26 Jul 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. VVPATs will be ready for Lok Sabha polls, says EC
2. It’s not straight to detention centres for those not on NRC
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Pakistan polls:
2. Sanctions relief: on waiver for India under CAATSA:
3. India proud to partner Africa
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY
1.  The Sabarimala singularity
GOVERNANCE
1.  Detention no cure: on RTE Act amendment
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. VVPATs will be ready for Lok Sabha polls, says EC

Context:

The Election Commission on Wednesday said all VVPATs would be delivered well within the time required for preparations ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. The Commission is committed to the 100% deployment of VVPATs at all polling stations in future General Election, as well as by-elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative assemblies,” the EC said.

What are VVPAT machines?

The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail is a method that provides feedback to voters. It is an independent verification printer machine and is attached to electronic voting machines. It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.

How do VVPAT machines work?

When a voter presses a button in the EVM, a paper slip is printed through the VVPAT. The slip contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate. It allows the voter to verify his/her choice.  After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip will be cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard. VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.

 

2. It’s not straight to detention centres for those not on NRC

Context:

The Home Ministry has advised the Assam government that no action should be initiated by the administration or the police based on the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) that is to be published on July 30.

  • The persons whose names do not figure in the draft NRC would not be referred to the Foreigners’ Tribunal as people are entitled to file claims and objections and due opportunity would to be given to them before final publication.
  • People would also not be referred to a detention centre based on NRC exercise.
  • As per directions of the Supreme Court, the Registrar General of India (RGI) is to publish the final list on July 30 to segregate Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the State from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.
  • The first draft containing the names of 1.9 crore out of 3.29 crore applicants was published on December 31 last year. The second and final draft is scheduled to be published on July 30.
  • Minister of State for Home informed Parliament on Wednesday that 52 Bangladeshis currently in detention centres in Assam would be deported on July 30.
  • An intensive public awareness campaign has been launched to disseminate information regarding the NRC process, options available for individuals whose names do not figure in the draft NRC, and the procedure and timeline for filing claims and objections so as to address the concerns of people left out of the draft list, the Home Ministry said.

All you need to know about National Register of Citizens:  NRC

 

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Pakistan polls:

Why is this poll important?

It is for the second time that the power is being transferred from one Civilian Government to the other, in Pakistan.  It was the military that ruled Pakistan for about half of its history and still sets key security and foreign policy in the nuclear-armed nation.

  • The Economy of Pakistan is in a crisis. Whichever party wins Pakistan’s upcoming general election will take over an economy on the brink of a balance of payments crisis. Growth is likely to slow sharply regardless of who wins the election,” said Gareth Leather, senior Asia economist at Capital Economics.
  • Capital Economics forecasts GDP growth at 3% in the next two years, down from 5.8% in 2018.
  • Influence of the extremist groups has been seen to be increasing.

 

The Pakistan Muslim League (N)) has sought to turn the vote into a referendum on Pakistan’s democracy, and has said it is campaigning to protect the “sanctity of the vote,” a reference to a history of political interference by the military. While Pakistan’s cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf (PTI) was on the lead.

 

2. Sanctions relief: on waiver for India under CAATSA:

Context:

The U.S. Congress has released a report allowing the introduction of a presidential waiver of its controversial Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Issue:

The matter was particularly heated with India making it clear it would go ahead with the S-400 Triumf missile system deal with Russia regardless of the U.S. law and the threat of sanctions. CAATSA, signed reluctantly by President Donald Trump last August would have forced his administration to impose sanctions on any country carrying out significant defence and energy trade with sanctioned entities in Russia, Iran and North Korea. Mr. Trump had objected, arguing that the law took away his powers to decide on such matters.

India’s three-fold case for the waiver:

  1. No weapons India bought would be used against the U.S.
  2. The U.S., which wants to partner with India in the Indo-Pacific, would hamper India’s military abilities by applying the sanctions or denying the country crucial technology.
  3. India has significantly reduced its dependence on Russian military hardware while increasing defence purchases from the U.S., and it would be unfair if the U.S. rewarded the effort with punitive measures.

After months of testimony, including a final push for waiver for countries like India, Indonesia and Vietnam by U.S. Defence Secretary the Congressional committee has decided to allow a presidential waiver.

What does the Presidential waiver state?

The “modified waiver authority”, or amendment to Section 231 of CAATSA proposed by Congress, allows the President to waive sanctions in certain circumstances, for six months at a time, as long as he certifies that it is in the U.S.’s national security interests and does not “endanger” ongoing operations.

Way forward:

The resolution of CAATSA-related sanctions wasn’t the only irritant in the U.S.-India relationship, there are other issues that need to be addressed in the ‘2+2 dialogue’ scheduled for September. They are:

  • The sanctions proposed by the Trump administration for energy trade with Iran still loom
  • The possible punitive measures at the World Trade Organisation over tariffs and counter-tariffs the two countries have imposed on each other.

Also, the waivers are contingent on Mr. Trump’s continued support to Indian defence requirements. Hence, it would be prudent not to presume that the problems over CAATSA have fully blown over.

3. India proud to partner Africa

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Ugandan Parliament on Wednesday. It was the first time; an Indian PM had addressed the Ugandan Parliament. He outlined 10 guiding principles for deepening India’s engagement with Africa to help in its economic growth and tackle challenges such as terrorism and climate change.

Highlights:

  • Uganda, also known as the “Pearl of Africa”, is a land of immense beauty, great wealth of resources and rich heritage.
  • The two nations were connected to each other by ancient maritime links, the dark ages of colonial rule, the shared struggle for freedom and the uncertain paths as independent countries in a divided world.

 

What are the 10 guiding principles?

  • In his first principle, the PM promised to keep Africa as a top Indian priority.
  • Two, India-Africa development partnership will be guided by Africa’s priorities.
  • Three, India will keep the markets open and make it easier and more attractive to trade with. Indian industries would be encouraged to invest in Africa.
  • Four, India’s experience with digital revolution will be harnessed to support Africa’s development, improve delivery of public services, extend education and health, spread digital literacy, expand financial inclusion and mainstream the marginalised
  • Five, Africa has 60% of the world’s arable land, but produces just 10% of the global output. India will work with Africa to improve its agriculture.
  • Six, our partnership will address the challenges of climate change
  • Seven, cooperation and mutual capabilities in combating terrorism and extremism will be strengthened, keeping the cyberspace safe and secure and supporting the UN in advancing and keeping peace
  • Eight, India will work with African nations to keep the oceans open and free for the benefit of all nations. The world needs cooperation and not competition in the eastern shores of Africa and the eastern Indian Ocean
  • Nine, as global engagement in Africa increases. India and Africa must work together to ensure that Africa does not once again turn into a theatre of rival ambitions but becomes a nursery for the aspirations of Africa’s youth.
  • Ten, just as India and Africa fought colonialism together, we will work together for a just, representative and democratic global order that has a voice and a role for one-third of humanity that lives in Africa and India

Other details:

  • India – Africa partnership currently includes implementation of 180 Lines of Credit worth about US$ 11 billion in over 40 African countries. In last Africa-India Forum Summit, India had committed a concessional Line of Credit of US$ 10 billion & US$ 600 million in grant assistance. Two Lines of Credit for Uganda were announced in this meeting:
  1. The first, of US$ 141 million for electricity lines.
  2. The second, of US$ 64 million for agriculture & dairy production.
  • The PM also said that they would build a Gandhi Heritage Centre in Africa in Jinja where a statue of Gandhi ji stands. He opined that, as 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi approached; there could be no better homage than a Centre that reminded Africa’s role in shaping Gandhiji’s mission.
  • India pursuance of Afro-Asian solidarity in Bandung, India’s firm in opposition to apartheid in South Africa, India’s leading and bold positions in former Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe, in Guinea Bassau, Angola and Namibia were also reminiscence by the PM.

C. GS3 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY

1. The Sabarimala singularity

Context:

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Indian Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala, in which rules that bar the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala have been called into question.

Issue:

The case is a clash between a series of apparently conflicting claims:

  1. The temple’s right to decide for itself how its religious affairs ought to be managed.
  2. The rights of a community of devotees who believe that a bar on women’s entry is an essential religious practice.
  3. The rights of those women seeking to assert not only their freedom to unreservedly enter and pray at the shrine, but also their rights to be recognised as equals under the Constitution.

 

The study of the rival contentions shows, the religious freedom clauses in the Constitution are possessed of a special complexity, which the court’s own past jurisprudence has turned into a swamp of contradictions.

Freedom of religion:

The right to freedom of religion of both individuals and groups is recognised as an intrinsic facet of a liberal democracy. The Constitution memorialises these guarantees in Articles 25 and 26.

  • Article 26 recognises a right to freedom of conscience and a right to freely profess, practise, and propagate religion, subject to common community exceptions of public order, morality, and health, and also, crucially, to the guarantee of other fundamental rights.
  • Article 25(2)(b) creates a further exception to the right. It accords to the state a power to make legislation, in the interests of social welfare and reform, throwing open Hindu religious institutions of public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
  • Article 26, also subject to limitations imposed on grounds of public order, morality, and health, accords to every religious denomination the right, among other things, to establish and maintain institutions for religious purposes and to manage their own affairs in matters of religion.

Conflicting claims

  • The petitioners have argued that the ban enforced on menstruating women from entering the Sabarimala shrine does not constitute a core foundation of the assumed religious denomination.
  • While the Travancore Devaswom Board has claimed that its deity, Lord Ayyappa, is a “Naisthik Brahmachari,” and that allowing young women to enter the temple would affect the idol’s “celibacy” and “austerity”.

“Essential Religious Practices” Doctrine

Traditionally, to resolve tensions of this kind, the Supreme Court has relied on a very particular jurisprudence that it has carved for itself to determine what manners of rituals and beliefs deserve special constitutional protection. This doctrine requires the court to define what constitutes, in its own words, an “essential religious practice”. This canon is integral to how the case ought to now be decided.

Deeper inquiry

  • For the court to enter into an analysis of these rival claims, by conducting a trial on whether there exists a tradition as claimed that is essential to the practice of religion, would be exceeding the remit of its authority. Therefore, what is needed is a subtler yet more profound inquiry.
  • The court must ask itself whether it should yield to the temple’s view on an assumption that there does exist a time-honoured custom prohibiting any women aged between 10 and 50 years from praying at the shrine.
  • The law favouring the autonomy of the group over the autonomy of the individual tends to have the harmful effect of favouring the view of the association proffered by the powerful over the views proffered by less powerful members of the group that is, traditionally subordinate members such as women, children, and sexual minorities.

Way forward:

The court should see this as an opportunity not to rationalise religious practices, but to overturn its existing passé ideas on the subject. Given the adamant relationship in India between religion and public life, it’s time the court shattered the conventional divides of the public and the private. If the court can look beyond the essential practices doctrine and see this case for what it really is — a denial to women not only of their individual rights to freedom of religion but also of equal access to public space — it can help set the tone for a radical re-reading of the Constitution. Ultimately, the Constitution must be seen as representing not a hoary conception of boundaries between the state and the individual, but as a transcendental tool for social revolution.

 

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Detention no cure: on RTE Act amendment

Context:

The Lok Sabha has passed a Bill to amend the Right To Education Act ( Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009), to relax the absolute prohibition against holding back a student up to class VII.

 

Issue:

The legislation to amend the Right to Education Act to give States the power to detain students who fail an examination in Class 5 or 8 is a negative measure.

Section 16 of the principal Act states that no child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education. ‘Elementary education’ is defined as education from class one to class eight, as per Section 2(f).

 

  • Educationists, argue that it would weaken one of the progressive features of the RTE Act, which is to guarantee the continued presence of the child in school during the formative learning phase.
  • The proposed change will allow State Boards to declare a student failed and detain her on the basis of an examination, although Section 30(1) of the RTE Act holds out the assurance that no child shall be required to face any Board examination till completion of elementary education.
  • There are genuine concerns on learning outcomes produced by India’s schooling system. But these are determined not only by a student’s effort but also by the number and quality of teachers, processes for continuous assessment and, crucially, active engagement of parents and the community in encouraging excellence. It is the lack of attention to some of these determinants that has created a “broken” school education system.
  • Detaining already disadvantaged children can only break it further, and render the RTE Act a dead letter.

 

 

Why tinkering with the RTE Act without sufficient thought will erode a major constitutional achievement?

The case to replace the no-detention provision with one that reintroduces examinations in grades 3, 5 and 8 was made by a sub-committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education set up to review the provision, but its assumptions were faulty.

  • It concluded that the crucial guarantee could be implemented only under ideal conditions, and these were not available, while the pioneering RTE Act wanted to extend it to all grades within its purview. Yet, the provision is central to the objects of the law, since it seeks to check dropouts and enable all children to attend school in order to derive benefits that go beyond rote-learning.
  • In 2016 the NITI Aayog found, based on a study in Punjab, that bringing back detention in elementary schooling would increase the dropout rate, impacting the poor and Dalits the most as they depended on government institutions.
  • When parents are unable to ensure regular attendance of children due to social circumstances, it is inconceivable that detaining them for non-performance will act as an incentive to attend school regularly.
  • The move to introduce examinations as filters has not been fully thought through, and may be a hasty response to demands from State governments which want to be seen as acting firmly in favour of quality.

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about National Register of Citizens:
  1. It is a list containing the bona fide Indian Citizens and Migrants
  2. Currently the list is being updated in the state of Assam

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

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

 

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements regarding VVPATs.
  1. VVPAT was used for the first time in Goa’s state assembly elections
  2. It is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system.

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

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

 

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements.
  1. CAATSA has imposed sanctions on Iran, South Korea and Russia
  2. India has concluded a deal to procure S-400 Triumf air defence missile system from the US.

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

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

 

See

Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. No detention policy helps in improving the learning outcomes of children. Discuss in the light of recent amendments to RTE act.
  2. Compare and contrast strategic importance of China’s and India’s role in the African continent.

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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