TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related POLITY 1. Rajya Sabha fault lines clear for Deputy Chairman poll INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. ‘India for rules-based world order’ C. GS3 Related ECOLOGY 1. Rare species of spider found again after 150 years 2. Oldest Sumatran orangutan dead at 62 ECONOMY 1. India to defend GSP benefits at USTR D. GS4 Related E. Editorials INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. India’s pivot to Eurasia POLITY AND GOVERNANCE 1. National asylum policy: The imperative to offer refuge F. Tidbits 1. Database on unorganised workers gets under way 2. Keralites face highest risk of cardiovascular disease, finds study 3. Airline adopts biofuel in green push 4. Rupee dives to a near 1-month low of 68.38 5. Floods advisory 6. Air India privatisation plan shelved 7. Tech edge: A.P. police show the way 8. Punjab offers saplings through mobile app G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
1. Rajya Sabha fault lines clear for Deputy Chairman poll
- Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu set in motion the process of election of Deputy Chairman of the Upper House, but the Opposition parties are yet to begin formal discussions on fielding a candidate.
Election of Deputy Chairman
- The election of a Deputy Chairman shall be held on such date as the Chairman may fix and the Secretary-General shall send to every member notice of this date.
- At any time before noon on the day- preceding the date so fixed, any member may give notice in writing addressed to the Secretary-General of a motion that another member be chosen as the Deputy Chairman of the Council, and the notice shall be seconded by a third member and shall be accompanied by a statement by the member whose name is proposed in the notice that he is willing to serve as Deputy Chairman if elected: Provided that a member shall not propose or second more than one motion.
- A member in whose name a motion stands in the list of business may, when called, move the motion or not move the motion, in which case he shall confine himself to a mere statement to that effect.
- The motions which have been moved and duly seconded shall be put one by one in the order in which they have been moved and decided if necessary by division.
- If any motion is carried, the person presiding shall, without putting later motions, declare that the member proposed in the motion which has been carried, has been chosen as the Deputy Chairman of the Council.
1. ‘India for rules-based world order’
- It is the notion that all are bound by a global set of rules, an international law above power.
- It describes appropriate rules of state behaviour.
- This includes appropriate forms of competition; prohibitions that states will face censure if they break.
- Such orders are invariably value-laden, reflecting the interests and nature of the states that establish them.
- The rules-based order offers both positive and negative rules.
- On the positive side, it establishes the form and content of response (common procedures for dealing with pirates, emergency response measures for natural disasters, and so forth).
- On the negative side, it cautions states against taking advantage of cooperative struggles for individual gain.
- For example, the United States and others have worked very hard to sever the tie between terrorist groups and their state sponsors.
- Similarly, the international community would look very grimly on an effort by Japan to take advantage of an earthquake in China.
- Articulating the principles of Indian foreign policy, President Ram Nath Kovind said India wants to be a rule framer in a multi-polar world.
- The President, during his speech in Greece, said that New Delhi wished to create a rules-based world order that would not differentiate between good and bad terrorism.
- President Ram Nath Kovind said that India is committed to an international order marked by robust, rules-based multilateral institutions; by multi-polarity in international governance; and by investment and connectivity projects that are viable, sustainable.
- President Kovind’s emphasis upon maintaining multilateral commitments indicates that India is keen to maintain a non-aligned attitude towards major power blocs in the world.
- The President said the interconnections that marked the era of globalisation have come under stress in recent years but urged Europe to join hands with India which is a responsible power, to preserve globalisation.
- President Kovind’s speech highlighted the syncretic connections between the European and Indian traditions of art, politics and state formation and described Greece and India are “sister civilisations” who have been part of the large family of humanity as exemplified in the Indian notion of “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam”.
C. GS3 Related
1. Rare species of spider found again after 150 years
- Scientists rediscovered after 150 years a rare species of spider, which was believed have become extinct, from Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) located in the Western Ghats region of Kerala.
- World famous Arachnologist Dr. Ferdinand Anton France Karsch of Berlin Zoological Museum, Germany, had described the inventory of a species of spider from Periyej Lake in Gujarat in 1868.
- But subsequently, it had vanished.
- The spider belonged to the family of jumping spiders (Salticidae) and scientifically named as Chrysilla volupes.
- Karsch’s inventory was based only on male specimen.
- But this time they found both male and female spiders.
- This species is found in India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.
2. Oldest Sumatran orangutan dead at 62
- The world’s oldest Sumatran orangutan, which had 11 children and 54 descendants spread across the globe, has died aged 62.
- Puan — Indonesian for “lady” — died on Monday at Perth Zoo, where she had lived since being gifted by Malaysia in 1968.
- Born in 1956, she was noted by the Guinness Book of Records as being the oldest verified Sumatran orangutan in the world.
- Female orangutans rarely live beyond 50 in the wild.
- Known for their distinctive red fur, orangutans are the largest arboreal mammal, spending most of their time in trees.
- These great apes share 96.4% of our genes and are highly intelligent creatures.
- Orangutans are currently only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra.
- Initially, they were divided into two species: Sumatran and Bornean Orangutan.
- A third species of orangutan was announced in November, 2017. With no more than 800 individuals, the Tapanuli orangutan is the most endangered of all great apes.
- Orangutans have been accorded Critically Endangered status by the IUCN.
1. India to defend GSP benefits at USTR
- India is expected to challenge charges levelled against it by the U.S dairy and medical devices industries at a hearing before the United States Trade Representative (USTR) office and defend its eligibility for benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme.
- The GSP programme provides for the duty-free treatment of designated articles when imported from beneficiary developing countries to America.
- What is at stake is exports worth about $5 billion annually, of 1,937 products from India.
- The USTR is reviewing India’s eligibility under the programme, after complaints from bodies representing the dairy and medical devices industry.
- The USTR had accused India of implementing a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on U.S. commerce.
- The petitions calling for a review of India’s GSP benefits, based on concerns that India has allegedly created trade barriers for these industries, are without substantive merits.
- Defending India’s measures to control prices of the medical devices, the petition said, the country was committed to providing its citizens with equitable and affordable access to essential medicines and medical devices.
- But this is a huge business opportunity for American companies, the submission argues because of the large size of the Indian population which is likely to benefit U.S and other multinational companies involved in manufacturing of such devices.
- India requires that dairy products be derived from animals which have never consumed any feeds containing internal organs, blood meal, or tissues of ruminant origin.
- In this regard, India has explained to the U.S that India’s position is based on religious, cultural and moral grounds. India is committed to respect the religious and cultural beliefs of its people and it will be inappropriate to impute any other considerations to this decision.
- India imports dairy products from countries such as Australia and Switzerland. India will tell the USTR that this is not a question of market access but of certifications.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
1. India’s pivot to Eurasia
- When you have complicated ties with neighbours, it makes sense to strengthen ties with your neighbours’ neighbours.
- Sandwiched between U.S. President Donald Trump’s acrimonious public exchanges with other leaders at the G-7 (group of seven industrialised countries) summit (June 7-8) and the headline-hogging U.S.-North Korea summit (June 12), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China (June 9-10) attracted little international attention. It was the first SCO summit attended by India as a full-fledged member (It has been an observer since 2005.)
- The SCO grew out of the Shanghai Five grouping — of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan — which was set up in 1996 to resolve boundary disputes between China and each of the four other members. It admitted Uzbekistan in 2001, re-christened itself the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and broadened its agenda to include political, economic and security cooperation. It admitted India and Pakistan as full members in 2017.
The SCO opportunity
- The admission of India and Pakistan has expanded the geographical, demographic and economic profile of the SCO, which now has about half the world’s population and a quarter of its GDP. Its boundary extends southwards to the Indian Ocean.
- The SCO’s relevance for India lies in geography, economics and geopolitics. Its members occupy a huge landmass adjacent to India’s extended neighbourhood, where India has important economic and security interests. Its Central Asian countries border Afghanistan, Pakistan and China. A narrow sliver of land separates southern Tajikistan from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- When you have complicated relations with your neighbours, it makes sense to strengthen relations with your neighbours’ neighbours. With Pakistan joining the Organisation and Afghanistan and Iran knocking on the doors for membership, the logic of India’s membership becomes stronger.
- Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the optimal development of India’s relations with Central Asian countries has been constrained by lack of overland access through Pakistan and Afghanistan/Iran, because of political and/or security reasons. With new multimodal transport corridors now envisaged through Iran, there are again prospects of invigorating trade and investment links with this region (provided fresh U.S. sanctions on Iran do not stymie this effort).
- In the formative years of the SCO, Russia pushed strongly for India to join it, to somewhat balance China’s economic dominance in Central Asia. The Chinese were not responsive.
- China has since consolidated its energy and economic foothold in the region, where ambitious infrastructure and connectivity projects are envisaged as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- It has secured the simultaneous admission of Pakistan into the SCO. India has to carve out a political and economic space for itself in Central Asia, alongside Russia’s role as net security provider and China’s dominating economic presence. The Central Asian countries would welcome India breaking into this Russia-China duopoly.
- The India-Pakistan interaction was closely watched in Qingdao. The handshake and exchange of pleasantries between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain were noted, as also the absence of bilateral altercations. It allayed apprehensions, expressed in the run-up to Indian and Pakistani accession, that SCO deliberations would get bogged down by India-Pakistan squabbles. It also respected the etiquette of international organisations: countries join them to promote shared objectives, not to settle bilateral scores.
The India-Pakistan track
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that harmonious cooperation in the SCO may pave the way for an India-Pakistan rapprochement, recalling that SCO membership had facilitated resolution of China’s boundary disputes with Russia and Central Asian countries. Chinese officials have also expressed this hope.
- The circumstances are not comparable. China made substantial concessions to settle its boundary disputes with Russia and Central Asia, in pursuit of larger strategic and economic objectives in the region. India-Pakistan differences extend well beyond a boundary dispute, flow from different historical circumstances and are located in a different geopolitical environment.
- The SCO will, however, nudge both countries to cooperate in sensitive areas. One example is the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO, which coordinates cooperation for security and stability, through intelligence-sharing on criminal and terrorist activities.
- India and Pakistan, which exchange mutual recriminations in such matters, have to find ways of cooperating in the RATS. Defence cooperation is another tricky area: enhanced linkages between armed forces is an SCO objective.
- India has agreed to participate in the SCO’s counter-terrorism military exercises in Russia later this year, when Indian and Pakistani troops will operate together. Reconciling Indian and Pakistani perspectives in the SCO’s initiatives on Afghanistan would be yet another challenge.
- The expansion of SCO has diluted its unanimity on hitherto shared perspectives. Tacitly accepting the fact that India and Pakistan are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Qingdao declaration confirms the compliance of the SCO’s NPT signatories to its provisions.
- India’s reservations on China’s BRI are accommodated by excluding it from the list of SCO members that endorse it (all except India). The boilerplate formulations on terrorism accommodate the concerns of various members, without offending any. The essence of a functioning multilateral framework is focusing on shared objectives and underplaying divergences.
- Besides expanding opportunities for India in Central Asia, the SCO is a platform for articulating a non-Western — as distinct from anti-Western — perspective on global issues. This includes opposition to selective advocacy of regime change, self-serving homilies on human rights and intrusive advice on domestic policies.
- It suits India that the SCO is not stridently anti-West in its pronouncements. The U.S. cultivates relations with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to ensure logistical support for its Afghanistan operations and to gradually wean them away from Russian influence.
- These countries welcome the room for manoeuvre that this gives them. Russia and China also carefully avoid strong anti-West postures in the SCO, preferring to deal with differences quietly and bilaterally.
Balance of forces
- The challenge for India — besides that of security and defence cooperation with Pakistan — may come from increasing Chinese dominance of the SCO. This could happen if Russia-U.S. relations worsen further, leading Russia to an even greater dependence on Chinese political and economic support.
- Another possible game-changer could be the fallout of the much-heralded U.S.-North Korea summit. If, as Mr. Trump has hinted, peace in the Korean peninsula leads to reduced American military presence in the region, it would dramatically change the balance of forces in the Asia-Pacific in favour of China. This would transform Eurasian dynamics, with an inevitable impact on SCO.
1. National asylum policy: The imperative to offer refuge
Why there is a need for National Asylum policy?
- India urgently needs a national asylum policy. This month, it is five years since Nargis first arrived in Delhi. The Afghan journalist in Herat, Afghanistan had to flee her country after the Taliban threatened to kill her. But as a refugee in India, she has had no opportunity to earn a living and has been unable to rebuild her life.
- Today, India is host to over 200,000 refugees like her who have been forced to flee conflict and persecution in their home countries.
- On World Refugee Day (June 20), there is a need to reassess India’s approach to refugee protection, particularly in light of the regional refugee crisis after the mass exodus of the Rohingya from Myanmar.
- Traditionally, India has hosted several persecuted groups such as Tibetans and Sri Lankans. While it is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has no domestic asylum law, it has reiterated its commitment towards the protection of refugees at various international fora, including the UN General Assembly.
- One of the most significant affirmations of this commitment was demonstrated by India becoming a signatory to the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was adopted by 193 countries in September 2016.
- In doing so, India has expressed its solidarity with those forced to flee and agreed that protecting refugees and supporting the countries that shelter them are shared international responsibilities that must be borne more equitably.
New Framework: The Global compact on Refugees (GCR)
- The Declaration sets the stage for a new framework for refugee protection — the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).
- The Compact is a coordinated effort to strengthen international response to protracted refugee situations and comprehensively addresses all stages of refugee protection, from reception to long-term solutions.
- Two of its key objectives are to ease pressures on host countries and enhance refugee self-reliance. The GCR recognises that certain refugee situations can last for decades and acknowledges that the burden is borne largely by developing countries, that now host over 80% of the refugee population in the world.
- In light of this, it calls for support from the international community in the form of resources. It also seeks to establish forums to enable expertise-sharing to promote economic opportunities, decent work and job creation not just for refugees but also for the host community.
- Since the Declaration was adopted, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been engaging with member states, UN bodies, and non-governmental organisations to develop a plan for its practical implementation; this will be finalised by the end of 2018.
- Although India has hosted refugees of varying nationalities for decades, the country has done little beyond providing asylum. There have been some attempts to introduce a refugee law in the country, the latest being the Asylum Bill 2015, introduced as a private member’s bill by Shashi Tharoor.
- However, none has gone the distance and the government continues to adopt an ad hoc approach towards this group. Given that most refugees have been unable to return to their countries, leading to protracted refugee situations, there is an urgent need for the government to develop a uniform framework for their management during their stay in India.
- For instance, due to their unclear legal status and lack of uniform documentation, refugees have limited access to essential services and almost no avenues for livelihood.
- While some refugees have been able to generate income by working in the informal sector, many of them, especially vulnerable women like Nargis, are at the mercy of touts and traffickers even within their own community. At best, they are forced to rely on income from odd jobs which is an unsustainable livelihood option that often leaves them exposed to exploitation.
- The solution to this may lie within the GCR, which calls for States to identify gaps and opportunities for employment and income generation for refugees in a bid to enhance their self-reliance.
- Moreover, it specifies the need to include the host community in enabling mapping skills, vocational training and capacity-building among refugee populations, thereby fostering understanding and cooperation among the communities and paving the way for a socially cohesive approach.
- India’s commitment to refugee protection under the GCR is evident in its active participation in ongoing GCR consultations, where it has emphasised the need for a clear mechanism for the refugee response regime. Therefore this is an opportune time for India to reassess the need for a national asylum policy which is compliant with the principles laid down in the GCR. This will not only re-establish India’s place as a democratic regional power committed to core humanitarian principles but will also provide refugees such as Nargis a chance to give back to the country that has adopted her.
- Ten years after passing a law that envisaged a portable smart ID card for unorganised workers, the Centre has started work to create a national database and Aadhaar-seeded identification number system to facilitate welfare delivery to 40 crore workers in the sector.
- The Union Ministry of Labour has called for tenders to design, develop and run the new UWIN — Unorganised Workers Identification Number — Platform.
- The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008 had first mandated that every worker be registered and issued a smart ID card.
- According to the notice, the single unified sanitised database will assign a 10-digit UWIN to every worker and include details of both nuclear and extended families of unorganised workers.
- The platform will be set up within six months of the contract being signed, and a third of the workers are expected to be registered in the first year, with the remainder to be registered in the second year.
- While the Centre — through the service provider — will create and maintain the platform, it is up to the States to identify and register unorganised workers.
- A study based on two recent national surveys of nearly 8,00,000 adults between 34 and 70 years, has found that people of Kerala — across sexes — were most at risk of cardiovascular diseases while those in Jharkhand were least likely to have the condition.
- A gender break down, however, puts the women of Goa at highest mean cardiovascular risk at 16.73% while men in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland were most vulnerable with mean cardiovascular risk of 24.23%.
- The study found that adults in urban areas, as well as those with a higher household wealth, tended to have a greater cardiovascular risk.
- In general, the cardiovascular risk is lower in rural areas compared with urban areas.
- But Goa has bucked this trend with the rural areas showing a higher mean value (18.92%) than the urban areas (18.79%).
- In the case of Kerala, the difference between highest mean risk in rural (19.23%) and urban areas (19.90%) is meagre.
- The same questionnaire and methodology was used throughout to collect clinical, anthropometric, and biomarker measurements.
- While smoking was more prevalent in poorer households and rural areas, wealthy households and urban locations faced risks from high body mass index, high blood glucose and high systolic blood pressure.
- A brand new Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which flew from the French city of Toulouse to Hong Kong, was partly powered by a sugarcane-based biofuel.
- Cathay Pacific had successfully tested the biofuel blend sourced from Brazil in its Airbus 350-900 variant earlier and seen promising results.
- Compared with the conventional jet fuel, biofuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%.
- The rupee nosedived 39 paise to hit a near one-month low of 68.38 against the U.S. dollar, as trade threats between the world’s two biggest economies continued to escalate.
- Increasing prospects for a full-blown U.S.-China trade war triggered a risk-off atmosphere in many global currency markets, after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened another round of tariffs on more Chinese goods, prompting China to warn of retaliation.
- World stocks too reacted negatively with significant falls in Asia that carried through to Europe.
- Domestic forex market sentiment succumbed to bouts of pressure on revival of fresh global trade war fears and concerns about possibility that the adverse U.S. trade policy will have a substantial impact on the Indian economy.
- The rapid surge in global crude oil prices has already had an adverse impact on the country’s fiscal arithmetic.
- After it failed to get any buyers for the debt-ridden national carrier, the government has shelved its plan to privatise Air India exactly a year after the Union Cabinet gave its nod for the disinvestment process.
- The source attributed the lack of interest in the disinvestment process to rising fuel prices and hinted that the government could revisit the plan to offload its stake in Air India at a later stage.
- Many players had raised questions about the huge size of the debt, the government’s refusal to exit completely from the airline as well as sought clarity on the benefits and obligations towards more than 15,000 permanent and contractual employees.
- However, the government had said that continuing to hold some stake in Air India would help it to service the share of the debt of approximately ₹25,000 crore it was not passing on to the new buyer.
- Aviation think-tank CAPA says the government’s decision does not bode well for the beleaguered airline.
- Continuing government ownership and the lack of a clear roadmap will lead Air India to extreme insignificance and possibly closure.
- Measures such as cutting down costs as well as monetisation of Air India’s assets would be adopted in order to run the airline.
- The Andhra Pradesh police, who lead in using crime data analytics and big data applications, have now become the first in the country to complete automation of the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB).
- The IT-based web/mobile application is a revolution in data collection as it saves hundreds of man hours for SCRB personnel who till now have been collecting offline data from District Crime Records Bureau (DCRB) and manually compiling them while preparing monthly statements.
- i-App cloud is now helping the police access the entire information of crimes under various IPC sections.
- The information is available at the touch of a button on mobile phones and computers helping the police to analyse trends in crime and take necessary action.
- The iApp cloud application can collect, store, process and retrieve data and generate reports every month.
- It can provide a seamless interface with the crime data flowing from the districts.
- The data is further integrated into the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) data banks.
- Data classified into 54 patterns of crime are analysed real time by senior officers.
- i-App is now providing comparative analytics of gender violence, bodily offences and property offences in each unit, range, region and State using data charts.
- This is a tool by which the officials can easily understand the crime patterns in each unit, compare the trends and take necessary action.
- For instance, the comparative analytics of crime in 2017 revealed that Vijayawada has less number of property offences in 2017 (2,129 cases) when compared to that of in 2016 (2,379 cases) being registered.
- To increase the State’s green cover, the Punjab government launched a smartphone application that lets users order free plant saplings.
- The ‘i-Hariyali’ app under ‘Mission Tandarust’ can be downloaded from the app store for free.
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Consider the following statements related to National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF):
- NIIF is registered with SEBI as Category II Alternative Investment Fund (AIF).
- The Purpose of the fund is to receive disinvestment proceeds of central public sector enterprises.
- 5% of the total funds collected in it becomes a part of Consolidated Fund of India.
Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?
- Only 1
- Only 2 and 3
- Only 3
- Only 1 and 2
Question 2. Consider the following statements related to NARI portal:
- It is a web portal that will provide information to women like tips on good nutrition, tips for job search and interview, investment and savings advice.
- NGOs and civil society can also provide their feedback, suggestions, put up grievances and share best practices through it.
- It provides information about Government schemes (for women) only for the category of women in the age group of 18-70 years.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- Only 1
- Only 2 and 3
- All of the above
- Only 1 and 2
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
- Indus river falls into the Arabian sea near Karachi.
- The five major tributaries of Indus originates in India.
Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- None of the above
Question 4. Consider the following Statements regarding Official Language:
- Article 343 (1) of the Constitution provides that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the official language of the Union.
- Article 343 (3) empowered the Parliament to provide by law for continued use of English for official purposes even after January 25, 1965.
Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- None of the above
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is an excellent opportunity for India to secure its economic and security interests in the region. Elaborate.
- e-governance has the potential to be the sole reformer as far as governance in India is concerned. Support the statement with examples.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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