27 Nov 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

November 27th, 2019 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Government plans to merge Daman & Diu, Dadar & Nagar Haveli
2. Transgender Persons rights Bill passed in RS
3. Lok Sabha discusses bill on e-cigarette ban
C. GS 3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Most advanced satellite developed in India: Sivan
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Need quality control for green crackers
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. The misadventure of a new citizenship regime
HEALTH
1. Not so swachh
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Negotiating the faultlines
F. Tidbits
1. Reserve Bank flags rising bad assets from Mudra loans
2. Rating agency lowers growth projection
3. CJI throws light upon lack of infra in lower courts
4. Action to combat global warming inadequate: UNEP
G. Prelims Facts
1. U.S. officials inspect key missile system: Russia
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

A. GS 1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS 2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Government plans to merge Daman & Diu, Dadar & Nagar Haveli

Context:

The government has introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to merge two Union Territories: Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli into one.

Details:

  • The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill 2019 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Minister of State for Home.
  • So far, both the Union Territories have separate budgets and different secretariats even though they are just 35 km apart. Dadra and Nagar Haveli has just one district while Daman and Diu has two.
  • The merger of the two UTs, located along the western coast near Gujarat, will be done for better administration and check duplications of various work.
  • The merged Union Territory is likely to be named as Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and its headquarters could be Daman and Diu.
  • The country currently has nine Union Territories after the creation of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
  • However, with the merger of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the number of UTs will come down to eight.

2. Transgender Persons rights Bill passed in RS

Context:

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 was passed by Parliament, with the Rajya Sabha passing it after a motion to refer it to a select committee was defeated.

Details:

  • Passed by the Lok Sabha in August 2019 and introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, the legislation is meant to end discrimination against transgender persons.
  • However concerns have been raised about certain provisions of the bill, terming them regressive.

This Issue has been comprehensively covered in 16th August 2019 Comprehensive News Analysis. Click Here to read.

Procedure for passing a bill is covered in 7th August Comprehensive News Analysis.

3. Lok Sabha discusses bill on e-cigarette ban

Context:

  • The Lok Sabha has taken up for discussion, a Bill that proposes a ban on e-cigarettes, prescribes a maximum punishment of three years in jail and a fine of up to 5 lakh for violations.
  • The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019, has been brought in to replace an Ordinance issued on September 18.

Details:

  • The Bill seeks to prohibit the production, trade, storage, and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.
  • Electronic cigarettes: The Bill defines electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as electronic devices that heat a substance, which may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation.  These e-cigarettes can also contain different flavours and include all forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, heat-not-burn products, e-hookahs, and other similar devices.
  • Banning of e-cigarettes: The Bill prohibits the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India.  Any person who contravenes this provision will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both.  For any subsequent offence, the person will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to three years, along with a fine of up to five lakh rupees.
  • Storage of e-cigarettes: Under the Bill, no person is allowed to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes.  If any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or both.
  • Once the Bill comes into force, the owners of existing stocks of e-cigarettes will have to declare and deposit these stocks at the nearest office of an authorised officer.  Such an authorised officer may be a police officer (at least at the level of a sub-inspector), or any other officer as notified by the central or state government.
  • Powers of authorised officers: If an authorised officer believes that any provision of the Bill has been contravened, he can search any place where trade, production, storage or advertising of e-cigarettes is being undertaken.  The authorised officer can seize any record or property connected to e-cigarettes found during the search.  Further, he may take the person connected with the offence into custody.
  • If the property or records found during the search cannot be seized, the authorised officer can make an order to attach such property, stocks or records.

The government had, in September 2019 introduced the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance. The topic has been covered in 20th September Comprehensive News Analysis. Click here to read.

C. GS 3 Related

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Most advanced satellite developed in India: Sivan

Context:

  • Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K. Sivan has termed Cartostat-3 the most complex and advanced satellite India has ever developed.
  • It is also the satellite with the highest-ever resolution that the ISRO has developed till date.
  • Cartostat-3 is mainly an earth observation satellite, which will provide spatial, spectral and temporal data for various fields including urban planning, agriculture, water resource management, environment and disaster management.

Read more about Cartosat 3.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Need quality control for green crackers

Context:

  • The Supreme Court has said that it wants every consignment of the material used in manufacturing green firecrackers to be tested for quality as the issue concerns public health.
  • The court directed that a quality control mechanism be set up in each manufacturing unit of green firecrackers.

This issue has been covered in 27th October Comprehensive News Analysis. Click Here to read.

D. GS 4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category:POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. The misadventure of a new citizenship regime

Context:

Home Minister’s declaration of a nationwide NRC during the parliamentary session.

Background:

  • The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register maintained by the Government of India containing names & certain relevant information for the identification of Indian citizens.
  • The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India and since then it has not been updated until recently when the North-East Indian state of Assam became the first state in India where the updating of the NRC is being taken up to include the names of those persons whose names appeared in the NRC of 1951 and is still alive; and/or of their presently living descendants who have permanent residence within the state.
  • The NRC aims to identify illegal immigrants— primarily from Bangladesh — who entered Assam and settled there after March 25, 1971 and deport them to their native country.
  • The register was initially, specifically made for Assam state. However, on 20th November 2019, Home Minister declared during a parliamentary session that the NRC would be extended to the entire country.
  • While the decadal census by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, the Aadhaar cards being issued and the National Population Register focus on enumerating and counting the “residents” rather than “citizens” the objective of a nationwide NRC is to count citizens and specifically to identify and separate citizens from non-citizens, and shift out the “infiltrators” to temporary detention camps and future deportation.

Concerns:

The rationale for a nationwide NRC, its feasibility, and, above all, its moral legitimacy, are questionable.

Lacking a well-defined procedure:

  • Under the Foreigners’ Act, 1946, the burden of proof rests on the individual charged with being a foreigner.
  • The Citizenship Act provides no independent mechanism for identifying aliens and in the backdrop of the Supreme Court striking down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, or IMDT Act, in 2005, the NRC effectively places an entire population under suspicion of alienage.
  • Given the above scenario where the state does not have the ability to “detect” aliens, or even to secure its borders against illegal immigrants, the exercise to find out infiltrators by elimination may place a section of the population in a disadvantageous position.

Resources needed:

  • The resources needed to conduct a nationwide NRC would be very high.
  • The Assam NRC is reported to have cost ₹1,600 crores with 50,000 officials deployed to enroll almost 3.3 crore applicants. On this basis, and taking as an indicative number the Indian electorate of 87.9 crores, a nationwide NRC would require an outlay of ₹4.26 lakh crore, which is four times the budgetary outlay for education for the year 2019.
  • The work of “authenticating” 87.9 crore people would entail the deployment of 1.33 crore officials. In 2011-12, the total number of government employees in India was 2.9 crore. If, like the Census, this exercise is to be managed exclusively by the Central government, this would entail huge work pressure on the government employees.

Assam Experience:

  • Few lessons have evidently been learned from the Assam experience that yielded unanticipated outcomes, the Assam NRC exercise that even its champions acknowledge to be deeply flawed, has ended up excluding 19 lakh people.
  • Kamal Sadiq in his book “Paper Citizens: How Illegal Immigrants Acquire Citizenship in Developing Countries” had dealt with how illegal immigrants when they arrive in countries like India, which are often plagued by limitations of administrative capacity, obtain citizenship papers fairly easily. The book introduces “documentary citizenship” to explain how paperwork often falsely obtained through “networks of kinship” and “networks of profit” confers citizenship on illegal immigrants.
  • On similar lines in Assam, such an enrolment drive could actually put undocumented nationals at risk of losing their citizenship in a futile search for non-national migrants who are invariably better documented. This is a nightmarish prospect for poor and unlettered citizens whose ancestors have known no other land but India, but who are unable to produce acceptable documentation.
  • The fear of not having papers has already led to many suicides in Assam and there are chances for more such instances.

Cutoff date uncertainty:

  • Among the many uncertainties that persist is about the cut-off date. March 1971 has little relevance beyond Assam. The speculation about a July 1948 date for the rest of India is implausible in light of constitutional provisions, post-Partition jurisprudence, and the enactment of the Citizenship Act in 1955.

Uncertainty regarding other provisions:

  • Details like will enrolment in the NRC be compulsory or voluntary (as in Assam), and what might the consequences of not seeking registration be, is not clear.

Politicization:

  • Political considerations alone have prevented the implementation, for over two decades, of the Supreme Court ruling awarding citizenship to Chakma and Hajong tribals in Arunachal Pradesh. Politics over the issue is inevitable and will only squander the potential benefits that such an exercise may offer. There is the federal imperative of seeking the consent of State governments given that many States in northeast India are erupting in protest.

Deep moral misgivings.

  • The implementational challenges like the cut-off dates and resource constraints are only cautionary arguments against a nationwide NRC.
  • The proposed exercise will have adverse repercussions for the delicate but fraying plural social fabric of this nation.
  • The civilizational qualities of humaneness and hospitality that have marked our history, the equality of citizenship, based on birth and without regard to creed, that our Constitution guarantees will be tarnished.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill:

  • If the NRC carves out paths to statelessness for groups that are disfavoured, the Citizenship Amendment Bill creates paths to citizenship for preferred groups.
  • The explicit promise of citizenship in the CAB is to migrants belonging to specified religious groups who will be eligible for fast-track citizenship because they are persecuted minorities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. It does not offer similar respite to the victims of sectarian religious persecution in neighboring countries, such as the Ahmadiyas or the Rohingyas.
  • Though it has been unequivocally asserted in Parliament that the NRC and the CAB are unrelated, the cumulative import of these developments is the entrenchment of a conception of citizenship inconsistent with that adopted at Independence.
  • A shift from the principle of jus soli or birth-based citizenship to the “racial citizenship” implied by the descent-based principle of jus sanguinis began to occur from 1985 onwards with the signing of the Assam Accord. In 2004, an exception to birth-based citizenship was created for individuals born in India but having one parent who was an illegal migrant (impliedly Bangladeshi Muslim) at the time of their birth.
  • The CAB and the NRC will only consolidate this shift to a jus sanguinis citizenship regime.

Way forward:

  • The Constituent Assembly debate on citizenship can act as a guiding light. The Constituent Assembly settled on the principle of jus soli or birth-based citizenship as being “enlightened, modern, civilized” as opposed to the “racial citizenship” implied by the rival descent-based principle of jus sanguinis. We need to preserve this principle.
  • Constitutionally, India is a political community whose citizens avow the idea of the nation as a civic entity, transcending ethnic differences. The NRC-CAB combination signals a transformative shift from a civic-national conception to an ethno-national conception of India, as a political community in which identity determines gradations of citizenship. This needs to be guarded against.

For more information on this topic, check Oct 11, 2019 CNA: Click Here

Category:HEALTH

1. Not so swachh

Context:

The new survey data from the National Statistical Office (NSO) regarding sanitation coverage in India.

Details:

  • India’s high-profile Swachh Bharat programme has been appreciated globally for its goal of providing sanitation to all, but as new survey data from the National Statistical Office (NSO) show, it remains a work in progress.
  • The Central government has been reiterating its claims on rural India becoming entirely open defecation-free (ODF). The Ministry of Jal Shakti said the coverage in 5,99,963 villages had risen from 38.7% in 2014 to 100% in 2019. However, the NSO survey shows lesser progress than claimed by the government.

Concerns:

  • The NSO survey results add a new dimension since they controvert data relied upon by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on ODF.
  • The quest to equip houses in the countryside with a toilet has led to an expansion, but there was a deficit of about 28% as of October last year and not 5% as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Gramin) had claimed.
  • The declaration that the country has ended open defecation in its rural areas needs to be reviewed given the new data provided by the survey.
  • Many States that were declared to be free of open defecation, did not qualify for the status, according to the NSO data.
  • It is well-recognized that development indices are low in some States, and local bodies lack the capacity and resources to bring universal sanitation even where political will is present.
  • It is indisputable that the number of toilets has gone up significantly, there is evidence to show that this has not translated into use everywhere.

Way forward:

  • Though the Centre has disputed the survey results, it should ideally treat it as a fresh assessment of how much ground is yet to be covered.
  • The data from the survey could help the government review performance in States such as Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan, where the lack of toilets is reported to be higher than the national average.
  • The survey provides an opportunity to review other social determinants such as education, housing, and water supply which have a strong influence on the adoption of sanitation. It would be pointless to pursue sanitation as a separate ideal if communities are unable to see their benefits due to overall deprivation.
  • Rural housing and water supply are key to bringing toilet access to all, the 2.95 crores subsidized dwellings targeted to be built by 2022 under the government’s flagship housing programme can bridge the shortfall and this needs to be provided with essential resources.
  • A marathon programme to bring all-round development to India’s villages, which have not really benefited from years of fast-paced economic growth is needed.
  • Sustained work to eliminate black spots in coverage and a massive urban programme is critical to ending open defecation and universalizing toilet access.

For more information regarding this topic, check Nov 25, 2019 CNA : Click here

Category:SOCIAL ISSUES

1. Negotiating the faultlines

Context:

Recent incidents in the #MeToo campaign.

Details:

  • Recent incidents have made it evident that not all women had been entirely honest when jumping on the #MeToo campaign.
  • It turns out that the society at large did not verify the narratives they received.

Significance of the #MeToo movement:

  • The #MeToo rewrote the rules of engagement. It forced men to take the idea of consent.
  • It pushed organizations to sit up and take notice of sexual harassment.
  • It ensured that due process mechanisms were set up in institutions.

Concerns:

  • The fiercest, newest methods of justice delivery of naming and shaming cannot eschew the oldest tenets of ethics. Accusations must be proven before judgment is pronounced. The due process of law requires that a woman must not be believed simply because she is a woman. In such scenarios, there is scope for misuse.
  • Within days #MeToo had become a free-for-all mud fest where asking for substantiation soon became a crime against feminism.
  • It was alarming at the time to see the ferocity with which more and more denouncements were demanded, putting immense pressure on women to take part or be cast out of Feminism 4.0. It looks now as if many young women felt forced to submit questionable narratives just to participate in a heady moment in history.
  • The fallout of the movement wasn’t light given that men lost reputations, careers, friends, and incomes. When it happened to powerful men who had preyed on women for years, it felt justified. But it also affected young men with no fault of theirs and had to face ostracism and the impossibility of getting a job. Even if the process of law finds that the charges are false, it is impossible to dismiss such harassment as collateral damage.
  • Most of the accusations came from women with agency. In many cases, the men had no power over the women. Now a higher number of women are educated, empowered and independent than ever before. Many liberated, self-reliant young women now live alone in metropolises, working hard, partying hard, and living life on their own terms. Yet, #MeToo was flooded with women from just this demographic. This casts doubts on the veracity of such claims.

Conclusion:

  • Sexual harassment of women is a major challenge to society and it needs to be addressed with the right earnest. But it is equally important to guard against motivated accusations.
  • The least that the society can do is to ask for detailed accounts, get background, establish context with respect to future accusations.
  • Even if naming and shaming are considered as apt ways, it should be reserved for cases where channels of justice and mediation had already been tried.
  • Some diligence must be ensured that only genuine cases go public.
  • While addressing the issue of sexual harassment, there is a need to explore how boundaries with respect to the rules of engagement between the opposite sexes can be drawn and respected in far more explicit ways by all genders in new-age sexual relationships. The digital age needs different customs and conventions.
  • A clean-up can only help strengthen the well-intended #MeToo movement.

For more information on the #MeToo issue: Click Here

F. Tidbits

1. Reserve Bank flags rising bad assets from Mudra loans

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has expressed concern over rising bad loans from Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY).
  • It offers faster credit, with ticket sizes starting from 50,000 and going up to Rs. 10 lakh, to small businesses.
  • While such a massive push would have lifted many beneficiaries out of poverty, there has been some concerns at the growing level of non-performing assets among these borrowers, RBI Deputy Governor M.K. Jain has said.
  • With stress in such loans increasing, the central bank is set to ask bankers to monitor such loans closely as unsustainable credit growth in the sector could risk the system.
  • Jain also highlighted the systemic and concentration risks that could emerge in the microfinance sector in India from unsustainable credit growth, increased inter-connectedness, pro-cyclical and financial risks manifested by lower profitability.

Read more about MUDRA Yojana.

2. Rating agency lowers growth projection

  • India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has revised downwards its growth projection for the second quarter of the current financial year to 4.7% and the full-year growth estimate to 5.6%.
  • This is the fourth revision and has come in after the agency had revised its FY20 GDP growth forecast only a month ago to 6.1%.
  • This revision became inevitable as the high-frequency data now suggest that the agency’s estimate of second quarter FY20 GDP growth coming in a little higher than 5% is unlikely to hold.
  • The 5.6% GDP growth rate for the full year will require the government to shoulder a large part of the investment burden, Ind-Ra said, adding that keeping to the fiscal deficit target for the year could result in an even lower growth rate.
  • It said that the ongoing agrarian distress and dismal income growth so far, coupled with subdued income growth expectations in urban areas have weakened the consumption demand considerably.

3. CJI throws light upon lack of infra in lower courts

  • Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde has said that the backlog of cases and lack of infrastructure in lower courts for judges and litigants, including women and senior citizens, needed deeper attention and quick resolution.
  • Chief Justice Bobde said, “We do not have the luxury of dealing with the backlog of cases in isolation from the flow of new cases to our courts — the demands of justice mean that we will have to deal with both. Together.”
    • Describing the subordinate judiciary as the backbone of the system, the CJI said they lacked proper facilities for litigants, including the differently-abled.
    • The courts did not even have proper display boards to show a case’s progress, only to name a few problems.
  • He highlighted the importance of Artificial Intelligence in justice administration.

4. Action to combat global warming inadequate: UNEP

  • Ahead of the 25th edition of the Conference of Parties (COP) in Madrid, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned that countries’ action to combat global warming is inadequate.
  • On the whole, countries must cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at least three-fold to have a fighting chance at containing the severest effects of global warming.
  • Unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6% each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement says a statement accompanying the UNEP report.
  • Every year, the UNEP assesses the gap between anticipated emissions in 2030 and levels consistent with the 1.5°C and 2°C targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • The report finds that greenhouse gas emissions had risen 1.5% per year over the last decade and emissions in 2018, including from land-use changes such as deforestation, hit a new high of 55.3 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.
  • Global temperatures have already risen about 1°C since pre-industrial times and negotiations, such as the COP, are aimed at preventing temperatures from rising more than one degree. Current commitments by countries will see temperatures rise by 3.2°C over pre-industrial levels.
  • According to the report, the summary findings are bleak. “Countries collectively failed to stop the growth in global GHG emissions. Deeper and faster cuts are now required.”
  • India is the third-largest emitter behind the United States and China respectively.
  • India’s per capita emissions, however, are significantly below the United States, China and many others.

G. Prelims Facts

1. U.S. officials inspect key missile system: Russia

  • Russia has said that it had shown Avangard nuclear missile system to U.S. inspectors for the first time, a move Moscow said showed a key arms control treaty was still effective.
  • Russia is due to deploy the system designed to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • The inspection was done under the New START treaty, which came into effect in 2011.

New START:

  • New START is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
  • It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification entered into force on 5 February 2011.
  • New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements:
  1. Sangai is the state animal of Manipur and is only found in the state.
  2. IUCN classifies Sangai deer as “Critically Endangered”.
  3. Sangai deers are also locally called Phumdi.

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

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

See
Answer
Q2. Who among the following can preside over a Joint sitting of the Parliament?
  1. Speaker of Lok Sabha
  2. Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha
  3. Member of Parliament
  4. Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha

Choose the correct option:

a. 1 and 4 only
b. 1, 2 and 4 only
c. 1 and 2 only
d. 1, 2, 3 and 4

See

Answer
Q3. “Shishu, Kishore and Tarun” relates to which of the following schemes of the
Government of India?

a. Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana
b. Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) Scheme
c. Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK)
d. Mother’s Absolute Affection Programme

See

Answer
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to “Operation Flood”:
  1. Operation Flood was a landmark project of India’s National Dairy Development Board.
  2. Operation Flood led to the White Revolution.
  3. As a result of Operation Flood, India transformed from a milk-deficient country to a self-sufficient milk-producing country.

Choose the correct answer:

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

See

Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. In the backdrop of the government’s intention of a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), discuss the need for such a measure and major associated concerns. (10 marks, 150 words).
  2. Comment on the significance and achievements of the Swachh Bharat programme. Suggest what needs to be done for universalizing toilet access and usage. (15 marks, 250 words)

November 27th, 2019 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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