# 17 Oct 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

A. GS1 Related
INDIAN SOCIETY
1. SC relief for ‘amicable couple’
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. No time bar for reporting crimes under POCSO Act
2. Panel to mediate after A.P., TS squabble on Krishna water
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Palaly airport in Sri Lanka to be developed by AAI
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
SOCIAL JUSTICE: SEXUAL HARASSMENT
1. Slow burn to rage
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India has to balance pressures from U.S., China and Russia: Shyam Saran
F. Tidbits
1. A govt. app to rope in volunteers
G. Prelims Fact
1. U.P. Cabinet okays ‘Prayagraj’
2. Garba
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


A. GS1 Related

1. SC relief for ‘amicable couple’

Context

• The Supreme Court has allowed a couple to go their separate ways without waiting for the mandatory “cooling-off” period of six months on learning that they have decided to part as friends.
• This is one of the first cases in which the Supreme Court has followed its own September 2017 ruling that Hindu couples, who have mutually agreed to separate, need not wait anymore for the mandatory “cooling-off ” period of six months before divorce.
• Previously, under the Hindu Marriage Act, once a couple moved a court of law for divorce, they had to wait for a minimum period of six months before the court actually passed a decree of divorce.
• Divorce by mutual consent was introduced as an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act in 1976. The waiting period under Section 13B was mandated to prevent couples from taking any hasty decision to end their marriage.

The Hindu Marriage Act

• The Hindu Marriage Act was enacted in 1955 by the Parliament of India. The purpose of this act was to modify and codify the laws relating to marriage among the Hindus.
• This enactment brought uniformity of law for all sections of Hindus and it extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Divorce in India

• Although marriage is held to be divine, the Hindu Marriage Act does permit either party to divorce on the grounds of unhappiness, or if he or she can prove that the marriage is no longer tenable.
• A petition for divorce usually can only be filed one year after registration. However, in certain cases of suffering by the petitioner or mental instability of the respondent, a court may allow a petition to be presented before one year.

Grounds for divorce

A marriage may be dissolved by a court order on the following grounds:

• Adultery – the respondent has had voluntary sexual intercourse with a man or a woman other than the spouse after the marriage.
• Cruelty – the respondent has physically or mentally abused the petitioner.
• Desertion – the respondent has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years.
• Conversion to another religion – the respondent has ceased to be a Hindu and has taken another religion.
• Unsound mind – the respondent has been diagnosed since the marriage ceremony as being unsound of mind to such an extent that normal married life is not possible.
• Presumption of death – the respondent has not been seen alive for seven years or more.
• No resumption of cohabitation after a decree of judicial separation for a period of at least one year.

B. GS2 Related

1. No time bar for reporting crimes under POCSO Act

Context

• Survivors of child sexual abuse will be able to file a police complaint when they are adults after the government clarified on Tuesday that there is no time bar on reporting such crimes.
• This is an important step for survivors of child abuse who may wish to file a complaint as adults after years of trauma but are turned away at police stations
• POCSO is applicable only for crimes after its enactment in 2012, cases of historical child sexual abuse or those that pre-date the law will not find a closure.
• Section 19 of the POCSO Act lays down the procedure for reporting a crime but doesn’t specify a time limit or statute of limitation for reporting offences covered under it.

What is POCSO Act?

• POCSO or The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was established to protect the children against offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography.
• It was formed to provide a child-friendly system for trial underneath which the perpetrators could be punished.
• The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age. It also makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system.
• The Act defines different forms of sexual abuse which includes penetrative and non-penetrative assault. It also involves sexual harassment, pornography, etc.
• Under certain specific circumstances POCSO states a sexual assault is to be considered “aggravated if the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a member of the armed forces or security forces or a public servant or a person in a position of trust or authority of the child, like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor or a person-management or staff of a hospital — whether Government or private.”
• The Act also makes it mandatory to report such cases. It makes it the legal duty of a person aware of the offence to report the sexual abuse. In case if a person fails to do so, the person can be punished with six months’ imprisonment or fine.
• The Act further states that the evidence of the child should be recorded within a period of thirty days. The Special Court taking cognizance of the matter should be able to complete the trial within the period of one year from the date of taking cognizance of the abuse.
• It provides that the Special Court proceedings should be recorded in camera and the trial should take place in the presence of parents or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence.
• The Act provides for punishment against false complaints or untrue information. It describes strict action against the offender according to the gravity of the offence.
• It prescribes rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and also fine as punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault. It also prescribes punishment to the people who traffic children for sexual purposes.

2. Panel to mediate after A.P., TS squabble on Krishna water

• The Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) authorised its three-member committee to make allocations for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after the two failed to see eye to eye over sharing of water at a meeting held in Hyderabad.
• The two States traded charges on drawing far more than the quota from the Srisailam reservoir leading to a collapse of the negotiation process.
• Telangana Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi charged Andhra Pradesh with drawing an unspecified amount from the reservoir through the Pothireddypadu head regulator and his AP counterpart M Venkateswara Rao said Telangana had been continuously drawing water from the Srisailam left canal in the name of power generation.
• According to an agreement reached between the two States at the time of bifurcation, both should draw equal amount for power generation.

River Krishna

• Origin → Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, Western Ghats
• Flow Route: Maharashtra → Andhra Pradesh → Bay of Bengal
• Famous Projects → Koyna, Tungabhadra, Srisailam & Nagarjuna Sagar Dam

A Glimpse at the Inter-State Water Disputes

• India is a diverse country where many rivers connect two or more states and this leads to the problem of Inter-State disputes. Nearly, most of the major rivers of the country are Inter-State Rivers and their waters are shared by two or more than two states.

Two important constitutional articles related the water disputes

Article 262

• Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-state rivers or river valleys
• Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter State river or river valley
• Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such disputes

Article 263

Provisions with respect to an inter-State Council: If any time it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of a Council charged with the duty of

(a) inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between States;

(b) investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States, have a common interest; or

(c) making recommendations upon any such subject and, in particular, recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action with respect to that subject, in shall be lawful for the President by order to establish such a Council, and to define the nature of the duties to be performed by it and its organisation and procedure

Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956

• The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted under Article 262 of Constitution of India on the eve of reorganization of states on linguistic basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.
• Whenever the riparian states are not able to reach amicable agreements on their own in sharing of interstate river water, section 4 of IRWD Act provides dispute resolution process in the form of Tribunal.

1. Palaly airport in Sri Lanka to be developed by AAI

Context

• Airports Authority of India (AAI) is set to prepare a detailed project report for the development of Palaly airport in Sri Lanka.
• This would be the first project for the AAI in the island nation.

Why developing the Palaly airport is important?

• India is looking to develop other airports in the island nation along with Palaly.
• Palaly is in Jaffna in the north — Tamil territory. India had earlier promised to develop Palaly airport which has been a demand by the Northern Province for some time.
• Palaly is important due to the fact that it is in the sensitive Tamil-dominated, traditionally closer to India. By developing critical infrastructure here, India is also keeping a foothold in this part of Sri Lanka
• The airport will be Sri Lanka’s first in the north, give the northern people direct connectivity with places like south India, Malaysia and Thailand.
• India has also offered to develop the Kankesanthurai airport also in the north, as well as the Mattala international airport in south Sri Lanka, neighboring the Chinese developed Hambantota port.

C. GS3 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

1. Slow burn to rage

Note to Students:

This is an important topic to cover for UPSC aspirants as there has been much coverage on different channels such as social media and print media. Students must also look at this topic also from the perspective of the legislations enacted by Parliament to protect the interests of women. We shall look into the different facets of this topic taking into account a larger background as well as the editorial as featured in The Hindu.

Larger Background:

What is Sexual Harassment?

• Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexually defined behaviour which can range from misbehaviour of an irritating nature to the most serious forms such as sexual abuse and assault, including rape.
• The Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 defines sexual harassment to include any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication) namely:
2. A demand or request for sexual favours
3. Making sexually coloured remarks
4.  Showing pornography
5. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

What is sexual harassment at workplace?

Sexual harassment at the workplace is any unwelcome sexually defined behaviour which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, abusive or offensive working environment.

The Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 states that if the following circumstances  occur or are present in relation to, or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment, it may amount to sexual harassment at the workplace:

1. Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment in her employment; or
2. Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment; or

III.            Implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; or

1. Interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or
2. Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.

Taking a look at some important questions:

• Can an aggrieved file a civil suit in a case of sexual harassment in the workplace?

Yes, a civil suit can be filed for damages under tort laws. The basis for filing the case would be mental anguish, physical harassment, loss of income and employment caused by the sexual harassment.

1. Under what circumstances can complaints be filed?

Complaints may be filed under the following circumstances:

• Cases involving individuals from the same organization
• Cases that concern third-party harassment, which implies harassment from an outsider.
1. Where can I file a complaint?
• Internal Complaints Committee – if you are an aggrieved woman who has a relationship of work with that specific organization
• Local Complaints Committee – if you are an employee from an establishment where the Internal Complaints Committee has not been constituted due to having less than 10 workers. In the case that the complaint is against the employer himself/herself and the individual feels that the case may be compromised, she can also lodge the complaint in the LCC
• For instances where the LCC may not be immediately accessible, the Act instructs the District officer to designate one nodal officer in every block, taluka and tehsil in rural or tribal area and ward or municipality in the urban area, who will receive the complaint and forward it to the concerned LCC within 7 days.
• Local police station, in case provisions under the Indian Penal Code are applicable.

An Indian Context:

• India has signed and ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
• In 1997 as part of the Vishaka judgment, the Supreme Court drew upon the CEDAW and laid down specific guidelines on the prevention of sexual harassment of women at the workplace.
• The Vishaka guidelines defined sexual harassment and codified preventive measures and redressal mechanisms to be undertaken by employers.

Currently in the News:

• Actor Tanushree Dutta’s had made allegations, in an interview in end-September, of harassment at the hands of actor Nana Patekar on a film set a decade ago.
• There has also been the recent development where at last count, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment by at least 10 women journalists. These accusations with respect to Nana Patekar fall in a large spectrum that range from inappropriate behaviour to acts of physical impropriety, while some date back to more than 15 years.
• In the immediate aftermath of this development, women have been speaking of their experiences and the trauma, mostly on Twitter and Facebook.
• The testimonies that have so far been expressed have mostly concerned the film world and the mainstream media, and cover both the workplace and private spaces.
• These testimonies range from stories of assault to propositioning, suggestiveness to stalking.
• Currently, in India, many questions arise. What is perhaps of even greater disquiet is that for so long an official silence was kept around what were, in many instances, open secrets.

Origins of the MeToo Movement:

• The MeToo hashtag gained currency a year ago in the U.S.
• In the U.S., women came out one after another to first corroborate allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
• There were many allegations levelled and each further account made it clear that there was a systemic pattern of abuse and silence.

A Note on the Due Process:

• Experts believe that there has been an utter failure of due process.
• Unfortunately, victims have written formal complaints and have also tried to get their organisations to act, but they have mostly found themselves facing a system that prefers to be complicit with the perpetrators.
• A couple of cases further illustrate this:
1. In the case of the former TERI chairman, R.K. Pachauri, for instance, despite the victim filing a police complaint and compelling the organisation to initiate an inquiry, he not only continued in TERI for another year but was publicly supported by the board members.
2. There is another case of rape that one can sight against the former Editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal. In spite of being a “fast track” case, five years on, it has only seen a series of adjournments, with no sign of justice on the horizon.

It is important to note that these events, when added to the daily news cycle of multiple rapes, stalking, and harassment from all across the country, have resulted in victims of sexual crimes entirely losing faith in the justice system.

Experts believe that the failure of due process is the success of #MeToo. After decades of witnessing the impunity of the perpetrators, #MeToo is fuelled by an impunity of sorts of the ‘victims’.

Certain areas that need clarity:

• Currently the floodgates have been opened and various kinds of stories are getting expose. These stories range from awkward flirting to physical assault.
• One other factor that is dividing the discussion into two is the nature of consent.
• It is important to note that what needs consent is often a function of society. For example, many aspects of intersexual behaviour especially in the workplace that were acceptable 30 years ago, needless to say, are not tolerated any more.
• However, we observe that with the advent of smartphones and instant messaging, interpersonal behaviour and the definition of consent have undergone a major change in the last decade.
• Thus, stemming from this, it is imperative at this point to understand that consent is not static, but needs to be continuous and incremental.

Editorial Analysis:

• The degree and extent of the revelations over the last fortnight have revealed an ugly, festering side to our society.
• We find that social media became the multiplier and aggregator of voices.
• Over the past few weeks, we find that women are raging about how they thought they were lone victims, how they could not speak up for fear of inflicting familial ‘shame’, and how they feared benevolent ‘protection’ would mean confinement at home or being married off.
• Women are revealing how seniors and officials they complained to, reinforced fears- such as that of losing a job, losing face and loosing independence.
• Unfortunately, we find that women have been subjected to humiliation and harassment.
• It is felt that without this massive collation of narratives, single episodes would have remained isolated transgressions that could be defused.

There are certain negative trends also that have been associated with this movement. These are as follows:

1. We observe that first-person accounts are dissolving into unverified lists.
2. Fakes are jumping onto the bandwagon.
3. People are urging disclosures, offering up their timelines almost like a panacea or certificate of courage. It is important to note that this is unwise because vulnerable women might be pressured to think it could be just that.
Further, while being cathartic, disclosures might not always help in either healing or closure, especially in low-profile cases.

Concluding Remarks:

• It is important to identify the exact transgression in the various cases that are being expressed, and to ensure that action is taken with due process.
• Further, it is important to note that no one can be deemed guilty only because he had been named and any punishment must be proportionate to the misdemeanour.
• It is also important to consider that many people, especially men, have raised concerns regarding false accusations. This remains valid, and there have been instances of this even in the last 10 days.
• No movement is perfect, and all battles have a certain amount of collateral damage.
• It is important that men be active allies in making the due process a fair and functional one in which all victims, including those of false allegations, can seek justice.
• It is imperative now that the building of a new, fair system that delivers brisk justice, critical to everyone’s interests is initiated.
• In conclusion, we should note that there has been a systemic disregard for making workplaces and common spaces free of harassment.
• What is disturbing is that a thread that binds so many allegations now coming out is that many women thought that their words and feelings would be dismissed, their careers would suffer, or their families would pull them back into the safety of home.
• It is this fear of making a complaint that needs to be overcome in all workspaces, not only the media and the film industry.
• All of society needs to internalise a new normal that protects a woman’s autonomy and her freedom from discrimination at the workplace.
• It is important to note that in the wake of this movement, not just workplaces but men and women will have to go back to the drawing board. For instance, how will we navigate desire? We are sexual beings, and desire is an undercurrent that ripples beneath many of our encounters. Further, desire cannot be moral-policed and judged by age, sex or marital status. Do we want the excision of all expression of sexual interest at workplaces? Or is it possible we will learn a language of trust where desire can be expressed and rejected/accepted without repercussions.
• In the case of men, it would mean subordinating desire to respect and learning that reciprocation is not a divine right. For women, it means learning to reject with confidence, learning how to deploy power.
• Further, it is important to point out that once the dust settles, substantial solutions are needed.
• Institutional responses must become quicker, wiser, and more robust, but behavioural changes are even more urgent.
• The problem is fundamentally one of socialisation.
• Men have to unlearn a lifetime of imbibed contempt for women.
• It must be pointed out that this can only be addressed by familial and social sensitisation that begins from infancy, creating a society that grants women equality and dignity by default.
• If today’s anger can begin that process, it will have been a success.

1. India has to balance pressures from U.S., China and Russia: Shyam Saran

Background:

• This article focuses on the balancing act that lies before India in so far as handling her bilateral relations between the U.S., China and Russia.

The Indo-Russia Dynamic:

Significance of the S-400 air defence system deal:

• Recently, India and Russia reached an agreement on the S-400 air defence system.
• This deal denotes India’s desire to deepen defence cooperation with Russia. It also denotes that India is prepared to do this despite U.S. warnings that the deal could attract sanctions.
• The fact that this deal comes just a month after India signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) for better interoperability with the U.S. military,  is a sign that India will not be forced or even persuaded into putting all its eggs in one strategic basket.
• It is believed that more defence deals with Russia will make it increasingly difficult for the U.S. to give India a waiver from sanctions under CAATSA.
• It is also important to note that there exists a general perception that Indian and Russian perspectives today differ on key issues in India’s neighbourhood.
• This includes matters pertaining to Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, and also on India’s strategic linkages with the U.S., including on the Indo-Pacific.
• These issues would certainly have figured in the various meetings.

On Afghanistan:

• Specifically, on Afghanistan, India has expressed support for the “Moscow format”.
• The Moscow format’s main objective is to facilitate the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan and secure peace in that country as soon as possible.
• In the “Moscow format”, Russia involves regional countries and major powers in an effort to draw the Taliban into negotiations with the Afghan leadership. The U.S. has boycotted the initiative of the Moscow format, and has initiated its own dialogue with the Taliban.

India-Russia (Points of Convergence):

• Between India and Russia, there are obvious opportunities for cooperation.
• Russia is natural resources-rich, and India, is resource-hungry.
• It is important to note that whether or not these natural resources are exploited would depend on how well India’s economic ministries, banks and business community understand the ground realities of doing business with Russia.
• It is important to note that even before CAATSA, there was confusion in India about sanctions against Russia.
• It is believed that both on CAATSA and on the U.S.’s proposed sanctions on Iran that go into force on November 4, 2018, India will need to make some tough decisions.
• Further, every potential India-Russia defence deal could be subjected to a determination on applicability of sanctions.
• Experts believe that imposing sanctions would hurt U.S. defence sales to India, which would defeat one of the principal objectives of the legislation. It is important to note that the India-U.S. strategic partnership is based on a strong mutuality of interests, but it was not intended to have the exclusivity of an alliance. India should not have to choose between one strategic partnership and another. The India-Russia dialogue should not get inextricably entangled in the India-U.S. dialogue.

Editorial Analysis:

• Currently, India’s relationships with big powers like the U.S., Russia, China and Europe are increasingly being complicated by their rivalries with each other, the country needs to follow its traditional policy of strategic autonomy, focussing on its own vital interests.
• In the India-Russia dynamic, the most important peg for the relationship continues to be defence purchases and technology. Currently, Russia is willing to share things that are not available from other sources — for example, submarine technologies.
• It was a very well-considered decision for India to go ahead with the S-400 deal, which is one of the most effective missile systems. It must be noted that this further cements our relationship as it is a long-term platform.
• In the Indo-Russia relationship, it is important to note that energy could have also been a more important part of the relationship. But, unfortunately, this has not really taken off.
• Apart from a few licences and explorations announced, not much has happened on the energy front.
• The bigger substance of the relationship between India and Russia is strategic. If India’s main challenge is going to be China and how it is reshaping the region and global landscape, then Russia will always be an important partner.

India-US (Post CAATSA)

• With reference to the India-US relationship, in light of the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act?), it is important to note that the U.S. hasn’t formally given India a waiver.
• However, experts believe that since India is a major purchaser of U.S. military hardware, and that purchases are expanding, the U.S. won’t want to undercut its relationship. Even if waivers come per transaction, it would make sense for the U.S. to waive sanctions.
• Currently, India is dealing with an unpredictable U.S. President, so we can’t be sure of anything, and the decision is in his hands, but if rational choices are being made, then it doesn’t help the U.S. to punish India for this purchase.

On the Iran Front

• With reference to oil purchases from Iran, experts believe that there could be a lower volume of purchases of oil from Iran, which may be enough to indicate to the U.S. that we take their concerns on board.
• From the experience of the last time there were sanctions on Iran oil purchases (2012-2013), the government had an option to circumvent these sanctions through a rupee-rial mechanism or through banks that don’t have exposure to the U.S.
• Experts believe that this mechanism can be adopted this time around too.

The India-China Dynamic

• It is important to note that there is an expanding asymmetry of power between China and India.
• Where India sees its interests undermined by Chinese actions it must react, but not necessarily provoke a situation of conflict. On the Tibet issue, it is important for us to remember that for decades we followed a certain formulaic policy.
• A departure from this policy came when the Narendra Modi government decided to invite [the Sikyong, the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile] Lobsang Sangay to the Prime Minister’s swearing-in and give the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang an official status, while the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister referred to [the State’s] boundary with “Tibet, not China”.
• Thus, as a consequence, actions taken, by design or inadvertently, gave the impression that India was moving away from what had been our consistent policy.
• Currently, the government has returned to that old policy, because their policy was not sustainable, given the asymmetry.
• On the issue concerning Doklam, India’s agreement with China was limited to disengagement at the stand-off point.
• Thus, the Chinese have moved from what was a transient presence to a more permanent presence by the PLA. And on the road-building, they agreed to stop extending the road ahead to areas considered sensitive for India. Thus, here we see  limited gains for India, but not insignificant ones
• Apart from the above points, it is important to note that at the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2007, China didn’t want to come out openly to oppose the nuclear waiver for India, but in 2016, they were proudly proclaiming that they blocked India’s NSG membership and there was unfortunately nothing that India could do about it.
• Even on areas of convergent interests like climate change, a decade ago China worked with India, even conceding the leadership on the climate change negotiations. At the Paris summit, in contrast, China dealt directly with the U.S. to strike a deal and didn’t consult India.
• So, the change is that China now benchmarks itself with the U.S., and doesn’t look to emerging countries as much. And, at the same time, the U.S. is very different too.

• Even when the idea of Quad was first spoken about in 2005, India was cautious about the idea.
• India was cautious because she didn’t want to give the sense that she would be setting up a military alliance against China in the Indo-Pacific.
• The tsunami relief gave India a high naval profile as a country that showed a swift maritime response to the crisis, and the U.S. floated the idea of four democracies working together for a consultative forum.
• It is important to note that the Chinese objected even then.

Concluding Remarks:

• It is important to note that whether it is the U.S., China or Russia, each of these nations will try to push India in a direction it likes and it is for us to make our decision on how to balance these contrary pressures, and it is possible to do so.
• India will be an important component of the reshaping of the world, and we have room for manoeuvre and to expand our strategic space.
• It is important to note that India has faced these pulls and pressures all along, and India now has more economic and military power than in the past and can play a more strategic game. Thus, as a consequence, it makes no sense for the U.S. and the EU to isolate Russia in the long term, as China is likely to be the bigger challenge.
• It is also important to note a historical fact that whenever there is a rise in U.S.-China tensions, we have seen a lowering of tensions between India and China.
• Experts believe that the decision to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the U.S., in September 2018 was a significant decision and means that India is not slowing down on its desire to strengthen its security relationship with the U.S.

F. Tidbits

1. A govt. app to rope in volunteers

• Professionals keen on doing volunteer work in their free time will be provided a platform by the government through an app, #Self4Society, developed by MyGov.
• Sources who helped develop the app say it was the result of the conversations between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several corporate leaders who had said their employees wanted to do volunteer work but did not have any guidance.
• A lot of companies run volunteering initiatives. This platform will help to create better synergies among so many initiatives and lead to a much better outcome of the efforts of professionals.
• Companies have observed that a spirit of service and volunteering improves employee satisfaction and reduces employee attrition.
• The app will have incentives, gamification and intra- and inter-company competitions, and social networking.

G. Prelims Fact

1. U.P. Cabinet okays ‘Prayagraj’

• The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Tuesday adopted the proposal to rename the historical city of Allahabad as Prayagraj.
• The State government said it was only restoring an old name to the city.
• Keeping in view the feelings and emotions of the people, Allahabad had been renamed Prayagraj by our government. Five hundred years ago, the name of the place was Prayagraj as it was at the Triveni Sangam [a confluence of three rivers],” Mr. Adityanath said later in Gorakhpur.
• There are many Prayags on the bank of the sacred rivers coming from the Himalayas, but this place is Prayagraj (the leading one among them), the Chief Minister said.
• The proposal would now go to the Centre before the city is officially renamed, though an Uttar Pradesh Minister seemed to suggest the change had already come into effect.

2. Garba

• It is a form of dance which originated in Gujarat.
• The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha (“womb”) and Deep (“a small earthenware lamp”).
• Traditionally, the dance is performed around a clay lantern with a light inside, called a Garbha Deep (“womb lamp”).
• This lantern represents life and the fetus in the womb in particular.
• The dancers thus honor Durga, the feminine form of divinity.
• It is performed during the nine-day Hindu festival Navarātrī.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements:

1. Hydroponics is a technique whereby plants are grown with the help of sunlight and water.
2. Aquaponics combines aquaculture with hydroponics.

Which of the above is/are correct?

1. 1 only
2. 2 only
3. Both 1 & 2
4. Neither 1 nor 2

See

Question 2. Floating Treatment Wetland (FTW) includes plants that help to clean lakes by
absorbing nutrients such as excess nitrates and oxygen. FTW includes which of the following
agents?

1. Vetivers
2. Hyacinth
3. Ashvagandha
4. Fountain grass

Select the correct answer from the following codes:

1. 1 & 2 only
2. 1, 2, 3
3. 1, 3 & 4
4. All of the above

See

Question 3. Consider the following statements:

1. It is not mandatory for companies seeking environment clearance to have a dust mitigation plan.
2. Road dust contributes more than 50% of all PM10 pollution.
3. The generic term dust includes selenium and zinc.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

1. 1 & 2 only
2. 2 & 3 only
3. 1 & 3 only
4. All of the above

See

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

1. “Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence, the caste system cannot be eradicated in India.” (150 words)
2. ‘Despite implementation of various programmes for the eradication of poverty by the government in India, poverty still exists’. Explain by giving reasons. (150 words)

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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