UPSC Exam: Comprehensive News Analysis – January 26

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. A case for Active Euthanasia in India
2. NCTE (Amendment) Bill, 2017 
3. Padma Awards
4. Mahadayi river row
5. ‘Padmaavat’ Controversy- SC to Hear Plea

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. India-ASEAN ties
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Government Process Re-engineering (GPR) initiatives 
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND ECOLOGY
1.  
Red Sanders/Red Sandalwood /Saunders Wood 

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. A case for Active Euthanasia in India

In news
 

What does the law say?

  • Article 21 of the Constitution gives the right to life. The right to life includes the right to live with dignity.
  • Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes punishment for attempting suicide.

The case of Lavates

  • Narayan Lavate (88) and Iravati Lavate (78) from Maharashtra say that they do not wish to be a burden on society in their old age.
  • They don’t have children and their siblings are no more, they say. They argue that spending the country’s scarce resources on keeping them alive, the old and ailing alive, is a criminal waste.
  • The couple sees the aversion to euthanasia in India as a sign of the country’s cultural backwardness. They see  no point in living only because a legal system demands it.
  • At the same time, they are averse to the idea of committing suicide, which is an offence in India.
  • What if something goes wrong, they wonder. The Lavates are fit.
  • They worry for themselves and other old couples like them who want to die.
  • But no one is ready to pay attention to their request. After writing letters to various Chief Ministers, legal experts like Ram Jethmalani, and Members of Parliament, all of which did not yield results, they have now written to President Ram Nath Kovind, hoping for a favourable response to their plea of mercy death or physician-assisted suicide.
  • But it is highly unlikely that the state will listen to their request. We are still not comfortable with the concept of euthanasia.

What does the Judiciary say?

  • The path-breaking judgment in Aruna Shanbaug v. Union of India (2011) brought the issue of euthanasia into the public domain.
  • But unlike the Lavates, Aruna was in a permanently vegetative state since the brutal sexual attack on her in 1973 by a ward boy in Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital where she worked as a staff nurse.
  • The 2011 judgment helped to push the debate to the extent of permitting passive euthanasia for terminally ill patients under the strict supervision of the High Court, in consultation with a team of doctors treating the terminally ill patient.

What is Passive and Active euthanaisa?

  • Passive euthanasia means withdrawing life support to induce death in a natural way.
  • In contrast, active euthanasia means injecting legal drugs to induce death. This is not permitted in India and so the Lavates’ request is unlikely to be heeded.

Should we allow living wills?

  • But their letter to the President has opened up a new debate in this area. So far, the debate has been confined only to people who are terminally ill.
  • Countries like Canada have given legal recognition to the concept of a living will, where people lay down directives in advance on how they should be treated if they end up in a vegetative state.
  • Now an important question before the courts is whether the law should allow living wills.
  • The Supreme Court is likely to take a decision on living wills in 2018, even as a draft Bill on withdrawal of life support to patients with terminal illness is under consideration.

 

2. NCTE (Amendment) Bill, 2017

In news

Why an Amendment?

  • Education is a fundamental right for those aged between six and 14 years, but there has hardly been a coordinated effort to better the lot of teachers who teach these children.
  • For years, certain institutions which impart teacher training courses have failed to get the necessary recognition from the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
  • The future of those who graduate from such institutions, which are funded by the Central/ State government or Union Territory administration concerned, has been in jeopardy.
  • The NCTE (Amendment) Bill, 2017 focuses on teachers who have the Damocles sword hanging over their heads.

What are the provisions of the amendment?

  • The Amendment Bill, pending in Parliament, endeavours to make those studying in such institutions, or those who have graduated from such institutions, eligible for teachers’ jobs.
  • The Bill was tabled by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • It seeks to amend the provisions of the NCTE Act, 1993, which was enacted to provide for the establishment of a NCTE.
  • Section 14 of the 1993 Act provides that every institution offering a teacher education course has to obtain recognition from the Regional Committee.
  • Section 15 says that any recognised institution that intends to start any new course or training in teacher education has to obtain permission from the Regional Committee concerned.
  • However, certain institutions failed to obtain recognition and permission from the Council, though they continued to admit students for teacher education and training courses.
  • The Bill introduces a one-time measure to grant retrospective recognition or permission to such institutions or courses, as the case may be, by suitably amending Sections 14 and 15 of the 1993 Act.
  • The amendments include granting retrospective recognition to institutions funded by the Central or State government or the Union Territory administration, and as may be notified by the Central government, which offered teacher education courses on or after the appointed day till the academic year 2017-2018.
  • It proposes to amend Section 15 to grant retrospective permission to the new course or training in teacher education offered by the institutions, as may be notified by the Central government, on or after the appointed day till the academic year 2017-18.

3. Padma Awards

In news
 

The government has once again conferred the coveted Padma awards on a cross-section of “unsung” achievers who have contributed to diverse fields such as social welfare, arts, traditional medicine and healing, and even recycling of waste, all while keeping well away from the spotlight. The President has approved the award of 85 Padma awards.

 

Some “Unsung” Heroes

  • Lakshmikutty, a tribal woman from Kerala, who prepares 500 herbal medicines from memory and has helped several people bitten by snakes and insects, is among the awardees. The only tribal woman from her area to attend school way back in the 1950s, Ms. Lakshmikutty teaches at the Kerala Folklore Academy and lives in a hut in a tribal settlement in a forest.
  • Arvind Gupta, an IIT Kanpur alumnus who inspired generations of students to learn science from trash, has also been honoured. Mr. Gupta has visited 3,000 schools in four decades, made 6,200 short films on toy-making in 18 languages.

Background

  • ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is given for ‘exceptional and distinguished service’,
  • ‘Padma Bhushan’ for ‘distinguished service of a high order’
  • ‘Padma Shri’ for ‘distinguished service’ in any field of activity.

Nomination for the award is open to all. It is the practice to invite nominations of the award every year from all State/UT governments, Central Ministries/Departments, Institutes of Excellence and Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees. Besides nominations from institutional sources, a large number of recommendations are also received from various sources like Governors, Chief Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, private institutions/bodies and individuals etc. Even self-sponsored nominations are also received.

All these nominations are compiled in the form of self-speaking citations and placed before the Awards Committee for its consideration. The Padma Awards Committee is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The Committee scrutinizes all nominations/recommendations placed before it and makes its recommendations for approval of the competent authority.

The basis of selection is the body of work of the individual in any given field and a view is taken in respect of each nomination by the Padma Awards Committee. No Padma award is conferred except on the recommendation of the Padma Awards Committee.

A due diligence exercise, including verification by premier investigating intelligence agencies of the Government are undertaken in respect of persons shortlisted by the Padma Awards Committee before finalization and announcement of the names on the occasion of Republic Day.

 

4. Mahadayi river row

In news

Normal life was disrupted in different parts of Karnataka due to a state-wide bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits demanding the prime minister’s intervention in the inter-state Mahadayi River water row with neighbouring Goa.

 

Background

  • The Mahadayi water-sharing dispute has the states of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka vying for water from the Mahadayi River.
  • The project was proposed by Bommai committee
  • About 75% of work is in non-forest area has been completed.

 

River Mahadayi

  • Mahadayi, the west-flowing inter-state river in the Western Ghats, takes birth in Degaon village, belgaum  district.
  • The river travels 35 km in Karnataka; 82 km in Goa before joining the Arabian Sea.
  • The River Mahadayi is called Mandovi in Goa.

 

What is Kalasa-Banduri Nala project?

  • The Kalasa-Banduri Nala is a project undertaken by the Government of Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the Districts of Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag.
  • It involves building across Kalasa and Banduri, two tributaries of the Mahadayi river to divert 7.56 TMC of water to the Malaprabha river, which supplies the drinking water needs of the said 3 districts, i.e., Dharwad, Belagavi and Gadag.
  • It is canal project undertaken by Karnataka to divert water from the Mahadayi river to the Malaprabha

 

Dispute

  • Kalasa-Banduri project planned in 1989; Goa raised objection to it.
  • Goa filed a complaint seeking setting up of a tribunal in July 2002.
  • The Ministry of Water Resources kept the clearance given to Karnataka in abeyance in September 2002.
  • Goa moved the Supreme Court in 2006 seeking constitution of a tribunal, withdrawing approval for any work in the basin.
  • Mahadayi (Mandovi) is a water deficit basin and water diversion could impact the environment.
  • The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up on 22.11.2010.

 

Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) Interim Order

    • The tribunal, headed by J.N. Panchal, after hearing Karnataka and Goa and gives interim order on 28 July 2016
    • Rejected Karnataka’s plea for diversion of 7 tmcft of water from the river to the Malaprabha basin.
    • Considerations in the Tribunal’s order
      • The ecological damage that the project may cause since the Mahadayi water is a key component in maintaining the ecological balance in a wildlife reserve on the Goa side
      • Karnataka hadn’t shown what would be the downstream effects at 3 km and 5 km of lifting the river and so “relief couldn’t be granted.”
      • Given the enormous amount of water being transferred, the tribunal reasoned, there would be huge submersible pumps and specialised equipment that would be required.
      • The tribunal said it “didn’t have confidence” that Karnataka would rely on temporary structures and equipment — as it has claimed — to effect this transfer of water into the Malaprabha basin
      • Karnataka government had also not obtained environmental and wildlife clearances to execute the project.
      • Karnataka’s contention that 108.72 tmcft of water is available at 75 per cent dependability in the Mahadayi basin wasn’t cogent.
  • Karnataka has relied on the data from the Central Water Commission that is seriously contested by Goa.
  • The tribunal’s interim order signals a halt to Karnataka’s Kalasa-Banduri Nala project which is intended to utilise water from the Mahadayi river for drinking purposes in Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag.

5. ‘Padmaavat’ Controversy- SC to Hear Plea

In news

‘Padmaavat’ Controversy- SC to Hear Plea

Why was the Petition Filed?

  • The petitions said the violence and the lack of efforts on the part of the State authorities to neither prevent nor control them amounted to contempt of the apex court’s January 18 order that the State is obliged to protect the fundamental right of free speech and creative rights.
  • The petitions, described the destruction caused to public property, theatre premises and how suspected members of the Karni Sena pelted stones at a bus carrying schoolchildren in Gurgaon.

 

How had the States Reacted to this controversy?

  • Gujarat and Rajasthan had issued notifications on January 5 and 17, respectively, prohibiting the screening of Padmaavat.
  • Haryana had, in principle, agreed to a ban on its exhibition.
  • Madhya Pradesh had made statements that they intend to ban the screening of the movie in theatres.

 

SC Verdict

  • On January 18, the apex court lifted orders issued by some northern States prohibiting the exhibition of Padmaavat in theatres. It ordered that no State across the country should pass such prohibitory orders against the screening of the movie.
  • The court subsequently refused the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments’ applications to recall its order, saying a mob cannot take to the streets to choke free speech. The court said that if the States capitulated to mobs now, they would make a “virtue out of creating trouble”.
  • Chief Justice Misra had said a film may bomb at the box office or people may choose to not watch it, but the State cannot use its machinery to prohibit ia film’s exhibition citing risk to public order.

 

Background

Padmavati

  • The legend of Padmavati first appeared in a piece of poetry called ‘Padmavat’ dating back to the sixteenth century.
  • Written in Avadhi language by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi, ‘Padmavati’ was a tale of love, heroism and sacrifice, dotted all along with fantastical elements giving it a larger than life imagery.

 

Details

  • The poem narrates that a princess of unparalleled beauty called Padmini lived in the kingdom of Simhaladvipa, now Sri Lanka.
  • Enamoured by her beauty, King Ratansen of Chittor was engulfed with the passion to acquire her and overcame a large number of adventurous obstacles to make her his queen.
  • Back in the kingdom of Chittor, Ratansen banished a sorcerer, who travelled to Delhi and told its ruler Alauddin Khalji of Padmini’s beauty.
  • The Khalji ruler marched to Chittor and vanquished Ratansen. But he did not manage to win Padmini as she along with other Rajput women committed Jauhar by consigning themselves to the flames.

 

How do the Rajput’s view?

  • Padmavati’s story is sacrosanct among the Rajputs who consider her the ideal wife and woman and within her is vested their legacy of bravery and virtue.
  • Further, this narrative of their past is something that has been learned through oral transmission from one generation to another and local folk tales that have given it a sacred legitimacy.

Ever since the protests against Bhansali’s film broke out, an issue of constant debate is to what extent the legend of Padmavati historically authentic and to what extent is she a product of fiction.

 

SC

  • As the Supreme Court observed in S. Rangarajan vs. Jagjivan Ram, a mere threat to public order cannot be a ground to suppress freedom of expression.

 

What needs to be done?

  • The incident has bought to light the growing sense of pride in one’s culture and history. This is the moment to be proud off. But what needs to be looked into is the fact that Public emotions should not overrule Laws which are established for social harmony.
  • In the name of Freedom of expression there should not be a twist in the plot as certain characters are revered by people at large and this draws to conclusion that Article 19(1) (a) is not absolute but has reasonable restrictions. we need to ensure that films do not spread ideas that sow the seeds of treason or divisiveness among people
  • At the same time mob frenzy cannot become a tool to serve justice violating freedom of expression and to practice profession of will. This is a dangerous trend and cannot be permitted if we value the core principles of democracy.
    • Not forget that there is no provision for banning a film in the certification rules.
  • So this needs political will and administrative acumen to prevent such issues from reoccurring and CBFC needs to set a benchmark in addressing sentiments as well as freewill.

 Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India-ASEAN ties

In news
 

Freedom of Navigation

  • Security and freedom of navigation will be in the heart of India-ASEAN cooperation in the twenty-first century
  • The leaders agreed on establishing a joint mechanism to ensure safety and freedom of navigation in the maritime domain.
  • The statement on the maritime mechanism is significant as it is the first time that India has taken up forming of a special maritime mechanism with all the ASEAN heads of states at a single summit.
  • Maritime security and freedom of navigation featured prominently in the ‘Delhi Declaration’
  • The declaration indicated at common concern regarding the South China Sea and reaffirmed the “importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, and other lawful uses of the seas and unimpeded lawful maritime commerce.”
  • The maritime domain has been in the centre of India’s Act East diplomacy which aims to firm up India’s position in the ASEAN and Asia Pacific region.

 

Delhi Declaration of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit:

25th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations under the theme of “Shared Values, Common Destiny”

  • REAFFIRMING our commitment to guide ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations by the principles, purposes, shared values and norms enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations
  • NOTING the cross-cultural exchanges and civilisational linkages between Southeast Asia and India over several millennia as a strong foundation for cooperation
  • RECOGNISING with appreciation the achievements made over the past 25 years of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations across the three ASEAN Community pillars, namely political-security, economic and socio-cultural;
  • NOTING with satisfaction the progress in the implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity
  • APPRECIATING India’s support for ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture and its continued contribution to regional peace, security, and prosperity and to ASEAN integration and the ASEAN Community building process

 

In a significant development, India and 10 ASEAN countries for the first time mentioned “cross-border movement of terrorists” and made a commitment to counter the challenge through “close cooperation”. They not only agreed on a comprehensive approach to counter “foreign terrorist fighters”, but also supported efforts to target terrorist groups and sanctuaries. The Delhi declaration issued said the leaders reiterated their commitment to “promote comprehensive approach to combat terrorism through close cooperation by disrupting and countering terrorists, terrorist groups and networks, including by countering cross- border movement of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters and misuse of Internet, including social media, by terror entities; strengthen cooperation to stop terrorism financing efforts, and prevent recruitment of members of terrorist groups; support efforts in targeting terrorist groups and sanctuaries; and take further urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, while stressing that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever.”

 

C. GS3 Related

 Category:ECONOMY

1. Government Process Re-engineering (GPR) initiatives

In news

Government Process Re-engineering (GPR) initiatives

On the occasion of the 69th Republic Day, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is launching the Government Process Re-engineering (GPR) initiatives for making the Incorporation Process Speedy, Smooth, Simple and reducing the number of procedures involved for starting a new Business.

  • Introduction of “RUN – Reserve Unique Name” Web service for name reservation
  • Zero fee for incorporation of all companies with authorized capital upto Rs. 10 lakh.
  • Re-engineering the process of allotment of DIN by allotting it through the combined SPICe form only at the time of an individual’s appointment as Director (in case he/she doesn’t have a DIN).

 

Some Initiatives in Past

  • Ministry had undertaken major initiatives such as establishing the “Central Registration Centre (CRC)” for delivering speedy incorporation related services and near real time issuance of PAN & TAN through a single on-line process.
  • Simplified Proforma for Incorporating Company Electronically (SPICe) delivers five services by two different Ministries through a single form filed on the MCA21 Portal.

It is expected that the above initiatives will significantly enhance the “Ease of Doing Business –Starting a Business” in the Country and benefit a large number of Stakeholders.

 

 Category:ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Red Sanders/Red Sandalwood /Saunders Wood

In news
 

Red Sanders/Red Sandalwood /Saunders Wood

  • Found in southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India.
  • This tree is valued for the rich red color of its wood. The wood is not aromatic.
  • The tree is not to be confused with the aromatic Santalum sandalwood trees that grow natively in South India.
  • Red sandalwood has been used for making the bridge and also the neck of the Japanese musical instrument Shamisen and in furnitures in China for its porch appearance.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

 

ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APASTI)

The APASTI 2016-2025 Implementation Plan (AIP) was adopted by the ASEAN Ministers for Science and Technology at the 9th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology (IAMMST) held on 29 October 2016 in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

 

Bandipur National Park

Bandipur National Park established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, is a national park located in Karnataka. Together with the adjoining Nagarhole National Park, Mudumalai National Park  and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary , it is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

 

Langkawi Declaration

The Langkawi Declaration on the Environment was a declaration issued by the assembled Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issue of environmental sustainability. It was issued on October 21, 1989 at Langkawi, Malaysia, during the tenth Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

 

Romberg’s test

Also known as the Romberg manoeuvre, this refers to a simple medical test conducted by doctors and physiotherapists to gauge the neurological condition of a patient. It works on the principle that a person, in order to maintain his balance with his eyes closed, needs to be aware of at least the position of his body and head in space. When a patient cannot maintain balance with his eyes closed, the doctor can conclude that there may be something wrong with the patient’s proprioception and vestibular system. The Romberg’s test is also used sometimes by law enforcement agencies to test people who are suspected of drunken driving.

 

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Look at the following statements about Red Sanders
  1. Found in whole of South India
  2. This tree is valued for the rich red color of its wood.
  3. The wood is Aromatic and Mysore Sandal Soap is a GI Produced from this.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

 

Question 2. The Langkawi Declaration Recently seen in news is related to 
  1. ASEAN India Treaty on advancement in Science and Technology
  2. ASEAN India Treaty on Space research
  3. A declaration on the issue of environmental sustainability by Commonwealth
  4. Defence Treaty for sale of brahmos

See

Answer

 

Question 3. With respect to Mahadayi River, consider the following statements
”?
  1. It is an east flowing river in Karnataka with disputes between Goa and Karnataka only
  2. This would help in addressing water issues in south of Karnataka in the regions of kolar, Ckikkabalapur.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

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

See

Answer

 

Question 4. The Government Process Re-engineering (GPR) is the initiative of 

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. Ministry of Commerce
  2. Ministry of Corporate Affairs
  3. Ministry of Electronics and Communication
  4. Ministry of Science and technology

See

Answer

 

Question 5. Consider the following statements regarding International Dharma-Dhamma Conference
  1. organized as part of the commemorative events to celebrate the Silver Jubilee year of ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership
  2. It is aimed to facilitate crosspollination of ideas and foster harmony at the global level

Choose the correct statement

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

See

Answer

 

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II
  1. Critically comment on Emerging Security Order in Indo-Pacific and its Implications for India.

GS Paper III
  1. The government has taken number of initiatives to address the issue of Ease of doing business. What are the challenges faced and how can we overcome these issues?

     

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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