24 Jul 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Quote for the day Set 5 11

CNA 24 July 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY
1. Kin of J&K youth held under PSA to move SC
INDIAN CONSTITUTION
1. Media running kangaroo courts
C. GS 3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Monkeypox is a ‘public health emergency’
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. How will SC ruling on abortion impact women?
ECONOMY
1. What is the controversy over GST levies on food?
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. Any country can use CoWIN free
2. Bat habitats in South Western Ghats lie mainly outside protected areas.
3. Kerala researchers detect fungal disease in jackfruit
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. How will SC ruling on abortion impact women?

Syllabus: Important Supreme Court Judgment

Prelims: MTP act- Provisions

Context:

  • Recently, the Supreme Court of India allowed an unmarried woman to end her pregnancy at 24 weeks. 
  • The woman’s argument to terminate the pregnancy was that her relationship with her partner had changed who had refused to marry her and being unmarried and raising a child carries a stigma in society. 
  • This Supreme Court judgment came upon an appeal against the Delhi High Court judgment in the same case.

Background:

Delhi High Court’s judgment:

  • The Delhi High Court had refused to allow the termination of the pregnancy of the unmarried woman, citing the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. The Court had held that since she was unmarried and since the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act allowed only married women to terminate the pregnancy after 20 weeks, she would not be eligible to get an abortion.
  • Also the Court argued that terminating the pregnancy at this stage would amount to killing the foetus.

Details:

  • The Supreme Court, took note of the amendment to the MTP Act in 2021 wherein the word husband was replaced by partner. This the Court interpreted as meaning that the law was not confined to only those in marital relationships. 
  • The Bench noted that the petitioner cannot be denied the benefit under the MTP act, on the ground that she was unmarried, as this would amount to discrimination.
  • As per the MTP Act, all women are allowed to get a medical termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks. But only certain categories of women are allowed to have an abortion between 20 and 24 weeks — survivors of rape, minors, and a married woman whose relationship status has altered during this period.
  • The Supreme Court directed the constitution of a medical board to examine the woman (as per the provisions of the MTP Act) to determine if it was safe and not a risk to the life of the mother to terminate the pregnancy. If it is found to be safe, then she could go ahead and have an abortion.

Significance of the judgement:

  • The Supreme Court’s expansion of the law to include unmarried women as part of the MTP Act has given women in similar circumstances an option now to access healthcare services without having to take the time and resource consuming legal route to the top court every time.

Nut Graf: The Supreme Court’s expansion of the law to include unmarried women as part of the MTP Act is in line with the ‘object and spirit’ of the MTP legislation to facilitate the access to quality healthcare services to those seeking to avail termination of pregnancy.

Category: ECONOMY

1. What is the controversy over GST levies on food?

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Prelims: GST Council; Revenue Neutral Rate

Mains: Rationalization of GST system

Context:

  • Starting from July 18, a 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be levied on select food items and grains that are sold in a pre-packed, labelled form even if they are not branded. 
  • Up until now, these items were exempt from GST.

Details:

  • The items on which the new tax would be applied include curd, lassi, buttermilk, puffed rice, wheat, pulses, oats, maize and flour.
  • Notably, the affected food items, will be exempt from GST when sold loose. Also, pre-packed items weighing over 25 kg would not attract GST.
  • The GST Council approved the 5% tax in June 2022. The recommendation for the new tax was given by the Group of Ministers (GoMs) set up by the GST council to consider steps to rationalise the tax rates and correct anomalies.

Rationale for the new tax:

Rationalization of GST system:

  • The new GST tax are part of a broader set of changes in the GST structure to do away with tax exemptions as well as concessional tax rates. 
  • The GST tax provision to tax only such items which are sold under a registered brand had triggered ‘rampant misuse of tax exemption’ by reputed manufacturers and brand owners leading to a gradual drop in GST revenues from this segment.

Raising tax revenue:

  • The move is aimed at raising revenues from the GST.
  • As against the envisaged ‘revenue-neutral’ rate of 15.5% at the launch of the GST system, the effective rate stood at a low 11.6%.

Concerns:

  • The tax rise can have a marginal impact on India’s consumer inflation rate which has been higher than the targeted 6% in recent times.
  • As per available data, 85% of the country’s consumers use such unbranded goods. Hence the price rise could impact the consumption pattern of this large segment of population.
  • The fresh tax levies have attracted an outcry from traders as well who fear a drop in their profit margins.

Nut Graf: The new GST tax are part of a broader set of changes in the GST structure to do away with tax exemptions as well as concessional tax rates. This will help the administration increase GST revenues.

2. Bat habitats in South Western Ghats lie mainly outside protected areas.

  • A recent study published in the ‘Journal of Mammalogy’ shows that more than half of habitats suitable for 37 species of bats in the Southern Western Ghats lie outside protected areas.
  • Study involved Six major biodiversity hotspots — Periyar Tiger Reserve, Agasthyamalai, the Nilgiris, Anamalai, the Wayanad-Mudumalai complex and Brahmagiri.
  • As per the study, the Southern Western Ghats was home to rare and endangered bat species such as Salim Ali’s fruit bat (Latidens salimalii) and the Pomona roundleaf bat.
  • The study can aid forest departments  and local people come up with plans to protect bat species across the Western Ghats.
  • Identifying these bat populations outside protected areas could help authorities spread awareness among human communities of the importance of bats to ecology and the environment.

Threats faced by Bats:

  • Poaching for their meat, especially Salim Ali’s fruit bat (Latidens salimalii)
  • Habitat loss 
  • Stigma from local communities, especially after the pandemic.

3. Kerala researchers detect fungal disease in jackfruit

  • Kerala Agricultural University  has reported the emergence of a new fungal disease in jackfruit(Artocarpus heterophyllus).
  • It is the first time that rot by the fungus Athelia rolfsii is being reported in jackfruit in India.
  • Athelia rolfsii is a major risk to various crops and, hence, the new development demands immediate attention.
  • As a soilborne fungal pathogen, Athelia rolfsii has a wide host range which attacks various commercially cultivated crops belonging to different families.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Chandra Shekhar Azad.(Level-Medium)
  1. He actively participated in the Non-Cooperation movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi.
  2. He formed the Hindustan Republican Association in 1923.
  3. He was involved in the Kakori Train Robbery.

Which of the following 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: c

Explanation: Read more on Chandra Shekhar Azad and HSRA

Q2. Which of the following statement/s is/are correct with respect to fertilizer import
and export by India? (Level-Medium)
  1. With respect to Muriate of Potash (MoP) fertilizer, India is completely dependent on imports.
  2. With respect to Urea fertilizer, India enjoys self-sufficiency and is able to meet all demand through domestic production.

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • India has imported 7.74 lakh metric tonnes of fertilizers from Russia in the first three months of 2022. Out of the 7.74 lakh MT, urea comprised 47,000 MT. Therefore, statement 02 is incorrect.
  • For muriate of potash (MoP), India is completely dependent on imports. India imported 24.60 lakh MTs of MoP in 2020-21.
  • Major sources of muriate of potash are Israel and Lithuania.
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Anglo-Mysore wars of 18th century.
(Level-Difficult)
  1. The First Anglo-Mysore war was fought over the control of Northern Cicars region and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Mangalore between the British and Hyder Ali.
  2. Tipu Sultan died fighting in the Third Anglo-Mysore war.

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

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

Answer: c

Explanation: Read more on Anglo Mysore war- First and Second warThird and Fourth War

Q4. Consider the following pairs of Port and bordering water body. (Level-Difficult)

Port                                       Bordering water body

Odesa                                             Black sea

Rotterdam                                    North Sea

Hong Kong                               East China Sea

Dakar                                          Indian Ocean

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

Options:

  1. One pair only
  2. Two pairs only (A)
  3. Three pairs only
  4. All the four pairs
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation: 

  • Pair 01 is correct, The Port of Odesa is the largest seaport of Ukraine and one of the largest ports in the Black sea basin. 
Port of Odessa

Image Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

  • Pair 02 is correct, The Port of Rotterdam is the largest Seaport in Europe and is located on the North sea.
  • Pair 03 is incorrect, Hongkong port is located on South china Sea.
Hongkong Port

Image Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

  • Pair 04 is incorrect, Dakar port is located on the North Atlantic ocean in the country of Senegal.
Dakar port

Image Source: CGTN, Africa

Q5. Consider the following statements: (Level-Medium)
  1. The Environment Protection Act, 1986 empowers the Government of India to state the requirement of public participation in the process of environmental protection and the procedure and manner in which it is sought 
  2. lay down the standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: b

Explanation: Read more on the Environment Protection Act, 1986 

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Explain why pre-packaged and labelled food items been brought under the tax net now. (10 Marks, 150 words)(GS3 – Economy)
  2. What is Jammu and Kashmir’s Public Safety Act? Discuss the constitutional safeguards against preventive detention. (15 Marks, 250 words) (GS-2, Polity)

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 24 July 2022:- Download PDF Here

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