# 23 Oct 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

23 Oct 2020 CNA:-

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. U.S. to nix business visas for H-1B speciality jobs
2. Sri Lankan Parliament passes 20th Amendment
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. CPCB flags unsafe disposal of carcasses
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Drive a harder bargain at the Delhi meet
2. At 75, the UN needs a rebirth
F. Prelims Facts
1. Wilful murder
2. ‘Tri-Service synergy visible amid recent events’
3. Army chief commissions INS Kavaratti at Visakhapatnam
4. Nag anti-tank missile completes final user trial
5. CPI-IW base year revised to 2016
G. Tidbits
1. Govt. relaxes visa restrictions
2. Time is ripe for a demand push: Sanyal
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


2. Sri Lankan Parliament passes 20th Amendment

Context:

The controversial 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution has been passed in Parliament with a two-thirds majority.

Background:

• Since 1978, Sri Lanka had been ruled under a powerful executive presidential system.
• In 2015, a reformist government amended the Constitution (Amendment 19A) and clipped presidential powers and empowered Parliament.
• The 20th Amendment was introduced by the Rajapaksa administration stating that reduced powers deterred the President from performing his duties.

This topic has been covered in the 21st October 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

Details:

• The amendment will concentrate power with the President.
• The President would be able to hold ministries.
• He would be empowered to appoint and fire ministers.
• The President will also be the appointing authority of the elections, public service, police, human rights, and bribery or corruption investigation commissions.
• Previously, these commissions were perceived as independent. A constitutional council comprising legislators from different political parties and civil personalities were to make the appointments.
• With the amendment, the constitutional council is abolished for a parliamentary council whose observations the President is not bound to implement.
• The President has the power to dissolve Parliament after two years and six months of it being elected.
• The previous law prohibited the President from dissolving Parliament until six months before its five-year term ends.
• The amendment allows dual citizens to hold political office, which could strengthen President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s familial political clout.

2. At 75, the UN needs a rebirth

Context:

• October 24, 2020 marks the diamond jubilee celebrations of the United Nations.

Background:

Objective of the UN:

• The UN represents a platform for multilateral cooperation to ensure abidance to international law and collaborative work for the upliftment of the downtrodden in the hopes of establishing a peaceful and just world order.

Concerns:

Inequitable nature of UN structure:

• The UN has been designed to privilege the most powerful states of the post-World War II dispensation.
• The current structure is deemed undemocratic given the provisions of veto power and permanent seats in the Security Council (UNSC).
• Though one line of argument can be that the provision of the permanent seats was included to keep all the major powers of the time satisfied and avoid a repeat of the ill-fated League of Nations, this seems anachronistic in current times.

Ill effects of excessive concentration of power:

• The provisions such as veto power and permanent membership of UNSC grant the select few states with extraordinary powers over international politics which has had a detrimental impact on world affairs.
• The Cold War-era resulted in the UN being pushed into irrelevance mainly due to the fact that the two powers of the time, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, took differing stands and almost always vetoed each other’s moves. This left the UN little room to implement noble visions of peace, development and human rights. The competitive vetoing by P-5 countries has prevented the UNSC from fulfilling its collective security mandate.
• The unipolar phase post the 1990s has been short-lived and was mostly led by U.S.’s objectives.

Emerging global scenario:

• There are clear indications of the emergence of a multipolar world and its accompanying complexities. The phrase ‘new Cold War’ is in vogue to depict the clash between China and the U.S. Tensions involving other players like Russia, Turkey, Iran and Israel in West Asia, as well as between China and its neighbours in Asia, are at an all-time high.
• The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has labelled the present peaking of geopolitical tensions as a “great fracture”. So dangerous are the divisions and their spillover effects that it couldn’t even unite the countries to cooperate against the immediate global threat of the pandemic.
• The UN with its existing structure and functioning is ill-equipped to deal with the current situation. The lack of a global forum for multilateral cooperation and deliberation could as well lead to soaring of tensions among the nations and lead to disastrous outcomes as observed during the previous two world wars.

Obstacles to reforms:

• The current UN structure does not reflect the changed global scenario with many countries like India, Japan, Germany and Brazil despite accounting for a major share of the world’s economy and their democratic ideals do not find representation at the global high table. Only substantial reform of the UN can help retain some degree of respectability for the UN.
• Some of the major reforms being proposed include expanding the permanent membership of the UNSC reflecting the changed global scenario and also ensuring greater regional equity.
• There are also proposals to do away with the veto powers of the permanent members and instead move to a simple majority voting mechanism in the UNSC.
• However, the P-5 countries (China, France, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S.) have continuously blocked the proposed reforms.

CNA dated Sep 23, 2020: A new world order

Conclusion:

• There should be a thorough evaluation of the UN’s functioning over the last 75 years and suitable reforms should be undertaken at the earliest.
• This could ensure a renaissance of the UN and empower it to fulfil the ideals set forth at its inception.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Wilful murder

• The Disorders Inquiry Committee or the Hunter Committee of 1919 was appointed with the stated purpose to investigate the 1919 disturbances in Bombay, Delhi and Punjab and their causes.
• It was appointed by the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, in the aftermath of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
• The committee also had Indian representation with the membership of Pandit Jagat Narayan, (Member of Legislative Council, United Provinces), Sardar Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Khan (Gwalior State lawyer) and Sir Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad, (Vice-Chancellor, Bombay University)
• The majority of the members reprimanded General Dyer for a ‘mistaken concept of duty’ with respect to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. It concluded that the gathering was not the result of a conspiracy by Indians. However, martial law declared in Punjab was justified.

2. ‘Tri-Service synergy visible amid recent events’

What’s in News?

• The Navy Chief said that the Tri-Service synergy and coordination has peaked with the establishment of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).
• He highlighted that this was visibly demonstrated in the joint response of the three services to recent events.
Carrier Battle Group
• The Navy Chief visited the Karwar naval base and embarked on the Carrier Battle Group, comprising INS Vikramaditya, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, fleet support ships and integral swing-role fighters and helicopters.
• A carrier battle group (CVBG) is a naval fleet consisting of an aircraft carrier (designated CV) capital ship and its large number of escorts, together defining the group.
Department of Military Affairs
• The Department of Military Affairs (DMA) was created under the Ministry of Defence with the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as Secretary.
• It was created to facilitate optimal utilization of resources and promote jointness among the three Services.

Read more about the Department of Military Affairs covered in 24th December 2019 PIB Summary and Analysis.

3. Army chief commissions INS Kavaratti at Visakhapatnam

What’s in News?

INS Kavaratti has been formally inducted into the Navy at the Naval Dockyard in the Eastern Naval Command.

• It is the last of the four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes built under Project 28 (Kamorta class), by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.

This topic has been covered in the 21st October 2020 PIB Summary and Analysis.

4. Nag anti-tank missile completes final user trial

What’s in News?

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has carried out the final user trial of the third generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), Nag.

This topic has been covered in the 22nd October 2020 PIB Summary and Analysis.

5. CPI-IW base year revised to 2016

What’s in News?

The Labour and Employment Ministry has revised the base year of the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW).

• The base year has been revised from 2001 to 2016.
• The revision has been made to reflect the changing consumption pattern, giving more weightage to spending on health, education, recreation and other miscellaneous expenses, while reducing the weight of food and beverages.
• The reduction in weight to spending on food and beverages indicated an increase in disposable income.
• The change in the base year of CPI-IW may give a much real inflation index and thus influence the connected pay matrices.

Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW):

• The CPI-IW is used to measure inflation in retail prices.
• It is used to regulate the dearness allowance (DA) of government staff and industrial workers.
• It is also used to revise minimum wages in scheduled employments.

For more on the Consumer Price Index, click on the linked article.

G. Tidbits

1. Govt. relaxes visa restrictions

What’s in News?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has further relaxed visa restrictions.

• The relaxed restrictions enable foreigners to come to India for various purposes, such as business, conference, employment, education, research and medical reasons.
• Earlier, it allowed foreign nationals from the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France to travel to India on business, medical and employment visas under the air bubble scheme.
• Restrictions on the electronic tourist visa on arrival have not been lifted.

Read more about the air bubble agreement covered in the 22nd October 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

2. Time is ripe for a demand push: Sanyal

The Principal Economic Advisor in the Finance Ministry has said that the time is right for a generic push to spur demand in the economy.

• He suggested that there is a need to rebuild the demand as there has been a shock in the economy.
• He asserted that the time has come for a generic push for reinflating demand in a fuller sort of way.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Organization of American
States (OAS):
1. OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas.
2. European Union, India, China and Pakistan are permanent observers of OAS.
3.  The four main pillars of the organisation are democracy, human rights, security, and development.

Which of the given statement/s is/are INCORRECT?

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

Explanation:

All the statements are correct.

Q2. Which of these foundational military communication agreements have been signed
by India and the U.S.?
1. General Security of Military Information Agreement
2. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement
3. Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement
4. Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement

Choose the correct option:

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

Explanation:

• India and the US have already signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement, Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement.
• Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) has not yet been signed.
Q3. Consider the following statements:
1. The Disorders Inquiry Committee of 1919 was appointed by the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu.
2. The committee did not have Indian representation.
3. The committee was appointed in the aftermath of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
4. It was tasked with the investigation of the disturbances in Bombay, Delhi and Punjab in 1919.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

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

Explanation:

• The Disorders Inquiry Committee of 1919 or the Hunter Committee of 1919 was appointed by the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu.
• The committee was appointed in the aftermath of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
• It was tasked with the investigation of the disturbances in Bombay, Delhi and Punjab in 1919 and their causes.
• The committee also had Indian representation.
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to INS Kavaratti:
1. It is an anti-submarine warfare corvette built under Project 28.
2. The ship has up to 90% indigenous content.
3. It belongs to the same class as INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt and INS Kiltan.

Which of the given statement/s is/are INCORRECT?

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

Explanation:

• INS Kavaratti is the last of the four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes built under Project 28 (Kamorta class), by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.
• The first three built under the Kamorta class – INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt and INS Kiltan have been commissioned.
• The ship has up to 90% indigenous content and the use of carbon composites for the superstructure is a commendable feat achieved in Indian shipbuilding.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

1. Any deviation from the long-cherished principle of ‘Non-alignment’ should be based purely on India’s immediate as well as long term national interests. Discuss in the context of India-US-China ties. (15 marks, 250 words)(GS Paper 2/International Relations)
2. Discuss the concerns associated with the current structure and functioning of the United Nations and analyze how it has been a hindrance to the achievement of its set ideals and objectives. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper 2/International Relations)