UPSC Exam: Comprehensive News Analysis – January 31

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
CULTURE
1. Sammakka Saralamma Jatara
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. Impeachment of High Court Judge
2. A slow judiciary
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS
1. Brexit costs Britain- Reports
HEALTH ISSUES
1. Development of antibiotic resistance to colistin
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Res Extra Commercium
SECURITY
1. Continuing dependence on foreign arms
D. GS4 Related
E. Prelims Fact
F. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

 Category: CULTURE

1. Sammakka Saralamma Jatara

 

  • Sammakka Saralamma Jatara or Medaram Jatara is a tribal Hindu festival of honouring the goddesses celebrated in the state of Telangan
  • The Jatara begins at Medaram. It is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Deccan.
  • It commemorates the fight of a mother and daughter, Sammakka and Saralamma, with the reigning rulers against an unjust law.
  • It is believed that after Kumbha Mela, the Medaram jatara attracts the largest number of devotees in the country.
  • It is a four-day festival held once in two years.
  • The festival is celebrated in Medaram during the time the goddesses of the tribals is believed to visit them.

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Impeachment of High Court Judge

 

  • A in-house inquiry committee was set up by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to look into allegations of corruption against a sitting judge of the Allahabad High Court in the Medical Council of India (MCI) case contains certain “adverse remarks” against him.
  • This prompted Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra recommend the impeachment of Justice Shri Narayan Shukla, the eighth senior-most judge of the Allahabad High Court
  • The trigger was a scathing report by the committee led by Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee.

The committee conducted a non-judicial fact-finding inquiry, where Justice Shukla was given full opportunity to defend himself, but no examination or cross-examination of any witnesses was allowed.

Why was the Process Initiated?

  • Justice Narayan Shukla granted permission to certain private medical colleges to admit students after an MCI ban, and also involved the rulings on the case in the Supreme Court.
  • He had abandoned “the concept of judicial propriety” and transgressed judicial rules to “proceed on a path where it was not required to.”

Impeachment Process

  • The CJI has set the process in motion with a letter to the Prime Minister for the impeachment of the judge.
  • Following that, the Vice-President, who is the Chairperson of Rajya Sabha, would constitute a three-member inquiry panel, in consultation with the CJI under the Judges (Enquiry) Act, 1968.
  • This panel would then examine the allegations made by the in-house committee and based on their advice, it would be decided if the removal motion will be debated in Rajya Sabha. If the findings of guilt are confirmed, the impeachment motion will be put to vote for the removal of the judge by a majority.

2. A slow judiciary

The Economic Survey 2017-18 has made a compelling argument that addressing pendency, delays and backlogs in the appellate and judicial arenas is the next frontier for improving Ease Of Doing Business (EODB) in the country.

Why is this an Issue?

  • In the latest EODB report by the World Bank, India ranked a dismal 164 in the category of enforcing contracts.
  • It takes, on average, almost four years to enforce a standard sales agreement in a local court, and costs up to 31% of the claim’s value.
  • This is much higher than the average for South Asia (three years) and China (a year and four months), and has crippling effects on the dispute resolution mechanism of the economy.

Implications

  • India’s poor ranking in enforcing contracts relates directly to its judicial capacity. A slow judiciary forces participants to adopt loss-minimizing strategies that are not always efficient.
  • The most intuitive result is for the cost structure of the entire economy to go up.
  • Second, it deters firms from making relationship-specific investments—investments for products that have lower value in alternative uses than they have in the intended use between the parties involved. The threat of hold-ups can dissuade efficient investments, and could even rule out exchanges that are potentially valuable.
  • Research on 25 Indian states and Union territories from 1971 to 1996 found that a weak judiciary (defined by the speed and predictability of the trial outcome) has a negative effect on economic and social development, which leads to: lower per capita income; higher poverty rates; lower private economic activity; poorer public infrastructure; and higher crime rates and more industrial riots.

What strategies do the firms follow?

Firms and industries have developed ways around this problem.

  • In many industries, firms vertically integrate in order to align their incentives in the different stages of production, or sellers require a security amount from the buyer.
    • Integration, however, increases the cost of starting a business and makes the industry less competitive.
    • Vertical integration also reduces the focus on becoming more competitive in their development and achieving economies of scale.
  • Firms also rely on repeat business and reputation norms to discipline the actors, and these norms work fairly well.
  • Lastly, some industries follow private rules and use private tribunals to solve disputes.

So the present government which has been vocal about improving India’s EODB ranking should involve all stakeholders and take steps to help reduce pending cases by reviewing the existing legal Process.

 Category: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS/BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. Brexit costs Britain- Reports

 

  • Britain will be worse off under the three main scenarios of Brexit — whether it remains in the single market or leaves it with or without a new trade deal with the EU — a government report said.
  • It said the least harm would be done by remaining in the single market

Details

  • The report, “EU Exit Analysis — Cross Whitehall Briefing”, prepared by the Department for Exiting the European Union, points to the three main scenarios: if Britain opted to remain in the single market, growth over the next 15 years would be 2% lower than if it remained in the union, but still better off by a “no deal” scenario (with Britain reverting to WTO terms for its relationship with the EU) under which growth would be 8% lower. Under a comprehensive free trade agreement, it would be 5% lower.
  • The analysis does not take into account short-term factors such as the cost of adjusting to new customs arrangements, which could further dampen growth.
  • Among the hardest hit sectors will be those in which Indian companies are involved — cars and manufacturing — alongside others such as chemicals, retail, food and drink, while all regions of the country would be hit, particularly the North East and West Midlands, as well as Northern Ireland.
  • The hit to the British economy far outweighs the positives of future trade deals: it estimates that a deal with China, India, Australia and others would add in total 0.1 to 0.4% to the economy in the long term, while a trade deal with the U.S. could add 0.2%.

 Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. Development of antibiotic resistance to colistin

 

  • India’s poultry farms are spawning global superbugs by giving medicines to the birds to protect them against diseases or to make them gain weight faster so more can be grown each year at greater profit. One drug typically given this way is colistin.
  • Researchers who tested meat from supermarkets in the country in 2014 found residues of six antibiotics, suggesting they were being used liberally on farms.

Why is this cause of worry?

  • Doctors call it the ‘last hope’ antibiotic because it is used to treat patients critically ill with infections which have become resistant to nearly all other drugs.
  • The World Health Organisation has called for the use of such antibiotics, which it calls “critically important to human medicines”, to be restricted in animals and banned as growth promoters.
  • Their continued use in farming increases the chance that bacteria will develop resistance to them, leaving them useless when treating patients.
  • Thousands of tonnes of veterinary colistin was shipped to countries including Vietnam, India, South Korea and Russia in 2016, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal. In India, at least five animal pharmaceutical companies are openly advertising products containing colistin as growth promoters.

Resistant genes

  • A colistin-resistant gene was discovered in Chinese pigs in 2015.
  • The gene, mcr-1, could be transferred within and between species of bacteria. That meant that microbes did not have to develop resistance themselves, they could become resistant just by acquiring the mcr-1 gene.
  • The discovery was met with worldwide panic in the medical community as it meant the resistance could be passed to bugs which are already multi-drug resistant, leading to untreatable infections.
  • Rampant use of the drug in livestock farming has been cited as the most likely way mcr-1 was spread. It has been detected in bacteria from animals and humans in more than 30 countries, spanning four continents. Another four colistin resistant genes (mcr-2 to mcr-5) have been discovered.

New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1)

  • Bugs bred in the country spread globally. One which particularly worried scientists is a gene called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1), which makes bugs resistant to carbapenem antibiotics.
  • This has been dubbed “the nightmare bacteria” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. because it kills half the patients who develop a bloodstream infection.
  • NDM-1 was first found in a patient who acquired it in India in 2008 and has since spread all over the world, with over 1,100 laboratory-confirmed cases in the U.K. since 2003.

Implications

  • Unregulated sale of the drugs for human or animal use — accessed without prescription or diagnosis — has led to unchecked consumption and misuse.
  • Overuse of the drugs in hospitals has created antibiotic resistant hotspots, and poor infection control means these bugs spread within the hospital and into the community. Some of the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing antibiotics have also failed to dispose of antibiotic-ridden waste properly, fuelling the spread of resistant bugs in the environment.
  • All of these factors have led to high rates of resistance. In India, 57% of the Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria — which commonly cause urine, lung and bloodstream infections — are resistant to last-line antibiotics known as carbapenems.

Are there laws that administer this?

  • There is no legal requirement for one in the country as Colis V was bought over the counter from a poultry feed and medicines shop in Bangalore without a prescription.
  • In 2014 the Agriculture Ministry sent an advisory letter to all State governments asking them to review the use of antibiotic growth promoters. However, the directive was non-binding, and none have introduced legislation to date.
  • In its National Action Plan on AMR published in 2017, the Centre banned using antibiotics as growth promoters. The plan is not currently linked to any regulatory action.

International Experience

  • The World Health Organisation released guidelines in November 2017 recommending reducing use of critically important antibiotics in food-producing animals and banning their use as growth promoters. It also recommended banning the mass medicating of livestock with antibiotics to prevent disease.
  • Using antibiotics as growth promoters has been banned in the European Union since 2006, and was made illegal in the U.S. in 2017.
  • In Europe, colistin is available to farmers only if prescribed by a vet for the treatment of sick animals.

Way forward

  • Consumer pressure is need of the hour, rather than regulation. In India, that level of awareness doesn’t exist. This needs social change. It needs leaders, it needs stories, and it needs organisations. So a great level of awareness is an important call that needs to be taken

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Res Extra Commercium

 

  • Res extra commercium (lat. “a thing outside commerce”) is a doctrine originating in Roman law, holding that certain things may not be the object of private rights, and are therefore insusceptible to being traded. In some contexts, it can refer to areas beyond national borders, such as space and the seabed; “these regions are subject to a common freedom of exploitation without exercising national sovereignty.” This is said of things which cannot be bought or sold, such as public roads, rivers, titles of honour

Context

  • The Indian government is pushing the Supreme Court to apply a rarely used doctrine that would strip the $11 billion tobacco industry’s legal right to trade, an effort aimed at deterring tobacco companies from challenging tough new regulations.

Implications

  • If applied, the doctrine would deny an industry’s legal standing to trade, it gives authorities more leeway to impose restrictions.
  • For example, the Supreme Court’s application of the doctrine to alcohol in the 1970s paved the way for at least two Indian states to ban it completely and allowed courts to take a stricter stance while regulating liquor – something constitutional law experts say could happen with tobacco if a similar ruling was made.
  • Seeking to apply the doctrine to tobacco, the government argued it should have the power “to regulate business and to mitigate evils” to safeguard public health

Area of contention

  • India’s tobacco labelling rules, which mandate 85 percent of a cigarette pack’s surface be covered in health warnings, have been a sticking point between the government and the tobacco industry since they were enforced in 2016.
  • That year, the industry briefly shut factories across the country in protest and filed dozens of legal cases challenging the rules.
  • The federal health ministry says stringent health warnings on packages help reduce consumption of tobacco by making people aware of its ill-effects. A government survey last year found 62 percent of cigarette smokers thought of quitting because of warning labels on the packets.

Therefore such a classification will help protect tobacco control measures from being challenged, particularly for developing countries where the bulk of the smokers are.

Category: SECURITY

1. Continuing dependence on foreign arms

 

  • India’s acute dependence on imported arms and ammunition, 60 per cent-70 per cent of Russian origin, will constitute a grave handicap and vulnerability in a conflict.
  • Over the years, not only have Indo-Russian relations become purely transactional, but the (post-Soviet) Russian arms industry has been found incapable of providing timely support for its products; a fact repeatedly pointed out in the CAG reports.
  • Other foreign suppliers may prove equally unreliable in wartime.

Pakistan

  • Pakistan has the world’s seventh largest army, and even though permeated by religious fundamentalism and embroiled in politics, its professional capabilities cannot be ignored.
  • Pakistan as a military-client of “all-weather friend”, China, it has ensured steady arms transfers to all wings of the Pakistani military.
  • Having created a high level of equipment commonality with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Pakistan can go to war, confident that its attrition losses will be expeditiously replaced from PLA stocks.

China

  • Coming to India’s main adversary, the Chinese PLA constitutes the world’s largest military organisation, with formidable capabilities in the conventional, nuclear, cyber, maritime and space domains.
  • Of greater significance is the fact that China is self-sufficient in major weapon systems, and has surpassed Britain, France and Germany as an exporter of arms, 70 per cent of which are supplied to neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Ironically, in 1949, when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) came into being, India was industrially well ahead, because the demands of WW II had led to the establishment of arms, ordnance and aircraft production facilities to support the Allied war effort world-wide. 

How did China overtake us?

  • In the early 1950s, a fraternal Soviet Union commenced a massive transfer of arms to the PLA, under a Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship.
  • However, as ideological fissures emerged and the Soviets threatened to stop aid, the Chinese leadership ordered seizure of hardware as well as drawings and technological data relating to Soviet weapons.
  • Once the split actually occurred, in the mid-1960s, the Chinese leadership took a far-sighted decision to launch a project for attaining self-reliance in arms, through reverse engineering (“guochanhua” in Mandarin), as a national endeavour.
  • This helped China establish, by the mid 1980s, serial production of Soviet-origin tanks, artillery, submarines, jet fighters and bombers, as well as strategic systems like ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines.
  • Manufactured without Soviet licences, many of these products had serious flaws and contained imported Western components. But they were “Made in China” and constituted a “great leap forward” towards self-reliance.

China’s Present Status

  • China has, subsequently, launched repeated cycles of “guochanhua”, with the aim of acquiring the latest military and dual-use technologies; legitimately, if possible, but through industrial espionage and violation of intellectual property rights, when required.
  • At the turn of this century, China had reached a level of technological development surpassing Russia’s. Today, China has stunned the world by its ingenuity, exemplified by the world’s fastest super-computer (the Sunway Taihu-light), J-31 fifth generation stealth-fighter, an electro-magnetic aircraft catapult to equip its new aircraft-carrier and huge strides in robotics, artificial-intelligence and drones.

India’s Flawed Policies

  • India is in the anomalous situation of being a nuclear-weapons state with the world’s fourth-largest armed forces, but having to support their operational needs through massive arms imports.
  • All this, inspite of a vast military-industrial complex, with a large pool of DRDO scientists and a network of sophisticated laboratories, backed by advanced production facilities of the defence PSUs.

Lessons to be learnt

  • The Bangladesh War was won only because General Manekshaw sought a grace of nine months to equip his troops.
  • The brief Kargil War required desperate replenishment of ammunition, midway through the operation.
  • India’s continuing dependence on foreign arms, coupled with a dysfunctional acquisition process has eroded the combat readiness of our armed forces. Our myopic failure to learn from experience, and to acknowledge the deleterious impact of this void on India’s national security, may cost us dearly vis-a-vis future machinations of the China-Pak axis. I

What we need is a 50-year vision for self-reliance in weaponry and a clear-cut strategy, for its implementation by an empowered “czar”.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

E. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for Today!!!

 

F. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Sjögren's Syndrome is related to
  1. Breathing problem due to excessive pollution
  2. It is a disorder characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth
  3. A fatal bacterial infection that affects the nerves
  4. It is a genetic blood disorder

See

Answer
Question 2. Look at the following statements about an animal
  1. IUCN recently moved the animal’s status from “endangered” to “vulnerable” on its Red List
  2. It is also called as mountain ghost

The animal in reference to above statements is:

  1. Black bears
  2. Snow Leopard
  3. Himalayan Tahr
  4. Chiru

See

Answer
Question 3. Read the following statements carefully 
  1. Potassium Chlorate is a dangerous and hazardous chemical and can ignite or explode spontaneously
  2. Possession and sale of fireworks of foreign origin is illegal and punishable
  3. Till date, no license for import of fireworks has been granted under the Explosives Rules, 2008

Which of the statements given above are incorrect?

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. All of the above
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 4. The term Mith/Mit or Mitini was recently in news. This is related to 
  1. Animal conservation Plan in Odisha
  2. SHG in WB to help Women in Poverty
  3. Preserving Trees by forging relationship with Trees
  4. A program to send weekly messages on Child care for Mothers

See

Answer
Question 5. Which State became the first state in the country after it's assembly unanimously 
passed a bill awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below?
  1. Rajasthan
  2. Haryana
  3. Uttar Pradesh
  4. Madhya Pradesh

See

Answer

G. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

GS Paper II
  1. Justice Shukla has “disgraced the values of judicial life, acted in a manner unbecoming of a judge”, lowered the “majesty, dignity and credibility of the office” and acted in breach of his oath of office.  In the light of this statement explain the Impeachment process and also discuss if the current method needs a change.

  2. Should India carry a slender stick or speak softly and carry a big stick in its global outreach Program? Justify your view.

GS Paper III
  1. Is India on the cusp of a fiscal revolution? Substantiate.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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