UPSC Exam: Comprehensive News Analysis – January 23

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. EC pulled up for backing simultaneous polls
GOVERNANCE
1. Changes in Indian Passport
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. India pushes for concluding balanced RCEP deal that includes services pact
2. India improves global talent competitiveness ranking to 81st
3. Modi arrives in Davos for annual WEF
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. IMF raises global growth forecast, sees U.S. tax boost
2. Budget 2018-19: To cut graft, govt plans to take tax assessment beyond state borders
3. World Gold Council mulls standard for gold kilobars
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

1. EC pulled up for backing simultaneous polls

In news:

  • The Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice discussed electoral reforms
  • Lawmakers questioned the Election Commission about its recent statements endorsing simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies, saying it does not have the mandate to decide the issue

Constitutional Amendment required for the simultaneous election process:

  • Constitution needs to be amended in order to facilitate simultaneous elections
  • A constitutional amendment would have to be cleared by both Houses of Parliament
  • It would have to be ratified by the Assemblies of half of the States
  • The other way was for all Assemblies and the Union government to agree to the plan voluntarily
Basic Information:

Standing Committee:

  • In the Indian Parliament, a Standing committee is a committee consisting of Members of Parliament
  • It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business
  • Both Houses of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha have similar Committee structures with a few exceptions
  • These standing committees are elected or appointed every year, or periodically by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, or as a result of consultation between them
  • Important committees are the Committee on Estimates, the Committee on Public Accounts, the Committee on Public Undertakings and DRSCs
  • These committees play an important role in exercising a check over governmental expenditure and Policy formulation

 Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Changes in Indian Passport

What are the changes?

  • The government announced that citizens whose passports carry the stamp ‘Emigration Check Required’ (ECR) will hold orange passports, while those who don’t require emigration checks will carry dark blue passports.
  • Over the past few years, certain sections of women, and children with single parents have made a strong case against the name of the spouse/father being mentioned in the passport.
  • In response, the Ministry of External Affairs has decided that it will no longer be printing the name of the spouse/father/legal guardian on the last page of passports.
  • The last page will be left blank. While the government’s decision addresses the concerns raised by these women and children, it will have devastating consequences for others.

Who are ECR passport holders?

  • ECR passport-holders are those who, among other things, have not passed their matriculation examination or are not income tax payees.
  • Data from the Protectorate General of Emigrants shows that a majority are likely to belong to a minority or marginalised community from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Why a separate passport for them?

  • To prevent the exploitation of such unskilled workers when they are employed in certain parts of the world, an ECR stamp is made on their passports.
  • Now that the last page is going to be left blank, the government, in an apparent attempt to improve efficiency at airports, has decided that it will issue an orange passport for them.

What is the issue with Orange passports?

  • By failing to use technology-led solutions to identify ECR passport-holders quickly, and issuing orange passports only to poor and marginalised migrant workers, the administration is creating a situation where some citizens will proudly carry the dark blue document while others will carry one that is an evidence of the failure of the state to provide education and income opportunities to all.
  • While it is no one’s case that the government intended to create a citizenship document that will visibly identify some as members of economically and socially marginalised or minority communities, unfortunately, that’s how it will play out.
  • For, every time the orange passport will be used at airports around the world, it will indicate that Indians have reneged on a core promise laid out in the Preamble of the Constitution — to secure to all its citizens equality of status and of opportunity — but will also separate and stigmatise a set of citizens for their poverty.

 Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. India pushes for concluding balanced RCEP deal that includes services pact

In news:

  • India has insisted on concluding a “balanced and collectively satisfactory” Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement
  • India wants a services pact to be included in the agreement

Act East policy:

  • India has invited leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries to New Delhi for a commemorative summit on 25 January to mark 25 years of dialogue partnership
  • On 26 January, all 10 ASEAN leaders will be chief guests at India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations
  • This is unprecedented as India usually invites the head of government of a single country as the Republic Day chief guest each year

Service pact in RCEP:

  • Services are becoming a dominant driver of growth in both developed and developing countries
  • Services contribute almost two-thirds of India’s GDP
  • Surplus in services trade finances almost half of India’s trade deficit
  • India is pushing for greater liberalization in services sectors for easier movement of its professionals to RCEP member countries

ASEAN-India services and investment agreement

  • Eight out of ten countries have already ratified the ASEAN-India services and investment agreement. It came into force in July 2015

2.India improves global talent competitiveness ranking to 81st

Key Fact:

  • India has moved up on a global index of talent competitiveness to the 81st position
  • India has improved its position from 92nd last year
  • India was at the 89th place in 2016 on the index
Basic Information:

Global index of talent competitiveness:

  • The index measures how countries grow, attract and retain talent
  • It is released every year on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting
  • The study was released by Adecco, Insead and Tata Communications this year

3. Modi arrives in Davos for annual WEF

In news:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to attend World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meet where he would share his vision for India’s future engagements with the international community.
  • Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to attend the summit in two decades, would deliver the opening plenary address at the summit.
Basic Information:

World Economic Forum:

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland. Recognized by the Swiss authorities as an international body
  • Its mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.
  • The Forum is best known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland.
  • The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, economists, and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.
  • The organization also convenes some six to eight regional meetings each year in locations across Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, and holds two further annual meetings in China and the United Arab Emirates. Beside meetings, the foundation produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector-specific initiatives

C. GS3 Related

 Category: ECONOMY

1. IMF raises global growth forecast, sees U.S. tax boost

IMF forecast on World economic growth:

  • The International Monetary Fund revised up its forecast for world economic growth in 2018 and 2019.
  • Sweeping U.S. tax cuts were likely to boost investment in the world’s largest economy and help its main trading partners.
  • U.S. growth would likely start weakening after 2022 as temporary spending incentives brought about by the tax cuts began to expire.
  • The IMF forecast global growth to accelerate to 3.9% for both 2018 and 2019, a 0.2 percentage point increase from its last update.

2. Budget 2018-19: To cut graft, govt plans to take tax assessment beyond state borders

In news:

  • The government is focusing on minimising human interaction in the direct tax
  • This will be done by faceless and jurisdiction-free assessment, and online feedback
  • It is likely to be announced in the upcoming Budget for 2018-19

Modus operandi:

  • A jurisdiction-free assessment implies that a taxpayer in Delhi, for instance, could be assessed by a tax officer randomly selected by the online system of the tax department and located in any other part of the country
  • The entire process may not be nameless but would enable a more technology-driven interaction between the tax department and the taxpayer, with the assessment not being restricted to one officer
  • Such an assessment is aimed at minimising the scope for corruption and discretion by the tax officers. This will, in turn, reduce the harassment for the taxpayers

Changes needed:

  • The government needs to amend the Income-Tax Act to facilitate a common jurisdiction region for all taxpayers
  • Suggestions from the field officers have been incorporated in the draft Finance Bill, 2018, by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)

Transparency:

  • Functional specialization is expected to be a key feature of the new system
  • One tax official will not handle all stages of assessment
  • Also, one tax official won’t have complete power over a taxpayer of his/her jurisdiction
  • The roles of tax officials are likely to be split into different functions of assessment, verification, tax demand, recovery, and orders

3. World Gold Council mulls standard for gold kilobars

In news:

  • The World Gold Council (WGC) is studying the creation of a global standard for gold kilobars so they can be deployed as collateral in futures markets and potentially encourages demand.
  • Reason: Kilobars —1 kg gold bars — dominate Asian trade but a lack of transparency about their origin and the absence of a global standard hinders their use on exchanges elsewhere.
  • Clearing houses, some of which allow bullion to be used as collateral on futures markets, might accept such bars if they all met a set of internationally recognised criteria.
Basic Information:

World Gold Council:

  • The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. It works across all parts of the industry, from gold mining to investment, and their aim is to stimulate and sustain demand for gold.
  • They frequently publish research that demonstrates gold’s strength as a preserver of wealth – both for investors and countries.
  • They also provide analysis of the industry, offering insights into the drivers of gold demand.
  • The World Gold Council is an association whose members comprise the world’s leading gold mining companies. It helps to support its members to mine in a responsible way and developed the Conflict-Free Gold Standard

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements with reference to Standing Committee.
  1. It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business
  2. These committees play an important role in exercising a check over governmental expenditure and Policy formulation
  3. These standing committees are elected or appointed every year by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Identify the correct statement/s from the codes given below:

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

See

Answer

 

Question 2. Consider the following statements with reference to global index of talent
competitiveness.
  1. Currently India stands at 81st position
  2. It is released every year on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting
  3. The index measures how countries grow, attract and retain talent

Identify the correct statement/s from the codes given below:

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

See

Answer

 

Question 3. The discretionary powers of the President of India include
  1. Sending back the advice given by the Council of Ministers and asking them to reconsider a decision that has already been made
  2. Delaying assent to Bills passed by the Parliament by use of pocket veto
  3. Dissolving the Lok Sabha when the government has lost confidence of the house

Select the correct answer using the codes below:

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

See

Answer

 

Question 4. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved two new World Bank 
supported schemes - Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion 
(SANKALP) and Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE). Consider the 
following with reference to them.
  1. Both the schemes are being funded by World bank loan assistance apart from Central Government assistance.
  2. The schemes mark a shift in government’s implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None

See

Answer

 

Question 5. The business proceedings of the Parliament are conducted as mentioned in the
  1. Provisional rules under the constitution
  2. Conventions as followed by political parties in India
  3. Procedures prescribed in the rule books of the Parliament
  4. Rules of Business of the Government of India as decided by the Cabinet Secretariat

See

Answer

 

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II
  1. Discuss the role of Standing Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people.

  2. Simultaneous elections may be logistical advantageous but raise concerns on sanctity of democratic processes. Comment.

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

“Proper Current Affairs preparation is the key to success in the UPSC- Civil Services Examination. We have now launched a comprehensive ‘Current Affairs Webinar’. Limited seats available. Click here to Know More.”

 

Enroll for India’s Largest All-India Test Series

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *