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18 Nov 2022: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 18 Nov 2022:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
WORLD AND INDIAN GEOGRAPHY
1. Extreme Weather Events
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY
1. Collegium system review
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. Weighing in on PMGKAY, the free grains scheme
GOVERNANCE
1. Opaque political financing could cost democracy dear
ECONOMY
1. Trade tumult
F. Prelims Facts
1. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund
G. Tidbits
1. International Maritime Boundary Line
2. Electoral Bonds
3. Measles
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Opaque political financing could cost democracy dear

Syllabus: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Prelims: About electoral bonds

Mains: Significance of political financing and key issues associated with the Electoral Bonds. Scheme

Context: Recently the Union government amended the electoral bonds scheme to allow an additional period of 15 days for electoral bond sales in years which have State elections.

Crucial role played by political financing

  • All three axes of political competition namely institutional (the regulation of competition between ruling and Opposition parties); organisational (the regulation of competition within a party); and ideological (the role of ideas in determining competition between parties) are significantly influenced by the nature of political finance. 
  • The extent of centralisation of political funding within a political party reflects whether power in the party is drawn from organisational structures or exercised in a discretionary or an autocratic manner. 
  • Political financing also plays a crucial role in shaping political competition and when political financing is concentrated only on certain specific political ideologies and parties the political competition would be severely eroded.
  • The degree of transparency in political funding is directly related to the efficacy of institutional protections in a country such as the Election Commission of India.

Concerns associated with Electoral Bonds Scheme

Advantage to ruling party

  • Experts feel that the overall design of electoral bonds leans towards helping the ruling party.
  • As per the ECI data, the ruling party got over 75% of the total electoral bonds sold in 2019-20.
  • Further, the electoral bonds also violate the ideas of transparency and openness in political funding as only the government (ruling party) has the access to the transaction details. 
  • The prevailing information asymmetry and opaqueness to institutional scrutiny have been advantageous to the ruling party.

Advantage to national parties over regional parties

  • The electoral bonds also centralise political funding towards the national units of political parties thereby empowering the national parties over the State and local units. 
  • According to a Right To Information (RTI) query response, 80% of the electoral bonds out of the ₹5,851 crores of electoral bonds sold in 2018-19 were redeemed in Delhi.
  • Further, amendments were introduced to electoral bonds which includes the removal of erstwhile limits on corporate donations. These amendments have given rise to a chance of alliance between national political parties and corporate conglomerates thereby squeezing the space for both local parties and regional capital.
  • There have been several instances in the past wherein the nexus between big business conglomerates and national parties have worked against the growth of local/regional parties.

Centralisation of power

  • The centralisation of political power is concentrating more in the hands of the national parties as compared to their regional counterparts.
  • This can be seen through various instances of the national ruling party commanding authority over state units such as bringing about changes in the leadership in State governments and imposing measures such as demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Nut graf: In a democratic country like India the nature of political finance acts as an important determinant of the structure of political competition. Therefore it has become extremely significant for independent institutions like the ECI and the Supreme Court to intervene and plug the loopholes in the electoral bonds to ensure that the democratic values of the country are upheld.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Trade tumult

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Mains: Trends in Indian exports, imports and trade deficit.

Context: Indian goods exports declined in October 2022 for the first time since February 2021.

Details

  • India’s goods exports in October 2022 shrank below $30 billion after about 20 months and reports reveal that the goods exports dropped about 16.7% as compared to October 2021 and 16% from September 2022.
  • Most of the sectors such as pharmaceuticals and chemicals; engineering goods; gems and jewellery; textiles and handlooms are severely affected.
  • Further, the imports increased at 5.7% year-on-year which has widened India’s trade deficit by over 50% to $26.9 billion. 
    • October 2022 is said to be the fourth straight month of a $25 billion-plus goods trade deficit
  • Also, a slight reduction in petroleum imports and a 10.3% shrinking of non-oil, non-gold imports from September 2022 reflects a slowdown in domestic demand.
WIDENING DEFICIT 1

Image Source: The Hindu

Path ahead

  • The government has acknowledged the decline in the exports and it attributed this decline to a seasonal Deepavali effect wherein production drops on account of holidays and leaves and imports increase due to festive demand. 
  • Officials also suggest that there is no need for worry as India has a very low share of global trade which can only grow. 
  • However, according to experts, export growth cannot be achieved automatically as in a shrinking global market, export rivals such as Vietnam cannot be expected to wait out the slump. 
    • But in India, the new Foreign Trade Policy which was to replace the current policy of 2015 was deferred again till April 2023 for reasons that included waiting out the current global turmoil. 
  • Experts urge policymakers and officials to follow a proactive approach in addressing various challenges encountered.

Nut graf: India’s huge trade deficit is expected to further expand on account of higher energy prices, depreciation of Rupee and a slowdown in the global demand impacting the exports. This necessitates proactive actions by the policymakers and other agencies to address the existing concerns as a wait-and-watch approach might not be a viable approach.

F. Prelims Facts

1. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund

Syllabus: Economy-Infrastructure

Prelims: Infrastructure-related schemes and policies

Context: 5th Meeting of the Governing Council of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) was held recently.

Key Details

  • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 5th meeting of the Governing Council (GC) of NIIF in New Delhi.
  • NIIF’s first bilateral fund – an “India Japan Fund” with a contribution from the union government has been proposed through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited (NIIFL) and Japan Bank for International Development (JBIC). 
  • The GC noted that NIIF has developed into an internationally credible and commercially viable investment platform, backed by several highly respected global and domestic investors who have invested alongside the Government of India in NIIF Funds. 
  • The GC also guided NIIF to undertake advisory activities proactively to support central and state governments to create a pipeline of investible PPP projects.
  • The Finance Minister also urged the NIIF to expand its operations and explore ways to crowd in private capital for projects under the National Infrastructure Pipeline, PM Gati Shakti and National Infrastructure Corridor.

Read more on PM Gati Shakti.

G. Tidbits

1. International Maritime Boundary Line

  • Fourteen fishermen from Tamil Nadu were reportedly detained by the Sri Lankan Navy for trespassing into the territorial waters of Sri Lanka.
  • A maritime boundary is a conceptual division of the Earth’s water surface areas using physiographic or geopolitical criteria.
  • As such, it usually bounds areas of exclusive national rights over mineral and biological resources, encompassing maritime features, limits and zones.
  • In some countries the term maritime boundary represents the borders of a maritime nation that are recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Read more on UNCLOS Maritime Zones in the link.
  • The maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka was established through a pair of bilateral agreements that were reached in 1974 and 1976 and spans 288 km from the tripoint with the Maldives in the west to the 200 nautical mile limit of India and Sri Lanka in the east.
  • The portion of the boundary that passes through the Palk Strait, which is defined as historic waters, was established based on the principle of modified equidistance in a 1974 Agreement. 
  • The boundary in the Indian Ocean/Gulf of Mannar and in the Bay of Bengal was established in 1976 and follows a simplified equidistance line.
pasted image 0 13

Image Source: Sri Lanka Survey Department

2. Electoral Bonds

  • Electoral bonds worth ₹10,246 crore have been sold by the State Bank of India (SBI) since the instrument was launched in March 2018.
  • Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency to political funding.
  • The majority of these bonds were of ₹1 crore while less than 10% of subscriptions were of lower denominations — ₹10 lakh, ₹1 lakh, ₹10,000 and ₹1,000. 
    • About 93.5% of total bonds sold were in the denomination of ₹1 crore.
    • Only 0.25% in value terms were from ₹1 lakh, ₹10,000 and ₹1,000 denominations.
  • The SBI has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds through 29 authorised branches.

Read more on Electoral Bonds.

3. Missile attack in Poland

  • Seven suspected measles deaths and 164 cases of the viral infection have been reported in Mumbai since September 2022 according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
  • Overall, the number of suspected measles cases in the city rose to 1,263, and 647 of these cases included children in the age group of 1 to 4 years.
  • The Union Health Ministry has deputed a high-level multi-disciplinary team to Mumbai to take stock of the upsurge of measles cases in the city and assist the state health authorities in instituting public health measures and facilitate operationalisation of requisite control and containment measures.

About Measles:

  • Measles is also known as rubeola or red measles. 
  • It is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus which causes rashes all over the body.
  • Measles could be spread through infected mucus and saliva. 
  • In measles, the child gets fever, cold, cough, and red rashes on the body. 
  • Complications from this disease can be serious in children who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Read more on Measles and Rubella Campaign.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. With respect to Sant Kabir Das, which of the following statements is/are correct?
 (Level-Difficult)
  1. He did not undertake any formal education but was well-trained as a weaver.
  2. He never opposed idol worship as he felt it is a means to focus one’s religious pursuits and bhakti.
  3. His famous writings include ‘Sakhi Granth’, ‘Anurag Sagar’ and ‘Bijak’.

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation: 

  • Statement 01 is incorrect, Sant Kabir Das did not undertake any formal education. He was also not trained as a weaver. While his poems abound with weaving metaphors, his heart was not fully in this profession. He was on a spiritual journey to seek the truth, which is clearly manifested in his poetry.
  • Statement 02 is incorrect, Kabir always opposed the idea of worshipping the idols and showed clear confidence in Bhakti and Sufi ideas.
  • Statement 03 is correct, Sant Kabir Das was a highly acclaimed poet of his time.  His writings significantly influenced the Bhakti movement. 
    • Some of his famous writings include ‘Sakhi Granth’, ‘Anurag Sagar’, ‘Bijak’ and ‘Kabir Granthawali’.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to the transfer of High Court 
Judges: (Level -Medium)
  1. Consent of a Judge for his first or subsequent transfer would not be required.
  2. Only the transferred judge and no one else is entitled to file a case challenging such transfer.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: c

Explanation: 

  • Statement 01 is correct, Article 222 of the Indian Constitution makes provision for the transfer of a Judge (including Chief Justice) from one High Court to any other High Court
    • The initiation of the proposal for the transfer of a Judge should be made by the Chief Justice of India whose opinion in this regard is determinative. 
    • Consent of a Judge for his first or subsequent transfer would not be required. 
  • Statement 02 is correct, A Division Bench of Madras High Court held that only the transferred judge and no one else was entitled to file a case challenging such transfer and that even the aggrieved judge concerned could question the transfer order only on limited grounds such as the proposal not having emanated from the Chief Justice of India (CJI). 
Q3. Which of the following is the best description of Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis
 (CTX)? (Level-Difficult)
  1. It is a rare genetic condition characterised by short stature and multiple facial, limb and genital abnormalities.
  2. It is a rare disorder characterised by abnormally elevated levels of iron in the body.
  3. It is a disorder characterised by abnormal storage of fats (lipids) in many areas of the body.
  4. It is a rare genetic disorder that can cause structural changes of the skull, bones of the face and other skeletal abnormalities.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation: 

  • Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis is a disorder characterised by abnormal storage of fats (lipids) in many areas of the body. People with this disorder cannot break down certain lipids effectively, specifically different forms of cholesterol, so these fats accumulate in the body in the form of fatty yellow nodules called xanthomas.
  • People with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis often develop neurological problems in early adulthood that are thought to be caused by an abnormal accumulation of fats and an increasing number of xanthomas in the brain. 
  • These neurological problems include recurrent seizures (epilepsy), movement disorders, impaired speech (dysarthria), loss of sensation in the arms and legs (peripheral neuropathy), a decline in intellectual function (dementia), hallucinations, and depression.
Q4. With respect to Baliyatra, which of the following statements is/are correct?
(Level-Difficult)
  1. It is a festival held in the State of West Bengal.
  2. It is a unique socio-cultural event with a glorious history which commemorates the past association of the people of West Bengal with Bali remembering the glorious maritime tradition of transoceanic voyages.

Options:

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

Answer: d

Explanation: 

  • Statement 01 is incorrect, Baliyatra is the major festival held at Cuttack, Odisha at Gadagadia Ghata of the Mahanadi river on Kartik Purnima. It is considered to be one of Asia’s largest open trade fairs. 
  • Statement 02 is incorrect, It is celebrated to mark the day when ancient Sadhabas (Odia mariners) would set sail to Indonesia and Sri Lanka for trade and cultural expansion from Odisha.
    • To commemorate this, the festival is celebrated every year from the day of Kartika Purnima (full moon day of the month of Kartika) according to the Odia calendar.
Q5. With reference to the proposals of Cripps Mission, consider the following 
statements: (Level-Medium) (CSE-PYQ-2022)
  1. The Constituent Assembly would have members nominated by the Provincial Assemblies as well as the Princely States.
  2. Any Province, which is not prepared to accept the new Constitution would have the right to sign a separate agreement with Britain regarding its future status.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Statement 01 is incorrect, As per the proposals of the Cripps Mission, after the end of the war, a constituent assembly would be convened to frame a new constitution. Members of this assembly would be partly elected by the provincial assemblies through proportional representation and partly nominated by the princes.
  • Statement 02 is correct, Cripps Mission also proposed that the provinces not agreeing to the new constitution would have the right to keep themselves out of the proposed Union. Such provinces would also be entitled to create their own separate Union and have the right to sign a separate agreement with Britain regarding its future status.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Critically examine the system of appointment of Judges in India. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS-2; Polity)
  2. Extreme weather events have increased in frequency and magnitude as a direct result of climate change. Evaluate the consequences. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS-3; Environment)

Read the previous CNA here.

CNA 18 Nov 2022:- Download PDF Here

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