25 Oct 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

CNA 25 Oct 2019:-

A.GS1 Related
B.GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. A judge cannot be suspected of bias: Mishra
HEALTH
1. 2 out of 3 wild poliovirus strains have been eradicated, says WHO
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. India, Pakistan sign Kartarpur pact
C.GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Final straw for already distressed telecom sector
D.GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Good report card – On Ease of Doing Business Index
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Legislation against mob lynching must be accompanied by effective policing
F. Tidbits
1. A.P. likely had a flourishing port 2,000 years ago
G. Prelims Fact
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions


A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

1. A judge cannot be suspected of bias: Mishra

Context:

• A Constitution Bench, in a verdict has held that a judge need not recuse himself from a larger Bench scrutinising the correctness of his own past judgment.
• “No litigant can choose who should be on the Bench. He cannot say that a judge who might have decided a case on a particular issue, which may go against his interest, should not hear his case as part of a larger Bench,” Justice Arun Mishra wrote in the leading judgment for the Bench.

1. 2 out of 3 wild poliovirus strains have been eradicated, says WHO

Context:

• In an announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Polio Day (24th of October), an independent commission of experts declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide.
• The development follows eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2.

Details:

• There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3).
• Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death.
• But there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains three separate viruses that must each be eradicated individually.
• Poliovirus type 1 remains in circulation in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
• Type 2 was eradicated back in 2015.
• The last case of type 3 polio surfaced in northern Nigeria in 2012 and the virus hasn’t been seen since. It is declared that Wild poliovirus type 3 is globally eradicated.
• A poliovirus can be considered eradicated if it hasn’t been detected for three years.
• India, where polio was paralyzing 500 to 1,000 children per day in the 1990s, eliminated the disease in 2014.

Polio:

• Polio, short for poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus.
• Polio is transmitted through contaminated water or food, or contact with an infected person.
• Polio mainly affects children under the age of 5.
• At its peak in the middle of the 20th century, the disease killed half a million people every year.
• In 1988, when WHO launched the eradication program, there were more than 350,000 cases in 125 polio-endemic countries.
• Since then, cases of wild poliovirus have decreased by over 99 percent, according to WHO, to just 94 this year.
• The current goal for full polio eradication is 2023.

Conclusion:

This is a significant achievement that should reinvigorate the eradication process and provides motivation for the final step — the eradication of wild poliovirus type 1.

1. India, Pakistan sign Kartarpur pact

Context:

India and Pakistan have signed an agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor that will facilitate pilgrims from India to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

Kartarpur Corridor:

• The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.
• The pilgrims will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib.
• It was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.
• The Kartarpur shrine has one of the last copies of the original Guru Granth Sahib; there are some who believe that it contains not only the wisdom of the 10 Gurus but is itself the 11th and last Guru.
• The corridor at Narowal, around 125 km from Lahore, is expected to be opened on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November.

Details:

• The agreement is valid initially for five years.
• India will hand over the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days in advance and those granted permission to go may be informed only four days before the proposed date of travel.
• The list of “do’s and don’ts” for the pilgrims, has been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Way forward:

• The Kartarpur Project could provide a mechanism for broader conversations between India and Pakistan.
• The template that Kartarpur has given both sides is also worth considering for the format of other bilateral negotiations.
• The obvious extension from this would be for having other faith-based corridors for Hindu, Muslim and Sikh pilgrims in both countries; this would be in addition to the list of 20 shrines (15 in Pakistan, five in India) that were negotiated under the 1974 Protocol on visits to Religious Shrines.
• Both countries must make use of the Kartarpur template for other bilateral negotiations.

C. GS3 Related

1. Final straw for already distressed telecom sector

Context:

The Supreme Court has upheld the definition of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation as stipulated by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), thereby upholding the Department of Telecom’s move to recover adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of about Rs. 92,000 crore from the Telecom service providers.

What is Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)?

• Telecom operators are required to pay licence fee and spectrum charges in the form of ‘revenue share’ to the Centre.
• The revenue amount used to calculate this revenue share is termed as the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).
• According to the DoT, the calculations should incorporate all revenues earned by a telecom company – including from non-telecom sources such as deposit interests and sale of assets.
• The companies, however, have been of the view that AGR should comprise the revenues generated from telecom services only and non-telecom revenues should be kept out of it. It had argued that AGR must only include license and spectrum fees.

Background:

• This dispute between DoT and the telecom companies has been on since 2005, when the Cellular Operators Association of India — the lobby group for players such as Airtel and Vodafone challenged the DoT’s definition for AGR calculation.
• Subsequently, in 2015, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) ruled that the AGR included all receipts, except capital receipts and revenue from non-core sources such as rent, profit on the sale of fixed assets, dividend, interest and miscellaneous income, etc.
• The government, meanwhile, continued to raise the issue of under-reporting of revenues.
• The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), in a recent report, blamed the telecom firms for “understating revenues”.

What is the current position?

• The SC has held that not only the original charges, but principal interest and penalties on delayed payments would also be applicable on the service providers.
• Telecom firms will now be required to include non-core income for calculation of AGR.
• The dues are estimated at well over Rs 92000 cr.

Concerns:

• Most operators have either exited the sector post the 2G ruling or are not doing well.
• The entry of Reliance Jio into the sector has only made things worse for the old players such as Airtel and Vodafone.
• The sector also had debts of over Rs 7 lakh crore.
• The judgment has significantly damaging implications for India’s telecom industry, which is already reeling under huge financial stress and is left with only four operators.
• Telecom players have voiced that the court order is a major blow for the sector already in distress due to intense tariff war and indebtedness, thereby weakening its viability as a whole.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

1. Good report card – On Ease of Doing Business Index

Context:

In the latest ranking for countries in ease of doing business, the World Bank has placed India, 63rd out of 190 countries. — an improvement of 14 places from its 77th position last year.

• The indicator measures the performance of countries across 10 different dimensions in the 12-month period ending May 1, 2019.
• The 10 areas of study are: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.
• An 11th area – employing workers – is measured, but not factored into the score.

India’s performance in the Ease of Doing Business Index:

• India is ranked at 63rd position out of 190 countries, 14 places up from its 77th position last year.
• The country’s score improved from 67.3 last year to 71.0 this year, as per The Doing Business 2020 study.
• India is also featured, for the third consecutive year, in the list of 10 economies where business climates had improved the most. This list comprises Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India and Nigeria.
• India’s improved ranking was on the back of four reforms: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, trading across borders and resolving insolvency.
• The report highlights improvements in the efficiency of acquiring building permits.
• With regard to rankings based on construction permits alone, the position of Delhi’s civic bodies improved from 181 in 2018 to 52 in 2019 to 27 this year.
• Imports and exports have become easier with a single electronic platform for trade stakeholders, among other things.
• The ‘resolving insolvency’ indicator, however, was mixed.
• The report notes that reorganisation proceedings had been promoted in practice, a positive for the indicator, but resolving insolvency had also been made harder because dissenting creditors would receive less under reorganisation than under liquidation.
• However, in the “resolving insolvency” category India’s rank has improved from 108 to 52, with the overall recovery rate for lenders moving up from 26.5 cents to 71.6 cents to the dollar according to the World Bank.

Conclusion:

• While the improvements are impressive and the rise in overall rankings in the last few years is noteworthy, the fact is that India is still below its competitors for global capital, particularly China, which is at rank 31.
• The country lags in key metrics such as “Starting a business’, “Enforcing contracts” and “Registering property”.
• It should also be borne in mind that the rankings are based on samples and audits done in Mumbai and Delhi only (the World Bank has said it would be covering Bengaluru and Kolkata too from next year).
• Starting, running or shutting down a business may be easier in Delhi and Mumbai compared to Coimbatore or Hyderabad where it is probably more difficult.
• It is not easy to streamline processes across the country given India’s federal set up where States have a big say in several parameters that go into the ranking such as securing building permits, land approvals, electricity connections, registering assets, etc.
• Yet, this is the ideal that the country should be striving for. The rise in rankings from hereon will depend on how much the Centre is able to convince the States to reform their systems.

1. Legislation against mob lynching must be accompanied by effective policing

(Please note that this editorial is from The Indian Express)

Context:

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently released the Crime in India Report for the year 2017.

Issue:

• The glaring absence of figures relating to incidents of lynching in the recently released National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) database on the pretext that the data received from the states were “unreliable” hints at an attempt to keep the figures under wraps.
• It leaves us with a few options and sources such as media reporting, for these figures.

Details:

• Figures available from various other sources indicate that in 63 incidents, 28 persons were killed between 2010 and 2017, of which 24 were Muslims.
• There have been 266 cases of lynching since 2014 and this continues to show an upward trend, casting an adverse impression about the role of the police in arresting such trends.

Need for Anti-lynching laws and effective policing:

• The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and all states to frame stringent laws against lynching.
• While Manipur passed an anti-lynching law last November, Rajasthan and West Bengal have passed such legislation more recently.
• West Bengal’s law is stringent, punishing with death those held guilty of lynching victims to death. But these will be futile unless they are strictly enforced on the ground.
• The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has stressed the need to take stringent action against officials for dereliction of their duties.
• The district magistrate and police officers can be imprisoned for a term extending upto three years with a fine upto Rs 5000.
• Apart from monitoring fake news and arresting those who originate and forward news that could trigger mob violence or communal unrest, the police must ensure that any plan to upset the law and order machinery is reported to the control room within minutes.
• Districts that are communally sensitive ought to have additional armed and well-equipped companies to rush to any spot within minutes to handle frenzied mobs.
• Prompt investigations into incidents of mob lynching followed by arrests and trial by fast track courts could go a long way in curbing such incidents.
• The responsibility will, therefore, devolve on the police to protect the witnesses and the victims.
• Political patronage to fundamentalist elements will deter the policemen from doing their duty.
• In the interest of the victims and the witnesses, lynching must be made a non-bailable offence.
• Policemen who watch as mute spectators should also be tried in the same manner as the culprits.
• Senior police officers also need to be taken to task if found guilty of dereliction of duty.

F. Tidbits

1. A.P. likely had a flourishing port 2,000 years ago

• According to the Archaeological Survey of India, a maritime trade centre based out of a fortified settlement near the banks of River Swarnamukhi in Andhra Pradesh may have had a trade guild with its own army to protect its interests around 2,000 years ago.
• The first round of excavation at the site, unearthed a huge settlement surrounded by a brick enclosure that may have had a moat around it.
• The excavation unearthed brick-built structures in elliptical, circular and rectangular shapes.
• The sizes of bricks are found to be similar to those in the Satavahana/Ikshvaku period structures in the Krishna valley. This means the site may date back to 2nd century to 1st century BCE.
• A four-armed 2-metre tall sculpture of Vishnu was also unearthed at the site. Looking at its features like headgear and drapery, it is believed to be dated back to the Pallava period (8th Century CE).
• The excavation also unearthed a series of broken terracotta pipes that fit into each other, pointing towards a form of drainage.
• The site is believed to be a trade centre in south coastal Andhra Pradesh. Evidences have been found, of its strategic location for trade.
• The second round of excavations is yet to be carried out.

G. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV):
1. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the second generation launch vehicle of India.
2. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
3. The vehicle has successfully launched Chandrayaan-1 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft.

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

a. 1 only
b. 1 and 2 only
c. 3 only
d. 2 and 3 only

See

 Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to “Snow Leopard”:
1. It is classified as “Endangered” in the IUCN Redlist.
2. It is the state animal of Himachal Pradesh.
3. Besides India, snow leopards are only found Pakistan, Russia and China.

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

a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. 1, 2 and 3

See
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Commission for the Conservation of
Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR):
1. The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, is part of the Antarctic Treaty System.
2. It is headquartered at Tasmania in Australia.
3. India is not a member of the Convention.

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

a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. 3 only

See