UPSC 2017: Comprehensive News Analysis – January 06

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Supreme Court refers plea on validity of adultery law to constitution bench
2. Celebs face up to 3-yr ban for misleading ads in new bill
3. T.N. tops GER in higher education
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Disabled and Public Facilities
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AND BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. US suspends over $1.1 bn security assistance to Pakistan
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Rural BPO scheme: women form 40% of added headcount
2. GDP growth seen slowing to 4-year low of 6.5% in 2017-18
3. Credit Enhancement Fund to be launched by March: Finance Ministry
AGRICULTURE
1. Come July, label mandatory for food certified as ‘organic’
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND ECOLOGY
1. No marked change in health of Delhiites post cracker ban
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

 

A. GS1 Related

 Nothing here for today!!!

 

B. GS2 Related

 Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Supreme Court refers plea on validity of adultery law to constitution bench

 In news:

  • The Supreme Court referred to a constitution bench plea challenging the constitutional validity of the law governing adultery which only criminalizes a man.
  • Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code: deals with the offence of adultery and imposes culpability on the person who has sexual intercourse with a woman who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man (husband).
  • Adultery is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.
  • The woman, or wife, is exempted from the purview of this section.

2. Celebs face up to 3-yr ban for misleading ads in new bill

 In news:

Provisions included in The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018:

  • Celebrities endorsing misleading ads will have to pay penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh and serve a ban of up to three years.
  • One of the major objectives of the bill is to crack down on misleading advertisements.
  • The bill seeks to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).

Powers given to CCPA:

  • If the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) is satisfied that an advertisement is false or misleading, it may issue directions to endorsers, advertiser, publisher as well traders and manufacturers to discontinue or modify such an ad.
  • The CCPA will have the powers to impose penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh on endorsers and manufacturers. For subsequent violation, the penalty will be of up to Rs 50 lakh.
  • The authority will also have the power to ban endorser of false or misleading ads from making endorsement of any product or service for a period of one year, while subsequent violation will attract a ban of up to three years.

3. T.N. tops GER in higher education

 The All India Survey on Higher Education report (2106-2017):
  • Tamil Nadu has emerged as the leader in the country in terms of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education.
  • Tamil Nadu State leads with a GER of 46.9%.
  • Among Union Territories, Chandigarh recorded 56.1%.
  • Tamil Nadu has also done very well in terms of male and female GER figures, as also the GER figures for the Scheduled Castes.
  • Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Odisha posted low GERs of 14.4%, 17.2%, 18.5% and 21% respectively
  • Uttar Pradesh fared marginally better at 24.9%, close to the national average.

GER for higher education:

  • GER for higher education is calculated with reference to the age group 18-23.
  • It is the total enrolment in higher education, irrespective of age, expressed as a percentage to the eligible official population (18-23 years) in a given school year.

Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Disabled and Public Facilities

 

  • The Supreme Court has struck a blow for the rights of the disabled, with a direction to the Central and State governments to provide full access to public facilities, such as buildings and transport, within stipulated deadlines.
  • People with a disability form 2.21% of India’s population according to the 2011 Census. They have had a law for two decades to enable their full participation in society, but successive governments have done little to realise those guarantees.

Supreme Court Guidelines:

  • All government buildings should be made accessible by June 2019;
  • Half of all government buildings in the capital cities should meet accessibility norms by December this year;
  • Railways should present a report in three months from December 15 on implementing station facilities;
  • 10% of government public transport must be fully accessible by March 2018;
  • Advisory boards should be formed by the States and Union Territories in three months.
  • The court’s directions should be welcomed by the government and service providers as an opportunity to steer policy and practice towards a universal and humane system.
  • For too long, planners and designers have built infrastructure for use only by able-bodied individuals, ignoring the aspirations of those with disabilities, and the letter of the law.

New Technologies

  • A transformation requires governments to also harness the power of newer technologies.
  • Geo-location is one, and it enables targeted provision of services. It is eminently feasible, for instance, to aggregate the travel requirements of disabled people with the help of information technology and smartphones, and provide affordable shared transport using accessible vehicles.
  • Given the emphasis on smart cities and upgraded urban facilities, such schemes should be given the highest priority and start-up ideas roped in.
  • Railway stations and access to train carriages continue to pose hurdles for not just the disabled, but even elderly travellers.
  • The Railways should embark on an urgent programme to retrofit all stations, and try simple solutions such as portable step ladders to help board and exit trains, since level boarding is not possible in most places.
  • Cost is not the barrier to improving facilities; what is in short supply is the political will to change the design of public facilities and stick to professional codes.
  • The Supreme Court said in a 1998 order on a petition seeking air travel concession, that while cost was a consideration, the true spirit and purpose of the law could not be ignored.
  • Today India, which is richer than it was then, and has passed a new law in 2016 to strengthen the rights of the disabled, should demonstrate the will to implement it.

Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AND BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. US suspends over $1.1 bn security assistance to Pakistan

 In news:

  • The United States has suspended more than $1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan.
  • Reason: Islamabad has harboured terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network within its border and has not shown any interest to take “decisive actions” against them.
  • In addition, the Department of Defense has suspended the entire $900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) money to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017.

Civilian assistance programmes untouched:

  • U.S. civilian assistance programmes in Pakistan are not included in the suspension and exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis, if they are determined to be critical to national security interests.

India’s response: U.S. move against Pakistan ‘welcome first step’

  • India had issued statements welcoming the U.S.’s South Asia strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August, and its new National Security Strategy issued in December, both of which called on Pakistan to take action against terror safe havens that target U.S. troops in Afghanistan, or face consequences.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Rural BPO scheme: women form 40% of added headcount

 In news:

  • The government’s India BPO promotion scheme under the Digital India Programme, which aims to popularise the industry beyond metros, has so far provided employment to almost 11,000 people across the country, of which 40% are women.
  • Under the scheme, there are special incentives for employing women and differently-abled persons, and generating employment beyond target ‘66% of target.

2. GDP growth seen slowing to 4-year low of 6.5% in 2017-18

 In news:

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) forecast:

  • The first advance estimates of national income for 2017-18.
  • The GDP growth in the current financial year ending March 31 will slow to a four-year low of 6.5%.
  • Reason: deceleration in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA) was also projected to expand by 6.1% in 2017-18, slowing from 6.6% in the preceding fiscal year.
  • The GVA growth rate for ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’ is expected to slow sharply to 2.1%, compared with the previous year’s 4.9% pace.
  • Manufacturing sector growth has been forecast at 4.6% in 2017-18, compared with the 7.9% expansion provisionally estimated for 2016-17.
  • CSO estimates project private final consumption expenditure, a proxy for household spending, growing by 6.3% in 2017-18, down from 8.7% in the previous year
  • Gross fixed capital formation — a key investment metric — is expected to accelerate to 4.5%, from 2.4% in 2016-17.

Base effect in agriculture

  • It is a base effect in agriculture because last year saw a very high growth rate as it followed two years of drought
  • The Base effect relates to inflation in the corresponding period of the previous year
  • If the inflation rate was too low in the corresponding period of the previous year, even a smaller rise in the Price Index will arithmetically give a high rate of inflation now

GDP growth will become more robust in 2018-19

  • The optimism is due to the momentum seen in the core sector growth, PMI indices and developed world economies
  • The manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) has been showing an uptick in manufacturing and now has a reading at a five-year high of 54
  • Further wearing off of the demonetization related residual effects as well as progressively stabilizing the transitionary effects of GST is likely to support the higher growth rate estimates
Basic Information:

Gross value added (GVA):

  • Gross value added (GVA) is the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy.
  • Relationship to gross domestic product
    • GVA is linked as a measurement to gross domestic product (gdp), as both are measures of output. The relationship is defined as:
    • GVA + taxes on products – subsidies on products = GDP

Gross fixed capital formation:

  • Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) refers to the net increase in physical assets (investment minus disposals) within the measurement period.
  • It does not account for the consumption (depreciation) of fixed capital, and also does not include land purchases.
  • It is a component of expenditure approach to calculating GDP.

3. Credit Enhancement Fund to be launched by March: Finance Ministry

 Key points:

  • The Credit Enhancement Fund, announced by the Finance Minister in the last Budget, is expected to be operational by the end of this fiscal
  • The India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL) anchored fund will help raise credit rating of bonds floated by infrastructure companies and facilitate investments from long-term investors
  • The government has been thinking about credit enhancement to ease the flow of institutional credit to infrastructure projects
  • Raising the credit rating of these companies would help easier access to institutional financing
  • In the 2016-17 Budget speech, FM had proposed that the LIC will set up a dedicated fund to provide credit enhancement to infrastructure projects
  • LIC could not anchor the proposed company because of regulatory issues

Category: AGRICULTURE

1. Come July, label mandatory for food certified as ‘organic’

 In news:

New regulations issued by The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):

  • Food companies selling organic produce to get certified with one of the two authorities —
    1. National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) or
    2. The Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India)
  • Companies could also get a voluntary logo from the FSSAI that marked its produce as ‘organic.’

 

 

Current practice:

  • Organic farming certification had been done through a process of third party certification under the NPOP.
  • It was run by the Ministry of Commerce and was used for certifying general exports.
  • Nearly 24 agencies were authorised by the NPOP to verify farms, storages and processing units and successful ones got a special ‘India Organic’ logo.

Peer-review approach:

  • The PGS-India programme, involves a peer-review approach. Here, farmers played a role in certifying whether the farms in their vicinity adhered to organic-cultivation practices. This programme was implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through the National Centre of Organic Farming.

Category: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND ECOLOGY

1. No marked change in health of Delhiites post cracker ban

 Context:

  • The Supreme Court had banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi NCR during Deepavali.
  • A report submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board in the Supreme Court failed to spot any unusual variations in respiratory illnesses or a significant dip in public health before and after Deepavali.

Highlights of the report:

  • The respiratory system-related symptoms and signs were not much different pre and post Dussehra and Diwali.
  • The report said increased values of barium and strontium were found in the urine samples of many subjects. These are metals used in firecracker manufacturing.
  • Air quality worsened during Diwali and symptoms of eye, increased coughing, relatively more hospital visits, increased noise levels and high metal level in urine do reflect adverse impact of firecracker bursting.
  • Pollutants down: The Board found that presence of pollutants in the air was considerably lower in 2017 than during Diwali 2016.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

Adjournment sine die: Adjournment sine die (from the Latin “without day”) means “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing”. To adjourn an assembly sine die is to adjourn it for an indefinite period. A legislative body adjourns sine die when it adjourns without appointing a day on which to appear or assemble again.

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Identify the correct relationship
  1. GDP= GVA + taxes on products – subsidies on products
  2. GDP= GVA – taxes on products + subsidies on products
  3. GDP= GVA – taxes on products – subsidies on products
  4. None of the above

See

Answer

 

Question 2. Consider the following statements:
  1. National Programme for Organic Production is implemented by Ministry of Agriculture.
  2. The Participatory Guarantee System for India is implemented by Ministry of Commerce.
  3. The Participatory Guarantee System for India involves a peer-review approach.

Identify the correct statements from the codes below

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 3 only

See

Answer

 

Question 3. As per the latest “All India Survey on Higher Education report”, which state has been 
ranked the first in terms of GER for higher education?
  1. Tamil Nadu
  2. Andhra Pradesh
  3. Kerala
  4. Karnataka

See

Answer

 

Question 4. Consider the following statements with reference to the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018
which was in news recently
  1. As per the bill, Celebrities endorsing misleading ads will have to pay penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh and serve a ban of up to three years.
  2. One of the major objective of the bill is to crack down on misleading advertisements.
  3. The bill seeks to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).

Identify the correct statements from the codes below

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

See

Answer

 

Question 5. With reference to “flammable ice”, recently seen in news, consider the following 
statements:
  1. It consists of methane trapped within water crystals.
  2. It is another name for permafrost.
  3. All of its reserves are trapped in plateaus at higher latitudes.
  4. India is considering it as an alternative energy source.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. 1, 3 and 4 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 4 only
  4. 2 only

See

Answer

 

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper I
  1. “Criminal law is supposed to be neutral. But, Section 497 is prejudiced against males and imposes an excessive penalty”. Discuss.
GS Paper II
  1. Critically analyze the recently proposed amendments to strengthen the Consumer Protection Act.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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