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30 Mar 2023: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 30 March 2023:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Understanding the Russia-Belarus nexus
C. GS 3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. How to manage India’s solar PV waste problem?
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
GOVERNANCE
1. Digital Public Infrastructure in India
POLITY
1. Right to strike in India
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. Army to get satellite, will help provide mission critical data
2. No evictions for Great Nicobar project
3. Sri Lanka’s key ambulance service, gifted by India, seeks ‘adoption’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: POLITY

1. Right to strike in India

Syllabus: Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions

Mains: Pros and cons of the essential services act

Context: This article discusses the government’s response to strikes in India and their impact on rights.

Introduction:

  • The Maharashtra Assembly has passed the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance and Normal Life of community Act (MESMA) in response to strikes by government employees demanding a return to the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
  • An estimated 19 lakh government and semi-government employees, including those in schools, colleges, zilla parishads, and government hospitals have been on strike demanding that the government return to the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
  • Essential services are those where “the interruption of which would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population” (ILO).

An unchanged response:

  • The Essential Services Act in India allows the government to declare certain services as essential and prohibits workers from going on strike in these services. 
  • The act was first introduced in India in 1951, and has been used by various governments over the years to prevent strikes in essential services.
  • In some cases, the act has been used to prevent strikes in services such as healthcare, transportation, and electricity, which are essential for the functioning of society. 
  • The government has argued that strikes in these services can cause widespread disruption and harm to the public, and therefore need to be prevented.
  • However, the use of the Essential Services Act has also been criticised by some as a way for the government to curb the rights of workers to strike and demand better working conditions and wages. 
  • Critics argue that the act empowers the government to define any economic activity as essential, which is an example of a dangerous weaponization of the government as it could tilt the balance in industrial relations in the government sector dangerously towards the government.
  • There has also been criticism of the criteria for defining essential services and the duration for which an industry may be called an essential service in order to prohibit strikes or protests.

Also read: Guaranteed Pension Scheme, Old Pension Scheme, and New Pension Scheme

Global Scenario:

  • The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) supervisory institution, the Committee on Freedom of Association (the Committee), among others, constructed the principles on the right to strike. They serve as the guidepost to assess the government’s actions.
  • The Committee recognises “a general right to strike” (which is one of the principal means to legitimately promote and defend their economic and social interests) while allowing for the imposition of restrictions on strikes by some categories of public servants and workers in essential services. 
  • According to the Committee, employees in essential services do not enjoy the right to strike. 
    • There could be a prohibition of strike action during acute national emergencies. 
    • Public servants who exercise “the right in the name of the State” cannot enjoy the right to strike — an example is public servants working in public sector enterprises (Union or State), oil, banking and metropolitan transport undertakings, and those employed in the education sector.
  • It has identified essential services such as the hospital sector, and services such as electricity, water supply, telephone, and air traffic control based on the peculiarities prevalent in countries.
    • The Committee has recommended strict regulation or prohibition of strikes in these services.

Way Forward:

  • The Committee has recommended alternate dispute-resolution mechanisms to be put in place instead of blanket prohibition. 
  • It has mentioned a negative list of industries which are not essential which includes the transportation and education sectors.
  • Governments must avoid including economic activities from the negative list as essential.
  • India is a pluralistic democracy where protests hold an important place and their sanctity needs to be respected by the government. Social dialogue rather than authoritarian measures will promote amicable and long-lasting solutions.

Nut Graf: In the wake of an indefinite strike called by government employees, the Maharashtra assembly passed its Essential Services Act. The use of the Essential Services Act by various governments has been a subject of debate and controversy over the years.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. Army to get satellite, will help provide mission critical data

  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed three contracts worth ₹5,400 crores.
    • Out of the three contracts, two are with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) worth ₹2,400 crores.
    • Another contract worth ₹2,963 crores is with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Department of Space. 
  • The contract with BEL includes the procurement of Automated Air Defence Control and Reporting System “Project Akashteer” for the Indian Army and Sarang Electronic Support Measure (ESM) systems for the Indian  Navy.
  •  ₹2,963-crore contract with the NSIL is for an advanced communication satellite, GSAT 7B, for the Indian Army.
    • The geostationary satellite will be the first of its kind and will be developed indigenously by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
    • The satellite will significantly improve the communication capability of the Indian Army by providing mission-critical beyond-the-line-of-sight communication to troops and formations as well as weapon and airborne platforms.
  • “Project Akashteer” is expected to improve the Army’s Air Defence units by integrating state-of-the-art capabilities.
    • Akashteer will also help in monitoring low-level airspace over the battle areas of the Indian Army.
  • Sarang Electronic Support Measure (ESM) systems is an advanced ESM system for helicopters of the Navy, designed and developed indigenously by the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, Hyderabad under the Samudrika programme.

2. No evictions for Great Nicobar project

  • According to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, the Union government would not allow the displacement of tribespeople in order to facilitate the development of the ₹72,000-crore Great Nicobar Island Project.
  • The Great Nicobar Island Project is being implemented by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO) and it includes the construction of a transshipment port, an airport, a power plant, and a greenfield township.
  • The project had got Stage 1 clearance from the Union Environment and Forest Ministry in November 2022, to divert 130.75 sq.km. of forest land for the purpose.
  • The Tribal Affairs Ministry further added that the utilisation of the tribal reserve area will be subject to the interests of the local tribespeople living in the area, especially the Shompen tribe, which is classified as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
  • The conditions also include stringent implementation of the provisions of the Protection of Aboriginal Tribe (PAT) Regulation, not allowing the displacement of tribals and regulation of eco-tourism in an effective manner.

For more information on this topic, refer to the following article:

UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis dated 22 Mar 2023

3. Sri Lanka’s key ambulance service, gifted by India, seeks ‘adoption’

  • As the treasury is unable to fully fund the operations of the “1990 Suwaseriya ambulance”, Sri Lanka is looking towards corporations and individuals to “adopt an ambulance” at LKR 5 million.
  • The appeal for finances to operate Sri Lanka’s first pre-hospital emergency ambulance services comes at a time when the government is looking to revive its crisis-ridden economy.
  • The “1990 Suwaseriya ambulance” services were first started in 2016 with 88 ambulances in Sri Lanka’s Western and Southern Provinces, with an Indian grant of $7.56 million. 
    • In the next few years, the service was expanded island wide with an additional Indian grant of $15.09 million.
  • The first batch of about 700 technicians also received training in India and since then the service has been run entirely by Sri Lanka, as a semi-government, not-for-profit organisation under the Ministry of Health.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with regard to the Higher Education Funding 
Agency (HEFA): (Level – Difficult)
  1. HEFA is a joint venture company of the State Bank of India and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  2. All the Centrally Funded Higher Educational Institutions will be eligible to join as members of the HEFA.
  3. For joining as a member, the educational institution must agree to escrow a specific amount from their internal accruals for a period of 10 years to the HEFA.

Choose the correct code:

  1. Only one statement is wrong
  2. Two statements are wrong
  3. All statements are wrong
  4. None of the statements is wrong
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) is a joint venture company of Canara Bank and the Union Ministry of Education. 
  • Statement 2 is correct, All the centrally funded higher educational institutions would be eligible for joining as members of HEFA.
  • Statement 3 is correct, For joining as a member, the institution should agree to escrow a specific amount from their internal accruals to HEFA for a period of 10 years.
Q2. Consider the following statements with regard to the Foreign Contribution 
Regulation Act: (Level – Moderate)
  1. FCRA was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehensions that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping money into the country through independent organisations.
  2. The FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations in their State Bank of India account only.
  3. FCRA registration is valid for 3 years, and NGOs are expected to apply for renewal within six months of the date of expiry of registration.

Choose the correct code:

  1. 1 & 3 only
  2. 2 & 3 only
  3. 1 & 2 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehensions that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping money into the country through independent organisations. 
  • Statement 2 is correct, FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations to open a bank account for the receipt of the foreign funds in the State Bank of India, Delhi.
  • Statement 3 is not correct, Once granted, FCRA registration is valid for five years. 
    • NGOs are expected to apply for renewal within six months of the date of expiry of registration.
Q3. Consider the following statements with regard to the Competition Commission of India:
(Level – Moderate)
  1. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002, it was duly constituted in March 2009.
  2. The Commission consists of one Chairperson and six Members who shall be appointed by the Central Government.
  3. The government replaced the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in 2017.

Choose the correct code:

  1. Only one statement is wrong
  2. Two statements are wrong
  3. All statements are wrong
  4. None of the statements is wrong
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established as a statutory body in March 2009 by the Government of India under the Competition Act, 2002.
  • Statement 2 is correct, CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
  • Statement 3 is correct, The government replaced the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in 2017.
Q4. Integrated Management of Public Distribution System is a scheme launched by which
of the following ministries? (Level – Easy)
  1. Ministry of Rural Development
  2. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution
  3. Ministry of Cooperation
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IMPDS) is a central sector scheme that has been launched and implemented by the Department of Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
Q5. Which of the following are not necessarily the consequences of the proclamation 
of the President’s rule in a State? (Level – Easy) [PYQ-2017]
  1. Dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly
  2. Removal of the Council of Ministers in the State
  3. Dissolution of the local bodies

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, When a President’s Rule is imposed, the state legislative assembly would be either suspended or dissolved by the President.
    • Therefore the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly is not necessarily the consequence.
  • Statement 2 is correct, Upon the imposition of the President’s rule, there would be no Council of Ministers. 
    • Although the power of dissolution of the state Assembly is vested with the Governor, yet such a power can be exercised only after both Houses of Parliament approve the decision. 
  • Statement 3 is not correct, The President’s Rule does not lead to the dissolution of local bodies.

CNA 30 March 2023:- Download PDF Here

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