24 Jun 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Quote for the day Set 5 05

CNA 24 June 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Pakistan’s economic muddling and the IMF challenge
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Open network for digital commerce
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. A turning point for Ukraine and its women’s rights
ECONOMY
1. The problems plaguing thermal power generators
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. India is central to Australia’s world view: Deputy PM Marles
2. India reopens Embassy in Kabul, sends aid
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

1. Open network for digital commerce

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth and development

Prelims: Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) 

Mains: Details about ONDC and the need for the formation of ONDC

Context

The Union Government has announced the launch of the pilot phase of the open network for digital commerce (ONDC) in five cities.

Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC)

  • ONDC is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a platform that helps local digital commerce stores across industries in the country to be discovered and engaged by any network-enabled applications.
  • ONDC is neither an aggregator application nor a hosting platform, and all the existing digital commerce applications and platforms can voluntarily choose to adopt and be a part of the ONDC network.
  • The ONDC aims to provide a single platform that enables customers to buy products from all the participating e-commerce platforms.
  • The open network concept also extends beyond the retail sector, to any digital commerce domains such as wholesale, mobility, food delivery, logistics, travel, urban services, etc.
  • The government is looking to take up the ONDC model and try to replicate the success of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
    • The UPI allows individuals to send or receive money irrespective of the payment platforms they are registered on. 
  • ONDC was proposed as an entity that would work without the need for day-to-day interventions and advisories from the shareholders. 
    • The independence of the management is linked to the financial independence of the entity, and therefore, the entity will have to get independent funding and have a self-sustaining financial model.
ONDC Network

Image Source: Times of India

Reasons for the formation of ONDC

  • According to an outreach programme conducted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was seen that there was a huge gap in the scale of online demand and the ability of the local retail ecosystem to participate. 
    • Extensive consultations with various ministries and industry experts were conducted and the ONDC envisaged to revolutionise digital commerce in India.
  • Further, ONDC was introduced with an aim to democratise India’s fast-growing digital e-commerce sector which is presently dominated by the two U.S.-based firms namely Amazon and Walmart.

Current status of ONDC

  • Currently, ONDC is in its incipient stage in five cities namely Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore, with a target of registering about 150 retailers.
  • The government has set up an advisory council to identify the potential of ONDC as a concept and advise the government on the steps required to accelerate its adoption.
    • The advisory council includes industry experts as well as members from various government organisations.
  • The ONDC in the next five years plans to bring on board 90 crore users and 12 lakh sellers on the network which would enable 730 crore additional purchases and an additional gross merchandising value (GMV) of ₹3.75 crores. 
    • The GMV for the digital commerce retail market in India was ₹2.85 lakh crore in 2020, which constitutes a meagre 4.3% of the total retail GMV in India.

Know more about – Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC)

Nut Graf

The ONDC platform is expected to revolutionise the e-commerce sector and make it more inclusive and accessible for consumers by simplifying the process of cataloguing, inventory management, management of orders and the fulfilment of orders.

1. The problems plaguing thermal power generators

Syllabus: Infrastructure: Energy

Mains: Details about the coal crisis in India and its reasons

Context

In the backdrop of the continued coal shortage, India’s power demand has reached a record high of 211 MW.

Details

  • With an increase in the temperature and the revival of the economy, the power demand crossed the 200 MW mark several times but due to the coal shortage, the coal stocks are available only for eight days.
  • The Ministry of Power has directed the gencos (power-generating companies) to use imported coal for 10% of their requirement to bridge the gap between shortage in domestic supply and increasing demand.

Reasons for power crisis in India

  • The domestic production of coal stagnated between FY18 and FY21, but revived in FY22. However, the power demand increased due to economic recovery and hotter weather conditions.
India's domestic coal production

Image source: The Hindu

  • Until FY20, domestic sources accounted for around 90% of the power sector’s coal requirements, the remaining being filled by imports. But by FY22, the dependence on imports reduced to 3.8% which increased pressure on domestic supplies.
    • The coal imported by power plants was reduced to 27 MT in FY22 from 66.06 MT in FY17. 
    • Coal imported for blending purposes by power plants that run on indigenous coal was also reduced to 8 MT in FY22, from 19.7 MT in FY17.
Coal imports

Image source: The Hindu

  • The drop in imports is also due to the increase in the prices of coal in the international markets.
    • The cost of the coal imported is almost 5-6 times higher than the domestic supply. 
    • The drop in domestic supplies and the increasing import prices have aggravated the situation.
Domestic & international coal prices

Image source: The Hindu

  • The use of imported coal will also increase the prices of power supply to the Discoms (power distribution companies) and the Discoms at present owe long-standing dues worth ₹1.16 lakh crores to the gencos. 
    • Delays in the payments by discoms result in a working capital crunch for gencos which further impacts their ability to procure a sufficient quantity of coal.
    • Most State governments do not revise tariffs periodically and the delays in availing compensation from the government further affect Discoms.
Nut Graf

Despite being the second-largest producer of coal and the availability of reserves that could last up to 100 years, India is experiencing an acute shortage in coal supplies as the efforts to ramp up the supply of domestic coal have not bridged the gap between the requirement and the supply of coal and the skyrocketing prices of coal in the international markets has further impacted India’s imports.

 

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. India is central to Australia’s world view: Deputy PM Marles

  • The Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence said that Australia sees India as “completely central” to its “world view”.
  • He also talked about the shared values between India and Australia, in terms of both the countries being democracies, having a rule of law and seeking to build and respect a global rules-based order.
  • He further added that the assertiveness of China in recent years along the South China Sea and Line of Actual Control (LAC) has urged Australia and India to have a shared objective of establishing a global rules-based order.

2. India reopens Embassy in Kabul, sends aid

  • In a crucial step towards re-establishing its presence in Afghanistan, India sent a team of officials to be based in Kabul and reopened its Embassy.
    • The move to reopen the embassy, 10 months after the government shut it down, marks a reversal of the government’s policy on engaging with the Taliban.
    • The opening of the embassy is a step towards working more closely with the Taliban regime.
  • India also sent its first consignment of earthquake relief assistance to Afghanistan.
  • A reconstituted team, consisting of security and engineering personnel, has been sent to Kabul with the aim of establishing consular and visa arrangements, the distribution of humanitarian assistance, and also to oversee the maintenance and restart of various development projects Indian companies had undertaken in Afghanistan.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to Kaliningrad? 
(Level – Medium)
  1. It is Russia’s westernmost federal entity.
  2. It shares no borders with Mainland Russia and is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Kaliningrad is Russia’s westernmost federal entity.
  • Statement 2 is correct, It shares no borders with Mainland Russia and is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.
Kaliningrad

Image Source: Britannica

Q2. Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to Sickle Cell 
Disease? (Level – Medium)
  1. It is an inherited disease.
  2. It affects the white blood cells and makes the body prone to infections.
  3. India has the highest number of sickle cell disease cases in the world.

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited disorder.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, In this disorder, the red blood cells contort into a sickle shape. 
    • The cells die early, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells and can block blood flow causing pain (sickle cell crisis).
  • Statement 3 is not correct, India has been ranked the country with the second-highest number of sickle cell disease cases in the world.
    • Nigeria has the highest incidence of sickle cell disease in the world.
Q3. Which of the following best describes the newly launched NIRYAT Portal? 
(Level – Easy)
  1. It will provide real-time import and export data of India.
  2. It aims to be a repository of information on all Union government schemes aimed at promoting exports from India.
  3. It would provide a platform to mentor first-generation entrepreneurs on foreign trade using counselling, training and outreach programmes.
  4. It is a registration portal for exporters seeking to avail of benefits under the Niryat Bandhu Scheme.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • NIRYAT stands for National Import-Export for Yearly Analysis of Trade.
  • NIRYAT has been pegged as a one-stop platform for stakeholders for easy access to critical information related to India’s foreign trade by the Centre.
Q4. Consider the following pairs of regional agricultural products and the associated 
states. (Level – Difficult)

    Agricultural produce                         Associated state

  1. Lakadong turmeric                           Meghalaya
  2. Chak-hao rice                                      Nagaland
  3. Queen pineapple                               Tripura
  4. Thuku elaichi                                      Manipur

How many of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

  1. One pair only
  2. Two pairs only
  3. Three pairs only
  4. All the above four pairs
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Pair 1 is correct, Lakadong turmeric is grown in Meghalaya’s Jaintia hills.
  • Pair 2 is not correct, Chakhao or Chak Hao (Black aromatic rice) is a species of paddy plant associated with Manipur.
  • Pair 3 is correct, Queen pineapple is the state fruit of Tripura.
  • Pair 4 is not correct, Thuku elaichi is associated with Sikkim.

 

Q5. In the context of any country, which one of the following would be considered as part 
of its social capital? (Level – Medium) PYQ (2019)
  1. The proportion of literates in the population
  2. The stock of its buildings, other infrastructure and machines
  3. The size of population in the working age group
  4. The level of mutual trust and harmony in the society
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Social capital is a measure of the value of resources, both tangible (eg: public spaces, private property) and intangible (eg: actors, human capital, people), and the impact that these relationships have on the resources involved in each relationship, and on larger groups.
  • Social capital consists of trust, mutual understanding, shared values and behaviour that bind together the members of a community and make cooperative action possible.
  • Social capital has advantages in terms of health, preventing crime and violence, education, environment, economic development, water use and sanitation.

CNA 24 June 2022:- Download PDF Here

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