12 Nov 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

12 Nov 2020 CNA:-

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Govt. to govern OTT platforms
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Centre unveils incentives to boost manufacturing
2. ‘GDP shrank 8.6% in Q2 pushing economy into a recession’
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. ‘Meghalaya govt. encouraging illegal mining’
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
HEALTH
1. A time for cautious optimism
F. Prelims Facts
1. Rs. 25,000 cr. for Gairsain: Rawat
G. Tidbits
1. Home Ministry amends FCRA rules
2. Social infra PPPs eligible for viability gap funding
3. Haryana CM unveils ‘Project Air Care’ for Gurugram
4. 18-tonne red sandalwood cargo seized
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


2. ‘GDP shrank 8.6% in Q2 pushing economy into a recession’

Context:

• Reserve Bank of India’s monthly bulletin.

Details:

• The RBI bulletin notes a sharp rebound of the Indian economy from May/June owing mainly to the reopening from lockdowns. This has helped slow the pace of economic contraction to 8.6% in the second quarter of the current fiscal year.

Positive signs:

• Given the fact that the manufacturing industry has been normalising faster than contact-intensive service sectors, this seems to be indicative of a short-lived contraction. This has helped brighten the near-term outlook for the Indian economy and stirred up consumer and business confidence.

Concerns:

• Technically, India has entered a recession given the two successive quarters of GDP contraction. This is also the first time in India’s history that it has witnessed two successive quarters of GDP contraction.
• Despite some signs of recovery, formidable downside risks still exist in the Indian economic recovery process.
• High inflation over the last few months is a cause of concern. The accelerating inflation will only further pressurize India’s pandemic-hit economy.
• For related information, refer to CNA dated July 16, 2020: Inflation Alert.
• The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic could hit external demand for Indian goods. This would reduce exports from India. Foreign trade has been an important aspect of India’s economy since the liberalization of the economy in 1991.
• Financially stressed households and companies would undermine the recovery. The low disposable income with the households will subdue demand in the economy while the financially stressed companies would subdue supply in the economy and would also entice a financial crisis in the Indian economy due to the rise in non-performing assets. Thus unlike previous economic challenges, the government will have to concentrate on both the demand as well as the supply sides of the economy.

1. ‘Meghalaya govt. encouraging illegal mining’

The issue of the illegal and ecologically unsustainable rat hole mining has been dealt with in the following article:

CNA dated Feb 8, 2020: Meghalaya to conduct special programme for granting coal mining licence

G. Tidbits

1. Home Ministry amends FCRA rules

• As per the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, members of legislatures, political parties, government officials, judges and media persons are prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution.
• Under the new amendment, norms have been relaxed for those not involved in ‘active politics’. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has relaxed norms for farmer, student, religious and other groups who are not directly aligned to any political party to receive foreign funds provided that these groups are not involved in “active politics”.

2. Social infra PPPs eligible for viability gap funding

• The government has expanded the provision of financial support by means of viability gap funding for public private partnerships (PPPs) in critical social sectors such as health, education, water supply, wastewater treatment and solid waste management.
• Viability Gap Finance means a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
• Under the scheme, private sector projects in these specified areas could get 30% of the total project cost from the Centre while the States could chip in with another 30%.

3. Haryana CM unveils ‘Project Air Care’ for Gurugram

• Haryana has unveiled ‘Project Air Care’.
• Under this scheme, 65 Wind Augmentation Purifying Units will be installed across critical traffic junctions in Gurugram through a public-private partnership.

4. 18-tonne red sandalwood cargo seized

• “Operation Thunder 2020” targeted against environmental crime has resulted in large seizures of protected wildlife and forestry specimens and products.
• The operation has focused mainly on the species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
• Wildlife and forestry crime is the world’s fourth-largest illegal trade.
• Apart from the far-reaching and devastating consequences that wildlife crime has for the environment it also has negative consequences for society, public health and global economics.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. When travelling from Gairsain to Challakere, what is the minimum number of states that
one would pass through including the two states in which the mentioned places lie in?
1. 5
2. 6
3. 7
4. 8

Explanation:

• Gairsain is being developed as the summer capital of Uttarakhand.
• Challakere in Karnataka is housing premier science and research organizations such as IISc, DRDO, BARC and ISRO.
• While travelling from Gairsain to Challakere one would pass through the following states: Uttarakhand—Uttar Pradesh—Madhya Pradesh—Maharashtra—Karnataka.

Q2. Which of the following is/are correct with respect to the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora?
1. It prohibits the trade of only such species of flora and fauna which are listed as critically endangered under the IUCN Red List.
2. In States that have agreed to be bound by CITES, the Convention takes the place of national laws to ensure there is a uniform legal framework in the countries party to the CITES agreement.

Option:

1. 1 only
2. 2 only
3. Both 1 and 2
4. Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation:

• The CITES has many wildlife species that are not endangered.
• CITES is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere to voluntarily. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words, they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
Q3. Which of the following correctly explains the term viability gap funding?
1. It means a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
2. It implies government equity in infrastructural PPP projects.
3. It means a loan at a low rate of interest to infrastructural PPP projects.
4. It implies private-sector owned equity in governmental projects.

Explanation:

• Viability Gap Finance means a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
Q4. Which of the following statement/s is/are correct with respect to the Foreign
Contribution Regulation Act?
1. As per the FCRA, members of legislatures, political parties, government officials, judges and media persons are prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution.
2. NGOs receiving foreign grants have to register with the Ministry of Home Affairs and are also required to renew their registration number every 5 years.

Options:

1. 1 only
2. 2 only
3. Both 1 and 2
4. Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation:

• As per the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, members of legislatures, political parties, government officials, judges and media persons are prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution.
• Foreign grants received by NGOs are regulated by the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, or FCRA. In order to receive foreign funds, an NGO has to register with the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is assigned a unique FCRA registration number, to be renewed every five years.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

1. The central government’s new production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme is envisioned to play a critical role in the economic recovery process in the post-pandemic scenario. Comment. (15 marks, 250 words)(GS Paper 3/Economy)
2. The central government’s move to bring ‘Over the Top’ (OTT) platforms or video streaming service providers and digital news under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for their regulation is a much-needed step. Comment. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper 2/Polity and Governance)