15 Jul 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis


A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
1. ‘Leprosy must not continue to be a ground for divorce’
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
1. Iran sanctions: A need to look beyond the US
2. Brexit decisions
F. Tidbits
1. ‘The row over Ayushman Bharat rates’
G. Prelims Fact
1. Thrissur’s Pulikalion
2. Nominated members of Rajya Sabha
3. Nano-kirigami
4. The Pemberton Line
5. People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak
6. People's Antara Raj
7. Furandan
8. Gond paintings
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related


1. Leprosy must not continue to be a ground for divorce

  • Leprosy must not continue to be a ground for divorce noted the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) stating that this disease is now fully curable, and that the archaic laws relating to leprosy must be relooked at.


  • Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest diseases with India accounting for over 60% of the annual new cases of leprosy and a home to around 800 self-settled leprosy colonies.
  • World Health Organisations (WHO) data reveals that in 2016, a total of 2,14,783 cases of leprosy were reported worldwide.
  • There were 18,000 child cases and 12,437 cases who were already suffering from serious disabilities at the time of diagnosis.
  • India had 1,35,485 cases.


  • While recognised as a disability under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995, and being completely curable, persons affected by leprosy continue to face discrimination not only from the larger society but also the disability sector itself.
  • The release noted that there are currently 119 provisions across various Acts passed by the Central and State governments that continue to discriminate against people affected by leprosy (PAL).
  • These are also directly in contrast with the provisions of the Rights of Person with Disabilities Act 2016, that mandates non-discrimination and equality for all irrespective of disability.
  • These 119 provisions not only violate the RPWD Act but also Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
  • Article 14 protects the right to equality of all persons, Article 19 protects the freedom of citizens to move freely throughout the territory of India and practise any profession, occupation, trade or carry on any business, while Article 21 protects the right to life and dignity of all persons.
  • Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has filed a civil writ petition asking the Supreme Court of India to declare these provisions as unconstitutional because they discriminate against persons affected by leprosy.

RPWD Act, 2016

  • It replaced the 1995 Act.
  • It brought the Indian law in line with the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory.
  • Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
  • The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.
  • Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time.
  • Acid Attack Victims have been included.
  • Dwarfism, muscular dystrophy has been indicated as separate class of specified disability.
  • The New categories of disabilities also included three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Haemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.
  • In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
  • Responsibility has been cast upon the appropriate governments to take effective measures to ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.
  • Additional benefits such as reservation in higher education, government jobs, reservation in allocation of land, poverty alleviation schemes etc. have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
  • Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
  • Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education to the children with disabilities.
  • It provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities and also violation of the provisions of the new law.

C. GS3 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials


1. Iran sanctions: A need to look beyond the US


  • The presence of the Indian diaspora in Gulf countries and Chinese efforts to facilitate the rise of petro-yuan should shape India’s response to sanctions on Iran.

Issues involved

  • The US ambassador to the UN, during her visit to New Delhi, called on India to “rethink its relationship with Iran”.
    • US President Donald Trump’s declaration, that the US would no longer be part of the Iran nuclear deal.
    • In addition to economic sanctions, Trump has warned that anyone doing business with Iran risks severe consequences.
    • This implies that any entity, including Indian, doing business with Iran can also be subjected to economic sanctions in the near future.
  • However, it is not just the US—other Gulf countries are also keen that India should scale down its economic engagement with Iran.

What needs to be done?

  • India now has to carefully balance its interests in Shia-dominant Iran with its interests in Sunni-dominant Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • From an Indian perspective, Iran, in addition to its energy resources, is critical for operationalizing connectivity projects with Afghanistan.

India needs to count in two critical variables in crafting its response to the evolving security dynamics in the Gulf:

  1. The larger presence of the diaspora and the considerable remittances from countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  2. Chinese efforts to facilitate the rise of petro-yuan/RMB to internationalize its currency. so framing the debate on the Iran issue in terms of “standing up or yielding to the US” is not a prudent way forward.

Total remittances and investment plans to India from Saudi and UAE?

  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE host about six million overseas Indians and account for an estimated 36% of total remittances to India. Remittances from Iran to India are negligible.
  • While the US has been piling up diplomatic pressure, its allies, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are enticing India with the promise of greater investments.
  • Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) have promised to invest $44 billion, amounting to a 50% stake, in Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (RRPCL).
  • Representatives of Adnoc and Saudi Aramco have hinted at the possibility of greater investments in India.

Current Scenarios

  • India needs to factor in the China angle. There is a concern that owing to the current economic sanctions, Iran is moving increasingly towards China.
  • Even in the absence of punitive sanctions, Iran would seek to strengthen its relations with other powers because of the hostility that defines its relationship with the US.
  • After the economic sanctions were lifted in 2016, Iran started scaling up its three-pronged strategy by
    1. Improving defence relations with Russia.
    2. Working on infrastructure projects with China.
    3. Adopting the euro in its external economic engagement.
  • As per the 2015 nuclear deal, till 2020, every defence purchase of Iran has to be approved by the UN security council.

Iran’s initiatives

  • Iran has evinced an interest in purchasing approximately $10 billion worth of military hardware from Russia after 2020.
  • Iran is collaborating with China on infrastructure development projects such as strengthening the Tehran Metro rail project and the operationalization of cargo trains between the two countries.
  • Prior to the nuclear deal, Iran was selling oil in many currencies, including the Chinese renminbi (RMB) and the Indian rupee.

After the deal

  • To blunt the sharp edges of a possible US punitive measure in future, Iran insisted that payments for oil purchases be made in euros instead of dollars.
  • Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was extremely unhappy with the nuclear deal. The Saudis opined that an unfettered Iran would emerge as a regional hegemony.
  • Therefore, for many in Saudi Arabia, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal amounted to a dilution of security guarantees given by the US for selling oil in dollars instead of in other currencies.

The evolving geopolitical situations

  • The progress of US shale gas production indicated its possible disengagement in the near future.
  • Saudi Arabia’s then vice-minister of economy and planning, referring to external borrowings, said that they “will be very willing to consider funding in renminbi and other Chinese products”.
  • China made an unsuccessful offer to directly purchase a 5% stake in Saudi Aramco. A stake in Saudi Aramco would have added significant impetus to Beijing’s efforts to further internationalize its currency.
  • China had already reached agreements with Russia to make oil payments in RMB.
  • For China, which accounted for 11.5% of the total global merchandise trade in 2017, greater international use of RMB is not only convenient, but also a strategic necessity.
  • If big oil-producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia, accept RMB payments for energy sales, then the RMB will emerge as a strong international reserve currency.
  • However, renewed sanctions on Iran have repaired the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US. The possibility of a petro-yuan/RMB has been pushed a little further into the future.

2. Brexit decisions



  • Political divisions on this issue run through the ruling party as well as the Opposition.
  • The process of leaving has a time limit, which ends on March 29, 2019. The UK has to negotiate with the European Commission.


  • Brexit has been a leading problem for the UK for more years than one would like to remember.
  • Cameron held a referendum on the question of whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave it. To his surprise, the voters chose to leave by a margin of two million votes or 4 percentage points, with a voter turnout of 74 per cent.

What is Brexit means?

  • The European Union is a Customs Union which has no tariffs on trade moving from one country to another within the EU.
  • There are tariffs on goods from outside unless a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been signed (the EU and India have been negotiating on an FTA for years).
  • There is also a single market, which means professional people can work anywhere within the EU no matter where they were trained.
  • Health and safety rules are standardised.

How does the UK place itself vis-a-vis EU after Brexit?

  • A hard Brexit would mean severing all ties and becoming a third country as India is to the EU.
  • Then there were degrees of association preserved which got labelled as soft Brexit. Soft can go from some retained association to a much deeper one, which almost meant no Brexit.
  • Political divisions on this issue run through both the ruling party and the Opposition. The process of leaving has a time limit, which ends on March 29, 2019.
  • The UK has to negotiate with the European Commission.


  • Time was running out and no certainty had emerged.
  • But at the end of the day, Brexit policy has been formulated by a Prime Minister controlling her Cabinet and marginalising her rivals. But it is also a lesson in how Cabinets can discuss, disagree and decide.

F. Tidbits

1. ‘The row over Ayushman Bharat rates ’

  • Ayushman Bharat, the world’s largest health insurance scheme aimed at covering 50 crore Indians, is facing teething troubles.
  • In May, the government published the rates that insurance companies would pay hospitals for the 1,350 procedures covered under the scheme.


  • These rates have become a sticking point for hospitals, which have criticised them as arbitrary and low.
  • Doctors have also criticised the clustering of medical conditions in the rate list. For example, treatment for tuberculosis and HIV with complications will be reimbursed at the same rate of ₹2,000 a day.
  • The fundamental problem is that the reimbursement rates were not calculated in a scientific manner.

The study

  • Ayushman Bharat did rely on a study of over 100 hospitals in 60 cities. But these were mostly hospitals with under 50 beds in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
  • The cost structure of these hospitals is substantially different from tertiary-care hospitals in tier-1 cities for multiple reasons.
  • Tertiary-care hospitals have super-specialists, a greater nurse/bed ratio, and hi-tech facilities such as catheterization labs, all of which cost more.
  • The government said that the rates will be revised.

Other concerns

  • In 2016, the Karnataka Knowledge Commission, a body under the State government, did a small study comparing the costs of 20 frequent medical procedures with reimbursement rates under the Vajpayee Arogyashree, Yeshaswini and CGHS insurance schemes.
  • The study found rates to be lower than costs for almost all procedures under all schemes.
  • For example, if a surgery to repair an atrial septal defect (a hole in the wall between heart chambers) cost hospitals ₹1,59,438, they received between 29% and 34% of this amount under the CGHS.
  • The problem was that this study covered only four private hospitals in Bengaluru and was not representative of Indian variations.
  • But it showed that hospitals could be subsidising medical procedures greatly.
  • One reason reimbursement rates are low under the CGHS is that they are decided through a tender system, which picks the lower quotes from hospitals.
  • Further, even these rates are not paid on time.
  • A 2010 paper from the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations calculated that the average delay in paying hospitals under the CGHS was four months.
  • Furthermore, the AHPI claims the CGHS still owes hospitals ₹400 crore in back payments.

G. Prelims Fact

1. ‘Thrissur’s Pulikalion’

  • Pulikkali is a recreational folk art from the state of Kerala.
  • It is performed by trained artists to entertain people on the occasion of Onam, an annual harvest festival, celebrated mainly in the Indian state of Kerala.
  • The origin of Pulikkali dates back to over 200 years, when the Maharaja Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran, the then Maharaja of Cochin, is said to have introduced the folk art, who wanted to celebrate Onam with a dance that reflected the wild and macho spirit of the force.
  • On the fourth day of Onam celebrations, performers painted like tigers and hunters in bright yellow, red, and black dance to the beats of instruments like Udukku and Thakil.
  • Literal meaning of Pulikkali is the ‘play of the tigers’ hence the performance revolves around the theme of tiger hunting.
  • The folk art is mainly practiced in Thrissur district of Kerala.

2. ‘Nominated members of Rajya Sabha ’

  • Under article 80 of the Constitution, the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) is composed of not more than 250 members, of whom 12 are nominated by the President of India from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.  
  • By adopting the principle of nomination in Rajya Sabha, the Constitution has ensured that the nation must also receive services of the most distinguished persons of the country who have earned distinction in their field of activity, many of whom may not like to face the rough and tumble of the election.
  • By nominating them to Rajya Sabha, the State not only recognises their merit and confers honour on them, but also enables them to enrich the debates by their expertise and knowledge that they have in different areas.
  • Article 80(1)(a) of the Constitution, read with Article 80(3), provides that the President can nominate to the Rajya Sabha 12 persons having special knowledge or practical experience in the fields of literature, science, art and social service.
  • Nominated members enjoy all powers, privileges and immunities available to an elected member of Parliament.  
  • They take part in the proceedings of the House as any other member.  
  • They, however, are not entitled to vote in the election of the President of India.   
  • But in the election of the Vice-President of India, they have a right to vote.
  • A nominated member is allowed six months, should he decide to join a political party after he has taken his seat in the House in terms of article 99 of the Constitution.  
  • A nominated member has also been exempted from filing his assets and liabilities under Section 75A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 which requires the elected member to do so within 90 days of his making or subscribing oath/affirmation.


3. Nano-kirigami

  • It is a relatively new field of research that combines origami (making 3-D shapes by folding paper associated with Japanese culture) and kirigami (which allows cutting as well as folding) and applying them to flat materials at the nanoscale — measured in billionths of a metre.
  • Researchers have recently applied this approach to making nanodevices to manipulate light and potentially create new light-based communications, detection, or computational devices.
  • Nano-kirigami employs standard microchip manufacturing technology.

4. ‘The Pemberton Line ’

  • In the medieval ages, Manipur and Burmese kings often wrested the valley from each other until the British defeated the Burmese and signed the Treaty of Yandaboo in 1826.
  • But the valley was returned to Burma in the second treaty of 1834 and a boundary line between British India and Burma was drawn by Captain R.B. Pemberton.
  • The Pemberton Line had left out certain restive Kuki areas that were included in a rectified boundary in 1881 called Johnstone Line.
  • The boundary was redrawn again in 1896 to have 38 pillars and be known as Maxwell or Pemberton-Johnstone-Maxwell Line.
  • But Burma never participated in these exercises until India and Burma became independent.
  • After negotiations started in 1953, both ratified the 1896 line via the Rangoon Agreement on March 10, 1967.


5. ‘People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak ’

  • It is an armed insurgent group in Manipur demanding a separate and independent homeland.
  • PREPAK was formed under the leadership of R. K. Tulachandra in 1977.
  • It had launched a social reformation campaign in the state of Manipur.
  • The campaign was aimed at eradicating crimes against women, drug and alcohol addictions etc.
  • As the cadres are drawn from the Meitei people who are predominantly Vaishnavites, the group operates mainly in the Imphal valley.
  • It is believed that the group has camps in Myanmar for training in understanding with the NSCN-K.


6. ‘Antara Raj ’

  • A new software has been launched for monitoring and follow-up of the use of ‘Antara’ injectable contraceptive among women.
  • The contraceptive has been made available in government hospitals of 14 districts in the State for helping women with the spacing of children.
  • Medical and Health Minister Kali Charan Saraf launched the ‘Antara Raj’ software at a ceremony organised to felicitate the achievers in the field of population stabilisation.
  • A fortnight-long campaign for population control and awareness about the family planning methods was also started on the occasion.
  • The ‘Antara’ contraceptive, containing synthetic progesterone, can be used by women between the ages of 18 and 45 years.


7. ‘Furandan ’

  • Carbofuran is one of the most toxic carbamate pesticides.
  • It is marketed under the trade names Furadan,
  • Furadan is an insecticidal and nematicidal product that has been used for 40 years.
  • It functions through contact and systemic activity controlling soil, foliar insects and nematodes in many crops.
  • It gives growers the ability to control a wide variety of soil and foliar pests in one product.  
  • It is affordable for growers to use so they can grow their crops for harvest.
  • Carbofuran is highly toxic to vertebrates, particularly birds.

8. ‘Gond paintings ’

  • Gond paintings are a form of painting from folk and tribal art that is practiced by one of the largest tribes in India with whom it shares its name.
  • Gond comes from the Dravidian expression, Kond which means ‘the green mountain’.
  • While Gond paintings are considered to be from predominantly from Madhya Pradesh, it is also quite common in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh and Odisha.
  • Gond art has become so predominant that the Government of India has stepped in to preserve their art form for future generations to enjoy.
  • Painting in the region has been happening for a really long time as the history of the Gond people dates nearly 1400 years previously, however, the Gond people could just be imitating their ancestors as there are cave paintings in the region that go all the way back to the Mesolithic Period.
  • Gond paintings can best be described as ‘on line work’.
  • The artist makes sure to draw the inner as well as outer lines with as much care as possible so that the perfection of the lines has an immediate effect on the viewer.
  • Another very striking facet of Gond paintings has to be the use of bright vivid colours such as white, red, blue and yellow.
  • The paints are usually derived naturally from objects such as charcoal, coloured soil, plant sap, leaves and even cow dung.
  • More specifically, yellow from Chui mitti  which is a type of local sand, brown from Gheru mitti which is another type of sand, green is readily procured from leaves while the colour red is obtained from the Hibiscus flower.
  • As a result of the efforts by the Indian Government to promote and showcase the beauty of tribal art, Gond paintings have become quite popular.
  • There have been exhibitions of Gond paintings in many parts of the world, especially in Japan.
  • Modern Gond paintings aren’t painted on walls and floors and are instead painted on canvas.
  • This makes sure that it is not only much easier to transport, carry and hang on a wall, but the use of canvas helps the paintings to stand out much more than it would if it were made on a wall.
  • Due to the scarcity of natural colors in the current age, Gond artists have started to use poster colours.
  • This combined with the use of canvas has made modern Gond paintings much more vivid than its traditional counter parts.
  • Gond paintings are popularly drawn during major festivals like Holi, Diwali, etc.
  • It is said that Gond paintings resemble aboriginal art from Australia.


H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements with respect to Curative petitions.
  1. Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is a set of farming methods, and also a grassroots peasant movement, which has spread to various states in India.
  2. It was evolved in the state of Karnataka.
  3. It means farming with Nature and without chemicals, without using any credit and without spending any money on purchased inputs.

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

  1. Only i and ii
  2. None of the above
  3. Only i and iii
  4. Only ii and iii



Question 2. Which one of the following statements is incorrect with respect to Swachh Survekshan?
  1. Swachh Survekshan is a ranking exercise taken up by the Government of India to assess rural and urban areas for their levels of cleanliness.
  2. The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India takes up the Swachh Survekshan in urban and rural areas.
  3. The Quality Council of India (QCI) has been commissioned the responsibility of carrying out the assessment.
  4. None of the above



Question 3.Consider the following statement/s regarding Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC).
  1. It is a particular form of contracting arrangement.
  2. The EPC Contractor is made responsible for all the activities from design, procurement, construction, to commissioning and handover of the project to the End-User or Owner.
  3. Management services are also included in EPC.

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

  1. III only
  2. I and II only
  3. II and III only
  4. All of the above



Question 4.Which of the following statement regarding Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (Amritsar) is incorrect?
  1. A large unarmed crowd had gathered there on 13 th April 1919.
  2. The crowd had gathered to protest for Indian independence
  3. General Dyer ordered the army to open fire as Martial law was in place.
  4. None of the above




I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Civil service ethics is more than the mere definition of actions complying or not complying with the law. Discuss
  1. Marx’s relevance today is chiefly in the analysis of the concentration of wealth in the hands of the property-owning classes. Discuss in Indian context.
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 Mobile number and Email id will not be published. Required fields are marked *