradesh Assembly unanimously passed a Bill awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below.
2. Madhya Pradesh becomes the first State where those convicted of such rapes will face the gallows.

Which of the above statements are correct?

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

See

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis