13 Oct 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Oct 13th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
HEALTH
1. Expert panel clears Covaxin for emergency use in 2-18 age group
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. MHA begins talks with Gorkha leaders, West Bengal Govt.
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Govt. announces plastic waste recycling targets
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. The sanctions cloud over India-U.S. ties
ECONOMY
1. Boost tourism through disruption
F. Prelims Facts
1. Retail inflation falls to 4.35%; industrial output growth up
2. Modi to launch master plan for multimodal connectivity
3. Malabar exercise could expand: U.S. Admiral
4. Govt. nod for fertilizer subsidy
5. Do not breathe easy on the silicosis prevention policy
G. Tidbits
1. Modi for ‘humanitarian help’ to Afghanistan
2. China launches biodiversity fund
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. Govt. announces plastic waste recycling targets

Context:

The Environment Ministry has issued plastic waste recycling targets.

Details:

  • The draft rules mandate producers of plastic packaging material to collect all of their produce by 2024 and ensure that a minimum percentage of it be recycled as well as used in subsequent supply.
  • It has also specified a system whereby makers and users of plastic packaging could collect certificates — called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates — and trade in them.
  • Only a fraction of plastic that cannot be recycled — such as multi-layered multi-material plastics — would be eligible to be sent for end-of-life disposal such as road construction, waste to energy, waste to oil and cement kilns.
  • Only methods prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) would be permitted for their disposal.
  • Producers of plastic would be obliged to declare to the government, via a centralised website, how much plastic they produce annually.
    • Companies would have to collect at least 35% of the target in 2021-22, 70% by 2022-23 and 100% by 2024.
    • In 2024, a minimum of 50% of the rigid plastic (category 1) would have to be recycled as would 30% of their category 2 and 3 plastic.
    • Every year would see progressively higher targets and after 2026-27, 80% of their category 1 and 60% of the other two categories would need to be recycled.
  • If entities cannot fulfil their obligations, they would on a “case by case basis” be permitted to buy certificates making up for their shortfall from organisations that have used recycled content in excess of their obligation.
  • Non-compliance would not invite a traditional fine. Instead, an “environmental compensation” would be levied.

Plastic packaging Categories:

  • Category 1 is “rigid” plastic;
  • Category 2 is “flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags (including carry bags made of compostable plastics), plastic sachet or pouches;
  • Category 3 is called multilayered plastic packaging, which has at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Boost tourism through disruption

Background:

  • Given their contact intensive nature, the Indian tourism and hospitality sector was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and it experienced substantial job loss. In this context, the article discusses the measures required to revive the sector.

India’s performance in the sector:

  • India has improved its competitiveness in travel and tourism. India has improved its ranking in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report from 65 in 2013 to 34 in 2019.
  • Despite being home to diverse natural landscapes as well as a rich cultural heritage, India has not been able to use this to its advantage. The international arrivals have remained comparatively low in India, at around 9 to 10 million.

Significance of the sector:

  • The tourism and hospitality sector has huge potential in India.
    • The employment generation capacity of the sector is much higher compared to the agricultural or manufacturing sector i.e; it can generate a large number of jobs for a given investment.
    • The growth in this sector has multiplier effects on income generation as it is employment-intensive. This could help achieve the elusive “inclusive growth” ideal in India.
    • The tourism sector, unlike many other sectors, can grow with smaller capital investments and that too without any industrial gestation period. This becomes all the more important for a developing economy like India which is perennially faced with the challenge of resource mobilization for its economic growth and development

Measures already taken by the government:

  • In the pre-pandemic period, many initiatives were adopted to promote the tourism sector, such as providing e-visas under various categories for people from particular countries, Global Media Campaigns and the Paryatan Parv celebration.
  • In the post-pandemic phase, the Government of India has announced financial support for more than 11,000 registered tourist guides/travel and tourism stakeholders. It has also announced the issuance of five lakh free tourist visas once international travel resumes.

Recommendations:

  • While welcoming the initiatives being taken by the government, the article argues for long-term measures to tap the potential of the tourism and hospitality sector in India. In this direction, it makes the following recommendations.

Skilling the workforce:

  • There is a need to train the workforce in India so that workers can develop the skills to perform jobs in the travel and tourism sector.

Public-private partnership:

  • There is a need to push for public-private partnerships to tackle the challenges in the tourism sector of India.
  • Travel and tourism startups should be encouraged with active support from the government for ideation and access to finance.

Use of technology:

  • Frontier technologies like blockchain technology should be harnessed for use in the sector.
    • Blockchain ledger coupled with IOT devices for healthcare could have a positive impact on medical tourism.
    • Blockchain-based money solutions could help kick-start local tourism industries.

Conclusion:

  • India needs a comprehensive disruptive innovation strategy to tap the potential of the tourism and hospitality sector to create employment opportunities and create avenues for economic growth.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Retail inflation falls to 4.35%; industrial output growth up

What’s in News?

  • India’s retail inflation has cooled off to a five-month low of 4.35%.
  • This is owing to a sharp fall in food price inflation, while industrial output growth accelerated driven largely by a statistical effect of a low base. (August 2020 had recorded a 7.1% contraction.)

Retail Inflation:

  • Retail inflation is the general rise in the retail prices of goods and services in the economy.
  • Retail inflation is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care.
    • It is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them.
    • Changes in the CPI are used to assess price changes associated with the cost of living; the CPI is one of the most frequently used statistics for identifying periods of inflation or deflation.

2. Modi to launch master plan for multimodal connectivity

What’s in News?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch ‘PM GatiShakti’.

  • PM GatiShakti is a national master plan for multimodal connectivity.
  • It will address the past issues through institutionalising holistic planning for stakeholders for major infrastructure projects.
  • PM GatiShakti is the result of the government’s endeavour to build Next Generation Infrastructure which improves Ease of Living as well as Ease of Doing Business.
  • Infrastructure plans would be designed and executed with a common vision, instead of being made in silos.
  • The master plan would cover projects of many Ministries and State Governments, including Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, dry/land ports, UDAN, textile clusters, defence corridors, electronic parks, industrial corridors, fishing clusters and agricultural zones.
  • Economic Zones like textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, defence corridors, electronic parks, industrial corridors, fishing clusters, agri zones will be covered to improve connectivity and make Indian businesses more competitive. It will also leverage technology extensively including spatial planning tools with ISRO imagery developed by BiSAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics.

The multi-modal connectivity will provide integrated and seamless connectivity for the movement of people, goods and services from one mode of transport to another. It will facilitate the last mile connectivity of infrastructure and also reduce travel time for people.

3. Malabar exercise could expand: U.S. Admiral

What’s in News?

Phase II of the Malabar naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal.

  • While Phase-I of Malabar was held in August and hosted by the U.S. Navy near Guam, Phase-II is being held between October 12 and 15 in the Bay of Bengal.
  • As Phase-II of the exercise began, the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations said that the exercise could expand and it was up to the “partners inside the Quad” to discuss that.
  • Phase-II will build upon the synergy, coordination and inter-operability developed during Phase-I.
  • It will focus on advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings.

Note: India-US Relationship:

  • India has signed all four foundational agreements with the U.S.:
  • While the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed a long time ago, an extension to it, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed in 2019.

4. Govt. nod for fertilizer subsidy

What’s in News?

The Centre has approved an additional fertilizer subsidy of ₹28,655 crore for the rabi or winter planting season.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the new nutrient-based subsidy rates for phosphatic and potassic fertilizers.
  • For urea, the Centre sets a fixed maximum retail price.
  • Non-urea fertilizer prices are decontrolled, with the government fixing nutrient-based subsidy rates instead.
  • The subsidy is paid to fertilizer companies as compensation for selling their products to farmers below market prices.
  • Thus, the price a farmer pays for a 50-kg bag of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), the most popular fertilizer after urea, would continue to remain at ₹1,200.
  • The increased subsidy would offset the hike in global rates of DAP, nitrogen, phosphate and potassic fertilizers.

5. Do not breathe easy on the silicosis prevention policy

Silicosis:

  • Silicosis is a long-term lung disease caused by inhaling large amounts of crystalline silica dust, usually over many years.
  • Silica is a substance naturally found in certain types of stone, rock, sand and clay. Working with these materials can create a very fine dust that can be easily inhaled. Once inside the lungs, it causes swelling (inflammation) and gradually leads to areas of hardened and scarred lung tissue (fibrosis).
  • Silicosis is an occupational disease due to dust exposure. It is incurable and can cause permanent disability.

Rajasthan state government’s policy on silicosis:

  • Rajasthan contributes over 17% of the value of mineral production in India. This accounts for the largest contribution from states.
  • Rajasthan was the first state to notify silicosis as an ‘epidemic’ in 2015, under the Rajasthan Epidemic Diseases Act, 1957. In 2019, it also announced a formal Pneumoconiosis Policy.

G. Tidbits

1. Modi for ‘humanitarian help’ to Afghanistan

What’s in News?

G20 extraordinary leaders’ meeting on Afghanistan.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that Afghanistan requires unhindered humanitarian assistance and an inclusive government.
  • He reiterated India’s call for shaping international response to the Afghan crisis along the conditions laid down in the UN Security Council Resolution 2593.
    • The resolution demands that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten/attack any country or to shelter/ train terrorists or plan/finance terrorist acts.
    • It was put forward by the US, UK, and France and adopted after 13 council members voted in favour.
  • The Prime Minister supported the role of the United Nations in solving the current crisis in Afghanistan, and also highlighted the harmony between the UN and the G20 in this regard.

Note:

India has not yet recognised the Taliban set-up in Kabul as a legitimate government of Afghanistan.

2. China launches biodiversity fund

What’s in News?

China has pledged to inject $233 million into a new fund to protect biodiversity in developing countries, despite disagreements among major donors on the initiative.

  • Beijing is the world’s biggest polluter.
  • China has sought to play a more prominent role internationally in biodiversity conservation in recent years.
  • A summit on safeguarding plants, animals and ecosystems was organised in the Chinese city of Kunming.
  • The summit aims to establish a new accord setting out targets for 2030 and 2050.
  • China will take the lead in establishing the Kunming biodiversity fund with a capital contribution of 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million) to support the cause of biodiversity conservation in developing countries.

‘30 by 30’ agenda:

  • A key proposal being debated at the conference is the “30 by 30” agenda that would afford 30% of the Earth’s land and oceans protected status by 2030.
  • According to a UN report, global spending to protect and restore nature needs to triple this decade to about $350 billion annually by 2030 and $536 billion by 2050 to meet this target.
  • However, some rich country donors believe that a new fund for conservation is not necessary as the United Nations’ Global Environment Facility helps developing nations finance green projects.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q.1 Which of the following statements is correct with regard to the G20?
  1. It was formed primarily to focus on climate change and environmental issues in 20 major economies.
  2. It comprises 19 countries and the European Union.
  3. G20 countries conduct annual joint military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.
  4. Russia was recently removed from the group.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. It comprises 19 countries and the European Union.  The G20 summit founded in 1999 is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and financial agenda. It brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies.

Q.2 Recently the term ‘PM Gati Shakti’ was seen in news. What does it refer to?
  1. National master plan for multimodal connectivity and integrated infrastructure development.
  2. Financial inclusion programme aimed at North-Eastern states.
  3. Livelihood generation scheme for migrant workers affected by the pandemic.
  4. A public-private partnership in the commercial space sector.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

PM Gati Shakti is a national master plan for multimodal connectivity and integrated infrastructure development.

Q.3 Which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach related to waste management.
  2. Under this policy, producers are given significant responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
  3. India is opposed to this policy and it is limited to European countries.

Options:

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach related to waste management.
  • Under this policy, producers are given significant responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
  • The Environment Ministry has issued draft rules that mandate producers of plastic packaging material to collect all of their produce by 2024 and ensure that a minimum percentage of it be recycled.
Q.4 The Nutrient Based Subsidy Rates for non-urea fertilizers are approved by - 
  1. Ministry of Finance
  2. NITI Aayog
  3. Ministry of Agriculture
  4. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

For urea, the Centre sets a fixed maximum retail price. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approves the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates of non-urea fertilisers.

Q5. With reference to the recent developments in science, which one of the following 
statements is not correct?
  1. Functional chromosomes can be created by joining segments of DNA taken from cells of different species.
  2. Pieces of artificial functional DNA can be created in laboratories.
  3. A piece of DNA taken out from an animal cell can be made to replicate outside a living cell in a laboratory.
  4. Cells taken out from plants and animals can be made to undergo cell division in laboratory petri dishes.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Functional chromosomes cannot be created by joining segments of DNA taken from cells of different species.
  • Pieces of artificial functional DNA can be created in laboratories. It is Artificial Gene Synthesis or DNA Printing.
  • A piece of DNA taken out from an animal cell can be made to replicate outside a living cell in a laboratory. It is cloning.
  • Cells taken out from plants and animals can be made to undergo cell division in laboratory petri dishes. It is called tissue culture.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. India’s tourism and hospitality sector may hold the key towards solving the long pending unemployment problems in the country. Discuss. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-3, Economy]
  2. ‘The task of reorganizing the states in India is still unfinished’. Do you agree? Elucidate with examples. (250 words; 15 marks)[GS-2, Polity and Governance]

Read the previous CNA here.

Oct 13th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

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