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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 08 October 2018 (More global R&D is needed to tackle TB)


More global R&D is needed to tackle TB


Mains Paper: 2 | Health 
Prelims level: TB
Mains level: TB burden, the global progress against the disease has been slow

Introduction 

  • Tuberculosis (TB) has drawn unprecedented attention in recent times. 
  • To dealing with this global threat made the United Nations (UN) schedule its first-ever high-level meeting on TB in New York on 26 September. 
  • The meeting offered participating nations the potential to energize the discourse on TB and chart a roadmap for global action on TB.
  • One of the major discussion points focused on accelerating research and development (R&D) efforts to end TB. 

Important facts about TB 

  • This is particularly relevant for TB, a disease that continues to kill more than 1.3 million people globally every year. 
  • While some countries have reduced their TB burden, the overall global progress against the disease has been slow. 
  • The lack of advancement in TB R&D is one of the major reasons why the disease continues to thrive and exact a heavy toll on human life. 
  • The facts speak for themselves: until 2016, we used a century-old microscopy test that detects only 50% of cases and treated TB patients with long drug regimens that have severe side effects.
  • This gap in scientific progress has been a serious concern as there is now a consensus that to transform the TB elimination.
  • We need better diagnostics and drugs, and an effective vaccine. 

Steps need to be taken 

  • Research must be prioritized and countries need to increase their investments in TB R&D. 
  • India has established the India TB Research Consortium (ITRC).
  • ITRC has raised the profile of TB research, attracted investments in TB product development and conducted several validation studies on new TB tools. 
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also recently taken steps to initiate trials for two new TB vaccine candidates. 
  • India has made considerable progress in advancing TB research. 
  • Recognizing this, the ICMR, under which the ITRC was formed, was awarded the prestigious Stop TB Kochon Prize for 2017.

Efforts made by other countries 

  • The World Health Organization’s new guidelines on the treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB need to be adopted swiftly. 
  • These guidelines, which recommend the use of Bedaquiline as a frontline medicine to treat MDR TB.
  • It will revolutionize TB treatment by minimizing the use of painful injectable drugs that are known to cause serious side effects. 
  • We also need to focus more research efforts on developing biomarkers to determine those who are predisposed to develop active TB among the close contacts of TB patients so that efficient preventive therapy can be provided.
  • Shorter and more efficient anti-TB regimens need to be developed to improve the adherence to treatment and decrease the failure and relapse rates.
  • Research for the prevention of transmission of drug sensitive and drug resistant tuberculosis in the healthcare setting is critical. 

Conclusion 

  • In the age of globalization, the containment of an infectious disease like TB within borders poses a considerable challenge, which is why eliminating the disease is a pressing global priority. 
  • The recently concluded meeting saw the endorsement of a political declaration that underscored the criticality of research in our common goal of eliminating TB. 
  • Hopefully, this will act as a starting point for countries’ efforts to advance future TB research.
  • Those efforts built on the foundations of a collaborative spirit and a willingness to share individual strengths.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) The 'Moscow Declaration' is related to:
(a) reduction in forced migration
(b) reduction in global pollution
(c) elimination of open defecation
(d) elimination of tuberculosis
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) What are the steps needed to tackle TB in R&D sector globally?

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 08 October 2018 (In Good Faith: Sarvodaya for polarised times)


In Good Faith: Sarvodaya for polarised times


In Good Faith: Sarvodaya for polarised times
Mains Paper: 1 | Society 
Prelims level: Sarvodaya
Mains level: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

Context

  • In his 150th anniversary year, we ought to recall the words and actions of this great man who will remain an everlasting source of inspiration for the world.
  • Some sections at more unease than others because of their community identities and markers.
  • Today, when communal disharmony and enmities primarily between Hindus and Muslims.
  • It have reached an unprecedented height that we need leaders with a Gandhian moral urgency to address the situation.
  • For Gandhiji, India’s religious and linguistic diversity was an asset, not a liability.

Is this the India of Gandhiji’s dreams?

  • We need to recall how Gandhiji had to deal with the similar issues in his day  most prominently immediately, during and just after Partition.
  • His writings, speeches and actions did much to imbibe the moral ethos of a composite culture in the warring opposing communities.
  • He didn’t allow the majoritarian perception about Islam and Muslims to become a verity.
  • He proceeded to understand Islam and Muslims not through hearsay and tittle-tattle but his own reading of the Quran, the Prophet and Muslims he had lived and grown up with.
  • He approached it with objectivity and sobriety and found Islam essentially to be a religion of peace and the Prophet as a pure soul with pious purpose.
  • It was Gandhiji’s commitment to communal harmony that led him to engage with great freedom fighters like Maulana Mahmood Hasan and Maulana Husain Ahmed Madani.

Conclusion 

  • As a nation, we must assure that our minorities must feel at home.
  • Gandhiji’s ethical concepts and moral universe are capable of dealing with the violent sectarian politics that is being unleashed today.
  • This capital, the biggest Satan of our time, has already destroyed lives in many poorer nations.
  • It constantly puts up “enemies” as a trope to find new sources of profit.
  • Our fight must remain, under all circumstances, non-violent.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Vallabhai Patel participated in which of the following satyagrahas?
1. Kheda Satyagraha
2. Nagpur Flag Satyagraha
3. Borsad Punitive Tax Satyagraha

Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Is this the India of Gandhiji’s dreams?

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 08 October 2018 (Censorship undermines democracy)


Censorship undermines democracy 


Mains Paper: 2 | Polity 
Prelims level: Desher Katha
Mains level: The cancellation of Registration Certificate issued to Daily Desher Katha could have a chilling effect 

Context

  • It was a passionate plea to Parliament in England to reject censorship. Milton wrote: “As good almost kill a man as kill a good Book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, Gods image; but he who destoryes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye.”
  • How does one look at the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI),
  • The newspaper-licensing authority under the Government of India, invalidating the ‘Certificate of Registration’ awarded to the Daily Desher Katha that it had issued the same day?
  • The Daily Desher Katha — the party organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the second largest circulated daily in Tripura.
  • It was off the stands when the RNI withdrew its registration late night on October 1 based on inputs from the State administration.
  • The RNI order, signed by Additional Press Registrar K. Satish Nambudiripad, said the certificate was withdrawn after the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Sadar West, Tripura., cancelled 
  • The “authentication as recorded by him over the declaration made in Form 1.”

Change in ownership

  • This was based on a complaint by one Shyamal Debnath, to District Magistrate Sandeep Mahatme. His contention was that the daily had changed its ownership without informing the RNI. 
  • The print-line of the paper read that Samir Paul is the editor, printer and publisher and that the Daily Desher Katha Trust was the owner. 
  • However, according to the RNI website, Gautam Das is the editor, printer and publisher, and the CPI(M) Tripura State Committee the owner.
  • According to the CPI(M), this was not the paper’s fault, as all necessary documents have been provided for every change in the management and editorship of Daily Desher Katha . 
  • When the paper came into existence on August 15, 1979, the year after the CPI(M) came to power in the State, it was owned by the Tripura State Committee of the CPI(M), and Gautam Das was the founder editor and publisher and printer of the daily. 
  • In 2012, the party decided that the management of the newspaper should be handled by a ‘society’, and accordingly the Daily Desher Katha Society was formed. In 2015, with Gautam Das getting more preoccupied with party work, the Society decided that it would appoint a new editor, publisher and printer Samir Paul. 
  • In September this year, the Daily Desher Katha Society decided to convert the ownership into a ‘Trust’, and the Daily Desher Katha Trust came into being, with Gautam Das as chairman of the trust.

Way forward 

  • The Editors Guild of India has condemned the decision. 
  • It said: “The Guild is of the view that cancellation of the registration of a publication on the mere finding that there was a mismatch between the information of the editor, printer and publisher is not only a gross overreaction but also a draconian step that throttles freedom of the media.
  • It has demanded immediate revocation of the RNI order pending further inquiry into the charges of misinformation. 
  • It also demands that a thorough inquiry is instituted by the government to investigate whether the decision was politically motivated.
  • The courts may intervene and restore the newspaper in the days to come. The issue here is not about the final outcome of the legal battle. 
  • The chill factor the ruling party can create among news organisations. It is worth remembering Milton’s saying four centuries ago: “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding about Daily Desher Katha:
1.    It is a Bengali daily newspaper published from Agartala.
2.     Desher Katha was founded in 1979.
3.    It owners are CPIM Tripura State Committee. 
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) The recent fake news spread massive on Indian democracy. In this context explain role of media in democracy.  

(VIDEO) One World, One Sun, One Grid : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) One World, One Sun, One Grid : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: One World, One Sun, One Grid : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Public Administration Mains 2017 : Solved Paper Question Paper-1 (Question-7)

Public Administration Mains 2017 : Solved Paper Question Paper-1 (Question-7)

(Section B)

Q7(a) “The Riggsian models of Fused –Prismatic-Diffracted Societies and their administrative systems have been inspired by Max Weber’s typology of Traditional Charismatic Legal-Rational Authorities .” Analyze( 20 marks) (Comparative Public Administration)

ANSWER:  Fred Riggs developed the “Fused-Prismatic-Diffracted” model to explain the differences between underdeveloped-developing-developed societies and their corresponding stage of development vis-a-vis their administrative structure and ethos. His ecological approach emphasizes the interaction between institutions and their contextual factors such as social structure, tradition and culture. This classification was inspired by the Max Weber’s typology of Traditional Charismatic Legal-Rational Authorities.

Charismatic: By virtue of possession of charisma or an exceptional quality, a hero or a leader casts a spell over his followers, who accept his domination because of their faith in the person.

Traditional: The legitimation in this form comes from the belief in the goodness of the past, in the appropriateness of traditional ways of doing things.

Legal: Legitimation of legal type of domination is based on the belief in the rightness of law.

Riggs introduced a new model for studying the bureaucracy in the Third World transitional, developing countries and argued that the Weberian model is not suitable for studying the administration in such countries. The Riggsian model called the “sala--prismatic” model of bureaucracy recognizes both administrative rationality and non-administrative considerations. This model is typical for developing countries having factors such family, kinship and caste considerations, community feeling, nepotism, corruption, which play important role in administrative recruitment, administrative functions and decision-making. This model is, however, considered too broad, too over-generalized and abstract.

(b) “Bureaucracy has inbuilt limitations to act as the prime catalyst to multi-faceted development in a democratic country”. Analyze this statement with appropriate examples ( 15 marks) (Development Dynamics)

ANSWER:  The bureaucracy and Development have been famous and complex terms and growth of sound Bureaucracy has been considered unavoidable for development. With end of colonialism and imperialism, there has been a constant change in the priority areas of government. Though the developing countries rely upon bureaucracy for their developmental requirements, the bureaucrats themselves owe their way of functioning to the imperialist requirements where people were subjugated to serve the interests of government in power.

After the countries gained independence, under planning raj, the attitude of those who were required to act as change agents did not change in a similar manner. This resulted in a slow pace of development. The reasons for such sub-optimal performance of bureaucrats are manifold like power-conflicts within as well as outside the bureaucratic arena, bribery, corruption, and nepotism play a significant role in deterring the system to function well but any effort to curb the menace will not succeed unless the bureaucracy itself is receptive to proposed changes.

c) Can be say that statutory audit and social audit are two sides of the same coin? Or, are they separate coins with varying values?(15 marks) (Accountability and Control)

ANSWER: ONLY FOR PAID MEMBERS

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 06 October 2018 (RBI  showed  maturity in avoiding being swayed by forex markets)


RBI  showed  maturity in avoiding being swayed by forex markets


Mains Paper: 3 | Economy
Prelims level: Liquidity in Banks 
Mains level: RBI to providing liquidity is welcome steps for the short end of the yield curve

Introduction 

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy committee (MPC) met at an interesting time for the markets and the economy. In recent weeks,
  • The financial markets have been facing continued rupee depreciation, high oil prices, falling equity markets and tight conditions in the money and bond markets. 

How to counter inflation?

  • The RBI should take its primary direction from the expected trend of inflation, and since it expects inflation to rise over the next few quarters, one would expect hawkishness.
  • The MPC did raise rates by a cumulative 50 basis points while maintaining a “neutral” stance of policy. 
  • The policy stance was changed to “calibrated tightening” though the benchmark repo rate was left unchanged. 
  • Why would RBI at once sound more hawkish while surprising dovishly with a rate pause?
  • The RBI has marginally softened its inflation forecast. 
  • The previous forecast of inflation at 5% by June next year, the central bank now expects inflation at 4.8%. A softer trajectory of food inflation appears to be the key change. 
  • The higher announced minimum support prices for crops, it appears that food prices have not risen as much as previously feared. 
  • In both rural and organized sectors, wage growth has remained contained. As a result household inflation expectations have moderated.

What are the trends going on the financial markets? 

  • Normally, a depreciating currency is seen as expansionary as it tends to encourage export demand. 
  • It makes weaker global trade and flows that is driving currency weakness, that is, the currency depreciation is having a contractionary effect. 
  • The fall in reserves this year has also led to monetary tightening. Rising oil prices have also counteracted any improvement in exports.
  • The net impact of global factors has been more towards contraction than expansion.
  • The bond yields have been rising in recent months. 
  • Since April, the three-year AAA corporate bond yield has risen by nearly 1.5 percentage points and is close to 9%. 
  • This is much higher than what is suggested by the 50 basis points increase in the repo rate in the same period. 
  • Money market conditions further tightened in September after the defaults by various IL&FS group entities, leading to rising rates and reduced availability of funding.

Should RBI have hiked rates to support the currency? 

  • If rates were so important to the exchange rate, the strongest currency in the world should be the Argentinean Peso, where the benchmark interest rate is 60%. 
  • Rupee is the weakest currency in the world this year. 
  • RBI also tried and failed at an interest rate defence of the currency in 2013, which would surely be in its institutional memory. 
  • The MPC should react to currency to the extent that it affects inflation and it has shown great maturity in avoiding being swayed by the forex markets in its policy decision.
  • For bond markets the policy provides a welcome respite. 
  • The 10-year benchmark yield has dropped by about 7 bps on the day, while the money markets have seen yields soften as much as 30 bps. 
  • Both the rate pause and the commitment of RBI to providing liquidity are welcome steps for the short end of the yield curve. 
  • This part of the curve is also less sensitive to global and fiscal factor and investors should remain focused here.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) With reference to Global Foreign Exchange Committee, consider the following statements:
1. It is a forum of central bankers and experts working towards promotion of a robust and transparent forex market.
2. It has been established under the aegis of World Economic Forum.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer:  A

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Should RBI have hiked rates to support the currency? Give your arguments in brief. 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 06 October 2018 (Scalding oil, sliding rupee)


Scalding oil, sliding rupee


Mains Paper: 3 | Economy
Prelims level: current-account deficit 
Mains level: Improvement in CAD

Introduction 

  • Except for the US, most economies of the world are in crisis mode.
  • We live in a highly globalised and an instantaneous transmission world.
  • We live in a world where politics and economics inter-mingle and each component accuses the other for causing a mishap, or a crisis.

Important highlights about the CAD crisis 

  • Today, the crisis in question is a rupee current-account deficit (CAD) crisis.
  • An improvement in CAD can either occur through an improvement in exports or a reduction in imports.
  • Exports is money coming in, and that is “good”. Import is money going out, and that is “bad”.
  • Exchange rate is a price — a cheaper rupee helps exports, and hurts imports.
  • A cheaper currency, especially a fast depreciating one, hurts confidence, sentiment, and investment flows (both domestic and international) and is not much of a good.
  • This is all basic macro, and well known.
  • Good policy is the art of balancing the various currents to achieve a harmonious balance.
  • Economists and analysts are also human. They make genuine and honest mistakes.
  • As humans, they also possess ideologies and are prisoners of their “political” outlook.

Examine some recent policy measures in India

  • Emerging economies, especially fast-growing ones like India, need capital inflows to finance their investments.
  • The CAD is also equal to the gap in savings and investment.
  • The “high” GDP growth over the years helps pay for the borrowing of savings from abroad.
  • We will look at measures from the angle of money in (good) and money out (bad).
  • This list of economic mishaps for 2018 starts with the imposition of a 20 per cent long-term capital gains tax in the 2018/19 Budget.
  • This increase was a reversal of longstanding 14-year policy.
  • As is obvious, if you do not have capital gains, you will not obtain capital gains tax revenue.
  • For the present fiscal year, capital gains have been zilch.
  • In late August, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) announced measures to arrest import growth.
  • The 19 items for which import duties were hiked included items such as air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines and the total value of these imports in 2017/18 was about Rs 86,000 crore.

Effects on the price of oil

  • The international price of oil declined from $ 110 a barrel in May 2014 to an average of $50 to $60 in each of the last three fiscal years.
  • Despite large international price fluctuations, the government kept the domestic oil price broadly constant.
  • On a base of 100 in 2012, the CPI for petrol averaged the following in the last four years — 108 in 2014/15, and 99, 103, 108, and 119 in the present fiscal year (April through September).
  • So at the time of the election in May 2014, CPI for petrol was 115.
  • The CPI for petrol is estimated to have averaged 126 in September 2018 or a mere 10 per cent above the 2014 election price.
  • Oil price control, again:
  • On September 4, the government announced an excise tax reduction of Rs 1.5 per litre.
  • An additional Rs 1/litre reduction in the price of oil is to be contributed by oil companies.
  • This loss to the oil companies is expected to yield Rs 9,000 crore.
  • In less than 24 hours since the policy was announced, the market cap of oil companies was reduced by Rs 1.26 trillion.
  • It is sound fiscal fundamentals to keep the domestic oil price relatively constant amidst international turbulence.
  • The original sin was likely committed by the RBI in keeping real interest rates very high in 2017.
  • The GDP is estimated to be 2,900 billion in 2018. Each additional 1 per cent of CAD is $ 29 billion.

Where will this money come from?

  • Foreign inflows into the domestic debt market was $20 billion in 2017; this year the flow is a negative $7 billion.
  • Oil companies and other investors want predictable, reality-based policies, not inducements to volunteerism.
  • The Swiss-based Bank of International Settlements publishes, for more than 60 countries, a monthly estimate of the real exchange rate (REER).

Way forward 

  • In India, REER averaged around 92 in crisis year 2013 and exports (manufacturing and services) increased at a 6 per cent rate.
  • • In 2018 (to date) the REER has averaged 103 and exports have increased at a near 20 per cent rate.
  • Two simple facts emerge from these “simple” data.
  • REER levels do not seem to be associated with either exports or the desirability of exchange rate change.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Which one of the following is the largest contributor to India‟s current account deficit in 2017-18?
(a) Manufacturing trade deficit
(b) Gold imports
(c) Remittances deficit
(d) Oil imports
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) What are the Effects on the rising of oil price in Indian market? 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 06 October 2018 (Going Green, Bottom Up)


Going Green, Bottom Up


Mains Paper: 3 | Environment 
Prelims level: Paris climate agreement  
Mains level: Climate Change effects 

Introduction 

  • Globally, climate change has started to take a heavy toll.
  • The California fires, the heat wave in Europe and Asia, and the droughts in East Africa bear testimony to this.
  • In India, severe floods and random variations in weather have caused significant loss of life and property.
  • There is a lot more awareness and intent on show with regular discussions and nations pledging to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

About the GCAS program 

  • The Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) 2018, in San Francisco, was a crucial exercise in mobilising key stakeholders and urging them to go “further and faster”.
  • While the Paris Agreement laid down the marker, GCAS 2018 challenged us to “step up” a level higher.
  • It provided a perfect opportunity to review the progress achieved thus far, recognise the roadblocks and gear up for increased commitments.
  • Secondly, the summit was unique in that it secured participation of leaders from cities, states, environmentalists, corporates, investors and NGOs, that is “non-state actors”, on a mass scale, for the very first time.
  • An equally refreshing change was the focus on how climate change has impacted women and the steps needed for their empowerment.
  • Third, “Walk the talk” dominated the agenda with the summit showcasing real people and their achievements — people who have successfully implemented plans to reduce carbon footprint.
  • President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement had created a lot of uncertainty, with the US being a major carbon emitter.
  • Last but not the least, GCAS 2018 also helped cement India’s credentials as a climate action leader.

Conclusion 

  • It showcased some great work happening in India, by both industries as well as local governments.
  • Innovations such as Heat Action Plans, energy conservation building codes, electric vehicles and solar pumps for farmers also bear testimony to India’s efforts to cut down carbon dioxide levels.
  • The movement against climate change is now clearly beyond individuals and countries.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding CITES convention:
1.    It aims at in-situ conservation of wild animals and plants.
2.     It is legally binding on the parties to the Convention.
3.    It was recently adopted at the Paris climate conference.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer:  B

Mains Questions:
Q.1) What is the Paris climate change agreement? What are the aftermath effects after withdrawing agreement by U.S. President?

(VIDEO) India-Russia Eternal Friendship : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) India-Russia Eternal Friendship : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: India-Russia Eternal Friendship : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 05 October 2018 (Next steps at Gir)


Next steps at Gir 


Mains Paper: 3 | Environment   
Prelims level: Asiatic lions
Mains level: A geographically separate population of Asiatic lions needs to be created 

Introduction 

  • The magnificent Asiatic lion is under threat. 
  • Twenty-three lions have died in as many days in the eastern part of Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary. 

What are the matters for concern?

  • While mass mortalities in wildlife are always a cause for concern, this case is even more worrisome as the big cat population in Gujarat is the last of the Asiatic lions in the wild.
  • In 2013, the Supreme Court had issued an order that lions from Gujarat be relocated to the Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as a check against the threat of epidemic. But even wild animals are subject to State politics. Gujarat has been unwilling to part with its lions, calling them “its pride” in an affidavit.
  • The series of deaths, preliminary reports said that the cats have been killed by disease, most likely to be infectious. Some others have died due to poisoning and infighting. 
  • On October 3, the Supreme Court, noting that the death of so many lions was a serious matter, asked the Central government to look into it.

New-age conservation

  • The Supreme Court had said, “Asiatic lion, it has been noticed, has been restricted to only one single habitat, i.e. the Gir National Forest and its surrounding areas and an outbreak of possible epidemic or natural calamity might wipe off the entire species. 
  • A smaller population with limited genetic strength are more vulnerable to diseases and other catastrophes in comparison to large and widespread population.
  • The court also noted how 30% of the lion population in Tanzania’s Serengeti was killed due to an outbreak of canine distemper, a viral disease that affects animals. 
  • Gujarat’s response to this was that lions are now spread over the Greater Gir region and this reduces the threat.
  • It has also had an intense, managerial response to the disease when ill, lions are routinely picked up, medically treated, and then released.

Lessons from past events 

  • When wild animals go extinct locally, they are reintroduced as in the case of tigers in Sariska, Rajasthan. 
  • When hungry, they are fed artificially, and even provided salts as supplements, an example being the Hangul (Red deer) population in Dachigam, Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • In other parts of India, wild animals are funnelled through artificial trenches, barriers and fences. This is wildlife conservation in the age of man, where protected areas sometimes resemble zoos.
  • The most flexible of conservationists would agree that intensive artificial medical treatment of wild animals does not augur well for long-term sustainability. 
  • The role of wildlife managers should be to reduce unnatural threats, not unnaturally prolong life. 
  • Gujarat has done a good job of conserving its lions, it should also turn its attention to reducing the drivers of disease, which includes controlling feral dog populations.

What are the problems with metapopulations?

  • Gujarat submitted before the Supreme Court that one of the reasons it did not want to part with the lions was because there are metapopulations in the State. 
  • Metapopulations may be geographically separate but have interactions and an exchange of individuals. 
  • Gujarat had said to the Supreme Court, “Current Asiatic lion population is not a single population confined to one place.” 
  • It consists of “metapopulation spread over several locations within the Greater Gir Region”, adding that “good conservation practices and intensive wildlife healthcare, has lead to epidemic free regime”. 
  • These areas are connected to each other and this does not address the main concern of creating geographically distant populations.

Way forward 

  • Gujarat should work towards colonising new habitats outside the Gir landscape within the State. 
  • Wildlife conservation concerns itself with maintaining ecological processes and reducing threats to endangered species. 
  • It does not entail treating wild animals for disease (in the way domestic animals are) as this can go against the processes of natural selection.
  • Treating wild animals appears to be a caring thing to do. 
  • It is not conducive to the ‘natural’ process of life and death, and ultimately compromises immunity. 
  • There is no getting around the fact that a geographically separate population of Asiatic lions needs to be created. 
  • A good track record for lion conservation does not in any way preclude a good long-term strategy.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Share Share Asiatic lion is the state animal of which of the following states? 
A.    Rajasthan 
B.    Haryana 
C.    Punjab
D.    Gujarat
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) What are the steps needed to be taken to conserve Asiatic lions?
 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 05 October 2018 (The morning after)


The morning after


The morning after
Mains Paper: 3 | Economics 
Prelims level: IL&FS board
Mains level: Government, and new IL&FS board, need to clean up the mess and fix accountability

Context 

  • The government stepped in and took control of the infrastructure conglomerate, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services or IL&FS, sacking the board and appointing a new one. 
  • The government in a company in the form of superseding its board in which it is not a direct stakeholder has been justified in the interests of financial stability and the adverse impact of the collapse of such an institution on the capital markets. 
  • The government officials and a regulatory chief will now have to finalise a restructuring plan or a roadmap for the debt laden group and ensure an orderly winding down.

Important highlight of the IL&FS balance sheet 

  • Parallels have been drawn between the government intervention in the case of IL&FS and that of Satyam Computer Services in 2009 after the promoter confessed to having fudged the accounts. 
  • The group’s liabilities top Rs 91,000 crore is much higher than the burden in Satyam’s case and spread over more than 160 group companies.
  • Globally, there have been models like this one where an institution acts as an infrastructure developer and as financier too, but it is fraught with risk given the high leverage. 
  • Those risks are amplified in India because of frequent policy changes and the constraints in pricing in the infrastructure sector and the failure to enforce contracts.

Way forward 

  • The government has also ordered a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office. 
  • For the new board and government, the job should not end with a resolution plan. 
  • It should go hand in hand with a forensic audit and fixing of accountability.
  • Even as the government cleans up the mess, it will have to think hard on how it will fill the void in financing infrastructure.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1)  Who has been appointed by Union Government as the Chairman of newly constituted board of IL&FS?
A.    Shikha Sharma
B.    Ratan Tata
C.    Deepak Parikh
D.    Uday Kotak 
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Government, and new IL&FS board, need to clean up the mess and fix accountability. 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 05 October 2018 (Rethink MSPs)


Rethink MSPs


Mains Paper: 2 | Agriculture 
Prelims level: MSP
Mains level: Relatively moderate raises for rabi crops are a relief.

Context 

  • The Reserve Bank of India and bond markets should heave a sigh of relief at the relatively moderate hikes in the minimum support prices (MSP) for rabi crops declared by the NDA government.
  • The MSP for wheat to be planted in the ensuing 2018-19 season has been fixed at Rs 1,840 per quintal, which is only 6.1 per cent more than the Rs 1,735 for last year.

Important highlight of the MSP raise 

  • The other crops such as mustard, chana, masur and barley, the raise is from 2.1 to 5.3 per cent. 
  • The 20.6 per cent higher MSP for safflower has no material consequence, as this oilseed is grown in just about 1.5 lakh hectares (compared to 300-310, 90-100 and 60-70 lakh hectares for wheat, chana and mustard, respectively) and hardly procured by government agencies. 
  • The restraint shown in the latest MSP increases  for the kharif season, these amounted to 12.9 per cent in paddy and 19.3-52.5 per cent in maize, moong, cotton, bajra, jowar, nigerseed and ragi.

Initiatives taken by the government so far

  • The Modi government had earlier erred by accepting the M S Swaminathan commission’s recommendation of fixing MSPs at 1.5 times the estimated production cost of crops. 
  • By binding itself to a cost-plus pricing formula and guaranteeing a minimum 50 per cent return to farmers, the government would have had to grant unsustainably high MSPs out of line with market prices. 
  • That possibility was even greater when diesel, electricity, fertiliser and pesticide costs for farmers have gone up by 25 per cent or more in the last one year.
  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices’ estimates, which show a mere 6 per cent annual production cost escalation for wheat and at 1.8-7.2 per cent in other rabi crops. 
  • The seemingly conservative cost increases taken have helped keep the latest MSP hikes within limits, even as the Agriculture Ministry has claimed that they correspond to returns ranging between 50.1 per cent for safflower and 112.5 per cent for wheat.

Way forward 

  • The test of MSPs, however, lies not in announcement, but implementation. 
  • The current kharif marketing season, where arrivals in mandis have barely begun and most crops, barring cotton, are already selling way below the MSPs announced in July. 
  • The sheer lack of credibility in both fixation methodology and effective enforcement makes it worthwhile to rethink the utility of MSPs. 
  • Farmer interest is better served by removing all restrictions on marketing, storage and movement (including export) of produce, along with making fixed per-acre payments irrespective of the crop that is grown.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Price Stabilization Fund (PSF):
1. It is used to procure only perishable agricultural and horticultural commodities.
2. It is announced as a part of Minimum Support Price (MSP).
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Relatitvely moderate MSP raise is a big relief for Indian farmer. Critically examine the statement. 
 

(VIDEO) Surgical Strike - Bravery of the army (सर्जिकल स्ट्राइक - सेना का शौर्य)- Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

(VIDEO) Surgical Strike - Bravery of the army (सर्जिकल स्ट्राइक - सेना का शौर्य)- Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

Topic of Discussion: Surgical Strike - Bravery of the army (सर्जिकल स्ट्राइक - सेना का शौर्य)- Lok Sabha TV Insight Discussion

(VIDEO) Taking Stock of CSR : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(VIDEO) Taking Stock of CSR : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

Topic of Discussion: Taking Stock of CSR : Rajya Sabha TV Big Picture Debate

(Alert) UPSC will allow Application Withdrawal soon


UPSC will allow Application Withdrawal soon


Now Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will allow candidates withdrawal of applications from the examinations. The new proposal will be implemented with the Engineering Services Examination(IES) 2019. Later, other examinations like CSE etc will be brought under this arrangement. 

How it works -

  • In order to avail this facility, the candidate has to provide details of application.
  • Separate One Time Password (OTP) will be sent on candidates registered mobile number and email-id. 
  • On successful completion of withdrawal of the application, a confirmation message will be sent on the email and also an SMS.
  • Once the application has been withdrawn, it can't be revised. 

Benefits of the newly introduced arrangement-

  • UPSC has estimated that roughly 50% of the candidates, out of the registered ones, appear in the examination.
  • The commission has to book venues, print papers, hire invigilators and ship the documents for all the applicants which turn out to be a waste of 50% energy and resources. 

Other Reforms-

  • UPSC has also brought an increasing number of exam-related interactions and transactions online. This will be an initiative introduced in order to reduce the stress for the candidates.
  • UPSC is also looking forward with shifting from pen and paper mode of examination to the computer based mode. 
  • Additionally, the new system will also serve to cut down the time cycle for each examination.

Way forward-

  • Bearing in mind the aspirations of the youth for better job opportunities, the commission is now disclosing the scores and rankings of the non-recommended candidates in some examinations on its website and further link it with "National Career Service portal" of the ministry of Labor and employment. 
  • Different central ministries and organizations can take advantage of this arrangement where in candidates who have been cleared a rigorous screening process in civil services, Engineering services or Combined Medical Examination, but could not find a place in the merit list due to constraints of vacancies, can now look forward to being picked up for other government , public sector or private sector jobs, from the same database. 
  • This measure will obviate the need for conducting of multiple and separate examinations by different organization for post with similar entry level qualifications.
  • This will reduce the stress on young job aspirants and also the time taken for recruitment by various bodies. 

UPSC General Studies PRE Cum MAINS Printed Study Material

Online Crash Course for UPSC PRE Exam

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 04 October 2018 (The green state of mind)


The green state of mind


Mains Paper: 3 | Environment   
Prelims level: UN Champions of earth award 
Mains level: Development, Bio diversity, Environment

Context 

  • This award is not for an individual. Instead, it is a recognition of Indian culture and values, which have always placed emphasis on living in harmony with Mother Nature.
  • It was a proud moment for every Indian to see India’s proactive role in mitigating climate change being acknowledged and appreciated by the United Nations.
  • Human beings and nature have a very special relationship.
  • The first civilisations were established on the banks of rivers. Societies that live in harmony with nature flourish and prosper.
  • Today human society stands at an important crossroads. The path that we take hereon will not only determine our well being but also that of the generations who will inhabit our planet after us.
  • The imbalances between our greed and necessities have led to grave ecological imbalances.
  • We can either accept this, go ahead with things as if it is business as usual, or we can take corrective actions.
  • Three things will determine how we as a society can bring a positive change.

What are the important aspects? 

  • The first is internal consciousness.
  • Respect for nature is at the core of India’s traditions.

Mahatma Gandhi called for sustainable consumption so that the world does not face a resource crunch.

  • Once we realise how we are flagbearers of a rich tradition, it will automatically have a positive impact on our actions.
  • The second aspect is public awareness.
  • We need to talk, write, debate, discuss and deliberate as much as possible on questions relating to the environment.
  • At the same time, it is vital to encourage research and innovation on subjects relating to the environment.
  • The third aspect is proactiveness.
  • We see this proactiveness in the Swachh Bharat Mission, which is directly linked to a sustainable future.

Achievement done by us so far 

  • Sanitation coverage is up from 39 per cent to 95 per cent.
  • Over 85 million households now have access to toilets for the first time.
  • We see this proactiveness in the success of the Ujjwala Yojana.
  • India is moving at a quick pace in cleaning its rivers.
  • The Namami Gange Mission is changing this historical wrong.

Emphasis is being given to proper treatment of sewage.

  • The over 13 crore soil health cards distributed to farmers are helping them make informed decisions that will boost their productivity and improve the health of our land, which helps the coming generations.
  • We have integrated the objectives of Skill India in the environment sector and launched schemes including the Green Skill Development Programme for skilling about 7 million youth in environment, forestry, wildlife and climate change sectors by 2021.
  • This will go a long way towards creating numerous opportunities for skilled jobs and entrepreneurships in the environment sector.

Way forward 

  • Our country is devoting unparalleled attention to new and renewable sources of energy.
  • The Ujala Yojana has led to the distribution of nearly 31 crore LED bulbs.
  • The costs of LED bulbs have reduced and so have the electricity bills and the C emissions.
  • India’s proactiveness is seen internationally.
  • In March 2018, world leaders of several countries converged in New Delhi to mark the start of the International Solar Alliance, an endeavour to harness the rich potential of solar energy and bring
  • together all nations that are blessed with solar power.
  • While the world is talking about climate change, the call for climate justice has also reverberated from India.
  • The world needs to shift to a paradigm of environmental philosophy, environmental consciousness rather than merely government regulations.
  • Together, we will create a clean environment that will be the cornerstone of human empowerment.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) The Champions of earth award given by which of the following organization?
A.    UN
B.    IMF
C.    WTO
D.    World Bank
Answer:  A

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) What is the UN Champions of earth award? What are the significance of it?
 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 04 October 2018 (Pride and Prejudice)


Pride and Prejudice


Mains Paper: 3 | Environment   
Prelims level: Asiatic lions 
Mains level: Environmental impact assessment and conservation

Context 

  • The death of 21 Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir National Park in less than a month invites serious questions.
  • They initially blamed the deaths on infighting between lion prides.
  • Male lions are known to maul each other to death but they never harm females.
  • The park managers have now found evidence of a “viral infection” in some blood and tissue samples of the dead animals.

Claims vs reality

  • They have isolated 31 lions from the areas.
  • More than 180 lions have died in Gir in the past two years.
  • This is worrying given that lion deaths averaged around 60 between 2010 and 2015.
  • Most scientific studies reckon that Gir can host about 300 lions, about half the current population.
  • More than 50 per cent of the national park’s lions have spilled out of the protected area.
  • In 2013, the Supreme Court directed the translocation of “some” lions from Gir to Kuno in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Gujarat government has, however, refused that MP has not gone by the IUCN’s guidelines for translocation.
  • MP’s forest officials retort that Kuno satisfies all the conditions laid down by the Wildlife Institute of India.

Way forward 

  • Gir has lived under the shadow of an epidemic since 2012, when scientists from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute identified the Goat Plague (Peste Des Petits Ruminants) virus in a lion carcass.
  • The wildlife authorities in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh should not forget that an epidemic caused by a virus wiped out more than a third of the lion population in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park in the 1990s.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Which of the following are Keystone Species?
1. Sea otters
2. Red Mangroves
3. Elephants
4. Hummingbirds
5. Sharks
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1, 2 and 4 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only
(c) 1, 3, 4 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Answer:  D

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) Then recent news about the death of lions felt massive impacts on environments. How we can rebuild the environmental infrastructure and resolve the problem? 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 04 October 2018 (No sweeping change on Swachh Bharat Mission)


No sweeping change on Swachh Bharat Mission 


Mains Paper: 2 | Governance  
Prelims level: Swachh Bharat Mission 
Mains level: The Swachh Bharat Mission needs a broader vision of what constitutes cleanliness 

Context 

  • India’s Swachh Bharat Mission is receiving global praise.
  • In 2014 the sanitation gap of nearly 60% of the rural population not having access to a toilet at home. 
  • The NDA government invoked Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a clean and healthy country when it launched the ambitious programme.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Swachh movement in 2014 to change that, and four years later the outcomes show that achieving social change is far from easy. 

Important highlights of the Swachh Bharat Mission achievement 

  • The BJP-led government at the Centre, the SBM enjoys arguably the highest priority, and a ₹16,400-crore fund was raised for it during 2015-17 when a special cess was in force. 
  • On Gandhi Jayanti this year, the SBM’s Gramin wing declared it has constructed 86.7 million Individual Household Latrines and raised sanitation access to 94% in rural areas; 5,07,369 villages are now ‘open defecation free’. 
  • On the face of it, this is big advance. But there is a need for a close audit of the outcomes.
  • In some States, such as Rajasthan, independent verification shows that the social change that the SBM hopes to achieve remains elusive, and traditionally oppressed communities continue to manually remove filth from dry latrines used by the upper castes. 
  • There are reports of a similar situation prevailing in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh too.
  • What this shows is that the very evil that Gandhi wanted to see changed — of some castes condemned to do such work by others — persists.

Way forward

  • Besides making sanitation a movement through the provision of well-designed toilets and behaviour change in rural India, the SBM should have a broader vision of what constitutes cleanliness. 
  • The Centre asserts that urban toilet coverage is now 87% of the target, and nearly three-fourths of the wards in the country have door-to-door collection of municipal waste, but the lived experience of the city-dweller, especially in the bigger metros, is different. 
  • Waste volumes continue to grow as economic growth spurs consumption. 
  • The laws on municipal solid waste, protection of water sources and pollution control are just not being enforced.
  • The official machinery required to enforce legal provisions vigorously, and the infrastructure to manage waste scientifically are inadequate, making it unlikely that there will be significant public health outcomes flowing from high-profile cleaning campaigns.
  • Without full commitment to these aspects of development, there is little chance of meaningfully achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on water and sanitation anytime soon.
  • Besides ending manual scavenging, the Swachh Bharat Mission must ensure that the manual cleaning of septic tanks, which is killing so many workers each year, is stopped and that funds for rehabilitation reach them.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Questions: 

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding the Swachh Sarvekshan Survey:
1. It is an all-India survey to measure citizen connect with sanitation outcomes.
2. It ranks states in India on the basis of sanitation.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer:  A

UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) The Swachh Bharat Mission needs a broader vision of what constitutes cleanliness. Crtitically examine the statement.  

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