13 Mar 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

13th March 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
HEALTH
1. Bird flu confirmed at three places
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. SBI board clears Rs. 7,250 crore investments in Yes Bank
2. RBI opens dollar-swap window
3. Bills on bankruptcy code, mineral law get RS nod
4. Why oil prices are crashing
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. New environment impact norm cuts time for public hearing
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Danger ahead: On India’s road safety record
2. Should distressed private banks be saved by PSBs?
F. Prelims Facts
1. Sensex slumps 2,919 points, Nifty sinks to 33-month low
2. Retail inflation eases to 6.58%, industrial production quickens
G. Tidbits
1. RBI tells States not to shift deposits from private banks
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. Danger ahead: On India’s road safety record

Context

  • According to Union Transport Minister, the amendments made to the Motor Vehicles Act have reduced death toll due to accidents on India’s roads.
    • Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra have witnessed reduction in crashes as a result of this amendment.

Stats

  • Road accidents in India claimed over 1.5 lakh lives in the country in 2018, with over-speeding of vehicles being the biggest reason for casualties.
  • Road accident severity measured by the number of persons killed per 100 accidents, has seen an increase of 0.6 percentage points in 2018 over 2017.
  • India ranks 1st in the number of road accident deaths across the 199 countries reported in the World Road Statistics, 2018 followed by China and the US.
  • National Highways which comprise of 1.94 percent of the total road network, accounted for 30.2 per cent of total road accidents and 35.7 per cent of deaths in 2018.
  • State Highways which account for 2.97% of the road length, accounted for 25.2 percent and 26.8 percent of accidents and deaths respectively.
  • Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh accounted for the highest number of road accidents and death on account of road accidents respectively in 2018.
  • As per the WHO Global Report on Road Safety 2018, India accounts for almost 11% of the accident-related deaths in the world.

Key issues yet to be addressed

  • Under the Motor Vehicles Act, there is a provision of imposing heavy penalties for road rule violations but this does not mean we have achieved success on multiple fronts.
  • The policies still lack scientific road system marked by good engineering, sound enforcement, appropriate technology use and respect for all road users.
  • In fact, a World Bank ‘Delivering Road Safety in India’ report is apprehensive that rapid motorization and more high-speed road infrastructure have raised the risks for road users.

Causes of road accidents

The large and rising number of road accidents in India is reason for grave concern.

  • Negligent driving is reported to be responsible for most road accidents.
    • Indeed, speeding, overtaking from the wrong side and ignoring traffic signals cause many accidents.
  • Under-age driving is rampant. It is well known that bribes rather than driving expertise determines whether or not a person gets a licence.
  • Another important reason for accidents is faulty road design and engineering flaws. Multiple accidents happen at certain points along roads.
  • Another important killer on roads is potholes. Although several accidents, especially those involving two-wheelers are caused by potholes, authorities are rarely willing to admit that it was the pothole that caused the driver to lose control over the vehicle.

Recommendations

  • The transition to a professional road environment requires implementation of first-tier reforms that deal with quality of road infrastructure, facilities for vulnerable users and zero-tolerance enforcement of rules by a trained, professional and empowered machinery.
  • Jumping signals and driving on the wrong side are the two most violated traffic rules in Indian cities. And, people indulge in these with impunity because of the almost non-existent functional camera surveillance on our streets.
    • Making dashboard cameras mandatory, with the video evidence accepted in investigation, would protect rule-abiding motorists and aid enforcement.
    • So, road safety depends on enforcement of rules with zero tolerance to violations, and making officials accountable for safety.
  • A key mechanism of change are District Road Safety Committees, which were enabled even by the 1988 Act, but remain obscure.
    • A mandatory monthly public hearing of such committees involving local communities can highlight safety concerns, and their follow-up action can then be supervised by the Members of Parliaments’ Road Safety Committees, created in 2019.
    • Here, it is essential to make the collector, local body and police accountable.
    • Implementing a comprehensive safety programme at the local level is one of the first steps that can be taken to reduce the number of motor vehicle deaths and serious injuries on rural areas.
  • To save lives on highways, quality trauma care at the district level holds the key.
    • In the absence of good hospitals and cashless free treatment, no significant improvement is possible in the quest to save life and limb.

Conclusion

Therefore, if there is to be a reduction in traffic crashes, it requires establishing a system or institutional structure that enables the generation of new road standards thereby ensuring safe highways and urban roads.

2. Should distressed private banks be saved by PSBs?

For more information on this, please refer to the 10 March 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Sensex slumps 2,919 points, Nifty sinks to 33-month low

What’s in News?

  • A day after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, equity markets worldwide went into a bear phase — denoted by more than 20% fall from the recent highs of the benchmarks.
  • Global stocks, including India, plunged into a bear market after President Donald Trump banned travel from Europe to stem the coronavirus, threatening more disruption to the world economy.
  • Oil prices were also hit, compounded by an intensifying price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, on top of fears of a sharp slowdown in the global economy.

Read: COVID-19 declared a Pandemic.

Bear and Bull Markets:

  • The terms bull and bear market are used to describe how stock markets are doing—that is, whether they are appreciating or depreciating in value.
  • At the same time, because the market is determined by investors’ attitudes, these terms also denote how investors feel about the market and the ensuing trends.
  • A bull market refers to a market that is on the rise. It is typified by a sustained increase in market share prices. In such times, investors often have faith that the uptrend will continue over the long term. Generally, in this scenario, the country’s economy is strong and employment levels are high.

A bear market is one that is in decline. Share prices are continuously dropping, resulting in a downward trend that investors believe will continue, which, in turn, perpetuates the downward spiral. During a bear market, the economy will typically slow down and unemployment will rise as companies begin laying off workers.

2. Retail inflation eases to 6.58%, industrial production quickens

What’s in News?

Official data released showed that the Retail inflation based on the Consumer Price Index slowed to 6.58% in February 2020, while the industrial production growth as measured in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) quickened to 2% in January 2020, amid subdued performance by the manufacturing sector.

  • The government has mandated the RBI to keep inflation at 4% with a margin of two percentage points on either side.

Retail Inflation:

Retail inflation means the increase in prices of certain products or commodities compared to a base price. In India, retail inflation is linked to Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is managed by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Read more on Consumer Price Index.

G. Tidbits

1. RBI tells States not to shift deposits from private banks

What’s in News?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked all State governments to refrain from shifting their deposits from private sector banks to government banks.

  • The move came after the Maharashtra government directed all its departments, civic bodies and semi-government corporations not to transact with private banks after private sector lender Yes Bank was put on moratorium.
  • Observing that some other State governments were also contemplating such a move, the RBI, in a strongly-worded letter to all chief secretaries of the States, said apprehension regarding safety of deposits in private sector banks was highly misplaced and such reactions would not be in the interest of the financial stability of the banking system.
  • It was also highlighted that such a move can have banking and financial sector stability implications.
  • It was pointed out that the Reserve Bank has adequate powers to regulate and supervise private sector banks and by using these powers it has ensured that depositors’ money is entirely safe.
  • The fact that the resolution of weak private sector banks in the past had been done in a manner that the depositors were not put at a loss, was also highlighted.
  • “It is precisely with the view to retaining depositors’ confidence in private banks and their mitigating their hardship that, after the imposition of moratorium on Yes Bank Ltd., the RBI has drawn up the draft scheme without any delay, and we are making every effort for the finalisation of the scheme,” RBI said.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Avian influenza:
  1. It is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of birds, mammals.
  2. All the avian influenza viruses infect humans.

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

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Answer

Q2. Consider the following statements:
  1. Swap is an agreement between two parties to exchange financial instruments.
  2. Swaps do not trade on exchanges.
  3. In currency swap, the parties exchange interest as well as principal payments denominated in two different currencies.

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

a. 1 only
b. 1 and 2 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. 1, 2 and 3

See
Answer

Q3. Which of the following countries are NOT the members of Organization of the Petroleum 
Exporting Countries (OPEC):
  1. Russia
  2. Ecuador
  3. Venezuela
  4. Iran

Choose the correct option:

a. 1 only
b. 1 and 2 only
c. 1, 2 and 4 only
d. 1, 2 and 3 only

See
Answer

Q4. Consider the following statements:
  1. Terms ‘Bull market’ and ‘Bear market’ are associated with foreign trade.
  2. A market where share prices are falling is described as a bull market.
  3. Typically, in a bull market, unemployment will be on the rise.

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

a. 1 only
b. 1 and 3 only
c. 1, 2 and 3
d. 1 and 2 only

See
Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

1. Punitive measures, however stringent, will not achieve much without the adequate number of traffic personnel, road-safety devices, and institutional structure. Discuss. (15 Marks, 250 Words).
2. Discuss the key features of the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and also explain how it will promote Ease of Doing Business. (15 Marks, 250 Words).

13th March 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

Read the previous CNA here.

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