03 Sep 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

3 Sep 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Question Hour dropped in LS schedule of monsoon session
2. Mission Karmayogi to train govt. officials
C. GS 3 Related
SECURITY
1. Govt. bans PUBG, WeChat Work, 116 other mobile apps
ECONOMY
1. Capping MEIS benefits will seriously affect traders: FIEO
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. State to declare 600 acres of Aarey as reserve forest
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Victory in a long battle for equal opportunities
2. One error rectified, many to go
GOVERNANCE
1. A missed opportunity
ECONOMY
1. A guide to flattening the curve of economic chaos
F. Prelims Facts
G. Tidbits
1. Mundra terminal deal under scanner
2. UAE flights to ‘all nations’ can fly over Saudi Arabia
3. UNSC blocks Pak. bid to name Indians in terror list
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Mission Karmayogi to train govt. officials

Context:

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for Mission Karmayogi.

Mission Karmayogi:

  • Mission Karmayogi is a new, national capacity-building and performance evaluation programme for civil servants.
  • The scheme will cover 46 lakh Central Government employees at all levels, and involves an outlay of ₹510 crore over a five-year period.
  • An annual subscription of ₹431 will be charged per civil servant.
  • The scheme is a comprehensive post-recruitment reform of the Centre’s human resource (HR) development.
  • The programme will support a transition from “rules-based to roles-based” HR management so that work allocations can be done by matching an official’s competencies to the requirements of the post.
  • Apart from domain knowledge training, the scheme will focus on “functional and behavioural competencies” as well, and also includes a monitoring framework for performance evaluations.
  • In due course, the service matters such as confirmation after probation period, deployment, work assignments and notification of vacancies will all be integrated into the proposed framework.

Read more on Mission Karmayogi in PIB dated Sep 2, 2020.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Capping MEIS benefits will seriously affect traders: FIEO

Context:

Fund crunch has forced the commerce ministry to cap export benefits under Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) at ₹2 crore for every exporter.

Details:

  • According to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) notification, the aforesaid ceiling may be subject to a further downward revision to ensure that the total claim under the scheme for the (four-month) period does not exceed the allocation prescribed by the government, which is ₹5,000 crore.

Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS):

  • MEIS was designed to provide exporters with sops to offset infrastructure inefficiencies and associate costs.
  • The scheme will come to an end by December 2020 following India losing a case at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after a challenge by the US.
  • The Indian government has announced a new WTO-compliant scheme called Remission of Duties or Taxes On Export Product (RoDTEP).

Remission of Duties or Taxes On Export Product (RoDTEP):

  • RoDTEP will replace MEIS starting 1 January 2021.
  • The finance ministry has set up a committee under the chairmanship of GK Pillai to finalise the rates under RoDTEP that will allow reimbursement of all embedded taxes including local levies paid on inputs by exporters.

Concerns:

  • The government had stopped paying pending MEIS incentives beginning July 2020.
  • According to Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the government’s decision to cap export incentives under MEIS scheme at ₹2 crore per exporter on outbound shipments made during September-December, 2020 is going to seriously affect traders.
  • It is opined that the move would create huge uncertainty as those eligible for a cap of ₹2 crore will not be able to factor in even such benefits in their exports.
  • These benefits under MEIS are a part of the export competitiveness and therefore the sudden change will affect exporters financially as buyers are not going to revise their prices upwards.
  • The Centre has been urged to extend the MEIS till March 31, 2021, coterminous with the existing Foreign Trade Policy.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. State to declare 600 acres of Aarey as reserve forest

Context:

Maharashtra Chief Minister has announced the reservation of 600 acres of Aarey land near Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) as forest.

Details:

  • It has been claimed as the first instance of an extensive forest protected within the limits of a metropolis anywhere in the world.
  • It was decided to apply Section 4 of the Indian Forest Act (IFA) to almost 600 acres of the land.
  • This implies that it will be declared a reserve forest after a hearing for suggestion and objections.
  • The CM has assured that it will be ensured that all the rights of tribal communities which reside within it would stand protected.

Reserved Forest:

  • Reserved Forest is an area mass of land duly notified under the provisions of the Indian Forest Act or the State Forest Acts having a full degree of protection.
    • In Reserved Forests, all activities are prohibited unless permitted.
  • Reserved Forest is notified under Section 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 or under the reservation provisions of the forest acts of the State Governments.

Section 4:

  • It is within the power of a State Government to issue a preliminary notification under Section 4 of the Act declaring that it has been decided to constitute such land, as specified in a Schedule with details of its location, area and boundary description, into a Reserved Forest.
  • Such a notification also appoints an officer of the State Government as Forest Settlement Officer.

Also read about Aarey Milk Colony tree-felling case

2. One error rectified, many to go

For information on this issue, refer to:

CNA dated Aug 14, 2020: Right by birth

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. A missed opportunity

Context:

  • The draft report of the Gopalakrishnan Committee has been issued for public consultation.

Background:

Significance of government data openness:

  • The government data sets should be open to the citizens of the country based on the following arguments:
    • This will result in greater transparency in governmental actions and hence bring in greater accountability.
    • Given that these data sets result from taxpayer funding the citizens should be able to enjoy the benefits accruing from such data sets.
    • Government data sets, curated according to publicly verified standards, can lead to increased confidence in data quality and increased usage.
    • The free flow of information can have beneficial effects on society in the socio-economic domain.

Measures taken to promote openness:

  • The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 mandates the disclosure of government data on a suo moto basis.
  • “Information for all” is an important pillar of the Digital India Policy.
  • The National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP), 2012 requires all non-sensitive information held by public authorities to be made publicly accessible in machine-readable formats, subject to certain conditions.
  • The Open Government Data Platform provides open access to data sets held by ministries and other agencies of the government.

Concerns:

  • India has failed to create an open data society due to the following reasons.

Poor implementation of existing guidelines:

  • Despite the well-intended provisions of the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP), 2012, its implementation has been far from satisfactory.
  • The quality and quantity of data sets published by the government have not been satisfactory. The data sets released by governments are often inconsistent, incomplete, outdated, published in non-machine readable or inconsistent formats, include duplicates, and lack quality metadata, thereby reducing re-usability.

Reluctance to provide information:

  • The administration has been reluctant to make valuable information sets available to the public on grounds of sensitivity of the information and has been using provisions like the exceptions provided under the RTI act and the official secrets act provisions.

Also read: Right to Information

Details:

  • The Gopalakrishnan Committee has recommended among other things, making non-personal data “open”.

Non-personal data:

  • Non-personal data are data that do not identify an individual.
  • Non-personal data sets can be useful in either framing public policy or creating and providing new services. Non-personal data are viewed as critical for the development of the AI ecosystem.

For detailed information on the mandate and suggestions of the Gopalakrishnan Committee refer to:

CNA dated Sep 2, 2020: Treating data as commons

Lacunae in the recommendations:

  • The article discusses some of the shortcomings in the Gopalakrishnan Committee recommendations.

Government data sets:

  • The Gopalakrishnan Committee report does not adequately address governance frameworks around government data sets. Instead, the report largely focuses on the dangers posed by data collection by private sector entities.
  • The Gopalakrishnan Committee does not evaluate the challenges with existing policies and practices pertaining to government data, and does not offer solutions on this front.
    • Notably, some of the most important non-personal data sets are held by the government, or result from taxpayer funding.

Conditions for data transfer:

  • Though the Committee has taken a good step forward in recommending the making of non-personal data “open”, the committee does not lay down conditions for such data transfers. This has raised concerns about state interference in the private data ecosystem.
    • The Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee report of 2018 highlighted the need to restrict the growing power of the state to carry out surveillance.

Unaddressed issues:

  • India’s cybersecurity framework continues to be woefully inadequate and this issue has not been addressed in the report.

Way forward:

  • Data governance being a relatively new concept in India, the government must take an incremental approach to reforms.
  • Before trying to reform private sector data governance structure, the reforms should begin with reforming how the government itself deals with citizens’ data. This would result in greater trust in data governance practices and also allow the development of state capacity to govern the data ecosystem.

Category: ECONOMY

1. A guide to flattening the curve of economic chaos

For information on the issue of economic contraction, refer to:

CNA dated Sep 2, 2020: Inevitable collapse

For information on the possible solutions to the current economic downturn, refer to:

CNA dated Aug 6, 2020: How to pay for the stimulus

F. Prelims Facts

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Tidbits

1. Mundra terminal deal under scanner

What’s in News?

A proposal to transfer partial ownership of a terminal at India’s busiest Mundra port in Gujarat to a Chinese company is under the scanner of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

  • The government has already put other Chinese acquisitions on hold for the past few months.

Details:

  • According to the application submitted by CMA Terminals of France, the company that is a joint venture partner of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ), engaged in “developing, operating, maintaining terminal CT-4 at Mundra Port”, wants to turn over its 50% stake to the CMA-CGM group, under a joint venture between the French company and the China Merchants Group (CMG).
    • APSEZ, which is India’s largest private port operator, entered into the Indo-French joint venture with CMA Terminals for the Mundra port in 2014, and the container terminal at Mundra was commissioned in 2017.
  • CMA-CGM, the third-largest shipping company in the world announced in December 2019, that it was going to sell stakes in 10 terminals worldwide to its venture with China Merchants Group for $968 million.
    • The list included the Mundra port in India, and others in China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Netherlands and other countries.

2. UAE flights to ‘all nations’ can fly over Saudi Arabia

What’s in News?

Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow UAE flights to “all countries” to overfly the kingdom, state media reported, days after allowing an Israeli aircraft to pass over en route to Abu Dhabi.

  • Saudi Arabia has accepted an Emirati request to allow crossing the kingdom’s airspace for flights heading to the UAE and departing from it to all countries.
  • Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the historic first commercial flight of an Israeli aircraft direct to the UAE across Saudi Arabia would not be the last.
    • The announcements come after a U.S.-Israeli delegation visited Abu Dhabi on the first direct commercial flight from Tel Aviv.
  • Saudi Arabia has said it will not follow the UAE in establishing diplomatic ties with Israel until Israel has signed a peace accord with the Palestinians.
    • But the kingdom has cultivated clandestine relations with Israel in recent years.

3. UNSC blocks Pak. bid to name Indians in terror list

What’s in News?

The UN Security Council, led by France, UK and the U.S., has rejected attempts by Pakistan to designate Indians as terrorists under its 1267 Committee for Counterterrorism Sanctions.

Details:

  • The UNSC committee decided to block the designations of four Indian names proffered by Pakistan, to be designated as terrorists.
  • Since the evidence was not provided by Pakistan, officials said the committee decided to block or reject all the names.
  • According to sources, all five countries (US, UK, France, Germany and Belgium) placing the hold also blocked it, although U.S., UK and France were prime movers, indicating that the other permanent members, China and Russia, did not try to block the move by Pakistan.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements:
  1. Question hour is mentioned in the Rules of Procedure of the House.
  2. A starred question is one to which a written answer is desired by the member and is deemed to be laid on the Table of the House by Minister.
  3. A starred question cannot have supplementary questions.

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

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The first hour of every parliamentary sitting is termed as Question hour.
  • It is mentioned in the Rules of Procedure of the House.
  • It is during Question hour that the members ask questions and the ministers usually give answers.
  • A starred question (distinguished by an asterisk) is one to which a member desires an oral answer from the Minister in the House. Supplementary questions can follow.
  • An unstarred question, on the other hand, requires a written answer and hence, supplementary questions cannot follow.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to the Global Innovation Index 2020:
  1. India is ranked among the top 50 nations.
  2. Israel is ranked among the top 10 nations.
  3. It is published by WIPO in association with Cornell University and INSEAD.

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

  1. 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. None of the above
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • The Global Innovation Index (GII) is a global ranking of countries for their success in and capacity for innovation. It is published by a specialized agency of the United Nations – the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in association with Cornell University and graduate business school INSEAD.
  • The index ranks countries based on 80 indicators, ranging from intellectual property filing rates to Research and Development, online creativity, mobile application creation, computer software spending, education spending, scientific & technical publications and ease of starting a business.
  • In Global Innovation Index 2020, India is ranked among the top 50 nations.
  • The list continues to be topped by Switzerland while Israel finds its place in the top ten for the first time.
Q3. Recently approved - Mission Karmayogi is a part of:
  1. Labour Reforms
  2. Defence Sector Reforms
  3. Civil Services Reforms
  4. Health Sector Reforms
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Mission Karmayogi is a new, national capacity-building and performance evaluation programme for civil servants.
  • The scheme will cover 46 lakh Central government employees at all levels, and involves an outlay of ₹510 crore over a five-year period.
  • An annual subscription of ₹431 will be charged per civil servant.
  • The scheme is a comprehensive post-recruitment reform of the Centre’s human resource (HR) development.
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to Pangong Tso:
  1. It is an endorheic, brackish water lake.
  2. It is identified as a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention.

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

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Pangong Tso is a long narrow, deep, endorheic (landlocked) lake.
  • The brackish water lake freezes over in winter, and becomes ideal for ice skating and polo.
  • The lake is not a Ramsar site. It is in the process of being identified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Analyze the need for the openness of government-owned data sets and enumerate the existing measures and policies to promote data openness. Also discuss the concerns with respect to their implementation. (15 marks, 250 words)(GS paper 2/Governance)
  2. Given the concerns of an extended economic slowdown, discuss possible interventions to revive the economic growth in India. (15 marks, 250 words)(GS paper 3/Economy)

Read the previous CNA here.

3 Sep 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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