02 Mar 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 02nd Mar 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. U.S. to keep hard line on China trade
2. Suu Kyi hit with two new criminal charges
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. Chinese may have targeted power systems, ports, says U.S. firm
2. Chinese cyber-attack foiled: Power Ministry
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. The vital but delicate task of reviving the Iran deal
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Master and the roster
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. ‘Factory activity extends growth, input costs soar’
2. IIT-Delhi researchers develop technology to recycle e-waste
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Suu Kyi hit with two new criminal charges

Context:

Ousted Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was hit with two new criminal charges in a court appearance, a month after a military coup triggered mass protests.

Background:

  • Suu Kyi was already facing obscure criminal charges for possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies, as well as violating coronavirus restrictions by staging a campaign event during the 2020 election.
  • She is now also accused of breaching communications laws as well as intent to incite public unrest.

This topic has been covered in the 5th February 2021 Comprehensive News Analysis. Also, read about the global response to this development, covered in 13th February 2021 Comprehensive News Analysis.

2. Chinese cyber-attack foiled: Power Ministry

Context:

The Union Power Ministry said that the State-sponsored Chinese hacker groups targeted various Indian power centres.

Details:

  • It was stated that the Chinese state-sponsored threat actor group known as Red Echo is targeting the Indian Power sector’s Regional Load Dispatch Centres (RLDCs) along with State Load Dispatch Centres (SLDCs).
  • These groups have been blocked after government cyber agencies warned them about their activities.
  • It also confirmed that no data breach/data loss has been detected due to these incidents.
  • Officials said they had been warned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY’s) Cyber Emergency Response Team (India) (CERT-in) about the threat from a malware called “ShadowPad” in November 2020, and by the NTRO’s National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) in February 2021, of the threats, weeks before the Recorded Future report was released.

Note:
  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • It is the nodal agency to deal with cybersecurity threats like hacking and phishing.
  • It strengthens the security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Master and the roster

Context:

  • The Supreme Court proceedings in the case of the alleged conspiracy to threaten the independence of the judiciary on the basis of sexual harassment allegations against the former Chief Justice of India (CJI), Ranjan Gogoi.
  • The proceedings into the case have ended and the proceedings have remained inconclusive.

Details:

Master of the Roster system:

  • The article laments that the SC proceedings failed to recognise the threat to judicial independence posed by the singular power of the CJI as the Master of the Roster.
    • The Master of the Roster system vests exclusive discretion in the Chief Justice to constitute benches and allocate cases.
  • The Master of the Roster power enjoyed by the CJI lay at the heart of the controversy surrounding the proceedings the Court has now closed.
    • The Master of the Roster power enjoyed by Justice Gogoi allowed him to institute suo motu proceedings despite being an accused and even presided over it. The case was labelled as a matter of judicial independence.

Concerns:

Threat of becoming a singular power:

  • The Master of the Roster power makes the CJI’s office a high stakes one placing all the powers in the hands of the CJI and making the CJI the sole point of defence of the Court against executive interference.
  • With the CJI as the sole Master of the Roster, any executive seeking to influence the Supreme Court needs only a pliant CJI. A pliant Master of the Roster carries the danger of producing a pliant Court. Hence, this system threatens the principle of judicial independence.

Lack of scrutiny:

  • The CJI’s Master of the Roster power is enjoyed without scrutiny.
  • A group of senior judges of the SC have previously levelled allegations of favouritism in how CJI Dipak Misra allocated cases, through a press conference.

Reluctance of the higher judiciary to reform:

  • The Supreme Court has been reluctant to dilute the Master of the Roster power.
    • In Asok Pande v. Supreme Court of India (2018), a three-judge bench of the Court held that Master of the Roster is the CJI’s exclusive power.
    • The two-judge bench in Shanti Bhushan v. Supreme Court of India (2018) rejected the plea that the Master of the Roster should be interpreted as the collegium.

Challenges in judiciary:

  • The existing system despite the progressive reform like the institution of the collegium system in the appointment process has failed to prevent executive interferences in the judiciary due to the following two reasons.
    • Lure of post-retirement jobs
    • The CJI’s allocation of cases remains an unchecked power owing to the Master of the Roster powers enjoyed by CJI.

Way forward:

  • Future judicial reforms should address the above two issues in the following ways.
    • A cooling-off period between retirement and a post-retirement appointment needs to be introduced.
    • The power of Master of the Roster needs to be diversified beyond the CJI’s exclusive discretion. Rather it could involve a system similar to the collegium system associated with the appointment process.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. ‘Factory activity extends growth, input costs soar’

What’s in News?

India’s factory activity expanded for the seventh straight month in February 2021.

  • According to a private-sector survey, the expansion is driven by strong demand and increased output.
  • The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by IHS Markit was well above the 50-level separating growth from contraction.
  • Sub-indexes showed output and new orders rose sharply in February, indicating strong demand.

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI):
  • The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an index of the prevailing direction of economic trends in the manufacturing sector, compiled by IHS Markit.
  • It consists of a diffusion index that summarizes whether market conditions, as viewed by purchasing managers, are expanding, staying the same, or contracting.
  • The headline PMI is a number from 0 to 100.
    • A PMI above 50 represents an expansion when compared with the previous month.
    • A PMI reading under 50 represents a contraction, and a reading at 50 indicates no change.

2. IIT-Delhi researchers develop technology to recycle e-waste

What’s in News?

The researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi have developed a zero-emission technology to manage and recycle e-waste to wealth.

  • The team adopted a methodology that uses e-waste as an “Urban Mine” for metal recovery and energy production.
    • The e-waste is shredded and pyrolyzed to yield liquid and gaseous fuels, leaving behind a metal-rich solid fraction.
    • On further separation using a novel technique, the leftover solid residue yields a 90-95% pure metal mixture and some carbonaceous materials.
    • The carbonaceous material is further converted to aerogel for oil spillage cleaning, dye removal, carbon dioxide capture, and use in supercapacitors.
  • The technology is an outcome of a Department of Science and Technology-funded project and developed technology.
  • The project will cater to the need of “Smart Cities,” “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiatives of the government.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to the Aravalli Hills:
  1. It is a fold mountain.
  2. The mountain range spans across Gujarat, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.
  3. Dhosi Hill, an extinct volcano, is a part of the Aravalli range.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • The Aravalli Range, an eroded stub of ancient mountains, is the oldest range of fold mountains.
  • The mountain range spans across Gujarat, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.
  • Dhosi Hill, an extinct volcano, is a part of the Aravalli range.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha
 Abhiyan (RUSA):
  1. It is a central sector scheme.
  2. It aims to provide strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2013.
  • It aims to provide strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.
  • The central funding (in the ratio of 60:40 for general category states, 90:10 for special category states and 100% for union territories) is based on norms and is outcome dependent.
  • Funds flow from the central ministry through the state governments/union territories to the State Higher Education Councils before reaching the identified institutions.
  • It is a scheme under the Ministry of Education (formerly HRD).
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Janaushadhi centres:
  1. These centres are run by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
  2. At these centres, generic medicines are sold at 50% to 90% lesser prices as compared to the market prices of branded medicines.
  3. The centres are run as a part of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).

Which of the given statement/s is/are incorrect?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Janaushadhi centres are run as part of the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).
  • These centres are run by the Bureau of Pharma PSUs in India (BPPI).
  • In these centres, generic medicines are sold at 50% to 90% lesser prices as compared to the market prices of branded medicines.
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to the strait of Hormuz:
  1. It separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula.
  2. It links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman.
  3.  It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Strait of Hormuz is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
  • It separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula.
  • It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The Iran Nuclear deal is complicated and time is running out as both Iran and the U.S. struggle to overcome the current impasse. Comment. (10 marks, 150 words) [GS-2, International Relations]
  2. What is meant by the Master of the Roster system in the Judiciary? Analyze the arguments both in favour of and against this system. (10 marks, 150 words) [GS-2, Polity]

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 02nd Mar 2021:- Download PDF Here

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