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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 21 September 2020 Self-Reliance for Self Esteem(Indian Express)



Self-Reliance for Self Esteem(Indian Express)


Mains Paper 2: Governance 
Prelims level: Atmanirbhar Bharat 
Mains level: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Context:

  • COVID-19 took very little time to spread across the world economy.
  • International trade has been constricted and global supply chains have, by and large, been disrupted. Each nation has been left to fend for itself.
  • India’s dependence on other countries has been exposed in several areas. The country should now refocus on manufacturing, and be self-reliant.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 21 September 2020 Towards tolerance (Indian Express)



Towards tolerance (Indian Express)


Mains Paper 2: International Relations 
Prelims level: Israel and Gulf countries relations 
Mains level: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

Context:

  • As the world’s Jewish communities celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the traditional New Year, over the weekend, greetings came from an unexpected quarter — the Arab Gulf.
  • The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — which recently normalised ties with Israel under the so-called Abraham Accords — tweeted their best wishes in Hebrew and English.
  • This simple gesturemarks an important moment in the Middle East.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 21 September 2020 It’s a no green signal from the farm world(The Hindu)



It’s a no green signal from the farm world(The Hindu)


Mains Paper 2: Governance 
Prelims level: New farm bill 2020
Mains level: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Context:

  • In a virtual rally, the PM blamed the Opposition parties for misleading farmers about the three Bills on agriculture, in Parliament.
  • While the Opposition may have taken up the cudgelsrecently, the fact is that farmers have been protesting against the Bills ever since it was promulgatedas ordinancesin June.
  • These are The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
  • Food Processing Industries Minister (and Shiromani Akali Dal MP), Harsimrat Kaur Badal, resigned from the Union Cabinet as a sign of protest.
  • Dissentingvoices from various mass organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh suggest that the opposition to the Bills may not be politically motivated; rather, it may be a reflection of the genuine concerns of farmers.
  • In brief, the Bills aim to do away with government interference in agricultural trade.
  • The Bill creates trading areas free of middlemen and government taxes outside the structure of Agricultural Produce Market Committees along with removing restrictions of private stockholding of agricultural produce.
  • Attempts to reform the APMC are not new and have been part of the agenda of successive governments for the last two decades.
  • Most farmer organisations also agree that there is excessive political interference and there is need for reform as far as functioning of mandis are concerned.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 21 September 2020 Fair and unfair: On actor Suriya and contempt (The Hindu)



Fair and unfair: On actor Suriya and contempt (The Hindu)


Mains Paper 2: Governance 
Prelims level: Contempt of court 
Mains level: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Context:

  • It is a matter of relief that the Madras High Court has decided not to pursuethe ill-conceived attempt to initiate action against film actor Suriya for contempt of court.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 19 September 2020 Another Afghan peace push and a role for India (The Hindu)



Another Afghan peace push and a role for India (The Hindu)


Mains Paper 2: International Relations 
Prelims level: India- Iran relations
Mains level: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Context:

  • Last week, on September 12, the much awaited intra-Afghan talks between the Taliban and the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation opened in Doha, Qatar.
  • This took place after 19 years, after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. that stunned the world and marked the beginning of the U.S. war in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and the Taliban, its local sponsors.
  • The initiation of intra-Afghan talks was a key element in the U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in Doha on February 29 between the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader.
  • Originally planned to begin on March 10, the process had to overcome many hurdlesalong the way providing a small glimpse of the difficult road that lies ahead.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 19 September 2020 Market failure: On agriculture sector reforms(The Hindu)



Market failure: On agriculture sector reforms(The Hindu)


Mains Paper 3: Economy 
Prelims level: Minimum Support Price
Mains level: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Context:

  • The ambitious initiative of the government to bring about far-reaching reform in agriculture has run into severe problem.
  • There are fears that the free market philosophy at its core could spell the end of MSPs for produce that has so far been centrally procured by the government.
  • An allied party’s Minister, Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Akali Dal) has resigned in protest.
  • Tinkering without consultation:
  • There is a strong pushback from farmers against three Bills that seek to replace ordinancesissued in June.
  • Problem is on key aspects of the farm economy — trade in agricultural commodities, price assurance, farm services including contracts, and stock limits for essential commodities.
  • The opposition to the Bills, particularly on trade, flows from the position, articulated by Punjab, that agriculture and markets are State subjects, and there should be no tinkeringwith the MSP and Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC).
  • MSP and APMC form the backbone of existing trading arrangements.
  • Several States have already liberalised agricultural marketing, amending their APMC Acts, and some have allowed regulated private commerce including direct marketing.
  • Yet, provisions in the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, providing for unfetteredcommerce in designated trade areas outside APMC jurisdictions without levy of any fee has cautioned states.
  • Also the fact that the provision empowers the Centre to issue orders to States in furtherance of the law’s objectives, have alarmed States.
  • A challenge has been mounted by Rajasthan, declaring central warehouses as procurement centres under its APMC Act, and therefore required to pay a market fee to the State.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 19 September 2020 A Fragmented Vote (Indian Express)



A Fragmented Vote (Indian Express)


Mains Paper 2: Governance 
Prelims level: Dalit atrocities 
Mains level: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Context:

  • Dalit politics in Bihar has mainly been a politics of negotiation for a “good deal” from mainstream political parties.
  • The “good deal” meant a good bargain from the parties, either in office or in the opposition, in terms of seats in a pre-poll alliance, and share in the government.
  • In return, the transfer of caste and community votes was promised.
  • This politics of negotiation in Bihar proceeded from the period that Kanshi Ram diagnosed as the chamcha age of Dalit politics.
  • In the post-Independence decades, Dalit leaders in the Congress and Janata Party got to share power as representatives of a caste or community.
  • Dalit leaders such as Bhola Paswan Shastri and Ram Sundar Das rose from the grass roots to become chief ministers in Bihar. Both Shastri and Das belonged to mainstream national parties.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 19 September 2020 Out and equal(Indian Express)



Out and equal(Indian Express)


Mains Paper 2: Governance 
Prelims level: Section 377
Mains level: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Context:

  • Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down a colonial-era law that had made homosexuality a criminal offence in India — the judgment expanded the idea of constitutional freedom and equality in a substantial way.
  • It is disappointing, then, that the solicitor-general of India chose to oppose a public interest litigation in the Delhi High Court seeking the registration of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 in the name of “our law, legal system, society and values”.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 19 September 2020 Data insecurity(Indian Express)



Data insecurity(Indian Express)


Mains Paper 2: International 
Prelims level: Cyber Security
Mains level: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Context:

  • A report recently revealed how a Shenzhen-based big data firm, with links to the Chinese government, is systematically tracking over 10,000 prominent Indian citizens.
  • Following so, the government, on Wednesday, set up an expert committee under the National Cyber Security Coordinator to examine the revelations and the broader implications of digital surveillance on the privacy and personal data of Indian citizens.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 16 September 2020 The Impossible Trilemma(Indian Express)



The Impossible Trilemma(Indian Express)


Mains Paper 3: Economy 
Prelims level: Operation twist programme
Mains level: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

Context:

  • In a recently released report, the Reserve Bank of India mentioned that an appreciating currency will help contain imported inflationary pressures.
  • This has given rise to a fervent debate as to whether the RBI is no longer able to handle the Impossible Trilemma.
  • The Impossible Trilemma, an important paradigm of open economy macroeconomics, asserts that a country may not be able to stabilise the exchange rate, and conduct an independent monetary policy when it is financially integrated with the rest of the world.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 16 September 2020 Wrong way out(Indian Express)



Wrong way out(Indian Express)


Mains Paper 2:Governance 
Prelims level: Minimum export price
Mains level: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Context:

  • Retail prices of onions have crossed Rs 40 per kg in Delhi, more than doubling in the last one month.
  • The Narendra Modi government has responded straightaway by banning exports.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 16 September 2020 Question and Answer (Indian Express)



Question and Answer (Indian Express)


Mains Paper 2:Polity 
Prelims level: Question hour
Mains level: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers and privileges and issues arising out of these

Context:

  • Before the start of the truncatedMonsoon session of Parliament, Prime Minister said “this Parliament, particularly this session, has a special responsibility”.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 16 September 2020 Parliament and its panels(The Hindu)



Parliament and its panels(The Hindu)


Mains Paper 2:Polity 
Prelims level: Parliamentary committees 
Mains level: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers and privileges and issues arising out of these

Context:

  • The Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees have a so-called tenure of one year.
  • There was speculation in the media that the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu, is keen on amending the rules to give them a fixed tenure of two years.
  • However, since these are joint committees of the two Houses of Parliament, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha also has to concur.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 16 September 2020 Venus in focus (The Hindu)



Venus in focus (The Hindu)


Mains Paper 3: Science and Tech 
Prelims level: Venus 
Mains level: Awareness in the fields of Space

Context:

  • Venus, the hottest planet in the solar system, has not enjoyed as much recent attention as Mars, as far as space missions are concerned.
  • With surface temperatures of above 460° Celsius that can melt even a metal like lead, and a heavy atmosphere of carbon dioxide, the planet was considered hostileto life.
  • This despite its being similar in size to the Earth and rocky, so much so that it is often called the Earth’s “sister planet”.

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