# 26 Nov 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

November 26th, 2019 CNA:-

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
HEALTH
1. ‘3.7% food samples unsafe, 15.8% sub-standard’
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. Centre introduces Bill to amend SPG Act in Lok Sabha
ECONOMY
1. Portal for housing subsidy scheme launched
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. India’s enduring document of governance
2. Preventing political coalitions of convenience
EDUCATION
1. Helping 10-year-olds to read by 2030
F. Tidbits
1. Start-up policy to woo entrepreneurs
2. 72,045 PHCs don’t have toilet facilities for staff
3. Won’t do anything to threaten India’s security, says Gotabaya
4. Soon, the way you drive will determine your motor cover
5. Greenhouse gases hit a new record in 2018: WMO
6. U.S. missions against IS in Northern Syria resumed
G. Prelims Facts
1. Assamese gamosa
2. Constitution Day
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


A. GS 1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS 2 Related

1. ‘3.7% food samples unsafe, 15.8% sub-standard’

Context:

Data released by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on enforcement of norms has noted that 3.7% of the samples collected and analysed were found unsafe, 15.8% sub-standard and 9% samples had labelling defects.

Details:

• The food regulator said this was the first year the data had been compiled for unsafe, substandard and labelling defects separately. This would help authorities take precise corrective and preventive action.
• While there should be zero tolerance to unsafe food, sub-standard and labelling defects require greater efforts on capacity building of the businesses and standards, as well as labelling requirements.
• Ten States/UTs that have performed well include Uttarakhand, Goa, Bihar, Sikkim, Gujarat and Telangana.
• Ten States that have performed poorly include Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Punjab.
• Many of the poorly performing States have not been able to put in place full-time officers and do not have proper testing laboratories.

C. GS 3 Related

1. Centre introduces Bill to amend SPG Act in Lok Sabha

Context:

Minister of State for Home has introduced the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha.

Details:

• The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill said that it is “considered to amend the Act to focus on core mandate, as the security of the Prime Minister, as Head of the Government, is of paramount importance for Government, governance and national security.”
• As per the Bill, “SPG shall provide proximate security to the Prime Minister and his immediate family members residing with him at his official residence.”
• The Bill says that family members of a former PM who do not reside with him at his official residence will not be guarded by SPG commandos and those who reside with him will get security cover of the SPG only for five years.
• The Bill says that in the existing Act there is no cut-off period for providing SPG protection to former PMs or members of their immediate families. Thus, the number of individuals to be provided SPG cover can potentially become quite large. In such a scenario, there can be severe constraints on resources and training.

To know more about Special Protection Group, read Security: Status Symbol or Protection: RSTV – Big Picture.

1. Portal for housing subsidy scheme launched

Context:

The Union Government has launched the Credit-linked Subsidy Services Awas Portal (CLAP) for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Housing for All (Urban).

Details:

• The portal was launched along with the signing of agreements between the Union Housing Affairs Ministry and state governments for the construction of Light House projects under GHTC-India.
• Objective of CLAP portal: The CLAP portal aims to provide a transparent and robust real-time web-based monitoring system for the beneficiaries of the Credit-linked Subsidy Services (CLSS).
• The portal will help the beneficiaries track their application status online on a real-time basis.
• The portal would also benefit other stakeholders to work in unity to release subsidy to the beneficiaries on time.

Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC India), Light House Projects and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana have been covered in 25th November PIB Summary and Analysis. Click here to read.

D. GS 4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

1. India’s enduring document of governance

Context:

Constitution Day (National Law Day), also known as Samvidhan Divas, is being celebrated in India on 26 November to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.

Background:

• On 26 November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950.
• At the time of its birth, constitutional experts the world over did not expect our Constitution to survive very long. One of its most incisive critics was Sir Ivor Jennings, the world’s then leading expert on constitutional law.
• Sir Ivor Jennings declared that India’s Constitution is too large and too rigid. He felt that the Indian Constitution is too caged by its history, and focuses too much on superfluous provisions like the fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy, which would make it difficult to be moulded into something useful through judicious interpretations. Overall, his judgment was that the Constitution would not endure.
• However, as against the views of the critics who came out with their premature analysis, the Constitution of India continues to be an enduring document of governance. Having endured 70 years, India’s Constitution remains one of the world’s oldest and most enduring.
• In the 1960s, the same Sir Ivor Jennings had been commissioned to write a new Constitution for Sri Lanka then known as “Ceylon”. Ironically despite all precautions taken in its drafting, that Constitution lasted about six years.

Findings of a key study:

• A careful examination of the work of the University of Chicago titled “The Lifespan of Written Constitutions, by Thomas Ginsburg, Zachary Elkins, and James Melton” on the longevity of constitutions the world over reveals the endurance, lasting appeal, and effectiveness of the Indian Constitution.
• The study considered the constitutional history of every independent state from 1789 to 2006. The study identified a “Universe of 792 new constitutional systems”, of which 518 have been replaced, 192 still in force, 82 have been formally suspended ultimately to be replaced.

Longevity of the constitutions:

• The study discloses that constitutions, in general, do not last very long. The mean lifespan of constitutions across the world since 1789 is a mere 17 years.
• The study also discerns noticeable variations across generations and regions. The mean lifespan in Latin America and Africa is 12.4 and 10.2 years, respectively. The study, however, found that constitutions in Western Europe and Asia, on the other hand, typically endure 32 and 19 years, respectively. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have constitutions lasting 32 years on average.
• Unlike the trend of improving human health, the life expectancy of constitutions does not seem to be increasing over the last 200 years.
• Constitutions are most likely to be replaced around age 10 and age 35. However, the risk of replacement is relatively high during most of this period, and it appears constitutions do not begin to crystallize until almost age 50.

Functions of a constitution:

• The study finds that the most important function of the Constitution is to ring-fence and then to limit the power of the authorities created under the constitution.
• Constitutions define a nation and its goals.
• It defines patterns of authority to set up government institutions.

Observations regarding Constitutional changes:

• The study shows that there are primary mechanisms by which constitutional changes occur like formal amendments to the text and informal amendments that result from interpretive changes.
• Constitutional lifespan will depend on the occurrence of shock and crisis such as war, civil war or the threat of imminent breakup and structural attributes of the constitution, namely its detail, enforceability and its adaptability and structural attributes of the state.
• The study also finds that the specificity of the document, the inclusiveness of the constitution’s origins, and the constitution’s ability to adapt to changing conditions will be an important prediction of longevity.
• Constitutional durability should increase with the level of public inclusion both at the drafting stage and the approval stage.
• Constitutions whose provisions are known and accepted by the people will more likely be self-enforcing, and in such cases, it would be easier to resolve coordination problems.
• Constitutions that are ratified by public reference enjoy higher levels of legitimacy.
• The primary mechanism through which a constitution is interpreted is a court empowered with powers of constitutional judicial review.

Explaining India’s stability:

• The study points to India being an example of the fact that fractionalized environments produce constitutional stability precisely because no single group can dominate others.
• Public ratification produces a more enduring constitution in democracies.
• Longer constitutions are more durable than shorter ones which suggest that specificity matters.
• The study points out that constitutions work best when they are most like ordinary statutes, which are relatively detailed and easy to modify.

Conclusion:

• The fact that the drafting committee of the Constitution headed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and the Constituent Assembly worked together and applied practically all yardsticks the study now declares as being indispensable to impart durability to a constitution is laudable.
• Some of the noteworthy features of the Indian Constitution:
• The inclusiveness during the formative years of the Constitution-making debates involved views from all regions, religions, and castes.
• The specificity of the provisions in the Constitution removed unnecessary ambiguity.
• Fundamental rights and judicial review were made bulwarks against any concentration of power and authority.
• A workable scheme for amending the constitutional provisions.
• Notable is the fact that the framers of the constitution who did not have any erudite study to guide them on the path of Constitution-making, still succeeded in framing an enduring constitution.
• All that our founding fathers and mothers had to guide their work was their strong commitment to the welfare of our nation and their own experience during the long years of the freedom struggle.

2. Preventing political coalitions of convenience

Context:

The political crisis in the state of Maharashtra.

Details:

• The political manoeuvres in Maharashtra following the declaration of Assembly election results raise several pertinent questions of law and propriety.
• The judicial review of the issue will involve the interpretation and application of the anti-defection law.
• The apex court in Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu case has held that the anti-defection law provisions are salutary and are intended to strengthen the fabric of Indian parliamentary democracy by curbing unprincipled and unethical political defections.
• The court stated that a political party functions on the strength of shared beliefs. Any freedom of its members to vote as they please independently of the political party’s declared policies will not only embarrass its public image and popularity but also undermine public confidence in it which, in the ultimate analysis, is its source of sustenance and its very survival.

Way forward:

• In a multiparty parliamentary arrangement like India, coalitions have become almost an inevitable reality. But there is a need to regulate such coalitions so that situations like those in Maharashtra, Haryana and Karnataka post-election can possibly be avoided.

Treating pre-poll alliances and coalition as a unit:

• Apart from the formal institutional arrangements, for all practical purposes, pre-poll alliances function as a single consolidated unit. The partners do not contest elections against each other. Their cadres and volunteers work for the coalition and not just their individual parties.
• The voters, arguably, vote for a set agenda and political ideology on whose premise the edifice of both the party and the coalition rest.
• Democracy is not just about making choices; it is about making ‘informed choices’. The coming together of two or more parties and the agenda set by them is something which a voter considers before casting her/his vote.
• Therefore, it is argued that until and unless the cases of the coalition are covered under the legal scheme of anti-defection, the real object and purpose of the 10th Schedule will not get accomplished.
• Even the Law Commission of India, in its 170th report on ‘Reform of the electoral laws’, had opined that a ‘pre-election front/coalition’ of political parties should be treated as a ‘political party’ for the purposes of the anti-defection law.

Checking alliances of convenience:

• There is a need to check post-poll ‘alliances of convenience’, wherein even parties with diametrically opposite election manifestos and promises came together to share power. The biggest rivals, after results, become allies by overriding conviction for convenience. The political manoeuvring by parties in Maharashtra appears demeaning to the aspirations of the State’s people.
• Just like for the proper functioning of democracy, disclosure of criminal antecedents, educational qualification and wealth of the candidate is needed, a similar approach should involve asking the political parties and individual candidates to disclose a list of ‘probable post-poll alliances’ under a legal framework drafted by Election Commission.
• This might help the electorate to gauge the level of ideological and political commitment of the parties and candidates. The voters might be in a better position to understand the veracity of the supposed rivalry among different parties.

Conclusion:

• As noted by B.R. Ambedkar in his famous Constituent Assembly speech, “The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of the State. The factors on which the working of those organs of the State depend are the people and the political parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics.”
• Democracy cannot be restricted to the mere casting of votes and the formation of a government. It is also about the trust among the voters of an electorate that the mandate given by them will be reflected in the government formed after elections.

1. Helping 10-year-olds to read by 2030

Context:

World Bank’s efforts to address the issue of learning poverty.

Details:

• Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development and in this direction the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 works towards ensuring quality education for all.
• More than half of all 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries cannot read and understand the basic books relevant to their age. This, often termed learning poverty, is a sign of the global learning crisis that stifles the opportunities and aspirations of hundreds of millions of children.
• Wiping out learning poverty (defined as the percentage of children who cannot read and understand a simple text by age 10) should be an urgent priority for the world.
• As the largest financier of education in low-and middle-income countries, the World Bank Group is working towards reducing the global level of learning poverty by 50 % by the year 2030.

• Learning to read is an important skill as it opens a world of possibilities and it is the foundation on which other essential learning like numeracy and science is built. It is key to helping children achieve their potential.
• It is key to eliminating poverty in general and boosting shared prosperity and more equitable growth.
• The learning crisis not only wastes the children’s potential, but it also hurts entire economies. It will negatively impact future workforces and economic competitiveness — as the World Bank’s Human Capital Index shows that, globally, the productivity of the average child born today is expected to be only 56% of what it would be if countries invested enough in health and education.

Concerns:

• Over the last several years, progress in reducing learning poverty has been stagnant.
• Globally between 2000 and 2017, there has only been a 10% improvement in learning outcomes for primary school-aged children. If this pace continues, 43% of 10-year-olds will not be able to read in 2030.

Way forward:

• Eliminating learning poverty must be a priority, just like ending hunger and extreme poverty for it will help unleash the potential of the children.
• There is an opportunity to increase the rate of improvement in learning outcomes given that the children who will turn 10 in 2030 will be born in 2020.
• There is a need to triple the rate of progress worldwide. This is achievable as demonstrated by the top-performing countries between 2000 and 2015.
International success stories
• In Kenya, the government’s national reading programme has more than tripled the percentage of grade two students reading at an appropriate level. This was accomplished through technology-enabled teacher coaching, teacher guides, and delivering one book per child.
• In Vietnam, a lean, effective curriculum ensures that the basics are covered, there is deep learning of fundamental skills, and all children have reading materials. Learning outcomes of Vietnamese students in the bottom 40% of the income ladder are as high, or higher, than the average student in high-income countries.
The Indian story
• In India, the Right to Education Act has been successful in increasing coverage and access to school education but now there is an urgent need to shift the focus to quality.
• The decision of India to join the Programme for International Student Assessment and the merger of schemes under Samagra Shiksha are encouraging signs that India is moving in this direction.

• The challenges of reducing learning poverty will differ between countries and regions. In some countries, access to school remains an enormous problem — 258 million young people were out of school globally, in 2018. In other countries, children are in classrooms but are not learning.
• By setting a global target, the World Bank can work with countries to define their own national learning targets.
• The target should be to promote reading proficiency in primary schools. Policies should include providing detailed guidance and practical training for teachers, ensuring access to more and better age-appropriate texts, and teaching children in the language they use at home.
• There needs to be an integrated approach to improve entire education systems, so advancements in literacy can be sustained and scaled up. That means making sure children come to school prepared and motivated to learn, teachers are effective and valued and have access to technology, classrooms provide a well-equipped space for learning, schools are safe and inclusive and education systems are well-managed.
• There is a need for continued research and innovation, and the smart use of new technologies on how to build foundation skills.
• Cutting learning poverty in half by 2030 must only be an intermediate goal. The ambition must be to bring that number to zero.

F. Tidbits

1. Start-up policy to woo entrepreneurs

• A draft start-up and innovation policy has been released as part of the Rajasthan Innovation Vision.
• The policy has laid emphasis on creating an infrastructure for attracting entrepreneurs and bringing new ventures to the State.
• The policy will encourage the youths from the State settled elsewhere to come back with their start-ups.
• The policy, for which the Department of Information Technology has invited people’s suggestions, has made a provision for “i-Start Single Window” as a one-stop platform for giving all facilities to entrepreneurs.
• It is believed that the policy would promote partnerships and collaborations and encourage the youth to establish their units and scale up the work by utilising niche technologies in both the products and processes in order to compete at the global level.

2. 72,045 PHCs don’t have toilet facilities for staff

• 72,045 Primary Health Centres (PHC), Sub-Centres (SC), and Community Health Centres (CHC) in India are without toilet facilities for their staff, and 1,15,484 are without separate toilets for men and women patients.
• Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are among the States leading the list.
• The Union Health Ministry has quoted the 2018 Rural Health Statistics, which provides updated information on rural health infrastructure and the requirements of public health facilities in rural areas.
• The World Health Organisation (WHO), speaking about the need for adequate sanitation facilities, including access to clean water, points out that no one goes to a healthcare facility to take ill. Yet hundreds of millions of people face an increased risk of infection by seeking care in health facilities that lack basic necessities, including water, sanitation, hygiene, healthcare waste management and cleaning services.
• As per its estimates, “896 million people use healthcare facilities with no water service and 1.5 billion use facilities with no sanitation service,” notes the WHO.
• According to the best practices prescribed and accepted worldwide for a healthcare facility, there should be at least one toilet dedicated for staff at healthcare facilities, at least one sex-separated toilet with menstrual hygiene facilities, and at least one toilet accessible for people with limited mobility. Also, there should be functional hand hygiene facilities (with water and soap and/or alcohol-based hand rub) available at points of care, and within five metres of toilets.

3. Won’t do anything to threaten India’s security, says Gotabaya

• Days ahead of his first State visit abroad, to New Delhi, Sri Lanka’s newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that his government will not do anything that would threaten India’s security.
• He has asserted that their involvement with China is purely commercial.
• Reiterating his “neutral” foreign policy vision, Mr. Gotabaya said, “we don’t want to get in between the power struggles of superpowers.” Further, commenting on his predecessor government’s agreement with China on the southern Hambantota Port — the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration leased it to China for 99 years — Mr. Gotabaya said: “I am not afraid to say, that was a mistake.”
• The newly-elected President’s visit signals a full circle in diplomatic ties between New Delhi and the Rajapaksas in the last decade — with relations shifting from close cooperation to heightening tensions and now, to what appears a defrost.
• Meanwhile, New Delhi’s list of pending India-assisted projects in Sri Lanka looms. It figured in different bilateral meetings over the years, including in the October 2018 meeting between PM Modi and then PM Wickremesinghe, when the former expressed concern over delay in the projects.

4. Soon, the way you drive will determine your motor cover

• Recommendations such as ‘Named Driver Policy’, use of telematics data to reclassification of vehicles depending on what they are used for, a working group of insurance regulator IRDAI had made as many as 24 recommendations on the own damage (OD) segment of motor insurance.
• ‘Named Driver Policy’ is part of an effort to make pricing reflect risk, which is an international practice. It is believed that, over time, with access to driving habit data, insurers will be able to develop sharper risk-based underwriting practices.
• Another recommendation was the adoption of telematics for motor insurance. Use of telematics or tracking devices will monitor driving habits such as acceleration, and braking and will provide feedback to the driver. Telematics will eventually pave the way for a ‘Pay As You Drive’ and ‘Pay How You Drive’ model.
• It also recommended that the basis for rating shall be the vehicle’s torque rather than cubic capacity. It noted that two-wheelers deployed by e-retailers, including app-based food delivery firms, were a separate risk category but under the current Motor Vehicles Act, there was no provision for their registration as ‘goods carrying vehicles’.

5. Greenhouse gases hit a new record in 2018: WMO

• The World Meteorological Organization has said that Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2018.
• The concentration of carbon dioxide surged from 405.5 ppm in 2017 to 407.8 ppm in 2018, exceeding the average annual increase of 2.06 ppm in 2005-2015.
• The UN agency’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin measures the atmospheric concentration of the gases responsible for global warming, rather than emissions.
• The report said that since 1990, there has been a 43% increase in total radiative forcing – the warming effect on the climate – due to trapped greenhouse gases. Of this, carbon dioxide accounts for about 80%, the WMO said, quoting figures from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
• The annual increase in methane was the highest since 1998, said the report.
• This continuing long-term trend means that future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, more extreme weather, water stress, sea-level rise and disruption to marine and land ecosystems.

6. U.S. missions against IS in Northern Syria resumed

Background:

• Trump had first declared victory in the fight against ISIS in late 2018, and ordered a full withdrawal of the 2,000 American troops on the ground.
• The military reduced the number to 1,000 — but quietly continued fighting ISIS, in particular working with Syrian Kurds.
• After Mr. Trump ordered the withdrawal of the 1,000 troops in October 2019, Vice President Mike Pence reached a deal with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey that accepted a Turkish military presence in a broad part of northern Syria in exchange for a cease-fire.
• The deal amounted to a near-total victory for Mr. Erdogan, as thousands of Syrian Kurds were forced to flee south, often battling with ill-disciplined Turkish proxy forces as they went.
• The United States considers the Syrian Kurds a pivotal partner in the fight on the ground against ISIS, but Turkey views them as terrorists, a distinction that has repeatedly put Washington in a difficult position.

Details:

• U.S. troops have resumed large-scale counterterrorism missions against the Islamic State group in northern Syria, nearly two months after President Donald Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw U.S. troops opened the way for a bloody Turkish cross-border offensive.
• U.S.-backed operations against Islamic State fighters in the area effectively ground to a halt for weeks despite warnings from intelligence analysts that IS militants were beginning to make a comeback from Syrian desert redoubts even though their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed during a U.S. raid.

G. Prelims Facts

1. Assamese gamosa

What’s in News?

Conservationists are banking on the cultural icon – Gamosa, to carry forward the message of turtle conservation, with Gamosas woven with turtle images.

Assamese Gamosa:

• Gamosa is a symbol of Assamese culture, an important marker of cultural identity for the Assamese.
• It is one of the most easily recognizable cultural symbols of the Assamese people.
• This small piece of cloth has high esteem and wide usage in Assamese culture.
• It is also known as ‘Bihuwaan’, as it is an essential part of the Bihu festival of Assam.
• It is generally a white rectangular piece of cloth with primarily a red border on three sides and red woven motifs on the fourth.
• The Assamese Gamosa is mostly woven out of white threads with colourful and intricate inlays in red. There are different varieties of Gamosa woven for religious and auspicious occasions.
• It is valued as a gift for visitors, used as a scarf, anti-dust mask, wrapped around the head as a turban.

Assam Roofed Turtle

• The Assam roofed turtle (Pangshura sylhetensis), also known as Sylhet roofed turtle, is a species of the turtle family Geoemydidae found in the Brahmaputra-Meghna drainage in Assam and parts of eastern Bangladesh.
• It is a freshwater turtle.
• It is classified as Endangered as per the IUCN Red List.

2. Constitution Day

• Constitution Day (National Law Day), also known as Samvidhan Divas, is celebrated in India on 26th of November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.
• The Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India on 26 November 1949, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements about Golan Heights:
1. It is a strategic high ground at the North-western corner of Syria.
2. The plateau borders the Sea of Galilee.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Q2. Consider the following statements:
1. Assam roofed turtle is a freshwater turtle classified as “Endangered” as per the IUCN Red List.
2. It is found in Assam and parts of Bangladesh.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Q3. Consider the following statements:
1. The Constitution of India derives its ultimate authority from the Parliament of India.
2. The Preamble of the Constitution has never been amended.
3. The Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.

Which of the given statement/s is/are incorrect?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. 1, 2 and 3

See
Q4. Arrange the following places, frequently in news, from North to South.
1. West Bank
2. Golan Heights
3. Gaza Strip

Which of the given option/s is/are correct?

a. 2, 1, 3
b. 1, 2, 3
c. 3, 2, 1
d. 2, 3, 1

See