17 Sep 2021: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

Sept 17th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. AUKUS seeks to reshape Indo-Pacific ties
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Govt. sets up ‘bad bank’ to clear the NPA mess
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. E-Shram needs some hard work to get going
2. Two democracies and their vigilante problem
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Three is company
ECONOMY
1. Delaying the inevitable
F. Prelims Facts
1. Russia-led bloc to hold military drills on Afghanistan border
2. China questions India’s missile project
3. Packed agenda for GST Council today
G. Tidbits
1. ‘Immediate action needed to limit global warming’
2. ‘Waste-to-energy plant is not an acceptable disposal method’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Two democracies and their vigilante problem

The article talks about the vigilante problem in India and the U.S. Vigilantism is the act of enforcement, investigation or punishment of perceived offenses without legal authority.

Vigilantes and Citizen Arrester:

  • Vigilantes are anti-democratic. They lack the values of a constitutional democracy.
  • A consensus has emerged in India to demand that the law-and-order machinery comes down heavily on such vigilante behaviour.
  • One form of the vigilante, in the United States, is the citizen arrester.
    • A citizen’s arrest is an arrest made by a private citizen – that is, a person who is not acting as a sworn law-enforcement official.
    • A citizen arrester enjoys legal status.
    • His/her actions are protected by a law that permits him or her to pursue and arrest a person accused of breaking the law.
  • There are procedures to be followed, and risks involved for wrongful arrest, but assuming that these are adhered to, the citizen arrester is regarded as aiding the consolidation of a political system based on the rule of law.

The ‘Heartbeat Bill’:

  • The ‘Heartbeat Bill’ seeks to ban abortions after six weeks when the foetus registers a heartbeat. The passage of this law has produced an active debate in the U.S.
  • It deprives women of the right over their own bodies by making abortion illegal after six weeks when many women do not even know that they are pregnant. This in effect means that abortions, when needed, are unavailable.
  • The law applies to even women who are victims of rape and incest.
  • Anyone associated with an abortion after six weeks could be penalised and this could include the Uber driver who takes the pregnant woman to the clinic, the receptionist, the nurse and the doctor.
  • The Supreme Court of the USA has declined to hear the injunction challenging the Texas Anti-Abortion Law.

Rather than diminish the place of the citizen arrester, the recent decisions of the Texas legislature are encouraging the practice.

Conclusion:

In an overview article, Professor Ira P. Robbins discusses the historical origins, pitfalls, good application and reform of the citizen arresters. He argues for the scope of citizen arresters to be restricted to only a small category of people, such as shopkeepers, out-of-jurisdiction police, and private police forces, and being abolished in all other cases. The oldest and the largest democracies both seem to be facing a vigilante problem at present.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Three is company

Context:

The U.S. has joined the U.K. and Australia and announced a new trilateral security partnership, the AUKUS.

Details:

  • The partnership aims to ensure that there will be enduring freedom and openness in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly to address the current strategic environment in the region.
  • It complements several pre-existing similar arrangements for the region such as the Five Eyes intelligence cooperation initiative, ASEAN and the Quad.
    • The Five Eyes (FVEY) is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
    • ASEAN is an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia.
    • QUAD is an informal strategic dialogue comprising India, Japan, Australia and the US.

Nuclear Powered Submarines:

  • AUKUS proposes to transfer technology to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia within 18 months.
    • Australia has ratified the nuclear NPT and has vowed to abide by its tenets, despite the highly sensitive technology transfer implied in the latest proposal.
    • However, the US President has assured that AUKUS was not talking about nuclear-armed submarines, but conventionally armed submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors.
  • Australia will become only the second nation, after the U.K., that the U.S. has ever shared its nuclear submarine technology with.

Concerns:

  • The announcement of the partnership led to a minor stir with New Zealand.
    • New Zealand Prime Minister said that under her country’s 1984 nuclear-free zone policy, Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines would not be allowed into its territorial waters.
  • It also appeared to upset the political leadership in France, with whom Australia had struck a deal for $90 billion worth of conventional submarines, which has now been cancelled.

Containing China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific:

  • The broader strategic question that the creation of AUKUS raises is the unstated challenge that the group poses to the regional ambitions of China.
    • It particularly highlights how far the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, along with other regional powers, will go, to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, including the South China Sea.
  • It is to be seen whether the operationalisation of this security partnership will lead to closer coordination among the nations concerned in terms of joint military presence, war games and more in the region.
  • Undersea capabilities including the ability to patrol may be vital to deterring Chinese military coercion in the region.
  • Although no explicit mention of China is made in any of the AUKUS announcements, it is clear that the transfer of nuclear propulsion technology to an ally was intended to send a message of reassurance to countries in Asia.

Conclusion:

While it remains to be seen whether or not the purpose of AUKUS is to contain China’s aggressive territorial ambitions, the imperatives of the Indo-Pacific would be better served by broadening strategic cooperation initiatives of this sort by including other powers that are deeply invested in the region, including India, Japan, and South Korea.
Category: ECONOMY

1. Delaying the inevitable

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved a relief-cum-reforms package for the financially stressed telecom sector. The Government has also decided to offer telecom service providers the option of a four-year moratorium on the payment of outstanding adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and spectrum purchase dues.

This issue has been covered in Sep 16th, 2021 CNA.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Russia-led bloc to hold military drills on Afghanistan border

Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO):

  • The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia that consists of selected post-Soviet states.
  • Its members include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

Context:

  • Collective Security Treaty Organization has announced its plan to hold large military drills in Tajikistan amid the deteriorating situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.
    • Tajikistan is the only country out of the six-member bloc led by Russia that shares a border with Afghanistan.

2. China questions India’s missile project

Agni-V missile:

  • Agni-V is an Indian nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • The exact range of the Agni-V missile is classified. The missile is believed to have a range of over 5,000 km and expandable up to 8,000 km.
  • It is a three-stage solid-fuelled missile.
  • Agni-V incorporated advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance.
    • A ring laser gyroscope based inertial navigation system (RLG-INS) is primarily responsible for guiding the Agni-V to its target. However, Agni-V is equipped with another guidance system called micro inertial navigation system (MINGS) as a backup. These are capable of interacting with Indian and non-Indian satellite navigation systems.
  • Agni-V is also expected to feature Multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) with each missile being capable of carrying 2–10 separate nuclear warheads.
    • While single-warhead missiles are generally launched against one target, the MIRVed missiles can dispense warheads against multiple targets even separated by hundreds of kilometres.
    • The technology will minimise the requirement of a number of missiles providing an edge in battle preparedness. MIRVs also help ensure a credible second strike capability even with few missiles.
  • India is the eighth country to have intercontinental ballistic missiles after the US, UK, Russia, China, France, Israel and North Korea.
  • Agni V is primarily for enhancing India’s nuclear deterrence against China.

Context:

  • China has cited a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution issued after the 1998 nuclear tests to question India’s first user trial of nuke capable intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V signalling its induction in the armed forces.

3. Packed agenda for GST Council today

Inverted duty structure issue:

  • In Pre-GST Regime Inverted Duty Structure is applicable under cases where import duty on raw materials used in the production of finished goods is higher than the import duty of finished goods. This incentivizes imports and disincentivises domestic production.
  • But Under GST Regime the Inverted Duty Structure refers to the cases where the rate of tax on inputs/purchases received are higher than the rate of tax paid on outward supplies/sales.
  • Taxpayers who face an inverted duty structure will always have Input Tax Credit (ITC) in their GST electronic credit ledger even after paying off the output tax liability. This creates working capital issues for the taxpayers, as crucial resources remain blocked in the form of ITC.  The inverted duty structure has caused refund-related issues under the GST regime.

Context:

  • The issue of the inverted duty structure has re-acquired prominence over time and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is expected to take up the issue at its upcoming meeting.

G. Tidbits

1. ‘Immediate action needed to limit global warming’

  • The ‘United in Science 2021’ report published by a range of UN agencies and scientific partners notes that that climate change and its impacts were accelerating. The report also states that the temporary reduction in carbon emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdowns had done nothing to slow global warming.
  • In this context, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has noted that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as envisaged under the Paris climate agreement will be impossible without immediate, largescale emissions cuts.

2. ‘Waste-to-energy plant is not an acceptable disposal method’

Context:

  • Civil society groups, NGOs and individuals have opposed the proposal to set up a waste-to-energy plant at Bandhwari landfill off Gurugram-Faridabad road.

Objections to waste-to-energy plant:

  • The waste-to-energy plant which involves burning of the waste material to derive heat energy results in the emission of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants including many carcinogens.
  • Also unlike the land and water pollution induced by landfills which is limited to some specific areas, the air pollution created by WtE plant can spread across many kilometres, depending on the prevailing wind patterns.

Alternatives:

  • There should be an emphasis on the segregation of waste into wet and dry waste components at the source level itself. While the wet waste (organic) should be dealt with through processes such as composting and anaerobic digestion, the dry waste should be recycled.
  • Also rather than a centralized approach, a decentralized approach must be adopted wherein the garbage produced in each of the municipal wards should be treated within the ward itself.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q.1 Why are nuclear-powered submarines preferred over conventional diesel-electric submarines?
  1. They can operate for long periods underwater as they need not surface frequently
  2. They are harder to detect
  3. They do not contribute to emissions
  4. They have higher chances of surviving a first-nuclear strike

Select the correct answer from the code given below:

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • Nuclear powered submarines can be deployed for longer periods and need to surface less frequently.
  • They have longer ranges and are more capable compared to the conventional diesel-electric submarines. Unlike conventional submarines, which are generally considered helpful for defensive purposes, the ability of a nuclear-powered submarine to go long distances, at a higher speed, without being detected gives a nation the ability to protect its interests far from its shores.
  • Also given that they can stay put in deep waters for longer periods, they have higher chances of surviving a first nuclear strike.
  • Given that they do not emit combustion products as in conventional diesel-based submarines during the surfacing phase, they have a low heat signature and hence are difficult to detect.
  • Notably, the fact that nuclear-powered submarines do not give rise to emissions is not a reason for choosing them over conventional diesel-electric submarines.
Q.2 The RS Virus primarily affects which function in humans?
  1. Reproduction
  2. RNA synthesis
  3. Ribosomal activity
  4. Respiration
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • RS (Respiratory Syncytial) Virus primarily affects respiration function in humans.
  • Respiratory syncytial virus, also called human respiratory syncytial virus and human orthopneumovirus, is a very common, contagious virus that causes infections of the respiratory tract.
Q.3 What best describes the term ‘bad bank’, seen recently in news?
  1. A bank used by those involved in money laundering and fraudulent activities
  2. A bank which is unable to honour its depositors
  3. A bank that takes over and resolves non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking system
  4. A bank which deliberately violates the regulations of the central bank
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • A bad bank is a bank set up to buy the bad loans and other illiquid holdings of another financial institution. The entity holding significant nonperforming assets will sell these holdings to the bad bank at market price.
  • It will then manage and dispose of the assets to potential investors for eventual value realization. In other words, it will hold problem loans for public sector banks which can then be sold on to investors at a reduced price. This will ultimately help clean up the balance sheets of banks.
Q.4 Which of the following statements are correct?
  1. The ‘Doing Business’ report is brought out by the World Economic Forum.
  2. Its publication has been recently discontinued due to data irregularities and ethical concerns.

Select the correct answer from the code given below:

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

Answer: b

Explanation:

  • The ‘Doing Business’ report is brought out by the World Bank.
  • The World Bank Group has decided to discontinue publication of its ‘Doing Business’ rankings of country business climates after a review of data irregularities and ethical concerns in the 2018 and 2020 reports. The World Bank will work on a new approach to assessing countries’ business and investment climates.
Q5. Due to some reasons, if there is a huge fall in the population of species of butterflies,
 what could be its likely consequence/consequences? (UPSC-2017)
  1. Pollination of some plants could be adversely affected.
  2. There could be a drastic increase in the fungal infections of some cultivated plants.
  3. It could lead to a fall in the population of some species of wasps, spiders and birds.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Butterflies pollinate plants and hence a fall in their population could result in a scenario where pollination of some plants could be adversely affected.
  • Fungi is one of the foods which butterflies consume. Similarly, a butterfly is one of the agents which helps in the distribution of fungi spores. If there is a huge fall in the population of species of butterflies, the possibility of a drastic increase in the fungal infections of some cultivated plants is unlikely. “Drastic increase” and “some cultivated plants” are words that are vague and extreme and hence could be considered incorrect.
  • Wasps, spiders and birds are predators of butterflies at some stage of their lifetime. The fall in the number of butterflies could reduce their number as well as forms a part of its food chain.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. AUKUS security alliance will promote stability in the Indo-Pacific region and establish rules-based international order. In the light of the statement discuss the consequences on the existing alliances. (15 marks, 250 Words)[GS-2, International Relations]
  2. Is there a connection between State failure and vigilantism? Critically Examine. (15 marks, 250 Words)[GS-2, Governance]

Read the previous CNA here.

Sept 17th, 2021, CNA:- Download PDF Here

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