23 Sep 2020: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

23 Sep 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. TRAI recommends body to monitor net neutrality
2. Lok Sabha clears 3 labour Bills
3. Amid boycott, Rajya Sabha passes 7 Bills
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Sri Lankan govt. tables 20th Amendment Bill
C. GS 3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Borrowing by States increase 45% this fiscal
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. EPCA chief asks Punjab, Haryana to act against stubble burning
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Making the language of the law comprehensible
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. A new world order
2. Uniting to combat COVID-19
F. Prelims Facts
1. NIA empowered to probe drug-related offences
G. Tidbits
1. ‘A vaccine must have at least 50% efficacy’
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

2. Lok Sabha clears 3 labour Bills

Context:

The Lok Sabha cleared three labour bills amalgamating laws on social security, occupational safety and industrial relations.

The three Labour Bills are:

  1. The Industrial Relations Code, 2020.
  2. The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.
  3. The Code of Social Security, 2020.

This topic has been covered in the 20th September 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

3. Amid boycott, Rajya Sabha passes 7 Bills

Context:

Amid a boycott of House proceedings by many opposition parties, Rajya Sabha passed seven key bills in three-and-a-half hours.

Details:

1) Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • It seeks to declare five Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) set up under the public-private partnership mode in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur as institutions of national importance.

2) The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • The bill has provisions to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
  • It aims to remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
    • The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to the harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into the agriculture sector.
    • It will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of the food supply chain.
    • It will create a competitive market environment and also prevent wastage of agri-produce that happens due to lack of storage facilities.
  • It has been provided in the Amendment, that in situations such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity, such agricultural foodstuff can be regulated.
  • The installed capacity of a value chain participant and the export demand of an exporter will remain exempted from such stock limit imposition so as to ensure that investments in agriculture are not discouraged.

The Essential Commodities Amendment Bill 2020 was earlier passed in the Lok Sabha. This topic has been covered on the 16th September 2020 CNA.

3) Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • The bill amends the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 as applicable to Cooperative Banks.
  • The amendment will bring cooperative banks under the direct supervision of the RBI and bring them under some of the same governance norms as commercial banks.

This topic has been covered in the 17th September 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

4) Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • The Companies Amendment Bill 2020 amends 13 sections and adds one chapter.

5) National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020 and 6) Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020:

  • The two universities were suggested in the Union Budget 2020 to further strengthen the technological infrastructure in the country.
  • The National Forensics Sciences University would entail upgradation of the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University.
  • Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020 has been passed to upgrade the Gandhinagar Police Training University to a national university.
  • Both the universities would be set up under the Institutions of National Importance tag.

7) Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020

  • The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, seeks to replace an ordinance and make a few other changes in direct and indirect tax laws.
  • The reliefs in the bill include extending deadlines for filing returns and for linking PAN and Aadhaar.
  • It also provides tax benefits on donations made to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES FUND) set up in March in the wake of the pandemic.
  • The Bill amends the provisions of the Income Tax Act to provide the same tax treatment to PM-CARES Fund as available to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Sri Lankan govt. tables 20th Amendment Bill

Context:

Sri Lanka’s Justice Minister tabled the contentious 20th Amendment Bill in Parliament amidst protests by the opposition members.

Details:

  • The proposed 20th Constitution Amendment Bill aims to bolster the powers of the President.
  • The government gazetted 20A, the new proposed legislation that would replace the 19th Amendment introduced in 2015 that curtailed the powers of the President and strengthened the role of Parliament.
  • The 19A was seen as the most progressive pro-democracy reformist move since Sri Lanka came to be governed under the all-powerful executive presidency in 1978.
    • It depoliticised the government administration by ensuring the independence of key pillars such as the judiciary, public service, and elections.
  • The 20th Amendment proposes to restore full legal immunity to the President, removing the provisions made in 19A to take legal action against the President.

Concerns:

  • Earlier, the government said it would revisit the Amendment and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a committee to study the proposed legislation and give recommendations.
  • However, it appears that no changes have yet been made to the draft that has triggered concern among public intellectuals, activists and government critics.

Note:

  • Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, the government’s chief legal adviser, has said the draft Bill of the 20th Amendment will not require a referendum, and could be enacted with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, which the ruling party of the Rajapaksas has secured.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. EPCA chief asks Punjab, Haryana to act against stubble burning

Context:

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has written to the chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana urging them to address the issue of stubble burning urgently.

Issues:

  • Paddy residue is not used as fodder as it’s unfit and hence farmers burn both the paddy stalk and straw close to autumn every year which is a key contributing factor of pollution causing breathing problems in the northern region.
  • Early burning of crop residue has begun in the states of Punjab and Haryana.
  • According to a SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research under the Central government) estimate, based on harmonising the INSAT-3, 3D and NASA satellite, EPCA noted that Punjab has seen 42 fire counts in a single day.
  • In 2019, about 9.8 million tonnes of the total estimated crop residue of 20 million tonnes were burnt in Punjab. In Haryana, of a total of 7 million tonnes, 1.24 million tonnes of stubble was burnt.

Read more on this topic covered in the 26th May 2020 Comprehensive News Analysis.

INSAT-3D:

  • INSAT-3D is an advanced weather satellite of India configured with an improved Imaging System and Atmospheric Sounder.
  • INSAT-3D is designed for enhanced meteorological observations, monitoring of land and ocean surfaces, generating a vertical profile of the atmosphere in terms of temperature and humidity for weather forecasting and disaster warning.

Read more about SAFAR.

Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA):

  • Environment Pollution Control Authority is a Supreme Court-mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region).
  • The body is constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It is mandated to enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region).

G. Tidbits

1. ‘A vaccine must have at least 50% efficacy’

What’s in News?

  • According to draft guidelines issued by the Central Drugs and Standards Control Organisation, a potential COVID-19 vaccine must confer at least 50% protection and be able to either prevent infection or disease — but not necessarily both.
    • Central Drugs and Standards Control Organisation is the apex regulator of drug and vaccine trials.
  • These guidelines are similar to standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as peer international regulatory organisations such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).
    • The WHO says for a vaccine that safety, immunogenicity and efficacy are the three criteria.
  • The Director-General of ICMR said that they were aiming for 100% efficacy but that’s unlikely being a respiratory infection, and so the target is 50% and above.

Note:

  • In animal trials, all animals are deliberately infected with SARS-CoV-2 and the responses of the vaccinated and unvaccinated group are compared.
  • Because such deliberate infections are not allowed in people, trial designers deploy statistical techniques to decide on whether the administration of the vaccine has a protective effect.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which of the following is/are the function/s of Environment Pollution Control 
Authority (EPCA):
  1. To protect and improve the quality of the environment and prevent and control environmental pollution in the National Capital Region.
  2. To enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in NCR.
  3. Effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection in NCR.
  4. Provision of relief and compensation to the victims of pollution and other environmental damage in the NCR.

Choose the correct option:

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

Answer: a

Explanation:

Functions of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA):

  • To protect and improve the quality of the environment and prevent and control environmental pollution in the National Capital Region.
  • To enforce the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in NCR as per the pollution levels.
Q2. Consider the following statements:
  1. The Central Government issues treasury bills and bonds.
  2. The State Governments issue only bonds.
  3. The purpose of issuing State Development Loans is to meet the budgetary needs of state governments.

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

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

Answer: d

Explanation:

  • State Development Loans (SDLs) are dated securities issued by states for meeting their market borrowing requirements. It is a Government Security (G-Sec).
  • In effect, the SDLs are similar to the dated securities issued by the central government.
  • The purpose of issuing State Development Loans is to meet the budgetary needs of state governments.
  • In India, the Central Government issues both, treasury bills and bonds or dated securities while the State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities, which are called the State Development Loans (SDLs).
Q3. Which of the following is/are incorrect about the Air Quality Index (AQI)?
  1. There are five AQI categories.
  2. AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality.
  3. AQI is calculated for eight major air pollutants.

Options:

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index for reporting daily air quality.
  • There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.
  • AQI is calculated for eight major air pollutants: Ground-level ozone, PM10, PM2.5, Carbon monoxide, Sulfur dioxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Ammonia, Lead.
Q4. Consider the following statements with respect to the National Investigation 
Agency (NIA):
  1. It acts as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
  2. As per the NIA Act, Central Government can order NIA to take over the investigation of any scheduled offense anywhere in India.
  3. Officers of the NIA are drawn from the Indian Police Service and Indian Revenue Service.

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

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

Answer: c

Explanation:

  • National Investigation Agency is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India.
  • It acts as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
  • As per the NIA Act, Central Government can order NIA to take over the investigation of any scheduled offense anywhere in India.
  • As per the NIA Act, NIA is empowered to deal with terror-related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
  • Officers of the NIA are drawn from the Indian Police Service and Indian Revenue Service.

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Discuss the mandate of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Analyse the impediments in its effective functioning. (GS 3 Security) (10 Marks, 150 Words).
  2. Reforms are needed in the United Nations to strengthen its legitimacy, representativeness and relevance in order to address the realities of the present. Discuss. (GS 2 International Relations) (15 Marks, 250 Words).

Read the previous CNA here.

23 Sep 2020 CNA:- Download PDF Here

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