04 Jul 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

 TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
1. Over 30,000 Brus to be repatriated by Sept. 30
ART AND CULTURE
1. 18th century art gives peek into era of British rule
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. EC launches app to report electoral malpractice
POLITY
1. Consult UPSC for selecting police chiefs, SC tells States
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Jaitley slams action against bankers
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Indian-origin scientist gets funding for project
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. A good beginning: on the Cauvery Water Management Authority
F. Tidbits
1. E-vehicles pose threat to forging industry, says AIFI
2. China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade
3. Tariffs cut on Asian imports under APTA
4. Rupee still overvalued by 5-7%: NITI Aayog’s Kumar
5. ‘Lack of trust permeates India-U.K. bilateral ties’
6. Mizoram facing a battle with bottle
7. Nipah outbreak from fruit bats, says ICMR
8. Quota for transgender students in colleges
9. States obliged to prevent lynchings: CJI
10. Koala bear genome decoded for first time
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Category: HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

1. Over 30,000 Brus to be repatriated by Sept. 30

 

  • More than 30,000 people belonging to the Bru community, who fled from Mizoram to Tripura in 1997 in the wake of inter-community violence, are set to be repatriated to Mizoram.

Background

  • In October 1997, militants of the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) murdered a forest official in Mizoram, triggering a wave of retaliatory ethnic violence from the Mizos.
  • The Bru National Union or BNU, then the tribe’s apex political body which was demanding an autonomous tribal district, claimed 1,391 Bru houses in 41 villages were burned down and several people were raped and killed.
  • Over 30,000 Brus fled to six relief camps in Tripura.

Repatriation

  • For years, Tripura pushed Mizoram to resettle the displaced tribals.
  • The repatriation process began in 2010 and has been monitored and financed by the Union Home Ministry.
  • Displaced Bru families willing to return have been identified and, after verified as having lived in Mizoram before 1997, handed rehabilitation packages, and resettled in the villages they had left.
  • Where that was impossible, they were put in the nearest settlement — or at least, within the same assembly constituency.

The agreement

  • As many as 32,876 people of the Reang tribe (known as Brus in Mizoram) will be repatriated from Tripura to Mizoram following a tripartite agreement signed by the two State governments and the Centre.
  • Each Bru family will be given one-time financial assistance of Rs.4 lakh to be kept in fixed deposit in name of head of the family within one month of repatriation.
  • Each family will be given assistance of Rs.5,000 per month along with free ration for two years.
  • A house building assistance of Rs.1.5 lakh is to be disbursed.

Significance

  • It probably shows the difference in the ways different displaced populations are treated in India.
  • Several other Northeast tribal groups fleeing ethnic violence have escaped being confined to relief camps, and the displaced Brus have been seeking relief on par with Kashmiri Pandits and the Sri Lankan Tamils refugees.
  • The Brus have been in their camps for a generation, but their story remains unknown in most of India.
  • The halting repatriation process has lessons for the handling of possible future displacement crises and resettlement efforts.

Riang

  • Riang are one of the 21 scheduled tribes of the Indian state of Tripura.
  • The Bru are the second most populous tribe of Tripura after the Tripuris.
  • The correct nomenclature for this ethnic group is actually Bru although the name Reang was accidentally incorporated by the Indian government during a census count.

Location

  • The Bru can be found all over the Tripura state in India.
  • However, they may also be found in Mizoram, Assam, Manipur and Bangladesh.

Culture and religion

  • The marriage system is similar to other Tripuri tribes of Tripura.
  • There is no dowry system.
  • Dance is an integral part of Reang life.
  • The Hojagiri folk dance of Riang sub tribe is rather well known all over the world.
  • ‘Buisu’, not ‘bihu’ is the most popular festival of reang tribes.
  • The majority of the Reang belong to the Vaishnav school of Hinduism and claim Kshatriya status.
  • They are polytheists and believe in multiple Gods and Goddesses.

Language

  • They speak the Reang dialect of Kokborok language which is of Tibeto-Burmese origin and is locally referred to as Kau Bru.

Occupation

  • The Reangs are primarily an agrarian tribe.
  • In the past, they mostly practised the Huk or Jhum cultivation like most other Tripuri tribes.
  • However today, most of them have adopted modern agricultural practices.
  • Educated reangs, however, shy away from agriculture and seek government jobs.

Category: ART AND CULTURE

1. 18th century art gives peek into era of British rule

 

  • 18th century work of art has been put on display for the first time at the Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH), Kolkata.

The artwork

  • The drawing shows 22 musical instruments in fine detail.
  • This is one of the 50 artworks of Captain Charles Gold, a military officer of British India.
  • The names of all 22 musical instruments — the Magoudi or snake pipe, Serinda or Bengal violin, bagpipes and cymbals — are depicted in the drawing.
  • The items in the collection, titled Oriental Drawings, were made between 1791-1798, while Gold was serving in military campaigns against Tipu Sultan.
  • The other pieces of art by Captain Charles Gold, which are in the collection of VMH, include drawings of snake charmers, beggars, devotees and Brahmins.

Significance

  • The collection is an important piece of oriental art, and the drawings are all the more interesting as they were not made by professional painters of the era.
  • Other than professional painters, there were many who served as engineers and military officers and made a number of drawings and paintings in India.
  • These paintings should be viewed in the context of the visual politics of the Empire and as part of the bigger narrative of the relationship the British had with India.

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. EC launches app to report electoral malpractice

 

  • The Election Commission launched an Android-based mobile application named “cVigil” for citizens to share proof of malpractices by political parties, their candidates and activists when the Model Code of Conduct is in force.
  • The mobile application also facilitates sharing of geo-tagged photographic and video evidence without disclosing the identity of the sender.
  • The uploaded information will be transmitted to the control room, and from there the field units or flying squads, mapped on a Geographic Information System, will be immediately alerted for further action.
  • In case the complainant does not opt for anonymity, the person will also receive an action-taken report within about 100 minutes.
  • The application, whose Beta version has now been released, will be made available for use during the four State Assembly elections scheduled for later this year.
  • The mobile application, for which EC officials will be trained for effective back-end operations and action against the malpractices reported ahead of the elections, was launched against the backdrop of the inauguration of a two-day national consultation programme on “Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the Electoral Process.”
  • EC has also launched a voter education and electoral participation portal, which has an entire section dedicated to PwDs.

Category: POLITY

1. Consult UPSC for selecting police chiefs, SC tells States

 

  • The Supreme Court restrained the State governments from appointing Directors-General of Police without first consulting the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

New rules

  • The State government concerned has to send to the service commission the names of the probables three months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a list of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back.
  • It shall, as far as practicable, choose the people who have got a clear two years of service and must give due weightage to merit and seniority.
  • The State, in turn, shall immediately appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the commission.
  • States may make an endeavour to allow the DGP appointed to continue in office despite his or her date of superannuation, this extension of tenure should be only for a reasonable period.
  • On the practice of States appointing ‘Acting DGPs’, the court ordered that States shall not ever conceive of the idea of such appointments. There is no concept of Acting DGPs.

Background

  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, passed the directions on an application by the Centre for modification of a September, 2006 judgment on a petition filed by former DGPs Prakash Singh and N.K. Singh for reforms in the police forces.
  • In 2006, the court passed seven directives, primarily to ensure that State governments do not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police.
  • Secondly, the court directed the States to ensure that the DGP is appointed through a merit-based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years.
  • The Home Ministry filed an application in 2017 to modify the original judgment. The application itself was spurred by the decisions of the Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments to appoint police chiefs on their convenience.

Concerns

  • The Centre, represented by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, submitted that of 29 States only five — Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Rajasthan — have implemented the Supreme Court direction of 2006 to consult the UPSC on the appointment of DGPs.
  • Venugopal submitted that some State governments have even gone to the extent of appointing their favourite officers as DGP on the very date of their retirement so that they would continue to serve for another two years till the age of 62.
  • Distortion and aberrations have crept into the procedure regarding the appointment of DGPs and the manner in which it is being manipulated by political masters with the connivance of the bureaucracy.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Jaitley slams action against bankers

 

  • Union Minister Arun Jaitley spoke strongly against actions against officials of banks by investigative agencies and said the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) was badly drafted, needing urgent amendments.
  • He went on to say that in a federal structure, the State police could not investigate central government functionaries.

Background

  • The statement was in reference to the recent arrest of Bank of Maharashtra officials made by the Pune police.
  • Bankers have been complaining about harassment by investigative agencies for decisions made several years ago. After the Bank of Maharashtra incident, the Indian Banks’ Association has appealed to the government against such practices.
  • There has been a number of cases of bankers been named by investigative agencies long after their retirement.

Concerns

  • POCA was a pre-1991 piece of legislation and it was one of the most badly drafted laws.
  • It creates a legislative system where even bona fide decisions — in a post-mortem done after 10 years — are found to be erroneous and people are held accountable.
  • It is important to amend the POCA with the suggested amendments of the standing committee and bring it in tune with the modern decision-making.
  • Jaitley warned that the threat to federalism came from the States, and such events could paralyse the decision-making process.
  • Jaitley questioned whether State government police should investigate the decisions taken by Central government agencies as it would completely upset the federal balance.

POCA

  • The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to combat corruption in government agencies and public-sector businesses in India.
  • This law defines who a public servant is and punishes public servants involved in corruption or bribery.
  • It also punishes anyone who helps him or her commit the crime corruption or bribery.

Scope of the law

  • When a public servant accepts money or gifts over and above their salary, in return for favoring a person in their official duty.
  • When a public servant accepts gifts from a person with whom they have a business or official relationship without paying them.
  • When a public servant is guilty of criminal misconduct such as regularly accepting bribes to favor people during their official duty.
  • If any person accepts money or gifts in return for influencing the public servant by using his personal connection or through illegal or corrupt methods, this person can also be punished.
  • Any person helping the public servant commit these crimes can also be punished.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Indian-origin scientist gets funding for project

 

  • An Indian-origin scientist, Mr. Dahiya, working on a project to create a robotic hand covered in so-called brainy skin that mimics the human sense of touch has won 1.5 million pounds in funding for the project.

Brainy skin

  • Inspired by real skin, this project will harness the technological advances in electronic engineering to mimic some features of human skin, such as softness, bendability and now, also sense of touch.
  • This skin will not just mimic the morphology of the skin but also its functionality.
  • The super-flexible, hypersensitive skin may one day be used to make more responsive prosthetics for amputees, or to build robots with a sense of touch.
  • This electronic thinking skin is made from silicon-based printed neural transistors and graphene — an ultra-thin form of carbon that is only an atom thick, but stronger than steel.
  • The new version in the making is said to be more powerful, less cumbersome and would work better than earlier prototypes.

Significance

  • Brainy skin is critical for the autonomy of robots and for a safe human-robot interaction to meet emerging societal needs such as helping the elderly.
  • Brainy Skin reacts like human skin, which has its own neurons that respond immediately to touch rather than having to relay the whole message to the brain.

neuPRINTSKIN

  • The research, dubbed neuPRINTSKIN (Neuromorphic Printed Tactile Skin), received 1.5 million pounds in funding from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).
  • The team’s work means tactile data is gathered over large areas by the synthetic skin’s computing system rather than sent to the brain for interpretation.
  • This breakthrough in the tactile sensing research will lead to the first neuromorphic tactile skin, or brainy skin .
  • To achieve this, Professor Dahiya will add a new neural layer to the e-skin that he has developed using printing silicon nanowires.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. A good beginning: on the Cauvery Water Management Authority

Why is this issue now?

  • The centre recently constituted the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) in compliance with a Supreme Court order to address the water dispute involving the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Composition of CWMA

  • The Cauvery management authority would comprise a chairman, eight members besides a secretary. Out of eight members, two each will be full-time and part-time members, while the rest four would be part-time members from states.
  • The chairman of the Cauvery management authority should either be a “senior and eminent engineer” with an experience of water resource management and handling of inter-state water dispute or an IAS officer with an experience in water resources management and handling the inter-state dispute

Functions of CWMA

  • Exercise power and discharge such duty for “sufficient and expedient for securing compliance and implementation” of the Supreme Court order in relation to “storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters”.
  • Supervise operation of reservoirs and with the regulation of water releases there from with the assistance of the regulation committee
  • The authority at the beginning of the water year (June 1 each year) would determine the total residual storage in the specified reservoirs.
  • The Cauvery Management authority has also been tasked to advise the states to take suitable measures to improve water use efficiency, by way of promoting micro-irrigation (drip and sprinkler), change in cropping pattern, improved agronomic practices, system deficiency correction and command area development.

Analysis

  • We are having more than 80 per cent of Indian rivers are inter-state rivers. There are more than 100 inter-state water agreements in India. Many of these agreements are more than 100 years old and had been executed without seriously considering socio-economic, political and geographical factors.
  • These treaties have now become permanent sources of problems for many states. Continuous redrawing of state boundaries during the British regime and after Independence have kept the disputes alive.
  • The CWMA has been formed by the Centre to implement the water-sharing award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court earlier this year.
  • For the Authority to successfully perform its role, it needs the cooperation of the States in gathering data on rainfall, inflows and outflows, cropping patterns and periodic withdrawals from reservoirs.
  • The CWMA is expected to meet once every 10 days during the monsoon months. The south-west monsoon has been active for nearly a month, and is forecast to be normal this year.
  • Therefore, the CWMA may not face any major problem in overseeing the release of water to Tamil Nadu.
  • As long as the inflows into Karnataka’s major reservoirs are substantial, it has had no problem releasing its surplus water into the lower riparian areas of the basin. It is only in a distress year that the CWMA will face a significant challenge, as determining the extent of distress, and dividing the shortfall among the States on a pro rata basis can be tricky exercises.
  • Karnataka is planning to challenge in the Supreme Court about the Centre’s notification constituting the Authority. It will be unfortunate if this dispute gets into another round of litigation.
  • The provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, make it clear that it is the Centre’s duty to notify a scheme to implement the award of a Tribunal. Parliament has the power to modify the scheme, or leave it as it stands, but Karnataka’s claim that the scheme requires parliamentary approval before it is implemented is questionable.

Way Forward

  • Now that the CWMA has become functional, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry should approach the issue of sharing the waters of the inter-State river in a spirit of cooperation and help the Authority in implementing the verdict.
  • The parties concerned should leave behind the era of litigation. There is now a non-political mechanism available to make sound professional decisions on water availability and sharing of distress, if any, after discussing the issues threadbare. After having been locked in a contentious legal dispute for so long, all parties concerned must embark on a new era of mutually beneficial water-sharing.
  • In the longer term, experts will have to devise a sustainable agricultural solution for the Cauvery basin, as the river does not seem to have the potential to meet the farming requirements of both sides.
  • In a world of depleting water resources, fewer crop seasons and lower acreages, a resort to less water-intensive crops and better water management hold the key.
  • It is time that water issues are de-politicised and political parties learn to see reason and respect the rule of law without getting carried away by electoral considerations. The Central government has got a golden opportunity on Cauvery to set a new, healthy trend.

F. Tidbits

1. E-vehicles pose threat to forging industry, says AIFI

 

  • The Centre’s renewed focus on electric vehicles (EVs) is a key issue that could impact the future of the Indian forging industry.

Concerns of the industry

  • India is the third-largest manufacturer of forging globally, after China and the EU.
  • Currently, it is facing challenges arising out of rising steel and oil prices, a demand-supply gap and technology upgradation.
  • EVs are likely to hamper the growth of the forging industry, which has been witnessing growth in the recent past.
  • The industry needs a clear road map to provide a level playing field.
  • EVs are going to be the biggest threat to the industry as 60% of forging units are involved in the manufacture of auto components and a majority are engaged in applications related to engine transmission.
  • As a result, 40%-50% of demand for forged auto components would decline, resulting in job losses and a shutting down of units.

Challenges to EVs

  • Currently the Centre does not have a concrete plan to switch over to EVs.
  • The industry should have basic infrastructure such as charging stations and availability of lithium batteries as well as guidelines for disposal of batteries.

2. China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade

 

  • China is putting pressure on the European Union (EU) to issue a strong joint statement against President Donald Trump’s trade policies at a summit later this month but is facing resistance.
  • China has proposed an alliance between the two economic powers and offered to open more of the Chinese market in a gesture of goodwill.

EU

  • One proposal has been for China and the EU to launch joint action against the U.S. at the World Trade Organisation. But the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc, has rejected the idea of allying with Beijing against Washington.
  • Instead, the summit is expected to produce a modest communique, which affirms the commitment of both sides to the multilateral trading system and promises to set up a working group on modernising the WTO.
  • Despite Trump’s tariffs on European metals exports and threats to hit the EU’s automobile industry, Brussels shares Washington’s concern about China’s closed markets and what Western governments say is Beijing’s manipulation of trade to dominate global markets.
  • Trump has split the West, and China is seeking to capitalise on that. It was never comfortable with the West being one bloc.
  • Chinese restrictions on foreign investment are higher in every sector save real estate, compared to the European Union, while many of the big Chinese takeovers in the bloc would not have been possible for EU companies in China.
  • China has promised to open up. But EU expects any moves to be more symbolic than substantive.

China’s concerns

  • Still, China’s stance is striking given Washington’s deep economic and security ties with European nations.
  • It shows the depth of Chinese concern about a trade war with Washington, as Trump is set to impose tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese imports.
  • It also underscores China’s new boldness in trying to seize leadership amid divisions between the U.S. and its European, Canadian and Japanese allies over issues including free trade, climate change and foreign policy.

3. Tariffs cut on Asian imports under APTA

 

  • The Centre has implemented the tariff concessions agreed to under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement by cutting duties on the import of 3,142 items from the signatories to the accord, including China.
  • The results of the fourth round of negotiations under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) [formerly the Bangkok Agreement] among six countries namely, Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka, have been implemented with effect from July 1.
  • APTA is a preferential trade agreement, under which the basket of items as well as the extent of tariff concessions are enlarged during the trade negotiating rounds that are conducted periodically.
  • As a founding member of APTA, India is committed to strengthening the APTA process through these concessions.

4. Rupee still overvalued by 5-7%: NITI Aayog’s Kumar

 

  • India’s rupee is currently overvalued by 5-7% which indicates that New Delhi is unlikely to support intervening in the market despite the currency shedding close to 7% against the dollar this year.

Concerns

  • It is currently the worst performing currency in Asia this year.
  • The rate of inflation in India has been much higher than the global rate and that is what determines the real effective exchange rate.

Way forward

  • There is no question at all of either getting worried, getting nervous or intervening in the market as India’s economic growth was expected to pick up to more than 8% in the next year from 7.7% in the March quarter.

Policy intervention

  • India is not aiming to protect the rupee at any particular level and any RBI intervention is aimed at only containing volatility.
  • If external stress continues to rise and/or the USD strengthens, policymakers could consider raising USD deposits as a last resort to stabilise the rupee.

5. ‘Lack of trust permeates India-U.K. bilateral ties’

 

  • A lack of trust permeates the bilateral relationship between Britain and India, Britain’s former High Commissioner to India said, raising questions about the ability of the two countries to forge a closer relationship in the wake of Brexit.
  • When it came to India, the British government doesn’t have a strategy and rather than involving a joined up approach, random interventions were made by individuals within the British government that were inevitably ineffective.
  • Pointing to India’s concerns around Britain’s relationship with Pakistan, the recent efforts of the Indian government to extradite high net worth individuals such as Vijay Mallya back to the country and the recent row over student visas, Mr. Stagg, warned that the U.K. government had to internalise the reality of India’s shifting priorities, and recognise the areas where it sought cooperation if it were to further the relationship.
  • The U.K. government is very distracted by other issues, the disjoint makes it very difficult to get the relationship working on shared interest and trust.
  • Among the key obstacles, he said were the perception in India that Britain was too supportive of Pakistan, and concerns about the impact of Britain’s visa regime.
  • He also pointed to the growing perception in Indian government circles that the British were not doing as much as they could or should to facilitate the return of high net-worth defaulters who had sought refuge in the U.K., though also noted there was little the British government could do on this count because most cases were within the judicial system.
  • He also raised questions about Britain’s ability to forge a trade agreement with India.
  • He pointed to British demands around opening up of financial and legal services in India, and its opposition to India’s visa and mobility demands as part of any agreement.

6. Mizoram facing a battle with bottle

 

  • A battle with the bottle is brewing in church-wary Mizoram ahead of the battle of the ballots.
  • The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) or MLPC Act of 2014, which allowed opening of liquor shops and bars in the State, might be history if the Zoram People’s Party comes to power after the Assembly elections to be held this year-end.
  • The ZPM is an alliance of seven regional parties and groups minus the Mizo National Front, the principal Opposition party in Mizoram.
  • The MLPC Act, implemented on January 16, 2015, replaced the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act of 1995 that was enforced two years later.
  • The church – more than 87% people of the State are Christians – had played a major role in banning sale of liquor under the MLTP Act.
  • The MLPC Act warrants selling of liquor to card holders.
  • But liquor is sold illegally to minors and adults without permit.
  • Consumption of liquor has killed many young people, greatly affecting the Mizo society.
  • A card costs Rs.300 and can be renewed annually for Rs.100.
  • Visitors to Mizoram are allowed to buy liquor from licenced outlets after showing their inner-line permit, an entry document valid for a week but extendable.

7. Nipah outbreak from fruit bats, says ICMR

 

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has confirmed that fruit bats were the primary source of the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, where 17 people died due to the virus earlier this year.
  • The samples from fruit bats tested positive for the virus.
  • Initially, a Central medical team had ruled out bats as the primary source of the infection after samples collected from bats in two Kerala districts tested negative.

8. Quota for transgender students in colleges

 

  • In yet another landmark decision aimed at empowering the transgender community in Kerala, the State government sanctioned two seats exclusively for transpersons in all courses run by universities and affiliated arts and science colleges.

9. States obliged to prevent lynchings: CJI

Background

  • A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Misra was hearing a contempt petition filed by activist Tehseen Poonawalla that despite the Supreme Court order to States to prevent lynchings and violence by cow vigilantes, the crimes continue with impunity.

Petition

  • These lynchings go beyond the description of law and order, these crimes have a pattern and a motive.
  • All these instances happen on highways.
  • The Union has issued advisories but did not back them up with action.
  • It referred to a specific form of vigilantism.
  • The lynchings were ‘targeted violence’ against particular religion, caste, and thus, in violation of the constitutional guarantees under Article 15, which protects citizens from discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, sex, and gender.
  • The compensation to be determined for victims of lynchings should be fixed with an eye on the fact that they were targeted for their religion and caste.

 CJI’s observations

  • State governments are obliged to prevent mob lynchings.
  • The Supreme Court classified lynchings as sheer ‘mob violence.’
  • But it said compensation for victims should not be determined solely on the basis of their religion, caste, etc., but on the basis of the extent of injury caused as anyone can be a victim of such a crime.
  • States cannot give even the remotest chance to let lynchings happen.
  • People cannot be allowed to take law into their hands.
  • Each State shall be held responsible. Law and order is the State’s responsibility.
  • Let us not confine ourselves to any pattern or motive. All these incidents are instances of mob violence.
  • He asked the Centre to frame a scheme under Article 256 to give directions to States to prevent/control the instances and maintain law and order.
  • Anyone can be a victim of such mob violence, irrespective of their religion or caste or sex.
  • The criteria for determining compensation would not be their religion or caste but the nature of injury — simple or grievous — or death.
  • Anyone is a victim and not just those under Article 15. This has more potential than Article 15.
  • The term ‘victim’ includes anyone living in a constant state of fear.
  • Victims should be protected.
  • He reserved the petition for orders.

ASG’s response

  • Such a scheme (scheme under Article 256 to give directions to States to prevent/control the instances and maintain law and order) is unnecessary.
  • The concern here is maintaining law and order. The question is whether the State governments can implement the directions.

10. Koala bear genome decoded for first time

 

  • The koalas of Australia are not just famous for their cuteness.
  • They have been an unsolved mystery among scientists for their strange eating habits — they enjoy the leaves of eucalyptus that would be toxic or even fatal to most mammals — and their exceptional parental care.

The study

  • Now an international team of scientists has successfully sequenced the whole genome of the marsupial and answered all the burning questions about the critter.
  • The study published in Nature Genetics was authored by 54 scientists from seven countries and the whole genome was found to consist over 26,000 genes.
  • The genome provides a springboard for the conservation of this biologically unique species.
  • They found expansions within a particular gene family (P450 gene) and report that these genes help the Koala detoxify the eucalyptus leaves.
  • These genes were found to be expressed in many tissues, especially the liver, indicating its role in detoxification.
  • The koala has evolved an excellent toolkit to deal with eating highly toxic eucalypts, one made up of lots of copies of the same (or very similar) tools.

Milk proteins

  • They also found novel lactation proteins in the Koala bears.
  • They report that these proteins protect the young ones in the pouch and help it develop a strong immune system.
  • Koala bears are born after just 34-36 days of gestation without an immune system and spend almost six months developing in the pouch.
  • It also appears these proteins may have an antimicrobial role, showing activity against a range of bacterial and fungal species, including Chlamydia pecorum, the strain known to cause ocular and reproductive disease in koalas.
  • The koala bear has a highly specific diet and habitat loss and clearing of native vegetation has brought down its population.

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which of the following statements with respect to Koala bear is incorrect?
  1. It is an arboreal herbivorous native to Australia
  2. Koalas are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature
  3. They typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands
  4. None of the above

 

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements:
  1. The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) was previously known as the Bangkok Agreement.
  2. It is the oldest preferential trade agreement between countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
  3. Its objective is to hasten economic development among the participating states opting trade and investment liberalization measures.
  4. India is the only original member.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. i) and ii) only
  2. i), ii) and iii) only
  3. i), ii) and iv) only
  4. All of the above

 

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. Thanjavur painting is a classical South Indian painting style.
  2. Thanjavur glass paintings follow the techniques of Chinese reverse glass paintings.
  3. The style drew heavily from the other major South Indian styles.
  4. The subject of these paintings was chiefly Hindu religion.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are incorrect?

  1. i) and ii) only
  2. iii) and iv) only
  3. ii) only
  4. None of the above

 

See

Answer
Question 4. Which of the following statement/s with respect to Cattle Egret is/are incorrect?
  1. It is a species of heron.
  2. It is found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones.
  3. The species is evaluated as Least Concern by IUCN.

Options:

  1. i) only
  2. iii) only
  3. i) and iii) only
  4. None of the above

 

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

 
  1. Socio-economic issues in rural areas contribute to the problems prevailing in urban areas. Explain with suitable examples.
  2. Directive principles of state policy propose that the state shall strive to prohibit intoxicating drinks that are injurious to health. Examine the recent developments in this direction.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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