30 Septemper 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

September 30th, 2019 CNA: Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A.GS1 Related
B.GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. EC cuts short disqualification term of Sikkim CM Tamang
HEALTH
1. Obesity and undernutrition coexist, finds study
C.GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Questions cloud Petronet-Tellurian deal
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Two Asian powers and an island – On India Sri Lanka Relations
ECONOMY
1. Trust deficit - On Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Issue
SECURITY
1. Strictures in the name of security – Kashmir Issue
F. Tidbits
1. Nearly 600 prisoners to walk free on Oct. 2
G. Prelims Facts
1. Bathukamma
2. IAU names asteroid after Pandit Jasraj
3. What’s in a Galo name? A pointer to ancestors
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. EC cuts short disqualification term of Sikkim CM Tamang

Context:

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has cut short, the disqualification term of Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang.

Details:

EC cuts short disqualification term of Sikkim CM Tamang

  • Prem Singh Tamang was convicted in a graft case and faced a six-year ban on contesting in elections after completing his one-year prison term.
  • Citing Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, (RP Act) which allows the ECI to reduce or remove disqualification “for reasons to be recorded”, the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners have sharply reduced his disqualification term to just a year and a month.
  • The ECI’s order said that the alleged offence for which the leader had been convicted in 2016 went back to 1996-1997, when the minimum punishment of two years would lead to disqualification under the Representation of People’s Act.
  • It was also stated that the section of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, under which he was convicted, had been omitted in an amendment in 2018.

Section 8 of Representation of People’s Act 1951:

Section 8 deals with Disqualification of representatives on conviction for certain offences. It states that:

  • Section 8 (1): A person convicted of an offence punishable under certain acts of Indian Penal Code, Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002, etc. shall be disqualified, where the convicted person is sentenced to
    • In case of only fine – for a period of six years from the date of such conviction;
    • In case of imprisonment – from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.
  • Section 8 (2): A person convicted for the contravention of—(a) any law providing for the prevention of hoarding or profiteering; or (b) any law relating to the adulteration of food or drugs; or (c) any provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
  • Section 8 (3): A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years [other than any offence referred to in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2)] shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.

Section 11 of Representation of People’s Act 1951:

  • Section 11 deals with the removal or reduction of the period of disqualification.
  • The Election Commission may, for reasons to be recorded, remove any disqualification or reduce the period of any such disqualification.
  • It is an extraordinary power vested with the ECI, with the understanding that socio-economic-political factors may, in certain peculiar circumstances, warrant that the general disqualification prescribed by statutory rule can be removed/reduced.

Category: HEALTH

1. Obesity and undernutrition coexist, finds study

Context:

Data from the first-ever national nutrition survey conducted by the Centre, yet to be made public, shows that obesity and undernutrition coexist in India, among children. Health experts have raised concerns over the delay in release of the survey.

Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey:

  • The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey was conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and UNICEF between February 2016 and October 2018.
  • It is the first study undertaken to measure malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies through biochemical measures such as blood and urine samples, anthropometric data as well as details of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and kidney function in children and adolescents.
  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS), however, collects anthropometric data (weight for age, height for age, weight for height, mid-upper arm circumference) to measure prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight and household dietary intake to measure deficiencies. However, these are collected for children in the age group of 1-5 years and adults, but not for school going children between the age of 5 and 19 years.

Findings of the survey:

  • Out of the children in the age group of 5-9 years and adolescents in the age group of 10-19 years are
    • 10% are pre-diabetic
    • 5% are overweight
    • 5% suffer from blood pressure.
  • The study found prevalence of indicators of non-communicable diseases alongside indicators of undernutrition shown by various NFHS surveys such as stunting, wasting and underweight.
  • The survey provides for the first time hard evidence of the coexistence of obesity and undernutrition, among school-going children.

Details:

  • The delay by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in releasing the study has raised major concerns as the findings have been known for nearly six months and both NITI Aayog and the Prime Minister’s Office had given their assent for making them public.
  • Due to the seriousness of these findings, concerns have been expressed by medical practitioners and nutrition experts on the delay by the government in releasing the study.
  • Health policy experts opine that the study showed that the government will have to focus on obesity alongside undernutrition as part of its Nutrition Mission.

Conclusion:

  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) considers nutrition as a pillar of human development and recommends concrete, large-scale programming not only to reduce the burden of undernutrition and deprivation in countries, but also to advance economic progress.
  • There is no dearth of evidence to show that almost every perceivable development challenge is made worse by malnutrition.
  • In India’s case, along with undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, there is an emergence of overweight and obesity, contributing to the disease burden just as undernutrition does.
  • In this context, it is imperative that the government rethink and redesign its nutrition policy at every level of governance with integrated action on malnutrition in all its forms.

Read more on Nutrition and India [UPSC Notes for Mains]

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Questions cloud Petronet-Tellurian deal

Context:

  • Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s biggest liquefied natural gas importer, has signed a preliminary deal to buy a stake in Tellurian Inc’s proposed Driftwood project in Louisiana and import 5 million tonnes a year of Liquefied natural gas (LNG).
  • It is believed that this could potentially be one of the largest foreign investments in the US for shipping shale gas abroad.
  • Petronet and Tellurian had first signed a broader agreement in February 2019.

Details:

  • Both U.S. and Indian officials assert that the Petronet-Tellurian deal is now a prestige project for India-U.S. relations that are otherwise facing headwinds over trade issues.
  • Both Prime Minister Modi and President Donald Trump have hailed the deal publicly.
  • India has been sourcing LNG and crude oil from the US, with Indian companies investing $4 billion in US shale gas assets.
  • The deal underscores a record year for the LNG industry, with tens of billions of dollars worth of export projects given the green light.
  • The surge of new supply from the US’ trove of shale gas has rendered the once-premium fuel, accessible for emerging markets such as India.
  • India is currently the sixth-largest buyer of US LNG.
  • At present, state-owned GAIL India Ltd has 20-year LNG contracts to buy 5.8 million tonnes per year of US LNG, split between Dominion Energy Inc’s Cove Point plant and Cheniere Energy Inc’s Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana.

Significance:

  • India, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, has been pushing for a gas-based economy and plans to connect 10 million households to piped natural gas by 2020.
  • It plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.
  • Gas comprises about 6.2% of India’s primary energy mix, far behind the global average of 24%. The government plans to increase this share to 15% by 2030.
  • Increasing natural gas use will enable India to fuel its impressive economic growth to achieve the government’s goal of a $5 trillion economy while contributing to a cleaner environment.
  • India’s gas demand is expected to be driven by the fertilizer, power, city gas distribution, and steel sectors.
  • The MoU signed in Houston is a part of wider energy cooperation under the India-US Strategic Energy Partnership and will further deepen the energy trade and investment relationship between the two countries.

Concerns:

  • What has now been signed is just the 2nd Tellurian and Petronet will endeavour to finalise the transaction agreements by March 31, 2020.
  • Indian company’s board had disfavoured the Tellurian deal at a meeting in May 2019.
  • Reasons for the board’s disquiet included:
    • Major price drops in LNG
    • India’s demand shortfall given the recent downturn in manufacturing, coal dependence, and the lack of regasification plants and pipeline infrastructure in India.
    • Expected LNG supply from the Indian market
    • A negative experience with “locking in” contracts for a long period.
  • In 2011, another Public Sector Undertaking, GAIL had entered into 20-year contracts with American companies Cheniere Energy and Dominion Energy. It has since been reselling much of it to other markets due to lack of demand.
  • Much will depend on how quickly the two sides can negotiate the agreement, and at what cost to Petronet.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Two Asian powers and an island – On India Sri Lanka Relations

The Editorial talks about China’s influence in Sri Lanka and the need for India to strengthen its ties with the island nation.

Context:

  • Sri Lanka recently opened the Lotus Tower (Nelum Kuluna) in Colombo for public, which is considered to be the latest symbol of Sri Lanka-China ties.
  • Though the tower is still under construction, the Sri Lankan government has opened it for the public.

Lotus Tower project:

  • It is the tallest tower in the South Asian region.
  • China’s Exim Bank in 2012 had agreed to lend 80% of the total investment of $104.3 million in the Lotus Tower, with the rest to be met by Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).
  • China has funded 80% of the project cost under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Background:

  • It is ironical that much of the Lotus Tower project’s execution took place under a regime which came into office at a time when there was a “strong anti-China mood”.
  • Soon after Mr. Sirisena became the President in 2015, work on the Colombo Port City came to a grinding halt.
  • There was also uncertainty over the fate of the Hambantota port, the development of which was originally offered to India in 2005.
    • India is said to have examined Hambantota purely from the point of view of economics, overlooking the strategic angle.)
  • However, Colombo-Beijing ties have stood the test of time.

What are India’s concerns?

  • China has been able to resolve all the controversies over the projects with Sri Lanka.
  • The Port City’s execution by China is underway without any major hitch. When it becomes a reality, it will stand beside the Colombo port, which serves as a major transshipment hub for India.
  • A Chinese company has got Hambantota on lease for 99 years along with associated land of 15,000 acres.
  • Sri Lanka is a member-country of the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Despite argument by some international experts that economic ties with China are driving Sri Lanka into a “debt trap”, the bilateral relationship on the economic front is only becoming stronger.
  • According to the 2018 annual report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, imports from China accounted for 18.5%, just a little less than the 19% from India.
  • India cannot claim to have accomplished much despite its “neighbourhood first” policy since May 2014.
    • Apart from a joint venture deal with Japan and Sri Lanka to develop the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port, India cannot boast of having taken up any major infrastructure project in Sri Lanka.
    • Not much is known about the status of a project to renovate the Kankesanthurai harbour in the Northern Province, for which India provided over $45 million in early 2018.
    • There seems to be little progress in India’s proposals to develop the Palaly airport and acquire a controlling stake in the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport.
    • In addition, the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement, an improved version of the existing bilateral Free Trade Agreement, has been shelved.
  • In recent years, only a couple of social sector projects being carried out using grants of the Indian government — building 60,000 homes for Tamils of the civil war-torn Northern and Eastern Provinces and the provision of ambulance services all over the island — have gathered momentum.
  • In July 2019, an agreement was signed to upgrade a key railway segment, connecting the north and the south, at $91 million.
  • Despite these deep ties, it is true that India and Sri Lanka have seen some unpleasantness in bilateral relations in contemporary times.
    • The anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 dragged India into the Sri Lankan Tamil question.
    • Events such as the withdrawal of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in March 1990 and the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 made New Delhi adopt a “hands-off approach” towards Colombo till the final phase of the civil war.
    • There have been accusations against Indian government of having played a role in the LTTE’s defeat.

Way forward:

  • Given its potential and willingness to do more in development cooperation, India cannot remain satisfied with such a modest track record.
  • China-funded infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka may look great, but India-Sri Lanka ties are deeper and more complex.
  • As PM Modi said, “In good times and bad, India has been and will always be the first responder for Sri Lanka.”
  • India’s assistance during the 2004 tsunami and Mr. Modi’s visit to Colombo (the first foreign dignitary to do so) in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks show India’s sincerity of approach.
  • With all their shortcomings, the Rajiv Gandhi-Jayawardene Accord of 1987 and the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, envisaging devolution of powers for provinces, still provide a solid framework to address the ethnic question.
  • Apart from a political settlement, the Northern and Eastern provinces, which account for less than 10% of Sri Lanka’s GDP, require economic development as there are signs of the youth there getting distracted from the pursuit of greener pastures.
  • The Indian government is willing to take steps in this direction and must work to secure proper response from the Tamil political leadership.
  • India must not only strive to get expeditious approvals for all the pending infrastructure projects but also contribute to a holistic development of Sri Lanka’s youth.
  • It will also be worth making one more attempt to encourage the voluntary repatriation of nearly 95,000 refugees who live in Tamil Nadu back to Sri Lanka.
    • As a step towards this direction, the authorities should resume ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram at the earliest.

A benign and comprehensive approach, backed by the sincerity of purpose, will not only earn India greater respect of Sri Lankans, but also send a message to other international players about the strength of its ties with Sri Lanka.

Category: ECONOMY

1. Trust deficit – On Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Issue

Context:

This issue has been comprehensively covered in 27th September Comprehensive News Analysis under the editorials Segment. Click Here to read.

Category: SECURITY

1. Strictures in the name of security – Kashmir Issue

The editorial highlights the key debate on whether security imperatives can supersede democratic and human rights.

Issue:

  • A number of security, economic and welfare arguments have been used by the Government of India to justify its new Kashmir policy.
  • The government’s actions have been challenged on both human rights and constitutional grounds.
  • While the economic and welfare arguments have been shown to be based on little or false information, there has been relatively little discussion of the security argument.

Details:

  • The key question is whether, and at which point, security imperatives can supersede democratic and human rights.
  • It is generally accepted by most democracies that there might be occasions when security threats require some limits to rights.
  • The issue has been hotly debated in the U.S. and Europe, generally in relation to surveillance and privacy rights.
  • On Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the official argument is that the dilution of Article 370 and demotion of the State to two Union Territories will enable better security.
  • It is also argued that preventive detentions, curfews and a communications lockdown are necessary to prevent a security deterioration. The two appear contradictory.
    • Ironically, the figures that the Government presented in their submission to the Supreme Court against humanitarian relief petitions actually fail to justify the security claim.
    • From a high of 5,938 incidents of terrorist violence in J&K in 1995, with 2,600 casualties, violence has steadily declined to 365 incidents in the first nine months of this year, with 237 casualties. Surely, these figures do not suggest a major or even imminent security threat.
    • The government has not presented any evidence of a planned attack that might constitute so serious a threat that it could only be prevented by the lockdown of over six million people.

Has this new policy made our security more rather than less vulnerable?

  • Even with the lockdown, security forces have not been able to plug the gaps along the border with Pakistan: 60 terrorists have reportedly infiltrated in the past month.
  • Given the widespread resentment not only at what has been done but also the way in which it was done, even the scant support that the army troops received from local communities may have evaporated.
  • Cross-border militants might now have renewed sustenance.
  • With the suspension of mobile telephony, intelligence on militancy will be more difficult to collect.
  • The government is trying to compensate with better housing and allowances; there is some discussion within the Army about setting up integrated battle groups, but these would be for cross-border action rather than internal deployment.
  • Our security forces lack the range of protective equipment needed to deal with internal security.

Other challenges:

  • In the past month, Kashmiri industry has lost hundreds of crores of rupees.
  • Government has spent hundreds of crores (adding the costs of sending and maintaining 40,000 plus additional troops, enforcing the lockdown and apple purchases and transport).
  • A slew of further measures have been announced, which will cost the Indian taxpayer several thousand additional crores per annum, and will most likely be unsuccessful in the goal of appeasing Kashmiri resentment.
  • As violence mounts, so will the security costs, both human and economic.
  • The biggest cost is to the security of our democracy. Several millions of our citizens in J&K have been denied their fundamental rights of freedom of movement, commerce and expression.

Conclusion:

  • In the U.S. and Europe, when security is allowed to trump democracy, it is for days, not weeks.
  • The question is rarely if ever debated in relation to preventive detention, banning dissent, or blocking Internet and mobile phones — because in most democracies these concern fundamental rights that cannot be brushed aside in the name of security.
  • National security is a critical concern, not only for policymakers, but also for ordinary citizens. That is why official assertions regarding security need to be examined and, if necessary, questioned.

F. Tidbits

1. Nearly 600 prisoners to walk free on Oct. 2

  • Several hundred prisoners, convicted of offences other than murder, rape and corruption, will be released from jails across India on October 2, 2019 to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The final list is being prepared by the Union Home Ministry in close coordination with the State governments and the administrations of the Union Territories.
  • Applicable only to prisoners convicted of offences other than murder, rape and corruption.
  • Prisoners who will be considered under the amnesty scheme are:
    • Women convicts aged 55 and above who have completed half their sentence
    • Men of 60 years or more who have completed half their sentence
    • Transgender convicts aged 55 and above who have completed half their actual sentence without counting the period of general remission earned by them
    • Physically challenged prisoners with at least 70% disability who have completed half their actual sentence period.
  • The special remission is not granted to persons convicted of an offence:
    • For which the sentence is the death penalty or
    • Whose death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment.

G. Prelims Facts

1. Bathukamma

  • Bathukamma is a colourful floral festival of Telangana and is celebrated by womenfolk with exotic flowers of the region.
  • Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers most of them with medicinal values, in seven concentric layers in the shape of temple gopuram.
  • ‘Bathukamma’ means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ and the patron goddess of womanhood Goddess Maha Gauri-‘Life Giver’ is worshipped in the form of Bathukamma.
  • It is the festival for feminine felicitation.
  • The festival has over the years has become a symbol of Telangana culture and identity.
  • Bathukamma comes during the latter half of monsoon, before the onset of winter.
  • The festival represents the spirit of Telangana and is celebrated for nine days during Dasara.

2. IAU names asteroid after Pandit Jasraj

Minor Planets:

  • Minor planets are celestial objects in our solar system that orbit the Sun but aren’t planets or comets.
  • These include dwarf planets, asteroids, trojans, centaurs, Kuiper belt objects and the like.

Context:

  • A minor planet/ asteroid discovered in 2006 has been named after the Indian Classical singer Pandit Jasraj.
  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU), has named the minor planet ‘Panditjasraj (300128)’.
  • The asteroid, or more formally known as a minor planet, is located between Mars and Jupiter.
  • This minor planet in question, which technically goes by ‘2006 VP32’ in the astronomy community.
  • It was spotted by a NASA-funded project called the Catalina Sky Survey, which tracks and discovers near-earth objects.
  • Panditjasraj was discovered by the Mt Lemmon Survey telescope in Arizona.
  • Johann Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Rabindranath Tagore, also have minor planets named after them.
  • As of September 2019, there are 5,41,131 numbered minor planets of a total of 7,97,078 observed bodies, with the rest being unnumbered minor planets.

3. What’s in a Galo name? A pointer to ancestors

  • The Galo community in Arunachal Pradesh follow a unique system of naming that helps them trace ancestors and origin.
  • The Galos maintain genealogy (study of families, family history, and the tracing of their lineages) through given names.
  • They follow a system of prefixing the second syllable of a father’s name to that of a son, who passes on the suffix in his name to his son.
  • The names of ancestors can be traced from the first syllable or prefix of their names.
  • Example: Kenjum Bagra is the 21st descendant of Memo, the founder of the Memo clan. Mr. Bagra’s father, at number 20 on the Memo line, is Gumken, his grandfather is Megum, and his great-grandfather is Gumme. The ‘me’ in his great-grandfather’s name was prefixed to his grandfather’s name, whose suffix decided his father’s name.

Galos:

  • The Galos are one of the 26 major communities of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • This central Eastern Himalayan tribe dominate West Siang, Lepa Rada and Lower Siang districts. They have a big population in East Siang, Upper Subansiri and Namsai districts too.
  • The Galos belong to the Tani group inhabiting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, besides Tibet.
  • They trace their common origin to a primeval ancestor, Abotani.
  • The Galo have been listed as a Scheduled Tribe under the name Gallong since 1950.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Q1. Which of these pollutants are NOT included in measurement of air quality under the
National Ambient Air Quality Standards:
  1. Carbon dioxide
  2. Carbon monoxide
  3. Ammonia
  4. Lead
  5. Ozone

Choose the correct option:

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. 1 and 5 only
d. 3 and 5 only

See
Answer
Q2. Consider the following statements:
  1. Finance Commission is a Constitutional Body.
  2. It gives recommendations on the distribution of tax proceeds between the Centre and the States
  3. The Chairman and the members of the Finance Commission are appointed by the Prime Minister.

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

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

See
Answer
Q3. Consider the following statements with respect to Sendai Framework:
  1. It is a voluntary, non-binding agreement on disaster risk reduction.
  2. It is the successor of Hyogo Framework for Action.
  3. India is a signatory to Sendai Framework.

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

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

See
Answer
Q4. The Dasara festival in Mysore was first initiated by

a. Krishnaraja Wodeyar
b. Chamaraja Wodeyar IV
c. Jayachamarajecndra Wodeyar
d. Raja Wodeyar I

See
Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. With India’s double burdens of undernutrition co-existing with equally high and increasing rates of overweight and obesity, there is an urgent need for redesigning of India’s nutrition policy with a focus on diet-related noncommunicable diseases. Discuss. (15 Marks, 250 Words)
  2. Analyze the areas of co-operation between India and Sri Lanka and discuss the measures that India must take in order to strengthen its ties, countering the increasing influence of China in the Island nation. (15 Marks, 250 Words)

Read previous CNA.

September 30th, 2019 CNA: Download PDF Here

1 Comment

  1. Very useful

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