10 May 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 10th May 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. ‘FCRA amendments crippling our work’
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Green panel allows Great Nicobar plan to advance
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. China rocket debris falls in Indian Ocean near Maldives
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Outreach and overreach
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. A TRIPS waiver is useful but not a magic pill
F. Prelims Facts
1. Hakki-Pikki Tribe
G. Tidbits
1. South Sudan President dissolves Parliament as part of peace accord
2. Back in the shortage economy
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. China rocket debris falls in Indian Ocean near Maldives

Context:

Debris from the last stage of China’s Long March rocket fell into the waters of the Indian Ocean west of the Maldives.

Details:

  • China Manned Space Agency (CSMA) said that the vast majority of the device burned up during the re-entry, and the rest of the debris fell into the sea.

Concerns:

  • The re-entry of the rocket was described by astrophysicists as the fourth-largest uncontrolled re-entry in history.
  • It was on a par with the first Long March rocket that in 2020 fell in the Ivory Coast where there were reports of debris damaging homes in villages.
  • This has evoked concerns about possible damage should it have fallen on land.
  • It has been criticised by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the U.S. for failing to meet responsible standards.

Note:

  • The Long March-5B Y2 rocket was carrying the Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, the first of three key components for the construction of China’s space station.
  • The space station, which will be only the second after the International Space Station (ISS), has been designed with a lifespan of 10 years but could last 15 years, or until 2037.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. A TRIPS waiver is useful but not a magic pill

Context:

  • The United States’ declaration of support for a temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
    • Article IX of the WTO Agreement allows for waiving obligations in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Challenges:

  • While the U.S.’s decision is to be welcomed, the article argues that there continue to be many challenges in ensuring that this move would be truly effective in meeting its stated objective of ensuring faster, equitable and quality vaccine access to everyone.

Time-consuming text-based negotiations approach:

  • Given the consensus-based approach of the WTO, the complexity of the issues involved and given the lack of political will of the developed countries that house the giant pharmaceutical corporations producing COVID-19 vaccines and medicines, the negotiations are bound to be time-consuming.

Possibility of high degree of regulation:

  • Previous experience of negotiating such waivers, especially on TRIPS, point to gross ineffectiveness.
  • In the aftermath of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa in the 1990s, the WTO adopted a decision in 2003 waiving certain TRIPS obligations to increase the accessibility of medicines in countries that lacked manufacturing capability. Article 31(f) of TRIPS was waived.
    • Article 31(f) of TRIPS mandates that medicines produced under a compulsory licence are predominantly for the domestic market of that country.
  • However, this waiver was subject to several stringent requirements such as the drugs so manufactured are to be exported to that nation only; the medicines should be easily identifiable through different colour, or shape; only the amount necessary to meet the requirements of the importing country are to be manufactured; the importing country has to notify to the WTO’s TRIPS Council, etc. Given these cumbersome requirements, hardly any country, in the last 17 years, was able to make effective use of this waiver.

Limited scope of the waiver:

  • As against the original proposal made by India and South Africa at WTO calling for a waiver for vaccines, medicines and other therapeutics and technologies related to the treatment of COVID-19, it appears that the U.S. supports waiving intellectual property (IP) protections only on COVID-19 vaccines.
  • This amounts to narrowing down the scope of the waiver considerably by restricting it to vaccines. Medicines useful in treating COVID-19 and other therapeutics must be also included in the waiver.

Non IP challenges:

Technology transfer:

  • While the TRIPS waiver would lift the legal restrictions on manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines, it would not solve the problem of the lack of access to technological ‘know-how’ related to manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Waiving IP protection does not impose a legal requirement on pharmaceutical companies to transfer or share technology.
  • This might lead to individual countries adopting coercive legal measures for a forced transfer of technology, which could turn out to be draconian and also counterproductive in the long run.

Production constraints:

  • A considerable amount of time, even several years could be needed for production plants to become operational at optimal capacity.

Logistical challenges:

  • Logistical challenges such as inadequacy of supply chains and unavailability of raw materials to manufacture vaccines and medicines could derail the production process.

Recommendations:

  • The governments would have to be proactive in negotiating with pharmaceutical companies to transfer technology using various legal and policy tools including financial incentives.
  • Countries should start working towards making suitable changes in their domestic legal framework to operationalize and enforce the TRIPS waiver.

Conclusion:

  • Though the U.S.’s support of the TRIPS waiver is a significant step forward in the global fight against the pandemic, the waiver will have an effect only if countries simultaneously address non-IP bottlenecks among other things.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Hakki-Pikki Tribe

  • The Hakki Pikkis are a nomadic tribe based largely in Karnataka.
  • They were rehabilitated in the 1970s once their trade of bird hunting was banned.
  • They now live in villages in Karnataka.
  • The origin of Hakki-pikki tribal communities have got a rich history and they are said to have ancestral relations with the legendary Ranapratap Singh.
  • They are said to have migrated to southern India after their defeat with the Mughal king.

G. Tidbits

1. South Sudan President dissolves Parliament as part of peace accord

What’s in News?

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has dissolved Parliament, opening the way for lawmakers from opposing sides of the country’s civil war to be appointed under a 2018 peace accord.

  • The setting up of a new legislative body was part of an accord signed in September 2018 between the President Mr. Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar, for years on opposite sides during the five-year civil war that left 3,80,000 people dead and four million displaced.
  • In accordance with the 2018 accord, the new assembly will number 550 lawmakers, the majority from Mr. Kiir’s governing SPLM party.
  • The parliamentarians will be nominated by the different parties.

2. Back in the shortage economy

India in mid 1960s:

  • India in the mid-1960s with two consecutive years of drought had witnessed a severe shortage of food.
  • India had to turn to the U.S. for assistance.
  • During the 1960s, India was the largest importer of food aid, mainly under the PL480 programme of the U.S. This allowed India to procure wheat on rupee payment — and at relatively low prices because the country had no foreign exchange to buy food in the world market.
  • The leadership at the time including the Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and their cabinet colleagues had stirred the scientific and bureaucratic communities to bring about a quantum leap in food production, leading to what is popularly hailed as Green Revolution in India. India today is a food surplus nation.

Health crisis of 2020:

  • The unfolding health crisis brought out by the second wave of the pandemic calls for similar resolve and intelligence to address it, as observed in the 1960s.
  • On average, states spend only around 5% of their total expenditure on health.
    • The inter-state variation in the death rate in India is directly related to the extent of health spending in relation to the state domestic product. It is also to some extent related to health infrastructure.
  • The states would have to raise the level of spending on health very substantially. There is a need for an urgent ramping up of the health infrastructure. Measures are needed to strengthen the capacity of the health system.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1: Which of the following is/are correct regarding Gopal Krishna Gokhale?
  1. He became Congress president at its Banaras session in 1905.
  2. He was regarded by Mahatma Gandhi as his political guru.
  3. He started a weekly newspaper, ‘The Hitavada’, in Marathi.

Select the correct option from below:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • He became Congress president at its Banaras session in 1905.
  • He was regarded by Mahatma Gandhi as his political guru.
  • He started a weekly newspaper ‘Hitavada’ in English.
Q2: Which of the following is/are incorrect regarding ‘Dharmatma Gokhale’?
  1. It was a book written by Bal Gangadhar Tilak as a tribute to Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
  2. It was written in Sanskrit.

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • ‘Dharmatma Gokhale’ is a book written by Gandhiji in Gujarati, as a tribute to Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
Q3: Which of the following is incorrect regarding Rabindranath Tagore?
  1. Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for Gitanjali.
  2. In 1874, Tagore’s poem Abhilaash was published anonymously in a magazine called Tattobodhini.
  3. In 1905, following the partition of Bengal, Tagore renounced his knighthood.
  4. 1n 1921, Rabindranath Tagore established Viswabharati University.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for Gitanjali.
  • In 1874, Tagore’s poem Abhilaash (Desire) was published in a magazine called Tattobodhini.
  • Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood in 1919 following the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919.
  • 1n 1921, Rabindranath Tagore established Viswabharati University.
Q4: Which of the following amendments were made to the Foreign Contribution 
Regulation Act (FCRA) in 2020?
  1. Foreign contribution must be received only in an account designated by the bank as an “FCRA account” in the Delhi branch of the State Bank of India.
  2. The government may conduct an inquiry before renewing the FCRA certificate to ensure that the person making the application is not indulging in activities aimed at religious conversion.
  3. A person who receives foreign contribution must not use more than 20% of the contribution for meeting administrative expenses.

Select the correct option from below:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 was passed in the Parliament in September 2020. As per the amendments:
  • Foreign contribution must be received only in an account designated by the bank as an “FCRA account” in the Delhi branch of the State Bank of India.
    • The Home Ministry had directed all NGOs seeking foreign donations to open a designated FCRA account at the State Bank of India’s New Delhi branch by March 31, 2021.
  • The government may conduct an inquiry before renewing the FCRA certificate to ensure that the person making the application is not indulging in activities aimed at religious conversion.
  • A person who receives foreign contribution must not use more than 20% of the contribution for meeting administrative expenses.
Q5. Consider the following areas: (UPSC 2012)
  1. Bandipur
  2. Bhitarkanika
  3. Manas
  4. Sunderbans

Which of the above are Tiger Reserves?

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Bhitarkanika National Park is a national park in northeast Kendrapara district in Odisha. It obtained the status of a Ramsar site in 2002. It is surrounded by Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. It is not a Tiger Reserve.
  • Bandipur in Karnataka, Manas in Assam and Sunderbans in West Bengal are all Tiger Reserves.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Has the Judiciary usurped the powers of the Executive by constituting the 12-member National Task Force (NTF) to ensure oxygen supply? Examine. (10 Marks, 150 Words) (GS 2 Polity and Governance)
  2. TRIPS waiver is not a magic pill as there are non-IP challenges in making vaccines and drugs accessible to the world population. Illustrate with relevant examples. (10 Marks, 150 Words) (GS 3 Economy)

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 10th May 2021:- Download PDF Here

2 Comments

  1. Sir please thins constant provide me in hindi because I am hindi medium student and I am purchased hindi IAS

    1. Hi,
      Please go through our BYJU’S IAS Hindi Youtube Channel where we provide analysis of current affairs in Hindi.

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