# 19 Oct 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

19 Oct 2020 CNA:-

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Iran hails lifting of UN arms embargo
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. ‘Jagan’s letter an affront to judiciary’
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Celebrating skinks, ZSI lists 62 species in India
ECONOMY
1. GST cess will stay: finance panel chief
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
NUTRITION
1. No great escape
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. The hues in the green tribunal’s resilient journey
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Still awaiting police reform
F. Prelims Facts
1. Standing crops ruined by the Bhima in Kalaburagi
G. Tidbits
1. 3 IS operatives from Hyderabad convicted by NIA special court
2. Post-lockdown, rights of domestic workers in focus
3. India past COVID peak, says DST panel
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


1. ‘Jagan’s letter an affront to judiciary’

Context:

• Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter to the Chief Justice of India complaining about the functioning of a few judges.

CNA dated Oct 18, 2020: Jagan vs Judges

Details:

• Former Supreme Court (SC) judge V. Gopala Gowda has described the letter written by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) as an “affront to a vibrant judiciary”.

Concerns expressed:

• The former SC judge argues against the manner of the release of the letter in the public domain. The public disclosure of the letter could have compromised the dignity, independence and majesty of the top court and the A.P. High Court.
• The former SC judge feels that the manner of the letter’s release at a press conference could amount to scandalising the judiciary in the eyes of the people by sensationalising the issue and could also be deemed an interference with the administration of justice. Mr. Gowda said the Chief Minister should have taken up the matter confidentially with the CJI.
• Aspersions and allegations against sitting judges ought not to be made without substantive and positive evidence as in such cases the faith of the people in the judiciary and the rule of law are at stake.
• Article 121 and Article 211 of the Indian Constitution expressly bar Parliament and the state legislatures to discuss the conduct of any judge.
• The SC in the Ravichandran Iyer v. Justice A.M. Bhattacharjee (1995) case has held that complaints against sitting judges should be kept confidential.

Counter-arguments:

• With respect to the question of whether such a letter/complaint against the Supreme Court judge should have been put out in the public domain, one aspect that needs to be considered is that the confidentiality of complaints may lead to complaints being shelved as the judiciary tends to try and brush aside complaints of corruption against judges. If the public becomes aware of such complaints, the CJI is compelled to order an inquiry.

Way forward:

• The code of conduct requires an inquiry by three sitting judges of the Supreme Court. But in a complaint involving the senior-most judge, it is unlikely that junior judges will conduct a robust and credible inquiry.
• Only retired judges of high credibility would be able to conduct a robust inquiry into the current complaint. The Chief Justice should set up a credible inquiry committee. This will enhance the reputation of the judiciary, dispel mistruths, and redeem the image of the judge concerned.

1. GST cess will stay: finance panel chief

Context:

• The 15th Finance Commission Chairman’s comments on the GST compensation issue.

Background:

For information on the GST compensation issue, refer to:

CNA dated Aug 11, 2020: Making up for shortfalls in GST collection

15th Finance Commission report:

• The Finance Commission’s report on the devolution of funds between the Centre and the States for the five-year period of 2021-22 till 2025-2026, would be submitted to the government by the end of October 2020.
• The Report would also factor in unpaid compensation dues to the States.

Details:

• The Chairperson of the Fifteenth Finance Commission N.K. Singh has stated that given the fact that Compensation cess shortfalls cannot be met from the Consolidated Fund of India, there is the need for some form of borrowing arrangement to meet the compensation cess collection shortfalls.
• The GST council has approved the extension of the levy of compensation cess on Goods and Services Tax (GST) beyond the previously decided 2022, perhaps till as late as 2025-26, to pay off the States’ GST dues.
• GST compensation cess is levied on goods such as cars, aerated drinks and tobacco products, over and above the highest GST rate of 28%.
• Both the States and the Centre are said to be working towards a consensus on this GST compensation issue within the GST Council.
• The Centre might be borrowing Rs. 1.1 lakh crore on behalf of States and lend it onward to the states to compensate them for the shortfalls.
• In addition, the states would also be allowed to additionally borrow up to 0.5% of GSDP. These provisions would give the states around Rs. 2.16-lakh crore, or almost 90% of the compensation shortfall.

G. Tidbits

1. 3 IS operatives from Hyderabad convicted by NIA special court

• Three Islamic State (IS) operatives from Hyderabad were among the 15 people sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by a special court for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases in New Delhi. They were sentenced for radicalising youth via social media.
• The case pertains to criminal conspiracy by the ISIS to establish its base in India by recruiting youth using different social media platforms.

2. Post-lockdown, rights of domestic workers in focus

• Domestic workers had to face denial of salaries, loss of employment during the nationwide lockdown, which had resulted in an economic crisis among this vulnerable section. There have also been reports of harassment by employers and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs). This has brought into focus the need for safeguarding the rights of domestic workers.
• Some of the major measures in this direction could involve a minimum cash transfer, universal registration of employers and workers, an urban employment guarantee scheme and strengthening of local committees where workers can complain about sexual harassment at workplace.
• The government could also consider the inclusion of domestic workers under the social security code and a comprehensive legislation for the domestic workers.

3. India past COVID peak, says DST panel

• The modelling study, called the “COVID-19 India National Supermodel”, carried out under the seven-member expert panel commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology has stated that India has passed its COVID peak in September and, if current trends continue, there will be “minimal cases” by February.
• This, however, is premised on no spikes being triggered by festivals or mutations in the virus aiding its spread in winter.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following statement/s is/are correct?
1. The Bhima originates in the Belgaum district of Karnataka.
2. The majority of its catchment area or basin area is spread across the state of Karnataka.
3. It is a major tributary of the Godavari River.

Options:

1. 1 and 2 only
2. 1, 2 and 3
3. 2 and 3 only
4. None of the above

Explanation:

• The Bhima River is a major tributary of the Krishna River.
• It originates near Bhimashankar Temple in the Bhimashankar hills in Pune District, Maharashtra state.
• It flows through Maharashtra and Karnataka and seventy-five percent of the basin lies in the state of Maharashtra.
• Bhima merges into the Krishna along the border between Karnataka and Telangana.
• Major tributaries of the Bhima river are the Sina and Nira rivers.
Q2. Which of the following are parameters considered in the compilation of the Global
Hunger Index?
1. Under-nourishment
2. Child wasting
3. Child stunting
4. Child mortality
5. Anaemia
6. Nutritional deficiency diseases

Options:

1. 1, 2, 3 and 4 only
2. 2, 3 and 4 only
3. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
4. 2, 3, 5 and 6 only

Explanation:

• The four indicators considered for the compilation of the GHI include the following:
• UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient);
• CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition);
• CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and
• CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).
Q3. Which of the following laws does not come under the ambit of the National Green
Tribunal?
1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977
2. Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
3. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
4. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Explanation:

• The NGT deals with the following seven laws related to the environment:
• The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974,
• The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977,
• The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,
• The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981,
• The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,
• The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and
• The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
• Two important acts – Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 have been kept out of NGT’s jurisdiction.
Q4. Which of the following statement/s is/are correct with respect to the National
Food Security Act?
1. The Act legally entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized foodgrains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
2. It also recognizes some maternity entitlements.

Options:

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

Explanation:

• The National Food Security Act, 2013 legally entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized foodgrains under the Targeted Public Distribution System. About two-thirds of the population, therefore, is covered under the Act to receive highly subsidised foodgrains.
• Under the provisions of the Act, beneficiaries of the PDS are entitled to 5 kilograms per person per month of cereals at the following prices:
• Rice at Rs. 3 per kg
• Wheat at Rs. 2 per kg
• Coarse grains (millet) at Rs. 1 per kg
• Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.
• It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme and the Public Distribution System (PDS).

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

1. In light of the many indications of poor nutritional status in India, suggest measures required to overcome this nutrition challenge in India. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper 2/Nutrition)
2. Analyze the performance of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over the years and evaluate its achievements and shortcomings. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper 3/Environment and Ecology)