18 Jul 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

18 July 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. 7 months on, probe drags on in lawyer-policeman clash case
2. Appeal to pause work on legal reform
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. UN blacklists Pak. Taliban leader Noor Wali Mehsud
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. ‘Draft EIA gives licence for violations’
SECURITY
1. Customs unravels hawala trail in Kerala gold smuggling case
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Iran ties need quiet diplomacy
EDUCATION
1. University examination guidelines that score low
F. Prelims Facts
1. Indian Pangolin
G. Tidbits
1. 9 parties against digital campaign in Bihar
2. ‘T.N. emerges as top investment destination’
3. At UN meet, Modi calls for ‘reformed multilateralism’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Appeal to pause work on legal reform

Context:

Raising concerns that Indian criminal law cannot be overhauled in six months amidst a pandemic, 123 eminent personalities including former Supreme Court judges, senior lawyers and academics have written a letter to the national committee to reform penal laws in the country, set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

This topic has been covered in the 11th July 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. UN blacklists Pak. Taliban leader Noor Wali Mehsud

What’s in News?

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terror group’s leader Noor Wali Mehsud has been designated as a global terrorist by the UN.

Details:

  • The UN Security Council’s 1267 ISIL and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee added Mehsud to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions List.
  • This would subject the Pakistani national to an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

Who is Noor Wali Mehsud?

  • In June 2018, Mehsud was named the leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, following the death of former TTP leader Maulana Fazlullah.
  • The TTP was blacklisted by the UN on July 29, 2011, for its association with al-Qaeda.
    • The group had claimed responsibility for an attempted bombing in Times Square in April and May 2010.
    • It had launched a multi-pronged assault against the United States Consulate in Peshawar.

Why is Mehsud black-listed?

  • He has been blacklisted for participating in the financing, planning and perpetrating acts on behalf of and in support of entities associated with al-Qaeda.
  • According to the sanctions committee, under Noor Wali’s leadership, TTP has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly terrorist attacks across Pakistan, including an attack targeting Pakistani security forces in North Waziristan and a bomb attack against Pakistani soldiers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2019.
  • The U.S. domestically designated Noor Wali as a terrorist in September 2019.

Note:

Blacklisting by the UN Security Council entails that all states are required to freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.

Category: SECURITY

1. Customs unravels hawala trail in Kerala gold smuggling case

Context:

The Customs Department has moved to track down the network of sponsors who had purportedly financed the illegal import of gold in trade quantities via air cargo shipments addressed to the consulate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in Kerala.

Details:

  • Investigators believe the money raised in Kerala was sent to Dubai via an informal hawala banking system headquartered in Hyderabad.
  • The role of the hawala operator and the likelihood that the secretive money transfer channel could be used to send cash to finance terrorist activities had kindled the NIA’s interest in the smuggling case.
  • Hawala channels were also active conduits for laundering proceedings from illegal activities.

Hawala

  • Hawala is an informal method by which money can change hands without the use of banks.
  • This works through codes, contacts and trust with no paperwork at all.

Read more about Hawala covered in 17th June 2019 Comprehensive News Analysis.

G. Tidbits

1. 9 parties against digital campaign in Bihar

What’s in News?

A day after the Election Commission (EC) reversed its decision to extend postal ballot facility to voters above 65 years of age, nine opposition parties opposed the panel’s move to hold only a digital campaign for the upcoming Bihar Assembly election in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The topic has been covered in the 17th July 2020 CNA.

  • The parties came up with a joint memorandum opposing the EC’s decision to prohibit the traditional mode of campaign and allow only a ‘virtual election campaign’.
  • They pointed out that as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), only 34% of Bihar voters had a smartphone.
  • The parties said almost two-thirds of the electorate would be left out.
  • The election, they argued, would end up being a mere formality and it would be a ‘travesty of democratic processes’.

2. ‘T.N. emerges as top investment destination’

  • Tamil Nadu has emerged as India’s top investment destination in the first quarter of the financial year 2020-21, even as overall fresh investment announcements in India slumped to the lowest in five years amidst a period marred by the extended pandemic-induced lockdown.
  • This is according to the ‘Projex Survey’ released by Projects Today, an independent firm that tracks investment projects in the country.
  • The survey noted that while States like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra held investors meet and signed MoUs, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka reworked labour laws, started building land banks and sent feelers to foreign companies for investing in their States.

3. At UN meet, Modi calls for ‘reformed multilateralism’

What’s in News?

The Prime Minister of India, speaking at a high-level dialogue of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on “Multilateralism after COVID-19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary?”, called for reforms within the world body.

  • The PM called on members of the United Nations to pledge for reform within the UN, stating that the multilateral system needed to be more representative.
  • He said “India believes that the path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity is through multilateralism. Only reformed multilateralism with a reformed United Nations at its centre can meet the aspirations of humanity,” indicating India’s push for a permanent seat in a more globally representative United Nations Security Council.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Indian Pangolin 
(Manis crassicaudata):
  1. It is the only species of pangolin occurring in India.
  2. It is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  3. It is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

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: b

Explanation:

  • Of the eight extant species of pangolin, the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) occur in India.
  • It is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • It is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Q2. Which of the following cases are covered under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima 
Yojana (PMFBY)?
  1. It is mandatory for loanee farmers to take insurance cover under this scheme.
  2. It does not cover losses occurred due to war or similar hazardous activities.
  3. Losses occurred after harvesting crops are covered under the scheme.

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

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • When the scheme was launched in February 2016 it was mandatory for loanee farmers to take insurance cover under the PMFBY. However, currently subsequent to recently introduced changes, crop insurance has been made optional for both agriculture loanee and non-loanee farmers.
  • It does not cover losses occurred due to war or similar hazardous activities.
  • It provides post-harvest coverage. Losses occurred after harvesting crops are covered under the scheme.  Coverage is available only upto a maximum period of two weeks from harvesting.
Q3. Kish Island, recently in news, is located in:
  1. Persian Gulf
  2. South China Sea
  3. Philippine Sea
  4. Gulf of Oman
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

Kish Island, in the Persian Gulf, is located at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.

Q4. Arrange the following from East to West:
  1. Kedarnath
  2. Badrinath
  3. Gangotri
  4. Yamunotri

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The Char Dham programme is an initiative to improve connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas, namely Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.
  • East to West: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Iran’s decision to drop India from a plan to build a rail link from the strategic Chabahar port to Zahedan on the Afghan border is a wake-up call for Delhi to rethink its strategies towards Tehran. Discuss. (15 Marks, 250 Words) (GS Paper 2, IR)
  2. Should the University Grants Commission (UGC) reconsider its decision to conduct final year university examinations? Critically analyze. (10 Marks, 150 words) (GS Paper 2 – Education)

Read the previous CNA here.

18 July 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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