15 Sep 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

15 Sep 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
SOCIAL ISSUES
1. Centre opposes move to recognise same-sex unions
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. What’s next for Palestine after UAE, Bahrain deals with Israel?
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Bhushan pays fine, files review plea
2. Three agri reform Bills introduced
3. It’s official: Question Hour gone
C. GS 3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Scientists find ‘life harbouring’ gas on Venus
ECONOMY
1. GST compensation due to States is ₹1.51 lakh cr.
2. ‘Sell enemy assets worth ₹1 lakh crore’
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Urban employment as the focal point
2. For a different yardstick
F. Prelims Facts
1. Bharatiyar, the charioteer of wisdom
2. Kondapochamma reservoir
G. Tidbits
1. ‘Regulatory set-up for OTT players not required now’
2. Truth Fund to provide legal aid in fight for free speech
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Bhushan pays fine, files review plea

Context:

Advocate Prashant Bhushan has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its decision finding him guilty of criminal contempt by scandalising the court with his tweets. Read more on contempt of court.

Details:

  • The review is a limited and rare remedy against a Supreme Court verdict.
  • The two grounds for review are apparent errors in the judgment and factual or legal mistakes.
  • Besides the review plea, a writ petition had been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the lack of an “intra-court appeal” mechanism against a judgment in a suo motu contempt case under Article 129 of the Constitution.

Read more on this issue covered in the 1st Sep 2020 CNA: SC imposes₹1 fine on Bhushan for contempt.

2. Three agri reform Bills introduced

Context:

Three Bills on agriculture reforms have been introduced in Parliament to replace the ordinances issued during the lockdown.

Details:

  • Amendments have been made to the Essential Commodities Act, new laws have been framed to bypass the State APMC Acts and to facilitate contract farming.
  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers Empowerment and Protection Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill have been introduced in the Parliament.
  • The proposed legislations will replace the ordinances promulgated during the lockdown and will bring about changes to the marketing and storage of farm produce and agri commodities outside registered markets, as well as the facilitation of contract farming.

Read more about the agri marketing reforms covered in 17th May 2020 and 4th June 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

3. It’s official: Question Hour gone

This topic has been covered in the 3rd Sep 2020 CNA: Question Hour dropped in LS schedule of monsoon session.

Category: ECONOMY

1. GST compensation due to States is ₹1.51 lakh cr.

Context:

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation due to States stands at over ₹1.51 lakh crore.

Details:

  • In the current fiscal year (2020-21), States are looking at a staggering ₹2.35 lakh crore GST revenue shortfall.

Read more on this issue covered in 11th August 2020 and 28th August 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

2. ‘Sell enemy assets worth ₹1 lakh crore’

Context:

A part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has suggested that India should look at selling enemy properties valued at over ₹1 lakh crore to take care of the current expenditure, which will drive growth.

What is Enemy Property?

  • When war broke out in 1962 (with China) and in 1965 and 1971 (with Pakistan), the Government of India took over the properties of the citizens of China and Pakistan under the provisions of the Defence of India Acts.
    • These legislations defined an ‘enemy’ as any country that committed acts of aggression against India and her citizens.
    • Their properties were categorised as ‘enemy properties’.
  • The law of succession does not apply to enemy property, i.e. it denied legal heirs any right over the enemy property.
  • The estimated value of all enemy properties is approximately Rs 1 lakh crore.

Details:

  • The properties include buildings, land, gold, and jewellery and shares held in companies.
  • As per the Tashkent Declaration signed in January 1966 after the end of hostilities during the 1965 war with Pakistan, both the countries were to discuss the return of properties taken over by either side during the war.
  • These “enemy properties” were vested by the central government in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.
  • While Pakistan was able to liquidate the assets in 1971, India is 49 years behind.

2. For a different yardstick

Context:

  • The article examines the need to revamp the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ survey to make it more comprehensive.

Background:

  • The World Bank has decided to halt its annual ‘Doing Business’ report on data authenticity issues.

For information related to concerns in the current framework of the ‘Doing Business’ report, refer to the following article:

CNA dated Aug 31, 2020: A development that will hardly put India at ease

Details:

Doing Business’ index:

  • The doing business index estimates the cost to business from regulations. Erratic procedures and delays hamper business in India and simplifying procedures brings economic benefits.
  • The survey assumes that lower tax rates are best and it supports lighter rules and regulation to encourage shifts from informal to formal sectors.

Concerns:

  • The desire for better ranking in the index has encouraged countries to even slash down vital regulations which could have a detrimental impact in the long run.
  • There are concerns that the index sidesteps the societal costs of deregulating pollution, worker safety, and health risks.

Environmental concerns:

  • Countries like Brazil, India, and the U.S. have slashed environmental standards which are making significant contributions to climate change and threatening the ecological stability.
    • Brazil has been opening up the pristine Amazon forests for developmental activities.
    • India is considering an Environment Impact Assessment with dilutions to the existing environmental law.
    • There has been the watering down of effluent benchmarks for power plants and automobiles and the production of fossil fuels like oil and shale gas have witnessed a boom in the U.S.
  • Despite the unsustainability of these economic policies, these countries have exhibited higher ranking in the doing business rankings.
    • China and India improved their scores sharply in 2019 and 2020 edition of the doing business ranking, though these countries continue to be among the largest emitters of carbon effluents. The Environmental Performance Index ranked China 120, and India 168, out of 180 countries.

Worker safety:

  • Slack business safeguards may prove to be detrimental to worker safety.
    • The 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh, the second deadliest industrial accident resulted from lackadaisical factory regulation.

Labour rights:

  • The states have been relaxing the labour laws to help attract higher private investment in their economies.
  • However, the states seem to be neglecting workers’ well-being while considering changes to labour laws.

Neglect of vital indicators:

  • The survey neglects indicators like capital availability, availability of skilled workforce, infrastructure availability and entrepreneurship support systems which are as important as the other parameters in the doing business index.

Conclusion:

  • The doing business index needs a total revamp wherein aspects such as safety standards, labour rights and environmental performance also find a provision.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Bharatiyar, the charioteer of wisdom

  • Subramanian Bharathi also known as Bharathiyar, was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist and a social reformer. Popularly known as “Mahakavi”, he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time.
  • Subramanian Bharathi worked as a journalist with many newspapers, including The Hindu, the Swadesamitran and India.
  • One of his famous literary works is ‘Gnanaratham’.

Read more on Subramanian Bharathi in This Day in History dated Dec 11.

2. Kondapochamma reservoir

What’s in News?

Water has been leaking from the Kondapochammasagar reservoir located at the Markook mandal headquarters in Telangana.

Kondapochamma reservoir – Kaleswaram multi-purpose irrigation project:

  • The Kondapochamma reservoir is a part of Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project. It is being constructed in the Medak district of Telangana.
  • From the river to the Kondapochamma reservoir which is over 200 km away, through various lifts and pumps, the water is lifted to a height of over half km to the reservoir.
    • While the Godavari river flows at a lower level, all the reservoirs are at a higher level which requires lifting and pumping the water.
  • Rs 1 lakh crore Kaleshwaram Multipurpose Lift Irrigation Project is on River Godavari.
  • As part of the Kaleswaram Project, water is pumped from the Medigadda Barrage on the Godavari into several reservoirs through canals, tunnels and aqueducts to be distributed to several districts in the state.
  • The Kaleswaram project is divided into different packages to lift the water from Godavari River and 20 of the state’s 31 districts will get drinking and irrigation water.

G. Tidbits

1. ‘Regulatory set-up for OTT players not required now’

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has said that the time is not opportune to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of OTT services such as WhatsApp, Skype and Hike.

  • In its recommendation on ‘Regulatory Framework for OTT Communication Services’, TRAI said that market forces may be allowed to respond without prescribing any regulatory intervention (framework).
  • It, however, mentioned that the developments shall be monitored and intervention, as felt necessary, shall be done at appropriate time.

Note:

OTT services refer to applications and services that are accessible over the internet and ride on an operator’s network.

2. Truth Fund to provide legal aid in fight for free speech

  • With hundreds of people wanting to support advocate Prashant Bhushan by symbolically contributing Re.1 or more towards his fine in the contempt of court case in the Supreme Court, a fund has been set up to use the money to help others fighting for free speech.
  • The Satyamev Jayate or Truth Fund will be used to provide legal support and amplify the voices of those facing criminal charges for standing by their conscience and speaking the truth.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to T-cells:
  1. T cells are a part of the lymphatic system.
  2. T cells originate in the bone marrow and mature in the thymus.
  3. They are responsible for removing the pathogens from the body.

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

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • T cells are a part of the lymphatic system.
  • Lymphoid stem cells produce T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes.
  • T lymphocytes, also commonly known as T cells, are cells involved in fighting specific pathogens in the body.
  • T cells may act as helpers of other immune cells or attack pathogens directly.
  • T cells originate in the bone marrow and mature in the thymus.
Q2. Consider the following statements with respect to Venus:
  1. It is the only planet that has no natural satellites.
  2. It rotates backwards compared to the Earth and the other planets.
  3. The atmosphere of Venus contains traces of phosphine gas.

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

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

  • Venus and Mercury have no moon or satellite of its own.
  • It rotates from east to west while the Earth rotates from west to east.
  • The atmosphere of Venus contains traces of phosphine gas.
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Enemy Property in India:
  1. Movable property is not included under ‘enemy properties’.
  2. The law of succession does not apply to enemy property.
  3. Among the properties left behind by Pakistani nationals, the highest properties are located in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

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

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • The Enemy Property Act, enacted in 1968, provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.
  • The central government, through the Custodian, is in possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country.
  • Some movable properties too, are categorised as enemy properties.
  • The law of succession does not apply to enemy property.
  • Among the 9,280 properties left behind by Pakistani nationals, the highest 4,991 properties are located in Uttar Pradesh.
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to Supplementary Grants:
  1. The additional grants required to meet the required expenditure of the government is called Supplementary Grants.
  2. Supplementary grants are defined in the Constitution of India.
  3. Supplementary grants are presented and passed by the Parliament at the beginning of the financial year following the year in which the expenditure has been incurred.

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

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The additional grant required to meet the required expenditure of the government is called Supplementary Grants.
    • When grants, authorised by the Parliament, fall short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants.
    • These grants are presented and passed by the Parliament before the end of the financial year.
  • Supplementary, additional or excess grants are defined in the Constitution of India.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Given the high likelihood of the steep economic contraction leading to an intense unemployment problem in India, suggest what measures are required to ensure the livelihoods of workers both in urban and rural areas. (15 marks, 250 words)(GS Paper 3/Economy)
  2. The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ index encourages countries to slash down vital regulations sidestepping societal costs of deregulating pollution, worker safety, and health risks and this could have a detrimental impact in the long run. Comment. (10 marks, 150 words)(GS Paper 3/Economy)

Read the previous CNA here.

15 Sep 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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