27 July 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 27th July 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Bengal forms panel to look into snooping allegations
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India ‘engages Taliban’ but questions Pakistan’s support
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. 6 policemen killed in Assam-Mizoram border row
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Microbes from human, animal excreta found above desirable limits in Yamuna
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Evaluating India’s options in Afghanistan
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. An emigration Bill that does not go far enough
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Wounded mountains
F. Prelims Facts
1. Thane sanctuary proposed as MMR’s Ramsar site
G. Tidbits
1. Puri becomes India’s first city to provide quality drinking tap water
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. India ‘engages Taliban’ but questions Pakistan’s support

Context:

India’s multi-track strategy in engaging all stakeholders in Afghanistan.

Issue:

  • Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan have capitalised on the last stages of the withdrawal of the US and NATO troops to launch offensives.
  • The Taliban is attempting to acquire territory to the south and border posts of Afghanistan.
  • It is expected to accelerate its efforts to take major cities once the U.S. completes its pull-out of troops.
  • Assessments have found that while the Taliban holds territory considerably less than media speculation of “85%”.
    • Its hold is believed to be about “45-50%”.
    • However the major cause of concern is that Taliban in a position to establish control of one or more of the southern provinces including Kandahar, Helmand, Ghazni and Paktia.

Details:

  • The coming months would be crucial to decide Afghanistan’s future. India as a neighbour is concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and has participated in the talks in Doha, Dushanbe, Moscow, Tehran and Tashkent, all of which focused on the situation in Afghanistan and India’s concerns about Pakistan’s role.
  • In the backdrop of advancement of the Taliban militants on the ground, India is engaging all stakeholders in Afghanistan, including some parts of the Taliban.
  • The talks with the militant signify that a negotiated power-sharing agreement is now seen as the best case scenario for Afghanistan.
  • India believes that the S. air support and international financial assistance would be necessary to defend against the Taliban’s onslaught. It believes that there is a need to keep a check on Pakistan’s continued support to the Taliban.

India’s concerns:

  • It is not clear how much the U.S. is willing to criticise Pakistan publicly about it’s role in assistance to Taliban, given that it is deeply engaged with its military and political leadership on pushing the Taliban towards a peace agreement before the U.S. pulls out all its troops.
  • Additionally, earlier this month, the U.S. also announced a new connectivity ‘Quad’ comprising U.S.-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan. The move is seen as part of the U.S.’s search for a role in Afghanistan post-pullout.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Microbes from human, animal excreta found above desirable limits in Yamuna

Context:

As per a Delhi government report, levels of fecal coliform (microbes from human and animal excreta) is above desirable limits.

Details:

  • Fecal coliform is above desirable limits in all points tested in the Yamuna in Delhi with an exception at Palla where the river enters the Capital.
  • The report also stated that in the absence of a minimum environmental flow (flow of water) it is very difficult to achieve even bathing quality standards of the river water.
    • Minimum environmental flow for the dilution of the polluted water is required to meet the desired water quality levels in the river for bathing purpose.
  • For bathing in a river, the desirable level of fecal coliform in the water is 500 MPN/100 ml or lesser, as per the Central Pollution Control Board.
    • The level was as high as 1,40,000 MPN/100 ml (280 times the desired level) at Okhla.

Note:

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an environmental flow is the water provided within a river, wetland or coastal zone to maintain ecosystems and their benefits where there are competing water uses and where flows are regulated.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. An emigration Bill that does not go far enough

Context:

  • The Emigration Bill 2021 is likely to be introduced in Parliament.

Background:

Exploitative conditions:

  • There has been growing number of reports of exploitative practices like large recruitment charges, contract substitution, deception, retention of passports, non-payment or underpayment of wages, poor living conditions, discrimination and other forms of ill-treatment of the Indian migrant workers.

Emigration act, 1983:

  • Labour migration is governed by the Emigration Act, 1983. It prescribes a mechanism for hiring of Indians for work in foreign countries.
  • The recruiting agents must be government-certified.
  • It outlines certain obligations for recruiting agents like conducting due diligence of prospective employers.
  • It also lays certain regulations of the recruiting agents like the setting of a cap on service fees.

Details:

  • The Emigration Bill 2021 seeks to consolidate and amend the existing Emigration act of 1983.

Significance:

  • The Emigration Bill 2021 marks some improvements over the 1983 Act.
    • It launches a new emigration policy division in the Ministry of External Affairs, establishes help desks and welfare committees for migrant workers.
    • It mandates manpower agencies to conduct pre-departure briefings for migrants.
    • It increases accountability of brokers and other intermediaries who are involved in labour hiring.

Lacunae:

Lacking a human rights framework:

  • The Emigration Bill 2021 lacks a human rights framework as observed in progressive laws of countries like the Philippines and thus may fail to secure the rights of migrants and their families.

Worker service fees:

  • A significant drawback in the Bill is that it permits manpower agencies to charge workers’ service fees, and even allows agents to set their own limits.
  • The allowing of workers’ service fees goes against International labour standards such as International Labour Organization (ILO) Private Employment Agencies Convention No. 181 and the ILO general principles and operational guidelines for fair recruitment which emphasizes that the employers should bear recruitment payments like the costs of work visas, air travel, medical exams, and service charges to recruiters.
  • The high worker services charge extracted from the workers makes them vulnerable to indebtedness and exploitation as the high recruitment fees eat into their small savings, forces them to take high-interest loans and makes them vulnerable to abuse and debt bondage.

Provisions of punishment:

  • The Bill permits government authorities to punish workers by cancelling or suspending their passports and imposing fines up to Rs. 50,000 for violating any of the Bill’s provisions.
  • Such a provision overlooks scenarios where the migrant workers may be unaware of the law, may be under the influence of their recruiters, or simply desperate to find a decent job. This provision infact runs contradictory to the purpose of protecting migrants and their families, and violates international human rights standards.
  • This could also become a tool in the hands of the recruiters to pressurize and exploit workers who migrate through unregistered brokers or via irregular arrangements such as on tourist visas.

Unaddressed gender dimensions:

  • Given the lack of any specific gender based provisions in the bill, the bill does not adequately reflect the gender dimensions of labour migration.
    • Women are more likely to be employed in marginalised and informal sectors and/or isolated occupations in which labour, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse are a possibility.

Lack of worker representation:

  • The Bill provides limited space for worker representation or civil society engagement in the policy and welfare bodies that the new bill envisages.
  • This goes against the need for more representative bodies with relevant stakeholders who could be more effective in upholding their own interests.

Conclusion:

  • The new Bill though better than the Emigration Act 1983, more reforms are needed to protect Indian workers
  • The new bill must explicitly recognize the contributions of Indian workers, the unique challenges they face, and uphold the dignity and human rights of migrants and their families.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Wounded mountains

Context:

  • Landslip in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh has caused loss of lives and property.
    • The heavy rain in Himachal Pradesh had rendered the hill slopes unstable and caused the landslips.

Concerns:

  • Environmental experts have warned Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand may be entering a phase of irreversible decline because of losses to their ecology.
    • The unregulated and unsustainable development in the hills marked by big hydroelectric projects and large-scale road construction activity involving deforestation is causing irreversible changes in the region.
  • This might lead to a scenario where landslides may become more frequent and intense.
  • The unregulated and unsustainable developmental projects are rendering the region vulnerable to the effects of extreme events such as cloudbursts, flash floods, landslides and earthquakes.

Conclusion:

  • The landslip is a pointer to the fragility of the ecology of the Himalayan States and indicates the importance of preserving ecology.

For more related information refer to:

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 14th July 2021

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 14th Feb 2021

F. Prelims Facts

1. Thane sanctuary proposed as MMR’s Ramsar site

What’s in News?

A proposal has been submitted to declare Thane creek Flamingo Sanctuary as a Ramsar site.

  • Maharashtra Mangrove Cell has submitted the proposal for approval to the State Wetland Authority.
  • With this, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region is likely to get its first Ramsar site at the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary and third in the Maharashtra to be designated as Wetlands of International Importance.
  • Nandur Madhameshwar became the first site designated from Maharashtra. The Lonar lake in Buldhana district was declared as the 41st Ramsar site of India and second in the state.

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands:

  • A Ramsar site is a wetland area designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
  • Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental environmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention for the conservation of wetlands was called the ‘Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat’.
  • The convention got its name of Ramsar Convention from the city of Ramsar in Iran where it was signed in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
  • India joined the convention in 1982 and since then 42 sites have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites).

G. Tidbits

1. Puri becomes India’s first city to provide quality drinking tap water

What’s in News?

Puri’s ‘Drink from Tap project’.

  • Puri became the first city in India where people can avail high quality drinking water directly from the tap on 24-hour basis.
  • Puri has enabled the people of the city to collect quality drinking water directly from the tap.
  • Henceforth, people need not have to store or filter drinking water.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. With reference to Bhagat Singh, which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. He was against the non-cooperation movement from the very beginning
  2. He established the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) along with Sukhdev and Chandrashekhar Azad

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Bhagat Singh was not against the non-cooperation movement since the very beginning. He supported Mahatma Gandhi in the Non-cooperation movement.
  • But when the movement was called off by Mahatma Gandhi after the Chauri-Chaura incident, Bhagat Singh turned to revolutionary nationalism.
  • In 1928 Bhagat Singh established the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) along with Sukhdev, Chandrashekhar Azad and the others.
Q2. Which one among the following has recently received the Indian Green Building Council 
(IGBC) Green Cities Platinum Rating?
  1. Kandla Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
  2. Cochin Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
  3. Indore Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
  4. Noida Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Kandla SEZ (KASEZ) has become the First Green SEZ to achieve the IGBC Green Cities Platinum Rating for Existing Cities.
  • KASEZ earlier known as the Kandla Free Trade Zone, is located at the port town Gandhidham in Gujarat.
  • It is the first in Asia and the largest multi-product Special Economic Zone in India.
  • IGBC Green Cities (Existing Cities) rating system is a voluntary and consensus-based programme.

Read more on this covered in PIB Summary & Analysis for 26th July 2021.

Q3. Consider the following Statements:
  1. Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary is designated as a ‘Ramsar site’.
  2. Wetlands include lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, rice paddies, and salt pans.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • A proposal has been submitted to declare Thane creek Flamingo Sanctuary as a Ramsar site. It is not yet included in the Ramsar Convention.
  • Wetlands include lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, rice paddies, and salt pans.
Q4. Which of the following countries border the Mediterranean Sea?
  1. Lebanon
  2. Syria
  3. Jordan
  4. Montenegro
  5. Iraq

Options:

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 1, 2 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

Jordan and Iraq do not border the Mediterranean Sea.

Q5. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2013)
  1. An amendment to the Constitution of India can be initiated by an introduction of a bill in the Lok Sabha only.
  2. If such an amendment seeks to make changes in the federal character of the Constitution, the amendment also requires to be ratified by the legislature of all the States of India.

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: d

Explanation:

  • An amendment to the Constitution of India can be initiated by an introduction of a bill in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
  • If such an amendment seeks to make changes in the federal character of the Constitution, the amendment also requires to be ratified by the legislature of all the 50% of the States of India (half of the total states). That is with the consent of half of the state legislatures by a simple majority.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Explain the background to the Assam-Mizoram border dispute in detail. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Security]
  2. Critically analyse the Emigration Bill 2021. Will it be sufficient to protect Indian workers abroad? (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-2, International Relations]

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 27th July 2021:- Download PDF Here

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