17 June 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 17th June 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
HEALTH
1. Soon, drones might ferry vaccines
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Inland Vessels Bill receives Cabinet nod
2. Cabinet panel approves additional fertilizer subsidy
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. India to launch deep ocean mission
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. ‘Record’ FDI inflows, yes, cause for celebration, no
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Energy inefficiency can short circuit cooling India
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Closure, compensation
F. Prelims Facts
1. Cabinet approval for OFB corporatisation
G. Tidbits
1. India extends $100 mn loan to Sri Lanka
2. Acquitted but not forgotten
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Cabinet panel approves additional fertilizer subsidy

Context:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal to hike subsidy rates for phosphorus and potassium-based fertilizers by 140%.

Details:

  • The move is aimed at providing relief to farmers as the Kharif sowing season begins.
  • It is a one-time measure as part of COVID-19 relief.

Fertilizer Subsidy:

  • For urea, the Centre sets a fixed maximum retail price.
  • For non-urea fertilizers, prices are decontrolled and the Centre fixes nutrient-based subsidy rates.

Note:

  • Fertilisers supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants.
  • Diammonium phosphate (DAP) is the main source of Phosphorous.
  • Essential plant nutrients based on the amounts of nutrients that are required by plants are distinguished as macronutrients and micronutrients.
  • Phosphorus is a macronutrient.
  • Other frequently used fertilizers are muriate of potash (MOP) and urea.

Read more on NBS – Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme
Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. India to launch deep ocean mission

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the deep ocean mission.

Deep Ocean Mission:
  • Deep Ocean Mission is a central sector scheme.
  • The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
  • The focus of the mission will be on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change advisory services, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics-related technologies.
  • Its two key projects include:
    • A desalination plant powered by tidal energy.
    • submersible vehicle that can explore depths of at least 6,000 metres. It will allow a crew to hunt the floor for precious metals.

Details:

  • The mission is expected to cost ₹4,077 crore over the next five years.
  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal Ministry implementing this multi-institutional mission.
  • India has been allotted a site of 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for the exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN). These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
  • There are six components to the programme.
    1. A manned submersible vehicle will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 metres with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. An integrated mining system will be also developed for mining polymetallic nodules at those depths in the central Indian Ocean.
    2. Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services will be developed. It would entail developing a suite of observations and models to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales.
    3. Deep sea flora and fauna, including microbes, will be searched. Studies would be carried out to sustainably utilise them.
    4. Potential sources of hydrothermal minerals that are sources of precious metals formed from the earth’s crust along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges would be explored and identified.
    5. A detailed engineering design would be prepared for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plants.
    6. The final component is aimed at grooming experts in the field of ocean biology and engineering.

Significance:

  • With its success, India will be among a handful of countries able to launch an underwater mission at such depths.
  • It aims to translate research into industrial applications and product development through on-site business incubator facilities.
  • Polymetallic nodules (PMN) are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
    • Being able to lay hands on a fraction of that reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Energy inefficiency can short circuit cooling India

Background:

Threat posed by heat waves:

  • Rising temperatures and heat waves are a growing threat to India as climate change accelerates.
    • As per the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences’ first national climate change report, ‘Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region’, India’s average temperature had risen by 0.7 degrees Celsius from 1901-2018.
  • Global warming will lead to more frequent and intense heat waves.
    • In the last three decades alone, there have been 660 heat waves across India causing 12,273 deaths.

Cooling as an indispensable adaptation to climate change:

  • Substantial cooling services to keep citizens healthy and productive may as well become a necessity in the coming years. Cooling will constitute an important part of India’s adaptation measure to climate change.
    • The India Cooling Action Plan projects the number of room air conditioners to become about four times in the next 10 years, and about 10 times in the next 20 years, making India the world’s largest energy user for cooling.

Concerns:

  • The current low penetration level of air conditioners (ACs) in India is a major cause of concern. A recent survey conducted in New Delhi notes that the desired levels of cooling appliances vary greatly even among relatively homogenous communities.
  • The use of inefficient ACs to meet the cooling needs could severely dent India’s climate change mitigation efforts as these inefficient ACs will lead to high GHG emissions.
    • As per the survey conducted in New Delhi, energy efficiency does not feature as a priority in the purchase of cooling appliances. Only 7% of the households have an energy-efficient (star-rated) fan, and most people prefer to buy a three-star AC, and less than 20% of AC-owning households bought the highest rated five-star AC.
  • There is a lack of credible data on important factors like AC ownership and usage which can help frame appropriate policies and interventions to address residential cooling demand.

Factors leading to the use of inefficient cooling options:

Lack of awareness:

  • The low level of energy efficiency awareness is a major bottleneck that hinders the purchase of more efficient appliances.
  • There is a lack of knowledge of the Star Labelling programme among the general populace.
    • The Star labelling Programme has been formulated by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
    • Presently, the program covers a star rating for 26 appliances/equipment including refrigerators and air conditioners.
    • The objectives of the labelling program are to provide the consumer with an informed choice about energy-saving and thereby the cost-saving potential of the marketed household and other equipment.
    • Energy labelling is one of the most cost-effective policy tools for improving energy efficiency and lowering the energy cost of appliances.

Higher upfront cost:

  • The higher upfront cost of the higher star rated appliances serves as a disincentive to buy such products upfront.

Low market availability:

  • Given the relatively price-sensitive market in India and the currently low level of demand for energy-efficient appliances, there is very little output of higher-rated appliances leading to very low market availability of efficient appliances like air conditioners (four-star and five-star).

Recommendations:

  • Large-scale adoption of efficient cooling appliances will be essential to providing the required thermal comfort in a low carbon manner.
  • The following measures might be taken to encourage the adoption of more efficient appliances.

Awareness generation:

  • Awareness campaigns on the benefits of energy efficiency must constitute a major aspect of the outreach program. The prospective customers must be made to realize that the more expensive price tag would be offset by quantifiable savings on energy costs.

Incentivize adoption of efficient appliances:

  • Subsidies and financial incentives like rebate programs that can help offset the higher initial cost can help drive up the adoption of more efficient technologies.

Promote passive cooling:

  • Encouraging the use of passive cooling alternatives including energy-efficient building designs can help provide the desired thermal comfort with reduced dependence on energy-intensive cooling technologies.
    • Passive cooling is a building design approach that focuses on heat gain control and heat dissipation in a building in order to improve indoor thermal comfort with low or no energy consumption. This approach works either by preventing heat from entering the interior or by removing heat from the building.
    • Passive cooling options include augmenting natural ventilation and employing evaporative, thermal insulation and shading methods.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Closure, compensation

Context:

  • The Supreme Court has ordered the closure of criminal court proceedings in India against the two Italian marines who in 2012 allegedly killed two fishermen off the Kerala coast after mistaking them for pirates.

Background:

Complexity of the case and its implications:

  • The Enrica Lexie case had generated complex legal questions over jurisdiction, the lawfulness of their arrest and the location of their trial, as well as the provisions of law under which they should be tried. This had resulted in considerable diplomatic turbulence between India and Italy.
    • The Supreme Court of India in 2013 had ruled that prosecuting the marines was solely in the Union government’s jurisdiction which Italy had challenged.
    • The invoking of the stringent anti-piracy law — the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 — had been criticized and contested by Italy.

For detailed information on this issue refer to:

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis 4th July 202

UN tribunal ruling:

  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration, a tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, had in 2020 ruled that even though India and Italy had concurrent jurisdiction to try the case, the marines enjoyed immunity from Indian jurisdiction as they were acting on behalf of a state.
  • It had also ruled that the Indian fishing boat and the victims were entitled to compensation, as the boat’s right of navigation under the Law of the Sea had been violated.

Details:

  • The Supreme Court order came after Italy deposited compensation of ₹10 crores which would be divided between the two fishermen families and the owner of the fishing vessel.
  • The two marines are likely to face trial in Italy.

Conclusion:

  • A valuable lesson from this episode is that such incidents should be dealt with a combination of legally sustainable steps and diplomatic efforts to find early resolution and avoid an Enrica Lexie like repeat.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Cabinet approval for OFB corporatisation

What’s in News?

The Union Cabinet has approved a plan to corporatise the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

Details:

  • OFB which has 41 factories will be corporatised into seven fully government-owned corporate entities on the lines of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU).
  • Once implemented, the OFB, the establishment of which was accepted by the British in 1775, will cease to exist.
  • Currently, the OFB headquartered in Kolkata functions as a department under the Department of Defence Production.
  • The restructuring is aimed at transforming the ordnance factories into productive and profitable assets, deepening specialisation in the product range, enhancing competitiveness, improving quality and achieving cost efficiency.
  • This move would allow these companies autonomy, as well as help improve accountability and efficiency.

Ordnance Factory Board:

  • OFB is a government agency that is controlled by the department of defence production (DDP) under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • It is involved in research, development and production in the areas of air, land and sea.
  • It is also involved in testing and logistics. OFB comprised 41 ordnance factories and 9 training institutes.
  • It is called the “Fourth Arm of Defence” and also the “Force Behind the Armed Forces” of India.
  • OFB is the 35th largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd largest in Asia, and the largest in India.

G. Tidbits

1. India extends $100 mn loan to Sri Lanka

What’s in News?

India and Sri Lanka have signed an agreement for a $100-million loan from the Export Import Bank of India to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to expand solar power coverage.

  • The$100 million line of credit will help finance various projects in Sri Lanka’s solar energy sector, including those announced at the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) held in March 2018, in New Delhi.
    • It includes rooftop solar photo-voltaic systems for households and government buildings.
  • As many as 89 countries, including Sri Lanka, signed the framework agreement of the ISA.

2. Acquitted but not forgotten

Right to be forgotten:

  • ‘Right to be forgotten’ is the right to have publicly available personal information removed from internet search, databases, websites or other public platforms from public access.
  • In 2017, the Supreme Court recognised the right to be forgotten as being under the ambit of the right to privacy under the Constitution.

Context:

  • The Delhi High Court recently ordered the removal of one of its own judgments from easy access.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q.1 Which of the following statements is/are INCORRECT?
  1. India will soon be launching a deep ocean mission with the Indian Navy as the nodal agency.
  2. One of the objectives of the mission would be to explore the mining potential of polymetallic nodules at the depths of the Central Indian Ocean.
  3. All mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction are regulated by the International Seabed Authority, a United Nations organisation.
  4. India has been allotted a site of 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for the exploitation of polymetallic nodules.

Options:-

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Deep Ocean Mission is a central sector scheme that proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
  • The focus of the mission will be on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change advisory services, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics-related technologies.
  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal ministry implementing this multi-institutional mission.
  • All mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction are regulated by the International Seabed Authority, a United Nations organisation.
  • India has been allotted a site of 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for the exploitation of polymetallic nodules.
Q.2 Which of the following connects the South China Sea with the Pacific Ocean?
  1. Strait of Malacca
  2. Sunda Strait
  3. Luzon Strait
  4. Gulf of Thailand
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The Luzon Strait is the strait between Taiwan and Luzon island of the Philippines.
  • The strait connects the Philippine Sea to the South China Sea in the western Pacific Ocean.
  • Therefore, the Luzon Strait connects the South China Sea with the Pacific Ocean.
Q.3 Which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. India recently extended a $100 million loan to Sri Lanka to support its efforts to expand solar power coverage.
  2. Sri Lanka is not a party to the International Solar Alliance launched by India.
  3. Sri Lanka owes roughly around $1 billion in debt repayment to India.

Options:-

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • India recently extended a $100 million loan to Sri Lanka to support its efforts to expand solar power coverage.
  • Sri Lanka is a party to the International Solar Alliance launched by India in 2015.
  • Sri Lanka owes roughly around $1 billion in debt repayment to India.
Q.4 ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ scheme is related to 
  1. Environmental cess on polluters
  2. Direct tax dispute resolution
  3. Settling medical insurance claims
  4. Resolving GST related disputes
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ scheme is related to direct tax dispute resolution.
  • The Vivad Se Vishwas scheme was announced by Union Finance Minister during the budget speech on February 1, 2020.
  • The scheme aims to end litigation and legacy disputes under the direct taxes category.
  • The entities who opt for the scheme must pay a requisite tax following which all litigation against them would be closed by the tax department and penal proceedings dropped.
Q5. Recently, which of the following States has explored the possibility of constructing an 
artificial inland port to be connected to sea by a long navigational channel? (2016)
  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Chhattisgarh
  3. Karnataka
  4. Rajasthan
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Rajasthan had explored the possibility of constructing an artificial inland port to be connected to the sea by a long navigation channel.
  • Both the Centre and state had explored ways to develop an artificial inland port in Jalore by channelling seawater from the Arabian Sea into Rajasthan through Gujarat.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The right to be forgotten must be balanced with the right of the public to access courts of record. Discuss. (15 Marks, 250 Words) [GS-2, Polity and Governance].
  2. Soaring AC demand will accelerate global warming unless we begin making major changes. Suggest reliable solutions to mitigate the impact. (15 Marks, 250 Words) [GS-3, Environment and Ecology].

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 17th June 2021:- Download PDF Here

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