22 Mar 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. No law to stop a convicted person from forming party: Govt to Supreme Court
2. Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO over data breach scandal
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Indian, US navies have shared interest: US Navy chief
C. GS3 Related
ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
1. Periyar Tiger Reserve
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
GOVERNANCE
1. The unfinished agenda of electoral reforms
AGRICULTURE
1. Read the distress signals
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. No law to stop a convicted person from forming party: Govt to Supreme Court

 

  • There was no law currently to stop a convicted person from forming a political party, the Centre has told the Supreme Court as it sought dismissal of a plea seeking lifetime ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections and forming political parties or holding political posts.
  • In its affidavit filed in response to the plea, the Ministry of Law and Justice said the demands raised by the petitioner would require amendments to the law. “… the prayers sought by the petitioner require amendment to the existing law… a mandamus asking the government to make a law or introduce amendments to an existing law is not maintainable and as hence this prayer is for a relief that cannot be granted by the courts,” it said.
  • The PIL was filed by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who contended that though law debarred convicted politicians from contesting elections, they were free to run a political party, hold party posts and decide who could contest polls to become MPs/MLAs.
  • The government in its affidavit said “having regard to the existing provisions of law relating to ‘registration of (a) political party’, there does not appear any connectivity and nexus between the situations debarring the persons disqualified under 1951 Act and/or convicted under criminal law from contesting an election to Parliament and/or State Legislature vis-à-vis debarring such persons from forming or becoming a member of any political party nor does the petition make out such a case”.
  • Hearing the matter on February 12, the court had raised serious questions over politicians convicted of crime and corruption heading political parties and selecting candidates for Parliamentary and assembly polls and said that it was against the spirit of democracy “If a convicted person cannot contest an election, how can he head of a political party and select candidates to contest elections?” the court had asked.

2. Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO over data breach scandal

 

  • Facebook expressed outrage over the misuse of its data as Cambridge Analytica, the British firm at the centre of a major scandal rocking the social media giant, suspended its Chief Executive.
  • The move to suspend CEO Alexander Nix came as recordings emerged in which he boasts that his data company played an expansive role in Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, doing all of its research, analytics as well as digital and television campaigns.

Influence campaigns

  • In undercover filming captured by Britain’s Channel 4 News, he is also seen boasting about entrapping politicians and secretly operating in elections around the world through shadowy front companies.
  • Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic have demanded answers after it was revealed at the weekend that Cambridge Analytica improperly harvested information from 50 million Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica has denied using Facebook data for the Trump campaign, but the scandal has ratcheted up the pressure on the social media giant — already under fire for allowing fake news to proliferate on its platform during the U.S. campaign. U.S. media reported on Tuesday evening that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook over the data scandal.
  • Meanwhile, a movement to quit Facebook has gathered momentum, getting a boost from a high-profile co-founder of the WhatsApp messaging service.Several websites offered tips on how to quit Facebook, while noting that the process is more complicated than it appears.
  • The website The Verge published a guide to deletion, advising users to download a copy of all personal data including photos and posts before quitting. The website noted that it could take up to 90 days to fully delete an account, and that data may be inaccessible during that period.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. China to build ‘world’s fastest’ wind tunnel

  • The revelation comes as the race among the world’s leading military nations to develop hypersonic technology intensifies.
  • China has announced it is building the world’s fastest wind tunnel to develop a new generation of super-fast airplanes, but it could also be used for hypersonic missile technology. Wind tunnels test how air will pass over a solid object, helping designers improve aerodynamics or reduce stress points for objects as they reach high speeds.
  • To compare, the current fastest generation of fighter jets can travel up to speeds of around 2.5 Mach.The revelation comes as the world’s leading military nations embark on a race to develop the next generation of hypersonic weapons, from missiles and spy planes to railguns, that can beat conventional defence systems.
  • Earlier this month, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin boasted his nation had developed a new generation of “invincible” hypersonic missiles in his state of the nation address, sparking anger in the U.S. and other NATO countries.
  • While experts are deeply sceptical about how close to operational such a missile might actually be, U.S. officials in recent weeks have sounded growing alarm about the potential threat from hypersonic weapons – defined as weapons that can travel at five times the speed of sound or more.
  • Such weapons can beat regular anti-missile defences as they are designed to switch direction in flight and do not follow a predictable arc like conventional missiles, making them much harder to track and intercept.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT

1. Periyar Tiger Reserve

RICH IN BIODIVERSITY

  • One of the rich biodiversity hotspots of the Western Ghats, Periyar Tiger Reserve spans over 925 sq.km. in Kerala, with the core area of over 300 sq.km. comprising the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Incidentally, the region is also home to a large number of Asiatic elephants, making it one of the most significant Elephant Reserves of the country.
  • Comprising a range of tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, grasslands and eucalyptus plantations, amply nourished by lakes and rivers running through the region, the Reserve is a green zone that’s home to more than a 100 varieties each of grasses and orchids – perfect to welcome several species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and butterflies.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • In 2015, the Periyar Tiger Reserve won the National Tiger Conservation Authority biennial award for encouraging local public participation in managing the Reserve. For any Reserve to successfully conserve its flagship species – and all else – it is imperative that the areas both within and outside of its boundary are safeguarded.
  • For this to happen, public participation becomes invaluable. And that is precisely what Periyar Tiger Reserve did. It set up the Periyar Foundation way back in 2006, which became a model for other Reserves in biodiversity conservation and community participation in managing natural resources. As many as 75 communities, including tribals, living around the Reserve came under the Foundation’s eco-development programmes.
  • This included eco-tourism activities for tourists involving the communities, and value additions such as bee keeping, pepper growing and marketing of the produce. Since some parts of the Periyar forests form the route for pilgrims heading to the famed Sabarimala temple, the communities played a crucial role in regulating the pilgrims as well as in waste management.

BIRDS

Garganey, little grebe, bushquails, doves, pigeons, nightjars, swifts, coucals, malkohas, cuckoos, crakes, storks, bitterns, herons, egrets, cormorants, snipes, sandpipers, buttonquails, buzzards, kites, eagles, vultures, harriers, owls, owlets, hornbills, woodpeckers, barbets, bee-eaters, kingfishers, falcons, parakeets, minivets, orioles, woodshrikes, drongos, shrikes, treepies, flowerpeckers, sunbirds, leaf birds, munias, pipits, wagtails, tits, larks, prinias, warblers, swallows, bulbuls, babblers, starlings, mynahs, nuthatches, flycatchers, robins and thrushes are among the species of birds that can be spotted in the region.

ANIMALS

In addition the Royal Bengal tiger and the Asiatic elephant, one can spot mammals such as leopard, bison, sambar, barking deer, Indian wild dog, wild boar, striped-neck mongoose, Nilgiri marten, Nilgiri langur and otter. There are also a variety of reptiles such as cobra, viper, krait, and Indian monitor lizard and amphibians such as frogs and toads that are found in the region.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. The unfinished agenda of electoral reforms

Context:

  • In 2014, the Delhi high court found both the BJP and the Congress guilty of having accepted donations from a foreign company, in breach of FCRA 2010
  • So, last year, the Finance Bill sought to modify the definition of a “foreign company”, which potentially renders the guilty verdict as null and void
  • But that still left open the possibility of a breach of the older law, which was in force till 2010
  • So, to eliminate any liability on that count, finance bill 2018 simply backdated the amendment to 5 August 1976
  • This is classic retrospective amendment trickery, which the present government had forsworn
  • The CEC wrote a letter with details of desirable electoral reforms to the then prime minister in July 2004
  • That had a list of 22 actionable items, which required parliamentary action
  • But no action resulted
  • Again in December 2016, the CEC compiled another list, incorporating the old one, and requested Parliament to enact reforms
  • Clean politics requires clean funding, and clean candidates. This cannot be ensured by the EC alone
  • Even the expenditure limits for candidates are prescribed by Parliament, and not by the EC
  • The data for past several elections, both national and state-level, shows that candidates barely spend 50% of the permissible limit
  • But clearly a lot of money does flow during elections, and if it not reported, it is illegal and unaccountable by definition
  • The issue of cleaning up of campaign finance is global and almost every democracy is struggling with it
  • But India is far behind global benchmarks, imperfect as they may be
  • For instance, parties in India so far have even resisted coming under the ambit of Right to Information law
  • With the Finance Bill retrospective amendment, even foreigners may be able to fund politics in India, who knows
  • Just when the US is grappling with allegations of foreigners “hacking” their presidential elections, India seems to have enabled this.

Category: AGRICULTURE

1. Read the distress signals

Context:

  • Cultivating must be dealt with as a market-construct venture and made reasonable in light of its own terms
  • The week-long farmers’ walk which reached Mumbai earlier this month, on the centenary of Gandhi’s Dandi March of 1930, was extraordinary in many ways.
  • It was for the most part quiet and taught, for the most part leaderless, non-problematic and peaceful, and efficient. It got the sensitivity of working class city tenants, sustenance and water from spectators, free medicinal administrations from volunteer specialists, and furthermore fleeting trend support of every political gathering from the left to one side.
  • The most remarkable thing about the march was that it was successful.
  • The State government consented to every one of the requests, including pending exchange of woodland land to Adivasis, extending the extent of the credit waiver and guaranteeing higher costs for cultivate deliver.
  • A year ago, in Haryana and Rajasthan they endeavored to square roadways which prompted activity tumult.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, in Mandsaur region, the dissent turned rough, prompted police terminating and passings of agriculturists. The appointive result in Gujarat too was a reminder to the decision gathering to focus on provincial and agrarian misery.
  • Over the years and decades, there have been numerous committees, reports and commissions with extensively researched policy recommendations. Yet farming is a story of recurring distress.
  • This suggests the proposals are not working and need a worldview change, or there is a gigantic hole in their execution or a touch of both.
  • The most comprehensive recent blueprint for reforms and rehabilitation of the farm sector is the report of the National Commission on Farmers, chaired by M.S. Swaminathan. That report is already over 10 years old.

 What is the priority?

  • The greatest need is to diminish the workforce which relies upon horticulture for its job.
  • There is impressive underemployment and low profitability yet agriculturists can’t exit to other occupation alternatives.
  • This focuses to the conspicuous conclusion that the answer for the ranch emergency lies to a great extent outside the homestead segment.
  • That focuses to the direness of quickening mechanical development and enhancing the simplicity of working together.
  • Farming is to be treated as a business and has to be viable on its own terms. Historically, farm prices were kept suppressed to keep industrial wages low (meant monopoly procurement laws and the intermediation through the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC)).
  • But providing the farmer with highly subsidised inputs — water, electricity, fertilizer, credit and seeds, compensated that.
  • Foriegn direct interest in ranch to fork chain is extremely limited.
  • A large portion of the agriculturists don’t approach formal credit, since a large portion of them don’t possess the land that they till.
  • Contract cultivating remains essentially prohibited.
  • Land renting isn’t conceivable (however done casually).
  • Moneylenders are unthinkable, despite the fact that they may be in the best position to address acknowledge needs, though for appropriate direction.
  • Thus the farmer’s plight is full of woe, exposed to risks from prices, demand, weather, pests and whims of policy and regulation.
  • It’s nothing unexpected that emergency is unending, and advance waivers wind up basic, more for moral and moral reasons, than monetary.
  • Banks don’t issue crisp advances out of their own hazard avoidance. Subsequently, advance waivers are an awful monetary thought however frequently a political impulse.
  • The same is valid for remunerating ranchers with half more least help value (MSP), regardless of what the cost. This worldview of cost in addition to estimating is awful financial aspects.
  • Sugarcane becomes less expensive in Uttar Pradesh in the Gangetic fields than in dry spell inclined Maharashtra.
  • Be that as it may, with a guaranteed cost in addition to MSP, there is minimal motivator to enhance yields to suit climate and cost conditions.

 Some positive steps

  • To its credit some recent initiatives of the government are laudable.
  1. Neem-coated fertilizer has reduced leakage, and direct benefit transfer to the farmer-buyer will reduce subsidy further.
  2. Soil cards ensure appropriate matching of inputs to soil conditions.
  3. Giving tax holiday to the farmer producer companies is also the right fiscal incentive.
  4. The government’s aim to double farm income in the next four years is a near impossible feat, but signals the right intention.
  • The big agenda is to unshackle agriculture to make it a truly commercial market-based enterprise; to create opportunities outside farming for large scale exit of the workforce; to connect farmers to the value chain of farm to fork, including agribusiness; to remove restrictions on movement and exports of farm produce and let them tap into international market, to also allow easier land transfers including leasing; to encourage crop diversification and land consolidation that reverses fragmentation.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about Water Scarce Cities Initiative:
  1. It is one of the programs of World Bank.
  2. Building resilience against climate change is one of the objectives of the initiative.

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about Atal Bhujal Yojana:
  1. It is a water resources ministry initiative for water conservation.
  2. It will be supported by the World Bank.
  3. The emphasis of the scheme will be on recharge of ground water sources and efficient use of water.

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 3. Consider the following statements about World Water Day:
  1. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges.
  2. Sustainable Development Goal commits the world to ensuring that everyone has access to safe water by 2030.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements about Nowruz:
  1. In India, the Parsi community, who follow Zoroastrianism, celebrate Navroz.
  2. Now means ‘new’ and Ruz means ‘day’, so Nowruz signifies “new day”. It coincides with the Spring Equinox.

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 5. Consider the following statements about Lithium:
  1. It powers electric vehicles (EVs).
  2. Lithium is used primarily in batteries, glass and ceramics, with other uses including rocket fuel and lasers.

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

General Studies III

Ecology and Environment

  1. Water conservation is the need of the hour. Illustrate with examples how water conservation can be revived by using traditional mechanisms.

Science and Technology

2. Explain the chemical properties of Lithium and its uses. Also, comment on its geographical spread.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

“Proper Current Affairs preparation is the key to success in the UPSC- Civil Services Examination. We have now launched a comprehensive ‘Current Affairs Webinar’. Limited seats available. Click here to Know More.”

 

Enroll for India’s Largest All-India Test Series