21 Nov 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
INDIAN SOCIETY - COMMUNALISM
1. 34 years after anti-Sikh riots, man sentenced to death
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. ‘Cases under SC/ST Act not false’
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Farmers badly hit by note ban: Ministry
ENVIRONMENT
1. BASIC nations push for ‘climate finance’
HEALTH
1. Global fight on malaria stalled: WHO
DEFENCE
1. Army zeroes in on Russian Igla-S missile
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. When giants clash (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation)
ECONOMY
1. Give and take (Autonomy of the RBI)
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. ‘Pollution is now a political subject, that has been its big success’
F. Tidbits
1. Gause’s law
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Category: INDIAN SOCIETY – COMMUNALISM

1. 34 years after anti-Sikh riots, man sentenced to death

Context

  • A court here on Tuesday sentenced one person to death and awarded life imprisonment to his co-convict for killing two during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The killings had taken place at Mahipalpur in south Delhi.
  • The riots had broken out across the capital following the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Anti Sikh Riots 1984

  • Due to the orders of Indira Gandhi, Indian Army launched its offensive against Sikh militants at the Golden Temple in Amritsar under the code name “Operation Blue Star”.
  • The army was successful in driving out the militants from the Sikh’s sacred place, but this event angered the Sikh People and their sentiments got hurt.
  • To avenge this action, bodyguards of Mrs. Gandhi killed her at her own house.
  • Later the angry congress workers and supporters allegedly began their brutal actions of killing innocent Sikh People in the country; Delhi was the most affected area during anti Sikh riots.
  • Union Government appointed so many commissions to enquire about the guilty people and to find out their masterminds, but nothing concrete came out of such commissions.
  • The kith and kin of the victims of Anti-Sikh riots are still waiting to get the justice after 30 years of the incident.

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. ‘Cases under SC/ST Act not false’

Context

  • The high rate of acquittals seen under the Scheduled Castes Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 is not because the cases are false or malafide. It is because of the failure of the police and the prosecution to render justice to a section of society which has suffered social stigma, poverty and humiliation for centuries, the Centre told the Supreme Court.
  • The government was explaining its decision to enact the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018.

Background of the issue

  • On March 20, 2018 the Supreme Court issued a slew of guidelines to protect people against arbitrary arrests under the Act, directing that public servants could be arrested only with the written permission of their appointing authority, while in the case of private employees, the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned should allow it.
  • A preliminary inquiry should be conducted before the FIR was registered to check if the case fell within the ambit of the Act, and whether it was frivolous or motivated, the court ruled.
  • The ruling was greeted by a storm of protest from Dalit groups, which said the order diluted the law. However, the court refused to stay its ruling, leading to the demand from Dalit groups that the government introduce an ordinance or an Amendment Bill to restore the provisions.

About SC/ST Act 1989

  • The SC/ST Act lists 22 offences relating to various patterns or behaviours inflicting criminal offences and breaking the self-respect and esteem of the scheduled castes and tribes community. This includes denial of economic, democratic and social rights, discrimination, exploitation and abuse of the legal process.
  • According to the SC/ST Act, the protection is provided from social disabilities such as denial of access to certain places and to use customary passage, personal atrocities like forceful drinking or eating of inedible food sexual exploitation, injury etc, atrocities affecting properties, malicious prosecution, political disabilities and economic exploitation.
  • For speedy trial, Section 14 of the SC/ST Act provides for a Court of Session to be a Special Court to try offences under this Act in each district.
  • The prime objective of the SC/ST Act is to deliver justice to marginalised through proactive efforts, giving them a life of dignity, self-esteem and a life without fear, violence or suppression from the dominant castes.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Farmers badly hit by note ban: Ministry

Context

  • Millions of farmers in India were unable to buy seeds and fertilisers for their winter crops because of demonetisation, according to a report submitted by the Union Agriculture Ministry to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.

Background

  • On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that all Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, comprising 86% of the total value of the currency in circulation at that time, would no longer be recognised as legal tender.

Outcomes of demonetization

  • Over the last two years, at least three of major claims of demonetization have collapsed.
  • First, it was supposed to flush out black money and end corruption. The government predicted that Rs 3 lakh crore in currency would not return to the banks. This has proved to be false, as most of the cash has returned.
  • Second, demonetisation was to help detect fake currency, which apparently funded terror and distorted the economy. The government claimed that at any point of time, there was Rs 400 crore in fake currency notes floating in the economy. Nine months after demonetisation, it was claimed that Rs 11.23 crore in fake currency had been detected. Now, the Reserve Bank reports a huge jump in fake Rs 2,000 notes, which were introduced after demonetisation.
  • Third, demonetisation was to pave the way to a cashless economy and the gleaming new world of digital India. Two years later, the amount of cash with the public has reached a record high, the bank has claimed.

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. BASIC nations push for ‘climate finance’

Context

  • Ahead of the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) in December, Environment Ministers and top climate change negotiators from Brazil, South Africa, China and India (BASIC) convened in Delhi on Tuesday and said the countries — as a group — would continue to push for developed countries on their earlier commitment to providing $100 billion annually from 2020.
  • So far only a fraction of these monies have actually been provided, the BASIC group stated.

Details of the issue

  • This year’s edition of the COP — the 24th such meeting — will see representatives from at least 190 countries, think-tanks, and activists converge in Katowice, Poland from December 2 to 14 to try to agree on a Rule Book that will specify how countries will agree to take forward commitments taken at the 21st COP in Paris in 2015
  • At that meeting, countries had agreed to take steps to limit global warming to 2C below pre-industrial levels.
  • A key aspect to make this possible is climate finance, but countries so far aren’t agreed on what constitutes climate finance: do investments made by private companies in developed countries in new green technology count? Does improving efficiency in a thermal plant count?

What is Paris Agreement?

  • Paris Agreement is an international agreement to combat climate change.
  • From 30 November to 11 December 2015, the governments of 195 nations gathered in Paris, France, and discussed a possible new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and thus reduce the threat of dangerous climate change.
  • The 32-page Paris agreement with 29 articles is widely recognized as a historic deal to stop global warming.
  • As countries around the world recognized that climate change is a reality, they came together to sign a historic deal to combat climate change – Paris Agreement.

The aims of Paris Agreement

  • Keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
  • Pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Category: HEALTH

1. Global fight on malaria stalled: WHO

Highlights of the WHO report

  • The World Health Organisation said global efforts to fight malaria have hit a plateau as it reported there were more cases of the killer disease in 2017 than the previous year.
  • The latest WHO report showed that the number of malaria cases climbed to 219 million last year, two million higher than 2016, while international funding has declined.
  • Malaria, which is spread to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes, occurs in 91 countries but about 90% of the cases and deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Foreign funding to some of the most affected countries has declined, in certain instances by more than 20 percent for every individual at risk of contracting the disease.
  • Another constraint in fighting malaria has been mosquitoes building up resistance to some insecticides.
  • WHO said it was embarking on new ways to scale up the battle against one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

Malaria

  • Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic single-celled microorganisms belonging to the Plasmodium group.
  • Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches.
  • In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death.
  • Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later.
  • The disease is most commonly transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
  • The mosquito bite introduces the parasites from the mosquito’s saliva into a person’s blood.
  • The parasites travel to the liver where they mature and reproduce.
  • Five species of Plasmodium can infect and be spread by humans. Most deaths are caused by P. falciparum because P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae generally cause a milder form of malaria.
  • Malaria is typically diagnosed by the microscopic examination of blood using blood films, or with antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests.

Related concept – Indian Health Fund (IHF)?

  • IHF was launched in 2016 by Tata Trusts in collaboration with The Global Fund, to drive innovations towards key infectious disease challenges in India.
  • It supports individuals and organisations with already germinated innovative strategies, services, products, such that they become sustainable and scalable solutions in addressing TB and malaria.
  • The initiative is a long-term exercise aligned with country’s goal of eliminating TB by 2025 and malaria by 2030. It will promote innovative solutions such that they are widely accessible and are affordable.

Category: DEFENCE

1. Army zeroes in on Russian Igla-S missile

 

  • After a series of delays, Russia has been declared the lowest bidder in the Army’s multi-billion dollar deal for man portable air defence systems. However there are concerns over the selection as well as the threat of US sanctions for arms purchases from Russia.
  • “The Igla-S bid from Rosoboronexport of Russia has been declared the L1 in the Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) deal,” a defence official said.

IGLA-S (SA-24)

  • It is latest model of Russian MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense system) technology. It offers superior performance over earlier supplied SA-18 missiles to India.
  • It is designed for use against visible aerial targets at short range such as tactical aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), cruise missile, head-on or receding, in presence of natural (background) clutter and countermeasures.
  • As per requirements of Indian Army, it will have maximum range of 6km, altitude of 3km along with all-weather capability. Igla-S missile system will replace the existing Igla in service which is in urgent need of replacement.
Background
  • Indian Army had initiated process to procure VSHORAD missiles in 2010. It had went through several rounds of trails before Igla-S qualified in January 2018, along with two other competitors Swedish SAAB’s RBS70 NG, and France’s MBDA Mistral.
  • VSHORAD programme was initiated to replace Russian Igla-M systems that have been used by Army since the 1980s is considered critical for defence against incoming helicopters, UAVs and ground attack aircraft.
  • Under this programme, Indian Army had issued Request for Proposal (RFP) for 5,175 missiles and associated equipment, out of which around 2,300 missiles will be bought in fully formed condition, 260 will be in semi-knocked down (SKD) condition and 1,000 missiles will be completely knocked down (CKD) and 600 missiles will be produced in India under Make in India initiative.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. When giants clash (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation)

Larger Background:

What is Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation?

  • The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific.
  • APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

What Does APEC Do?

  • APEC ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders. Members facilitate this trade through faster customs procedures at borders; more favorable business climates behind the border; and aligning regulations and standards across the region.
  • For example, APEC’s initiatives to synchronize regulatory systems is a key step to integrating the Asia-Pacific economy. A product can be more easily exported with just one set of common standards across all economies.

What’s in the news?

  • The recently concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organisation wrapped up its summit with no joint communiqué issued.
  • This marks a departure from tradition, breaking with more than a quarter-century of history.

Editorial Analysis:

Why wasn’t the joint communique issued?

  • The APEC’s leaders, principally led by the U.S. and China, clashed over the proposed wording of the document.
  • Experts believe that the economic rivalry between Washington and Beijing appeared to fracture the 21-nation summit into two segments.  
  • Experts assert that the source of the friction stemmed from the Trump administration’s “America First” policy, under which Washington led the charge on “unfair trade practices”. This was an implicit accusation that China wasn’t levelling the playing field in global trade.

A Closer Look:

    • In recent times, the U.S. has been urging China to increase market access and grant intellectual property protections for American corporations, cut back on industrial subsidies and, at a broader level, bring down the $375-billion trade gap.
  • Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the APEC summit on the President’s behalf, also hinted at strategic pushback when he called upon nations to avoid loans that could leave them in a debt trap with Beijing.
  • The Chinese message at the plenary was a strategic one too: President Xi Jinping did not mince words in touting Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. The BRI has worried smaller Asian nations and the U.S., particularly given that China views the Asia-Pacific landscape as a means to secure economic predominance worldwide.

Impact of the Clash:

  • Before attempting to understand what this clash of the global economic titans means for the world trading system, it is instructive to examine the path of their mutual conflict thus far.
  • The troubles began over the summer when both China and the U.S. started taxing $50 billion worth of the other’s imports.
  • This was followed by the U.S. slapping $200 billion of Chinese exports with a 10% tariff, to be ratcheted up to 25% by the year-end.
  • China, unsurprisingly, retaliated with a promise to impose reciprocal taxes to the tune of $60 billion.
  • It is important to note that already, the tariff war has resulted in the IMF downgrading its global growth outlook for this year and the next to 3.7%, down 0.2 percentage points from an earlier forecast.
  • If this continues, eventually global supply chains may be hit, and shrinking trade volumes may cause companies to seek out new trading routes and partners.

Concluding Remarks:

    • As a consequence to the tariff war, from an institutional level, multilateral rule-making bodies such as the WTO may lose their authority, and an interlocking system of bilateral trade treaties and punitive sanctions networks may substitute the consensus-based approach that was forged so painstakingly after World War II.
    • Experts point out that Asia will be at the heart of this war of attrition because strategic control of its high-value maritime trading routes is the key to China’s dreams of global trade dominance. After the APEC summit the world is still poised on the edge of the trade war vortex.
  • Experts point out that the forthcoming G20 meeting in Argentina offers an opportunity to pull back from the brink.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Give and take (Autonomy of the RBI)

Larger Background:

The larger issue which civil services aspirants would need to read about is that concerning the autonomy of the RBI. We at BYJUs have covered a detailed video on the same. The link is as below:

Composition of the Board:  

  • Currently, the Board has 18 members, inclusive of the Governor and four Deputy Governors and two top bureaucrats from the Finance Ministry. In addition, the government nominates 10 public representatives from different fields of activity to the board.
  • As a matter of fact, some of the well-known names nominated by the government to the Board now are N. Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons, Teamlease founder and chairman Manish Sabharwal, agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, chartered accountant S. Gurumurthy and Bharat Doshi, former CFO of Mahindra & Mahindra. Economic Affairs Secretary Subash C. Garg and Rajiv Kumar, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, represent the government’s interests.

Points of divergence in the views of the RBI and the Government:

  • There are several issues on which the government and the RBI disagree.
  1. A circular of the central bank that dragged several power companies defaulting on repayments to the insolvency process,
  2. Classification of some weak banks as those needing immediate corrective action (which prevented them from lending freely) and
  3. the RBI’s reluctance to open the liquidity tap for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) have been sore points with the government.
  4. Over and above this, the government has been coveting the RBI’s reserves, which it feels belongs to the government.
  5. As a matter of fact, the RBI has been transferring its entire annual profits to the government as dividend in the last five years, but it is reluctant to touch the stock of reserves on its balance sheet.

Editorial Analysis:

  • The board meeting of the Reserve Bank of India on 19th November, 2018 turned out to be muted and professional, as it should have been.  
  • Experts point out that the decisions taken by the board address the concerns of both the Centre and the central bank, though on balance it appears that the RBI carried the day.

There were two major concerns of the Centre where it was expecting an immediate resolution. These were:
a) Relaxation of the Prompt Corrective Action framework on 11 public sector banks and
b) Provision of liquidity for non-banking financial companies

These concerns will be addressed at a future date.

  • The first concern, that of relaxation of the Prompt Corrective Action framework on 11 public sector banks, has been referred to a department of the RBI for examination. However, no decision seems to have been taken on the concern surrounding  Provision of liquidity for non-banking financial companies
  • In addition to this, the Centre’s attempt to tap the RBI’s rich reserves has also been staved off for now, with the matter left to be decided by a committee set up exclusively for the purpose. Experts point out that this is as it should be.
  • Experts also add that given that the membership and terms of reference of the committee will be jointly decided by the Centre and the RBI, there is little scope for either side to complain of bias.
  • It is important to note that the RBI has been transferring all of its surpluses to the Centre in the last five years based on the recommendations of an earlier committee led by Y.H. Malegam.
  • Given this, it is unclear what more the new committee can possibly recommend on future surpluses, unless of course it is allowed to go into sharing of the reserves that now exist on the RBI’s balance sheet.

Concluding Remarks:

    • The meeting was crucial in the backdrop of the fraught relationship between the government and the RBI. Experts believed that this meeting could have resulted either in resolution or lead to a point of no return.
  • The choices were clear: the RBI and the government had to arrive at an understanding on the issues listed above through a spirit of give and take.
    • Alternatively, in the event of the two not being able to agree, and if the government still wanted to have its way, it could, if it so chose, exercise extraordinary powers vested under Section 7 of the Reserve Bank of India Act to give directions to the RBI to act as per its instructions.
    • However, the signals that came from the two sides before the meeting were mixed.
  • RBI Governor Urjit Patel was reported to have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week in an obvious effort to explain his position and resolve the issues to mutual satisfaction. But government officials had been maintaining pressure through media briefings on the RBI to make it bend.
  • Experts had pointed out that if the worst case scenario was witnessed, i.e. the government resorting to Section 7,  Mr. Patel’s position would become untenable and he would have had no option but to resign.
    • After the meeting on 19th November, 2018, the central bank partially yielded to the Centre on two other issues — the Basel capital framework for banks and easing credit flow to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
    • The RBI didn’t concede the demand for alignment of the capital norms to Basel (they are higher now), but by pushing back the deadline by a year for increasing the capital buffer, it has freed up funds for banks to lend.
    • Further, by permitting debt recast for MSME borrowers of up to Rs. 25 crore, the RBI has attempted to address their credit concerns, which was one of the major demands of the Centre.
    • Experts point out that there was enough give-and-take in the meeting that left both sides with the feeling that they had gained something.
    • At this meeting, the board turned hands-on probably for the first time in recent memory, from being just an advisory body.
    • Further, the fact that the meeting went on for over nine hours clearly indicates that there was an intense exchange of views, which is not a bad thing at all.
  • Differences between the Centre and the central bank must be thrashed out in such a setting, rather than in the media or in public speeches.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. ‘Pollution is now a political subject, that has been its big success’

Note to Students:

  • This opinion section takes into account an interview with Ajay Mathur, who is the Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). He is also a member of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority and has been part of India’s negotiating team in earlier editions of the United Nations-convened Conference of the Parties (COP).
  • Crucially, in this interview, Mr. Mathur says we shouldn’t expect a big bang result next month at the Katowice Climate Change Conference, and explains how the air pollution problem is not insurmountable.

Excerpts from the Interview:

Next month, the COP will convene in Katowice, Poland, to finalise the rule book on how the 2015 Paris commitments should be implemented.
Should one expect a major headway?

In response to this question, Ajay Mathur replied the following:

  • The 2018 COP was always seen as the one where the rules for Paris would be put in place. Over the years there’s been a lot of discussion on that.
  • At several meetings leading up to the COP, we have seen a lot of convergence on the rules regarding transparency (mainly on how nations will report their greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating actions) such that when you’re reporting, it is credible. This was a group of countries that was led by India’s Environment Secretary and was very successful as well as able to close discussions and get people together.
  • However, transparency is just one aspect of this rule book. There is still a huge degree of difference on issues related to financing. The developing countries believe that they cannot have certainty of action till international financial flows are known. So, they have to be reported ex ante (based on forecasts rather than on actuals). The developed countries don’t like it at all.

Isn’t this what the dialogue in every COP is usually about: Where’s the money that has been promised: about a $100 billion dollars annually by the developed countries, until 2020?

It’s absolutely clear that if you focus on this subject alone, there’s bound to be disappointment. It is difficult to see either the developed countries or the developing countries moving on this. But the point is that there are newer areas, like transparency, where we have moved ahead. The issue is, how will the political leadership be taken in Katowice, so that we can have an agreement on a rule book? This agreement could well be, say, here’s the core of the rule book and here are five other things that need to be agreed on and we we will do it over the next, say, one year, because Paris doesn’t kick into place until 2020.

It could even mean that a rule book will be ready only in 2020.

Wouldn’t firming up a rule book mean that countries would have to agree to fixed targets on setting greenhouse gas emissions limits for themselves?

  • As of now, the convergence is on transparency. There are important questions that arise. For example: How we will collect data, report the data and be sure that the reported data meet an acceptable level of quality control?
  • It is more about building trust that all of us are using the same kind of data. There may be differences in the (duties of) developed and developing countries but at least the elements are in place. One should go to Katowice expecting that at least the elements of the rule book are in place.

There’s been concern that whenever India attends high-level meetings, it lacks its own empirical data and so ends up getting snowed in by modelling and projections made by others. Can the convergence towards transparency address this?

  • Ajay Mathur asserts that the level of analysis we do at a global level is more limited than what is done by others.
  • Further, what transparency will mean for us and other countries is that the basis for future projections and the basis for seeing whether we are actually achieving what we have promised is going to be much more superior than in the past. There were years in which we weren’t sure of data from many countries.
  • Katowice is not a Paris but an essential meeting to operationalise Paris. There’s another thing in the rule book that relates to ‘stocktake’. It’s been decided that every few years from 2022, we will see how the world is doing as far as their actions are concerned. Are they on track to achieve what is promised? The stocktake will tell us that. As you can imagine, if we have poor data, we will make poor decisions.

Among India’s commitments is to achieve 100 GW of solar power by 2022. Several reports seem to suggest that we will fall short, particularly due to the slow uptake in rooftop solar. Will that be a major problem? Do we have time to fix this problem?

    • One part of the answer is that it is possible that 60 GW of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (like in solar farms) can become large enough to meet the target.
    • Further, with rooftop solar there are a large number of implementation problems and policy issues that we are still trying to understand.
    • It is important to note that only a few years ago, our concept of solar PV, especially in rooftop solar, was that it would be used only in isolated places where electricity would be available sporadically. Now, we have a situation where it is possible that by the year-end or next March, every home in the country will be able to access a wired connection.
    • Further, as per the Saubhagya scheme, around 94% of the homes are already connected. This has a different meaning for micro-grids, or mini-grids, because they were envisioned as being completely isolated. Now it means that it will take care of local power supply needs and anything additional would go into the grid, and if you need more power, you take it from the grid.
  • Thus, in other words, it becomes grid-interactive. This means a completely different technical and business model.

The next important question that arises is how can we operate this within a grid-operated system?

  • Our meters are built for a one-way flow.
  • We now need safety and isolation equipment that can be built for a two-way flow.
  • Further, we are used to electricity being produced at a higher voltage and being ‘stepped-down’ to come into your house. Now we need the lower voltage current produced in the house to be ‘stepped-up’ for giving back to the grid.
  • Thus, all these things need to be put in one place.
  • The other aspect is that electricity companies will now say, everybody wants to buy from me at the same time and sell to me at the same time. This means a huge amount of capacity for meeting night-time loads; and during the day, when electricity companies produce a lot, they have to buy.
  • Therefore, we also need to put all these things in place and have diversity in the rooftop solar grid system. These are things we are learning.

Problems with Urban Planning:

  • There are also problems with urban planning.
  • Suppose, I have a system in place and another taller building comes up which blocks out my solar system. What happens to my investment? Eventually it will all work. We are trying out 10 different things and two will work and become the ruling models.
  • TERI and the Automotive Research Association of India presented a study earlier this year that showed that cars and two-wheelers together contributed about 10% of the pollution caused by the transportation sector, which contributes 28% of the overall winter pollution load. This is not a small number.

Solutions for Delhi

  • We need solutions that are necessary for Delhi. Let’s look at where the pollution comes from. One of the fastest-growing components is secondary particulate matter.
  • They are not emitted as gases but become particles once they are in the atmosphere for some time. There are ammonium-based gases that are emitted and become particulate matter. Experts believe that the single largest impact is if we can address fires (biomass fires which also include fires from burning wood or for cooking). If we could completely switch over to gas and ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity, it would make a massive difference to pollution.

We just celebrated Diwali. There was a lot of hope for reduced emissions vis-à-vis the Environment Ministry’s pollution-restraining drives. However, we saw a blatant violation of the Supreme Court order on crackers. Don’t you think a lack of implementation is the key cause of Delhi’s air pollution problem?

    • The Honourable Supreme Court of India had said that crackers were only to be allowed from 8-10 p.m. That too green crackers.
    • However, it is interesting to note one fact.
    • Data shows that the day before Diwali was a clear day. There were hardly any crackers. Come Diwali evening and — just look at the data — crackers were lit with a vengeance.
  • An analysis has revealed that the crackers burnt on Diwali night were no less than last year. And all illegal, as there were no green crackers.
  • What this suggests is that private lighting of crackers from 8-10 p.m. is also a problem. Even if you have crackers that reduce emissions by x% but you have more crackers, reduction will be more than compensated. You will have the same problem.
  • Thus, we need to change the way crackers are used. We need to agree on an overall cap. If you want some equity around it, you could say that in each area there would be a locally organised community function and each of them would be given a permit to buy x amount of crackers. We need to control supply.

You’re a member of the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority. How effective has this agency been as an implementing body to address sources of pollution?

  • It is important to note that the EPCA is not a direct implementing body.
  • The EPCA can direct agencies to take steps, point out to them that there’s a problem emerging, and fix it.
  • In case rules are flouted, the committee can issue directions to check activities in the National Capital Region. Those are its strengths.
  • One sees that the EPCA will increasingly focus on the kinds of action that can lead to change that is felt here and now.

Has the government become better at addressing pollution or is it restricting itself to legislation?

What has changed is that pollution has entered into the public consciousness in a big way. Pollution is also now a political subject and that has been its big success.

F. Tidbits

1. Gause’s law

 

  • Also known as the competitive exclusion principle, this refers to the proposition that the populations of two competing species cannot remain at stable levels over time.
  • When two species compete for control over a limited amount of resources, the dominant species will take advantage over its weak competitor.
  • This will cause the weaker species to get excluded from its previous territory and its population to drop over time.
  • The law is named after Soviet biologist Georgii Gause although it was formulated first by American biologist Joseph Grinnell in his 1904 paper “The Origin and Distribution of the Chestnut-Backed Chickadee”.

G. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statement regarding Calamity Relief Funds:
  1. Calamity Relief Funds are dedicated funds used by the central governments to meet the expenditure for disaster relief.

  2. The fund is maintained in the public account of the center.

Options:

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

See

Answer
Question 2. With reference to the Law Commission of India, consider the following statements:
  1. It is established by the President of India every year.
  2. It is not constitutional but a statutory body.
  3. Its recommendations are not binding upon the government.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

See

Answer
Question 3. With reference to Uniform Civil Code, consider the following statements:
  1. It is a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.
  2. It is a directive principle under Article 44.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are incorrect?

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

See

Answer

 

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. India has recently achieved universal electrification after electrifying the last unelectrified village of India. Now our policy needs to shift focus from universal electricity connections to upgradation of quality of supply and services. Discuss. (200 words)
  2. The scheduled Tribes form an important component of India’s population who are settled in areas where minerals are present, deep forests which are used for commercial purposes, etc. Discuss the impact of India’s developmental journey on its tribal population? (200 words)
 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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