09 May 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

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CNA 09 May 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. The Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation report
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. The multiple crises in Indian universities
2. Turning down the volume on a call to prayer
POLITY
1. India’s judiciary and the slackening cog of trust
ECONOMY
1. The government in business
F. Prelims Facts
1. Rakhigarhi skeletons’ DNA samples sent for analysis
G. Tidbits
1. ‘Citizenship delayed, 800 Pakistani Hindus left India’
2. Future looms dark for 48% of bird species
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

2. Turning down the volume on a call to prayer

Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Mains: Details about the UP government’s move to remove loudspeakers in the state.

Context

The Uttar Pradesh government removed over 10,900 “illegal” and “unauthorised” loudspeakers across the state.

Background

  • Following the guidelines of the Allahabad High Court, in the Motilal Yadav v/s The State of Uttar Pradesh case, the state government in an even-handed manner, removed over 10,900 loudspeakers from various places of worship.
  • Reports suggest that many places of worship such as mosques and temples violated the court’s order and used loudspeakers that were without any legal permission or above the prescribed decibel level.
  • Loudspeakers were removed in various places across the state which include Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Agra, Meerut, etc.
Allahabad High Court’s order in Motilal Yadav v/s The State of Uttar Pradesh case 

  • Hearing a petition filed, the Allahabad High Court had referred to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, and had questioned the UP government about the steps undertaken to adhere to rules and if all the loudspeakers installed at religious and public places in the state have the necessary permissions from the authorities concerned and if not what are the actions taken against such officials.
  • The Court questioned the government as to how many unauthorised loudspeakers were removed from the places of worship.
  • The High Court also asked about the measures undertaken by the government against the processions, including during marriages with loud music.

The response by various religious communities

  • The government’s action was met with a mature response as there were no threats of protests or strikes or calls to approach the Supreme Court. 
  • The reaction from Hindu religious leaders was muted whereas there was a mixed response from the Muslim community.

The inception of ‘azaan’

  • Azaan is the Islamic call to prayer recited at prescribed times of the day.
  • In the seventh century, after Muslims came to Medina from Mecca, there was a need for the Prophet to develop a routine to invite people to the mosque five times a day. 
  • A few of his companions suggested the use of bells to invite people and others suggested the use of a horn and others proposed a plan to light up a fire on the hilltop. 
  • The Prophet rejected these ideas as they were either being followed by other communities or were impractical to implement. 
  • Later, the Prophet asked Bilal (a black man who was released from slavery) to learn the words suggested by Abdullah Ibn Zaid (a companion) which gave a complete text of the prayer call and Bilal was asked to pronounce it from the hilltop without the sound of a drum or any other instrument or aid, thus reflecting egalitarianism as the first ‘azaan’ was pronounced by a black man. 
  • The concept of calling for prayer from a height has resulted in the construction of tall minarets in mosques in the coming centuries. 
    • Most of the mosques in India constructed in medieval times, including the Jama Masjid in Delhi, have tall minarets which are used by a muezzin to give azaan.

Mixed response by the Muslim community

  • A section of the Muslim community has been vocal against key issues such as the use of loudspeakers for ‘azaan’ (prayer call) or the use of public roads for Friday prayers, etc.
    • For a few years, this section of the community has been in an introspective mode, and they believe in doing the right thing by law and religion. 
    • Drawing from the traditions of the Prophet, they opine that it is binding on them to follow the law of the land, and also one’s action should not discomfit others.
    • This section has found the government’s decision to ban the loudspeaker fair.
  • The educated section of the community who are also aware of the practices of faith says that in the 1960s and 70s, as there were limited sources for communication, loudspeakers were used.
    • However, between the 1970s and 90s, the setting up of loudspeakers became a status symbol for mosques as many temples also employed the same.
    • In the current digital era, with the advent of mobile phones and the internet, it is no longer required to use these loudspeakers.
  • Another major section of the community believes in the continuation of these concessions in a pluralist democracy and quotes the examples of similar prayers of other communities.

Use of azaan in various other Islamic countries

  • In Pakistan and Bangladesh, mosques continue to use high volume on their loudspeakers for prayer calls.
  • However, the tides are changing in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia with the countries limiting the use of loudspeakers in mosques. 
    • In 2010 the Malaysian Islamic authorities issued an order banning the use of loudspeakers for morning prayers. Also in 2015 guidelines were issued to discourage the use of loudspeakers for religious narrations.
    • In 2021, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs ordered that loudspeakers must be set at only a third of their maximum volume. The Kingdom also urged the mosques not to use loudspeakers to recite Koran as it disrespected the book.
Nut Graf
Acknowledging the High Court’s order and considering the health hazards due to increased noise pollution, the UP government has removed illegally set up loudspeakers across the state. The lack of opposition against this move by the religious heads has reflected a change in the conservative attitude of the people.
Category: POLITY

1. India’s judiciary and the slackening cog of trust

Syllabus: Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary

Mains: Evaluation of various problems which affect the functioning of the judiciary

Context

This article highlights the issue of judicial corruption and other key problems with the judiciary in India.

Details

  • Aristotle (Greek philosopher) sums up the importance of justice in human lives by saying that “It is in justice that the ordering of society is centred.”
  • But of late, judicial corruption has become a cause of concern for several countries across the world.
  • Judicial corruption mainly takes place in two ways:
    • Bribery
      • Judges may accept bribes to delay or expedite verdicts, accept or deny appeals, or influence a case in a certain way. 
      • Court officials may also demand bribes for free services.
      • Lawyers charging extra fees to expedite or delay cases.
    • Political interference
      • Interference of the legislative or executive branches in the operation of the judiciary.
      • Pressurising the judges to rule in favour of political interests and warning the judges who refuse to comply with harsh political retaliations.

Substantive and Procedural justice

  • Substantive Justice is associated with whether the regulations, laws and legal principles followed as conventions are morally justified.
    • Example: The Citizenship (Amendment) Act which provides citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan and not Muslims violates the principles of secularism and hence is a violation of substantive justice.
  • Procedural Justice is associated with fairness and impartiality of decision procedures.
    • Example: The delay in the delivery of justice in the case of Lal Bihari who was officially declared dead in 1975. He then went on to prove that he was alive, facing various difficulties and was finally declared alive in 1994.

The problems of judicial corruption in India

  • The violation of principles of substantive and procedural justice has resulted in the erosion of trust in the lower strata of courts which comprise district and sessions courts including high courts.
    • Judicial delays, judicial corruption and the increasing percentage of under-trial prisoners in jails reflect the failures of substantive and procedural justice.
  • As per Transparency International’s reports, over 45% of people who availed judicial services between 2009 and 2010 had paid a bribe to the judiciary. 
    • The most common reason for paying the bribes was to “expedite the process”.
  • The Asian Human Rights Commission (2013) believes that for every ₹2 spent in a court as fees, a minimum of  ₹ 1,000 is spent as bribes.
  • Freedom House’s “Freedom in the World 2016 report for India” and the GAN Business Anti-Corruption Portal reports suggest that widespread corruption is seen in the lower strata of the judiciary as bribes are paid in exchange for favourable decisions.

Other key problems in India’s judiciary

  • Judicial pendency
    • As per the information from the National Judicial Data Grid, as of April 2017, there were about 2 crore cases pending in the district courts of the county.
    • Out of which 9.58% (over 20 lakh cases) have been pending for over 10 years. 
    • About 16.44% (nearly 40 lakh cases) have been pending for five to 10 years. 
    • Also read: Judicial Delays – RSTV: In Depth
  • Problem of understaffing 
    • As of December 2015, there were about 4,432 vacancies in the posts of judicial officers in the subordinate courts which accounts for about 22% of the total strength. 
    • In High Courts, 458 of the 1,079 posts were seen to be vacant in 2016. 
    • There is a serious problem of understaffing which has impacted the delivery of justice and contributed to the rise in case pendency.
  • Political interference
    • The extreme centralisation of power and an evident violation of democratic values such as religious discord, assaults on academic freedom, and suppression of mass media by the government have had implications for the judiciary.
    • Extra-constitutional interference by the governments and widespread corruption have weakened the accountability of the judiciary.
  • Issues with the undertrials
    • Although the trust in the judiciary is positively related to the share of undertrials for three to five years out of total prisoners, it is negatively related to the percentage of the under-trials. 
    • The negative effect nullifies the positive effect as the trust in the judiciary increases slightly with the share of undertrials until the threshold (0.267) is reached and the trust in the judiciary declines beyond that point as the share of under-trial prisoners increases.

Nut Graf
Since the erosion of trust in the judiciary can have extreme consequences on the welfare and governance of the society, the problems associated with the judiciary require deep scrutiny.

Category: ECONOMY

1. The government in business

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Mains: Details about the investment strategies of other countries and how can it help India address some key problems

Context

The article discusses the success story of the Chinese and Singapore governments’ investment actions and what can India learn from it.

Background:

  • Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation (GIC) has invested internationally in equities. 
    • GIC investments account for about ₹55 lakh crores worldwide.
    • GIC has shares worth nearly ₹1.09 lakh crores at the end of March 2022 in India alone.
    • GIC is the eighth largest wealth management fund in the world.
  • The money invested has doubled in the last 20 years and the government uses the amount to fund its public welfare measures.
  • The Indian government’s budget expenditure for 2022-23 is ₹39.45 lakh crore whereas the Singapore government’s investments are many times more than that.
  • The government in China is also undertaking similar investments. 
    • The Municipal Government of Hefei had invested $787 million to gain a 17% stake in Nio’s core business and after exiting, it made a profit of over 5 times its investment. 
    • By 2017, Chinese state-owned firms had invested over ₹67 lakh crores in foreign companies which is about 27% of India’s GDP.

Trends in India

  • The trend in India indicates that the government is mainly focused on disinvesting. 
  • The overall market value of Indian government holdings is a meagre ₹13 lakh crores which is very less compared to China and Singapore. 
  • The foreign investments and holdings through the state-owned companies are negligible in India and the Navratna PSUs which are performing well are also being sold. 
    • Whereas in China, the China National Petroleum Corporation which has assets worth $600 billion is being used by the government to fuel its global interest.
    • While China is increasing its influence internationally, India is losing out on such opportunities to create greater economic influence by not investing overseas.

Problems with disinvestments

  • The government is justifying disinvestment by saying that “the government has no business to be in business” but it is said that the rising government deficit is actually influencing India’s disinvestment plans.
  • The corporate investors get full authority over India’s natural resources through these disinvestments and they can be exploited. 
  • India is aligned with the western ideology of government-owned companies, but it should realise that the list of the world’s top asset-holding PSUs includes the ones from the U.S., Israel and the European countries and there are none from India.
  • India’s PSUs are governed by age-old rules and norms and also face problems due to political interventions.

Lessons from Singapore

  • Lessons of National and public interest
    • The source of wealth has changed from land to natural resources, to the industrial sector and currently to the knowledge economy. 
    • Nowadays, assets are mainly in the financial markets today as there is more wealth to be made there and hence many international investors and few governments are doing so. 
    • The Indian government can emulate Singapore’s moves which help raise more funds than disinvestments do and even as the ownership remains with the state. 
  • Lessons of investment
    • Singapore invests in long-term assets and does not take risky decisions. 
  • Lessons of managing finances
    • Another lesson that can be learned from Singapore is managing government finances. 
    • Taxation is India’s major source of revenue and hence the government is raising taxes on diesel/petrol and others which mainly affect the poor in the country.
    • However, if markets, wealth management and dividends are explored, the government can create wealth that could be used to ensure public welfare.

Way forward

  • The dividend amount amassed by the Indian government through PSUs is ₹50,000 crore and India can earn more from government investments. 
  • The Indian government can look at disinvesting the smaller and loss-making PSUs but the profitable ones have to be preserved and reformed.
  • Salaries for the personnel must be on the same scale as that of some of the international companies along with real accountability. 
  • There is a remarkable talent in the PSUs which can collaborate with the talents from the private sector.
    • The success of various startups and unicorns indicates the amount of managerial talent that can be utilized in the national interest.

Conclusion

The examples of the achievement of the telecom industry in the 1980s, the creation of the Aadhaar ecosystem and the creation of the ONDC platform have shown how the private sector talents can be utilised for the public good. India must look to harness these talents for achieving greater public prosperity.

Nut Graf
India must emulate the investment strategies of China and Singapore which not just help in creating wealth but also extend India’s influence and economic clout globally.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Rakhigarhi skeletons’ DNA samples sent for analysis

Syllabus: GS1: Art and Culture: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Prelims: About Rakhigarhi

Context: DNA samples collected from two human skeletons unearthed at Rakhigarhi have been sent for scientific examination.

About Rakhigarhi 

  • Rakhigarhi is a necropolis of a Harappan-era city site in Haryana. It is the largest site in the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Archaeologists discovered Rakhigarhi, a sleepy village in Hisar, in 1998.
  • Rakhigarhi is one of the five iconic archaeological sites mentioned by the Union Finance Minister during her Budget Speech in 2020. 
    • Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh, Sivasagar in Assam, Dholavira in Gujarat, and Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu are the other sites. 
  • Know more about Rakhigarhi.

Recent Excavations at Rakhigarhi: 

  • Rakhigarhi revealed the structure of some houses, lanes and drainage system, and what could possibly be a jewellery-making unit.
  • The site revealed pieces of copper and gold jewellery, terracotta toys, besides thousands of earthen pots and seals. It also has a cemetery site of the Harappan period.
  • Other excavations include the framework of multi-tier houses, lanes, and seven mounds that have yielded copper. 
  • These discoveries could point to the existence of a well-planned Harappan city.

G. Tidbits

1. ‘Citizenship delayed, 800 Pakistani Hindus left India’

  • Nearly 800 Pakistani Hindus returned to the neighbouring country in 2021, according to Seemant Lok Sangathan (SLS).
  • They were staying in Rajasthan after coming to India seeking citizenship on the grounds of religious persecution.
  • Many of them returned to Pakistan after they found that there had been no progress in their citizenship application.
  • In 2015, the Citizenship Rules were amended and legalised the stay of foreign migrants belonging to six communities, who had entered India on or before December 2014 due to persecution on grounds of religion. 
  • Persons seeking refuge in India either come on long-term visas (LTV) or pilgrim visas. The LTVs, given for five years, are a precursor to citizenship.

2. Future looms dark for 48% of bird species

  • The State of the World’s Birds, an annual review of environmental resources was published recently.
  • It has attributed the threat to almost half of the recognised extant species of birds to the expanding human footprint on the natural world and climate change.
  • It has also revealed that 48% of the extant bird species are undergoing population decline.
  • The degradation and loss of natural habitats, as well as direct overexploitation of many species, are the key threats to avian biodiversity.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to the National Clean 
Air Programme (NCAP)? (Level – Medium)
  1. It aims to achieve a 40% to 60% reduction in Particulate Matter concentrations by 2022 (with 2017 as the base year).
  2. It aims to meet prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards across the country based on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
  3. Cities exceeding national standards for 5 consecutive years are directed to prepare and implement city action plans for improvement in air quality.

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation: 

  • Statement 1 is not correct, The programme is a pollution control initiative with a major goal of reducing the concentration of coarse and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere by at least 20-30% by the year 2024 with 2017 as the base year.
  • Statement 2 is correct, the programme aims to meet prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards across the country based on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
  • Statement 3 is correct, Cities exceeding national standards for 5 consecutive years are directed to prepare and implement city action plans for improvement in air quality.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to Thalassemia: (Level – Medium)
  1. It is a blood disorder involving lower-than-normal amounts of White Blood Cells in the body.
  2. It is caused by bacterial infection of the bone marrow tissue which produces white blood cells.

Which of the above statements is/are INCORRECT?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation: 

  • Statement 1 is not correct, It is a blood disorder wherein the body produces an inadequate amount of haemoglobin.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, It is a genetic disorder which is transferred by one of the parents who is a carrier of this disease.
Q3. Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to the vote value of 
members of the electoral college for President of India? (Level – Easy)
  1. The value of each vote by a Member of Parliament is fixed, while the vote value of each Member of Legislative Assembly differ from State to State.
  2. The value of a vote of a Member of Parliament for the election of the President is determined by dividing the total value of votes of all MLAs of all States divided by the total number of elected members of the Parliament.

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation: 

  • Statement 1 is correct, The value of each vote by a Member of Parliament is fixed, while the vote value of each Member of Legislative Assembly differs from State to State.
  • Statement 2 is correct.

Vote value of MLA and MP

Q4. Which of the following pairs of Indus Valley Civilization sites and the corresponding 
present-day state location is/are correctly matched? (Level – Difficult)
  1. Rakhigarhi – Haryana
  2. Banawali – Punjab
  3. Kalibangan – Rajasthan

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation: 

Q5. With reference to land reforms in independent India, which one of the following 
statements is correct? (Level – Easy) [UPSC 2019]
  1. The ceiling laws were aimed at family holdings and not individual holdings.
  2. The major aim of land reforms was providing agricultural land to all the landless. 
  3. It resulted in cultivation of cash crops as a predominant form of cultivation.
  4. Land reforms permitted no exemptions to the ceiling limits.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation: 

  • The major aim of land reforms was providing agricultural land to all the landless. Hence option b is correct.
  • The ceiling laws were aimed at family holdings as well as individual holdings. Hence option a is not correct.
  • Commercialisation of farming resulted in cultivation of cash crops as a predominant form of cultivation and not land reforms. Hence option c is not correct.
  • Land reforms permitted exemptions in terms of ceiling limits to forest lands, garden and barren lands. Hence option d is not correct.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The crackdown on the illegal use of loudspeakers in religious places in many states is the right step in the right direction as the use of loudspeakers is not a fundamental right, and no religion or sect could claim that right to use loudspeakers. Explain the statement with the help of relevant case laws. (15 Marks, 250 Words) (GS2 – Polity)
  2. Departures from substantive and procedural justice need deep scrutiny as the fallout could severely imperil governance. Analyze. (10 marks, 150 Words) (GS2 – Polity)

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 09 May 2022:- Download PDF Here

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