24 Oct 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

24 Oct 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. House panel mulls action against Amazon
2. CVC amends SOP for procurements
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Pakistan to stay on FATF grey list till 2021
2. Oli move on Nepal map hints at softer stand
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Centre slaps stock limits as onion prices shoot up
2. Centre borrows ₹6,000 cr. for GST compensation
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India’s UN journey, from outlier to the high table
2. Hitting where it hurts
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Taking on the Centre
F. Prelims Facts
1. India to chair key ILO forum after 35 years
2. MPC wary of inflation: minutes
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. CVC amends SOP for procurements

Context:

The Central Vigilance Commission has amended the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the adoption of “Integrity Pact” in government organisations for procurement activities, and tenure of Integrity External Monitors (IEMs).

Details:

  • The CVC has restricted the maximum tenure of Integrity External Monitors (IEMs) to three years in an organisation.
  • The latest order revises the SOP issued in January 2017.
  • The amended provision states that the choice of IEM should be restricted to officials from the government and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) who have retired from positions of the level of Secretary to the Central Government or of an equivalent pay scale.
  • Such officials who retired as Chairman and Managing Directors (CMDs) of PSUs — Schedule ‘A’ companies and CMD/Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer levels in the Public Sector Banks (PSBs), insurance companies and financial institutions — should be at least of the level of Additional Secretary or its equivalent.
  • Officers of the Armed Forces who have retired from the rank equivalent of General may also be considered for appointment.
  • Preference would be given to persons who have worked in any other sector, other than their own, or have worked as Chief Vigilance Officer in any organisation.
  • The amendment provides that for appointment as IEM, the Ministry, department or organisation concerned has to forward a panel of suitable persons to the CVC, of those persons who are in the panel maintained by the Commission.
    • The previous corresponding provision stated that the panel could include those already in the panel maintained by the Commission, or they could propose the names of other suitable persons.
Integrity Pact and Integrity External Monitors (IEMs)
  • Integrity Pacts were developed as a tool for preventing corruption in public contracting.
  • The “Integrity Pact” envisages an agreement between the prospective vendor/bidder and the buyer committing the persons/ officials of both the parties not to exercise any corrupt influence on any aspect of the contract.
  • It is a tool developed by Transparency International.
  • The Integrity Pact envisages a panel of Independent External Monitors (IEMs) for each organisation.
  • The Independent External Monitor is responsible to oversee the implementation of the Integrity Pact vis-à-vis to prevent/reduce/eliminate corruption, bribes or any other unethical practices.
  • IEM reviews independently and objectively, whether and to what extent parties have complied with their obligations under the pact.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Pakistan to stay on FATF grey list till 2021

Context:

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided to keep Pakistan on the grey list until the next review of its compliance with the recommendations made in February 2021.

Details:

  • While Pakistan has made progress across all action plan items and has largely addressed 21 of 27 action items, the decision to retain it on the grey list or “Jurisdictions under increased monitoring” was taken as the action deadlines have not been met.

Key-Points on which Pakistan failed to deliver:

  • Inaction against charitable organisations or non-profit organisations linked to terror groups banned by the UNSC.
  • Delays in the prosecution of banned individuals such as Hafiz Saeed, Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi and Masood Azhar.
  • Non-compliance in cracking down terror-financing through narcotics and smuggling mining products, including precious stones.

Note:

  • Turkey proposed that members should consider Pakistan’s good work and instead of waiting for the completion of the remaining six of the 27 parameters, an FATF on-site team should visit the country to finalise its assessment.
  • On-site teams are permitted only after jurisdictions complete their Action Plans.
  • Such visits would signal an exit from the grey or black list.

For background and more information on this issue, read 22nd February 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

2. Oli move on Nepal map hints at softer stand

Context:

Nepal Prime Minister used an old map of Nepal to greet everyone on the festival of Vijaya Dashami (the biggest festival in Nepal).

Background:

Nepal’s Parliament had unanimously voted for the Second Constitution Amendment Bill, which guaranteed legal status for the new political map of the country that included part of Indian territory in Uttarakhand.

This issue has been covered in the 14th June 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

Details:

  • The recent development indicates a softer line after months of dispute with India over the Kalapani issue.
  • The old map does not show the region of Kalapani-Lipulekh-Limpiyadhura, which is part of India’s Pithoragarh district.
    • The triangular piece of land was shown as part of Nepalese sovereign territory in the new map.

2. Centre borrows ₹6,000 cr. for GST compensation

Context:

The Centre has kicked off its borrowing plan to meet the GST compensation shortfalls faced by States by borrowing and transferring ₹6,000 crore to 16 States as well as the Union Territories of Delhi and J&K.

Background:

The Centre had announced that the Government of India (GOI) will undertake the required borrowings in tranches and pass them on to the States as back-to-back loans that will reflect on their own books.

This topic has been covered in the 16th October 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

Details:

  • The Finance Ministry has so far granted permission to raise about ₹78,500 crore to meet the shortfall pertaining to 21 States.
  • The borrowing is at an interest rate of 5.19%.
  • It is intended to make weekly releases of ₹6,000 crore to the States.
  • The tenor of borrowing is expected to be broadly in the range of 3 to 5 years.
  • The interest on these borrowings, as well as the principal, is to be repaid from future GST cess collections.
    • The GST Council has extended the applicability of the cess levied on sin or luxury goods over and above the highest GST rate of 28%, beyond the original deadline of June 2022.

2. MPC wary of inflation: minutes

What’s in News?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has left interest rates unchanged at the monetary policy committee’s latest meeting.

  • According to its minutes, a second wave of COVID-19 remains a threat to the Indian economy and the RBI believes that monetary policy needs to remain accommodative despite inflationary pressures.

Monetary Policy Committee:

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee constituted by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • It is chaired by the Governor of RBI.
  • Monetary Policy Committee was formed with the mission of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to restrain inflation within the particular target level.

Read more about the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

G. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements about the National Institute of Communicable 
Diseases (NICD):
  1. It has its origin as the Central Malaria Bureau, established in 1909.
  2. The Institute has its headquarters in Patna, Bihar.
  3. It functions as the nodal agency in the country for disease surveillance facilitating prevention and control of communicable diseases.

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

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), formerly National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), had its origin as the Central Malaria Bureau, established at Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) in 1909.
  • The Institute has its headquarters in Delhi.
  • It functions as the nodal agency in the country for disease surveillance facilitating prevention and control of communicable diseases.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to Parliamentary Privilege:
  1. It refers to rights and immunities enjoyed by the Parliament as an institution and by Members of Parliament in their individual capacity.
  2. It is provided under Article 105 of the Constitution.
  3. Immunity to a member from any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee is one of the Parliamentary Privileges specified in the Indian Constitution.

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

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

All the statements are correct.

Q3. Consider the following statements:
  1. Foreign Currency Assets, Special Drawing Rights, gold reserves are a part of India’s Forex Reserves.
  2. India has never featured among the top 10 countries with highest Forex Reserves.

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

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • Forex reserves or foreign exchange reserves (FX reserves) are assets that are held by a nation’s central bank or monetary authority.
  • Foreign Currency Assets, Special Drawing Rights, gold reserves are a part of India’s Forex Reserves.
  • According to RBI data, India’s foreign exchange reserves touched a lifetime high of $555.12 billion after it surged by $3.615 billion in the week ended October 16, 2020. With this development, India is ranked 5th among the countries with highest Forex Reserves.
Q4. Which of these countries hold a permanent seat in the governing body of the International 
Labour Organisation as the state of chief industrial importance?
  1. Germany
  2. China
  3. Pakistan
  4. India
  5. Australia

Choose the correct option:

  1. 1, 2 and 4 only
  2. 1, 2 and 5 only
  3. 2, 3, 4 and 5
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • The Governing Body is the executive body of the International Labour Office (the Office is the secretariat of the Organization).
  • In the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) governing body, ten of the titular government seats are permanently held by States of chief industrial importance.
  • These are: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. FATF has retained Pakistan in the “greylist” for its failure in implementing the plan of action on terror financing and money laundering. Discuss how being placed in the FATF “Grey List” affects countries with a special emphasis on Pakistan. (10 Marks, 150 Words) (GS 2 – International Relations).
  2. A centralised approach to issues that affect millions of farmers ill-serves a diverse country. Critically analyse the statement. (15 Marks, 250 Words) (GS 2 – Polity and Governance).

Read the previous CNA here.

24 Oct 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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