28 Septemper 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

September 28th, 2019 CNA: Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A.GS1 Related
B.GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Northeast groups plan protests against bid to reintroduce Citizenship Bill
HEALTH
1. ‘Heart attack linked to air pollution’
2. Treat us for silicosis, not TB: miners in M.P.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. ‘Panchsheel must for peace’
C.GS3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. 10-year sanitation plan to focus on waste management
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. OIC remarks on Article 370
2. As Xi comes a-calling, a footprint without traction
F. Tidbits
1. No right to block road for religious purpose: HC
G. Prelims Facts
1. Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC)
2. Finance Commission
3. Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure
4. Dasara celebrations
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Northeast groups plan protests against bid to reintroduce Citizenship Bill

Context:

Non-Governmental Organisations across the North-Eastern States have lined up protest programmes against the government’s bid to reintroduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Citizenship Amendment Bill:

  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship.
  • The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 and grant citizenship to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after 6 years of stay in India even if they do not possess any proper document. The current requirement is 12 years of stay.
  • They would not face deportation under the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920 and the Foreigners Act of 1946.
  • The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
  • The proposed legislation was cleared by the Lok Sabha in January, 2019 but not tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

Concerns and criticisms:

  • The Bill is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
  • The Centre’s move to grant citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan is believed to poses a huge threat, which will affect the spirit of democracy.
  • The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion.  This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.
  • The Bill implies that illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who are Muslims, other minorities who do not belong to the groups stated in the bill (eg. Jews), or atheists who do not identify with a religious group will not be eligible for citizenship, which is also seen as a violation of Article 14.
  • The Bill is believed an attempt to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region. Civil Society groups have strongly opposes the proposed bill in its present form that seeks to make drastic changes in the citizenship and immigration norms of the country by relaxing the criteria to become an Indian citizen.
  • The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law.  This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences (e.g. parking in a no-parking zone).

Is it at cross-purposes with the National Register of Citizens (NRC)?

  • NRC was updated under the Citizenship Act to wean out illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and other countries.
  • The legacy data—the collective list of the NRC data of 1951 and the electoral rolls till 24 March 1971—was analysed to update NRC.
  • The amendment paves the way for non-Muslim minorities who came to Assam from Bangladesh between 1 January 1966 and 24 March 1974 to get citizenship.
  • This negates the NRC exercise, say ethnic Assamese groups and regional parties.
    • The Bill would hamper the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC), which defines all illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion, on the basis of a cut-off date.
    • The Citizenship Bill is also seen as a move to subvert the Assam Accord of 1985. The Accord deems any person who cannot prove his ancestry beyond March 24, 1971 as an alien. It does not differentiate on the ground of religion in this aspect.

Details:

  • The North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) has asked all the Legislative Assemblies of the eight north-eastern States to adopt a resolution against the Bill.
  • They have urged the Centre to take necessary steps to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The NEFIP is a conglomerate of 250 social organisations in the seven North-Eastern states.

Category: HEALTH

1. ‘Heart attack linked to air pollution’

Context:

A study reveals that air pollution could be the new equivalent of smoking for heart diseases.

Concerns:

  • The study found that approximately 35% of patients with no conventional risk factors suffered from cardiovascular diseases (CAD) due to reasons linked to air pollution.
  • Previously, air pollution was exclusively linked only to respiratory diseases.
  • In recent times, multiple clinical studies have proved the role of air pollution in causing cardiovascular diseases.
  • It is found that air pollution kills more people than smoking.
  • Out of one lakh Indians, about 200 people are prone to heart diseases due to air pollution.

Details:

  • The study was conducted by Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, which tied up with institutions such as NIMHANS and St. John’s Research Centre, Bengaluru.
  • The study was released a day ahead of World Heart Day observed on September 29th.
  • In-depth research conducted on people who did not posses any risk factors, who had heart diseases, revealed that their blood contained higher haemoglobin levels. But the kind of carboxy haemoglobin especially observed in drivers exposed ti air pollution doesn’t account as a healthy factor.
  • The study throws light upon the fact that more young Indians are vulnerable to heart diseases and air pollution is an emerging risk factor for heart attack.
  • The report pointed out that transport is one of the major sources of emissions in Bengaluru. The PM10 annual average over Bengaluru is still almost 1.5 times the National Ambient air Quality Standards, which could adversely affect health.

National Ambient Air Quality Standards:

  • National Ambient Air Quality Standards are the standards for ambient air quality set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that is applicable nationwide.
  • The CPCB has been conferred this power by the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • The measurement of air quality is based on eight pollutants, namely, PM5, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), PM10, lead (Pb), carbon monoxide (CO), Ozone, Ammonia (NH3).

2. Treat us for silicosis, not TB: miners in M.P.

Context:

Miners of Ganj Basoda district in Madhya Pradesh suffering from silicosis have decided to organise themselves to press for adequate compensation and appeal to the government for right treatment, instead of being treated for tuberculosis.

Issue:

  • Around 10,000 miners from 40 villages in the district have been facing the threat of the respiratory disease.
  • At Pathar village in Ganj Basoda, while the tribal sarpanch himself is a miner, there were 40 women among 600 people, belonging mainly to the Saharia tribe, who have lost their husbands to silicosis.
  • Silicosis is a disease caused due to inhalation of silica, and it is often mixed up with tuberculosis due to lack of awareness.
  • The disease is considered incurable, but if timely precautions are taken then the people can save themselves from it.
  • It is observed that the government is not ready to admit the extent of the Silicosis, and treat them for TB instead.

Silicosis

  • It is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust, and is marked by inflammation and scarring in the form of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs.
  • It is a type of pneumoconiosis.
  • It is also known as miner’s phthisis, grinder’s asthma, potter’s rot, etc.
  • Over time, it could build up in lungs, cause bloody coughing and breathlessness.
  • Silicosis is characterized by shortness of breath, cough, fever, and cyanosis (bluish skin).
  • Silicosis is a permanent disease with no cure.
  • The best way to prevent silicosis is to identify work-place activities that produce respirable crystalline silica dust and then to eliminate or control the dust
  • Water spray is often used where dust emanates. Dust can also be controlled through dry air filtering.
  • Jaggery (a traditional sugar) has a preventive action against silicosis.

Details:

  • The workers are drawing inspiration from Jodhpur’s Raju Devi, who, after her husband’s death due to silicosis, organised around 25,000 miners and secured their rights.
    • The Pneumoconiosis Board issues certificates to the patients, making them eligible for the government’s financial assistance.
  • The main challenge of eliminating silicosis in India is in the informal, unregulated sectors of industry which do not fall under the control of statutory tools such as the Factory Act of India (1948).
  • Silicosis-affected workers in the informal sector are not entitled to statutory protection, which would remove them from the hazardous environment, or to compensation, which would enable them to leave work.
  • Continued exposure makes it difficult for physicians to manage the disease.
  • Furthermore, most primary-care physicians in India are not trained to manage occupational health diseases.
  • Chronic exposure to silica increases workers’ risk of tuberculosis infection and aggravates pre-existing pulmonary tuberculosis. Differential diagnosis is a challenge.

Way forward:

  • Free diagnostic and treatment facilities at primary, secondary and tertiary-level health facilities to workers exposed to silica, along with counselling of patients about how to avoid dust inhalation and prevent progression of the disease, is the need of the hour.
  • Awareness must be raised through information materials printed in the local language.
  • Silicosis health-care units need to be established in silicosis-risk districts, where free chest X-ray and pulmonary function tests are done.
  • Regular inspections must be made of industries that use silica, with active involvement of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure proper monitoring.
  • Cost-effective engineering control measures to manage silica dust need to be developed and promoted.
  • A silicosis control programme must set up in India.
  • Guidelines are needed under the revised Indian national tuberculosis control programme towards management of those at risk of developing silicotuberculosis.

Conclusion:

Despite many clinical and operational challenges in the management of silicosis and silicotuberculosis, there is an opportunity for the Government of India to formulate a comprehensive policy framework on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, compensation and follow-up. Action needs to be taken on active case-finding for documenting the burden of silicosis and silicotuberculosis.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. ‘Panchsheel must for peace’

Context:

The Chinese envoy urged India to follow the principle of peaceful co-existence as devised in the Nehruvian era.

Details:

At a public reception to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Ambassador said that the India-China bilateral relationship had received a new boost after the Wuhan summit in 2018 and that old differences are being addressed.

Panchsheel Pact:

  • Panchsheel Pact or Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are a series of principles that have formed the basis of the relationship between India and China.
  • The first formal codification of the Panchsheel Pact was in the form of agreement between both the countries for trade and association between Tibet Region of China and India.
  • This agreement was signed by then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Chinese premier Zhou Enlai on 29 April 1954.
  • The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are:
  1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
  2. Mutual non-aggression
  3. Mutual non-interference
  4. Equality and mutual benefit
  5. Peaceful co-existence

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. 10-year sanitation plan to focus on waste management

Context:

The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti, have launched the 10 Year Rural Sanitation Strategy (2019-2029).

Progress so far:

  • Since the launch of the SBM-G in 2014,
    • Over 10 crore toilets have been built in rural areas
    • Over 5.9 lakh villages, 699 districts, and 35 States/UTs have declared themselves Open Defecation Free (ODF).
  • India has seen a sanitation revolution, and the SBM-G transformed itself into a Jan Andolan (a people’s movement).

Details:

  • The Rural Sanitation Strategy will focus on sustaining the sanitation behavior change that has been achieved under the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G), ensuring that no one is left behind.
  • It aims at increasing access to solid and liquid waste management.
  • The 10-year strategy focuses on the need for States/UTs to continue their efforts to sustain the gains of the mission through capacity strengthening, IEC (Information, education and communication), organic waste management, plastic waste management, grey water management and black water management.
  • This strategy has been prepared by DDWS, in consultation with State Governments and other stakeholders.
  • It lays down a framework to guide local governments, policymakers, implementers and other relevant stakeholders in their planning for ODF Plus, where everyone uses a toilet, and every village has access to solid and liquid waste management.
  • The strategy also speaks about potential collaborations with development partners, civil society and inter-government partnerships. It also highlights innovative models for sanitation financing.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. OIC remarks on Article 370

Context

  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) asked India to “rescind” its actions in Kashmir and abide by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions following New Delhi’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
  • The foreign ministers of the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir discussed the Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the state’s bifurcation into two Union Territories during a meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of UN General Assembly.

Does it have any impact on India?

  • From the mid-1990s, when this Contact Group was formed, it has issued several statements on behalf of Pakistan. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Niger have issued statements criticizing the government’s actions.
  • But the organisation which boasts of a membership of 57 countries has marginal influence in world Affairs.
  • It is also extremely doubtful if the statement issued by the Contact Group reflects faithfully the national positions of the individual member states.
  • The United Arab Emirates, for instance, conferred the Order of Zayed, its highest civilian award on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than a week after New Delhi’s moves on Article 370, and declared that Kashmir was India’s internal matter.
  • The OIC’s record of conflict resolution when it comes to issues between OIC member states is poor

In practical terms, its pointless attempts to meddle in Kashmir, including by appointing a so-called special envoy on Jammu and Kashmir, have amounted to nothing.

Way Forward

  • The organisation constituted on religious lines, but seeking to fulfil geopolitical interests, needs reforms from within. It could begin by asking Pakistan to change its state policy on terrorism.
  • The OIC would do a lot better if it did something useful to better the lot of its members or mediate between warring Saudi Arabia and Yemen
  • New Delhi at the same time must also demonstrate to the world that its new Kashmir policy is in the larger interest of all Kashmiris.

2. As Xi comes a-calling, a footprint without traction

Context

  • The ruling communist parties of Nepal and China signed a memorandum of understanding to establish fraternal ties between the two parties
  • The MoU mentions high-level visits between the two parties, sharing communist ideology, experiences and training, and sharing development models.
  • In all likelihood, Chinese President Xi Jinping may visit Nepal in October, his first since assuming presidency in 2013. The last time a Chinese President visited Nepal was in 1996.

Moving to and fro

  • In August 2014, when the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Nepal, Kathmandu shut to welcome him. It was called a historic visit by an Indian Prime Minister after more than a decade-and-a-half.
    • It felt as if the India-Nepal relationship would undergo changes as a number of sops were announced.
  • Then a big earthquake struck Nepal, India was quick to respond with help and relief materials. This made everyone feel that the changes in ties were for real.
    • But months later, India which was dissatisfied with the Nepal Constitution imposed a blockade that changed the perception about India forever.
  • It was an act that alienated a whole generation of Nepali youth, and Nepali leaders played the nationalism card to reach out to China.
  • Chinese interest grew after the earthquake and the blockade. With the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), exchanges and interactions between the two countries grew.
    • Nepal signed agreements with China to ensure it was not “India locked”, in turn opening transit and trade opportunities through its northern border.

Nepal’s Political Journey

  • 1846 – Jang Bahadur Rana takes over as prime minister and establishes the hereditary rule of the Ranas as prime ministers which lasts for another 104 years.
  • The Rana autocracy ended in 1950. Since then in its 70 year Journey Nepal is yet to leverage its bilateral or multilateral ties.
  • From the days of the Shah Kings who ruled directly till 2006 to the current form of a federal democratic republic, Nepal’s engagements with the outside world has seen little action.

Nepal’s Communist Parties

Communism to Nepal came through Calcutta and not straight from China. Therefore, what we see in Nepal is the West Bengal version of communism rather than a Chinese one.

  • First, the communist movement like the one in West Bengal has been about multiple factions that keep splitting and coming together rather than it being about one single and unified party.
  • Second, the communist movement in both India and Nepal has been about rent-seeking on positions and selling rhetoric
    • This is in stark contrast to the Chinese societal model of hard work and encouraging entrepreneurial pursuits.

Failure to reinvent

  • After the 2015 earthquake, China, India and other countries pledged approximately $4-billion for reconstruction; India pledged more funds, but Nepal has been tepid in utilising these funds.
  • Scouring for grants remains key while there has not been much traction on agreed projects being implemented.
  • It has never been about seeking investments and getting into a partnership model such as what Bangladesh has been able to do successfully with both China and India.
    • The increase in Chinese businesses in Nepal has remained mostly low-level examples being operations in hotels and restaurants.
    • Foreign direct investments to Nepal are low and the way the government has functioned does not really encourage large Chinese investors to look at Nepal seriously enough.
  • A strong patriarchal and feudal culture, and rituals still dominate Nepali life rather than an understanding of the deeper issues.

Conclusion

  • Nepal to seek more investments in the future, should come up with long-term vision of development, a willingness to implement investor-friendly policies and enable concrete steps towards efficiency.
  • If it is not able to adapt to changing times, the visit of President Xi would just be another pleasantry with no real value added to its development.

F. Tidbits

1. No right to block road for religious purpose: HC

  • High Court of Karnataka has issued guidelines to all city municipal corporations in Bangalore, including the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), on processing applications for temporarily using public roads and footpaths.
  • It has declared that denial of permission to put up temporary structures on roads and footpaths for religious festivals or functions will not infringe upon the right of freedom to free profession, practise and propagation of religion under the Constitution of India.
  • The bench observed that “The right under Article 25 (freedom to free profession, practice and propagation of religion) of the Constitution of India does not extend to public road and footpath…,” while stating that one cannot get rights to use public roads and streets just because it was for religious purpose.
  • The Bench made it clear that its reference on religious festivals and functions was applicable to all religions and communities.
  • However, it was said that putting up temporary structures can be permitted only after ensuring that such structures would not cause any traffic obstruction.

G. Prelims Facts

1. Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC)

  • The Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) comprises chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and the senior-most member is appointed its chairperson.
  • The Chairman of COSC is tasked with ensuring synergy among the three services and evolve a common strategy to deal with external security challenges facing the country.
  • It is an additional role and the tenures have been very short.
  • The government has, however, announced that it will appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who will replace the present tri-service committee.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS):

  • The CDS is a high military office that oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services, and offers seamless tri-service views and single-point advice to the Executive (Prime Minister) on long-term defence planning and management, including manpower, equipment and strategy, and above all, “jointsmanship” in operations.
  • The CDS, being above the three Service Chiefs, is expected to play this role by optimizing procurement, avoiding duplication among the services and streamlining the process.
  • It would streamline long-term defence planning & procurement process.
  • The CDS is expected to reduce response time.

2. Finance Commission

  • Finance Commission is a constitutional body under Article 280 created every five years to recommend the transfer of financial resources from the Centre to the States.
  • The Commission also decides the principles on which grants-in-aid will be given to the States.
  • It is the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to the distribution of the net proceeds of taxes which are to be, or may be divided between the Centre and the states and the allocation between the States of the respective shares of such proceeds.
  • It is also the responsibility of the Finance Commission to describe the financial relations between the Centre and the States. It also caters to the purpose of devolution of non-plan revenue resources.
  • It is constituted by the President and all appointments to the commission are made by him as well.
  • The Finance Commission consists of a chairman and four other members, appointed by the President.

3. Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure

  • India has declared its intention to spearhead a grouping – Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) that would help countries to design and build infrastructure projects that can withstand the impact of natural disasters and climate change.
  • The initiative has been launched by India with countries such as the U.K., Australia, Fiji and the Maldives to build infrastructure resistant to natural disasters.
  • CDRI as an idea was first mooted by the Prime Minister of India in November 2016, while inaugurating an Asian ministerial conference on disaster risk reduction.
  • It has been developed through consultations with more than 35 countries.
  • CDRI plans to focus on developing resilience in ecological infrastructure, social infrastructure with a concerted emphasis on health and education, and economic infrastructure with special attention to transportation, telecommunications, energy and water.
  • The lean secretariat of the coalition would operate from NDMA headquarters in Delhi, using funds set aside for CDRI by the Indian government.
  • It is believed that CDRI can emerge as a platform for generating and exchanging knowledge and providing member countries technical support, training and advocacy in building resilient infrastructure systems.
  • The idea is to :
    • Look at how the present infrastructure in countries where natural or man-made disasters have an impact, is equipped to face current as well as future risks.
    • Develop standards that can meet these challenges and train people to design and build infrastructure such as rail, roads, airports or bridges that would have a reduced impact in the wake of a calamity.
  • Established as a platform for generating and exchanging knowledge, the CDRI will conduct country-specific and global activities.
  • CDRI aims to enable the achievement of objectives of expanding universal access to basic services and enabling prosperity as enshrined in the sustainable development goals, while also working at the intersection of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Climate Agreement.

4. Dasara celebrations

  • Dasara is a 10-day festival, starting with Navaratri (Nava-ratri means nine-nights) and the last day being Vijayadashami.
  • The Dasara festivities began with the Vijayanagar kings as early as the 15th century.
  • The festival played a historical role in the 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire, where it was called Mahanavami and the festivities are shown in the relief artwork of the outer wall of the Hazara Rama temple of Hampi.
  • The Mahanavaratri Dasara Festival was initially started in Mysore by Raja Wodeyar I.
  • Mysore is one of the major cities in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Till independence, it was the capital city of Wodeyars, the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to “Chabahar Port”:
  1. Chabahar Port lies in the Gulf of Aden.
  2. It is located on the Makran Coast.
  3. It is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean.

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

a. 1 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 2 only
d. 3 only

See
Answer
 Q2. Consider the following statements:
  1. Call money, notice money and term money are long term funds.
  2. A fall in call money rate indicates a rise in the liquidity.

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

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Answer
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Organisation of Islamic 
Cooperation (OIC):
  1. The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations.
  2. It is the second-largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.
  3. It works to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

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

a. 1 only
b. 3 only
c. 1 and 2 only
d. 1, 2 and 3

See
Answer
Q4. Consider the following statements:
  1. Nandankanan Zoological Park is the only conservation breeding centre of Indian Pangolins in the world.
  2. It is the only zoological park in India to become an institutional member of World Association of Zoos and Aquarium (WAZA).

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

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

See
Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. In the current scenario where Silicosis continues to be an occupational health hazard in the mining sector, India needs a comprehensive Silicosis control programme with an emphasis on differential diagnosis of Silicosis from Tuberculosis, for effective treatment. Discuss. (15 Marks, 250 Words)
  2. Examine the controversy surrounding the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019. Why are the North Eastern states widely opposing it? (15 Marks, 250 Words)

Read previous CNA.

September 28th, 2019 CNA: Download PDF Here

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