23 Jan 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 23 Jan 2022:-

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India’s reliance on Chinese goods surged in 2021
C. GS 3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Adding radioactive substances in wearables unjustified
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1. Is suspension of MLAs up for judicial review?
SECURITY
1. What can cause an aircraft to fly into terrain?
F. Prelims Facts
1. Kerala gets its first ever scientific bird atlas
2. Two species of fungi associated with basal stem rot found
G. Tidbits
1. Mahatma’s favourite hymn out of Beating Retreat list
2. Taliban delegation heads for Oslo talks
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


E. Editorials

1. Is suspension of MLAs up for judicial review?

Syllabus: State Legislature – Structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers and privileges and issues arising out of these.
Mains: Necessity to determine the purview of judicial review

Context: The suspension of legislators by the Maharashtra assembly has invited a series of arguments on its validity and this matter is pending in the court.

Overview of the Issue:

• The legislative assembly of Maharashtra has suspended 12 legislators on the grounds of disorderly conduct for a period of one year.
• There has been a deluge of questions pertaining to the long period of suspension and its validity.
• The Supreme Court is hearing the matter and has reserved its judgment on the same.

Thorough scrutiny by Supreme Court: Questioning the suspension

• A bench comprising Justice A.M Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice C.T Ravikumar, questioned the rationale behind the suspension of the legislators beyond an ongoing session.
• According to Article 190 (4) of the constitution, the House may declare the seat of a member vacant who is absent for 60 days without permission. This raises the question of whether any suspension could cross this 60-day limit.
• The provisions of Representation of the People Act 1951, mentions that any vacancy in the house must be filled within six months of its occurrence through a by-election.
• This encouraged the bench to analyze whether a constituency can continue as unrepresented for the whole year due to the suspension of its representatives.
• The bench expressed deep concerns regarding the ongoing event as it determines the unlimited power of suspension that can be misused against a political party that has a slender majority in the house.

State Governments’ take: Supporting the Suspension

• The Counsel for the State Government has conveyed a clear message in support of the unlimited power of the legislature to punish any of its members for breach of privilege during its proceedings.
• Once the power of the legislature to suspend the members is recognised, there can be no judicial review of the manner in which it was exercised.
• According to the rules of the house, the Speaker can direct a member to withdraw from the assembly for misconduct even for the remainder of the session. This decision is taken after passing a resolution in the house having the agreement of the majority.
• The counsel put forth the argument that during suspension, members continue to hold office, losing their voice in the legislature.

Ways to resolve the ongoing issue:

• Judiciary has enough scope to examine the entire issue and ascertain the rationale behind the tenure of suspension of the legislators in an unbiased manner and uphold the supremacy of the constitution.
• Judicial creativity, in most instances, has successfully broadened the scope of constitutional provisions for the larger good of the public in matters that are not clearly defined. This will ensure to prevent the threat surrounding the vibrant nature of our democracy from arbitrary decisions of the executive.
• As judicial review is a part of the Basic Structure doctrine, there are hopes that the ongoing issue in Maharashtra will reach a solution with an unbiased intervention by the Supreme Court.
• However, all anticipations regarding the constitutional validity of the suspension of the legislators for a period of one year await for the final verdict of the court or a consensus that might take place between the state government and the judicial bench which might be a cumbersome task due to several complexities.
• On the other hand, there is a question regarding the extent to which judicial review can operate in this matter.

Read more about the State legislature in the linked article

Nut Graf
To bring an end to the complex situation emerging out of the suspension of the legislators, Judicial review can possibly be employed to keep a check on the arbitrary actions of the executive.

1. What can cause an aircraft to fly into terrain?

Syllabus: Various Security Forces and their agencies and their mandate

Mains: Measures required to reduce the number of aircraft accidents.

Context: The Indian Air Force took an attempt to carry out preliminary findings through an inquiry into the Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash that led to the unprecedented demise of CDS (Chief of Defense Staff) Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 13 other personnel.

Established Finding by the Indian air Force:

• It has been reported that unexpected change in the weather conditions resulted in the spatial disorientation of the aircraft’s pilot that led to the Controlled Flight into the Terrain (CFIT).

What is meant by CFIT?

• A Controlled Flight into the Terrain is defined as an accident in which the aircraft collides with terrain, water or any obstacle during the course of a flight. During such a condition, the pilot is unable to identify the loss of control.
• This definition has been put forth by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which determines the global standards for airline safety and security
• IATA mentions that a CFIT event is triggered by various possible factors such as environmental conditions, bad weather conditions and sometimes there are possibilities of flight crew errors.
• A study revealed that the approach-cum-landing phase of an aircraft accounted for two-thirds of all CFIT and contributed to 62% of fatal CFIT incidents.
• In the accident analysis report of IATA, it was estimated that 6% of 837 commercial aviation accidents were caused by CFIT incidents during 2008-17.
• Therefore, CFIT is considered as the second most frequent category of fatal accidents with 42 fatal accidents which is 28% of total fatal accidents found in aircrafts.

Suggested ways to avoid such accidents:

• Experts recommend that the way forward to avoid future aircraft accidents lies in the usage of a combination of technology and appropriate and adequate pilot training.
• The installation of Ground Proximity Warning System in the aircrafts will generate early signals that can alert the flight crew to take preventive measures against the onset of CFIT.
• Effective training of pilots to develop a situational awareness and carry out the right intervention must be emphasized in pilot training.

Nut Graf
For the prevention of aircraft accidents, there is a dire need for better technology incorporation along with proper training of pilots.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Kerala gets its first ever scientific bird atlas

Context

The first-of-its-kind State-level bird atlas in India, has been created with The Kerala Bird Atlas (KBA).

Details

• KBA is said to be Asia’s largest bird atlas in terms of geographical extent.
• KBA has been conducted as a citizen science-driven exercise with the participation of over 1,000 volunteers of the birdwatching community.
• KBA has created strong benchmark information about the distribution and abundance of bird species across all major habitats, giving momentum to futuristic studies.
• The KBA accounts for nearly three lakh records of 361 species, that includes,
• 94 very rare species
• 103 rare species
• 110 common species
• 44 very common species
• 10 most abundant species
• The KBA is considered to be a valuable resource for testing various ecological hypotheses and suggesting science-backed conservation measures.

Key Findings

• It was found that the species count was higher during the dry season than in the wet season.
• The species richness and evenness were higher in the northern and central districts than in the southern districts.
• Most of the endemics were concentrated in the Western Ghats while the threatened species were mostly along the coast.

2. Two species of fungi associated with basal stem rot found

Context

Researchers from Kerala have identified two new species of fungi from the genus Ganoderma that are associated with coconut stem rot disease.

Details

• Researchers have found two new species of fungi and have genotyped and identified genetic biomarkers for the two fungi species.
• The two Fungi species have been named Ganoderma Keralense and Ganoderma Pseudoapplanatum.

Butt rot or Basal stem rot of Coconut

Image Source: The Hindu

• The basal stem rot of coconut is known by several names in different parts of India:
• Ganoderma wilt in Andhra Pradesh
• Anaberoga in Karnataka
• Thanjavur wilt in Tamil Nadu
• The infection begins at the roots; the symptoms include discolouration and rotting of stems and leaves.
• A reddish-brown secretion is seen and this secretion is reported only in India.
• Once infected, recovery of the plants is highly unlikely.
• In the final stages, the flowering decreases and the coconut palm dies.

G. Tidbits

1. Mahatma’s favourite hymn out of Beating Retreat list

Context

The traditional Christian hymn “Abide with me”, believed to have been a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi, has been dropped from the list of tunes for the Beating Retreat ceremony in 2022.

Beating Retreat ceremony

• Beating Retreat is an old military tradition, dating back to the days when troops disengaged from the battle at sunset.
• As soon as the buglers sounded the ‘retreat’, troops ceased fighting and withdrew from the battlefield.
• Beating Retreat is performed every year on the evening of January 29 at Vijay Chowk in the national capital.
• Beating Retreat marks the end of the Republic Day celebrations.
• “Abide with me” was played by “Massed Bands” every year; instead, three other songs would be played in the 2022 celebrations.
• The three tunes to be played by “Massed Bands” in 2022 are “Kadam kadam badhaye ja”, “Drummers call”, and “Ae mere watan ke logon”.
• The national song Vande Mataram was played for the first time in 2020.

2. Taliban delegation heads for Oslo talks

Context

Afghan regime to meet Western officials in Oslo (Norway) to discuss human rights and humanitarian aid.

Details

• This is the Taliban’s first official meeting with the West since seizing power in Afghanistan will focus on transforming the atmosphere of war after a 20-year insurgency against NATO forces.
• The Taliban stormed back to power in August 2021 as NATO troops began their withdrawal from the country.
• No country has yet recognised the Taliban’s government.

Crisis in Afghanistan

• The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has worsened since the Taliban’s takeover.
• International aid has halted and the U.S. has frozen \$9.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets held overseas.
• The Taliban are faced with economic hardship since countries around the world stopped foreign aid, which financed around 80% of the Afghan budget.
• Millions of Afghans have been out of work since the Taliban takeover.
• A harsh winter, severe drought and the coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated conditions for Afghans.
• Hunger threatens 23 million Afghans or 55% of its population.
• The Taliban have also imposed many constraints on women, from restricting their travel without being accompanied by a male relative to effectively prohibiting girls from higher education.

Agenda of the Oslo Meeting

• Formation of a representative political system in Afghanistan.
• Respond to the urgent humanitarian and economic crises.
• Address the issues of security and human rights.

Conclusion

Though the talks do not intend to recognize the Taliban, the focus will be on finding solutions to address the current political situation in Afghanistan that could lead to a humanitarian disaster.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Chakmas:
1. Chakmas are predominantly Buddhists
2. They are found in Northeast India, Bangladesh, and Nepal
3. Chakma language is part of the Indo-Aryan language family

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Explanation:

• Statement 1 is correct, Chakmas are predominantly Buddhists in faith.
• Statement 2 is not correct, They are found in northeast India, West Bengal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
• Chakmas were originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of former East Pakistan (Bangladesh); they fled when their land was submerged by the Kaptai dam project on the Karnaphuli River in the 1960s.
• Statement 3 is correct, Chakma language is part of the Indo-Aryan language family of the Indian subcontinent, and is closely related to the Bengali language.
Q2. Which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. The national tiger count takes place every four years to estimate the total number of tigers in India.
2. Karnataka had the highest number of tigers in the 2018 tiger census.

Options:

1. a) 1 only
2. b) 2 only
3. c) Both
4. d) None

Explanation:

• Statement 1 is correct, The national tiger count takes place once every four years to estimate the total number of tigers in India.
• Statement 2 is not correct, Madhya Pradesh with 526 Tigers had the highest number of tigers followed by Karnataka with 524 Tigers and Uttrakhand with 442 Tigers Population according to the 2018 tiger census.
Q3. Consider the following Pairs:

Tiger Reserve              State

1. Mudumalai          Tamil Nadu
3. Panna            Arunachal Pradesh

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

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

Explanation:

Read more about Important Tiger Reserves in India

Q4. Basal stem rot (Thanjavur Wilt) is a disease which affects
1. Cotton
2. Coconut
3. Tobacco
4. Wheat

Explanation:

Butt rot or Basal stem rot disease of Coconut

• The basal stem rot of coconut is known by several names in different parts of India:
• Ganoderma wilt in Andhra Pradesh
• Anaberoga in Karnataka
• Thanjavur wilt in Tamil Nadu
• The infection begins at the roots; the symptoms include discolouration and rotting of stems and leaves.
• Researchers from Kerala have identified two new species of fungi from the genus Ganoderma that are associated with coconut stem rot disease.
• A reddish-brown secretion is seen and this secretion is reported only in India.
• Once infected, recovery of the plants is highly unlikely.
• In the final stages, the flowering decreases and the coconut palm dies.
Q5. With reference to the history of ancient India, Bhavabhutti, Hastimalla and Kshemeshwara
were famous (UPSC CSE 2021)
1. Jain monks
2. Playwrights
3. temple architects
4. philosophers

Explanation:

• Bhavbhuti was the court poet of Maukhari king Yashovarma (Kannauj) who ruled around 730 AD.
• The works attributed to poet Bhavbhuti are Mahaviracharita, Malatimadhava and Uttararamacharita
• Hastimalla was a 13th century Kannada poet and a playwright in the Hoysala Empire.
• His works include Purvapurana, Vikrantakaurava, Subhadra-Maithilikalyana and Anjana-Pavananjaya
• Kshemeshvara was an 11th-century Sanskrit poet from Kashmir.
• Dasavatar Charita is his important work.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

1. Critically examine the power of the legislative assembly to suspend MLA’s and the issues that have cropped up in recent cases. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-2, Polity]
2. Discuss the concerns surrounding the usage of radioactive substances in wearable devices and gadgets. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Science & Technology]

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 23 Jan 2022:-