16 Jul 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

16 July 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Fight against hunger disrupted by slowdown
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India and European Union push trade talks
2. Trump ends HK’s special trade status, backs sanctions
HEALTH
1. Indigenous vaccine for pneumonia gets nod
C. GS 3 Related
DEFENCE
1. Govt. nod for urgent defence procurements
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Inflation alert
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India should believe in the EU
F. Prelims Facts
1. Indigenous bugs help tackle invasive pest
2. Karunanidhi on Autonomy Demand
3. China’s post-COVID aggression is reshaping Asia
G. Tidbits
1. House panel calls for database on migrants
2. Modi exhorts youth to skill, reskill and upskill
3. U.S. govt. rescinds restrictive rule on international students
4. India’s population may peak by 2047
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Trump ends HK’s special trade status, backs sanctions

Context:

U.S. President Donald Trump stripped Hong Kong of preferential trade treatment and authorised sanctions on banks over China’s clampdown in the financial hub.

Details:

  • “Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China — no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies,” Mr. Trump said.
  • According to a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, Hong Kong will suffer and China will likely gain from the move.
    • The U.S. action will have a devastating impact on Hong Kong as the financial gateway to Western markets while raising the profile of mainland Chinese markets for foreign firms and governments looking to bankroll global supply chains out of Asia.
  • Trump also said he had signed into law the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorises sanctions against Chinese officials and Hong Kong police seen as infringing on the city’s autonomy and, crucially, any banks that make significant transactions with them.
  • The new law will force all but provincial Chinese banks to choose between abetting Beijing’s efforts in Hong Kong or being able to conduct transactions in U.S. dollars and operate in the world’s largest economy.

Category: HEALTH

1. Indigenous vaccine for pneumonia gets nod

Context:

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the first fully indigenously developed conjugate vaccine for pneumonia.

Details:

  • The vaccine is developed by the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, Pune.
  • It has been granted permission to manufacture the first domestically-developed Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine.
  • Earlier the demand for such vaccine was substantially met by licensed importers since the manufacturers were all based outside India.
  • This vaccine is used for active immunisation against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by “streptococcus pneumonia” in infants and is administered intramuscularly.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India should believe in the EU

Context:

  • India-EU relations.

Background:

  • Given the current fragmented global order and Indian aspirations to be a global player, India needs to invest in increasing the number and quality of its bilateral and multilateral relationships. Partnership with the European Union (EU) is one such potential relation for India.

Details:

Common Vision:

  • The EU and India have much in common. The EU and India can support each other in these endeavours.

Economic:

  • Given the experience during the pandemic, both India and the EU are looking to diversify their strategic value chains in the economic domain and reduce their economic dependency on a single nation like China.

Global role:

  • Both aim to enhance strategic autonomy and their global standing.
    • The EU has been reluctant to be seen siding with the U.S. and has taken independent differing views based on its mutual interest. India has historically argued for strategic autonomy.
    • India is seen as a rising power while the EU has been a traditional powerhouse and intends to keep its influence in global affairs intact.

Commitment to Climate change:

  • India and the EU have shown immense commitment to address climate change.
    • On climate change, the EU is building on its ambitious target to render the continent carbon-emission neutral by 2050, through its new industrial strategy, the Green Deal.
    • India has also set ambitious targets for itself towards mitigating climate change.
  • Should both the EU and India succeed in transforming into carbon-neutral economies by 2050, the world will benefit from the investments.

Mutual benefits:

Economic:

  • Enhanced business cooperation between the two countries can help both the EU and India diversify their strategic value chains and reduce economic dependency on China.
  • India could attract EU investment that might be moving out of China.
  • A study from the European Parliament assesses the potential impact of an EU-India trade agreement at between €8 billion and €8.5 billion gains from increased trade for both sides, with a more significant increase of trade gains likely to flow to India.

Geostrategic:

  • In geopolitical terms, India finds itself facing increasingly restive, powerful rivals in its immediate neighbourhood. The EU- China relation is also under strain due to the recent developments. A partnership between India and the EU can act as a pressure point on the Chinese.

For more information on this issue, refer to:

CNA dated July 13, 2020

  • The Indo-Pacific region is receiving increased attention from global powers including the EU. India exercises substantial geopolitical leverage in the Indo-Pacific region. Stronger cooperation between the like-minded democratic powers, India and the EU can support each other in balancing assertive competitors like China.

Global affairs:

  • The EU champions the rules-based international order, which is being increasingly challenged by the proliferation of exceptionalism. India holds similar views.
  • The EU and India can join forces to promote sustainable reform of multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • A strong partnership would help both the EU and India become global decision-makers.

Challenges:

  • Though the EU is India’s biggest foreign investor, there is still room for improvement when compared to EU investments in China which, in the year 2018, amounted to €175.3 billion. The lack of finalization of the FTA between India and the EU is a concern.
    • The EU is India’s biggest foreign investor, with €67.7 billion worth of investments made in 2018 which is equal to 22% of total FDI inflows.

Way forward:

  • There is a need to address the mutual trust deficit between India and the EU. The EU and India must take forward the negotiations on the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  • Facilitating people’s mobility and connectivity could help improve mutual understanding and create opportunities for innovation and growth.
  • The present circumstances provide an opportune time for India and the EU to build a partnership that is both economic and strategic and both parties should invest efforts at strengthening this relationship far beyond the economic dimension.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Indigenous bugs help tackle invasive pest

What’s in News?

Three indigenous bugs including two types of ladybird have been reported to control the woolly whitefly – Caribbean-origin enemy of Indian fruit farmers.

  • These native predators for the natural control of the woolly whiteflies are found to be the biological weapons against the pest and have been reported to control the pest by devouring them.
  • Two of these indigenous predators were ladybird beetles of the Coccinellidae family and one was the green lacewing fly from the Neuroptera order.

Issues:

  • According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), pests damage 30-35% of crops in the country annually.
  • Among the newest of the 118 exotic pests troubling farmers in India, particularly fruit growers, is the woolly whitefly.
    • This whitefly (Aleurothrixus floccosus) is invasive and polyphagous, meaning a creature that feeds on various kinds of food.
  • In 2019, ICAR’s National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources had reported the spread of woolly whiteflies through transportation of infested seedlings.

2. Karunanidhi on Autonomy Demand

  • A Centre-State Relations Inquiry Committee was set up by the Tamil Nadu state government in September 1969 under the Chairmanship of Dr. P.V. Rajamanar to consider important questions on federalism.
  • The Committee in its report recommended the setting up of the Inter-State Council and recommended that any decision of national importance or which may affect one or more States should be taken by the Union Government only after consultation with the Inter-State Council.
  • The committee favoured the vesting of the residuary power of legislation taxation in the state legislature.
  • The recommendations were ignored by the union government.

3. China’s post-COVID aggression is reshaping Asia

  • The Chiang Mai Initiative was a financial swap mechanism between China, Japan, South Korea, and ASEAN that emerged in the aftermath of the late 1990s Asian financial crisis. 
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia, was created in 1967.

G. Tidbits

1. House panel calls for database on migrants

What’s in News?

Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs have advised the government to set up a national database of migrant workers to ensure that they don’t fall out of the social security cover.

  • It was discussed how the pandemic has brought to the fore the gaping holes in our social security network, which need to be plugged.
  • It was opined that better coordination between States and districts could have prevented the massive exodus of migrant workers.

2. Modi exhorts youth to skill, reskill and upskill

What’s in News?

Speaking on the occasion of the World Youth Skills Day and the fifth anniversary of “Skill India Mission”, India’s Prime Minister said that the mission had led to the creation of vast infrastructure for skilling, reskilling and upskilling and enhancing opportunities for access to employment, both locally and globally.

  • PM highlighted the potential to capitalise on skilling opportunities, giving the example of the healthcare sector where Indian skilled manpower could supplement the global demand.

Progress made:

  • Under the programme, hundreds of PM Kaushal Kendras have been set up and the capacity of the ITI ecosystem increased.
  • More than five crore youth have been skilled.
  • The ASEEM portal was launched recently for mapping the skilled employees and employers. This would help the skilled workers, including the migrant workers who had returned to their homes, to access jobs easily and the employers to contact skilled employees.

3. U.S. govt. rescinds restrictive rule on international students

What’s in News?

The U.S. Government has rescinded its policy that foreign (F-1 and M-1 visa categories) students taking all their courses online would have to depart the country.

  • This order, issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), encountered strong opposition from voices in academia, industry and politics.
    • Tech companies and industry associations, including Google, Facebook and Twitter as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed an amicus brief in support of the Harvard-MIT lawsuit, citing, “significant harm” to U.S. businesses from the administration’s policies.

This issue has been covered in the 8th July 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.

4. India’s population may peak by 2047

According to a projection in the online edition of the Lancet, India’s population is likely to peak by 2047 at about 1.61 billion and then decline to 1.03 billion by 2100.

  • However, were it to meet UN Sustainable Goal Development targets, the peak would be earlier and see a population decline to 929 million.
  • Conventional wisdom is that though a decline in population is expected, it is expected to begin only around 2046.
  • The sharper fall, the scientists opine, is due to the assumption that all women globally will have much higher access to contraception and education. This scenario will lead to a sharper reduction in the Total Fertility Rate.
    • A TFR lower than 2.1, it is said, leads to a decline in a country’s population.
  • The UNDP forecasts assume that all countries mirror the trend in selected low-fertility countries in Europe, east and southeast Asia, and North America, where the TFRs converge towards a level of approximately 1·75.
  • India is expected to remain the most populous country. The five largest countries in 2100 are projected to be India, Nigeria, China, the U.S. and Pakistan.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Asian Development Bank (ADB):
  1. It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
  2. The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and non-regional developed countries.
  3. It issues Special Drawing Rights (SDR) monetary reserve currency that operates as a supplement to the existing money reserves of member countries.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries.
  • Special Drawing Rights (SDR) refers to an international type of monetary reserve currency created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1969 that operates as a supplement to the existing money reserves of member countries.
  • SDRs are units of account for the IMF and not a currency per se. They instead represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.
Q2. Total Fertility Rate is:
  1. The average number of children born to women during their reproductive years.
  2. The fertility rate at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration.
  3. The fertility rate at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next.
  4. The number of live births per thousand of population per year.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Total Fertility Rate refers to the average number of children born to women during their reproductive years.
  • In simple terms, it refers to the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime if she were subject to the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population (reproductive years).
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Chiang Mai Initiative:
  1. It is a multilateral currency swap arrangement.
  2. It involved ten members of ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China including Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The Chiang Mai Initiative was a financial swap mechanism that emerged in the aftermath of the late 1990s Asian financial crisis.
  • It is a currency swap agreement among ASEAN +3 i.e, ten members of ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China including Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.
Q4. Which of the following committees or commissions dealt with Centre-State relations?
  1. Sarkaria Commission
  2. Puncchi Commission
  3. Rajamannar Committee

Choose the correct option:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Sarkaria Commission, Puncchi Commission and Rajmannar Committee dealt with center-state relations.

  • In 1983, the Central government appointed a three-member Commission on Centre-state relations under the chairmanship of R S Sarkaria, a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
  • In April 2007, the Government of India constituted a Commission on Centre-State Relations under the chairmanship of Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi to look into the new issues of Centre-State relations keeping in view the changes that have taken place in the polity and economy of India since the Sarkaria Commission had last looked at the issue of Centre-State relations over two decades ago.
  • In 1969, the Tamil Nadu Government appointed a three-member committee under the chairmanship of Dr P V Rajamannar to examine the entire question of Centre–state relations and to suggest amendments to the Constitution so as to secure utmost autonomy to the states.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Common vision, values and the prospect of mutual benefits from a vibrant bilateral partnership should be sufficient grounds for strengthening the India-EU relationship. Comment. (GS Paper 2 – IR: 15 marks, 250 words)
  2. Discuss the major types of inflation and their causative factors. Also discuss the commonly used methods to control inflation. (GS Paper 3 – Economy: 10 marks, 150 words)

Read the previous CNA here.

16 July 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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