19 Jun 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

19 June 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India coasts to win in Security Council polls
2. Nepal’s new map now part of Constitution
3. India to take part in meeting of RIC grouping
4. U.S. Bill to sanction China over Uighur rights
5. China passes draft Hong Kong security Bill
HEALTH
1. Umifenovir to undergo clinical trial
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. ‘₹50,000 crore scheme for migrants’
2. AGR demand from non-telco PSUs withdrawn, govt. tells SC
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Galwan: Postscript to a tragedy
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Mediation in the age of COVID-19
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. First the blowout, then the stake-out
F. Prelims Facts
1. Supreme Court stays Puri Rath Yatra
2. Kodumanal dig throws light on megalithic burial rituals
G. Tidbits
1. Days after clash, China frees 10 soldiers
2. Railways to terminate ₹471 cr. contract of Chinese firm
3. Mobile lab to improve access to testing
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Nepal’s new map now part of Constitution

Context:

The Upper House of Nepal’s Parliament has passed the Second Constitution Amendment Bill 2077 (Vikram era).

Details:

  • The new map claims parts of Indian Territory in Pithoragarh district.
  • The voting and the presidential assent have completed the legislative procedure of the Bill that was taken up by the Government of Nepal, after India inaugurated the Darchula-Lipulekh link road.
    • Nepal immediately protested, saying the road violated the status quo of the region, which it described as unresolved.

This topic has been covered in 14th June 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.

3. India to take part in meeting of RIC grouping

Context:

The Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that India will participate in the virtual meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) grouping.

Details:

  • The Russian reiteration of support for dialogue between China and India came even though Moscow’s Foreign Minister had said bilateral issues were usually not taken up at RIC.
  • The situation in Afghanistan and regional connectivity projects such as the International North South Transport Corridor involving India, Russia and Iran are expected to figure in the agenda.

Significance:

  • The Indian decision to go ahead with the ministerial level exchange has created an opening for de-escalation of tension along the Line of Actual Control with the Russian diplomatic sources indicating that they support constructive dialogue over the tension in eastern Ladakh. Read more about the India-China military standoff along the Line of Actual Control.
  • Russia can act as a bridge in the strained relations between India and China.
  • It can act as a platform to discuss and address the areas of cooperation and understand mutual differences.

Russia-India-China trilateral grouping:

  • During the 2019 G-20 Summit in Osaka, Russia, India, and China (RIC) held the latest iteration of a trilateral meeting between them.
  • RIC as a strategic grouping first took shape in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov as a counterbalance to the Western alliance.
  • Primakov, a Russian politician and diplomat who was also the Prime Minister of Russia from 1998 to 1999, is credited with the idea for RIC.
  • The group was founded on the basis of “end[ing] its subservient foreign policy guided by the U.S.,” and “renewing old ties with India and fostering the newly discovered friendship with China.”
  • But the idea of meeting at the leader’s level on a more sustained basis has only surfaced over the past couple of years.

Importance of RIC:

  • RIC brings together three largest Eurasian countries.
  • It is a significant trilateral grouping as all three countries are nuclear powers.
  • Russia and China are permanent members of the UN Security Council, India aspires to be one.
  • In the period of geopolitical transition, it is an effort to renew and rebuild some of these old initiatives as a way to counter the U.S.-led world order.
  • Here, Russia becomes the bridge between India and China, since it enjoys strong relations with both.
  • RIC can complement India’s continental ambitions and bring about more balance in its strategic autonomy.

4. U.S. Bill to sanction China over Uighur rights

Context:

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed legislation calling for sanctions over the repression of China’s Uighurs.

Details:

  • The Bill was intended to send China a strong message on human rights by mandating sanctions against those responsible for oppression of the Muslim minority.
  • The UN estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps in the Xinjiang region.
    • The Uighur men are placed in concentration camps while the women are being used by the Han community.
    • The Han community reasons these actions as the basis of providing better integration among the community.
  • China and the United States are already at loggerheads over a large number of issues from China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic to U.S. support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

China’s reaction:

  • China denies mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.
  • China responded to the Bill with anger, saying it “vilified” the human rights situation in Xinjiang and was a malicious attack against China.
  • It urged the US to stop its interfere in China’s internal affairs.

Who are Uighurs?

  • The Uighurs are a minority Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia.
  • The Uighurs are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
  • They are considered to be one of China’s 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities.
  • The Uighurs have traditionally inhabited a series of oases scattered across the Taklamakan Desert comprising the Tarim Basin, a territory which has historically been controlled by many civilizations including China, the Mongols, the Tibetans and the Turkic world.
  • An estimated 80% of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs still live in the Tarim Basin. The rest of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs mostly live in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (UAR), which is located in the historical region of Dzungaria.

5. China passes draft Hong Kong security Bill

Context:

China’s legislature has passed a draft of a National Security Bill for Hong Kong.

Details:

  • The bill has been criticised as undermining the semi-autonomous region’s legal and political institutions.
  • It covers four categories of crimes.
  • The law would make criminal any act of:
    • secession – breaking away from the country
    • subversion – undermining the power or authority of the central government
    • terrorism – using violence or intimidation against people
    • activities by foreign forces that interfere in Hong Kong
  • China acted after the widespread and violent anti-government protests in the territory last year that Beijing saw as a dangerous campaign to split Hong Kong from the rest of China.

Concerns:

  • Critics say it could severely limit free speech and opposition political activity.
  • The U.S. has said that if the law is passed it will revoke some of the special privileges granted to Hong Kong after the former British colony was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997.
    • Beijing has denounced the move as interference in its sovereign affairs.

Also read the issues covered in 13th April 2019 and 23rd May 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

Category: HEALTH

1. Umifenovir to undergo clinical trial

Context:

The Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, a constituent lab of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has received permission for carrying out Phase III trials for the use of Umifenovir against COVID-19.

Details:

  • According to a release issued by the Central government, this drug has a good safety profile and acts by preventing entry of virus into human cells and also by priming the immune system.
  • To evaluate its efficacy in Indian patients, CSIR-CDRI has taken up the clinical trial.
  • All the raw materials for the drug are indigenously available, if the clinical trial is successful.

Umifenovir:

  • Umifenovir, mainly used for the treatment of influenza, is available in China and Russia.
  • It has a direct antiviral effect.
  • Umifenovir impedes the viral attachment to cells and acts as a viral entry inhibitor and it exhibits modulatory effects on the immune system and induces interferon-production.

2. AGR demand from non-telco PSUs withdrawn, govt. tells SC

Context:

The Union government has informed the Supreme Court that it had withdrawn 96% of its ₹4 lakh-crore demand in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) from non-telecom public sector undertakings (PSUs).

Background:

This issue has been covered in 25th October 2019 and 17th March 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

Details:

  • The turnaround comes after the court pulled up the government for misusing its October 2019 judgment to get money from PSUs such as DMRC.
    • A Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, had made it clear its verdict was only limited to AGR dues owed by telecom companies and not PSUs that had nothing to do with the sector.
  • Solicitor General informed the court that since these PSUs are not in the business of providing telecom services, we are withdrawing 96% of the ₹4 lakh-crore demand.
  • Also, the court is considering the viability of the government’s proposed ‘formula’ to stagger the repayment of the dues over a period of 20 years.

2. Kodumanal dig throws light on megalithic burial rituals

What’s in News?

The burial site has been unearthed at Kodumanal village in Erode district, Tamil Nadu.

  • The Kodumanal excavation of 10 pots and bowls, instead of the usual three or four pots, placed outside three-chambered burial cists and inside the cairn-circle, has thrown light on burial rituals and the concept of afterlife in megalithic culture.
  • The rectangular chambered cists, each two metres long and six metres wide, are made of stone slabs, and the entire grave is surrounded by boulders that form the circle.
  • Believing that the deceased person will get a new life after death, pots and bowls filled with grains were placed outside the chambers.
  • Previous excavations have revealed that multi-ethnic groups lived in the village, located about 500 metres away from the Noyyal river.
  • Earlier excavations also revealed that the site served as a trade-cum-industrial centre from 5th century BCE to 1st century BCE.
  • Findings unearthed so far include an animal skull, possibly of a wolf or a dog; precious stones like beryl, carnelian, quartz, jasper, beads, gold pieces and needles; copper smelting units; the mud walls of a workshop; potteries; and Tamil Brahmi script.

G. Tidbits

1. Days after clash, China frees 10 soldiers

What’s in News?

Three days after clashes in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh, the Chinese have released 10 Indian Army personnel, including a Lieutenant Colonel and three Majors, from their custody.

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said the Indian troops, who were outnumbered and attacked by the Chinese side, carried arms.
  • As per the long-standing practice (1996 & 2005 agreements) army does not to use firearms during faceoffs.
    • Article VI of the 1996 agreement between India and China on “Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) in the military field along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas” says, “Neither side shall open fire, cause bio-degradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometres from the line of actual control. This prohibition shall not apply to routine firing activities in small arms firing ranges.”

2. Railways to terminate ₹471 cr. contract of Chinese firm

What’s in News?

Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL), a special purpose vehicle under the Railway Ministry, has decided to terminate a ₹471-crore signalling contract given to a Chinese firm.

  • While the decision follows the violent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the Railways said the contract was being terminated due to poor progress.
  • The move also comes a day after the Department of Telecom decided to ask the two state-run telcos — BSNL and MTNL — not to use gear by Chinese firms in its 4G upgrade.

3. Mobile lab to improve access to testing

What’s in News?

Union Health Minister has launched the country’s first mobile I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for last mile COVID-19 testing access.

This topic has been covered in 18th June 2020 PIB Summary and Analysis. Click here to read.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements:
  1. Largest reserves of coal in the world is found in India.
  2. India is the second largest producer of coal.
  3. India is the second largest importer of coal.

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

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None of the above
See
Answer
Q2. “Rule of Law Index” is released by:
  1. International Court of Justice
  2. World Justice Project
  3. International Criminal Court
  4. European Court of Justice
See
Answer
Q3. Consider the following statements:
  1. References of Megalithic culture can be found in ancient Tamil Sangam literature.
  2. Majority of megalithic sites are found in Peninsular India.
  3. A Menhir is a burial monument, or tomb, of the megalithic age.

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

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
See
Answer
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to International North South 
Transport Corridor (INSTC):
  1. It is a multi-modal transportation established in 2015.
  2. The corridor connects Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran.
  3. Russia, India and Iran are the founding member states of INSTC.
  4. Syria, Oman and Azerbaijan are the members of INSTC.

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

  1. 2 and 3 only
  2. 1, 2 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2, 3 and 4
  4. 2, 3 and 4 only
See
Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Has the COVID-19 pandemic given an opportunity for Mediation to emerge as an effective dispute resolution tool in India? What are the challenges? (15 Marks, 250 Words)
  2. What are the powers of a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council? Discuss India’s role as a non-permanent member of the UNSC in establishing global order. (15 Marks, 250 Words).

Read the previous CNA here.

19 June 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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