22 Sep 2023: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

22 September 2023 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. India - Canada Ties
C. GS 3 Related
1. Tracking India’s growth trajectory
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. Silent Killer: High Blood Pressure
1. Propelling India’s development
F. Prelims Facts
1. UN’s Climate Ambition Summit
G. Tidbits
1. New Pamban bridge
2. Cauvery Water Regulation Committee & Cauvery Water Management Authority
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

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Category: ECONOMY

1. Propelling India’s development

Syllabus: GS-3, Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources; Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it

Mains: What role can public investment play in ensuring inclusive growth and sustaining development?


  • In the 1960s, India embarked on ambitious space research despite scepticism, diverting limited resources into space exploration.
  • India’s investment in advanced technology and research programs aimed to accelerate national development after decades of colonialism.
  • Vikram Sarabhai, a key figure in India’s space program, envisioned using satellites for telecommunications, agriculture, and health education.

 Journey to the Moon:

  • India’s space journey began with the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in 1969.
  • The nation’s commitment to technological advancement led to various achievements, including landing a rover on the moon’s south pole and launching missions to study the sun.
  • Public funding played a crucial role in sustaining these endeavours, as the benefits of technology take time to materialize and may not offer immediate commercial viability.

Technology to Remedy Underdevelopment:

  • India’s development strategy can be likened to a “moonshot” approach, leveraging modern industrialization to overcome historical challenges.
  • Critics argued that India should have focused on labour-intensive industries due to its surplus labour force, but the timeline and investment required for new technologies made public funding essential.
  • Technologies with a “public good” nature, like the Internet, often require government support for development.
  • India’s state-supported technological capabilities laid the foundation for private enterprise success in various sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, information technology, and space exploration.

Inequalities, a Hurdle for Progress:

  • Despite technological advancements, India faced persistent inequalities and social disparities.
  • Land redistribution and asset ownership remained inadequate, particularly among marginalized communities like Dalits (Scheduled Castes).
  • Underinvestment in basic education exacerbated these inequalities, limiting access to higher education and better-paying jobs.
  • In 2021-22, a significant portion of SC workers engaged in manual labour, highlighting the contrast with more egalitarian East Asian countries.

Reinstate State Support:

  • India should acknowledge the successes and failures of its ambitious post-independence development strategy.
  • The strategy of building technological and industrial capabilities with substantial state support was correct and should be reinstated.
  • Abandoning industrial planning after 1991 was a mistake, and India must now embrace industrial policies in a globalized economy, as demonstrated by the United States and China.
  • Simultaneously, India needs to focus on making economic growth more inclusive, particularly in education, including higher education, for all segments of the population, including marginalized groups.
  • Achieving social and human capabilities for the masses will be akin to a “lunar takeoff” in economic progress.

Nut Graf: India’s journey from scepticism to space exploration, technological ambitions, and persistent inequalities is a complex narrative. Beginning with audacious space endeavours driven by public investment, it underscores the importance of state support for technological advancement. There is a need to address long-standing inequalities and reinstate state-backed industrial policies while ensuring inclusive education for all to propel India towards comprehensive economic progress.

F. Prelims Facts

1. UN’s Climate Ambition Summit

Syllabus: GS 3- Environment

Prelims: Climate Action Plan

Absence of Major Economies

  • The Climate Ambition Summit (CAS) at the United Nations General Assembly was missing key players: China, the U.S., and India.
  • These countries, responsible for 42% of global greenhouse gas emissions, didn’t attend a summit meant to showcase climate leaders with credible actions.

Limited Participation

  • Despite nearly 100 heads of state responding to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s call for climate action, only 34 states and seven institutions spoke at the summit.
  • Neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Pakistan, as well as emerging economies like South Africa and Brazil, were among the speakers.
  • The European Union, Germany, France, and Canada also participated.

Criteria for Speaking Slot

  • To speak at the summit, countries needed updated pre-2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), net-zero targets, energy transition plans without new coal, oil, and gas commitments, fossil fuel phase-out plans, ambitious renewable energy goals, Green Climate Fund pledges, and adaptation and resilience plans.
  • All main emitters and G-20 governments were asked to commit to presenting more ambitious economy-wide NDCs with absolute emissions cuts by 2025, covering all gases.

UN’s Climate Action Team’s Role

  • The UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Team engaged with governments, businesses, and local authorities to ensure net-zero transition plans met the UN-backed credibility standard.
  • The UN did not clarify India’s participation, and India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change did not provide information.

India’s Climate Pledges

  • India last updated its climate commitments in 2022, aiming to reduce emissions intensity by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • It pledged to meet 50% of its electricity needs with renewable, non-fossil fuel sources, up from 40% agreed at the Paris Agreement.
  • India also promised to create a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Call for Urgent Climate Action

  • UN Secretary-General Guterres emphasised the urgency of climate action, warning of a dangerous and unstable world with a 2.8-degree temperature rise if nothing changes.
  • The focus of the summit was on climate solutions in response to the escalating climate crisis.

G. Tidbits

1. New Pamban bridge

Construction Progress

  • The new Pamban railway sea bridge, connecting Mandapam on the mainland to Rameswaram on Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu, may not meet its November deadline, according to railway officials.
  • Construction on the bridge began in 2019 and has faced delays, missing previous deadlines in March and July.

Challenges Faced

  • Recent increases in wind speed at the project site have slowed progress, particularly for the 72.5-meter “lift-span,” a movable part of the bridge designed to allow ships to pass.
  • The lift-span has been assembled but still needs to be erected, along with the remaining 26 spans.

Geographical and Environmental Challenges

  • The new bridge is constructed in a geographically challenging location, exposed to a corrosive marine environment and cyclone-prone conditions with high wind velocities.
  • The railway bridge plays a crucial role in connecting the mainland to Rameswaram, a significant South Indian town and one of the Char Dham pilgrimage sites.
  • It is a replacement for the century-old Pamban bridge and is being built by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited at a budget of ₹545 crore.
  • Earlier reports mentioned that rail traffic on the old bridge had been permanently halted due to safety concerns.

2. Cauvery Water Regulation Committee & Cauvery Water Management Authority

Supreme Court’s Non-Intervention in Cauvery Water Dispute

  • The Supreme Court has refused to step in to support either Karnataka or Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery water dispute.
  • Instead, it relies on the expertise of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) and the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to oversee water sharing between the two states.

Role of CWRC and CWMA

  • The CWRC had previously directed Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu.
  • A three-judge Bench led by Justice B.R. Gavai expresses satisfaction with the CWRC and CWMA’s regular meetings every 15 days to review water flow, considering the distress faced by both states.

Concerns Raised by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

  • Senior advocates for Tamil Nadu claimed that the CWRC initially determined that the state required 7,200 cusecs of water from Karnataka but abruptly reduced it to 5,000 cusecs in the final order.
  • The CWMA confirmed the CWRC’s order, specifying Karnataka’s responsibility to ensure Cauvery water releases from the Krishna Raja Sagar and Kabini reservoirs, totalling 5,000 cusecs at Biligundulu.

Arguments Presented

  • Tamil Nadu argued that the CWMA mechanically accepted the CWRC’s decision and emphasised the dire need for water to support standing crops.
  • In contrast, Karnataka contended that the daily flow of 5,000 cusecs was against its interests. It noted a growing drinking water crisis in urban areas like Bengaluru, while Tamil Nadu primarily required water for irrigation.
  • Karnataka suggested that authorities should not have mandated a release exceeding 3,000 cusecs per day.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements, with reference to the Cauvery River:
  1. The Cauvery River rises at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range in the Western Ghats in Karnataka.
  2. The river drains into the Arabian Sea.
  3. The right bank tributaries of the Cauvery River include the Harangi, the Hemavati, the Shimsha, and the Arkavati.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: a

Explanation: It rises at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range near Cherangala village of Kodagu district of Karnataka, and drains into the Bay of Bengal. They are left-bank tributaries, whereas Lakshmantirtha, Kabbani, Suvarnavati, Bhavani, Noyil and Amaravati join from the right. 

Q2. With reference to Ponzi schemes, which of the following statements is/are incorrect?
  1. Ponzi schemes promise high returns with little or no risk.
  2. Existing investors are typically paid from the investments of new investors.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: d

Explanation: A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. They pay existing investors using funds from newer investors, leading to eventual collapses.

Q3. With reference to the new Pamban railway sea bridge, which of the following 
statements is/are correct?
  1. It connects Mandapam town on the mainland to Rameswaram on the Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu.
  2. The bridge is being constructed in a geographically challenging terrain, prone to cyclones and with high wind velocity.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c

Explanation: The new Pamban railway sea bridge connects Mandapam town to Rameswaram and is being built in a challenging terrain prone to cyclones and high winds. 

Q4. Consider the following statements, with reference to the India Cooling 
Action Plan (ICAP):
  1. ICAP aims to reduce cooling demand and develop a national skill development program.
  2. It solely focuses on active cooling strategies to optimize cooling loads.
  3. ICAP includes policy interventions for market transformation but excludes public procurement of energy-efficient AC appliances.

How many of the statements given above are incorrect?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: b

Explanation: ICAP is a comprehensive plan encompassing various aspects of cooling, including passive and active cooling strategies, policy interventions, and skill development.

Q5. With reference to the U.N.'s Climate Ambition Summit, which of the following 
statements is/are incorrect?
  1. The summit seeks to accelerate action by governments, businesses, and civil society to build a more climate-resilient global economy.
  2. The Climate Ambition Summit took place in Geneva, Switzerland.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: b

Explanation: The Climate Ambition Summit took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York.


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