24 May 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 24th May 2021:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
GEOGRAPHY
1. Very severe cyclone Yaas to hit north Odisha coast
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. No access to images of our nuclear sites: Iran
2. Minor ‘face-off’ in Galwan Valley
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Cairn Energy verdict ‘highly flawed’: Ministry
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY/ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. The many benefits of an eco tax
ECONOMY
1. Recalibrate growth, reprioritise expenditures
2. Guarantor beware
F. Prelims Facts
1. Congo volcano spares Goma city; 5 die in crash while trying to leave
2. INS Jalashwa brings oxygen to Vizag
3. Baul
4. Lithuania quits ‘divisive’ China group
5. ‘Tuber Man’ wins India Biodiversity Awards
G. Tidbits
1. U.K. to unveil plans for ‘digital border’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Minor ‘face-off’ in Galwan Valley

Context:

A minor face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the no-patrolling zone at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.

Details:

  • The face-off is believed to have happened when both the Indian and Chinese patrols reached the no-patrolling zones (decided in 2020) at the same time. However, no clash occurred and the two sides disengaged.

Background:

  • Since April 2020, Chinese troops blocked Indian troops from reaching at least 10 patrolling points, running from the Depsang plains in the north to Pangong Tso (lake) in the south in eastern Ladakh.

Read: India-China Conflict – Galwan Valley Clash. Detailed Analysis & Summary

  • Subsequently, India and China reached an agreement for disengagement in the Pangong Lake area to cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner, which would substantially restore the pre-April 2020 status.
  • India and China have held 11 rounds of talks so far after the clashes.
  • While the troops partially disengaged on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, phased disengagement is yet to take place at the other friction areas in eastern Ladakh — Gogra, Hot Springs, Depsang and Demchok.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Recalibrate growth, reprioritise expenditures

Context:

  • The article co-authored by C. Rangarajan, former Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and a former Governor, Reserve Bank of India analyzes the fiscal impact of the second wave of the pandemic and suggests measures needed in this direction.

Fiscal impact of the pandemic:

  • The second wave of COVID-19 and the lockdowns in several states have been eroding economic activities in India. This would have the following implications.

Lower economic growth:

  • The GDP growth rate for both nominal as well as real GDP is going to be substantially lower than that projected earlier.

Lowering of tax and non-tax revenue:

  • The slow economic growth will lead to a lowering of tax and non-tax revenues.
    • The author estimates a shortfall of about Rs. 0.6 lakh crore in the Centre’s net tax revenues.
  • Given the uncertainty and reluctance on the part of the private players to invest, the budgeted magnitudes for non-tax revenues and non-debt capital receipts premised on implementing the monetisation and disinvestment programme are most likely to be unmet.
    • The author estimates a shortfall of Rs. 1.5-lakh crore in non-tax revenues and non-debt capital receipts. Hence the total shortfall on the receipts side for the government may be about Rs. 2.1-lakh crore.

Increase in fiscal deficit:

  • The most likely change in the budgeted nominal GDP growth (lower) and the shortfall in the receipts from tax, non-tax and non-debt sources will invariably push the fiscal deficit beyond the projected budget estimate of 6.76% of GDP.
    • The author estimates a significant slippage in fiscal deficit which may be close to 7.7% of GDP in 2021-22 if the total expenditures are kept at the budgeted levels.

For more related information refer to:

CNA Dated May 21, 2021: Can the economy survive the second COVID-19 wave

Recommendations:

  • The fiscal projections of the Centre’s 2021-22 Budget require recalibration given the inevitable economic impact of the pandemic. Such a revised estimate should project more realistic values to stimulate requisite measures.
  • Despite the inevitable chances of fiscal slippage, the government needs to ensure that the total expenditures remain at the budgeted level, given the inevitability of public expenditure in supporting the economy in these challenging times.
  • There is a need for reprioritising government expenditure.
    • The allocation for the health sector should be increased substantially.
    • Strong support is needed for the vulnerable groups of the society including migrant labour and the rural and urban unemployed population.
    • Given the fact that universal vaccination at pace is key to minimising economic damage, the central government should invest accordingly in vaccine purchase and distribution among the states.

Additional information:

Economic terminology:

Real GDP:

  • The real GDP is the total value of all of the final goods and services that an economy produces during a given year, accounting for inflation. It is calculated using the prices of a selected base year.

Nominal GDP:

  • The nominal GDP is the value of all the final goods and services that an economy produced during a given year. It is calculated by using the prices that are current in the year in which the output is produced.

Tax buoyancy:

  • Tax buoyancy refers to the responsiveness of tax revenue growth to changes in GDP.
  • Tax buoyancy is an indicator to measure the efficiency and responsiveness of revenue mobilization in response to growth in the gross domestic product or national income. A tax is said to be buoyant if the tax revenues increase more than proportionately in response to a rise in national income or output.
  • When a tax is buoyant, its revenue increases without increasing the tax rate.

2. Guarantor beware

  • This article evaluates the recent Supreme Court judgement allowing financial creditors to initiate insolvency proceedings against personal guarantors of stressed corporate entities under the Indian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code (IBC).

This issue has been discussed previously in the following article:

CNA Dated May 22, 2021: SC: personal guarantors liable for corporate debt

F. Prelims Facts

1. Congo volcano spares Goma city; 5 die in crash while trying to leave

What’s in News?

Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo unleashed lava.

Details:

  • It destroyed homes on the outskirts of Goma.
  • An eruption in 2002 caused hundreds of deaths.
Democratic Republic of Congo Map

Source: https://www.nature.com/

  • Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano. It is located in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift.
    • The Albertine Rift is the western branch of the East African Rift covering parts of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.
    • It extends from the northern end of Lake Albert to the southern end of Lake Tanganyika. 
  • It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • It is to the north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and west of the border with Rwanda.

2. INS Jalashwa brings oxygen to Vizag

What’s in News?

The Indian Navy’s INS Jalashwa arrived in Visakhapatnam with oxygen and oxygen cylinders from Singapore and Brunei under the ongoing Operation Samudra Setu II.

Read about Operation Samudra Setu II.

INS Jalashwa:

  • INS Jalashwa is the second-largest combat warship in the Indian Navy after the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
  • Unlike regular warships, this ship has a flight deck for helicopter operations from which four medium helicopters can operate simultaneously.
  • This deck can also be used to operate vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft like the Sea Harrier, in special circumstances.
  • Since the ship is capable of embarking over 1000 troops, she is fully equipped with extensive medical facilities to ensure the health care of the embarked personnel.

Read more on: INS Jalashwa: Description, Specifications and History

3. Baul

  • The Baul or Bauls are a group of mystic minstrels or poets of mixed elements of Sufism and Sahaja from Bangladesh and Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Barak Valley of Assam.
  • Bauls are primarily identified by their music i.e, loud vocals accompanied by an ektara and Khomok.
    • Ektara is a single-stringed instrument.
    • Khomok is a hand-drum.
  • While Bauls are a very heterogeneous group, with many sects, their membership mainly consists of Vaishnava-Sahajiyas and Sufi Muslims.
  • In 2008, Baul songs were listed under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Bangladesh.

4. Lithuania quits ‘divisive’ China group

What’s in News?

Lithuania quit the 17+1 cooperation forum calling it divisive.

  • In recent months, Lithuania has taken several steps that have angered Beijing.
  • Some of the steps include blocking Chinese investment and announcing it would open a trade office in Taiwan.

17+1 Initiative:

  • 17+1 Initiative is the official cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, and it promotes business and investment relations between China and the 17 European countries.
    • It includes twelve EU member states and five Balkan states — Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
  • This format was founded in 2012 in Budapest.
  • China states that the 17+1 initiative is about improving its relations with the European countries that are less developed as compared to the Western European states.
  • The initiative is largely seen as an extension of China’s flagship Belt and Road initiative (BRI).

5. ‘Tuber Man’ wins India Biodiversity Awards

What’s in News?

Called the ‘Tuber Man of Kerala’, Shaji N.M has been awarded the India Biodiversity Award 2021.

  • He has been awarded in the individual category of ‘Conservation of domesticated species’.

India Biodiversity Award:

  • India Biodiversity Awards are given by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change in association with UNDP.
  • The first round of Awards was launched in 2012 during India’s Presidency of the Eleventh Meeting of Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • The award selection process is conducted in partnership with the National Biodiversity Authority of India.
  • The awards are announced on 22nd May on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity.
  • Awards are given in the following categories.
    1. Conservation of Wild and Domesticated Species
    2. Sustainable Use of Biological Resources
    3. Replicable Mechanisms for Access and Benefit Sharing
    4. Best Biodiversity Management Committees

G. Tidbits

1. U.K. to unveil plans for ‘digital border’

What’s in News?

Britain is to announce plans for a fully digital border, including the introduction of U.S. style electronic travel authorisation to pre-check travellers to the U.K.

  • It is believed to be the U.K’s new legal migration and border strategy which is based upon digitalisation of its borders, but also the simplification of its immigration laws.
  • A fully digital border will provide the ability to count people in and out of the country, giving the U.K control over who comes to the country.
  • It is believed that the approach will make it easier to identify potential threats before they reach the border.
  • Under the new system, people coming to the U.K. without a visa or immigration status will have to apply for an American-style Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. With reference to Baul, which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. They are a group of mystic singing minstrels living in rural West Bengal and Bangladesh.
  2. They belong to a devotional tradition influenced by Vaishnavism only.
  3. Baul songs are listed under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The Baul are a group of mystic minstrels or poets of mixed elements of Sufism and Sahaja from Bangladesh and Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Barak Valley of Assam.
  • They belong to a devotional tradition influenced by Vaishnavism, Buddhism and Sufism.
  • In 2008, Baul songs were listed under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Q2. Consider the following statements:
  1. Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano in the Philippines.
  2. Barren Island is the only active volcano in India.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Barren Island is the only active volcano in India.
Q3. Which of the following statements about International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 
is/are correct?
  1. It is an organization within the United Nations family.
  2. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  3. IAEA was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a UN agency. Although the IAEA is an independent international organisation, it reports annually to the UNGA.
  • It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
  • IAEA was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, along with its former Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei. 
Q4. Which of the following statements is/are incorrect?
  1. Treasury bills can be issued by the Government of India only.
  2. Dated securities are issued at a discount to their true (PAR) value and upon expiry, it’s redeemed at its true value.
  3. G-Secs can be used as collateral to borrow funds in the repo market.

Options:

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • G-Secs are of two types: Treasury bills with maturity less than a year and G-Secs with maturity of more than a year.
  • Treasury bill is one such money market instrument that the government issues for the short-term requirement of funds. Only the government of India can issue treasury bills.
  • Dated securities can be issued by both the state government as well as the central government.
  • Treasury bills are issued at a discount to their true (PAR) value and upon expiry, it’s redeemed at its true value. Dated securities are not issued at a discount on their PAR value.
  • G-Secs can be used as collateral to borrow funds in the repo market.
Q5. With reference to ‘National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF)’, which of the 
statements given below is/are correct? (UPSC 2017)
  1. Under NSQF, a learner can acquire the certification for competency only through formal learning.
  2. An outcome expected from the implementation of NSQF is the mobility between vocational and general education.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) is a quality assurance framework. It is a nationally integrated education and competency-based skill framework that will provide for multiple pathways, horizontal as well as vertical, both within vocational education and vocational training, and among vocational education, vocational training, general education and technical education, thus linking one level of learning to another higher level.
  • Hence, the learner is not restricted to acquiring the certification for competency through formal learning only.
  • NSQF will also provide facilities for multiple entry and exit between skill training, vocational education, job markets, general and technical education.
  • An outcome expected from the implementation of NSQF is the mobility between vocational and general education.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The pandemic has led to a surge in black marketeering of essential drugs and medicines. Suggest measures to dismantle these networks. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS 2 Governance).
  2. Environmental fiscal reforms will reduce pollution and generate resources for financing the health sector. In light of this statement, evaluate the viability of an environmental tax in India. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS 3 Environment and Ecology).

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 24th May 2021:- Download PDF Here

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