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16 Nov 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 16 Nov 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
SOCIETY
1. What does the World Bank report say about India’s cities?
B. GS 2 Related
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT
1. Is climate change affecting global health?
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ENVIRONMENT
1. Health as the focus of air pollution policy
INDIAN POLITY
1. Undermining federalism, eroding States’ autonomy
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. India’s population growth is stabilising, it is an indicator of effective 
health policies, says UN
2. Third edition of ‘No Money For Terror’ forum to discuss crowdfunding 
of terrorism
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: INDIAN POLITY

1. Undermining federalism, eroding States’ autonomy

Syllabus: Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.

Mains: Issues with the federal structure of India.

Prelims: NITI Aayog

Details: 

  • The Cabinet Resolution of 1st January 2015 constituted the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. It replaced the Planning Commission of India with the main objective of promoting cooperative federalism.
  • The resolution explicitly articulated that the States should not be seen as mere appendages of the Centre. They should have a decisive say in determining the architecture of economic growth and development.
  • One of the major mandates of NITI Aayog is to strengthen cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis. It should be recognized that strong States make a strong nation.

For more information on cooperative federalism, read here: Cooperative Federalism in India

Associated Concerns:

NITI Aayog has been criticized for not taking any significant steps in promoting cooperative federalism. The author has used several instances to highlight that the central policies have undermined the spirit of federalism and eroded the autonomy of the states.

  • One such instance is about not accepting the recommendation of the Fifteenth Finance Commission and undermining its stature. The central government has been accused of not accepting the suggestion of special grants to three states, grants for nutrition, and grants to states for the year 2021-26.
  • Another example quoted by the author is about off-budget borrowing. The decision has been taken to consider off-budget borrowings from 2021-22 onwards serviced from the State budgets as States’ borrowings and adjusting them against borrowing limits under Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) in 2022-23. The government of India says that this is in accordance with the Finance Commission recommendations.
    • However, it is argued that there is no such recommendation and instead Finance Commission recommended that governments at all tiers should observe strict discipline by resisting any further additions to the stock of off-budget transactions.
    • Moreover, no high-powered intergovernmental group has been appointed to define debt sustainability and suggest amendments to the FRBM Act, as proposed by the commission.
    • The borrowings of the states are used for capital investment but the off-budget borrowings of the Centre were used to meet revenue expenditure. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG) Report on the Compliance of the FRBM Act for 2017-18 and 2018-19 showed eight instances of meeting revenue expenditure through Extra Budgetary Resources (EBR).
  • The central government has also resorted to levying cesses and surcharges. It should be noted that these are not shareable with the States under the Constitution. Some key details associated with cesses and surcharges are:
    • The share of cesses and surcharges in the gross tax revenue of the Centre increased from 13.5% in 2014-15 to 20% in the Budget estimates for 2022-23. 
    • The share of the States in the Central taxes is 41% (in accordance with the Fifteenth Finance Commission) but they only get a 29.6% share due to higher cesses and surcharges.
    • According to the Audit Report of C&AG on Union Government Accounts for 2018-19, approximately 2.75 lakh crores were collected from 35 cesses and only 1.65 lakh crore was credited to different funds and the remaining amount was retained by the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The states have also lost their autonomy due to the schemes:
    • Various committees have recommended reducing the number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). However, these have been clubbed under broad umbrella heads (currently 28).
    • Moreover, the States’ share in the number of CSS also increased in the year 2015. This has burdened the states further. It is also highlighted that most of the CSS are operated for subjects included in the State list.
    • The Sub-Committee of Chief Ministers (appointed by NITI Aayog) also recommended the introduction of optional schemes and a reduction in the number of existing schemes. These recommendations yet remain to be acted upon.
  • The three farm laws of 2020 (repealed now) were enacted under Entry 33 of the Concurrent List (trade and commerce) despite being agricultural law (subject in the State list). According to the author, their enactment was against the spirit of the Constitution as states were not consulted before introducing these bills.

Also read: AIR Spotlight – Cooperative and Competitive Federalism

Nut Graf: Several instances have been highlighted where the spirit of cooperative federalism and states’ autonomy has been undermined. The NITI Aayog should take responsibility to strengthen cooperative federalism and make states equal partners in nation-building.

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. India’s population growth is stabilising, it is an indicator of effective health policies, says UN

Stabilising population in India

Image source: The Hindu

  • As the global population has breached the eight billion mark, the United Nations has said that India’s population growth looks like it is stabilising which reflects the efficiencies of the country’s policies, health systems, and access to family planning services.
  • The world population touched eight billion recently and India was the largest contributor, having added over 177 million people of the last billion people born.
  • However, India’s population growth appears to be stabilising as the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has reduced to 2.0 from 2.2 at the national level.
    • Further, about 31 States and Union Territories accounting for about 69.7% of the country’s population have already achieved fertility rates below the replacement level of 2.1.
  • One of the key reasons for the decline in fertility rate is the increase in the adoption of modern family planning methods (56.5% in 2019-21 as compared to 47.8% in 2015-16) and a decline in unmet need for family planning by four percentage points over the same period.
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) also notes that India is a youthful nation with the largest cohort of young people in the world and has the potential to achieve its demographic dividend. 
    • UNFPA further said that as many parts of the world are ageing, India’s youthful population can be a global resource to resolve global problems.

2. Third edition of ‘No Money For Terror’ forum to discuss crowdfunding of terrorism

  • India is hosting the third No Money For Terror (NMFT) conference and the representatives of about 75 countries are expected to attend the conference.
  • The use of crowdfunding platforms to finance terrorist activities and weak control mechanisms of social media platforms is one of the main topics to be discussed at the conference.
  • The other key topics to be discussed include global trends in terrorism and terrorist financing; the use of formal and informal channels for terrorism; emerging technologies and terrorist financing; and international cooperation to address challenges in combating terrorist financing.
  • The agenda of the conference acknowledged that terrorists and extremists have improvised on technologies like cryptocurrency and crowdfunding by customising them to suit their requirements and the dark web is bringing together professional hackers and terrorists and the untraceable nature of terror financing through these media poses a serious challenge.
  • Further, according to the agenda of NMFT an effective multilateral and multi-stakeholder approach will help in the identification and mitigation of threats of emerging terror-financing mechanisms and an effective legislative regulatory framework will ensure that internet service providers and social media platforms work towards dissuasive self-regulation.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements about Climate Change Performance Index 
(CCPI). (Level – Difficult)
  1. It is published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  2. The Index is assessed based on four factors – Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Renewable Energy Adoption, Energy Use and Climate Policy.
  3. The latest CCPI for 2023 ranks India eighth among the assessed countries.
  4. The first position in the CCPI, 2023 is occupied by the USA.

Which of the above statements are correct? 

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is not correct, CCPI is published by three NGOs namely Germanwatch, NewClimate Institute and Climate Action Network International.
  • Statement 2 is correct, The Index is assessed based on four performance indicators namely Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Renewable Energy Adoption, Energy Use and Climate Policy.
  • Statement 3 is correct, India has climbed two spots to reach the eighth rank out of 63 countries evaluated on CCPI 2023 on account of low emissions and the increasing use of renewable energy.
  • Statement 4 is not correct, In the CCPI 2023, Denmark has reached the best ranking. However, no country performs well enough in all index categories to achieve an overall “very high” rating in the index. 
    • Therefore, the first three ranks in the overall ranking remain empty.
Q2. Consider the following statements about the Ministerial Conference on Countering 
Financing of Terrorism. (Level – Difficult)
  1. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India would be organising this Conference.
  2. This is the first such conference to be held at the ministerial level to combat terror financing.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, The Union Ministry of Home Affairs would be organising this Ministerial Conference on Countering Financing of Terrorism.
  • Statement 2 is not correct, The latest conference being hosted by India is the third such conference to be held at the ministerial level to combat terror financing.
Q3. Arrange the following states in the order of them attaining full statehood status 
starting from the earliest to the latest. (Level – Difficult)
  1. Goa
  2. Gujarat
  3. Jharkhand
  4. Meghalaya
  5. Andhra Pradesh
  6. Nagaland

Options:

  1. 5, 6, 2, 1, 4, 3
  2. 5, 2, 6, 4, 1, 3 
  3. 6, 5, 2, 1, 3, 4
  4. 5, 2, 6, 1, 3, 4
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Andhra Pradesh: 1st of November 1953
  • Gujarat: 1st of May 1960
  • Nagaland: 1st of December 1963
  • Meghalaya: 21st of January 1972
  • Goa: 30th of May 1987
  • Jharkhand: 15th of November 2000
Q4. Which of the following statements are correct with respect to India’s foreign 
trade’s general trends in the recent past? (Level – Easy)
  1. In the merchandise segment, India imports more than it exports in terms of value.
  2. In the services segment, India exports more than it imports in terms of value.
  3. Generally, the trade surplus from the services segment is able to cover the trade deficit in the merchandise segment to result in a net trade surplus for India.

Options:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct, In the merchandise segment, India imports more than it exports in terms of value.
  • Statement 2 is correct, In the services segment, India exports more than it imports in terms of value.
  • Statement 3 is not correct, As the trade surplus from the services segment has failed to offset the trade deficit in the merchandise segment, India is witnessing a net trade deficit.
Q5. Under which schedule of the Constitution of India can the transfer of tribal 
land to private parties for mining be declared null and void? (Level – Medium) 
PYQ (2019)
  1. Third Schedule
  2. Fifth Schedule
  3. Ninth Schedule
  4. Twelfth Schedule
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

In the Samatha v/s State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors judgment in 1997, the Supreme Court declared that the transfer of tribal land to private parties for mining was null and void under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.

CNA 16 Nov 2022:- Download PDF Here

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