23 Oct 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Oct 23rd, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Bengal can’t bar CBI from probing crimes in State, Centre tells SC
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. 43 countries call on China at UN to respect Uighur rights
C. GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. India weighs ‘net zero’ target ahead of CoP
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. Development that is mindful of nature
ECONOMY
1. A Clean energy transition plan for India
F. Prelims Facts
1. Rocket systems, BrahMos add offensive punch along LAC
2. Amur falcons in Manipur for annual migration
3. Winter session likely from November-end
G. Tidbits
1. Air bubbles to continue for some time
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

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Yojana Gist
Kurukshetra Gist    
Current Affairs Magazine

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. 43 countries call on China at UN to respect Uighur rights

Context:

Forty-three countries have called on China to “ensure full respect for the rule of law” for the Muslim Uighur community in Xinjiang.

Who are Uighurs?

  • The Uighurs are a minority Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia.
  • The Uighurs are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
  • They are considered to be one of China’s 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities.
  • The Uighurs have traditionally inhabited a series of oases scattered across the Taklamakan Desert comprising the Tarim Basin, a territory that has historically been controlled by many civilizations including China, the Mongols, the Tibetans and the Turkic world.
  • An estimated 80% of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs still live in the Tarim Basin. The rest of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs mostly live in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (UAR), which is located in the historical region of Dzungaria.

Details:

  • The declaration, signed by the United States as well as several European and Asian member states and others, accused China of a litany of human rights violations against the Uighurs, including torture, forced sterilisation and forced disappearances.
  • In a joint statement, the countries called on China to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • The countries argued that credible reports indicate the existence of a large network of ‘political re-education’ camps where over a million people have been arbitrarily detained.

China’s Stand:

  • While experts have estimated that more than one million people are incarcerated in camps, China has for long denied accusations of ethnic cleansing against Uighurs and other Muslim Turkic people in Xinjiang.
  • It has said that while it is willing to host a friendly visit to the region, it would not agree to an inquiry by the UN human rights commissioner.

Category: ECONOMY

1. A Clean energy transition plan for India

Context:

A clean energy transition plan is proposed that is expected to ensure energy security and also contribute towards climate change. 

Background:

  • Energy security ensures uninterrupted supply of energy sources at affordable prices. 
  • India has twin challenges in terms of energy. 
    • On one hand, India has to ensure the availability and affordability of energy to 1.3 billion population, and 
    • on the other hand, it has to make noticeable contributions towards climate change.
  • The Electricity Act of 2003 has helped to transform the power sector of India and the thermal power plant (TPP) generation capacity in India has increased from 94GW in 2011 to 192 GW in 2017, which is more than double the number in 2011. 
  • This, in turn, has made it possible for the government to increase per capita electricity consumption by 37% and the energy demand deficit has also declined from 9.8 percent in 2010-11 to 1.6 percent in 2016-17.
  • India still has to work on providing energy security to the whole population as it stands third at the international level in terms of per capita energy consumption.

Caol as the major contributor to electricity:

  • India is a coal abundant country and the contribution of the Thermal Power Plant (TPP) out of 1382 billion units of electricity generation by utilities, stood at 71 percent, and in terms of total installed capacity (382 GW as of March), the contribution was 55 percent.
  • It implies that coal is the major source of electricity generation in India as piped gas is not easily accessible because of geopolitical reasons.

Renewable energy:

  • Variable Renewable Energy Sources (VRE), mainly wind and solar, contribute 24 percent of the total installed capacity and in terms of electricity generation by utilities, their share was 10.7 percent in FY 2020-21.

VREs and costs to the consumer:

Given below are the key points with regards to VREs and the costs to the consumers:

  • The increase in electricity generation through VRE without a proportionate increase in demand for electricity has led to lower capacity utilization of the TPPs.
  • The distribution companies (DISCOMS) have to pay the fixed costs of these TPPs despite the low capacity utilization and the burden is ultimately shifted to the final consumers.
  • The government of India is focusing on the rapid growth of VREs through various policy measures as well as financial incentives whose ultimate cost is borne by the consumers.
  • The current level of VRE in the national power grid has increased the cost of procurement for DISCOMS which in turn is increasing the rates of tariffs for the consumers.
  • Hence, India has to implement the plan for increasing energy efficiency and reducing the emission of carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants from TPPs without making electricity unaffordable to the industries that require low-cost power 24×7 to compete in the international market.

Structure of a plan:

A time-bound plan for India’s power sector has been developed which includes:

  • Retirement of certain TPPs:
    • Progressive retirement of 211 Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) that contribute to 36GW of total installed capacity. This retirement will be based on the following key performance indicators:
      • Efficiency,
      • Specific Coal Consumption,
      • Technological Obsolescence, and
      • Age.
    • The shortfall in baseload electricity generation will be compensated by increasing the utilization of the High-Efficiency-Low-Emission (HELE) TPPs that are currently underutilized. 
    • This should be done in order to promote VRE and accomplishment of 47 government-owned TPPs that are under construction in which the investment of Rs. 1,77,742 has been already done by the government.
    • The power purchase agreement has already been signed between the DISCOMS and these TPPs and under the two-part tariff policy program, its cost will be borne by the power consumers irrespective of their usage.
  • Nuclear Power Plants:
    • The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is developing 11 nuclear power plants. Features of these plants will be:
      • The total generation capacity of these plants will be 8,700 MW,
      • 24×7 power supply, and 
      • No carbon dioxide emission.

Benefits of the plan:

The estimated benefits of the plan are as follows:

  • Capacity increase:
    • The total installed capacity of TPPs by utilities will increase from the current 209 GW to 220GW by 2029-30.
    • The combined thermal (220 GW) and nuclear (15 GW) capacity of 235 GW is expected to match the baseload requirement (80 percent of the peak demand) during the evening peak in FY 2029-30.
    • The optimum utilization of the existing and under construction HELE TPPs with efficient capabilities and a low level of technical minimus will also help in the integration of VRE.
    • The electricity generation from TPPs is likely to be reduced from the 2020-21 level of 71 percent to 57 percent of the total electricity generation by 2029-30.
    • The contribution of HELE TPPs will shoot up from 25 percent (as in 2018-19) to 44 percent in 2029-30.
    • The contribution of inefficient TPPs will decline from 46 percent (as in 2018-19) to 4 percent in 2029-30.
    • As a result, the emission of carbon dioxide will decline by 57Mt in 2029-30 and even the electricity generation from coal is expected to be increased by 21 percent to 1,234 Billion Units (BU) in 2029-30.
  • Economic and Environmental benefits:
    • The promotion of HELE TPPs will reduce the emissions of particulate matter SO2 and NO2. 
    • Avoidance of sustenance Capital Expenditure and desulphurization plants (FGDs) costs in the 211 inefficient TPPs that are proposed to be retired. Besides, there will be savings in terms of specific coal consumption and water consumption by these TPPs. This will, in turn, reduce the electricity tariffs and PM pollution.
    • The implementation of this plan will enable India to safeguard its energy security and ensure efficient grid operations with lower water consumption, PM pollution, and CO2 emissions.
    • Ultimately, this plan demonstrates India’s commitment to climate change mitigation by optimizing the use of our land, coal, water, and financial resources with indigenous technology.

Conclusion:

India is working continuously to become energy efficient and it should implement the transition plan as soon as possible to meet its energy requirements and mitigate climate change.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Rocket systems, BrahMos add offensive punch along LAC

What’s in News?

India’s military posture in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh has added an offensive punch through new deployments.

Details:

  • The Army has deployed Pinaka and Smerch long-range, multi-barrel rocket launch systems as well as BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles in the region.
  • In addition to the rocket systems, the deployment of BrahMos missiles, which have a range of over 290 km, gives the Army the ability to hit targets deep inside China in case of any Chinese misadventure in this sector.
  • Pinaka, indigenously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, has a range of 38 km.
  • Smerch, procured from Russia, is the longest range conventional rocket system in the Army’s inventory with a maximum range of 90 km.

2. Amur falcons in Manipur for annual migration

What’s in News?

The arrival of the migratory Amur Falcons to Tamenglong district of Manipur for the annual stopover.

Amur falcons

  • Amur falcons visit the district every year from breeding grounds in China and Russia before beginning their onward voyage to Africa for the winter.
  • They are the world’s longest travelling raptors that start travelling with the onset of winters.
  • They get their name from the Amur River that forms the border between Russia and China.
  • Doyang Lake in Nagaland is a famous roosting site for the species during its migration.
  • Nagaland is called the falcon capital of the world.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Red List Status – Least Concerned.
  • It is protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the Convention on Migratory Species, to which India is a signatory.
  • Also, the hunting of the bird is punishable under the Manipur Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and could lead to three years of imprisonment and a fine of ₹25,000.

3. Winter session likely from November-end

What’s in News?

The month-long winter session of Parliament is likely to commence from the fourth week of November 2021 following all COVID-19 protocols.

Read more on Sessions of Indian Parliament (Monsoon, Winter, Budget).

Sessions of the Parliament:

A session of the Indian Parliament is the period during which a House meets almost every day uninterruptedly to manage the business. There are typically three sessions in a year.

  • Budget session (February to May)
  • Monsoon session (July to September)
  • Winter session (November to December)

G. Tidbits

1. Air bubbles to continue for some time

What’s in News?

According to Minister for Civil Aviation, international air travel to and from India will continue only under the “air bubble” arrangement for the foreseeable future.

  • Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 as well as travel restrictions by various countries are hindering India from fully opening up international travel.
  • Scheduled international flights were banned by the government in March 2021.
  • Later that year, the Government started gradually opening up the skies by entering into “air bubble” agreements with various countries, with a limited number of direct flights permitted to and from India.
  • India now has “air bubble” tie-ups with 28 countries.

What are Air Bubble Agreements?

  • The air bubble agreement is a bilateral agreement between two countries in which airlines from both countries can operate international flights with a set of rules and restrictions.
  • They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q.1 Consider the following statements with regards to Amur Falcons:
  1. These species of birds come under the category of Least Concern under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
  2. While migrating, the Amur Falcon covers a distance of 22,000 km, making it one of the longest distances covered by migratory birds.
  3. Manipur is known as the Falcon Capital of the world.

Which of these statements are correct?

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 2 & 3 only
  3. 1 & 3 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Amur Falcons are known to be one of the world’s longest-distance migratory birds as they travel more than a staggering 22,000 km a year.
  • These species of birds come under the category of Least Concern under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
  • Nagaland is called the falcon capital of the world.
Q.2 Which of the following come in the category of ‘beach sand minerals’?
  1. Monazite
  2. Zircon
  3. Radium
  4. Garnet

Options:-

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Mining of beach sand minerals by private parties is terminated as part of the efforts to curb unlawful mining.
  • Two sectors are currently restricted – Beach sand minerals (only Department of Atomic Energy can do mining) and Offshore mining (currently only through PSUs).
  • Monazite, Zircon and Garnet are classified as beach sand minerals. Radium does not fall under this category.
  • Monazite is the mineral from which thorium is extracted. Thorium is a key ingredient of India’s three-stage nuclear programme that can be turned into nuclear fuel after being combined with a fissile material such as plutonium.
Q.3 Consider the following statements with regards to allocation of cadre to an IAS officer:
  1. While assigning a cadre, the candidate’s home state and state of the allocated cadre are consulted by UPSC.
  2. The candidate doesn’t have the right to be allocated the cadre of his/her choice.
  3. If candidates from Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), or Other Backward Class (OBC) get selected in the general category without recourse to the benefit of reservation, they can use it for getting cadre or place of appointment of choice.

Which of these statements is/are incorrect?

  1. 1 & 2 only
  2. 2 & 3 only
  3. 1 & 3 only
  4. All of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The procedure for allocation of cadre is a mechanical process and admits no exception except in terms of the rules. It said that consultation in respect of allocation of cadre is not required to be done with the state from which the candidate belongs or with the state to which the candidate is being allocated.
  • The Supreme Court has held that successful civil services aspirants have no right to be allocated a cadre of their choice or their home state.
  • If a candidate hailing from reserved Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), or Other Backward Class (OBC) category does not take benefit of quota and gets selected in the general category then later he or she cannot take recourse to reservation for getting cadre or place of appointment of choice.
Q.4 ‘e-MASIHA’ app, often seen in the news, is used for 
  1. Budget management of the Ministry of Minority Affairs
  2. Providing health facility for Haj visitors from India
  3. Applying for Haj pilgrimage
  4. Receiving grievance from Hajis and feedback to improve the service
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

E-Medical Assistance System for Indian Pilgrims Abroad or E-Masiha is an online system to create and maintain the complete health database of pilgrims along with doctors’ prescriptions as well as medicine disbursals to deal with any emergency in Makkah-Madinah.

Q.5 With reference to the British colonial rule in India, consider the following statements:  
(UPSC-2019)
  1. Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in the abolition of the system of ‘indentured labour’.
  2. In Lord Chelmsford’s ‘War Conference’, Mahatma Gandhi did not support the resolution on recruiting Indians for World War.
  3. Consequent upon the breaking of salt law by Indian people, the Indian National Congress was declared illegal by the colonial rulers.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in the abolition of the system of ‘indentured labour’.
  • In Lord Chelmsford’s War Conference in April 1918, Mahatma Gandhi in his one-sentence speech said that he supported the resolution on recruiting Indians for World War.
  • Consequent upon the breaking of Salt Law by Indian people in January 1932, the Indian National Congress was declared illegal by the colonial rulers.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Kerala must rethink the very idea of development to prevent disasters threatening its future. Do you agree? Justify. (10 Marks, 150 Words)[GS-3, Environment & Ecology]
  2. HELE (High Efficiency Low Emissions) coal technology provides a pragmatic path that meets energy needs and lowers emissions. Comment. (10 Marks, 150 Words)[GS-3, Economy]

Read the previous CNA here.

Oct 23rd, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

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