11 Mar 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

March 11th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Indo-Pacific is key priority: White House
2. What does Biden’s peace plan mean for Afghanistan?
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Kerala HC restrains Centre on IT rules
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. A case for a revamped, need-based PDS
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Regulation redux
HEALTH
1. Diagnosing gestational diabetes
F. Prelims Facts
1. Cabinet clears fund for health care
2. Modi to flag off Dandi March in Ahmedabad
3. Navy inducts third Scorpene submarine
4. CISF celebrates its 52nd Raising Day in Ghaziabad
G. Tidbits
1. Work on floating solar power plant in final stages
2. U.S. Defense Secretary to visit India
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. What does Biden’s peace plan mean for Afghanistan?

Context:

  • The Joe Biden administration has proposed a new peace plan to the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Background:

U.S.-Taliban deal:

  • According to the agreement signed between the U.S. and the Taliban in February 2020, American troops are set to leave Afghanistan by May 1.

For more information on this refer to:

CNA dated Mar 2, 2020.

  • The Taliban and the Afghan government started peace talks in Doha in September last year but reached no breakthrough. Violence has continued unabated.
    • The talks are aimed at reaching a consensus on Afghanistan’s future constitutional and governing arrangements with the formation of a new “inclusive government” and “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” being the top agenda.

Details:

American proposal:

  • The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has proposed a UN-led conference of representatives of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the U.S. to discuss a unified approach to support peace in Afghanistan. Mr. Blinken has also proposed a senior-level meeting of the Afghan government and the Taliban in Turkey.
  • The U.S. would try to accelerate the ongoing talks between the Afghan leadership and the Taliban by sharing written proposals through the U.S.’s special envoy for Afghanistan.
  • The U.S. administration has made a renewed push for an interim unity government.
    • As per the Biden administration’s own assessment, the Taliban are on the ascent. The new administration believes that the best way to prevent a complete Taliban takeover is a regional peace process and an interim unity government.

The Afghanistan government’s stand:

  • The Afghanistan administration has consistently been critical of the U.S.’s direct outreach to the Taliban and making concessions to the Taliban.
  • It has been vocal about the right of the elected representatives as being the only legitimate representatives of the Afghan people in making decisions related to Afghanistan. The administration has reiterated its opposition to any transfer of power except through elections.

Concerns:

Worsen security situation:

  • If American troops are pulled out of Afghanistan, it is very likely that the security situation will worsen and that the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains.

Ascent of the Taliban:

  • Despite the Afghan government’s opposition to sharing power with the Taliban, it seems to have very less options.
  • If the Afghan government rejects the American offer, the war will continue. The withdrawal of the U.S. troops will place the Afghan government in a tough spot. If the government accepts the proposal, it will have to share power with the Taliban and discuss amendments to the Constitution and the future governance framework. Either way, the Taliban are set to make gains.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Kerala HC restrains Centre on IT rules

Context:

  • Online legal news portal challenges the new IT regulations.

Background:

For more information on this refer to:

CNA dated Feb 28, 2021.

Details:

  • The Kerala High Court has restrained the Centre from taking coercive action against Live Law Media Private Ltd., which owns a legal news portal, for not complying with the new IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Petitioner’s stand:

Excessive regulation:

  • The petition claims that Part III of the rules imposing a three-tier complaint and adjudication structure on publishers would make it virtually impossible for small or medium-sized publishers to function.
  • The petition also claims that the creation of a grievance redressal mechanism, through a governmental oversight body amounted to excessive regulation.

Against constitutional rights:

  • Rule 4(2), which makes it mandatory for every social media intermediary to enable tracing of originators of information on its platform violates Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression).
  • The rules obligating messaging intermediaries to alter their infrastructure to “fingerprint” each message on a mass scale for every user to trace the first originator were violative of the fundamental right to privacy of Internet users.

2. Modi to flag off Dandi March in Ahmedabad

  • The Salt March, also known as the Salt Satyagraha, Dandi March and the Dandi Satyagraha, was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The twenty-four-day march lasted between March and April in 1930.
  • The march spanned almost 240 miles from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi.
  • It marked a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly.

Read more on the Salt Satyagraha in the linked article.

3. Navy inducts third Scorpene submarine

  • The Navy inducted the third Scorpene class conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Karanj, into service.
    • The Scorpene-class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP).

4. CISF celebrates its 52nd Raising Day in Ghaziabad

  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) celebrated its 52nd Raising Day at Ghaziabad.
  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is a Central Armed Police Force in India and is governed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It was set up under an Act of the Parliament of India.
  • The CISF provides security cover to industrial units, government infrastructure projects and facilities and establishments located all over India. Industrial sectors like atomic power plants, space installations, mines, oil fields and refineries, major ports, heavy engineering, steel plants, barrages, fertiliser units, airports and hydroelectric/thermal power plants owned and controlled by Central Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), and currency note presses producing Indian currency are protected by CISF.

G. Tidbits

1. Work on floating solar power plant in final stages

  • The country’s biggest floating solar power plant till date, by generation capacity, is being developed by the NTPC in the reservoir of its thermal plant at Ramagundam in Peddapalli district, Telangana.
  • This plant has a generation capacity of about 100 megawatts.

2. U.S. Defense Secretary to visit India

  • American Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will be soon visiting India as part of his maiden visit abroad. The Secretary will also visit Japan and South Korea and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii. The planned visit would help reinforce the U.S.’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.
  • Cooperation, regional security challenges are expected to be discussed. Issues surrounding the deepening of the U.S.-India Major Defence Partnership and advancing cooperation between the countries for a free, prosperous and open Indo-Pacific and Western Indian Ocean Region are high on the agenda.
    • India and the U.S. have witnessed a deepening of their security partnership. Growing Chinese assertiveness has also brought them closer in terms of security cooperation.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following statement/s is/are correct with respect to the Pradhan Mantri 
Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN)?
  1. It constitutes a non-lapsable reserve fund for health.
  2. It constitutes the proceeds from the Health and Education Cess.
  3. It is administered by the Finance ministry.

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN).
  • The new fund collected from the proceeds of Health and Education Cess would function as a single non-lapsable reserve fund for health.
  • In the 2018 Budget, the Central government announced the replacement of the existing 3% Education Cess by 4% Health and Education Cess.
  • The administration and maintenance of the PMSSN is entrusted to the Health Ministry.
  • The major benefits of PMSSN will be the enhanced access to universal and affordable health care through the availability of earmarked resources, while ensuring that the amount does not lapse at the end of the financial year.
Q2. Which of the following is incorrectly matched?
  1. Dandi March: 1930
  2. Rowlatt Satyagraha: 1920
  3. Launch of Quit India Movement: 1942
  4. Champaran Satyagraha: 1917
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The Salt March, also known as the Salt Satyagraha, Dandi March and the Dandi Satyagraha, was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mahatma Gandhi. The twenty-four-day march lasted between March and April in 1930. The march spanned almost 240 miles from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi. It marked a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly.
  • On 6 April 1919, Mahatma Gandhi started a non-violent Satyagraha against the unjust Rowlatt Act passed by the British government.
  • On 8 August 1942, at the All-India Congress Committee session in Bombay, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi launched the ‘Quit India’ movement.
  • The Champaran Satyagraha of 1917 was the first Satyagraha movement led by Gandhi in India and is considered a historically important revolt in the Indian Independence Movement. It was a farmers’ uprising that took place in the Champaran district of Bihar, India, during the British colonial period.
Q3. Which of the following correctly describes the recently inducted INS Karanj?
  1. Scorpene class submarine
  2. Nuclear submarine
  3. Fast Patrol vehicle
  4. Corvette
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The Navy recently inducted the third Scorpene class conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Karanj, into service.
  • The Scorpene-class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP).
Q4. India’s largest floating solar power plant till date is being set up in which of 
the following states?
  1. Karnataka
  2. Rajasthan
  3. Gujarat
  4. Telangana
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • The country’s biggest floating solar power plant till date, by generation capacity, is being developed by the NTPC in the reservoir of its thermal plant at Ramagundam in Peddapalli district, Telangana.
  • This plant has a generation capacity of about 100 megawatts.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The growing food subsidy bill in India is a grave concern. Discuss the reasons for the same and suggest measures required for cutting down the food subsidy bill. (15 marks, 250 words) (GS paper 3/Economy)
  2. The setting up of a national environmental regulator under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 would be a critical step towards sustainable environment management in India. Analyze (10 marks, 150 words) (GS Paper 3/Environment and Ecology)

Read the previous CNA here.

March 11th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

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