07 Mar 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Sri Lanka declares state of emergency
C. GS3 Related
ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
1. Stubble Burning in Haryana
ECONOMY
1. India to join multilateral EBRD
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Make the neighborhood first again
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Sri Lanka declares state of emergency

Background

  • The longest period of emergency rule in Sri Lanka spanned the all of the years from 1983 to 2001, with the exception of a five-month suspension in 1989. The emergency regulations enacted since independence in 1947 have often been unfairly disproportionate to the actual situation, being used indiscriminately to regulate a limitless range of issues
  • Sri Lanka’s government has a presidential-parliamentary system, featuring proportional representation. The president may proclaim a state of emergency under part II of the Public Security Ordinance of 1947 (PSO) and issue emergency regulations under section 5 of the PSO, which bypasses the normal parliamentary processes.20 Specific circumstances must exist to legitimate such an act.
  • Under the Amendment Act No. 8 of 1959 to the PSO, the president was empowered to proclaim an emergency for the whole or any part of the country, and a 1987 constitutional amendment granted legal immunity to the president for such declarations made in good faith.
  • Emergency regulations are valid for one month, but the president is empowered to renew a proclamation and to modify a regulation that is renewed.23 If no new proclamation is made, the emergency regulations and correlated orders automatically lapse.
  • The primary mechanism for parliamentary review of emergency proclamations is found in article 155 of the 1978 Constitution, which subjects the president’s power to parliamentary debate,25 and if a proclamation is a renewal purporting to extend beyond fourteen days, the president must also obtain parliamentary approval. If the president’s proclamation is made after parliament is dissolved, article 155 requires a parliamentary session to debate the issue on the tenth day after the proclamation is made. In practice, however, parliament acts as a rubber stamp to presidential powers

Restriction orders

  • During a declaration of emergency, the president usually enacts a set of regulations entitled the Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions and Powers) Regulations (EMPPR). These regulations give special powers of search, arrest, and detention to the national security forces and law enforcement agencies31 and fall into three categories: preventive detention, detention pursuant to an offense, and rehabilitative detention.

Deviations from international standards of human rights

  • In practice, Sri Lanka’s emergency regulations have consistently deviated from international standards, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),64 and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention Against Torture
  • Sri Lanka has enacted excessively stringent measures regarding citizen and media censorship. The governing legislation is implemented through regulation 14, which authorizes a presidentially appointed body to prevent or restrict publications in the interests of national security, public order, and maintenance of essential services; to seize documents, film, audio and videocassettes, newsprint, or any other publications; and to prohibit a person from partaking in media activity prejudicial to national security.
  • The ICCPR provides that citizen and media freedom of expression may be circumscribed only to the extent that is required by the emergency situation.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT

1. Stubble Burning in Haryana

What Is Stubble Burning?

  • Stubble burning is, the act of removing paddy crop residue from the field to sow wheat.
  • It’s usually required in areas that use the ‘combine harvesting’ method which leaves crop residue behind.

What is combine harvesting?

  • Combines are machines that harvest, thresh i.e separate the grain, and also clean the separated grain, all at once.
  • The problem, however, is that the machine doesn’t cut close enough to the ground, leaving stubble behind that the farmer has no use for.
  • There is pressure on the farmer to sow the next crop in time for it to achieve a full yield. The quickest and cheapest solution, therefore, is to clear the field by burning the stubble.

Why do Farmers Burn?

  • Cost Factor: The straw management equipment is costly and process is time consuming. Also, the cost of stubble management is not taken into account while determining the minimum support price (MSP).
  • Increasing mechanization of agriculture: Stubble problem was not as severe when paddy was harvested manually because the farmers use to cut it as close to the ground as possible. Due to mechanization the crop residue that remains in the field is of larger quantity;
    • Labour costs are very high now
    • Combine harvester machines to tide over the labour scarcity- The machine appears to be the key reason behind the problem because it only reaps the grains, leaving stalks or stubble of around 40 cm. Those who want fodder have to get the stubble removed manually or use specialised machines to do the job. But that is costly. For every 0.4 ha of wheat crop, the cost of renting a combine harvester is just Rs 800. Once the machine has harvested, the cost of getting the stubble removed is Rs 3,500/ha.
  • Time Factor: Delay in sowing means yield decline, this leaves very little time to clear the farm for sowing.
  • Monoculture of wheat and paddy. In Andhra, bean gram and black gram are planted while rice stubble decomposes on its own.
  • Unlike wheat stalks that are used as animal fodder, the paddy straw has high silica content that animals can’t digest.

Since farmers need to sow wheat within a fortnight of harvesting paddy, they burn the straw, or paraali, to save time, labour and money.

Category: ECONOMY

1. India to join multilateral EBRD

Background

European Bank for Reconstruction & Development 

  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an international financial institution founded in 1991.
  • The EBRD was founded to support countries of the former Eastern Bloc in the process of establishing their private sectors.
  • As a multilateral developmental investment bank, the EBRD uses investment as a tool to build market economies.
  • Initially focused on the countries of the former Eastern Bloc it expanded to support development in more than 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia.
  • Besides Europe, member countries of the EBRD are from five continents (North America, Africa, Asia and Australia, see below), with the biggest shareholder being the United States
  • The mandate of the EBRD stipulates that it must only work in countries that are committed to democratic principles. Respect for the environment is part of the strong corporate governance attached to all EBRD investments.
  • It does not finance defence-related activities, the tobacco industry, selected alcoholic products, substances banned by international law and stand-alone gambling facilities

Who owns the EBRD?

  • The EBRD is owned by 65 countries and two intergovernmental institutions: the European Union and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Impact of India’s entry:

  • Membership of EBRD would enhance India’s international profile and promote its economic interests. Access to EBRD’s Countries of Operation and sector knowledge.
  • India’s investment opportunities would get a boost.
  • It would increase the scope of cooperation between India and EBRD through co-financing opportunities in manufacturing, services, Information Technology, and Energy.
  • EBRD’s core operations pertain to private sector development in their countries of operation. The membership would help India leverage the technical assistance and sectoral knowledge of the bank for the benefit of development of private sector.
  • This would contribute to an improved investment climate in the country.
  • The membership of EBRD would enhance the competitive strength of the Indian firms, and provide an enhanced access to international markets in terms of business opportunities, procurement activities, consultancy assignments etc.
  • This would open up new vistas for Indian professionals on the one hand, and give a fillip to Indian exports on the other.
  • Increased economic activities would have the employment generating potential.
  • It would also enable Indian nationals to get the employment opportunity in the Bank.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Make the neighborhood first again

 

  • President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has gone out of his way to challenge the Modi government, whether it is on his crackdown on the opposition, invitations to China, or even breaking with New Delhi’s effort to isolate Pakistan at SAARC.
  • In Nepal, the K.P. Sharma Oli government is certainly not India’s first choice, and Kathmandu’s invitation to the Pakistani Prime Minister this week confirms the chill
  • In Sri Lanka, the recent local election results that have gone the way of the Mahinda Rajapaksa-backed party could be a portent of his future re-election.

Chinese Angle

  • China opened up an array of alternative trade and connectivity options after the 2015 India-Nepal border blockade: from the highway to Lhasa, cross-border railway lines to the development of dry ports.
  • In Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Pakistan, China holds strategic real estate, which could also be fortified militarily in the future. At present, it means China has a stake in the internal politics of those countries.
  • China stepped in to negotiate a Rohingya refugee return agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh
  • host a meeting of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s foreign ministers to help calm tensions and bring both on board with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connection between them
  • offer to mediate between the Maldivian government and the opposition

India’s Use of hard Power

  • Theoretically, given its central location in South Asia and being the largest geographically and economically, India should be expected to hold greater sway over each of its neighbours.
  • However, the “surgical strikes” on Pakistan of 2016 have been followed by a greater number of ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration on the Line of Control.
  • The 2015 Nepal blockade and a subsequent cut in Indian aid channelled through the government did not force the Nepali government to amend its constitution as intended, and the subsequent merger of Mr. Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal (UML) with Prachanda’s CPN(Maoist) is seen as a reversal of India’s influence there.
  • New Delhi’s dire warnings about Mr. Yameen’s emergency in the past month have led to the Maldives cancelling its participation in the Indian Navy’s “Milan” exercises.
  • Even in Bangladesh, the Indian Army chief, General Bipin Rawat’s tough talking last week about immigration has drawn ire there, with Bangladesh’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan describing the remarks as untrue, unfounded and not helpful.

India’s most potent tool is its soft power

  • Its successes in Bhutan and Afghanistan, for example, have much more to do with its development assistance than its defence assistance.
  • It’s heartening, therefore, that after sharp drops in 2016 (of 36%) and 2017 (of 19%) year on year, the budget allocations for South Asia have seen an increase (of 6%) in 2018.

New Approach to China

  • First, where possible, India should collaborate with China in the manner it has over the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic corridor.
  • Second, when it feels a project is a threat to its interests, India should make a counter-offer to the project, if necessary in collaboration with its Quadrilateral partners, Japan, the U.S. and Australia.
  • Third, India should coexist with projects that do not necessitate intervention, while formulating a set of South Asian principles for sustainable development assistance that can be used across the region.

F. Prelims Fact

1. India by the Nile festival

  • It is a mega annual cultural festival ‘India by the Nile’, organised to celebrate Indian culture and its diversity
  • The 12-day event, the biggest foreign festival in Egypt, will host a wide range of events
  • The festival which provides audiences an Indian cultural experience and encourages artistic collaborations between India and Egypt will be held in several cities such as Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said.
  • focus this year is on classical culture which is very ancient like music, dance and yoga
  • The festival, which is organised by the Embassy of India in Egypt and the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture in collaboration with entertainment company Teamwork Arts, is a celebration of contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, food and literature.

2. First ‘all women’ railway station in A.P.

  • Chandragiri railway station in Chittoor district has been declared as an all-women railway station.

3. Tiangong-1/ Heavenly Palace 1

  • It is China’s first prototype space station
  • Launched unmanned in 2011
  • It is placed in Low Earth Orbit

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. India by the Nile festival is organised in which of the countries?
  1. Mexico
  2. Egypt
  3. Israel
  4. Saudi Arabia

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements:
  1. Stubble burning is the act of removing paddy crop residue from the field to sow wheat.
  2. Combines are machines that harvest, thresh i.e separate the grain, and also clean the separated grain, all at once.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an international financial institution.
  2. EBRD is a multilateral developmental investment bank.
  3. EBRD uses investment as a tool to build market economies.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements about Tiangong-1/ Heavenly Palace 1:
  1. It is a prototype space station.

  2. It is launched by China.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

General Studies II (Health Issues)

  1. The energy drinks that are consumed are not only doses of high energy but a path to increased health Hazard. Comment.

General Studies III (Ecology and Environment)

  1. What is Stubble burning? What are the laws present to look into the issue? What measures need to be taken to overcome this issue?
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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