28 November 2023 CNA
Download PDF Here
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS 1 Related B. GS 2 Related C. GS 3 Related ECONOMY 1. Can dollarisation save an economy? D. GS 4 Related E. Editorials INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. The many grave risks confronting the world today INDIAN POLITY 1. It’s time to revamp the structure of the Supreme Court F. Prelims Facts 1. Fibre optic cables: its origins, working and different functions G. Tidbits 1. ILO report urges countries to strengthen safety net 2. Paul Lynch wins 2023 Booker Prize for Prophet Song H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS 1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS 2 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
C. GS 3 Related
Syllabus: Economic policies, currency issues, and the challenges faced by countries with high inflation rates.
Mains: The potential benefits and challenges of dollarization as a solution to hyperinflation.
Prelims: About the concept of dollarization.
Argentina’s recent presidential election victory for Javier Milei has sparked discussions on his unconventional views and proposals, particularly focusing on the radical economic change of replacing the peso with the dollar.
- Argentina’s recent presidential election resulted in victory for Javier Milei, drawing attention to his unconventional views and economic proposals.
- Milei campaigned on replacing the peso with the dollar, eliminating the Central Bank, and cutting government spending.
Challenges and Milei’s Reversals
- Argentina faces significant challenges, including over 100% inflation and two-thirds of the population below the poverty level.
- Milei walks back on some campaign promises, describing dollarisation as a “medium-term” goal and ruling out an immediate lifting of currency controls.
Dollarisation as a Solution
- Dollarisation is seen as a potential solution to hyperinflation by breaking the link between rising prices and increased money supply.
- The theory suggests that replacing the domestic currency with the dollar limits political control over the money supply, moderates inflation, and encourages a focus on export successes and foreign capital.
Potential Problems and Policy Implications
- Dollarisation limits policy leverage, particularly in monetary policy and the ability to use depreciation to boost exports.
- Proponents argue that it encourages productivity and stability but raises concerns about policy independence and adaptability.
- Ecuador faced economic crises in the late 1990s, leading to the adoption of the dollar in 2000.
- Despite political upheaval, Ecuador experienced significant economic progress, including GDP growth, poverty reduction, and inflation control.
- Dollarisation played a role, but other factors, such as oil reserves and fiscal policies, contributed to success.
Role of Policy and Challenges in Ecuador
- Ecuador’s success is not solely attributed to dollarisation but involves sustained engagement with policymaking and fiscal policies that prioritise social spending.
- Rising oil prices contributed to economic windfalls, and active fiscal policy played a crucial role in ensuring sustainable growth.
Dangers of Overreliance on External Currency
- Drawing a parallel with Greece’s adoption of the euro, external currency adoption without policy independence can lead to challenges during economic crises.
- Greece faced austerity measures and constraints in fiscal and monetary policy during the Eurozone crisis.
Nut Graf: As Argentina contemplates dollarisation under President-elect Javier Milei, this article examines the potential benefits and challenges of such a move, drawing insights from Ecuador’s experience and emphasising the critical role of domestic policy in achieving economic success.
D. GS 4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
Syllabus: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests
Prelims: NATO, AUKUS, QUAD, Camp David and Oslo Accords, Generative AI
Mains: Threats to global peace and security
- Global conflict, instability, and chaos are stemming from power struggles across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas in the 21st century.
- Multiple nations have contributed to this instability that has left much of the world trapped in constant tension and crisis.
Ongoing Conventional Conflicts
- Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine continues to cause geopolitical tensions with no resolution in sight after over 18 months. The risks of wider conflict grow with each month.
- A new battleground opened up recently between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Backed by the West, the conflict has the risk of becoming an all-out regional war after decades of tension. Previous peace deals such as Camp David and Oslo Accords, have collapsed.
- Massive U.S. naval deployments in response to Israel-Hamas tensions could bring Iran and Iran-backed militant groups like Hezbollah into the conflict. This could substantially alter the conflict leading to unpredictable consequences.
Rising Great Power Tensions
- The situation in the Indo-Pacific region has great potential for a large conflict, possibly involving the U.S. and China directly. This region already has a lot of strategic competition between major powers.
- The U.S. and China have little room for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Both countries now seem intent on expanding the scope of their conflict.
- The U.S. appears confident that it now has an advantage over China since China’s growth has slowed and it cannot get advanced Western technology.
- China is aggressively pursuing two contradictory goals: checkmating the U.S.-dominated world order and ensuring the success of a China-dominated order.
- Issues like Taiwan are not getting the attention they deserve currently.
- The West currently just wants to copy its tactics from Ukraine against Russia and use them against China in the Indo-Pacific. This ignores major differences between the situations in Europe and Asia.
- Asia lacks a strong military alliance like NATO and has loose security arrangements like AUKUS and the Quad to confront the rising ambitions of China.
- But, few Asian countries are ready for a military confrontation with China.
Global Terrorism and Extremism
- On 9/11, al-Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers, giving terrorism a new dimension. This was followed by other major terrorist groups like ISIS, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Boko Haram, and Hamas against Israel. These groups pose ongoing dangers.
Emerging Risks and Vulnerabilities
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber threats pose serious risks as dependence on digital technology grows. Generative AI could deepen fissures within nation-states and alter the truth itself.
- Military and security uses of AI are extremely concerning due to vulnerabilities like data poisoning, backdoors, and evasion attacks.
- Over 5.5 trillion cyber attacks occurred worldwide in 2021. Attacks are exponentially increasing, making cyber threats critical future war elements.
- Quantum computing’s data-crunching ability is reshaping some sectors but has inherent risks too, especially regarding AI simulation.
- Health is increasingly critical as humanity advances. COVID-19 exemplified dangerous epidemics that may become more common.
- Many experts believe climate change and related health issues will be among the greatest global risks going forward.
- Current global tensions and risks could spiral out of control into huge conflict if left unchecked.
- However, history proves that even difficult situations can be resolved through committed diplomacy and good-faith efforts.
- Courageous leadership from the UN and global governance institutions guided by wisdom is needed to navigate tensions toward peace.
Nut Graf: The ongoing tensions between the US and China in the Indo-Pacific region, coupled with the use of artificial intelligence and cyber threats, pose significant risks to global stability. Apart from diplomacy, courageous leadership from the UN and global governance institutions is crucial to prevent escalating tensions from spiralling into a wider conflict.
Syllabus: Structure, Organization and Functioning of the Judiciary
Prelims: Master of Roster, Supreme Court and its jurisdictions, Division Benches, Constitution Benches, Indian High Courts Act of 1861, Government of India Act, 1935, Art 124 and 130, Law Commission of India
Mains: Reform of the Supreme Court of India
- Legal experts and civil society groups have highlighted a need for a revamp in the structure of the Supreme Court.
- The Supreme Court of India has 3 jurisdictions under the Constitution: original, appellate, and advisory.
- It serves as both a Constitutional Court and a Court of Appeal.
- It hears cases between the centre and states, between multiple states, rules on civil and criminal appeals, and advises the President on legal and factual issues.
- Anyone can immediately petition the Supreme Court if they believe their fundamental rights have been violated.
Composition of Benches:
- Cases are heard by benches of varying sizes, as directed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) who acts as the Master of Roster.
- Constitution Benches typically have 5, 7, or 9 judges and rule on constitutional law issues.
- At least 5 judges are required for Constitution Bench cases involving substantial questions of constitutional interpretation.
- Typical cases are heard by 2-judge Division Benches or 3-judge full Benches on a range of topics.
- As the workload grew over the decades, Parliament increased the number of Supreme Court judges from 8 in 1950 to 34 by 2019.
Caseloads and Pending Cases:
- There are currently 79,813 cases pending before the Court’s 34 judges.
- The Supreme Court issues around 8-10 decisions each year through Constitution Benches made up of 5 or more judges.
- It is mainly serving as an appeals court.
- Only 4 out of 1,263 total decisions issued in 2022 came from a Constitution Bench.
- During colonial rule, Supreme Courts existed in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.
- The Indian High Courts Act of 1861 replaced the Supreme Courts with High Courts overseeing separate regions.
- The Government of India Act, 1935 established the Federal Court of India to hear appeals from the Privy Council and High Courts.
- Article 124 of the new Constitution called for the creation of a Supreme Court.
- The modern Supreme Court of India was founded in Delhi under Article 130.
- In 1984, the Tenth Law Commission of India proposed splitting the Supreme Court into two divisions: a Constitutional Division and a Legal Division.
- The Eleventh Law Commission reiterated this in 1988, stating it would make justice more available and decrease litigation costs.
- In 1986, the Supreme Court said establishing a National Court of Appeal to handle special leave petitions was desirable in the “Bihar Legal Support Society v. Chief Justice of India” case.
- The 229th Law Commission Report in 2009 recommended four regional Supreme Court benches to hear non-constitutional cases.
- It is observed that the majority of appeals in the top court consisted of cases from High Courts in closer proximity to the Supreme Court and the regional Supreme Court benches could correct this anomaly.
- The Supreme Court’s work could be divided to create a Final Court of Appeal and a permanent Constitution Bench. This would ensure more consistency in rulings.
- A Constitution Bench is currently examining these issues and looking at measures to protect citizens’ access to the Supreme Court.
- There is an opportunity to address the structural gap in the Supreme Court by designating several appeal benches as regional benches.
Nut Graf: The Supreme Court of India’s structure has remained largely unchanged since its inception in 1950, despite a significant increase in caseload. This has led to concerns about the court’s efficiency and effectiveness in handling constitutional matters. Proposed reforms include establishing a Final Court of Appeal and permanent Constitution Benches, as well as designating regional appeal benches.
F. Prelims Facts
Syllabus: GS 3- Science and Technology
Prelims: About Fibre Optical Cables
Origins and Development of Optical Fibres
- Physicist Charles Kao’s groundbreaking suggestion in the 1960s led to the development of glass fibres for telecommunication.
- Jean-Daniel Colladon and Jacques Babinet’s early experiments in the 19th century laid the foundation for light-guiding through transparent media.
- The term ‘fibre optics’ was coined by Narinder Singh Kapany in the 1950s, marking a significant leap in fibre development.
How Optical Fibres Work
- Light, an electromagnetic wave, undergoes total internal reflection within glass fibres, allowing the guided transmission of signals.
- A fibre optic communication system comprises a transmitter, optical fibre, and receiver, enabling high-speed data transmission with minimal signal loss.
- Fibre cables are insensitive to external perturbations, making them superior to radio or copper-cable-based communication.
Evolution of Fibre Optic Cables
- Early optical fibres were used in medicine and defence applications but were limited in long-distance transmission.
- Harold Hopkins and Narinder Singh Kapany’s work in 1954 marked progress, and Lawrence E. Curtiss’s glass-clad fibres in 1956 paved the way for extended data transmission.
- Theodore Maiman’s invention of the laser in 1960 further enhanced optical communication capabilities.
Charles Kao’s Contribution and Improved Fibre Manufacturing
- In 1966, Kao and colleagues identified impurities in glass as the cause of signal attenuation, leading to the development of high-purity fused silica fibres.
- Fibre-drawing techniques, involving the preparation of a preform and drawing it into a thin fibre, became the standard manufacturing method.
- Modern optical fibres have significantly reduced signal loss, with less than 0.2 dB/km.
Current Applications and Future Prospects
- Fibre optics technology finds applications in telecommunication, medical science, laser technology, and sensing.
- The Indian government’s National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications, announced in the 2020 Union Budget, reflects a commitment to advancing fibre optic networks.
- Fibre optic communication, coupled with quantum optics, is poised to enter a new era with expanded possibilities.
- According to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), nearly 30 lakh workers die globally each year due to work-related accidents and diseases.
- Over 63% of these deaths occur in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Exposure to long working hours (55 hours or more per week) is identified as the leading cause of work-related deaths, contributing to almost 7.45 lakh fatalities in 2016.
- The three most hazardous sectors globally are mining and quarrying, construction, and utilities.
- The report highlights that 79 out of 187 member countries have ratified the ILO Occupational Safety and Health Convention (No. 155), and 62 countries have ratified the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187), but India has not ratified either convention.
- The report recommends five categories of “Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work” to ensure safety and health at work. These are,
- freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
- elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour
- abolition of child labour
- elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
- a safe and healthy working environment
- The 2023 Booker Prize for Fiction has been awarded to Irish author Paul Lynch for his novel “Prophet Song.”
- “Prophet Song” is a dystopian work set in a near-future version of Ireland, depicting the struggles of a mother of four trying to save her family from totalitarianism.
- The Booker Prize comes with a £50,000 cash prize and is one of the most prestigious literary awards.
- The novel captures the social and political anxieties of the current moment and is praised for its emotional storytelling.
- The Booker Prize is open to fiction works by writers of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.
- The Booker Prize was first awarded in 1969 and has featured acclaimed authors such as Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and Hilary Mantel among its winners.
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
Q1. Consider the following statements regarding optical fibres:
- Optical fibres are typically made of thick cylindrical strands of glass.
- Light travels through optical fibres almost at the speed of sound.
- Total internal reflection is a phenomenon crucial for guiding light within optical fibres.
How many of the statements given above are correct?
- Only one
- Only two
- All three
Explanation: Optical fibres are made of thin cylindrical strands of glass, and light travels through them almost at the speed of light. Total internal reflection is crucial for guiding light within optical fibres.
Q2. Consider the following statements about rat hole mining:
- Rat hole mining involves extracting coal from narrow, horizontal seams using small pits.
- It is known for its adherence to strict safety measures, ensuring worker protection and environmental conservation.
- It can cause land degradation, deforestation, and water pollution.
How many of the statements given above are incorrect?
- Only one
- Only two
- All three
Explanation: Rat hole mining involves extracting coal from narrow seams using small pits. However, it poses significant safety and environmental hazards due to the lack of regulations.
Q3. Who amongst the following authors won the 2023 Booker Prize for Fiction for his/her novel ‘Prophet Song’?
- Salman Rushdie
- Paul Lynch
- Geetanjali Shree
- Margaret Atwood
Explanation: Irish author Paul Lynch won the 2023 Booker Prize for his novel ‘Prophet Song’, which is a dystopian work set in an Ireland that descends into tyranny.
Q4. With reference to the International Labour Organization (ILO), which of the following statements is/are correct?
- The ILO is a tripartite U.N. agency, founded in 1919, bringing together governments, employers, and workers of member States to promote decent work.
- India is a founding member of the ILO and has ratified six out of the eight core/fundamental ILO conventions.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: The ILO is a tripartite U.N. agency, and India, a founding member, has ratified six out of the eight core/fundamental ILO conventions.
Q5.Consider the following statements about dollarisation:
- It can address hyperinflation by disconnecting rising prices from the domestic money supply.
- Dollarisation encourages economies to focus on export success and attract foreign capital, fostering economic growth.
- A potential drawback of dollarisation is the loss of policy leverage, as monetary policy can no longer control the money supply.
How many of the statements given above are incorrect?
- Only one
- Only two
- All three
Explanation: Dollarisation addresses hyperinflation, promotes export focus and foreign investment, but it comes with the drawback of losing policy leverage.
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- Identify some of the biggest challenges faced by nations around the world today. What role can India play in steering the world towards possible solutions to these challenges? (250 words, 15 marks) [GS- II: International Relations]
- Critically analyse the idea of setting up separate constitutional benches in the Supreme Court and its overall impact on the efficiency of the Supreme Court. (250 words, 15 marks) [GS- II: Polity]