19 June 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 19th June 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Twitter grilled by MPs over violation of new IT rules
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Sale of illegal HTBt cotton seeds doubles
SECURITY
1. Panel formed for talks on theatre commands
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. In India, looking beyond the binary to a spectrum
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Cold peace
EDUCATION
1. Fair assessment
F. Prelims Facts
1. India, 3 EU nations begin naval exercise
G. Tidbits
1. ‘Lift restrictions on MGNREGS works in rural areas’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: SECURITY

1. Panel formed for talks on theatre commands

Context:

A high-level committee has been formed for wider consultations on the creation of integrated tri-service theatre commands.

Details:

  • The panel includes the Vice-Chiefs of the three services, the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, and representatives from Ministries such as Home Affairs, Finance and Law.
  • Some aspects like bringing in paramilitary forces, which are under the Home Ministry, under the purview of the theatre commands and financial implications that may arise in the process of integration has necessitated the move.

Mandate of the committee:

  • The committee will examine all issues and find a way forward before a formal note on their creation is sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security.
  • The issue is about fine-tuning the proposals and forming a consensus on the integrated tri-service theatre commands.

Integrated Theatre Commands:
  • There are about 19 military commands in the country and only two of them are tri-service commands – Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and the Strategic Forces Command, which looks after nuclear assets.
  • Instead of having separate commands for every service, the CDS is working on having a joint or theatre command that can carry out all war-fighting formations under a single commander.
  • The commander could either be from the Army, Air Force or the Navy.
  • Theaterisation means putting specific units of personnel from the three services — Army, Navy and Air Force — under a common theatre commander so they fight as a cohesive unit.
    • Both the US and China follow a theatre command doctrine.

Read more on Integrated Theatre Commands Explained.

Note:

  • It is a part of reforms carried out after the formation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
  • The mandate of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) includes bringing about jointness among the three services, including through the establishment of joint/theatre commands.
  • The country’s first CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat had constituted teams headed by the Vice-Chiefs of three services to study and submit recommendations on the formation of various commands. 
  • Also, two proposed commands: air defence and maritime theatre are being discussed.
    • The proposed Air Defence Command plans to integrate all air assets of the armed forces.
    • The Maritime Theatre Command plans to bring in all assets of the Navy, Coast Guard as well as coastal formations of the Army and Air Force under one umbrella.
    • On land, the Army’s Northern Command and Western Command would be converted into two to five theatre commands.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Cold peace

Context:

US President Joe Biden met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

Details:

  • The world leaders met for the first time in a decade.
    • They last met when the Russian leader was prime minister and Biden was serving as vice president, in 2011.
  • Relations between the two countries have hit the lowest point in recent years since the end of the Cold War.
    • The U.S. has accused Russia of interfering in its elections and launching cyberattacks and criticised its stifling of internal dissent.
    • Russia has slammed America’s interventionist foreign policy.

History of the U.S.-Russia ties:

  • There are structural issues in the U.S.-Russia ties.
  • When Russia ended its post-Soviet strategic retreat and adopted a more assertive foreign policy under Mr. Putin (partly in response to NATO expansion into eastern Europe) the West saw it as a threat to its primacy.
  • The 2008 Georgia war severely affected the relations between democratic Russia and the West.
  • In 2014, the annexation of Crimea renewed tensions.
    • Russia was thrown out of the G8, and western sanctions followed.
  • Ties hit rock bottom with allegations that Russian intelligence units carried out cyberattacks and ran an online campaign to get Donald Trump elected President in the 2016 U.S. election.
  • Russia, which had amassed troops on the Ukraine border, sees NATO’s expansion into its border region as a threat.

Significance of the meeting:

  • All these geopolitical and bilateral issues cannot be resolved in one summit. They can take measures to prevent relations from worsening.
  • The Geneva summit has set a pragmatic tone for engagement between the two competing powers. 
  • The summit demonstrated a willingness to strengthen engagement and reduce tensions.
  • Despite the differences, the leaders held talks on all critical issues, bringing diplomacy to the centre stage.
  • They have decided to return their Ambassadors to the Embassies.
  • They announced a strategic stability dialogue to discuss terms of arms control measures.

Way Forward:

  • Both countries should be ready to address their critical concerns.
  • They must agree to a cold peace, which would help in addressing other geopolitical problems such as Syria.
  • Russia should understand the importance of cooperating with the West. Permanent hostility with other powers cannot be of much help to Russia.
  • The U.S. should be less pessimistic about Russia’s foreign policy goals. Russia, despite its weakened economic status, remains a great power.

Conclusion:

The message from Geneva is that the leaders wanted to establish rules of engagement so that the countries can better address their differences and seek common ground on issues of mutual interest. With some predictability in ties with Russia, Mr. Biden can strengthen his China-focused foreign policy. And with a less hostile America, Mr. Putin can retain Russian influence in its backyard.
Category: EDUCATION

1. Fair assessment

The article talks about student evaluations amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Issue:

  • Student evaluation has become a challenge in all countries, in the current pandemic situation.
  • Many have opted for a hybrid system of school-level internal assessments combined with any examinations that may have been held.
  • As the course of the pandemic remains uncertain, developing a continuous assessment system in schools for 2021-22 and beyond has become a necessity.

Context:

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced the marks tabulation framework for Class 12 students.

Class 12 Evaluation Framework:

  • The framework was evolved by CBSE to fulfil a Supreme Court mandate.
  • It encompasses three assessment years starting with Class 10.
  • It distributes score weightage across the Class 10 public examination, the Class 11 annual test, and the Class 12 school tests in a 30:30:40 ratio for theory, and actual score for internal assessment and practicals.
    • This aims to level out any irregular phase in a student’s performance.
  • The marks considered from Class 10 will be the average of the best three subjects among five.
  • A provision has been made to take a Class 12 public examination at a later date to attain a higher score when the pandemic has subsided.
  • The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has also developed a similar system.

Challenges:

  • There are some challenges to uniformly implementing the CBSE plan.
  • Its success is dependent on the approach of school result committees responsible for the inclusion of Class 12 marks.
    • Uneven access to devices and online connectivity, with an impact on scores or even resulting in non-appearance, must be resolved by the result committees.
  • There is then the issue of fraud.
    • In the U.K., reports indicate that influential parents exerted pressure on schools to give their wards an unfair hike in grades in a similar mixed evaluation system. 

Way Forward:

  • For fairness, CBSE mandates the participation of external members on the result committees, but it will take utmost transparency to dispel students’ apprehensions.
  • A dependable dispute resolution process must be established.
  • The CBSE has taken the lead on this, and State Boards must follow a similar pattern for student evaluations without further delay.

F. Prelims Facts

1. India, 3 EU nations begin naval exercise

What’s In News?

The Indian Navy and European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) exercise began in the Gulf of Aden.

Details:

  • It is the first joint naval exercise between the Indian Navy and European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR).
    • European Union Naval Force Somalia (EUNAVFOR) is the EU’s counter-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia.
  • Countries participating in the exercise are India, Italy, Spain and France.
  • The two-day exercise will see high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, cross deck helicopter operations, tactical manoeuvres, boarding operations, underway replenishment, Search & Rescue, Man Overboard drills, and other maritime security operations.
  • Five warships from four navies are participating in the exercise.
  • Indian Naval Ship Trikand – mission deployed for Anti-Piracy Operations is participating in the exercise.

EUNAVFOR and India:

  • Under the charter of the World Food Programme (UN WFP), EUNAVFOR and the Indian Navy converge on multiple issues including counter-piracy operations and protection of vessels deployed.
  • Indian Navy and EUNAVFOR also have regular interaction through SHADE (Shared Awareness and De-confliction) meetings held annually in Bahrain.

Note:

  • At the same time, a virtual information-sharing exercise is also being conducted between the Indian Navy Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) and Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa. 

G. Tidbits

1. ‘Lift restrictions on MGNREGS works in rural areas’

What’s in News?

Civil society groups in Rajasthan have called for a lifting of restrictions on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) works in rural areas.

Details:

  • Against 50 lakh labourers engaged for MGNREGS works during June 2020, only 18.8 lakh have got the work in 2021.
  • An order of the State government to restrict the number of labourers at a site to avoid crowding was being misinterpreted for sanctioning only a single work in each village panchayat.

Issues:

  • They raised concerns that the State government’s orders had weakened the employment venture during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Works have not been sanctioned on a large scale in the village panchayats and those demanding employment as a statutory right are not getting it.
  • A large segment of the rural population completely depends on the scheme for their livelihood.
  • This has led to hunger and starvation.

Read more on MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act)

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. With reference to Committee of Privileges, which of the following statements is/are 
incorrect?
  1. The functions of the committee are semi-judicial in nature.
  2. In Lok Sabha it has 15 members, in Rajya Sabha, it has 10.

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Some distinct rights are enjoyed by the legislators in a parliament or an assembly without which they cannot discharge their functions and these rights are peculiar to them and as such are not enjoyed by members of any other institution or body of individuals.
  • In India, these privileges emanate from the Constitution itself with identical provisions in this regard in the form of Articles 105 and 194, which give these privileges to the Members of Parliament and members of the state legislature respectively.
  • Committee of Privileges investigates the matters of breach of such privileges.
  • Its function is to examine every question involving breach of privilege of the House or of the members of any Committee thereof referred to it by the House or by the Speaker.
  • It has 15 Members in Lok Sabha and 10 Members in Rajya Sabha.
  • It recommends suitable actions to be initiated by the house. Therefore, the functions of the committee are semi-judicial in nature.
Q2. Consider the following statements:
  1. Jamdani weaving tradition is of Bengali origin.
  2. Uppada Jamdani Silk Saree from Telangana has been accorded the GI tag.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Jamdani weaving tradition is of Bengali origin.
  • Jamdani is a handloom woven fabric made of cotton, which was historically referred to as muslin.
  • Uppada Jamdani Silk Saree that has been accorded GI tag is from Andhra Pradesh.
Q3. Consider the following Pairs:

           Virus                                                          Illness

  1. Coronaviruses                                                 SARS
  2. Togaviruses                                                     Nipah
  3. Paramyxoviruses                                      Chikungunya
  4. Filoviruses                                                       Ebola

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Coronaviruses cause common cold, SARS, MERS, etc.
  • Filoviruses were discovered for the first time in 1967. They belong to the family Filoviridae. Two members of the family that are commonly known are the Ebola virus and the Marburg virus.
  • Togaviruses cause Chikungunya.
  • Paramyxoviruses cause Nipah.
Q4. Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is in the state of
  1. Maharashtra
  2. Rajasthan
  3. Uttar Pradesh
  4. Madhya Pradesh
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a protected area in Uttar Pradesh. It shares the north-eastern boundary with Nepal.

Q5. Why is the offering of “teaser loans’’ by commercial banks a cause of economic concern? 
(UPSC 2011)
  1. The teaser loans are considered to be an aspect of sub-prime lending and banks may be exposed to the risk of defaulters in future.
  2. In India, the teaser loans are mostly given to inexperienced entrepreneurs to set up manufacturing or export units

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • A teaser loan is any loan that offers a lower interest rate for a fixed amount of time as a purchase incentive.
  • The teaser loans are considered to be an aspect of sub-prime lending and banks may be exposed to the risk of defaulters in future.
  • In India, teaser loans are mostly given as personal loans, car loans and home loans.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. It is imperative for India to recognise marriage rights for same-­sex couples. Analyse the statement.  (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-1, Social Issues].
  2. U.S and Russia must reset their relationship to pragmatic levels and reduce tensions. Discuss in the context of the Geneva summit held recently between the two Presidents. (250 words; 15 marks) [GS-2, International Relations].

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 19th June 2021:- Download PDF Here

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