21 Jan 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

21 Jan 2021 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY
1. In a thaw, Centre offers to put off farm reforms for 18 months
2. Supreme Court dismisses Aadhaar review petitions
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India sends vaccines to 2 countries
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Karnataka tops in innovation, shows index
2. DPIIT unveils compliance portal
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
GOVERNMENT POLICIES
1. True empowerment of the electricity consumer
HEALTH
1. Managing the rollout
WOMEN ISSUES
1. Removing the creases in housework valuation
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. SBI does deals using SOFR as benchmark
2. India is a bipartisan success story: Blinken
3. Biden to reverse Trump policies on Day 1
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Nothing here for today!!!

Category: POLITY

1. In a thaw, Centre offers to put off farm reforms for 18 months

Context:

The Union government has proposed to suspend the implementation of the three contentious farm reform laws for the next year-and-a-half while a committee is formed to look into their demands.

Note:

The Supreme Court recently stayed the implementation of three controversial farm laws and formed a four-member committee of experts to listen to the grievances of the farmers on the laws and the views of the government and make recommendations.

Read more on this topic covered in 13th January 2021 Comprehensive News Analysis.

2. Supreme Court dismisses Aadhaar review petitions

Context:

The Supreme Court, in a majority view, dismissed a series of petitions seeking a review of its 2018 judgment upholding the Lok Sabha Speaker’s certification of Aadhaar law as a Money Bill and its subsequent passage in Parliament.

Details:

  • Two questions had come up for review regarding the five-judge Aadhaar Bench’s judgment in 2018.
    1. Whether the Speaker’s decision to declare a proposed law as Money Bill was “final” and cannot be challenged in court.
    2. Whether the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 was correctly certified as a ‘Money Bill’ under Article 110 (1) of the Constitution.
  • On the first question, the majority judgment in 2018 said the Speaker’s decision could be challenged in court only under “certain circumstances”.
  • On the second, it concluded that the Aadhaar Act was rightly called a Money Bill.
  • Justice Chandrachud, who was on the Bench, had dissented on the second conclusion in 2018. In the latest development, he dissented with the majority, saying the Aadhaar review petitions should be kept pending.

Read more on this topic covered in 29th September 2018 Comprehensive News Analysis.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India sends vaccines to 2 countries

Context:

India began the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to six “neighbouring and key partner countries”. The delivery began with two special flights carrying the first consignments of Covishield to the Maldives and Bhutan.

This topic has been covered in 20th January 2021 Comprehensive News Analysis.

2. DPIIT unveils compliance portal

Context:

DPIIT has launched the Regulatory Compliance Portal.

This topic has been covered in 20th January 2021 PIB Summary and Analysis.

Category: WOMEN ISSUES

1. Removing the creases in housework valuation

Context:

  • The work women perform for the family should be valued equally with men’s work during the continuance of marriage.
  • There has been a revival of the debate on the recognition of domestic work as work and the need to appreciate and monetize their efforts.

Indian scenario

  • There is a prevalent glorification of women as goddesses but also a denial of equal rights to them, and the recent actions of the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the form of the Ordinances, even deny them the right to choose their spouses.
  • What is the history of recognition of work by wives as work in the West? What have the legislative initiatives and judicial responses been in this regard?

The burden on women

  • The 2011 Census reveal that, while 159.85 million women stated household work as their main occupation, a mere 5.79 men referred to it as their main occupation.
  • In a recent judgement in the Kirti and Another v. Oriental Insurance Company, there was a referral made to the data from the ‘Time Use in India-2019 Report’ of the National Statistical Office.
  • The data revealed that on an average, an Indian woman spends close to five hours a day on unpaid domestic services for household members and in comparison, the men spend just 97 minutes and upon this, the women spend a further 134 minutes in a day providing unpaid caregiving services for household members.
  • A Commission set up by the French government on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress in 2009, went through the data and case studies from Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Finland and the U.S. and drew similar conclusions.
  • The ‘Women’s Economic Contribution through their Unpaid Work: A Case Study of India’ (2009) had estimated the economic value of services by women to be to the tune of a whopping $612.8 billion annually.
  • Another startling observation is that household work by wives is not taken into consideration while determining national income.

Other judicial observations

  • The Supreme Court, while adjudicating certain cases regarding the compensation that has to be issued with regards to accidents to homemakers under the Motor Vehicles Act, said that the contribution of the housewives is invaluable but also observed that it cannot be measured in monetary terms.
  • The Supreme Court further added that her gratuitous services are rendered with true love and affection, and it cannot be put at par with any other services provided by others.
  • During the course of Arun Kumar Agrawal (2010), there was a reference to Census 2001 that was carried out under an Act of Parliament and had categorised those who perform household duties — i.e. about 36 crore women in India — as non-workers and clubbed them together with beggars, prostitutes and prisoners (who are not engaged in economically unproductive work).

A hierarchical structure

  • For centuries, the English common law of marital status was starkly hierarchical, without due recognition of a homemaker’s rights and claims.
  • Up until the year 1851, no country had recognised a wife’s right in earnings of any sort. If a housewife worked for pay in or out of the home, it was her husband’s right to collect her wages.
  • Astonishingly, a seventh-century Islamic law clearly instructs the husbands to pay wives for their child-bearing and child-rearing activities and even goes on to entitle them to spend certain portions of the husband’s money without his consent.
  • Gradually there were reforms on the horizon by the middle of the 19th century. Some American States started reforming the common law of marital status by enacting the “Married Women’s Property Acts”.
  • Some of these statutes exempted the wives’ real property from their husband’s debts. By 1850, the era of “earning statutes” started which granted wives property rights in earnings from their “separate” or “personal” labour.

Separate spheres

  • Historically, home and market for centuries are considered to be two distinct entities.
  • The demarcation of the market as a male sphere and home as a female sphere was done without any sound logic. What was worrying was the glorification of ‘domestication of women’, it was projected that by limiting the women to household chores, they were being protected from the struggles of the market sphere.
  • It was noted that the moral elevation of the home was accompanied by the economic devaluation of the work performed there, thus making women economically dependent.
  • The concept of “separate spheres” was a basis to reinforce the legal ordering of family life and justify a husband’s control of family assets.
  • Subsequently, women demanded a right to own themselves, their earnings, their genius. They finally tasted success when the equal rights of wives in the matrimonial property were recognised.
  • The Third National Women’s Liberation Conference, in England in 1972, for the first time, explicitly demanded payment of wages for the household work.

Indian experience

  • In India, the debate on joint property rights of married women is not new though we still do not have joint matrimonial property law.
  • A private member Bill in 1994 titled ‘The Married Women (Protection of Rights) Bill, 1994’, provided that a married woman shall be entitled to claim an equal share in the property of her husband from the date of her marriage and shall also be entitled to dispose of her share in the property by way of sale, gift, mortgage, will or in any other manner whatsoever.
  • But in 2010, even registration of the National Housewives Association as a trade union was denied as domestic work was treated as neither trade nor industry.

A step and suggestion

  • The United Progressive Alliance government, in 2012, put forth a proposal to make it an obligation on behalf of the husbands to pay a monthly ‘salary’ to their wives.
  • Veteran actor Kamal Haasan and his Makkal Needhi Maiam party recently promised salaries for housewives as a part of the party’s election manifesto.
  • Mr Haasan should understand that the term ‘salary’ as monthly payment would mean that there is an employer-employee relationship and this could lead to new problems.
  • An employer-employee relationship builds a new power dynamic in an already skewed relation, wives do not deserve a master-servant relationship.
  • The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, in 1991, had recommended measurement and quantification of unremunerated domestic activities of women and their recognition in GDP so that the de facto economic contribution of women is highlighted.
  • Matrimonial property laws do provide women with their share but only upon the marital relationship coming to an end.
  • The time has come to insist that the work women perform for the family should be valued equally with men’s work during the continuance of marriage.
  • A radical solution that could be looked at would be the prospects of a prenuptial marriage agreement, which can easily solve this problem with the insertion of the clause on wives’ right in husband’s earnings and properties being included in such agreements.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today

G. Tidbits

1. SBI does deals using SOFR as benchmark

What’s in News?

State Bank of India (SBI) has executed two inter-bank short term money market deals with pricing linked to SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate).

Secured Overnight Financing Rate
  • The Secured Overnight Financing Rate or SOFR is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by Treasury securities.
  • The SOFR is calculated directly from transaction data in the US Treasury repurchase market.

Details:

  • SOFR is a replacement for USD LIBOR that may be phased out by end-2021.
    • The US Dollar LIBOR interest rate is the average interbank interest rate at which a large number of banks on the London money market are prepared to lend one another unsecured funds denominated in US Dollars.
  • This follows the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority deciding not to compel banks on LIBOR calculation after December 2021.
  • The transaction shows SBI’s progress in aligning systems and processes to embrace alternate reference rates.

2. India is a bipartisan success story: Blinken

What’s in News?

Antony Blinken, Secretary of State-nominee of U.S. President Joseph Biden made it clear that strategic ties with India will remain strong, especially on the Indo-Pacific, with continuity in dealing with China’s aggressive actions.

  • He said that the cooperation with India was deepened during the Obama Administration particularly in the defence procurement area and also on information sharing.
  • However, India’s purchase of the S-400 missile system might become an area for a confrontation between New Delhi and Washington.
    • India is sending a military team to Moscow shortly for training on the S-400, making it clear that it is going ahead with the purchase, despite the possibility of U.S. sanctions over it.

Read more on CAATSA and its relevance to India.

3. Biden to reverse Trump policies on Day 1

What’s in News?

Democrat Joe Biden was sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States.

  • The U.S. President plans to kick off his new administration with orders to restore the U.S. to the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization.
  • Biden will sign 15 orders and actions just hours after being sworn in as the U.S. leader to break from the policies of departing President Donald Trump and set new paths on immigration, the environment, fighting COVID-19 and the economy.
  • Many of the actions will take government policies back to where they were on January 19, 2017 — the final day of the Barack Obama-Joe Biden administration, before Mr. Trump entered office.
  • The President has promised to root out systemic racism from the institutions.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to International Labour Organization:
  1. It was founded in 1919 under the League of Nations.
  2. The organisation has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
  3. Its annual flagship publication is called “The World Employment and Social Outlook”.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • International Labour Organization is a United Nations specialized agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards.
  • It was founded in 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the first and oldest specialised agency of the UN.
  • It has 187 member states and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • In 1969, the ILO received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving fraternity and peace among nations, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations.
  • Its annual flagship publication is called “The World Employment and Social Outlook”.   It is an annual report that summarizes the labour market performance around the world.
Q2. “Sanaa” recently in news is located in:
  1. Yemen
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Iran
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Sanaa is the largest city in Yemen and the centre of Sanaa Governorate.
  • The city is not part of the Governorate, but forms the separate administrative district of “Amanat Al-Asemah”.
  • Under the Yemeni constitution, Sanaa is the capital of the country, although the seat of the Yemeni government moved to Aden, the former capital of South Yemen in the aftermath of the Houthi occupation.
  • Aden was declared as the temporary capital by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in March 2015.
  • Aden, the temporary capital of Yemen, is near the eastern approach to the Red Sea.
Q3. Which of the following is correct with respect to Secured Overnight 
Financing Rate (SOFR)? 
  1. It is a benchmark interest rate for dollar-denominated derivatives and loans.
  2. SOFR is based on transactions in the Treasury repurchase market.
  3. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing the SOFR as part of an effort to replace LIBOR.

Choose the correct option:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) is a benchmark interest rate for dollar-denominated derivatives and loans.
  • It is based on transactions in the Treasury repurchase market. The daily secured overnight financing rate (SOFR) is based on transactions in the Treasury repurchase market, where investors offer banks overnight loans backed by their bond assets.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing the secured overnight financing rate (SOFR) in April 2018 as part of an effort to replace LIBOR, a long-standing benchmark rate used around the world.
  • It is a replacement for USD LIBOR that may be phased out by end-2021.
    • The US Dollar LIBOR interest rate is the average interbank interest rate at which a large number of banks on the London money market are prepared to lend one another unsecured funds denominated in US Dollars.
Q4. Which of the following are classified under the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal 
Groups (PVTG)?
  1. Toda
  2. Kattunayakan
  3. Onges
  4. Reangs

Choose the correct option:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Particularly vulnerable tribal group is a government of India classification created with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of certain communities with particularly low development indices.
  • Kattunayakan is a designated Scheduled Tribe in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They are classified as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Todas are classified as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in Tamil Nadu.
  • Reangs are the only Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group in Tripura.
  • Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese and Shom Pens are PVTGs in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The Sustainable Development Goal 7 calls for universal access to sustainable energy by 2030. Discuss the steps taken by India to achieve universal electrification. (150 words,10 marks).[GS-3, Energy]
  2. “Public confidence in the vaccines is crucial for a vaccination campaign to succeed.” In the light of the above statement, explain the vaccine hesitancy witnessed currently in the Covid-19 vaccination drive. (10 marks,150 words)[GS-2, Health]

Read the previous CNA here.

21 Jan 2021 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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