26 June 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS 1 Related B. GS 2 Related POLITY AND GOVERNANCE 1. Panchayats to get ₹10 lakh cr. till 2026 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. Abide by UNSC orders, UN tells members after U.S. report on Pak. C. GS 3 Related SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1. ‘IN-SPACe will be space industry regulator’ ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY 1. NGT asks OIL to pay ₹25 crore for well blowout damage 2. Vizag gas leak: panel given time till June 30 3. Student unions seek recall of EIA draft 4. Ozone pollution sees a spike: report 5. FATF report flags wildlife trade ECONOMY 1. SEBI eases preferential issue pricing norms for companies D. GS 4 Related E. Editorials INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. Why China is being aggressive along the LAC HEALTH 1. Drug abuse amidst pandemic POLITY AND GOVERNANCE 1. Senseless deaths F. Prelims Facts 1. Vande Bharat mission phase 4 G. Tidbits 1. Industry flags delay in China imports 2. Google to pay for news content 3. North, South Koreas mark 70 years of war H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS 1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS 2 Related
For forming up its recommendations for the years 2020-21 to 2025-26, the Finance Commission held a meeting with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) headed by the Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare & Panchayati Raj.
- The Panchayati Raj Ministry has pitched for a fivefold increase in Finance Commission funding for rural local bodies.
- The Ministry asked for ₹10 lakh crore to be allocated for the 2020-21 to 2025-26 period, in comparison to the ₹2 lakh crore allocated under the 14th Finance Commission.
- It noted that allocations had tripled between the 13th and 14th Commissions as well.
- An impact evaluation study showed a 78% utilisation rate for FC grants between 2015 and 2019.
- Road construction and maintenance, as well as drinking water supply have been the major projects carried out by panchayats using FC grants.
- The 2.63 lakh panchayats across the country have 29 functions under their ambit, according to the 11th Schedule of the Constitution.
Importance of Panchayats during the ongoing pandemic:
- Panchayats have also gained importance as crucial nodal points in times of crisis.
- Going forward, the Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan will depend on panchayats to generate employment for newly returned migrant workers.
- The Ministry admitted that a major challenge during the pandemic and lockdown was that most panchayats could not provide cooked food at short notice. It has proposed that community kitchens be set up in each panchayat to be operated by local self-help groups.
UN Secretary-General expects all member states to live up to their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions, his spokesperson said, following a U.S. report that noted that Pakistan remains a safe haven for terrorists as it did not take actions against JeM founder Masood Azhar.
- Recently, the U.S. released its 2019 country report for terrorism.
- In the report, the State Department said Pakistan had continued to serve as a safe haven for regional terrorist groups.
This topic has been covered in 25th June 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.
C. GS 3 Related
Indian Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), a new entity of the Department of Space, has been approved by the Union Cabinet.
Functions of IN-SPACe:
- IN-SPACe will regulate and promote building of routine satellites, rockets and commercial launch services through Indian industry and start-ups.
- These activities had been largely the domain of the 50-year-old Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) until now.
- It will have its own chairperson and board.
- IN-SPACe will have its own directorates for technical, legal, safety and security, monitoring and activities promotion.
- It is the second commercial arm of the Department of Space. (First being Antrix Corporation Limited)
- It will function autonomously and parallel to ISRO.
- NSIL [NewSpace India Ltd], which was launched in 2019, will be strengthened and empowered to work with IN-SPACe and enable industry consortia to take on some of the activities of ISRO.
- These include launch vehicles and satellite production, launch services and space-based services.
- IN-SPACe is touted as the body that will ensure a level playing field for Indian industry in a fast-growing global space sector.
- Private companies will be provided level playing field in satellites, launches and space-based services. Future projects for planetary exploration, outer space travel will be open for the private sector.
- The reforms in the space sector are aimed at tapping the potential of the entire country for unlocking its potential by enabling private enterprises and start-ups to undertake end-to-end space activities.
- They are also aimed at mitigating the large investments required to set up facilities for undertaking space activities through sharing of such existing facilities under ISRO.
- It is expected that a large number of jobs will be created.
- According to the ISRO Chairman, this [restructuring] will allow ISRO to allocate more time and resources for R&D endeavours while it continues to carry out its present activities with greater emphasis on development of advanced technology, human space flight missions and capacity building besides supporting private endeavours in the space sector.
New Satellite Navigation policy:
- A new satellite navigation policy, which has a strategic military element to it, is being proposed.
- The older ones, namely Remote Sensing Data Policy and the SatCom Policy of 2000, are being revised.
- These are apart from a proposed policy for space activities that has seen a draft.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the public sector Oil India Limited (OIL) to deposit ₹25 crore with the administration of eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district for environmental damages due to fire at one of its wells.
An oil well at Baghjan had caught fire after it experienced a blowout. The well is close to the Maguri-Motapung wetland, which is within the eco-sensitive zone of the fragile Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
This topic has been covered in 18th June 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.
The Andhra Pradesh government has extended the time for submission of a report by the high-power committee, probing the styrene monomer vapour leak at the LG Polymers unit in Vizag.
Vizag gas leak has been covered in 8th May 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.
Student unions from several universities and colleges from across India have petitioned the Union Environment Minister to put the draft of the proposed Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2020 on hold.
- The EIA Notification 2020 is to replace and supersede the 2006 notification.
- The new EIA Notification proposes fundamental changes in the environmental regulatory regime in India.
Key points of dispute:
- The key points of dispute with the proposed draft are that it shortens the period of public consultation hearings to a maximum of 40 days, and reduces from 30 to 20 days the time provided for the public to submit their responses during a public hearing for any application seeking environmental clearance.
- This would, in the petitioners’ view, hinder public access in places where information was not easily accessible or areas in which people weren’t familiar with the process.
- Crucially, the draft also institutionalises violation projects.
- Under a provision issued in 2017, it allows projects that have come up flouting environmental norms to be reviewed by a committee of experts and, if they so decreed, legalise the project after paying a fine.
- Several environmentalists have argued that this is seriously contrarian to various established principles of environment law.
According to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), while particulate matter and nitrous oxide levels fell during the lockdown, ozone (a harmful pollutant) increased in several cities.
- The pandemic-led change in air quality has helped researchers understand summer pollution.
- The characteristics of summer pollution are different: there are high winds, intermittent rains and thunderstorms, and high temperature and heat waves.
- The analysis was based on Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data from 22 cities in 15 States in lockdown days.
- Ozone occurs naturally in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (Stratosphere) where it forms a protective layer that shields us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. This is known as Good Ozone.
- Good Ozone is gradually being destroyed by man-made chemicals referred to as ozone-depleting substances (ODS), including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform.
- Ozone depletion can cause increased amounts of UV radiation to reach the Earth which can lead to more cases of skin cancer, cataracts, and impaired immune systems. Overexposure to UV is believed to be contributing to the increase in melanoma, the most fatal of all skin cancers.
Also read: Ozone layer
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in its first global report on the illegal wildlife trade called “Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade” report, has described it as a global threat, which also has links with other organised crimes such as modern slavery, drug trafficking and arms trade.
Findings of the report:
- The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to generate revenues of up to $23 billion a year.
- Criminals are frequently misusing the legitimate wildlife trade, as well as other import-export type businesses, as a front to move and hide illegal proceeds from wildlife crimes.
- Criminals rely regularly on corruption, complex fraud and tax evasion.
- The findings of the study expressed concern over the lack of focus on the financial aspects of the crime.
- The study has highlighted the growing role of online marketplaces and mobile and social media-based payments to facilitate movement of proceeds.
- The findings are based on inputs from some 50 jurisdictions across the FATF global network, as well as expertise from the private sector and civil society.
- The FATF found that jurisdictions often did not have the required knowledge, legislative basis and resources to assess and combat the threat posed by the funds generated through the trade.
- The report noted that in 2012, India amended the Prevention of Money Laundering Act removing a value threshold — of ₹30 lakh and above — that was earlier applicable to the wildlife trade predicates.
- There is an increasing international concern that the crime could lead to more zoonotic diseases in the future.
- The report says a financial investigation is the key to dismantling the syndicates involved, which can in turn significantly impact the associated criminal activities.
- Spread of zoonotic diseases in the recent years underlines the importance of ensuring that wildlife is traded in a legal, safe and sustainable manner, and that countries remove the profitability of illegal markets.
- Growth of online marketplaces for such illegal wildlife trade warrants a coordinated response from government bodies, the private sector and the civil society.
Due to serious challenges faced by the corporate sector in the wake of developments related to COVID-19, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has liberalised a few regulations relating to raising of capital from the securities market.
- It has provided an additional, temporary option to price shares in a preferential allotment in the light of COVID-19’s impact on the markets.
- SEBI has relaxed the preferential allotment pricing norms for companies while tightening the insider trading regulations as part of its attempts to minimise instances of unpublished, price-sensitive information getting leaked.
- Companies with frequently traded shares can take into account the average of the weekly high and low over the past 12 weeks or two weeks, whichever is higher, and price the preferential allotment above that mark.
- While the existing pricing mechanism will continue, the relaxed pricing option will be available for all preferential allotments made between July 1 and December 31, 2020.
- It also amended the settlement proceeding norms to enable a faster disposal of cases while tweaking the Takeover Regulations as well.
- The regulator has also amended the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations making it mandatory for companies to maintain a structured, digital database containing the nature of unpublished price-sensitive information (UPSI) and the names of persons who have shared the information.
- This assumes significance as the SEBI has been probing various matters wherein UPSI was shared by company officials with outsiders through applications like WhatsApp.
- SEBI (Settlement Proceedings) Regulations that allow for an entity facing regulatory proceedings to file for settling the case (popularly known as consent route) by paying a monetary penalty has also been amended.
- In order to save time, instead of issuing a settlement notice under Regulation 18, a paragraph shall be included in the show cause notice, informing the noticee about the option to file a settlement application.
- SEBI has also tweaked the manner in which the base penalty amount is calculated.
- Recently, SEBI provided a similar relaxation in the norms for preferential allotment to companies with stressed assets.
This topic has been covered in 24th June 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.
D. GS 4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
- The ongoing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) pose the biggest national security challenge to New Delhi in at least 20 years.
- The clashes in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh have claimed 20 Indian lives, the first incident of fatalities on the India-China border in 45 years.
- China has revived its claim on the entire Galwan Valley and has asked India to pull back from the areas.
- Satellite images in the public domain suggest that China has set up defence positions in the valley as well as the disputed ‘Fingers’ of Pangong Tso.
- Both sides are engaged in a face-off at Hot Springs.
- Despite multiple rounds of military-level talks, tensions are unlikely to ease given the complexity of the ground situation.
This topic has been covered in 14th June 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.
What led to the current situation?
- India has been very careful not to upset China’s domestic and geopolitical sensitivities.
- Barring occasional joint statements issued with leaders from the U.S. and Asia-Pacific countries, reasserting India’s commitment to “freedom of navigation” (a veiled criticism of China’s claims over the South China Sea), India has stayed away from criticising China on controversial topics, whether its “de-radicalisation” camps in Xinjiang, crackdown on protests in Hong Kong, or disputes with Taiwan.
- Yet China chose to increase tensions along the LAC.
Change in the status of J&K:
- One popular argument is that China’s move is driven by local factors such as India’s infrastructure upgrade and its decision to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
- For some square kilometres of land, this argument goes, China has lost India strategically, to the West.
China’s departure from “peaceful rise policy”:
- Currently, China is an ambitious rising power which wants to reorient the global order.
- There is a clear shift in Chinese foreign policy post the COVID-19 outbreak.
- This is seen in China’s rising tensions with the U.S., its threats against Taiwan, repeated naval incidents in the South China Sea, and a new security law for Hong Kong.
- The tensions along the LAC are part of this shift.
Read more about China’s major policy decisions post COVID-19.
Salami slice strategy:
- With the global economy in the doldrums, globalisation in an irrecoverable crisis accentuated by the COVID-19 outbreak, and the U.S. under an isolationist President taking the most aggressive position towards China, Beijing believes the global order is at a breaking point.
- It is fighting back through what game theorists call “salami tactics” — where a dominant power attempts to establish its hegemony piece by piece.
- India is one slice in this salami slice strategy.
Perception of decline:
- China doesn’t see India as a swing state any more.
- It sees India as an ally-in-progress of the U.S. Its actions are a result of what it perceives as a strategic loss that has already happened.
- If India is what many in the West call the “counterweight to China’s rise”, Beijing’s definite message is that it is not deterred by the counterweight.
- This is a message not just to India, but to a host of China’s rivals that are teaming up and eager to recruit India to the club.
India’s traditional clout in its neighbourhood was slipping:
- For India, tensions with Pakistan have been high keeping the troops occupied in the border areas.
- Nepal raised boundary issues with India.
- Sri Lanka is diversifying its foreign policy and China is making deep inroads into that region.
- Bangladesh was deeply miffed with the Citizenship Amendment Act.
- Even in Afghanistan, where Pakistan, China, Russia and the U.S. are involved in the transition process, India is out.
- More important, Balakot airstrike is considered strategically disastrous.
- A confluence of all these factors, which point to a decline in the country’s smart power, allowed China to make aggressive moves on the LAC.
- When most of the world’s big powers are grappling with the pandemic, revisionist powers such as China have more room for geopolitical manoeuvring.
- Europe has been devastated by the virus.
- The U.S. is battling, in an election year, the COVID-19 outbreak as well as the deepest economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
- The Indian economy was in trouble even before COVID-19 struck the country, slowing down its rise. Social upheaval over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, and the National Register of Citizens had weakened the Indian polity.
- Within this broader framework there could be a host of factors — local, regional and global — that influenced China’s moves.
- A deep embrace of a declining U.S. is not a solution as many argue; rather, it is seen as a part of the problem.
- What India needs is a national security strategy that’s decoupled from the compulsions of domestic politics and anchored in neighbourhood realism.
- India should stand up to China’s bullying on the border with a long-term focus on enhancing capacities and winning back its friendly neighbours.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the strained health systems and social safety nets stretched to the limit. More people are using drugs, and more illicit drugs are available than ever.
- In the global recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis, while governments reduced budgets to deal with drug-related problems, drug users sought out cheaper synthetic substances and patterns of use shifted towards injecting drugs.
- The economic downturn caused by the global pandemic may drive more people to substance abuse.
- It may leave them vulnerable to involvement in drug trafficking and related crime.
- All over the world, the risks and consequences of drug use are worsened by poverty, limited opportunities for education and jobs, stigma and social exclusion, which in turn helps to deepen inequalities, moving us further away from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- While more people use drugs in developed countries than in developing countries, and wealthier segments of society have a higher prevalence of drug use, people who are socially and economically disadvantaged are more likely to develop drug use disorders.
- Only one out of eight people who need drug-related treatment receive it, according to the World Drug Report 2020.
- Some 35.6 million people suffer from drug use disorders globally.
- Illicit drugs are more diverse, more potent and more available.
- 80% of the world’s population, mostly living in low- and middle-income countries, are deprived of access to controlled drugs for pain relief and other essential medical uses.
- Around 269 million people used drugs in 2018, up 30% from 2009, with adolescents and young adults accounting for the largest share of users.
- Vulnerable and marginalised groups, youth, women and the poor have been harmed the most.
- One out of three drug users is a woman but women represent only one out of five people in treatment.
- People in prison settings, minorities, immigrants and displaced people also face barriers to treatment due to discrimination and stigma.
- Governments have repeatedly pledged to work together to address the challenges posed by the world’s drug problem, in the SDGs.
- Most recently in 2019, Ministerial Declaration was adopted by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
- But data indicate that support has actually fallen over time, imperilling government commitment as well as regional and global coordination.
- Development assistance dedicated to drug control fell by some 90% between 2000-2017.
- Funding to address drugs may be provided under other budget lines.
- But there is little evidence of international donor attention to this priority.
- Assistance for alternative development – that is, creating viable, licit forms of income to enable poor farmers to stop growing illicit opium poppy or coca — also remains very low.
- Leaving no one behind requires greater investment in evidence-based prevention, as well as treatment and other services for drug use disorders, HIV, hepatitis C and other infections.
- There is a need for international cooperation to increase access to controlled drugs for medical purposes.
- There is also a need for preventing diversion and drug abuse.
- Law enforcement action must be strengthened to dismantle the transnational organised crime networks.
- Facing the gravest socio-economic crisis in generations, governments cannot afford to ignore the dangers illicit drugs pose to public health and safety.
- There is a need for drug strategies addressing the country-level, as well as regional challenges.
- The death of a father-son duo allegedly in police custody in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin district has caused a furore in the state.
- The father-son duo was allegedly thrashed by the police while in custody, leading to their deaths.
- In a swift response, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, which took suo motu cognisance of their deaths, has decided to monitor the progress of the statutory magisterial probe.
- Custodial deaths are often the result of the pervasive use of torture in India’s police stations for extracting admissions of crime.
- It is not uncommon, regrettably, for the police to use their power and authority to settle personal scores.
- If the recent deaths are ultimately established as custodial murder as a result of torture or assault by the police, it would only mean that the problem is much deeper than the mere lack of professionalism in investigative methods.
- It would indicate a different pathology among police officials that makes them inflict violence and harm against the weak.
- Since the early days of the current lockdown, there have been innumerable reports, often backed by video footage, of the police and officials attacking citizens in the name of enforcing restrictions, and awarding personalised punishment on violators, and sometimes kicking and overturning carts containing items for sale.
- The mere suspension of police personnel involved is an inadequate response to an incredibly wrongful abuse of authority by the law enforcement machinery. The police should register a case of murder and the matter taken over by an independent agency for a fair investigation.
The issue of Custodial Deaths has been covered in 7th February 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.
F. Prelims Facts
What’s in News?
- The fourth round of the Vande Bharat mission will focus on bringing back Indians from the Gulf countries, Malaysia and Singapore, among others.
- The mission is meant for the repatriation of Indians from around the world.
Read more about Vande Bharat Mission.
What’s in News?
Import consignments from China are facing hurdles in getting clearance at domestic ports amid continuing border tensions between India and China.
- Various industry associations have written to the Centre seeking clarification on the “unannounced and opaque” move.
- They also have raised concerns of acute shortage of components and finished products in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, automobiles, electronics and electrical machinery.
- The industry representatives also pointed out that in response, Hong Kong and Chinese Customs were now holding back export consignments from India. The disruption, they added, sends a chilling signal to foreign investors, who look for predictability and transparency.
- Industry representatives highlight that industries cannot afford such disruption at a time when they have just begun to limp back to normal.
- The President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said that restricting imports of Chinese items will not serve any purpose until India has the capacity to produce those items or can import them from other countries at comparable prices.
What’s in News?
Google will pay partnered media publishers in three countries (Germany, Australia and Brazil) and offer some users free access to paywalled news sites.
- The announcement comes after legal battles in France and Australia over Google’s refusal to pay news organizations for content.
- The program will help publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience.
What’s in News?
North and South Korea separately marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, a conflict that killed millions of people and is technically yet to end.
- Communist North Korea invaded the U.S.-backed South on June 25, 1950, as it sought to reunify by force the peninsula Moscow and Washington had divided at the end of the Second World War.
- The fighting ended with an armistice that was never replaced by a peace treaty.
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
Q1. Consider the following statements:
- Ozone is produced naturally in the stratosphere.
- Ground level Ozone damages crops, trees and other vegetation.
- Ground Level Ozone is one of the pollutants tracked by the Air Quality Index.
Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?
- 1 and 3 only
- 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
- 1 only
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to IN-SPACe:
- It is the only commercial arm of the Department of Space.
- It is tasked with regulating and promoting building of routine satellites, rockets and commercial launch services through Indian industry and start-ups.
Which of the given statement/s is/are incorrect?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q3. Consider the following statements:
- International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent entity governed by the Rome Statute.
- ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court.
- ICC settles disputes between states and gives advisory opinions on international legal issues referred to it by the UN.
- India is a party to the Rome Statute.
Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?
- 1, 3 and 4 only
- 1, 2 and 4 only
- 1, 2, 3 and 4
- 1 and 2 only
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to Financial Action Task Force (FATF):
- FATF is a policy-making body with no investigative authority.
- It was established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
- It works towards combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
- It is headquartered in Paris.
Which of the given statement/s is/are incorrect?
- 1 and 4 only
- 1 and 2 only
- 3 only
- None of the above
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- The recent incident of custodial deaths highlights the need to protect the rights of prisoners and calls for strict measures to prevent torture of prisoners at the hand of the police. Discuss. (15 Marks, 250 Words).
- Examine the dangers posed by illicit drugs to public health and safety. Also, discuss the economic and social consequences of drug abuse. (15 Marks, 250 Words).
Read the previous CNA here.
26 June 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here