18 Jul 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Quote for the day Set 5 11

CNA 18 July 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. Why is Kerala protesting the Supreme Court’s ESZ Notifications?
2. Karnataka’s PSI recruitment scam and the rot at the top
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT
1. Forest Fire rage in Southwest Europe
AGRICULTURE
1. Only 50% of farmers benefited from loan waivers
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Biden in West Asia
POLITY
1. Preserving democracy in India
F. Prelims Facts
1. Indian Navy decommissioned submarine INS Sindhudhvaj
2. Packed curd, paneer, atta to attract 5% GST
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

2. Karnataka’s PSI recruitment scam and the rot at the top

Syllabus:Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Prelims: Prevention of corruption act

Mains:Corruption results administrative inefficiency and obstruction in the path of national Development.

Context: The Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Karnataka  probing one of the biggest recruitment scams (for Police sub-inspector (PSI)) in the State unearthed lakhs given in bribe and made arrests of over 60 candidates, local politicians and top police officials in the Karnataka Police recruitment cell, including its then chief Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Amrit Paul. 

What the probe says:

  • As per the initial investigation, 30 aspirants had paid between rupees 30 lakh to rupees1 crore to help tamper the OMR sheets and get into the final list. 
  • As per the preliminary investigation, On the day of the examination, the aspirants left the OMR sheet empty as instructed by the agent and were asked to hand over the OMR sheet to the agent, who were then supposed to hand it over only on the result day after taking the remaining payment by the candidate.
  • The OMR sheet was reportedly forged at the examination center itself. The probe also revealed that the CCTV cameras installed in the college were dysfunctional to destroy any kind of evidence. Besides that, there have been complaints of students using bluetooth devices in certain examination centers.

Rot at the top: 

  • The inquiry revealed the systematic way in which the whole recruitment process was rigged, tracing the rot all the way to the top of the chain. 
  • Those arrested include the candidates, the kingpin,the invigilators, the middlemen, police personnel and officers at recruitment cell. 
  • The extensive nature of the scam shows the amount of corruption at the higher levels of the police force.
  • Recently, Karnataka high court opined that, the proof of alleged involvement of senior level police officials in the scam is a case of the “fence eating the crop”.
  • Lack of political willingness to bring effective reforms like changes in prevention of corruption act, RTI, WPA and Lokpal suggest strengthening the government officials at the cost of public interest. 
  • Conviction rate in corruption cases continues to be minimal in almost all states.

Impact on recruitment

 Karnataka State Police has been suffering with over 30% vacancies, and has taken up an aggressive recruitment drive since 2016, with an aim to have no vacancies by 2023-24. However, the scam has halted the recruitment drive causing inconvenience to both aspirants and the department.

Nut Graf: Corruption can result in poor public trust in political institutions, reduced political participation, distortion of the electoral process, limited political choices available to voters and loss of legitimacy of the democratic system.Corruption can be tackled effectively with the homegrown solutions.

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Forest Fire rage in Southwest Europe

Syllabus:Environmental pollution and degradation, Disaster Management

Mains: Impact of Climate change on Heat Waves and forest fires

Context: South Western European countries have been facing the worst of the heat wave resulting in wildfires. Around 14000 people have been forced to flee their homes and camps and thousands of hectares of forest land burned down.

Reason behind Increasing Wildfires:

  • Wildfires need right climatic conditions, inflammable fuel and a spark. These conditions are being fulfilled by rising temperatures which suck moisture out of plants, creating plenty of dry plants as fuel. 
  • Drought and high heat can kill plants and dry out dead grass, and other material on the forest floor that fuel the fire once it starts spreading through a forest. 
  • The spark for these dry vegetation is sometimes caused by lightning, at other times by accident due carelessness of the local people.
  • As for Europe, due to climate change, an uncommon dry, hot spring left the soil parched.Addition to this, fires are being fanned by earlier-than-usual severe temperatures and drought conditions in some parts.

How does climate change affect wildfires?

  • Climate change has intensified heat waves 5 to 10 times compared to heat waves about 100 years ago. 
  • Extreme weather events like famines, hotter temperature,rain, droughts, and floods are the result of global warming.
  • First  heatwave in 2022 in Europe increased the temperature to around 40 degrees Celsius. 
  • With rising forest fires, the frequency of lightning strikes increases.
    • Lightning ignition is the dominant spark to of massive wildfires in the boreal forests of North America and northern Siberia

Impact of Heat waves and Wildfires:

  • It is the second heatwave engulfing parts of southwest Europe in weeks.
  • In Portugal and Spain, heat waves have claimed around 1000 deaths so far.
  • While fire poses a direct risk to people’s property and life, smoke, particularly the particles with size 2.5 microns and less, can also affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
  • It has affected the tourism sector in many countries.
    • Authorities in the French Alps urged climbers bound for Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, to postpone their trip due to repeated rock falls caused by “exceptional climatic conditions” and “drought”.

Way Forward: Ways to Monitor and manage wildfires

  • A preventive approach, in place of reactive approach by involving vulnerable groups, will help adapt to the wildfires,
  • Indigenous fire management techniques will help in quicker resolution.
  • Focus on long-range weather forecasting
  • Effective use of remote-sensing technologies like satellites, ground-based radar, and lightning detection should be focused upon.

Nut Graf: Frequency and the intensity of wildfires across the world is getting bigger.Approach to fight these events has to change from fighting to mitigation.While improving the firefighting capabilities, there is a need to address factors that make these fires escalate and become worse.
Category: AGRICULTURE

1. Only 50% of farmers benefited from loan waivers

Syllabus:GS3- Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices, Banking sector and NBFcs

Mains: Pros and cons of Farm loan Waiver

Context: As per the recent study by State Bank of India, only about 50% of the intended beneficiaries of farm loan waivers announced by 09 States since 2014 have actually received debt write offs.

Findings of the study:

  • The study was based on the result of ten farm loan waivers worth about rupees 2.53 lakh crore announced by 09 States, starting with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in 2014. 
    • Almost 92% of Andhra Pradesh’s 42 lakh farmers eligible for loan waivers had benefited, while it is just 5% for Telangana.
  • As of March 2022, the poorest execution of farm loan waiver schemes in terms of proportion of eligible farmers who had received the announced benefits was in Telangana (5%).
Poor implementation

Image Source: The Hindu

  • Whereas 100% of the eligible farmers in Chhattisgarh and 91% in Maharashtra received loan waivers in 2018 and 2022 respectively. 
    • A similar promise announced by the Maharashtra government in 2017 worth rupees 34,000 crore has been implemented for 68% of beneficiaries.
  • “Since 2014, out of around 3.7 crore eligible farmers, just  around 50% of the farmers received the amount of loan waiver till March 2022.

Possible reasons behind these poor performances:

  • Study identifies following reasons,  
    • Rejection of beneficiaries’ claims by  governments, 
    • Limited fiscal capacity to meet promises and 
    • Change in ruling party in subsequent years.

Issues behind the farm loan waiver:

  • Apart from benefits not reaching the beneficiary farmers, the study highlighted the concerns about achieving the intended target of helping distressed farmers 
    • Of the total accounts eligible for farm loan waiver, around 80% of the accounts were in the standard category, raising the question on final beneficiaries.
  • Loan waivers ruin the credit culture which may damage  the farmers’ interest in the medium to long term.
  • They also reduce fiscal space of administration and divert the funds from productive investment in agriculture infrastructure.

Nut Graf: In Spite of all the hype and political patronage, loan waivers by State governments have failed to bring reprieve to distressed farmers and destroyed credit discipline thus creating further pressure on banks and financial institutions regarding further lending. This can be termed as a “self goal” inflicted by the State on its subjects.

Read more on  Farm loan Waiver

Category: POLITY

1. Preserving democracy in India

Syllabus: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

Mains: Threats to Indian democracy

Background:

  • The article written by Dushyant Dave, Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India and former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, expresses concerns with respect to the following developments in the recent past.
  • Toppling of governments in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra through questionable tactics such as the encouragement to defections from the parties in power.
  • Selective targeting and arrests of Opposition members.
  • This the author terms as efforts to terminate all opposition to the government and warns that such developments are not in the interest of the country.

Significance of a opposition:

Feature of democracy:

  • The presence of a one party-government though brings in stability for the executive, it reduces the scope for diverse views and opinions in the functioning of such a government and this does not augur well for a democracy.
  • Democracy is the basic feature of the Constitution.
  • Without an effective Opposition, democracy will become dull and hence the presence of an Opposition is necessary for a vibrant democracy.

Feature of parliamentary democracy:

  • India has adopted the parliamentary system of government to ensure that there is a responsible executive in India. Such a system provides for the assessment of responsibility of the executive on a daily basis.
  • The daily assessment is done by members of Parliament, through questions, resolutions, no-confidence motions, adjournment motions and debates.
  • Without an effective Opposition, legislature will become submissive. This can degrade the public trust in the legislature and the Indian democracy in general.

Recommendations:

  • The Judiciary should step up to check against any ill motivated moves to stifle opposition in the country.
  • The Opposition should also seek to up its credibility by seeking to work constructively with the government rather than merely attacking the government on all issues.

Nut Graf:

Given the key role played by opposition in the functioning of a parliamentary democracy like India, any move to stifle opposition must be resisted to ensure that India has a vibrant democracy.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Indian Navy decommissioned submarine INS Sindhudhvaj

Syllabus: GS3 , Various Security forces and agencies and their mandates

Context:The Indian Navy’s Kilo class submarine INS Sindhudhvaj was decommissioned from service at Visakhapatnam after 35 years in service. 

INS Sindhudhvaj:

  • It was one of the ten Kilo class submarines India obtained from Russia between 1986 and 2000. 
  • It was commissioned into the Navy in 1987.
  • INS Sindhudhvaj has many firsts to her credit which includes operationalisation of the indigenised sonar USHUS, indigenised satellite communication system Rukmani and MSS, inertial navigation system and indigenised torpedo fire control system.
  • It was the only submarine to be awarded the Chief of Naval Staff rolling trophy for Innovation.
  • With the transfer of INS Sindhuvir to Myanmar in 2020 (Myanmar’s first submarine) the Navy now has 15 conventional submarines in service.

2. Packed curd, paneer, atta to attract 5% GST

Syllabus: GS3, Mobilization of resources-Taxation

Context: Recently, the GST Council altered the exemption list and imposed the tax on many goods and services. 

Changes made to Duty Structure:

  • 5% Goods and Services Tax is imposed on pre-packed, labeled food items such as atta, paneer and curd.
  •  Hospital rooms with rents above rupees 5,000 will also attract 5% GST.
  • Hotel rooms with tariffs of up to rupees 1,000 a day, maps and charts, including atlases, will attract a 12% GST.
  • 18% GST will be charged on cartons and fees charged by banks for the issue of cheques.
  • Duty inversion for goods where the taxes on inputs were higher than those on the output is removed based on an interim report of the Group of Ministers.
  • The tax on services such as work contracts for roads, bridges, railways, metro facilities, effluent treatment plants and crematoriums will go up to 18% from the current 12%.

Reduction & exemptions:

  • GST on ostomy appliances and on transport of goods and passengers by ropeways is reduced to 5% from present 12%.
  • Services provided by organizations like RBI, the IRDA and the SEBI will be taxed at 18%.
  • Biomedical waste to be taxed at 12%
  • 5% Gst will be levied on  non-ICU hospital room rents exceeding rupees 5,000 a day, without input tax credit, to the extent of the amount charged for the room. 
  • Individuals can claim GST exemption for training or coaching in recreational activities relating to arts, culture or sports. 
  • Electric vehicles (With or without battery pack) will be eligible for the concessional GST rate of 5%.

G. Tidbits

Nothing here today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. The “State of the economy” report is released by (Medium)
  1. Ministry of Finance
  2. Financial Stability and Development Council
  3. Reserve Bank of India (A)
  4. NITI Aayog

Answer: 

CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

  • In the report, it cautioned that the surging commodity prices are causing inflation risks, especially through the surging of imports.
  • As per the report, Retail inflation has gone up to 6.95 per cent in March driven mainly by inflation in  food and beverages.
  • Report attributed  war and related retaliatory sanctions as one of the main reasons for rise in inflation.
Q2. Which of the following statement/s is/are correct? (Medium)
  1. While India has had a woman President, there has been no women Vice President thus far in India.
  2. The Vice President can be removed from office by a resolution passed by the joint sitting of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

Options:

  1. 1only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: 

CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

  • Pratibha Devisingh Patil served as the 14th President of India from 25 July 2007 to July 2012 and was also the first and, to date, only female president of India.
  • As per article 67 of the Indian constitution, the Vice-President may leave office before the end of his term by resigning to the President, or he/she may be removed by a resolution of the Council of States passed by a majority of all the then members of the Council and agreed to by the House of the People.
  • Hence option a is correct.
Q3. The ‘Sanda’ Method of cultivation is associated with which of the following crops? 
(Difficult)
  1. Sugarcane
  2. Rice 
  3. Wheat
  4. Pulses

Answer: 

CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

  • ‘Sanda’ method of cultivation is a traditional way of paddy farming .
  • In this method, the seedlings of 18-20-day-old paddy nurseries are planted densely in different field.
  • As it does not require enough water and the seedlings can survive for the 20-25 days till the arrival of monsoon. Later, these seedlings are sowed in the fields.
  • This method uses less water and also increases production by 30-35 per cent. 
Q4. Consider the following pairs of local festival and associated state. (Difficult)

           Festival                   State

  • Bonalu                Telangana
  • Losar                   Nagaland
  • Kharchi               Puja Tripura
  • Gangaur              Festival Gujarat

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

  1. One pair only
  2. Two pairs only 
  3. Three pairs only
  4. All the four pairs

Answer:

CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

  • Bonalu is a traditional festival of Hindu Goddess Mahakali. It is celebrated annually inTelangana, especially in cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
  • Losar is also known as Tibetan New Year, is a festival celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists. The holiday is a new year’s festival, celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar Tibetran calendar.
  • Kharchi Puja is a Hindu festival celebrated in the state of Tripura which involves the worship of the 14 gods forming the dynasty deity of the Tripuri people.
  • Gangaur  is a festival celebrated in the Indian state of Rajasthan and certain parts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal.
  • Hence option b is correct.
Q5. Consider the following:
  • Deification of the Buddha
  • Treading the path of Bodhisattvas
  • Image worship and rituals

Which of the above is/are the features/features of Mahayana Buddhism? (Medium)

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer:

CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

  • Mahayana Buddhism considers Buddha as God rather than a leader hence they concentrate on image worship and rituals.
  • Teachings of Mahayana Buddhism focuses on treading the path of Bodhisattvas. 
  • Hence option d is correct

Read more on Difference between Mahayan and Hinayana Buddhism

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