24 Mar 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
CULTURE
1. Dravidian language family is 4,500 years old: study
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. SC Seeks Explanation From States & UTs For Non-Appointment Of Lokayukta
2. Office-of-profit case: Delhi HC restores membership of 20 disqualified AAP MLAs, refers case back to EC
3. How are members elected to Rajya Sabha?
C. GS3 Related
ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
1. The mounting problem of biomedical waste
2. Glacier melting passes point of no return
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. India to launch GSAT 6A
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INFRASTRUCTURE
1. Debunking India’s logistics myths
ECONOMY
1. The battle for money
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Category: CULTURE

1. Dravidian language family is 4,500 years old: study

  • The Dravidian language family, consisting of 80 varieties spoken by nearly 220 million people across southern and central India, originated about 4,500 years ago, a study has found.
  • This estimate is based on new linguistic analyses by an international team, including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, and the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun.
  • The researchers used data collected first-hand from native speakers representing all previously reported Dravidian subgroups. The findings, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, match with earlier linguistic and archaeological studies.
  • South Asia, reaching from Afghanistan in the west and Bangladesh in the east, is home to at least six hundred languages belonging to six large language families, including Dravidian, Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan.
  • The Dravidian language family, consisting of about 80 language varieties (both languages and dialects) is today spoken by about 220 million people, mostly in southern and central India, and surrounding countries.
  • The Dravidian language family’s four largest languages — Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu — have literary traditions spanning centuries, of which Tamil reaches back the furthest, researchers said.
  • Along with Sanksrit,Tamil is one of the world’s classical languages, but unlike Sanskrit, there is continuity between its classical and modern forms documented in inscriptions, poems, and secular and religious texts and songs, they said.
  • The study of the Dravidian languages is crucial for understanding prehistory in Eurasia, as they played a significant role in influencing other language groups.
  • Neither the geographical origin of the Dravidian language nor its exact dispersal through time is known with certainty.
  • The consensus of the research community is that the Dravidians are natives of the Indian subcontinent and were present prior to the arrival of the Indo-Aryans (Indo-European speakers) in India around 3,500 years ago.
  • Researchers said that it is likely that the Dravidian languages were much more widespread to the west in the past than they are today.
  • In order to examine questions about when and where the Dravidian languages developed, they made a detailed investigation of the historical relationships of 20 Dravidian varieties.
  • Study author Vishnupriya Kolipakam of the Wildlife Institute of India collected contemporary first-hand data from native speakers of a diverse sample of Dravidian languages, representing all the previously reported subgroups of Dravidian.
  • The researchers used advanced statistical methods to infer the age and sub-grouping of the Dravidian language family at about 4,000-4,500 years old.
  • This estimate, while in line with suggestions from previous linguistic studies, is a more robust result because it was found consistently in the majority of the different statistical models of evolution tested in this study.
  • This age also matches well with inferences from archaeology, which have previously placed the diversification of Dravidian into North, Central, and South branches at exactly this age, coinciding with the beginnings of cultural developments evident in the archaeological record.

 

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. SC Seeks Explanation From States & UTs For Non-Appointment Of Lokayukta

 

The day Rajasthan government extended term of its existing Lokayukta S S Kothari by 3 more years, the Supreme Court went on to ask chief secretaries of 12 states to give reasons for not appointing a Lokayukta. These states are Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal.

What is Lokayukta?

  • Lokayukta is an anti-corruption authority or ombudsman – an official appointed by the government or by parliament to represent the interests of the public. Most importantly, it investigates allegations of corruption and mal-administration against public servants and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances.

Genesis:

  • The Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Late Morarji Desai in 1966 recommended the setting up of the institution of Lokayukta for the purpose of appointment of Lokayukta at the state’s level, “to improve the standards of public administration, by looking into complaints against the administrative actions, including cases of corruption, favouritism and official indiscipline in administrative machinery.”
  • The Bill provides for the appointment of a Lokayukta “to investigate and report on allegations or grievances relating to the conduct of public servants.”It also called for establishment of Lokpal at the Centre.
  • While many states, thereafter, set-up Lokayukta institution, a comprehensive bill was passed in 2013 after a long debate on the issue.The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, commonly known The Lokpal Act was passed by the Parliament of India in December 2013.

States that have Lokayukta

  • Maharashtra was the first State to introduce the institution of Lokayukta in 1971 and so far 21 states have established the same. 
  • Karnataka’s Lokayukta is considered one of the strongest.
  • Santosh Hegde, former Lokayukta of Karnataka, uncovered one of the biggest mining scams (quantified at Rs.12, 228 crore) of the country in 2011. His activism and strong evidences resulted in the then Chief Minister Yeddyurappa being jailed for 21 days in October 2011.

How does Lokayukta work?

  • The Lokayukta works along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti Corruption Bureau. The Lokayukta (sometimes referred to the institution itself) investigates allegations of corruption and mal-administration against public servants and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances. However, public can’t lodge complain for any issue which is more than 5 years old.

Who is appointed as the Lokayukta?

The Lokayukta is usually a former High Court Chief Justice or former Supreme Court judge and has a fixed tenure.

Selection of Lokayukta

  • The Chief Minister selects a person as the Lokayukta after consultation with the High Court Chief Justice, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Chairman of the Legislative Council, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council. The appointment is then made by the Governor.
  • Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly.

Tenure of a Lokayukat:

The tenure of Lokayukta is generally 5 years. However, in Uttar Pradesh it is 8 years and now in Rajasthan also it will become 8 years.

Jurisdiction:

The public servants who are covered by the Act include:

  • all Ministers and Members of the State Legislature;
  • all officers of the State Government;
  • Chairman, Vice Chairman of local authorities, Statutory bodies or Corporations established by or under any law of the State Legislature, including Co-operative Societies;
  • Persons in the service of Local Authorities, Corporations owned or controlled by the State Government, a company in which not less than 50% of the shares are held by the State Government, Societies registered under the State Registration Act, Co-operative Societies  

Process:

If after investigation, the Lokayukta is satisfied that the public servant has committed any criminal offence, he may initiate prosecution without reference to any other authority. Any prior sanction required under any law for such prosecution shall be deemed to have been granted.

Limitations

Lack of prosecution powers, adequate staff, funds and lack of independence are some of the limitation of the Lokayukta.  In many States, the office of the Lokayukta is vacant. For instance, Gujarat did not have a lokayukta for eight years until Governor Kamla Beniwal appointed Justice R.A. Mehta to the post. But the Narendra Modi government challenged it at the Supreme Court and the court upheld the appointment on January 2. Besides these, many cases are pending before the Lokayukta.

2. AAP MLA disqualification case: Office-of-profit case: Delhi HC restores membership of 20 disqualified AAP MLAs, refers case back to EC

 Context:

• The MLAs has been earlier disqualified for holding offices of profit
• That’s because they were appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in 2015
• The MLAs told the Delhi high court the EC’s order disqualifying them was passed in ‘complete violation of natural justice’

• In a big victory for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Delhi high court today restored membership of its 20 disqualified MLAs and referred the case back to the Election Commission (EC).
• The HC said the disqualification of AAP MLAs was bad in law, and therefore remanded their plea back to the EC which will hear it afresh. The court further said there was a violation of natural justice and no oral hearing was given to the AAP MLAs before disqualifying them as legislators.
• On January 19, the EC recommended the AAP MLAs be disqualified for holding offices of profit. Two days later, President Ram Nath Kovind approved the disqualification. The EC was referring to the fact the MLAs had been appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015.
• The MLAs then approached the Delhi high court challenging their disqualification.A Delhi high court bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar wrapped up hearings in the case on February 28, and reserved its judgment after the legislators, the EC and other parties had concluded their arguments.
• The MLAs had told the court that the EC’s order disqualifying them was passed in “complete violation of natural justice” as they were not given an opportunity to explain their stand before the poll panel.
• In response to a query from the bench during the hearings, the legislators had agreed to have the case sent back to the poll panel so that the MLAs could be granted an oral hearing.
• Backing its recommendation to the President for AAP MLAs’ disqualification, the poll panel had submitted that the legislators cannot claim that they were not holding office-of-profit. It had also claimed that these MLAs’ pleas were not maintainable and were liable to be dismissed.

Background

Office of profit

  • The expression “office of profit” has not been defined in the Constitution or in the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Its ambit has to be inferred only from pronouncements of courts and other competent authorities, like the Election Commission and the President.
  • In India, the concept of “officeof profit” disqualifying the holder was imported from Britain and it made its appearance for the first time in the Act of 1909, which embodied the Morley-Minto Reforms proposals.
  • An office of profit is a term used to refer to executive appointments. The basic idea was — and remains — that the legislators should not be vulnerable to temptations an executive can offer.

 

In Indian context-

  • According article 102 (1) (a) and article 191 (1) (e) of the Indian constitution bars members of both houses of Parliament and state assembly/council for holding any office of profit.
  • According to above articles a person shall be disqualified for being elected as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament/state assembly if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or of any State, other than an office declared by Parliament/respective assemblies by law not to disqualify its holder.

 

Meaning

  • Office-> if they have the office to work
    • “The word ‘office’ is of indefinite content. It has various meanings
    • The Supreme Court in case of Statesman (Private) Ltd. v. H.R. Deb and Ors, Said that: “An office means no more than a position to which certain duties are attached According to Earl Jowktt’s Dictionary a public office is one which entitles a man to act in the affairs of others without their appointment or permission”
  • Profit->obtaining any pecuniary Gain- If the office carries with it, or entitles the holder to, any pecuniary gain other than reimbursement of out of pocket/actual expenses, then the office will be an office of profit for the purpose of Article 102 (1)(a)

 

  1. Decision on questions as to disqualifications of members
  • If any question arises as to whether a member of either House of Parliament has become subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in clause ( 1 ) of Article 102, the question shall be referred for the decision of the President and his decision shall be final
  • Before giving any decision on any such question, the President shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion

 

Rationale for the disqualification for holding an Office of Profit-

  • The underlying concept behind these two articles is the principle of separation of power between the functionaries of a state like legislative, judiciary and executive.
  • The principle of separation of powers enjoins that the three organs of the government- the executive, the legislature and the judiciary should be separate from each other
  • This is to ensure the isolation, immunity or independence of one branch of government from the actions or interference of another and to ensure checks and balances.

This provision is thus designed to protect the democratic fabric of the country from being executive patronage and also secures the independence of MPs from the influence of the so that they discharge their functions without fear or favor The presumption is that if corrupted by Government a legislature receives benefits from the Executive than he may not be able to independently scrutinize the actions of the Government. It ensures that the parliament does not contain persons who may be obligated to the government and be amenable to it influence because they are receiving favors and benefits from it

Supreme Court in case of Shivamurthy Swami vs. Agadi Sanganna Andanappa said the test which may be applied to determine whether an office is “office of profit” under the state government thus:-

  • Whether the Government makes the appointment;
  • Whether the Government has the right to remove or dismiss the holder;
  • Whether the Government pays the remuneration;
  • What are the functions of the holder
  • Does the Government exercise any control over the performance of those functions?

Joint Parliamentary Committee Recommendation

The Committee suggested the definition of “office-of- profit” as:

  • any office under the control of the Government of India, or the government of a state, whether or not the salary or remuneration for such office is paid out of the public revenue of the government of India or of the government of state
  • Any office under a body, which is wholly or partially owned by the government of India or the government of any state and the salary or remuneration is paid by such body
  • any office the holder of which is capable of exercising executive powers delegated by the government including disbursement of funds, allotment of lands, issuing of licenses and permits or making of public appointments or granting of such other favors of substantial nature or legislative, judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Since the judicial decisions gave varying interpretations depending upon the facts of each case

Previous cases-

  • In 2006 Sonia Gandhi resigned from Lok Sabha after the issue of office of profit was raised. (She was holding chairmanship of National Advisory Council). Later the prevention of disqualification act was amended in 2006 to add the position of NAC chairperson to the list of exempted posts.
  • Jaya Bachchan was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha, while she was also chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Federation.

Parliamentary Secretaries- President declines assent to Delhi govt’s bill

  • The Delhi government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997. The bill, aims to exclude the post of parliamentary secretary from the office of profit and exempt the post from disqualification provisions.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected a bill passed by the Delhi assembly last year seeking to exempt 21 AAP MLAs appointed as parliamentary secretaries from the purview of `office of profit’ criteria.

 Implications:

  • Section 15 of the government of NCT of Delhi Act, 1991 says a person shall not remain an MLA if he or she holds any office of profit under the Centre or government of a state or UT.

 What the law says?

  • Various petitions in the High Court have challenged the appointment of Parliament Secretary, arguing that the post is in contradiction to Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution which provides for limiting the number of Ministers in the State Cabinets to 15 per cent of the total number of members of the State Legislative Assembly.
  • Article 164 (1A) was inserted in the Constitution on the recommendation of the National Commission for Review of the Working of the Constitution headed by former Chief Justice of India, M.N. Venkatachaliah on misuse and drainage of public money to put a ban on over-sized cabinet.
  • This was added by 91st

Judgments

  • Because a Parliament Secretary often holds the rank of Minister of State, the Calcutta High Court, in Vishal Bhattacharya vs The State of West Bengal and Others (2015), in June 2015, quashed the appointment of 24 Parliamentary Secretaries in West Bengal dubbing it unconstitutional.
    • Bombay High Court in 2009 for the appointment of two Parliamentary Secretaries in Goa in Aires Rodrigues vs The State of Goa, 2009 and by the
    • Himachal Pradesh High Court in 2005 for the appointment of eight Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and four Parliamentary Secretaries in the State.
  • In May 2015, the Hyderabad High Court stayed the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries in Telangana
    • The court ruled that parliamentary secretaries represented the government in the assembly and, while assisting the CM, would have the authority to pass orders. They would also participate in the decision-making process and take decisions themselves and this, in “spirit and substance”, meant they were equivalent to Cabinet ministers.

Delhi’s Case

  • The number of Cabinet Ministers in Delhi cannot exceed 10 per cent of the total 70 seats — that is seven — as per Article 239AA of Constitution.
  • As of now, only one Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister is authorised.

3. How are members elected to Rajya Sabha?

  • The election process for Rajya Sabha members is more complicated than that of Lok Sabha.
  • The Rajya Sabha elections for 16 states covering 58 seats of the 245-member House is currently underway. Here’s an explainer on the voting process and the arithmetic involved:
  • Unlike the Lok Sabha, members of the Upper House are not directly elected by the public but by elected representatives of states and Union Territories. The allocation of seats for Rajya Sabha is made on the basis of the population of each state. Allowing for rank-based voting, the election follows the “system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote”, which basically means that the single vote cast by an MLA is transferable from one candidate to another — in two scenarios.
  • One is when a candidate obtains more than what is required for their win and therefore has an unnecessary surplus and the other is when a candidate polls so few votes that they have absolutely no chance. In both the cases, the votes are transferred so that there is no wastage.

Here’s how the election process works

  • The ballot paper bears the names of the candidates and the MLA marks his preferences for the candidates with the figures 1,2,3,4 and so on against the names chosen by him and this marking is understood to be alternative in the order indicated. The candidate that gets rank 1 from an MLA secures a “first preference” vote. In order to win, any candidate requires a specific number of such “first preference votes”. This number depends on the strength of the state Assembly and the number of MPs it sends to Rajya Sabha. To win a Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate should get a required number of votes which is known as quota or preference vote = [Total number of votes/(Number of Rajya Sabha seats + 1)] + 1.
  • So for instance in case of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Sabha elections, the preference vote can be calculated using the above-mentioned formula.
  • Preference vote = ([403/(10+1)]+1) = 37 votes.
  • Now, at an election where only one seat is to be filled, every ballot paper is deemed to be of the value of one at each count and the quota is calculated by dividing the total number of votes by two and adding one to the quotient, ignoring the remainder, if any.
  • However, the formula changes in case more than one seat needs to be filled. The total number of votes required for a candidate in the case is [(Number of votes x 100) / (Vacancies + 1)] + 1.
  • There are certain conditions when a ballot paper is deemed invalid. These include figure 1 not being marked or if figure 1 is assigned to the names of more than one candidate or is placed in a confusing manner. Other reasons include assigning two figures to one candidate or if there is any mark or writing by which the elector can be identified.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. The mounting problem of biomedical waste

 

  • India is likely to generate about 775.5 tonnes of medical waste per day by 2022 from the current level of 550.9 tonnes daily, a study conducted jointly by industry body ASSOCHAM and Velocity has said. The study, released yesterday, said medical waste is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 7%.
  • Titled ‘Unearthing the Growth Curve and Necessities of Bio Medical Waste Management in India-2018’, the study stressed on the need for stringent monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure safe management of waste.
  • Safe and effective management of waste is not only a legal necessity but also a social responsibility. Lack of concern, motivation, awareness and cost factor are some of the problems faced in proper biomedical waste management.
  • Waste management market in India is expected to reach $13.62 billion by 2025.There is a need for education regarding the hazards associated with improper waste disposal.
  • Major waste sections such as municipal solid waste management market, e-waste market and bio-medical waste are expected to grow at CAGR of 7.14%, 10.03% and 8.14% respectively.
  • The key challenges in bio-medical waste management include speed of data availability, under-reporting of waste generated and handling capacity, operation of healthcare facility without authorisation under Biomedical Waste Management Rules, lack of awareness among various sections of the staff among others.
  • Inadequate waste management can cause pollution, growth and multiplication of vectors like insects and rodents and may lead to transmission of diseases like typhoid, cholera and AIDS through syringes and needles. Besides, its impact on environment, especially in developing countries, must also be considered.

2. Glacier melting passes point of no return

  • The further melting of glaciers worldwide cannot be prevented in the current century – even if all the emissions are curtailed, a study has found.
  • However, due to the slow reaction of glaciers to climate change, human activity will have a massive impact beyond the 21st century, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
  • In the long run, 500 metres by car with a mid-range vehicle will cost one kilogramme of glacier ice, researchers said. In the Paris Agreement, 195 member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to limit the rise in global average temperature to significantly below two degrees Celsius.
  • Researchers at The University of Bremen in Germany and the University of Innsbruck in Austria calculated the effects of compliance with these climate goals on the progressive melting of glaciers. Melting glaciers have a huge influence on the development of sea level rise.
  • Whether the average temperature rises by 2 or only 1.5 degrees Celsius makes no significant difference for the development of glacier mass loss over the next 100 years, they said.
  • Around 36 per cent of the ice still stored in glaciers today would melt even without further emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • That means more than a third of the glacier ice that still exists today in mountain glaciers can no longer be saved, even with the most ambitious measures. However, looking beyond the current century, it does make a difference whether the 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius goal is achieved, researchers said.

 

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. India to launch GSAT 6A

 

  • In the field of space technology, India will close this fiscal with the launch of the GSAT-6A, a high power S-band communication satellite, on March 29, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Friday.
  • According to the space agency, the satellite with a life span of around 10 years will be put into orbit by the Indian rocket, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08).
  • The rocket is expected to blast off from the second launch pad at the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh at 4.56 p.m., on March 29. The ISRO said that the GSAT-6A was similar to the GSAT-6.
  • The satellite will provide a platform for developing technologies such as demonstration of 6m S-Band Unfurlable Antenna, handheld ground terminals and network management techniques. These are useful in satellite-based mobile communication applications.
  • ISRO Chairman K.Sivan had earlier told IANS that the GSAT-6A would be followed by the launch of a navigation satellite which will be in the next fiscal.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INFRASTRUCTURE

1. Debunking India’s logistics myths

  • Logistics is the process of moving goods and connecting producers with consumers. It is a critical part of the modern economy
  • In India, this sector comprises 14% of gross domestic product (GDP), much higher than in the US or Europe, where it is 8-9%
  • Initiatives for logistics sector by government
  1. Setting up a division in the Union ministry of commerce
  2. Introducing a national goods and services tax
  3. Giving infrastructure status to logistics
  • Firstly, The direct costs are the key reason for India’s high-priced logistics
  • The reality is that indirect costs are the real culprit
  • Direct logistics costs are those incurred in the process of moving goods, such as transportation, warehousing, and value-added services
  • Indirect (or “hidden”) costs include inventory carrying costs, theft, damages, and losses in transit
  • These account for 40% of India’s total logistics costs
  • Indirect costs are caused by inefficiencies in the supply chain
  • Secondly, The increasing the use of rail can significantly reduce the cost of logistics in India
  • The reality is that given the prevalence of short-haul movement of goods in India, there is limited room for growth
  • India’s railroads carry no more than a third of the country’s freight
  • The great majority of the country’s cargo routes (about 450 out of 500) are less than 800km long
  • The rule of thumb is that rail makes economic sense only on routes longer than that
  • Thirdly, To cut logistics costs, the focus should be on major commodities, such as coal and steel
  • The reality is that streamlining the agricultural value chain matters more
  • Coal and steel account for about 12-16% of India’s total logistics costs while for agriculture this is about 25%
  • Inefficiencies in the agricultural supply chain, such as improper transportation and storage, are rife, leading to wasted food and quality control problems
  • Fourthly, The major issue with road transport is the poor quality of roads and trucks
  • The reality is that the quality and number of Indian drivers is more important
  • Roads carry more than 60% of India’s cargo and account for the majority of the total logistics costs
  • Many of India’s roads and trucks could be in better condition, of course, but benchmarking studies comparing India to other developing economies have found that the unit economics are not too bad
  • It is the scarcity of skilled drivers that is the bigger problem
  • India’s ministry of road, transport and shipping estimates suggest a 22% shortage in the number of commercial drivers
  • An initiative that could help is the government’s Rs8 trillion Sagarmala project, launched in 2015
  • It goes in an entirely different direction, by investing in ports and coastal areas, with the goal of increasing the use of domestic shipping in moving goods
  • If Sagarmala works as intended, we believe it could lower the cost of logistics noticeably

 

Category: ECONOMY

1. The battle for money

 

  • Funds shortage is affecting the preparedness of the armed forces, but the government has chosen to ignore the crisis
  • In 1999, India was forced to request Israel, in the middle of a Kargil conflict, to fly in emergency supplies of ammunition and spares
  • As India planned “surgical strikes” in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, it was worried about an escalation of conflict
  • Certain types of ammunition were again in short supply, and in some urgent moves, India was forced to fly the ammunition in from friendly countries
  • The lessons from either Kargil or surgical strikes have clearly not been learnt by the government
  • The situation has only worsened in the past year, and any hopes of improvement were belied in the recent budget
  • The vice chiefs of the three services were recently compelled to speak the unspeakable to the parliamentary standing committee on defence
  • The army vice chief has recently told the MPs that 68 per cent of army’s equipment is vintage,
  • And the capital budget doesn’t even cater for the committed payments of 125 ongoing procurement deals, leave alone provide funds to replace the vintage equipment
  • GST: On top of that, the army will be saddled with an additional bill of Rs 5,000 crore due to increased taxes because of GST but no additional money has been made available for it
  • No different situation for the Navy and the Air Force
  • They don’t have money to even pay for the ongoing procurement deals, and haven’t been allocated funds for additional payments to be made towards custom duties
  • Senior military officers feel that a belief has gained ground at the highest levels of the government that a war is an absolutely impossibility in today’s times
  • Whether it is due to the presence of nuclear weapons or structural geopolitical factors or a blind faith in India’s diplomacy is a matter of debate, but its consequences are damning
  • Driven by this view, the government accords a lower priority to the demands of the defence services, whether it be in budgetary support or in implementing major defence reforms
  • The role and tasking of the defence services is decided by an official document called the Raksha Mantri’s Directive
  • Notwithstanding the government’s belief about impossibility of war, it has not amended the directive to the defence services accordingly
  • Nearly four years into office, the current government has not been able to issue a fresh directive to the defence services despite numerous deliberations on the draft of the directive a couple of years back
  • In all likelihood, the issues of tasking have already been broached informally with the government by the defence services
  • If the alarming situation persists, the matter is bound to be raised more forcefully in the future
  • The government must act quickly not merely to avoid that embarrassment but for the larger goal of ensuring India’s national security

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about GSAT-6A:
  1. The satellite will provide a platform for developing technologies such as handheld ground terminals and network management techniques.
  2. These are useful in satellite-based mobile communication applications

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 3. Consider the following statements about Waste Management:
  1. Inadequate waste management can cause pollution, growth and multiplication of vectors like insects and rodents.
  2. Biomedical waste is any kind of waste containing infectious (or potentially infectious) materials

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 4. Consider the following statements :
  1. Maharashtra was the first State to introduce the institution of Lokayukta. 
  2. The Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Late Morarji Desai in 1966 recommended the setting up of the institution of Lokayukta.

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 II

POLITY

  1. Non-appointment of Lokayukta is as good as non-availability of a legal mechanism to tackle corruption. Discuss.

General Studies II

ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT

2.   Bio-medical waste is a serious health hazard that needs to be addressed      immediately.What are the measures that need to be taken in this regard.

 

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