20 Oct 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

20 Oct 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Australia to take part in Malabar naval exercise
2. It’s China that happens to have the cash now, says Sri Lanka Minister
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Centre said to ask at least eight PSUs to consider buy-backs
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNAL SECURITY
1. Dormant but waiting to strike
HEALTH
1. Many gains in fighting HIV
F. Prelims Facts
1. ‘India may produce 310 lakh tonnes of sugar’
G. Tidbits
1. India setting up a robust vaccine delivery system: PM
2. Adapt to the changing nature of jobs: Modi
3. 6 Russian military officers charged for cyberattacks
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. It’s China that happens to have the cash now, says Sri Lanka Minister

Context:

  • Sri Lanka’s borrowing from China.

Background:

  • The pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the already fragile economy of Sri Lanka (SL).
    • The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have forecasted a GDP contraction of up to almost 7% for SL. It is witnessing falling revenues and rising living costs.
    • SL also faces $4.5 billion foreign debt due in the coming year.

Details:

SL’s increasing economic reliance on China:

  • The SL administration has sought a new $700 million loan from China. This would be in addition to the already sanctioned $500 million loan in March 2020. Sri Lanka owes China over $5 billion so far.
  • Sri Lanka is also negotiating a nearly $1.5-billion currency swap facility with the People’s Bank of China.

Criticism:

  • Government critics and the Opposition in Sri Lanka have raised concerns over the current administration’s growing reliance on China. They have instead advocated the administration to engage with the IMF rather than fall into a “Chinese debt trap”.

SL government’s response:

  • The government has ruled out an IMF bailout. The Minister in charge has brushed aside the concerns stating that given that currently, China has huge reserves of cash it is natural that it will invest all over the world including SL.

India-SL relation:

  • The Reserve Bank of India had signed a $400 million swap agreement with Sri Lanka in July, to help boost Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves, and is considering a further $1 billion requested by Sri Lanka.
  • India is yet to respond to SL’s request for a debt moratorium.
    • Sri Lanka owes $ 960 million to India.

For related information, refer to:

CNA dated June 28, 2020: Colombo plea for postponing debt repayment hangs fire

CNA dated Feb 12, 2020: First call

G. Tidbits

1. India setting up a robust vaccine delivery system: PM

  • Speaking at the launch of the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting, the Indian Prime Minister highlighted India’s adoption of a “flexible” lockdown approach which has helped it to keep death rates from COVID-19 relatively low.
    • The three-day programme is being organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, the Indian Council of Medical Research and NITI Aayog.
    • The programme aims to bring together policymakers and scientific leaders, calling for scientific collaboration in solving global health problems, with emphasis on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • The PM also highlighted India’s prowess in low-cost vaccine manufacturing and efforts in vaccine development. India is also taking up efforts to put up a well-established vaccine delivery system in place to ensure immunisation of citizens.

2. Adapt to the changing nature of jobs: Modi

  • The Indian Prime Minister, while delivering the University of Mysore’s centenary convocation address, has called upon the youth to be flexible and adaptable to the changing nature of jobs. The PM emphasised the importance of “skilling, reskilling and upskilling” in the modern-day world.
  • Start-ups are envisaged to be a strong pillar of growth for India in the coming years.
  • The recently unveiled National Education Policy 2020 emphasizes on a multi-dimensional approach towards education and would help bring about much needed fundamental changes in the field of education and help empower youngsters of the nation.

3. 6 Russian military officers charged for cyberattacks

  • According to a US Justice Department indictment unsealed recently, six current and former Russian military officers in the Russian military agency known as the GRU, have been alleged of cyberattacks on a broad range of political, financial and athletic targets.
    • They have been accused of seeking to disrupt through computer hacking the French election, the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and U.S. hospitals and businesses. They have also been accused of destructive attacks on Ukraine’s power grid. Some reports have also blamed them of interference in the 2016 US elections.
  • These alleged cyberattacks are indicative of the weaponizing of cyber capabilities for malicious intentions.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following statement/s is/are correct?
  1. Currently, India is the largest sugar-producing country in the world.
  2. Maharashtra is the largest sugar-producing state in India.

Options:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Brazil has historically been the world’s largest sugar producer but ceded its place to India in the 2018/2019 crop year. Currently, however, Brazil continues to remain the largest sugar producer in the world. India is the world’s second-largest producer after Brazil.
  • The major sugar-producing states in India include Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra with UP accounting for the largest production.
Q2. The ‘Mutual Logistics Support Agreement’ was signed by India with which of the 
following countries?
  1. Australia
  2. Russia
  3. Japan
  4. The U.S.
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • In June 2020, India and Australia signed the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) and also announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

For information on this, refer to:

CNA dated Sep 13, 2020: More logistics pacts on the cards

Q3. Who among the following became the first Indian and the first elected president of the 
Central Legislative Assembly?
  1. G.V. Mavalankar
  2. Vithalbhai J Patel
  3. Sachidanand Sinha
  4. Rajendra Prasad
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Vithalbhai J Patel was the first elected President of the Central Legislative Assembly in 1925 and was re-elected in 1927.
  • Vithalbhai J Patel was instrumental in laying down well-defined rules, regulations, practices and procedures for the smooth conduct of the business of the House. A bold defender of the rights and privileges of members, he succeeded in his efforts of creating a separate office for the Legislative Assembly, independent of and unconnected with the Government, in 1928.

Related background:

  • The institutions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker originated in India in 1921 under the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms).
  • At that time, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were called the President and Deputy President respectively and the same nomenclature continued till 1947.
  • Before 1921, the Governor-General of India used to preside over the meetings of the Central Legislative Council.
  • In 1921, Frederick Whyte and Sachidanand Sinha were appointed by the Governor-General of India as the first Speaker and the first Deputy Speaker (respectively) of the Central Legislative Assembly.
  • In 1925, Vithalbhai J. Patel became the first Indian and the first elected president of the Central Legislative Assembly.
  • The Government of India Act of 1935 changed the nomenclatures of President and Deputy President of the Central Legislative Assembly to Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.
  • G.V. Mavalankar and Ananthasayanam Ayyangar had the distinction of being the first Speaker and the first Deputy Speaker (respectively) of the Lok Sabha.
Q4. The 90-90-90 strategy is associated with which of the following?
  1. Green House Gas emission mitigation
  2. Poverty alleviation measure
  3. AIDS epidemic
  4. Achieving land degradation neutrality
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • 90-90-90 marks treatment targets to help end the AIDS epidemic.
  • Although many strategies will be needed to halt the AIDS epidemic, it will be impossible to end the epidemic without bringing HIV treatment to all who need it.
    • There are the envisaged goals of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
  • The main targets under the 90-90-90 strategy include the following:
    • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
    • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
    • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The temporary lull in terrorist activities should not lead to complacency given the threats posed by the terror outfits to India and its neighbourhood. Comment. Also suggest the measures to be taken by India to counter the threat posed by terrorism. (15 marks, 250 words)(GS Paper 3/Internal Security)
  2. Evaluate India’s performance in controlling the HIV-AIDS epidemic and suggest what additional measures are required in this direction. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper 2/Health)

Read the previous CNA here.

20 Oct 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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