30 June 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 30th June 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Ensure that no migrant worker goes hungry, SC instructs govt.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. ‘OPEC risks forcing India to tap Iran for oil if prices stay high’
2. Lanka ‘banking on’ $1 bn India swap deal
C. GS 3 Related
DISASTER MANAGEMENT
1. ‘Chamoli disaster due to avalanche’
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
HEALTH
1. A vague and wanting statement
INTERNAL SECURITY
1. Flying terror
F. Prelims Facts
1. Atlas of glacial lakes in Ganga basin released
2. Monsoon session likely from July 19 to August 13
3. Méndez’s anti-torture vision is still distant for India
G. Tidbits
1. Israel’s Lapid opens Embassy in UAE
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. ‘OPEC risks forcing India to tap Iran for oil if prices stay high’

Context:

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) are expected to discuss a possible easing of supply cuts.

Background:

  • When the demand dropped in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and crude prices briefly turned negative in 2020, the club led by Saudi Arabia and Russia (OPEC+) imposed sharp production cuts in order to raise prices.
  • However, considering the success of this strategy the group is currently following a policy of cautiously increasing production.

Details:

  • India is the third-largest consumer of crude oil. It has been forced to phase out crude output cuts to lessen the effects of rising inflationary pressures.
  • Inflation is a major challenge for the Indian economy. Read more on inflation here.
  • Besides, over the last few months, India has exhausted the strategic petroleum reserves it had built up by taking advantage of lower oil prices in 2020.
  • India is working to persuade oil-exporting countries to moderate surging oil prices.
  • If prices were to increase, India has warned that it would consider tapping alternative import sources such as Iran (if the sanctions imposed on it by the U.S. were lifted).
    • If current negotiations on a US return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are successful, the country may be able to resume exporting oil at levels prior to 2018.
    • In 2018, former US President Donald Trump dramatically withdrew from the deal and imposed sanctions.
    • The sanctions hurt India, who relied on Iran in particular for a sizeable chunk of its crude oil.
  • If prices remain high, it would eat into consumers’ disposable incomes and potentially choke economic growth.

OPEC+ Meeting:

  • Since December 2020, the OPEC+ countries have been meeting every month in order to calibrate their strategy as closely as possible to the latest developments.
  • It is expected that they would agree to boost production in August 2021 in order to meet demand and dampen recent price rises.

2. Lanka ‘banking on’ $1 bn India swap deal

Context:

Sri Lanka is depending on a $1 billion currency swap from India.

Details:

  • Sri Lanka has to meet its daunting debt repayment obligations for 2021 and is facing an economic crisis, due to the pandemic.
  • It has already serviced part of its debt and is preparing to repay the remaining more than $3 billion over the next six months.
  • With an international sovereign bond maturing, a $1 billion repayment is due.
  • Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had in 2020 requested the Prime Minister of India for a special $1.1-billion currency swap to help the country boost its foreign reserves.
  • Sri Lanka is already expecting a $400 million swap from the Reserve Bank of India in a couple of months through the SAARC facility. However, an additional $1 billion it says is going to be crucial for the country.

China’s Assistance:

  • In addition to sanctioning loans and a currency swap facility worth more than $2 billion since the pandemic struck, China has announced a $90 million grant to Sri Lanka in October 2020.
  • China’s rapidly growing presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and specifically in Sri Lanka is a cause of concern for India.

Assistance from other countries:

  • In May 2021, Bangladesh cleared a $200 million currency swap facility for Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka has inked a $500 million loan agreement with the EXIM Bank of Korea.

Category: INTERNAL SECURITY

1. Flying terror

Context:

  • In the first such instance in India, drones were used to attack an Indian Air Force base in Jammu. Explosive devices were dropped from drones triggering blasts.
  • There have been reports of at least two more subsequent attempts to use drones to attack military targets.

History of use of drones in warfare:

  • In 2018, Syrian rebels used homemade drones to attack Russian military bases in Syria.
  • There has been an assassination attempt on the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro using an explosive-laden drone.
  • In 2019, Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for bombing Saudi oil installations using drones.

Concerns:

Technology backed terrorism:

  • The use of drones represents a new mode of terrorism characterized by the increasing use of technology. This helps reduce costs and the risk of identification for terrorists while increasing their efficacy. The exponential proliferation of new technologies and Artificial Intelligence will only make the threat posed by drones increase exponentially.

Redundancy of available tools to counter drones:

  • The conventionally available tools would be redundant in combating the threat posed by drones. Since drones fly very low it is extremely difficult to detect them using radars and they also leave little by way of reaction time once detected.

Easy accessibility:

  • The fact that drones are available in open markets for very cheap prices makes them easily accessible for terrorists to procure. This could enable even individuals with sufficient motivation and skills to carry out drone attacks without the threat of being identified by intelligence agencies.
  • Thus drones offer the non-state actors cheap and affordable ways of targeting the security agencies.

Increased capacity of drones:

  • Drones have developed significantly and acquired massive leaps in capability. The increased speed, range, manoeuvrability and load-carrying capacity have turned them into potential weapons that could be used to target adversaries. Such drones can hit strategic targets and cause huge damage.
  • Small size, stealth drones pose a lethal threat to strategic installations.

No comprehensive regulation:

  • The existing international framework for controlling the proliferation of technology that can be weaponized, such as the Wassenaar Arrangement and Missile Technology Control Regime, may be termed ineffective in addressing the threat posed by drones.
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement aims to promote transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.

Recommendations:

  • Requisite measures in terms of anti-drone capabilities, as well as policy measures, should be put in place to counter the threat posed by drones.
  • Requisite Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems capability must be developed and made available. There is an urgent need for an anti-drone system shielding critical installations in the country. This could involve anti-drone techniques like drone jammers, Directed Energy Weapons such as lasers and the use of suitable guns, missiles and other hard kill options.
  • Enhanced international cooperation and consensus on the development and deployment of technologies are required to combat such new methods of terror attacks.
  • Tighter regulation of drones sales and operations needs to be implemented to prevent their use for terrorist activities.

For more information on this refer to:

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 28th June 2021

UPSC Comprehensive News Analysis of 29th June 2021

F. Prelims Facts

1. Atlas of glacial lakes in Ganga basin released

What’s in News?

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has released an updated atlas of glacial lakes that are part of the Ganga river basin.

  • Resourcesat-2 Linear Imaging Self Scanning Sensor-IV satellite data was used for mapping the glacial lakes.

Read more on this topic covered in PIB Summary & Analysis for 29th June 2021.

2. Monsoon session likely from July 19 to August 13

What’s in News?

The monsoon session of Parliament is likely to begin on July 19 and go on till August 13, 2021.

  • A session of the Indian Parliament is the period during which a House meets almost every day uninterruptedly to manage the business.

Typically, the sessions are carried out in the following manner, each year.

The sessions are as follows:

  • Budget session (February to May)
  • Monsoon session (July to September)
  • Winter session (November to December)

Read more on Sessions of Indian Parliament (Monsoon, Winter, Budget)

3. Méndez’s anti-torture vision is still distant for India

  • The ‘Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigations and Information Gathering’, are also called the ‘Méndez Principles’.
  • It proposes practical measures to replace torture and coercive interrogation with rapport-based interviews, reinforced through legal and procedural safeguards at every step.
  • The Méndez Principles thus represent a new standard for effective interviewing by police and others, while respecting human rights.

G. Tidbits

1. Israel’s Lapid opens Embassy in UAE

What’s in News?

Israel’s new Foreign Minister inaugurated the country’s Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

Background:

  • Israel did not have diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab states owing to its long-standing conflict with Palestinians. Read more on the Israel-Palestine conflict in the link.
    • However, it had signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994.
  • In 2020, the US, Israel and the UAE, the leaders of the three countries agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
  • It also refers to the agreement reached between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE to normalise relations between the three.
  • It was believed to be a historic diplomatic breakthrough that would advance peace in the Middle East region.
  • The agreement, called the ‘Abraham Accord’, was brokered by US President Donald Trump.

Abraham Accords:

  • The Abraham Accords are a joint statement made between Israel, the United States and the United Arab Emirates on August 13, 2020.

Read more on Abraham Accords.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q 1: Consider the following statements:
  1. The One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme is aimed at enabling migrant workers and their family members to buy subsidised ration from any fair price shop anywhere in the country under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  2. Implementation of ONORC is a precondition for additional borrowing by states.
  3. Non-NFSA ration cardholders are also covered under the ONORC.

Which of the above statements is/are INCORRECT?

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 2 & 3 only
  3. Only 3
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme allows all beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, 2013, particularly migrant beneficiaries, to claim either full or part foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) in the country through existing ration card. The system also allows their family members back home, if any, to claim the balance foodgrains on the same ration card.
  • In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre set the implementation of ONORC as a precondition for additional borrowing by states.
  • Non-NFSA ration card holders are not covered under the ONORC.
Q 2: Consider the following statements regarding the distribution of subsidised ration:
  1. Annavitaran portal maintains a record of inter-state transactions.
  2. Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) portal records the intra-state transactions.

Which of the above statements is/are INCORRECT?

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • One Nation One Ration Card scheme is based on technology that involves details of the beneficiary’s ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS).
  • The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePoS devices at fair price shops.
  • The system runs with the support of two portals —Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) and Annavitaran, which host all the relevant data.
  • Annavitaran Portal – maintains a record of intra-state transactions — inter-district and intra-district.
  • Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) – records the inter-state transactions.
Q 3: Consider the following statements:
  1. The Constitution of India provides for three sessions of Parliament in a year.
  2. It is mandatory to convene the Parliament at least twice every year.
  3. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has no role in convening the sessions of the Indian Parliament.

Which of the above statements is/are INCORRECT?

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 1 & 3 only
  3. 2 & 3 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • As per the Constitution of India, it is mandatory to convene at least two sessions per year.
  • In practice, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, comprising senior ministers, decides on the dates for Parliament’s sitting and it is then conveyed to the President.
  • President from time to time summons each House of Parliament to meet.
  • The Constitution of India does not provide for three sessions of Parliament in a year. However, by convention, the Indian Parliament conducts three sessions each year.
  • The Budget session: February to May, the Monsoon session: July to September and the Winter session: November to December.
Q 4: Consider the following statements:
  1. India is yet to ratify the 1987 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).
  2. The Méndez Principles aim to provide a cohesive blueprint of practical measures to replace torture and coercive interrogation.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • India is one of only five countries that have yet to ratify the 1987 UNCAT. The others include Sudan, Brunei, Palau and Haiti.
  • Recognizing the widespread use of torture during investigations, Juan E. Méndez, submitted a report in 2016 to the United Nations General Assembly as outgoing Special Rapporteur on Torture.
    • It called for the development of a universal set of standards for non-coercive interviewing and associated procedural safeguards during investigations to ensure that no person — including suspects, witnesses, victims, and other persons being interviewed is subjected to torture, ill-treatment, or coercion while being questioned.
  • The Méndez Principles aim to provide a cohesive blueprint of practical measures to replace torture and coercive interrogation.
Q 5: In the Parliament of India, the purpose of an adjournment motion is (2012)
  1. to allow a discussion on a definite matter of urgent public importance
  2. to let opposition members collect information from the ministers
  3. to allow a reduction of specific amount in demand for grant
  4. to postpone the proceedings to check the inappropriate or violent behaviour on the part of some members
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Adjournment motion is the procedure for adjournment of the business of the House to draw the attention of Lok Sabha to a recent matter of urgent public importance having serious consequences and in regard to which a motion or a resolution with proper notice will be too late.
  • The purpose of the Adjournment Motion is to allow discussion on a definite matter of urgent public importance.
  • It is followed only in the Lok Sabha.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Anti-terror laws in the country have led to an era of over-criminalisation. Do you agree? Justify. (250 words; 15 marks) [GS-2, Polity and Governance].
  2. Evaluate India’s progress in eradicating torture from its criminal system. (250 words; 15 marks) [GS-2, Polity and Governance].

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 30th June 2021:- Download PDF Here

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