17 Jun 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

17 June 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India says Chinese troops tried to change status quo
2. India expects to sail through UN Security Council vote
HEALTH
1. Cheap drug shows results in COVID patients: study
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Lonar lake: HC seeks report on colour change
2. With 334 species, Guwahati redefining concept of urban jungle
ECONOMY
1. Govt. banks disburse ₹16,031 crore to MSMEs
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Nepal ties and the Benaras to Bengaluru spectrum
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. In defence of MPLADS
ECONOMY
1. For better conditions of work
F. Prelims Facts
1. India pledges support to Nepal temple
G. Tidbits
1. District-wise data of COVID hospitals to be put online
2. ‘Decentralisation behind three-capital concept’
3. Climate report predicts hotter, rainier days
4. Israeli Army is raiding Ramallah: PA
5. U.S. top court ruling backs LGBT workers
6. N. Korea blows up liaison office with South
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. India expects to sail through UN Security Council vote

Context:

Elections for five non-permanent seats of the UN Security Council for 2021-22 will be held on 17th June 2020.

Details:

  • India expects to sail through the 193-member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) votes.
  • India is standing unopposed as the nominee for the Asia-Pacific seat and needs two-thirds of UNGA members, or 129 votes, to be confirmed.
  • In its own campaign brochure, India had highlighted its commitment to multilateralism, demand for transparency in mandates for UN peacekeeping missions, push for the Indian-led Comprehensive Convention for International Terrorism (CCIT) and joint efforts for UN reform and the expansion of the UNSC.

This topic has been covered in detail in 6th June 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.

Category: HEALTH

1. Cheap drug shows results in COVID patients: study

Context:

Low-cost, anti-inflammatory steroid, Dexamethasone, has emerged as the possible life-saving drug to help cure Coronavirus patients.

Details:

  • Indian doctors have said the dexamethasone is an inexpensive steroid that retails for less than ₹10 for 10 ml and is made by several Indian manufacturers.
  • Scientists administering the WHO-administered RECOVERY trial (the largest global clinical trial that is checking the ability of several repurposed drugs to treat COVID-19) reported that dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and by one-fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.
  • However, there was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support.
  • It is a cheaper option than tocilizumab.
    • Tocilizumab is also being tested as part of the RECOVERY trial and is an injectible.
  • Dexamethasone and tocilizumab are not anti­virals but work to modulate the immune response of the body when confronted by a viral infection such as COVID­-19.

Note:

The Indian Council for Medical Research has revised the protocol for clinical management of COVID-19 and allowed the use of remdesivir, tocilizumab and convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) on certain groups of patients.

2. With 334 species, Guwahati redefining concept of urban jungle

Context:

According to a Guwahati-based wildlife expert, Guwahati redefines the term “urban jungle” with 334 and counting free-ranging faunal species living in the green spaces within concrete structures.

Details:

  • In Guwahati, Assam’s principal city and the largest in the northeast, assorted creatures, both big and small (Chinese pangolin, Nepal cricket frog, Bengal monitor lizard, Assamese cat snake, Eurasian moorhen, Asian elephant, Terai cricket frog, Ganges river dolphin, etc.) along with 326 other species of fauna recorded so far, share space with an estimated one million humans.
  • The city and its outskirts have 18 hills, eight reserve forests, two wildlife sanctuaries and a Ramsar site (Deepor Beel) besides the Brahmaputra flowing past its northern edge.
    • This stretch of the river has Gangetic River Dolphins, which has the status of ‘city animal’.
  • Over the years, 26 species of amphibians, 56 reptiles, 36 mammals and 216 birds have been recorded.
  • Also, there are more than 1,100 captive wild animals belonging to 107 species, of which 52 are highly protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
  • But, the wildlife specialists are worried that Guwahati has been following the global trend, which projects the urban area on earth to triple before 2030.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Govt. banks disburse ₹16,031 crore to MSMEs

Context:

The Finance Ministry said that the public sector banks have disbursed ₹16,031.39 crore till June 12, 2020, under the ₹3-lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the MSME sector.

Details:

  • The Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme is the biggest fiscal component of the ₹20-lakh crore Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package announced by the Finance Minister.
  • Under the scheme, 100% guarantee coverage will be provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC) for an additional funding of up to ₹3 lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) borrowers in the form of a guaranteed emergency credit line (GECL) facility.
  • For this purpose, a corpus of ₹41,600 crore was provided by the government, spread over the current and next three financial years.

Read more about Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. In defence of MPLADS

Context:

  • The suspension of the MPLADS scheme for 2020-21 and 2021-22 in the wake of the pandemic.

For information on this issue, refer to:

CNA dated April 7, 2020

Details:

  • The government’s decision to suspend MPLADS funds for two years has evoked mixed reactions.

Arguments against MPLADS scheme:

For information on this, refer to:

CNA dated May 5, 2020

Arguments in favour of MPLADS scheme:

Developmental aspirations:

  • The responsibility of an MP does not end with the supervision of administration and legislation. He/she has to find solutions to the grievances of the electorate of his constituency and promote their developmental aspirations.
  • The scheme helped engage the MPs and helped cater to the aspirations of local people.
  • An MP knows the developmental and welfare issues of his constituency better than anyone else. The Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) has enabled MPs to play a leadership role in the developmental process of his constituency and sort out its day-to-day problems.

Wrong notions:

  • The author argues that the notion that the very nature of the MPLADS scheme gives space for corruption is wrong and claims the lack of empirical data to back such claims.
  • The role of an MP in the MPLADS ends with selecting micro development projects for his constituency. Implementation of these projects is done by district-level officers under the vigilant eye of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Furthermore, the Scheme undergoes an impartial and meticulous auditing. The second instalment of funds is released only when the first instalment is fully utilised with no audit objections. This procedure leaves no place for corruption.

Measure against pork barrel policy:

  • The pork barrel policy of State and Union Governments often leads to skewed development and regional imbalance.
    • Often, the ruling party channels public money to particular constituencies based on political considerations, at the expense of broader public interests and other constituencies.
  • The constituencies of the elected opposition legislators fall victim to pork barrel politics. MPLADS scheme has been an antidote to this kind of favouritism. The MPLADS Scheme provided opposition MPs a chance to cater to the developmental needs of their constituency. The suspension of the Scheme has snatched away this limited opportunity.

Aspirations of the marginalised:

  • Of the MPLADS corpus, 15% has been earmarked for the development of Scheduled Castes and 7.5% for the Scheduled Tribes. Around Rs. 20 lakh of the MPLADS fund per annum have been allotted for the welfare of differently-abled people. Suspension of the MPLADS undermines the developmental aspirations of these marginalised segments.

Category: ECONOMY

1. For better conditions of work

Context:

  • Migrant crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Background:

  • Many migrant workers have been returning to their villages from India’s cities and many wish to stay back in their villages. They no longer yearn to go back to their work in the cities.

MGNREGA:

  • MGNREGA has been offered as a way of alleviating migrant workers’ distress but this is not only a short term but also vulnerable wage-earning occupation. Sites cannot be opened during the monsoon season. Also, at any given area, there may not be enough sites to engage many people in regular employment.

Details:

  • The author argues for certain steps to be taken to help the migrant workers to fulfil their desire of staying at home.

Decentralized production:

  • The administration should consider building new kinds of economic structures in India, like a pyramid of group economic activity going from the rural areas through collective marketing to fill the demand from the cities. This will lead to a dispersed production model.
  • This type of model envisages dispersed production from home-based or small-unit based production entities which supply products to markets, whether local markets or capital city markets or export markets.
  • What has been lacking so far in this dispersed production model is lack of concern for the fair treatment of the workers. Successful unionisation of workers can protect them from exploitation.

Forming cooperative societies:

  • The migrants and MGNREGA workers can form cooperative societies.
  • These cooperative societies, if they expand and form hubs, could start developing their services or products that can be sold with better terms and conditions.
    • The AMUL project is a good example of the cooperative model.
  • Government agencies can be mandated to help build cooperative societies. The existing cooperative banks can help such societies to arrange the requisite finances. National institutions can offer the necessary institutional support to enable such cooperative societies.
    • NGOs and cooperative federations, agencies such as the National Cooperative Union of India can play a facilitative role.

Conclusion:

  • The crisis brought out by the pandemic also provides an opportunity to rebuild economic production through appropriate institutional arrangements.
  • Such arrangements must provide an optimal solution to the workers as well as contribute to the GDP. It will also rebuild an India where cities are not congested and where the standard of living in rural areas will improve.

F. Prelims Facts

1. India pledges support to Nepal temple

What’s in News?

India has pledged to construct a ₹2.33 crore sanitation facility at the Pashupatinath temple complex to improve the infrastructure in the holy shrine for pilgrims.

  • The project would be constructed under the Nepal-Bharat Maitri: Development Partnership as a high impact community development scheme by India.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Indian Embassy, Nepal’s Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration and the Kathmandu Metropolitan City for the construction of the facility at the Pashupatinath temple.
  • India’s assistance for the infrastructure development at the Pashupatinath Temple complex comes amid a raging border row between the two countries.

Read more about the issue, covered in 14thJune 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

Pashupatinath Temple:

  • Pashupatinath temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • It is dedicated to Lord Shiva (also known as Lord Pashupatinath, Nepal’s national deity).
  • It is located on the banks of River Bagmati.
  • It was built in the 5th century and later renovated by Malla kings.

G. Tidbits

1. District-wise data of COVID hospitals to be put online

What’s in News?

The Health Ministry has appointed a nodal officer to collect district-wise details and make it available online.

  • A nodal officer has been appointed to compile, collate and consolidate the information sought and make it available online within 15 days of the receipt of the CIC order, according to an order issued by the Ministry’s RTI Cell.
  • This comes in response to a Central Information Commission (CIC) order, after the Ministry failed to provide the information to a Right to Information applicant.

2. ‘Decentralisation behind three-capital concept’

  • Andhra Pradesh Governor asserted that decentralisation of administration is the key principle based on which legislation is in process to have three capitals.
  • Addressing the Legislature to mark the beginning of the Budget session of the State Assembly, the Governor said that under the three-capital concept, Amaravati would be the Legislative capital, Visakhapatnam the Executive capital and Kurnool the Judicial capital.

Read more about Multiple state capitals and governance.

3. Climate report predicts hotter, rainier days

What’s in News?

India’s first ever national forecast on the impact of global warming on the subcontinent in the coming century, expects annual rainfall to increase, along with more severe cyclones and  paradoxically, more droughts.

  • These projections, based on a climate forecasting model developed at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, will be part of the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), expected to be ready in 2022.
  • The frequencies of future warm days and warm nights are projected to increase by 55% and 70%, respectively, relative to the reference period of 1976-2005.
  • Summer heat waves over India are projected to be three to four times higher by the end of the 21st century.
  • According to the report, the projected rapid changes in India’s climate will place increasing stress on the country’s natural ecosystems, agricultural output, and fresh water resources.
  • The report states that, from 1986 to 2015, the hottest day and coldest night have warmed 0.63°C and 0.4°C, respectively. By the end of the 21st century, the report says, these temperatures are projected to rise by approximately 4.7°C and 5.5°C, respectively, relative to the corresponding temperatures in 1976-2005.
    • This is under a hypothetical scenario where no steps are taken to curb global greenhouse gas emissions.

4. Israeli Army is raiding Ramallah: PA

What’s in News?

According to a Palestinian official, the Israeli Army raided Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

  • It is the first such incursion since the Palestinian Authority (PA) cut security coordination with Israel.
  • The PA is headquartered in Ramallah and the city is nominally under full Palestinian control, but the Israeli army has carried out numerous raids there.

5. U.S. top court ruling backs LGBT workers

What’s in News?

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory for the gay and transgender communities as it ruled that employers cannot discriminate against workers because of their sexual orientation.

  • The court ruled by six votes to three that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination against employees because of a person’s sex, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.

6. N. Korea blows up liaison office with South

What’s in News?

North Korea has blown up an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border.

  • The liaison office was set up less than two years ago in September 2018.
    • Officials from both sides were stationed at the office during subsequent months.
    • However, inter-Korean relations soured following the collapse of the Hanoi summit between Mr. Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in February 2019.
  • Analysts say North Korea may be seeking to manufacture a crisis to increase pressure on South Korea while nuclear negotiations with Washington are at a standstill.
    • Also, the North Korean state media quoted the military as saying it had been studying an action plan to re-enter zones that had been demilitarised under the 2018 inter-Korean pact and turn the front line into a fortress.
    • Recently, North Korea announced it was severing all official communication links with South Korea.
  • South Korea’s Defence Ministry called for North Korea to abide by the 2018 agreement, under which both sides vowed to cease all hostile acts and dismantled a number of structures along the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone between the countries.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Lonar Lake:
  1. It is a volcanic crater.
  2. It is a National Geo-heritage Monument.
  3. Lonar Lake and surrounding regions are declared as a wetland of ecological importance under the Ramsar Convention.

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

  1. 3 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
See
Answer
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to Gangetic River Dolphins:
  1. They are blind and catch their prey using ultrasonic sound waves.
  2. They are categorised as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  3. It is the National Aquatic Animal of India.
  4. It is the official animal of Guwahati.

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

  1. 1, 3 and 4 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4
See
Answer
Q3. Consider the following statements:
  1. Once in every two years, the UN General Assembly elects five non-permanent members of the Security Council.
  2.  The non-permanent members of the Security Council are elected by a two-thirds majority.
  3. A retiring member of the UNSC is not eligible for immediate re-election.

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

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
See
Answer
Q4. Deepor Beel is located in:
  1. Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Gujarat
  3. Assam
  4. Sikkim
See
Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. A dispersed production model and the formation of cooperatives and worker unions can, apart from helping address the many challenges faced by the migrant workers, also result in other significant advantages to India. Comment. (10 marks, 150 words)
  2. In the light of the suspension of the MPLADS scheme for 2020-21 and 2021-22, discuss the arguments both in favour of and against the continuation of this scheme. (15 marks, 250 words)

Read the previous CNA here.

17 June 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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