11 Oct 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Oct 11th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Iran makes 20% more enriched uranium
2. There is consensus over Kalapani: ex-Nepal Minister
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Stubble burning: bio-decomposer solution to be sprayed on city farmlands from today
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. A ‘Taiwan flashpoint’ in the Indo-Pacific
ECONOMY
1. A homecoming
F. Prelims Facts
1. HC grants bail to man charged under POCSO
2. Meghalaya river back from dead, claims govt.
3. Study sought into rabies deaths despite vaccination
4. All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (AQEES)
G. Tidbits
1. Tejaswini initiative helps build confidence: police
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. There is consensus over Kalapani: ex-Nepal Minister

Context:

Former Foreign Minister of Nepal has said that Nepalese political parties have a general consensus over the fact that Kalapani in Uttarakhand is part of Nepal’s sovereign territory.

Read more on the boundary dispute between India and Nepal covered in May 24th, 2020 CNA

Category: ECONOMY

1. A homecoming

Context

  • The government has announced its decision to sell all its stake in Air India (AI) as well as AI’s stake in two other businesses — Air India Express Ltd (AIXL) and Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd (AISATS).

Background

  • The sale of Air India to a private player has been in the offing for a long time.
  • AI was started by the Tata Group in 1932, but in 1947, as India gained independence, the government bought a 49% stake in AI.
  • In 1953, the government bought the remaining stake, and AI was nationalised.

LPG reforms

  • With economic liberalization and the growing presence of private players, the dominance of Air India came under serious threat.
  • Ideologically too, the government running an airline did not quite gel with the mantra of liberalization.

Attempts to privatize

  • The first attempt to reduce the government’s stake was made in 2001 under the then NDA government.
    • But that attempt to sell a 40% stake failed because of high losses.
  • In 2018, the Narendra Modi government made another attempt to sell the government stake — this time, 76%. But it did not elicit even a single response.
  • Another attempt started in January 2020, and now the government has been able to finally conclude the sale.

How was the Govt able to conclude the sale?

  • One, in the past the government retained a partial stake and private players did not seem interested.
    • That’s because the mere idea of government ownership, even if it was as little as 24%, made private firms wonder if they would have the operational freedom needed to turn around such a heavy loss-making airline.
    • Unlike all the past attempts, this time the government put 100% of its stake on sale.
  • Two, the sheer mountain of debt on AI’s books, not to mention the ongoing losses.
    • Earlier, the government expected the bidders to pick up a certain amount of the debt along with the airline. That approach did not work.
    • This time, the government let the bidders decide the amount of debt they wanted to pick up.

Significance

From the government’s perspective:

  • The Centre, for its part, can finally heave a sigh of relief at having successfully exited the commercial aviation space, a high-cost industry that most governments around the world have left in the hands of private carriers so as to ensure taxpayers’ money is deployed more meaningfully in social and strategic sectors.
  • It underscores the government’s commitment to saving taxpayers from paying for daily losses of AI.

From the Tatas’ perspective:

  • Apart from the emotional aspect of regaining control of an airline that they started, AI’s acquisition is a long-term bet.

Challenges

  • One of the immediate challenges facing the new owners will be to find office space.
    • The deal does not include the airline’s other assets and the buildings like the Air India building at Nariman Point and the Airlines House in Delhi.
    • As a result, one of the Tata Group’s first jobs will be to locate office accommodation for Air India’s employees.
  • In a bid to protect the interests of the more than 13,000 permanent and contractual staff at the airline and its unit, the government has bound Talace to ensure there should be no job cuts for at least one year.
    • Therefore, integrating the sizeable workforce is going to be one among the many serious challenges.
  • The Tata Group will also have to launch a global manhunt for top personnel who will need to pick up the reins very quickly.
    • Currently, Air India has no CEO and Rajiv Bansal, its chairman and managing director, is an IAS officer, who is also the Civil Aviation Secretary.

Way forward

  • Indian carriers have allowed the Gulf carriers to grab a large chunk of Indians travelling abroad.
    • It is said that Dubai’s Emirates gets about 20 per cent of its revenue from Indian passengers. The same’s true for Etihad and Qatar Airways.
  • Similarly, Indians travelling eastwards have divided their preferences between airlines like Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific.
  • Air India gets two-thirds of its income from its international routes and is the leading player from India in the international market.
  • Therefore, the Tatas have a huge opportunity in the international markets and it could build on this in coming years.

F. Prelims Facts

1. HC grants bail to man charged under POCSO

Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO):

  • Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) was passed by the parliament in 2012.
  • It was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.
  • The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography.

Read more: POCSO or Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act: Necessity and Features

2. Meghalaya river back from dead, claims govt.

What’s in News?

According to the Meghalaya state government, a detoxing pilot project has brought River Lukha back from the dead.

River Lukha:

  • The Lukha river is in the East Jaintia Hills district.
    • It is in this district that most of Meghalaya’s rat-hole coal mines are located.
  • The contamination by acid mine drainage and run-off from the coal mines had made it toxic beyond redemption a decade ago.
  • The pilot project to rejuvenate the Lukha used algae to remove toxic contents from the water. The detoxification process is called phycoremediation.
  • Phycoremediation has improved the pH level of a critical stretch of the river.

3. Study sought into rabies deaths despite vaccination

What’s in News?

A proper study has been sought into recent deaths due to rabies among people who are vaccinated against the infection.

  • Rabies is a fatal infection in which the chances of death are 100%.
  • Patients are given four to five doses of the anti-rabies vaccine in intervals from the day of the bite, along with the anti-rabies serum.
  • The vaccine gives full protection only 14 days after it is administered.

Rabies:

  • Rabies is a viral disease that is spread through the animal bite such as the dog.
  • The infection caused by this leads to encephalomyelitis i.e the inflammation of the brain as well as the spinal cord.
  • The transmission of the virus happens through the saliva and affects the CNS or Central nervous system. This virus belongs to a family called Rhabdoviridae.

4. All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (AQEES)

  • It was launched with the objective of collecting employment data on a quarterly basis from all the establishments.
  • It is designed to be an Establishment based Employment Survey that would provide estimates for the demand side conditions of the labour market.
  • It updates about the employment and related variables of establishments, in both organised and unorganised segments of nine selected sectors.
    • The nine selected sectors are Manufacturing, Construction, Trade, Transport, Education, Health, Accommodation and Restaurant, IT/ BPO and Financial Services.
    • These sectors account for 85% of the total employment in establishments employing 10 or more workers as per the Sixth Economic Census (EC), which serves as the basis of the QES survey.
  • The AQEES has two parts, one is Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) and another is Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES).

Quarterly Employment Survey (QES)

  • It would provide the employment estimates for the establishments employing 10 or more workers.

Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES)

  • It has also been launched to cater to the need for data-driven labour welfare policy formulation, as a part of the AQEES, which would provide the employment estimates for the establishments recruiting 9 or fewer workers.

Context

  • The Labour Bureau released the results of the All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (QES) for the first quarter (FQ) of 2021 (April to June).

G. Tidbits

1. Tejaswini initiative helps build confidence: police

What’s in News?

Tejaswini – a women-centric safety initiative of north-west district – Delhi.

  • The initiative aimed to reach out to women belonging to all strata of society and female senior citizens, and also to safeguard the rights and dignity of women and children.
  • The tasks and assignments are carried out by women beat staff.
  • It resulted in significant growth in terms of its reach and scope of work.
  • The presence of women constables and their identifying the needy and distressed people have worked as a catalyst for building confidence and courage among women and making them more aware of their own safety.
  • These women beat constables work in tandem with various NGOs, schools, colleges and other agencies to get insights and spread legal and social awareness of various issues concerning women and children.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q.1 Consider the statements as criteria given by the Indian Meteorological Department 
(IMD) for Heat Waves:
  1. Heat Wave is considered if the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C for Plains and at least 30°C for Hilly regions.
  2. A heat wave will be declared if there is a departure of 4.5 degrees C to 6.4 degrees C from the normal temperature.
  3. A departure above 6.4 degrees C is regarded as a severe heat wave.
  4. The above criteria have to be met for at least two consecutive days.

Which of these statements is correct?

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 2, 3 & 4 only
  3. 3 & 4 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India in the month of March to June. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has provided the following criteria to define Heat Waves:

  • Heat Waves need not be considered till the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C for Plains and at least 30°C for Hilly regions.
  • A heat wave will be declared if there is a departure of 4.5 degrees C to 6.4 degrees C from the normal temperature.
  • A departure above 6.4 degrees C is regarded as a severe heat wave.
  • These criteria have to be met for at least two consecutive days.
Q.2 Consider the following statements with regards to Jim Corbett National Park:
  1. It was India’s first National Park.
  2. It was set up as Ramganga National Park and was only given its current name in 1956, after Jim Corbett, the hunter-turned-naturalist.
  3. In 1973, the park became the launchpad of Project Tiger – India’s first tiger protection programme.

Which of these statements is/are not correct?

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Jim Corbett National Park was India’s first National Park. It was set up as Hailey National Park after Sir Malcolm Hailey, the governor of the United Province.
  • It was renamed Ramganga National Park, named after the river that flows through it, shortly after independence and was renamed yet again as Corbett National Park in 1956.
  • In 1973, the park became the launchpad of Project Tiger – India’s first tiger protection programme. 
Q.3 Arrange the following in decreasing order of their contribution to India’s greenhouse 
gas emissions:
  1. Transport
  2. Agriculture
  3. Electricity production
  4. Waste management

Options:

  1. 2>3>1>4
  2. 1>3>2>4
  3. 3>2>1>4
  4. 2>3>4>1
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

Emissions Share

Q.4 Consider the following statements with regards to the new railway line between Jaynagar 
in Bihar and Bardibas in Nepal:
  1. This is Nepal’s first-ever broad gauge passenger service.
  2. The line has been built by Indian engineering major, IRCON.
  3. The operations and maintenance of the line will be the responsibility of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited.

Options:

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 2 & 3 only
  3. 1 & 3 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • The railway line between Jaynagar in Bihar and Bardibas in Nepal is Nepal’s first-ever broad gauge passenger service.
  • The line has been built by Indian engineering major, IRCON.
    • Indian Railway Construction Limited (IRCON) is under the ownership of Indian Railways, Ministry of Railways, Government of India.
  • The operations and maintenance of the line will be the responsibility of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited.
Q.5 Consider the following statements: 
  1. The 44th Amendment to the Constitution of India introduced an Article placing the election of the Prime Minister beyond judicial review.
  2. The Supreme Court of India struck down the 99th Amendment to the Constitution of India as being violative of the independence of the judiciary.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • 99th Amendment replaced the collegium system of appointing judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts with a new body called the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).
  • Later, the Supreme Court Bench led by Justice J S Khehar declared the National Judicial Appointments Commission and the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act as ‘unconstitutional and void’.

Read about 44th Amendment of the Indian Constitution.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. In pursuing its Indo-­Pacific strategy, India needs to be mindful of the China­-U.S. equations in the region. Analyse. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS 2 International Relations)
  2. The U.S. appears to be outlining a softer focus for Quad. Evaluate. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS 2 International Relations)

Read the previous CNA here.

Oct 11th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

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