31 Jul 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. Final draft of NRC with 2.9 crore names released in Assam
2. No proposal from TS for Central aid to Kaleshwaram: Union Minister
3. Centre for removal of ‘NOTA’ from RS poll
4. Bill to seek death for lynching
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Parliamentary panel to probe U.K.-India relations
2. U.S. eases export controls on India
3. MH370 probe offers no new clue
POLITY
1. SC raps CBI on Manipur killings
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. WCD Ministry clarifies on the Anti-Human Trafficking Bill passed by Lok Sabha
C. GS3 Related
INTERNAL SECURITY
1. Leg-up for private sector participation in defence equipment manufacturing
2. ‘Draft e-commerce policy will be in line with Srikrishna panel proposals’
ECONOMY
1. ‘Bubble risk’ brews as unsecured loans rise
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
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. Final draft of NRC with 2.9 crore names released in Assam

  • The much-anticipated second and final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on Monday with 2.9 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore applicants in Assam.
  • The names of 40.07 lakh applicants did not find a place in the historic document, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity.
  • The first draft of the NRC was published during the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 this year, containing 1.9 crore names.
  • The process for making claims and objections will begin on August 30 and continue till September 28. Adequate and ample scope will be given to people for making objections.
  • The application process for the NRC started in May 2015 and a total of 6.5 crore documents were received from 68.27 lakh families across Assam.

What is NRC?

  • The NRC (National Register of Citizens) is a list that contains the names of Indian citizens of Assam.
  • This list aims at including the names of all Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971.
  • The NRC was prepared in 1951 after the Census of 1951. Assam is the only State with an NRC.
  • Those who wanted their names in the final list of the NRC had to furnish proof of existence of their name in the legacy data.
  • The descendants and applicants born after 1971 were asked to submit documents pertaining to an ancestor.
  • The NRC updating process began in 2015, following a Supreme Court directive to the government to keep up with the Assam Accord of 1985.
  • One of the key clauses of the accord stated that all immigrants who had entered Assam on or after March 25, 1971 were to be identified and deported.
  • This is seen as an attempt to eliminate illegal immigration from our neighbouring regions.
  • However, it has also resulted in fear and anxiety among people, as those excluded from the list will be considered foreigners or immigrants.
  • More than 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were left out of the complete draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was published on Monday. The five year exercise was completed at a cost of Rs. 1,220 crore.
  • The remaining 40,007,707 applicants, whose names didn’t figure in the list will be given ample opportunity through a process of claims and objections till September 28, and their citizenship status will not be questioned till the final, error-free draft is prepared.
  • Those not on the list include 2.48 lakh Doubtful-voters (D-voters) and their siblings and descendants.

Uproar in Parliament

  • Uproar over publication of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam led to the early adjournment of the Rajya Sabha.
  • In the Lok Sabha, amid calls by MPs for a debate, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the sensitive issue should not be politicised.

2. No proposal from TS for Central aid to Kaleshwaram: Union Minister

    • The Union government has categorically said that the Central Water Commission has not received any proposal seeking Central assistance to the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project.
    • Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Arjun Ram Meghwal said in the Rajya Sabha that the KLIS was recommended by the advisory committee of the Ministry at its 136th meeting held on June 6 at an estimated cost of Rs. 80,190.46 crore.
    • The Minister’s reply comes at a time when the State government stated it had made repeated requests to the Centre seeking assistance in completing the project that was the lifeline of Telangana.
    • Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao himself represented the matter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he met the latter on June 15.
    • The State government had made a budgetary provision of Rs. 25,000 crore for all irrigation projects besides procuring loan from financial institutions to the tune of Rs. 22,000 crore.
    • Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao too made a fervent appeal to the Centre to provide financial assistance for the project.
    • The Minister in turn assured that he would examine the issue and ensure provision of any possible assistance from the Centre.

    About Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project

    • With an estimated cost of ₹80,500 crore, the project holds the key to providing irrigation facility to one crore acres of land under all projects/tanks.
    • The government has already spent ₹10,000 crore on the project, including land acquisition, and has allocated ₹7,000 crore in the current budget, besides tying up a ₹7,400 crore loan from a consortium of banks.
    • Notwithstanding its share of controversies, particularly related to land acquisition for the Mallannasagar reservoir, one of the key components of the project for storage of 50 tmc ft water, the project is making swift progress.

    What’s the project?

    • The Kaleshwaram project is an off-shoot of the original Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme taken up by the Congress government in 2007 when Andhra Pradesh was not divided.
    • After the formation of Telangana in 2014, the TRS government redesigned the project on the ground that the original plan had too many environmental obstacles and had very low water storage provision — only about 16.5 tmc ft.
    • After conducting a highly advanced Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey for a couple of months, the government separated the original component serving the Adilabad area as the Pranahitha project and renamed the rest as Kaleshwaram by redesigning the head works, storage capacity and the canal system based on the data of availability of water at different locations along the course of the Godavari and its tributaries.
    • The Kaleshwaram project has provision for the storage of about 148 tmc ft with plans of utilising 180 tmc ft by lifting at least 2 tmc ft water every day for 90 flood days.
    • The project is designed to irrigate 7,38,851 hectares (over 18.47 lakh acres) uplands in the erstwhile districts of Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy.
    • As a lot is at stake for the government, it is pursuing various clearances and permissions simultaneously with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Central Water Commission.
    • Recently, the Ministry of Environment has given its nod for utilising 3,168 hectares (7,920 acres) of forestland, including 302 hectares in Maharashtra. The project requires a total of 32,000 hectares.
    • Following severe opposition from a section of farmers against land acquisition for the Mallannasagar reservoir, the State amended the 2013 Land Acquisition Act to speed up the process.

    What’s unique?

    According to engineers, KLIP has many unique features, including the longest tunnel to carry water in Asia, running up to 81 km, between the Yellampally barrage and the Mallannasagar reservoir.

    3. Centre for removal of ‘NOTA’ from RS poll

    • The Supreme Court on Monday reserved for judgment a PIL petition, which won the full support of the Centre, seeking to scrap the ‘NOTA’ option in Rajya Sabha election.
    • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra indicated that the court may indeed rule against the two circulars issued by the Election Commission of India on January 24, 2014 and November 12, the subsequent year, giving Rajya Sabha members the option to press the NOTA (‘none of the above’) button in the Upper House polls.
    • Chief Justice Misra orally observed that NOTA is meant only for universal adult suffrage and direct elections and not polls held by the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote as done in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Govt.’s support

    • Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal, for the Centre, completely lent the government’s support to the PIL plea filed by Sharmesh Manubhai Parmar, represented by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi and advocate Devadatt Kamat, that NOTA in indirect elections, such as in the Rajya Sabha, would lead to horse-trading, corruption and using of extra-constitutional methods to defeat a party candidate.
    • The system of NOTA makes the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote nugatory and otiose, Mr. Singhvi argued.
    • He argued that the Election Commission cannot sanction the use of NOTA by way of mere circulars, which have the effect of overriding the provisions of Article 80(4) — proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, the provisions of Representation of the People Act 1951 and the Conduct of Election Rules 1961.
    • Singhvi said the circulars had negated the entire purpose of open voting brought about in 2003 to further party discipline and adherence to party’s choice of candidate in the election to the Rajya Sabha.

    EC’s counter

    • Advocate Amit Sharma, for the Election Commission, countered that a person, along with a right to vote, also has the right not to vote.

    4. Bill to seek death for lynching

    • The Centre will soon bring a Bill proposing death penalty for the crime of lynching, Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said here on Monday.
    • The proposed Bill will be on the lines of a legislation seeking death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.
    • Five members of the Nathjogi community, a Nomadic Tribe (NT), from Solapur district were lynched by a mob in Dhule district in north Maharashtra on suspicion of being “child lifters” earlier this month.
  • Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

    1. Parliamentary panel to probe U.K.-India relations

    • Trade, visa policy, security to be among the areas of focus
      A British parliamentary committee is looking into relations between Britain and India — including the impact of Britain’s visa regime — as part of a wider examination of the future of “Global Britain”.
    • The inquiry comes at a time when tensions between the two countries have heightened amid Indian concerns about the U.K.’s reluctance to ease visa norms for students and professionals.
    • The committee will look at the issue of bilateral trade as well as the impact of Britain’s visa policy, and cooperation on regional security, counterterrorism, technology, innovation and multilateral institutions. 
      The committee said the relationship is as an important “test case” for the government’s “Global Britain” strategy, and pointed to a number of questions.
    • These include: how strong is the bilateral relationship; how should Britain balance political, strategic and trade issues in determining its relationship; and, does the U.K.’s visa regime facilitate the type of relationship the government seeks with India?
      Parliamentarians in both houses have sought to scrutinise the changing world in which Britain is seeking to strengthen relations outside the EU.
    • In May, the House of Lords committee on International Relations held an evidence session on relations with India, as part of an inquiry into U.K. foreign policy in changed world conditions.
  • Issue Areas between India-Britain

    • Earlier this month, Britain’s former High Commissioner to India, Sir Richard Stagg, told a meeting of the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group that a “lack of trust” permeated bilateral relations, warning that Britain did not have a strategy.
    • He also said that London’s approach was based on “random” and “inevitably ineffective” interventions by members of the government.
    • Alongside the visa issues, he pointed to Indian concerns around Britain’s Pakistan policy. He said there were also concerns that Britain was not doing enough to facilitate the return of those India sought to extradite, including high net worth individuals.
    • Earlier this year, in a dig at British authorities, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that Mr. Modi had told Prime Minister Theresa May, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit, that British courts shouldn’t lecture India on prison conditions.

      Issue of overstayers
    • India also pulled out of signing an agreement on the return of illegal migrants because of the 15-day period that would have been stipulated in the agreement for documents to be verified, which India viewed as unrealistic.
    • Britain’s Trade Secretary Liam Fox then linked the decision not to include Indian students in a relaxation of visa requirements to the non-signing of the agreement and the issue of Indians overstaying their visa.
    • While India acknowledged that there are overstayers, it contested the scale of the problem.

    2. U.S. eases export controls on India

    • In a major boost to India, the U.S. on Monday eased export controls on high-technology product sales to it by designating it as a Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 country.
    • This comes after the U.S. recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner” in 2016, a designation that allows India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from the U.S.
  • Benefits of STA

    • STA-1 provides India greater supply chain efficiency, both for defence and for other high-tech products, that will increase activity with US systems, the interoperability of the systems, and it will reduce time and resources needed to get licensing approved.
    • That’s a very important change in their status under our export control regime. It acknowledges the US-India security and economic relationship.
    • It comes under the Export Administration Rules, and it authorises the export, re-export and in-country transfer of specific items to destinations that the US regards as low risk.

    3. MH370 probe offers no new clue

    • Investigators said on Monday that they still do not know why Malaysia’s Flight MH370 vanished four years ago in aviation’s greatest mystery, sparking anger and disappointment among relatives of those on board.
    • In a long-awaited report, the official investigation team pointed to failings by air traffic controllers, said the course of the Malaysia Airlines plane was changed manually, and refused to rule out that someone other than the pilots had diverted the jet.
    • Investigators said the plane was airworthy and the pilots were in a fit state to fly, and dismissed the theory that the plane had been taken over remotely to foil a hijacking. Relatives who were briefed at the Transport Ministry in Putrajaya before the report’s public release expressed anger that there was nothing new in the document.
  • Category: POLITY

    1. SC raps CBI on Manipur killings

    • The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the Central Bureau of Investigation for filing two chargesheets against 14 persons, charging them with murder of innocent civilians, criminal conspiracy and tampering with evidence in the Manipur ‘fake’ encounter deaths, without bothering to arrest them.
    • In its order, the apex court said the accused should “normally” be arrested and in cases where investigation is pending, the suspects are subject to custodial interrogation.
    • Having said this, the Bench left it to the CBI Director to take a “rational” decision whether the accused in the cases should be arrested or not.
    • The CBI-SIT would further complete probe in 20 more cases in the next four months. Then the investigation into the remaining 14 of the 41 cases would begin from December this year.
    • Hearing the timeline, Justice Lalit remarked that the court would see light at the end of tunnel probably only in March 2019.
    • The court ordered more personnel for the SIT and suggested that the scrutiny process by senior officers before filing the chargesheets could be reduced and time saved as the SIT chief himself was a Joint Director with the CBI.
    • The National Human Rights Commission had conducted its investigation into them and former Supreme Court judge, Justice Santosh Hegde, had also concluded that deaths occurred in an extra-judicial manner.
    • The court fixed the next date of hearing for August 20, and asked the CBI Director to be present again and said it would see how far the probe has progressed.
    • The court is hearing a PIL petition seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur allegedly by the Army, Assam Rifles and the police
    • Meanwhile, the CBI on Monday pinned the blame for the delay in the probe on ‘difficulties’ in procuring documents from security forces.
  • Category: SOCIAL ISSUES

    1. WCD Ministry clarifies on the Anti-Human Trafficking Bill passed by Lok Sabha

    • The Women and Child Development Ministry on Monday sought to defend its Anti-Human Trafficking Bill, and asserted that the proposed law did not criminalise consenting adult sex workers and migrants.
    • The clarification comes at a time the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha after it was passed in the Lok Sabha last week.
    • The Congress and Left parties have demanded that the Bill be put through legislative scrutiny and be sent to a Standing Committee.
  • The Ministry made the following statements:

    • The Bill is clear in excluding consenting adults from its purview. While it criminalises trafficking for the purpose of pushing a woman into sex work, it does not punish the act itself. At no point is the victim held as a criminal, or detained against his/ her will. The Bill does not criminalise migration per se.

    Criticism of the Bill

    • The proposed legislation has faced criticism from several quarters, including UN experts, for conflating trafficking with sex work and migration.
    • Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, special rapporteur on trafficking in persons, and Urmila Boola, special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, recently criticised the Bill for addressing trafficking through a criminal law perspective instead of complementing it with a human-rights based and victim-centred approach.
    • They said that it promoted “rescue raids” by the police as well as institutionalisation of victims in the name of rehabilitation, and that certain vague provisions would lead to “blanket criminalisation of activities that do not necessarily relate to trafficking.”

    Defence of the Ministry

    • The Ministry maintained that the Bill went beyond legislation and gave “primacy to victims’ rights of privacy and dignity”,
    • Ministry further said that the Bill adhered to various international standards such as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Model Law against Trafficking in Persons, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking.

    C. GS3 Related

    Category: INTERNAL SECURITY

    1. Leg-up for private sector participation in defence equipment manufacturing

     

    • In a major step towards boosting private sector participation in domestic defence manufacturing, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the implementation of Strategic Partnership guidelines on Monday.

    Strategic Partnership

    • SP model aims to revitalise defence industrial ecosystem and progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon system for future needs of armed forces.
    • The amplifying guidelines lay emphasis on incentivisation of transfer of niche technology and higher indigenous content.
    • The SP model has four segments — submarines, single engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks — which would be specifically opened up for the private sector.
    • Under this policy one Indian private company would be selected in each segment which would tie-up with shortlisted global equipment manufacturers to manufacture the platforms in India under technology transfer.
    • The ambitious policy came into effect in May last year but progress was delayed due to the lack of specific guidelines.
    • The DAC also approved platform specific guidelines for procurement of Naval Utility helicopters. Similar guidelines for the other categories will be issued soon.
    • The Ministry stated that all procurements under the SP model would be executed by specially constituted Empowered Project Committees to “provide focussed attention and ensure timely execution.”
    • In another decision, the DAC gave approval for the acquisition of eight Fast Patrol Vessels (FPV) for the Coast Guard at an approximate cost of Rs. 800 crore. These would be indigenously designed and manufactured.

    2. ‘Draft e-commerce policy will be in line with Srikrishna panel proposals’

     

    • The draft e-commerce policy being formulated by the government will be in keeping with the recommendations of the Justice Srikrishna Committee report on data privacy, according to Commerce Secretary-Designate Anup Wadhawan.
    • The draft personal data protection Bill 2018, submitted by the Justice B.N. Srikrishna-headed expert panel on Friday, proposed that critical personal data of Indian citizens be processed in centres located within the country.Most countries dealing with this issue have taken a nuanced approach.The policy will be in line with the Srikrishna Committee recommendations.

    Critical data

    • The draft law recommended by the Srikrishna Committee has left it to the Central government to notify categories of personal data that will be considered as critical, and hence necessarily be located in India. Other personal data can be transferred out of the country, but a copy must be retained in India.
    • The working groups and think tanks made comprehensive recommendations on the draft e-commerce policy on issues ranging from data flow to protection, grievance redressal, and data localisation. The recommendations also included the regulatory arrangement that could emerge for the sector.

Category: ECONOMY

1. ‘Bubble risk’ brews as unsecured loans rise

 

  • With retail loans largely driving bank credit growth, and unsecured loans constituting almost a third of the retail portfolio, analysts say a ‘bubble’ may be brewing, meriting closer monitoring.
  • With corporate credit growth sluggish, lenders have been on a retail lending spree. Banks’ unsecured loans are at a record high, contributing 32% to the retail loan basket, which at 25% of the total loan book, is almost at its peak, according to a report by Jefferies.
  • RBI data shows that while overall credit growth as on May 25 was 10.9% year-on-year, retail loans grew 18.6% and outstanding dues on credit cards grew 33.1%.

‘RBI cautions’

  • The RBI has flagged the issue, with Deputy Governor N.S. Vishwanathan observing that retail loans come with their own caveats.
  • There appears to be taking hold a herd movement among bankers to grow retail credit and the personal loan segment.This is not a risk-free segment and banks should not see it as the grand panacea for their problem-riddled corporate loan book. There are risks here too that should be properly assessed, priced and mitigated.
  • The delinquency rate, however, has remained steady, a TransUnion Cibil study showed. Delinquencies for personal loans fell 19 basis points (bps) over the year to 0.52% at the end of March, while for credit cards it rose 9 bps to 1.7%.
  • Personal loans and dues on credit cards are examples of unsecured loans, while other retail loans include home and auto loans. Unsecured loans are riskier as they lack collateral that accompany home, auto loans.
  • As Indian consumers continue to expand beyond cash-based purchases, these products provide access to short-term liquidity as well as, in the case of credit cards, transactional convenience.
  • Moreover, given the low and steady delinquency rates for these products, consumers are demonstrating their ability to effectively manage the credit they are taking on.

‘Fastest growth’

  • The Jefferies report, citing the TransUnion Cibil study, said unsecured personal loans grew the fastest, at 49%, driven by a 27% growth in customers and 19% growth in average ticket size. The bigger worry is the growth in the ‘New to Credit’ segment.
  • Observing that credit cards were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the 2016 demonetisation, TransUnion Cibil said the number of consumers with access to credit cards as well as aggregate balances had reached all-time highs.
  • The number of credit card accounts at the end of March was 32.6 million while the outstanding balance was Rs. 75,700 crore. Credit card outstandings grew 43% till March 2018.
  • In a report, JM Financial said unsecured loans had grown at a compounded annual rate of 31% over the last four years for the top 5 private banks.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. A balancing Act: Amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act

Context

  • The Parliament has passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill.
  • Amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act aim to limit overzealousness of enforcement agencies, but they raise important concerns too.

Objectives of the Amendments

  • The primary objective of these amendments is to tone down law enforcement excesses without diluting the authority of agencies like the CBI.
  • To strike a balance between enforcement overzealousness and the need for stringent action against corrupt public servants.
  • With some civil servants complaining that they had been wronged for discharging their lawful duties, such a balance is the need of the hour.

Significant changes in the new Amendments

  • At least one of the amendments, which mandates prior government approval of the Central or State government to initiate investigation into corruption charges, is bound to evoke negative reactions from large sections of the public.
  • Protection to government servants from arbitrary and unilateral action by anti-corruption agencies without prior permission from the government was earlier available only to the higher echelons, from the rank of Joint Secretary and above, before the Supreme Court struck down the so-called ‘Single Directive’. It extends this protection to all public servants.
  • The new directive that requires prior approval at the preliminary inquiry stage as well as before the registration of a regular case carries many imponderables, especially the risks involved in delegating authority to order commencement of investigations under the Act.
  • The Central Vigilance Commissioner may have to step in with some practical guidelines. The exercise involved here is enormous, given the size of India’s bureaucracy and the entrenched sophistication of dishonest practices.
  • Another major change is the deletion of the whole of clause (d) of sub-section (1) of Section 13, which defines ‘criminal misconduct’ as the acquisition of a ‘valuable thing’ or ‘pecuniary advantage’ in a dishonest manner.
  • The welcome amendments widen the definition of criminal misconduct to include the bribe giver too.
  • One of the reasonable apprehension is that where a public servant causes performance of a public duty which is improper and against prescribed rules and procedures, and there is no proof of a transaction of bribery, he will go scot free.
  • There is a misgiving here that the latest amendments to Section 13(1) could be in conflict with the spirit of Article 19 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

To balance overzealousness and apathy

  • It must be remembered that in handling misdemeanours of government officials, we are prone to committing excesses and ignoring human rights considerations. This is deleterious to the morale of public servants.
  • As in the case of a common crime, we must consider whether conferring greater autonomy on investigating outfits, shortening trial procedures through mechanisms such as fast-track courts, and making penalties more stringent will introduce the much-needed deterrence to prospective offenders.
  • It is an accepted criminal justice axiom that deterrence works only up to an extent; beyond that threshold, the incidence of crime only escalates.
  • This is why there is support to the balanced stand that giving arbitrary and excessive authority to enforcement agencies could only lead to miscarriage of justice, without bringing about a corresponding reduction in criminal misconduct.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. BRICS 10th summit: Johannesburg Declaration

Context

  • BRICS, the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has produced a 102-paragraph-long Johannesburg Declaration. This implies that either this important multilateral grouping has a lot to say about the state of the world.

Significance

  • BRICS has grown in influence, expanded the arc of its interests, and established new institutions and partnerships in its first decade.
  • More importantly, it has created for its members the habits of working together. Intra-BRICS cooperation is on a rising trajectory.

BRICS is still far from achieving its initial goals:

  1. Reform of global financial governance.
  2. Democratisation of the United Nations.
  3. Expansion of the Security Council — partially because two of its members (China and Russia) do not want the other three members (India, South Africa and Brazil) to obtain parity in the global pecking order.

Highlights of the Summit

  • The 10th summit, framed its deliberations against U.S. President Donald Trump’s unconventional approach on world affairs, particularly the looming trade wars.
  • BRICS leaders, stressed “the centrality of the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading”, based on the World Trade Organisation.
  • This stemmed from their broader commitment to cooperate for strengthening multilateralism, the rule of law and an equitable international order.
  • That one of the BRICS members (China) does not follow in word and spirit this high-sounding prescription in regard to Asian affairs may have escaped attention.
  • The other big idea emanating from the summit is to help nations to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • South Africa, as the host, stepped in on it and managed to create sufficient enthusiasm for it.

Articulating the need for

  1. New strategy on employment.
  2. Education
  3. Skill development as the digital revolution unfolds.

 

  • BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR), however, will make a meaningful contribution only if it goes beyond the five ministries of industry.
  • It should engage with the private sector and young innovators working at the cutting edge of technology today.
  • The summit saw further consolidation of the business pillar. The BRICS Business Council has been actively enhancing trade and economic cooperation in diverse sectors ranging from manufacturing and energy to financial services and regional aviation.
  • Besides, the leaders renewed their commitment to an inclusive and “people-centred approach” on development. The steady progress in interactions through sports, films, education, culture and tourism has been commendable.

Africa, BRICS Plus

  • The BRICS outreach to Africa began at the last summit hosted by South Africa, in 2013; it has picked up momentum now. But African leaders want more.
  • They need big loans from the New Development Bank (NDB) for their infrastructure projects. A South African official stated that this would happen soon but uncertainty persists. So far, the NDB has dispersed loans totalling $5.1 billion — all to its members only.
  • China introduced the “BRICS Plus” format at the Xiamen summit last year by inviting a few countries from different regions.
  • South Africa emulated it, arranging the attendance of top-level representation of five nations of its choice: Argentina, Jamaica, Turkey, Indonesia and Egypt.

Unity and divergence

  • As a partnership that represents over 40% of the world’s population and accounts for 22% of global GDP, BRICS will continue to be an influential voice as long as its convergences prevail over its divergences.
  • Changing power equations within BRICS are being watched closely. China’s dominance is a reality even as the grouping asserts the sovereign equality of all members.
  • China-Russia proximity has been a continuing factor. Given its political and economic travails, Brazil played a low-profile role.
  • Modi and his delegation were pro-active and visible. A South African commentator observed that India was playing “a delicate geopolitical game with the U.S., China and Russia as their spheres of influence wax and wane” across regions.
  • To Delhi’s satisfaction, four paragraphs in the summit declaration were devoted to the problem of international terrorism.
  • The India-South Africa partnership helped to ensure that the Johannesburg Declaration was balanced and well-rounded in its orientation.

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 with respect to Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project:
  1. It is an off-shoot of the Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme
  2. The project includes the longest tunnel to carry water in Asia

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

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

See

Answer

Question 2. Justice Srikirishna Committee submitted Report on 
  1. Data Protection
  2. Prevention of Corruption
  3. E-commerce policy
  4. Updating of NRC in Assam

See

Answer

Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. The 1st BRIC Summit was held in Brazil
  2. South Africa became the member of the grouping in 2010

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

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

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements:
  1. LIDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging
  2. It is a method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor.
  3. LIDAR is used to make 2D representations of the target.

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

  1. Johannesburg Declaration was balanced and well-rounded in its orientation but BRICS is still far from achieving its initial goals. Critically Analyze
  2. Project Sashakt though is a good initiative, does little to comprehensively address the issues of the banking sector – write a critical note on the Project based on the above statement.
 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

“Proper Current Affairs preparation is the key to success in the UPSC- Civil Services Examination. We have now launched a comprehensive ‘Current Affairs Webinar’. Limited seats available. Click here to Know More.”

 

Enroll for India’s Largest All-India Test Series

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *