16 May 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Chinese county bans India-educated monks
POLITY
1. Rohatgi joins Lokpal selection panel
C. GS3 Related
ENVIRONMENT
1. Central Railways ponders means to deal with plastic bottles
ECONOMY
1. Prabhu bats for services pact at WTO
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. New Technique to reduce Pollution
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. A triple blow to job guarantee scheme
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Chinese county bans India-educated monks

 

  • A Chinese county has banned Tibetan Monks wrongly educated in India from teaching Buddhism, fearing that they may spread separatist content, according to a state-run media report.
  • Monks wrongly educated in India are banned from teaching Buddhism to residents of Litang county in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
  • The county conducts patriotic education classes every year for those educated and awarded Gexe Lharampa — the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies — in India, an official from Litang’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau told the paper.
  • Those who behaved improperly at the patriotic classes or showed any signs of separatist intent are strictly monitored and banned from teaching Buddhism to the public.

A standard practice

  • The move is a standard practice every year in response to the county’s severe separatist situation. China accuses Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his associates of being separatists.
  • The country has its own criteria to award Gexe Lharampa, and candidates have to pass Chinese Buddhist tests and a sutra debate.

Category: POLITY

1. Rohatgi joins Lokpal selection panel

 

  • Former Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed “eminent jurist” in the high-profile Lokpal selection committee led by the Prime Minister, which will shortlist candidates for appointment as the anti-corruption ombudsman.
  • Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal informed a Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi about the appointment.
  • The selection committee has been meeting on the question of induction of an ‘eminent jurist’ after the demise of senior advocate P.P. Rao. Mr. Venugopal said the panel finally zeroed in on Mr. Rohatgi, who is a senior advocate practising in the Supreme Court. As the government’s top law officer. Mr. Rohatgi had steered the government side through many court battles, including the NJAC and the early days of Aadhaar challenge in the apex court.

Significant step

  • The filling of the slot of eminent jurist is a significant step in the appointment process of the Lokpal as per the statute.The court has urged the government to complete the Lokpal appointment process at the earliest.
  • Besides the Prime Minister, the selection committee is composed of the Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha Speaker.
  • Though passed in 2014, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 was not implemented all these years because there was no Leader of the Opposition in the 16th Lok Sabha. The 2013 statute includes the Leader of the Opposition as a member of the selection committee.
  • However, on April 27 last year, the Supreme Court, in a judgment, clarified that the Lokpal appointment process need not be stalled merely due to the absence of the Leader of the Opposition.

BACKGROUND

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013

  • The historic Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 was passed by Indian Parliament paving the way for the establishment of a Lokpal (Ombudsman) to fight corruption in public offices and ensure accountability on the part of public officials, including the Prime Minister, but with some safeguards.
  • Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50% will be judicial members 50% members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
  • Selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal through a selection committee consisting of PM, Speaker of Lok Sabha, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by CJI.
  • Eminent jurist to be nominated by President of India on basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee through consensus.
  • Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants. All entities (NGOs) receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs 10 lakh per year are under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
  • Centre will send Lokpal bill to states as a model bill. States have to set up Lokayuktas through a state law within 365 days.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Central Railways ponders means to deal with plastic bottles

 

  • The Central Railways is exploring the possibility of implementing a buyback policy for plastic bottles along with installing plastic bottle crushing machines at major stations.
  • The biggest challenge that the railways face is that of plastic containers, including bottles. Within Maharashtra, the State government is proposing to have plastic bottles with a buyback price printed on it.
  • According to a senior railway official, they are considering to extend the buyback policy only for approved manufacturers of the railways and on bottles that print the buyback price. The details for the same will only be finalised once the State decides on its policy.

Storage problem

  • Many stall managers and owners have highlighted the issue of storage for returned bottles and also mentioned that the scheme will work only if all stakeholders participate.
  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is also separately discussing ways to frame a buyback plan for water-vending machines, which provide water in plastic cups as well as one-litre bottles.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Prabhu bats for services pact at WTO

 

  • Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu pitched for inclusion of the trade facilitation pact on services in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) saying it would help promote growth of the global economy.
  • He was speaking at the inauguration of the Global Exhibition on Services, organised by the Commerce Ministry and the CII. The proposed pact would help professionals move smoothly from one place to another.
  • He said that the proposed agreement would help professionals move smoothly from one place to another. 
  • On the lines of the trade facilitation pact in goods, India has submitted a detailed proposal to the WTO to negotiate a trade facilitation agreement in services (TFS). 
  • The TFS proposal aims at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs with a view to boost growth of the services sector. 
  • It will focus on issues like liberalised visa regime, long-term visas for business community and freer movement of professionals for the greater benefit of both India and the world, among others.
  • India is pitching for this pact as the sector contributes over 60 percent to the GDP and 28 percent to total employment.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. New Technique to reduce Pollution

 

  • Scientists have developed a flexible, 3D porous material that mimics the shape of a honeycomb and could help filtering air to remove pollutants or viruses.
  • Both the lattice of a honeycomb and the symmetry of a diatom are complex living structures comprising patterns and shapes that have long provided inspiration for scientists.
  • One recent application is to develop artificial hierarchical porous materials that are stable, yet have a large surface area and the ability to selectively extract materials.
  • It has been difficult however to build these structures at the nano scale due to their complexity and pattern repeatability across scales from the individual compartments to the whole structure.
  • A team from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia has proposed a simple method that, in just five minutes, can produce a flexible film with a complex hierarchical structure that has repeating patterns of interconnected, regularly shaped pores.
  • By using this method we create an important platform to design artificial porous materials that replicate highly ordered porous and complex systems mimicking nature. These have potential use for separations, such as virus filtration, and for biological scaffolds, such as those used for bone regeneration.

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ECONOMY

1. A triple blow to job guarantee scheme

BACKGROUND ABOUT MGNREGA:

MGNREGA stands out in its worker-centric legislation and stated emphasis on transparency and accountability.

  • Several potentially progressive measures such as a real-time management information system have been put in place. The scheme is meant to be demand-driven in the sense that the government is mandated to provide work within 15 days of a worker seeking work. Otherwise, the worker is entitled to an unemployment allowance.
  • A second key provision of the Act pertains to payment of wages within 15 days of completion of work, failing which a worker is entitled to a delay compensation of 0.05% per day of the wages earned.
  • However, both the above provisions have been routinely violated. There is an ongoing Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court.  Swaraj Abhiyan v. the Union of India concerning these violations.

 ISSUES PERTAINING TO MGNREGA:

  • A lack of sufficient funds, rampant payment delays and abysmal wage rates are to blame
  • The Rs. 11,000 crore fraud that diamond merchant Nirav Modi is said to have created is a figure that needs to be put in perspective.
  • The total amount of wages pending under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme for the whole country (2016-17) was around Rs. 11,000 crore too.
  • This sum is a fifth of the MGNREGA budget announced for financial year 2018-19.

 3 ways in which a lack of funds has led to a subverting of these provisions in letter and spirit :

  1. Budget allocation over the years has been insufficient. While there has been an increase in the nominal budget in the last two years, after adjusting for inflation, the budget has actually decreased over the years. The real budget of 2018-19 is much lower than that of 2010-11.
  2. Even this low budget allocation has undergone various kinds of curtailment. By December of each year, through a bottom-up participatory planning approach, every State submits a labour budget to the Centre. This contains the anticipated labour demand for the next financial year. The Centre, on its part, has been using an arbitrary Approved Labour Budget to cut down funds requested by States using the National Electronic Fund Management System, or Ne-FMS making this a supply-driven programme.
  3. Its about stagnating MGNREGA wages. Delinking of MGNREGA wage rates from the Minimum Wages Act (MWA), 1948 has contributed to this. MGNREGA wages are a less lucrative option for the marginalised, being lower than the minimum agricultural wages in most States. As primary beneficiaries of the Act, women, Dalits and Adivasis could be the most affected and pushed to choose more vulnerable and hazardous employment opportunities. Such contravention of the MWA is illegal.

Conclusion:

MGNREGA now faces a triple but correlated crisis.

  • A lack of sufficient funds, rampant payment delays, and abysmal wage rates.
  • The lack of payment of wages on time has meant a violation of the second key aspect of the Act. The principal reasons for payment delays were infrastructural bottlenecks, unavailability of funds and lack of administrative compliance.
  • The poor are paying a heavy price for this throttling of funds by the Centre What this reflects is not only a legal crisis created by the Centre but also a moral one where the fight is not even for a living wage but one for subsistence.
  • One hopes for a just order from the judiciary.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about Lokpal:
  1. Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants.
  2. Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.

Select the correct answer using the codes given:

  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 Trade facilitation agreement in services (TFS):
  1. The TFS proposal aims at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs with a view to boost growth of the services sector.
  2. It will focus on issues like liberalised visa regime, long-term visas for business community.

Select the correct answer using the codes given:

  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 Tea Development and Promotion Scheme:
  1. The Scheme is aimed at supporting development of improved varieties and technologies for increasing production, productivity and quality of tea.
  2. It includes promoting Indian tea in the overseas and domestic markets.

Select the correct answer using the codes given:

  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 Nakba’ Day:
  1. It is generally commemorated on 15 May for Israeli Independence Day.
  2. For the Palestinians, it is an annual day of commemoration of the displacement.

Select the correct answer using the codes given:

  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
  1. MGNREGA has a Nobel objective of providing employment by demand-driven approach but has various challenges. What are various challenges faced and how can we overcome them?

  2. Explain about the structure and various Provisions of Lokpal Act. Why is there a delay in implementation?

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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