user8's blog

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 July 2020 Cool Roofs and other solutions



Cool Roofs and other solutions


Mains Paper 3:Environment 
Prelims level: cool roofs programme
Mains level: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

 Context: 

  • India is among the most rapidly urbanising countries in the world. 
  • In 2018, nearly 34% of the country’s population lived in the cities — this is expected to increase to 40% by 2030, contributing 75% of the GDP. 
  • Driven by growing urbanisation, the real estate sector contributed 6-7% of the GDP in 2017 — will increase to 13% by 2025, notwithstandingtemporary setbacks due to the pandemic.
  • The exponential growth in urbanisation implies using up most of the open spaces in urban and semi-urban areas and creating more of paved surface cover, heat-trapping roofs, buildings and roads. 
  •  Heat island:
  • The term "heat island" describes built up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. 
  • In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C). Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water pollution.

Buildings- major contributors:

  • Often, buildings are one of the major contributors to incremental heat generation. 
  • More than 60% of the roofs are made of concrete, metal and asbestos, all of which tend to trap heat. 
  • Over time, these hot surfaces worsen the heat island effect and drive temperatures higher. 
  • Further, buildings account for more than 30% of India’s electricity consumption and a significant share of annual carbon dioxide emissions. 
  • It is thus imperative that any effort towards energy conservation must include a focused approach to urban areas and more specifically on buildings and built-up areas.

Mercers quality of living index:

  • Hyderabad has been rated as the best city in India in the Mercers Quality of Living Index for the last six years. 
  • Hyderabad, since the second quarter of 2019, is also the fastest-growing real estate market in the country. 
  • The commercial/institutional office space, which was 100 million square feet in 2015, is likely to double by 2021.

Telangana example:

  • In the short-term, it’s crucial to ascertain how to respond to extreme heat and urbanisation challenges during a major pandemic. 
  • In the medium and long-term, we need proactive pre-disaster actions to reduce risk and to invest in forward-looking plans, policies and programmes to ensure we make the right choices to balance urban growth and sustainable development.
  • In the context of the urban built-up space, there is an opportunity upfront by ensuring the buildings are built smart. 
  • Telangana has taken steps to ensure energy efficiency in its buildings by incorporating the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)’s Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC).
  • ECBC sets minimum efficiency standards for all commercial buildings, including categories such as multiplexes, hospitals, hotels and convention centres.
  • This will go a long way in ensuring the environmental footprint of the sector is controlled.
  •  Cool roofs in low cost:
  • Additionally, there exist low-cost solutions to reduce the heat stress in homes and offices and bring down the dependence on air conditioners.
  • Cool roofs, for example, offer a simple and a cost-effective answer to urbanisation challenges. 
  • Cool roofs reflect sunlight and absorb less heat. 
  • Depending on the setting, they can help lower indoor temperatures by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius as compared to traditional roofs. 
  • These roofs also potentially lead to less air pollution since they save energy, especially on cooling appliances, such as fans and air conditioners.

 Telangana cool roofs programme:

  • The Government of Telangana, realising the importance of low-cost cool-roofing technology, has already undertaken several meaningful interventions.
  • Telangana tested these technologies through pilots undertaken in 2017. 
  • As part of the state’s building energy efficiency programme to implement a cool roofs pilot in low-income neighbourhoods to showcase the benefits and impact of cool roofs in the city. 
  • The project focused on a set of 25 low-income households. 
  • Dupont India supplied a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cool roof coating membrane called Tyvek. 
  • The results found that indoor air temperatures were observed to be lower by an average of 2 degrees Celsius in the homes with cool roofs as compared to similar homes without cool roofs. 
  • Working with knowledge partners, the Telangana Cool Roofs Programme has been designed and is ready for implementation. 
  • The programme is a target-based initiative to increase the percentage of cool roofs in the state. 
  • The programme will aim to install cool roofs in low-income housing and slum communities in the initial years, where the thermal comfort of the occupants is of paramount importance.
  • Commercial buildings are also an important segment, given the rising footprint of the commercial activity in the state. 
  • While cool roofs have already been included in the prescriptive requirements of the state’s energy conservation building code, the government will eventually look to mandate the adoption in the latter years of the programme.

Conclusion:

  • A robust awareness generation and capacity building campaign is also a part of the programme. 
  • While it is important to focus on targets, the realisation of those targets has to be ensured through a well-functioning ecosystem of suppliers and installers.
  • What is required at this stage is large scale marketing of the concept to make builders and owners aware of the advantages in terms of energy and cost savings.

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the India’s External Debt at the end of March 2020, consider the following statements:

1. Commercial borrowings remained the largest component of external debt, with a share of 39.4 %, followed by non-resident deposits (23.4 %) and short-term trade credit (18.2 %).
2. US dollar denominated debt continued to be the largest component of India’s external debt. 

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: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1). What is the Mercers quality of living index? What is the significance of the cool roofs programme for sustainable development? 
 

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the India’s Balance of Payments during 2019-20, consider the following statements:

1. The Current Account Deficit (CAD) narrowed to 0.9 % of GDP in 2019-20 from 2.1 % in 2018-19. 
2. Net invisible receipts were lower in 2019-20. 

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

Mains Questions:

Q.1). In view of mounting debt due to pandemic, which further widening the fiscal deficit why it is believed that the fiscal council is the need of the hour? Highlights it mandate and various recommendations in this regard.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 July 2020 Do we need a fiscal council?



Do we need a fiscal council?


Mains Paper 3:Economy 
Prelims level: Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management
Mains level: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

Context:  

  • The government needs to borrow and spend more now in order to support vulnerable households and engineer economic recovery. 
  • But that will mean a steep rise in debt which will jeopardisemedium-term growth prospects, an issue prominently flagged by all the rating agencies in their recent evaluations. 
  • It is possibly the fear of market penalties that is holding the government back from opening the money spigots(tap).

Enforcing fiscal discipline:

  • Many economists have faulted the government’s fiscal stance, arguing that this is no time for restraint; the government should spend more to stimulate the economy by borrowing as may be necessary.
  • But at the same time come out with a credible plan for fiscal consolidation post-COVID-19 in order to retain market confidence. 
  • But will the market be persuadedby the government’s assurance of future good conduct? 
  • Not necessarily, say the commentators. 
  • The government can signal its virtue by establishing some new institutional mechanism for enforcing fiscal discipline, such as for example a fiscal council. 
  • The suggestion of a fiscal council actually predates the current crisis. 
  • It was first recommended by the Thirteenth Finance Commission and was subsequently endorsed by the Fourteenth Finance Commission and then by the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Review Committee headed by N.K. Singh.

Present in 50 countries:

  • According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), about 50 countries around the world have established fiscal councils with varying degrees of success. 
  • Fiscal council will be a permanent agency with a mandate to independently assess the government’s fiscal plans and projections against parameters of macroeconomic sustainability, and put out its findings in the public domain. 
  • The expectation is that such an open scrutiny will keep the government on the straight and narrow path of fiscal virtue and hold it to account for any default.
  • Do we really need a fiscal council? Sure, we do have a chronic problem of fiscal irresponsibility, but is a fiscal council the answer? 

Need:

  • Recall that back in 2003 when FRBM was enshrined into law, we thought of that as the magic cure for our fiscal ills. 
  • The FRBM enjoinsthe government to conform to pre-set fiscal targets, and in the event of failure to do so, to explain the reasons for deviation. 
  • The government is also required to submit to Parliament a ‘Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement’ (FPSS) to demonstrate the credibility of its fiscal stance. 
  • Yet, seldom have we heard an in-depth discussion in Parliament on the government’s fiscal stance; in fact the submission of the FPSS often passes off without even much notice. 
  • If the problem clearly is lack of demand for accountability, how will another instrumentality such as a fiscal council for supply of accountability be a solution? 
  • It can be argued that a fiscal council will in fact be a solution because it will give an independent and expert assessment of the government’s fiscal stance, and thereby aid an informed debate in Parliament. 
  • A fair point, but do we need an elaborate permanent body with an extensive mandate for this task?

The council’s mandate:

  • As per that, the fiscal council’s mandate will include, but not be restricted to, making multi-year fiscal projections,
    • preparing fiscal sustainability analysis,
    • providing an independent assessment of the Central government’s fiscal performance and compliance with fiscal rules,
    • recommending suitable changes to fiscal strategy to ensure consistency of theannual financial statement and taking steps to improve quality of fiscal data,
    • producing an annual fiscal strategy report which will be released publicly.

Challenges: 

  • An institutional behemoth with such a wide job chart will likely add more to the noise than to the signal. 
  • For example, the fiscal council will give macroeconomic forecasts which the Finance Ministry is expected to use for the budget, and if the Ministry decides to differ from those estimates, it is required to explain why it has differed. 
  • As of now, both the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) give forecasts of growth and other macroeconomic variables, as do a host of public, private and international agencies. 
  • Why should there be a presumption that the fiscal council’s forecasts are any more credible or robust than others? 
  • Why not leave it to the Finance Ministry to do its homework and defend its numbers rather than forcing it to privilege the estimates of one specific agency? 
  • Besides, forcing the Finance Ministry to use someone else’s estimates will dilute its accountability.
  • If the estimates go awry, it will simply shift the blame to the fiscal council.
  • Another argument made in support of a fiscal council is that in its role as a watchdog, it will prevent the government from gaming the fiscal rules through creative accounting. 
  • But there is already an institutional mechanism by way of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit to check that. 
  • If that mechanism has lost its teeth, then fix that rather than create another costly bureaucratic structure.

    Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

    E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

    General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the India’s Balance of Payments during 2019-20, consider the following statements:

1. The Current Account Deficit (CAD) narrowed to 0.9 % of GDP in 2019-20 from 2.1 % in 2018-19. 
2. Net invisible receipts were lower in 2019-20. 

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

Mains Questions:

Q.1). In view of mounting debt due to pandemic, which further widening the fiscal deficit why it is believed that the fiscal council is the need of the hour? Highlights it mandate and various recommendations in this regard.

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 July 2020 Reform with caution



Reform with caution


 Mains Paper 2:Governance 
Prelims level: Committee for the Reform of Criminal Laws
Mains level: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

 Context: 

  • Home Ministry has formed a ‘Committee for the Reform of Criminal Laws’. 
  • An apparent short time frame and limited scope for public consultation has caused considerable disquiet among jurists, lawyers and those concerned with the state of criminal justice in the country. 

Reforms needed:

  • Few would disagree with the idea that the current laws governing crime, investigation and trial require meaningful reform. 
  • There have been several attempts in recent decades to overhaulthe body of criminal law. 
  • Indian Penal Code of 1860 vintage, the Code of Criminal Procedure that was rewritten in 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act that dates back to 1872 comprises criminal laws.
  • However, comprehensive legal reform is something that requires careful consideration and a good deal of deliberation. 

Criticism:

  • One criticism against the latest Committee is that it has begun its work in the midst of a pandemic. 
  • This may not be the ideal time for wide consultations. 
  • Activists and lawyers functioning in the hinterland may be at a particular disadvantage in formulating their opinions.
  • The panel’s mandate appears quite broad: “to recommend reforms in the criminal laws of the country in a principled, effective, and efficient manner which ensures the safety and security of the individual, the community and the nation; and which prioritises the constitutional values of justice, dignity and the inherent worth of the individual.” 
  • This is vague and open to multiple interpretations. 
  • It is also not clear why the Law Commission has not been vestedwith this task.

Law Commission of India:

  • Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. 
  • Its major function is to work for legal reform. Its membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government.
  • Justice Verma panel recommendations:
  • A three-member commission assigned to review laws for sexual crimes submitted its report to the government.
  • The commission, headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Verma, has identified "failure of governance" as the root cause for sexual crime. 
  • It has criticised the government, the police and even the public for its apathy, and has recommended dramatic changes.

Wide consensus:

  • The lack of diversity in what is an all-male, Delhi-based committee has also been adversely commented upon. 
  • In 2003, the Justice V.S. Malimath Committee on reforms in the criminal justice system had come up with some far-reaching suggestions, some of which became part of changes in criminal law. 
  • However, it also attracted criticism over the suggestion that the standard of evidence be reduced from “beyond reasonable doubt” to “clear and convincing”. 
  • The Justice Verma panel came up with a comprehensive and progressive report on reforms needed in laws concerning crimes against women in 2013 in barely one month, but its speed was probably due to the limited mandate it had. 
  • If at all criminal law is to be reformed, there should be a genuine attempt to reach a wide consensus.
  • On ways like to speed up trials, protect witnesses, address the travailsof victims, improve investigative mechanisms and, most importantly, eliminate torture- it needs consensus.
  • An impression should not gain ground that wide-ranging changes are sought to be made within a short time frame and based on limited inputs from the public. 

Conclusion:

  • Reform is best achieved through a cautious and inclusive approach.
  • Criminal law reforms should not be made by quick-fire means or without wide consultations.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the transgenders in armed forces, consider the following statements:

1. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has recently told the Union Home Ministry (MHA) that it is ready make its force “compatible” for the recruitment of transgender people as officers in their ranks.
2. Supreme Court in 2014 judgment declared transgender people as the Third Gender.

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: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1). Highlights the steps to improve criminal justice system in India. 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 July 2020 Crime as punishment



Crime as punishment


Mains Paper 2:Polity 
Prelims level: Extrajudicial killing
Mains level: Impact of Extrajudicial killing in the system of governance

Context: 

  • The Uttar Pradesh Police’s account of the killing of Kanpur gangster Vikas Dubey on Friday, even if taken at face value, is a startling admission of serious ineptitude.
  • The possibility that his death is officially sanctioned retributionfor the murder of 8 policemen who were part of the team that went to arrest him on July 3 is hard to dismiss out of hand.  

No transparency:

  • Without a doubt, Dubey’s death in an ‘exchange of fire’ while he was ‘trying to flee’ after the police vehicle in which he was being taken ‘met with an accident’ is also extremely convenient for many. 
  • It puts a lid on the tale of his violent rise to power and influence, which was nourished by a wider network of patrons, including some in the police force. 
  • A hardened criminal, who had 62 cases against him was supposedly being transported without handcuffs; he snatched weapons from those escorting him, according to the police version of the incident. 
  • Indeed, this is no more than a self-indictment of the state police, whose conduct has raised far too many questions in the recent past. 
  • There is no good explanation for driving such a suspect through the night across more than 600 km from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh where he was arrested on Thursday. 
  • The brutal last episode of Dubey’s serial crimes should be no defence if the shooting turns out to be an extra-judicial killing. 

Extrajudicial killing:

  • An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. 
  • Extrajudicial killings often target leading political, trade union, dissident, religious, and social figures. 
  • Fair and transparent trial:
  • Any demand of probity and accountability in police and military is often contested on the supposed ground that it emerges from a support for criminals, terrorists or enemies of the state by influential political and public figures. 
  • There is no question that crimes such as those Dubey was involved in must be met with exemplary punishment. 
  • The process of establishing guilt and executing punishment is not an incidental part of justice, but its integral soul. 
  • A fair and transparent trial cannot be dispensed with in order to satisfy cries for vengeance.
  • Social sanction of instant justice by state agents might have leached into institutions that are mandated to enforce the rule of law. 
  • Last year, when the Cyberabad police shot dead four people accused in a case of gang rape and murder, people celebrated in the streets. 
  • The courts and the National Human Rights Commission have also shown a lenient approach in such cases. 
  • Goadingthe police on to deliver instant justice, or even tolerating such behaviour, creates an atmosphere of impunitythat could lead to murder of innocent people as happened with the custodial deaths in Tamil Nadu. 
  • Support for such killings by the police will not make a society more just. Mob justice is no justice at all. 

Conclusion:

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), consider the following statements:

1. It was enacted in 2015. 
2. The 2019 amendment gave the Home Ministry the power to designate individuals as terrorists. 

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: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1). What do you mean by the extrajudicial killing? What are the reasons behind rising such incidents? Comment. 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 11 July 2020 Making independent directors count



Making independent directors count


Mains Paper 4:Ethics 
Prelims level: Companies Act 2013
Mains level: Role of independent directors as per companies act 2013

Context: 

  • In the aftermath of several corporate frauds and mis-governance witnessed world over, various authorities introduced provisions giving statutory recognition to the position of independent directors in the overall governance framework.
  • It was believed that a larger say for independent directors in boardrooms would be an effective deterrent to fraud, mismanagement, and mis-governance. 

Defining the Companies Act, 2013:

  • In India, the Companies Act, 2013 not only defined ‘independent directors’ but also codified their duties and responsibilities. 
  • Schedule IV of the Act lays down the guidelines for professional conduct, role, functions, and duties of independent directors. 
  • The Schedule lists nine specific guidelines, eight actionable items and 13 specific duties to be discharged by independent directors. 
  • Section 166 lists seven specific duties for directors.
  • The Directors’ Responsibility Statement under Section 135 requires an affirmation by directors on the adherence to accounting standards, accounting policies, and maintenance of adequate accounting records for safeguarding of a company’s assets and prevention of frauds, adequacy of internal financial controls, and their effectiveness and compliance with applicable laws. 
  • The Listing Regulations exhaustively list out the specific responsibilities of the directors.

Role of an independent director:

  • Being an independent director is no more an easy task. The law casts onerous duties, obligations, and responsibilities on directors and collectively on the board. 
  • To comply and discharge the several responsibilities one needs a thorough understanding of the provisions of law and the various regulations. These can be acquired only by a combination of formal training, experience, and knowledge sharing. 

Major challenges:

  • Directors face difficulty when a company has conflicts with society or the public at large. This happens when their working or the company’s products/services create an issue with the interests of the public
  • Since promoter-shareholders have a strong say on the selection of independent directors, how can they function with independence and effectiveness at the board qua promoters?
  • Access to information remains in the hands of the promoters and the KMP (Key Managerial Personnel) reporting to them, which makes it challenging for independent directors to exercise independent judgment.

The problem and solutions:

  • What could be seen across these cases are lack of integrity and fraudulent practices. 
  • Majority of the cases are in the financial sector, which are regulated and classified as systemically important companies. 
  • How did they escape the several layers of checks and balances — namely, the professionals or the management running the company independent of the promoters; the audit and risk committees; the internal auditors; the statutory auditors; the board; and the regulators wherever applicable. 
  • Strengthening of the audit committee, risk committee and the nomination and remuneration committee may only mean the independent directors chairing/manning them need to be strengthened. 
  • The eligibility, role responsibility, and the authority of the independent director need to be reformed/ strengthened.
  • There need to be separate regulations governing the entire functioning of independent director.
  • Currently, the rules/regulations relating to the eligibility and appointment of independent director are the same for all applicable companies. This will have to change. 
  • Companies in the financial sector need to have a stronger criterion; systemically important companies need to have a different set of independent director; again, larger companies in terms of size, complexities need to have a different criteria for choosing and appointing independent director. These will have to cover key managerial personnel as well.
  • Independent directors, to be effective, should possess knowledge of the regulations, working of the company and the ability to speak out. A formal authority to help independent director to speak out is necessary. Training to acquire the skills shall be made compulsory.
  • The remuneration structure for independent director need to be overhauled providing for differential remuneration as per grade in the regulations. Remuneration shall be commensurate with the responsibility and liability to which independent director are exposed. If this is not addressed, quality directors will cease to be available. 
  • A separate body needs to be constituted under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to oversee the functioning of independent director. The funding required can be collected as an annual cess and subscription from the corporate sector. 

Conclusion:

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the International Comparison Program (ICP) 2017, consider the following statements:

1. The International Comparison Program (ICP) is the largest worldwide data-collection initiative, under the guidance of UN Statistical Commission (UNSC), with the goal of producing PPPs which are vital for converting measures of economic activities to be comparable across economies. 
2. Along with the PPPs, the ICP also produces Price Level Indices (PLI) and other regionally comparable aggregates of GDP expenditure.

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: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1). Defining the role of independent directors as per Companies Act 2013. What are the major challenges arising to their practices in the field? Also explain the feasible solutions to the problems. 

UPSC Mains Law Paper Topic : Law of the Sea

UPSC Mains Law Paper Topic : Law of the Sea

  1. Write short note : Exclusive Economic Zone. (93/I/8a/20)
  2. 2. Elaborate the new concepts laid down by the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCOS III). Point out the dissenting opinions that prevent full realization of the substantive recommendations of this Conference. (94/I/6b/30)
  3. Write short note : Transit passage (95/I/8b/20)
  4. “The exclusive economic zone is sui generis and although not territorial, it nevertheless, importantly modifies the regime of the High Seas over which it extends.” Critically examine this statement drawing attention to the special features and legal incidents of this new maritime zone as established by the UN Sea Law Convention 1982. (96/I/5d/20)
  5. “The theory of extra-territoriality is not the correct basis of the immunities and privileges which the diplomatic agents enjoy.” Do you agree with this view? Give reasons. (97/I/6b/30)
  6. “Although there can be a Continental Shelf where there is no E.E.Z., there cannot be an E.E.Z. without a corresponding Continental Shelf. It follows that for juridical and practical reasons, the distance criterion must now apply to the Continental Shelf as well as to the E.E.Z., and this is quite apart from provision as to distance in para 1 of Art. 76 (Sea Law Convention 1982)” - 39 (Main) Law—Topic Wise Paper I.C.J. in Libya/ Malta case concerning the Continental Shelf - I.C.J. Ref. 1985 p 13 Critically examine the above observations of the International Court and consider whether they entail any departure from the law as expounded by the court in the 1969 Continental Shelf cases. (97/I/6a/30)
  7. The British ship Scotia collided in midocean with the American ship Berkshire which was not carrying the lights required by the law. Decide the fault and liability under appropriate principles of international law. (98/I/7a/20)
  8. Examine the principal achievements of the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea of 1982 and their significance for India. (99/I/6/60)
  9. ‘The legal regime of the Continental Shelf has undergone profound changes.’ What is the present concept of Continental Shelf? (02/I/5c/20)
  10. Explain the juridical basis of claim of a coastal state over the continental shelf in the light of North Sea Continental shelf cases decision. (03/I/6b/20)
  11. “The Law of Sea Convention 1982, does not bestow on landlocked states any definite right of transit.” Do you agree with this statement? Give reasons. (04/I/7a/30)
  12. Explain the scope of the concept of freedom of the High Seas and discuss also the legality of nuclear tests in the areas of High Sea. (04/I/5d/20)
  13. Define ‘Continental Shelf and distinguish it from ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’. Critically evaluate the rights and obligations of coastal states in the Exclusive Economic Zone. (07/I/7a/30)
  14. Write explanatory note : Territorial Sea (07/I/8a/20)
  15. “Vessels on the high seas are subject to no authority except that of the State whose flag they fly. In virtue of the freedom to the sea, that is to say, the absence of any territorial sovereignty upon the high seas, no State may exercise any kind of jurisdiction over foreign vessels upon them.” Give a critical appraisal of this principle in the light of the case law and views of the International Law Commission. (11/I/6b/30)
  16. Explain the right and duties of coastal state over continental shelf, exclusive economic zone and high seas as defined under the provisions of UN Convention on law of Sea (III), 1982. (13/I/5c/10)

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS LAW CATEGORISED PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS LAW OPTIONAL PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS GS 10 Year PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS GS SOLVED PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC PRE GS 10 Year PAPERS PDF

Printed Study Material for IAS PRE cum Mains General Studies

UPSC Mains Law Paper Topic : State Recognition and State Succession

UPSC Mains Law Paper Topic : State Recognition and State Succession

  1. Distinguish between defacto recognition and de facto recognition. (93/I/6b/20)
  2. The Government of State X is overthrown. Rebels establish a new Government. State Y continues to recognise the old Government. A suit is filed in State Y by new Government of State X against a bank for recovery of certain money due to State X. The old Government opposes the suit claiming that the money belongs to the lawful representatives of State X. Decide. (94/I/7a/30)
  3. Ten aircraft that belonged to the monarchical government of prerevolutionary Russia were lying in the British airfield even after they were sold to an American company. The Communist Government that came to power in Russia after the revolution and was recognised de jure by Britain made a claim for the ownership of the aircraft. Discuss whether the previous transaction of sale is binding on the new government. (95/I/7a/30)
  4. “Occupation can be effected only through taking possession of, and establishing an administration over, territory in the name of, and for, acquiring State.” Explain and distinguish occupation from annexation. (95/I/5b/20)
  5. State X deposited some gold in State Y. There was a rebellion in State X and the rebels were successful in establishing a parallel government. After some time State Y granted de jure recognition to 37 (Main) Law—Topic Wise Paper the new government formed by rebels. The new government claims the gold deposited in State Y by the old government. Decide. (96/I/7b/30)
  6. While as a matter of international law, private rights acquired from an erstwhile sovereign do not cease to exist on a change of sovereignty, nevertheless, their enforcement as such rights in the courts of the successor sovereign may be barred by the act of State doctrine. Discuss and illustrate. (96/I/5c/20)
  7. Smith and Company registered in India was carrying on trade with Sikkim before it became part of India. The government of Sikkim confiscated a few consignments set to the company’s office in Sikkim from India. Soon thereafter Sikkim became part of India. Smith and Company claims consignments or their value from government of Indian. Discuss the liability of the government of India towards Smith and Company. (97/I/7b/20),
  8.  Rhodesia becomes independent by the unilateral Declaration of Independence. Examine the implications under relevant principles of international law. (98/I/7b/20)
  9. Pakistan has taken loan from certain international loaning agencies for its development. Part of the loan was spent on the development of the then East Pakistan which is now the independent State of Bangladesh. After East Pakistan succeded from Pakistan, Pakistan contended that the responsibility for the repayment of that portion of debt which was spent on East Pakistan had developed on Bangladesh. Bangladesh denied it. Decide giving reasons. (99/I/8a/20)
  10. A revolution takes place in State ‘X’. ‘Y’ seizes power in an unconstitutional manner by installing himself as the Head of State ‘X’. What principles will govern the question of recognition of ‘Y’ as the Head of States ‘X’ on the part of other states? What consequences will ensure if recognition is accorded or refused? (00/I/7b/20)
  11. A foreign bank has given a loan to the Government of State ‘A’ for the improvement of roads in ‘X’, a province of State ‘A’ . ‘X’ is subsequently ceded to State ‘B’. The Government of State ‘B’ refuses to accept any responsibility of the loan. Is State ‘B’ entitled to do so? Discuss. (00/I/7c/20)
  12. Write explanatory note : Recognition of a State and Recognition of a government (01/I/8a/20)
  13. Explain Recognition of a State and Recognition of a Government. (03/I/5b/20)
  14. “The granting of recognition to a new state is not constitutive but a declaratory act.” Do you agree with this view? Discuss the theories of recognition and state which theory is correct in your view. (04/I/8b/30)
  15. What do you understand by state succession? To what extent does succession take place to (a) the treaty rights and obligations, and (b) contractual obligations of the extinct state? Explain. (05/I/8b/30)
  16.  “A State is, and becomes, an international person through recognition only and exclusively.” Discuss. Is there any duty under International Law to recognise a State? (06/I/5d/20) (Main) Law—Topic Wise Paper 38
  17. International practice supports the evidentiary theory as to the nature, effect and function of recognition. Comment. (07/I/6b/30)
  18. Examine critically the different views regarding the recognition of States, highlighting the legal consequences of acts of recognition and policies of nonrecognition. Also mention the difference between ‘express recognition’ and ‘implied recognition’. (09/I/6a/30)
  19. What do you understand by the principle of Continuity of State in the context of succession of government? Pinpoint the major areas to be addressed to improve upon the existing position relating to State succession rules and practice. (10/I/5b/20)
  20. Discuss with illustrations the law and the practice of various States in relation to non-recognition of governments. (10/I/6b/30)
  21. “The distinction between ‘dejure/ defacto recognition’ and ‘recognition as the dejure and defacto government’ is insubstantial, more especially as the question is one of intention and the legal consequences thereof in the particular case. If there is a distinction it does not seem to matter legally.” Comment and discuss the distinction between the two. (11/I/6a/30)
  22. “States are subject to a duty under International Law to recognize a new State fulfilling the legal requirements of Statehold, but the existence of such a duty is not borne out by the weight of precedents and practices of States. The decision of a State in according or withholding recognition is a matter of vital policy that each State is entitled to take by itself.” Reconcile and argue which of these two statements (extreme views) regarding recognition of a State given by Lauterpacht (obligatory) and by Podesta Costa (Facultative) is more appropriate, with the help of instances in regard to de facto and de jure recognition. (13/I/6b/25)

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS LAW CATEGORISED PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS LAW OPTIONAL PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS GS 10 Year PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS GS SOLVED PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC PRE GS 10 Year PAPERS PDF

Printed Study Material for IAS PRE cum Mains General Studies

UPSC Mains Law Paper Topic : Relationship between International Law and Municipal Law

UPSC Mains Law Paper Topic : Relationship between
International Law and Municipal Law

1. “…… the law of nations and the municipal law of several states are essentially different from each other.” Explain and show how a reconciliation of the conflict is made by state practice. (93/I/5b/20)
2. Discuss various theories as to the relationship between International law and Municipal law and explain the practices followed by the United States, (Main) Law—Topic Wise Paper 36 Britain and India for adopting international law into their own legal systems. (95/I/6a/30)
3. “So far the municipal law effects are concerned, tine judicial decisions have virtually erased a number of distinctions between de jure and de facto recognition.” Examine. (97/I/5b/20)
4. “The relationship between international law and municipal law has posed a difficult problem to municipal courts, namely to what extent may such courts give effect within the municipal sphere to rules of international law. Clearly examine the criterion which has been adopted by municipal courts to resolve this issue. (01/I/6a/30)
5. Discuss State responsibility in respect of the act of multinational corporations on the basis of the Bhopal Gas Leak case. (02/I/5b/20)
6. “The relationship between International Law and Municipal Law is one of coordination and interdependence”. Discuss. (03/I/5d/20)
7. “In practice the relationship between International Law and Municipal Law exists in the mixture of International Law supremacy, Municipal Law supremacy and a coordination of legal system.” Comment on the aforesaid statement of Edward Collins in the context of the relationship between International Law and Municipal Law. (09/I/5d/20)
8. “Due to increasing penetration of international legal rules within the domestic systems, the distinction maintained between two autonomous zone of international and municipal law has been somewhat blurred.” Explain with special reference to Indian practice. How international legal rules emanating from customs and treaties, influence the actions of domestic agencies? (13/I/5a/10)

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS LAW CATEGORISED PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS LAW OPTIONAL PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS GS 10 Year PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC MAINS GS SOLVED PAPERS PDF

DOWNLOAD UPSC PRE GS 10 Year PAPERS PDF

Printed Study Material for IAS PRE cum Mains General Studies

Public Administration Mains 2018 : Solved Paper-1 (Question: 8)

Public Administration Mains 2019 : Solved Paper Question Paper-1 (Question-8)

SECTION-A

Q1 (a) In a society marked by social inequity and gender inequality women self-help groups are bound to play a marginal role. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer. 20 Marks

ANSWER: Inequality between men and women is one of the most critical disparities in India and in developing world. This is not only reflected in matters such as education and opportunities available but also in more elementary fields of nutrition, health and survival which is basic human right.

Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are small voluntary association of people from the same socio-economic background with a purpose of solving their common problems through self-help and mutual help. 

In India, usually self-help groups are women-oriented and most of their activities are concentrated towards savings and credit activities (apart from other activities focusing on women's empowerment, health and educational attainment, etc). There is a common perception in development literature that increased participation of women in savings and credit activities or economic attainment will empower women. Thus, self-help groups are seen as an important tool for empowering women. There is also the perception that economic attainment will empower women's status in family and in the community, giving them more power to participate in decision-making process.
Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are small voluntary association of people from the same socio-economic background with a purpose of solving their common problems through self-help and mutual help Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are small voluntary association of people from the same socio-economic background with a purpose of solving their common problems through self-help and mutual help

(b) In the era of increasing stress on productivity work study provides the road ahead for the administration. Identify the positive attributes of work study in the light of the statement. 15 Marks

ANSWER: ONLY FOR COURSE MEMBERS

(c) In the absence of a merit-based, fair and objective civil service a more partisan and corrupt government will emerge. Is the statement justified? Give reason. 15 Marks

ANSWER: ONLY FOR COURSE MEMBERS

Online Course for Public Administration for IAS Mains

Study Notes for Public Administration Optional Mains - 100% Syllabus Covered

Test Series for Public Administration Optional

(The Gist of Science Reporter) MCQs on Understanding Ecoterms


(The Gist of Science Reporter) MCQs on Understanding Ecoterms

 [JUNE-2020]


MCQs on Understanding Ecoterms

1. A species that has an extremely high impact on its natural environment relative to its abundance (population) and plays a critical role in the overall structure and function of an ecosystem is known as

(a) Root Species
(b) Endemic Species
(c) Keystone Species
(d) Venture Species

2. The gradual increase in the concentration of nutrients (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) in a water body (such as a lake) promoting excessive growth of algae and causing ageing of the aquatic ecosystem is known as

(a) Biomagnification
(b) Eutrophication
(c) Coagulation
(d) Sedimentation

3. The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to, directly and indirectly, support human activities, usually expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent is termed as

(a) Carbon Footprint
(b) Greenhouse Impression
(c) Carbon Trail
(d) Warming Outline

4. A species that is not native to a specific location and has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health is known as

(a) Martial Species
(b) Threatened Species
(c) Enveloping Species
(d) Invasive Species

5. The process of evaluating the possible environmental, socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts of a proposed project or developmental activity is known as

(a) Environmental Audit (EA)
(b) Green Audit (GA)
(c) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
(d) Environmental Taxation Monitoring (ETM)

6. A transition area in nature where two distinct communities meet and integrate is termed as

(a) Isotone
(b) Mergitone
(c) Blendosphere
(d) Ecotone

7. The species of plants and animals that exist only in one geographic region are known as

(a) Universal Species
(b) Invasive Species
(c) Endemic Species
(d) Endangered Species

8. The variability among living organisms (including diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems) from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part is termed as

(a) Species Richness
(b) Biodiversity
(c) Global Evenness
(d) Eco-density

9. The increasing concentration of a toxic substance in the tissues of tolerant organisms at successively higher trophic levels in a food chain is known as:

(a) Eco-accumulation
(b) Detritus Food-chain
(c) Incineration
(d) Biomagnification

10. The place or environment, characterised by both physical and biological features, where a species naturally lives and grows is termed as

(a) Habitat
(b) Ecotone
(c) Locale
(d) Eco-zone

11. Long-term biological interaction between two species in which one species obtains food or other benefits from the other without either harming or benefiting each other is

(a) Parasitism
(b) Mutualism
(c) Commensalism
(d) Competition

12. The scientific study of the distribution, abundance and relation of organisms and their interactions with the environment is termed as

(a) Ecology
(b) Ecosystem
(c) Biosphere
(d) Eco-physiology

13. A neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning is termed as:

(a) Blue-baby Syndrome
(b) Itai-itai Disease
(c) Minamata Disease
(d) Black foot Disease

14. The amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic microorganisms in the biological process of metabolizing organic material present in a given water sample at a certain temperature over a specific period is termed as

(a) Alkalinity Neutralization Demand
(b) Conductivity Suspension Demand
(c) Dissolved Oxygen Demand
(d) Biochemical Oxygen Demand

15. The development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs is know as

(a) Justifiable Development
(b) Sustainable Development
(c) Defensible Development
(d) Organic Development
 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FULL PDF

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

This is Only Sample Material, To Get Full Materials Buy The Gist 1 Year Subscription - "Only PDF" Click Here

Click Here to Download More Free Sample Material

<<Go Back To Main Page

Courtesy: Science Reporter

(The Gist of Science Reporter) MCQs on Human Virus


(The Gist of Science Reporter) MCQs on Human Virus

 [JUNE-2020]


MCQs on Human Virus

1. Which of the following viruses can cause warts and cervical & anal cancer in humans?

a. Lentivirus
b. Papillomavirus
c. Simplexvirus
d. Rhinovirus

2. ________is a very large, complex, brick-shaped virus that causes smallpox.

a. Rhinovirus
b. Orthopoxvirus
c. Simplexvirus
d. Enterovirus

3. __________belongs to the family Picornaviridae

a. Cytomegalovirus
b. Simplexvirus
c. Poliovirus
d. Coronavirus

4. In April 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Americas free of _________ transmission causative agent for German measles

a. Rotavirus
b. Influenza virus
c. Hantavirus
d. Rubivirus (rubella virus)

5. Which virus causes progressive failure of the immune system?

a. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

b. Papillomavirus

c. Norovirus

d. Rhadinovirus

6. Among the five main hepatitis viruses _________ uses reverse transcriptase to produce its DNA from mRNA.

a. Hepatitis A virus
b. Hepatitis E virus
c. Hepatitis C virus
d. Hepatitis B virus

7. H1N1 is a subtype of_______virus.

a. Influenza A
b. Influenza B
c. Influenza C
d. Influenza D

8. Which among the following is a single-stranded RNA enveloped virus?

a. Rhinovirus
b. Lentivirus
c. Rotavirus
d. Coronavirus

9. ________ is the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in young children throughout the world.

a. Rotaviruses
b. Coronavirus
c. Rhadinovirus
d. Rubivirus

10. The causative agent for genital herpes is_________

a. Papillomavirus
b. Herpes simplex virus 1
c. Herpes simplex virus 2
d. Norovirus
 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FULL PDF

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

This is Only Sample Material, To Get Full Materials Buy The Gist 1 Year Subscription - "Only PDF" Click Here

Click Here to Download More Free Sample Material

<<Go Back To Main Page

Courtesy: Science Reporter

(The Gist of Science Reporter) Mary River Turtle


(The Gist of Science Reporter) Mary River Turtle

 [JUNE-2020]


 Mary River Turtle

  • The “Mary River Turtle (Elusor macrurus)” is River Queensland, Australia, and possesses rare biological traits that make the turtle highly distinctive.
  • The turtle is one of Australia’s largest freshwater turtles and is also referred to as a “Butt-breather” as it can breathe underwater through its cloaca — the posterior orifice serving as the only opening for reproductive, digestive and urinary tract. And because of this specialised respiratory system they can spend more time in water up to three days due to which algae grows on its body and head giving a green punk-rock hairstyle to the turtle. This growth of algae also allows it to camouflage with its surroundings.
  • The algae grows on its body and head and two long whiskers or barbels (slender tactile organ) emerging out of its chin make the turtle appear like an ageing rock.
  • The body of the adult turtle has an elongated, streamlined shell with a moderate short neck and well-webbed limbs. Adult males possess an extremely long tail which can be as long as two-thirds of the carapace length.
  • Usually, the body of the Mary River Turtle is dark grey whereas the shell can be dark brown to red with plastron a lighter grey to cream or light yellow colour.
  • Popular for its features, the Mary River Turtle was named as one of the species on the brink of extinction according to the Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) Reptiles list of Zoological Society of London. The turtle was formally described as a species in the 1990s.
  • However, during the 1960s and 70s the turtle fell victim to pet trade which ultimately dwindled their numbers.
  • Another major reason for their vulnerability to extinction is the exceptionally long time to reach sexual maturity which is about 25 to 30 years.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FULL PDF

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

This is Only Sample Material, To Get Full Materials Buy The Gist 1 Year Subscription - "Only PDF" Click Here

Click Here to Download More Free Sample Material

<<Go Back To Main Page

Courtesy: Science Reporter

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 10 July 2020 Green shoots’ of economic recovery visible? (Financial Express)



Green shoots’ of economic recovery visible? (Financial Express)



Mains Paper 3:Economy 
Prelims level: Nomura India Business Resumption Index
Mains level: Indian economy growth, development process

Context: 

  • The government seems to be enthused by ‘green shoots’ springing from a rise in production—for some sectors, to near pre-pandemic levels. 
  • It is much too early to cheer; we must acknowledge that, after an initial recovery, the activity curve is flattening. Unfortunately, the corona-curve is not.

Sharp improvement in rural India:

  • Since the lockdown has been lifted in most parts the country, it is no surprise that FMCG firms are running at 80-90% capacity. 
  • That basic goods would sell if available was to be expected. That hordes of migrants have been boarding trains to get back to where they were before they went home, too, is not a surprise; 60-70% of those who have trudged home were expected to go back to their jobs because there is no way they can earn a livelihood in rural India. 
  • Unemployment rates, as measured by CMIE, have come off sharply, and are near pre-pandemic levels of 8% after rising to levels of 27.1% in early-May. 
  • Dealers have started stocking cars in fairly good numbers and retail sales should pick up as shops and showrooms open up; in rural India, tractor sales are doing well and spending will surely pick up momentum as the festive season approaches. 
  • India is, after all, a Rs 200 lakh crore economy, and even if there is a contraction of 5-6%, as most economists expect there will be, it nonetheless means an output creation of Rs 190 lakh crore.

Nomura India Business Resumption Index:

  • Right now, though the pace of recovery isn’t exciting enough to warrant any cheer. Several indicators, such as sales of trucks or freight rates, are dull. 
  • The Nomura India Business Resumption Index, which tracks the pace at which economic activity is normalising, moderated to 69.2 for the week to July 5 from 70.5 on June 28; at the end of April, it was at 45. 
  • Economists at Nomura noted the slowdown was primarily driven by a continued flattening of Google’s mobility indices along with a downtick in labour participation and power demand. 
  • They pointed out that while business resumption continued in June, activity remains about ~30pp below pre-pandemic levels. In other words, the normalisation is still far from complete, and activity appears to be plateauing at a lower level.

Outcome of the lockdowns:

  • This could be the outcome of the lockdowns being re-imposed in some states—Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have clamped down after easing the rules—and the momentum could pick up again. 
  • There is also no denying that once the country has been fully opened-up both production and consumption will see a spurt.
  • But, we seem to have forgotten that growth was decelerating rapidly before the epidemic; GDP in FY20 grew at an unflattering 4.2%. 
  • Post the pandemic, the wealth destruction that takes place as thousands of businesses shut down, thanks to the decelerating consumption demand, will result in job losses and also further rein in demand. 
  • Sectors such as real estate and construction—which create jobs and also demand for goods such as steel and cement—will take two to three years to recover given the poor sales potential and cash flow stress. 
  • The services economy, in particular, could see a sharp slowdown since sectors such as aviation, hospitality and restaurants could take a long time to recover. 
  • We have a vaccine that can fight the virus in the next 6-7 months. That will eliminate the fear factor, lift consumer confidence and spur spending. But, this late push is unlikely to be able to prevent a contraction in FY21.

Lack of investment:

  • The big worry though is investments, being critical for long-term sustainable growth and job creation. 
  • And, because of the Covid-19 epidemic, these will now be delayed by at least 3-4 years. 
  • Even before the pandemic, investment levels had collapsed to multi-year lows; while the inorganic transactions are fresh investments, they don’t result in new capacity or new jobs.
  • Ironically, short–term real interest rates are in negative territory, but there is little appetite for credit as also little inclination to lend.
  • If banks continue to play it safe, as they are now doing—and they are justified in their decision—the economy will not bounce back as needed in FY22. 
  • To hit a growth rate of 5-6% in FY22, we need a chunky infusion of funds into the economy by the Centre that can kick-start growth. 
  • The state governments are struggling with their finances and are borrowing large amounts from the markets to compensate for the shortfall in GST collections as also losses on account of sales tax, VAT on auto fuels and excise on alcohol, and also on property registrations.

Way ahead:

  • Since banks are unlikely to change their minds and step up lending, the government needs to spend. In the absence of a stimulus, the uptick arising out of pent-up demand could peter out post the festive season. 
  • Corporate results for FY20 were poor with profits crashing 37%, leaving companies with small surpluses and little room to raise salaries let alone add manpower. 
  • The economy needs succour and needs it fast.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Farmers’ Producer Organizations (FPOs), consider the following statements:

1. This is a produce cluster based scheme.
2. This is a central scheme, whose total budget is Rs. 6,865 crores. 

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: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1). What is the Nomura India Business Resumption Index? Why it is significant to measure the outcome of the economy during pandemic period? ​​​​​

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 10 July 2020 Owning up to criminalisation in politics (The Hindu)



Owning up to criminalisation in politics (The Hindu)


Mains Paper 2:Polity 
Prelims level: Supreme Court judgment on criminalisation in politics
Mains level: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Context: 

  • A February 2020 Supreme Court judgment on criminalisation in politics may have far-reaching consequences for Indian democracy. It will first be implemented in the coming Bihar elections in October 2020. 
  • The Court has asked the political parties to state “the reasons for such selection, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates.” 
  • If a political party fails to comply, it would be “… in contempt of this Court’s orders/directions.” 
  • In other words, the political party and its leadership would for the first time have to publicly own up to criminalisation of politics. They had been denying it all these years. 

Earlier orders:

  • each candidate shall submit a sworn affidavit giving financial details and criminal cases; 
  • each candidate shall inform the political party in writing of criminal cases against him or her; and
  • the party shall put up on its website and on social media as well as publish in newspapers the names and details of such candidates.

Why did the Court pass such an order? 

  • The judgment notes that “In 2004, 24% of the Members of Parliament had criminal cases pending against them; in 2009, that went up to 30%; in 2014 to 34%; and in 2019 as many as 43% of MPs had criminal cases pending against them.”
  • India is the only democratic country with a free press where we find a problem of this dimension.

An ever-present crisis:

  • We are in the midst of more immediate crises.
    • the COVID-19 outbreak,
    • the economic recession,
    • the migrant workers crisis,
    • small businesses shutting down in many sectors,
    • massive unemployment,
    • a highly stressed banking and financial sector,
    • and now the conflict with China. 
  • Added to this is an ever-present silent crisis: the steady deterioration in politics over decades, with the decline accelerating in the past 16 years. 
  • As politics dominates the bureaucracy, and reins in business, civil society and the media, we need governance that is free of the “criminal” virus. Capability is not sufficient. 
  • The intent to do public service is also required. The British were capable, but we still did not want them. 
  • Today, it is not about any party, it is about the political system. 

Bad governance:

  • The result has been that we get bad governance, and survey after survey show that people around the country are unhappy with the quality of governance. Given limited choices, they vote as best as they can. 
  • But no matter how many parties are changed, governance does not really improve, a few exceptions apart. 
  • Using money power to buy MLAs and MPs sometimes makes a mockery of election outcomes. 
  • Meanwhile, electoral bonds bring secrecy back into political funding.
  • Several laws and court judgments have not helped much, as the data show. One reason is lack of enforcement of laws and judgments. 
  • It is also not clear what penalty would be imposed if the recent orders are not followed. 
  • Would the law enforcement agencies act vigorously to ensure that the guilty are prosecuted? 
  • Would any top political leader responsible for not complying be found guilty? Would an election be set aside? 
  • Without such action, will there be change?

Being vigilant:

  • Therefore, in the coming Bihar elections we need to be far more vigilant. 
  • This includes monitoring the affidavits of candidates, working with the Election Commission to ensure that information is promptly available on their websites. 
  • And widely circulating this information to voters using all the social media tools available. 
  • It also includes monitoring compliance with the Supreme Court judgment to see if details of tainted candidates are promptly put up on their websites, and on their social media handles. 
  • The Court has said that “winnability” cannot be cited as a reason. 
  • Voters also need to be vigilantabout misuse of money, gifts and other inducements during elections. 
  • Till we realise that people who bribe us for votes cannot be trusted, change will be very slow. 
  • Fortunately, an ever-growing number of voters and organisations are joining in this work of cleansing politics.
  •  

Ensuring prosecution:

  • Meanwhile, the waters will be muddied with fake news, trolling, and fanciful claims. 
  • This may drown out the little that citizens can do. Yet there is hope. 
  • Ensuring prosecution with public pressure may help. 
  • If one political leader is hauled up for giving ticket to large numbers of tainted candidates, something positive may happen. 
  • A root cause diagnosis shows that political party leaders are squarely responsible for this state of affairs as they field such candidates. 
  • The Court order is to be welcomed. But we are still unable to ban people with serious criminal charges from contesting elections. 
  • While there are various arguments for and against such a move, the Court has dismissed several petitions calling for a ban due to legal and technical constraints. 
  • Meanwhile, the political system is unwilling to change the law or the system. 
  • Politics for now has been captured by those who want power for its own sake.

Conclusion:

  • We may not see dramatic changes in the quality of candidates.
  • Campaigns may continue to be more and more personal and even abusive. 
  • We may not see a big change in money power, or in buying of MLAs post-elections in the case of a hungAssembly. 
  • But all these steps are required, however insignificant they may seem. 
  • All the dozen and more Supreme Court judgments on electoral reforms since 2002 are in fact responses to citizen initiatives. 
  • Not one initiative has come from the political system. The strategy so far has been to methodically try and break down the solid wall of corruption. 
  • When the dam will be breached and the pure waters of a new India flow over the land cannot be predicted.

    Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

    E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

    General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the Indian Defence, consider the following statements:

1. Pinaka missile system for the Army is an all-weather, indirect fire, free flight artillery rocket system.
2. Astra Missiles for Navy and Air Force is an Air-to-Surface Missile with Beyond Visual Range capability is designed to be mounted on fighter aircraft.

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

Mains Questions:

Q.1). What is Criminalisation of politics? Highlights the recent SC judgement in this regard. What are the features of RPA related to this? 

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 10 July 2020 Is Internet freedom being sacrificed for national security? (The Hindu)



Is Internet freedom being sacrificed for national security? (The Hindu)


Mains Paper 2:Governance 
Prelims level: 59 Chinese apps ban 
Mains level: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Context: 

  • The government’s decision to block 59 Chinese apps has once again spotlighted the vulnerability of Internet freedom at a time of national security. 
  • We explore the delicate balance between freedom of expression and national security. 

Q. The Centre’s move to block 59 Chinese apps has brought to the fore the inherently tricky ‘national security versus digital rights’ question. How do you view this?

Arghya Sengupta: 

  • It is important first to clarify whose rights we are talking about. If it is the right of (these) Chinese companies, then of course, these rights have been affected. 
  • If it is the rights of Indian individuals who use platforms like TikTok either to run their business or to just become popular, I don’t think there is a rights violation there. 
  • I can do the same thing by moving to another platform.
  • Section 69A [of the Information Technology Act], which has been used, is not a new power that the government is commandeering during a time of national security emergency. 
  • It must be a genuine national security risk, and the necessity of blocking the app must be very clearly made out by the government. 
  • And that is the way we try and resolve this question of where do we draw the line between this trade-off between national security, which is important, and rights, which are equally important. 

Raman Chima: 

  • It is important to remember that India is signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • There is a certain basic understanding that regulation of the Internet or Internet-based services by governments has to respect basic human rights standards. 
  • For a government to block service or to block any access to content or take other coercive steps that may intrude upon people’s fundamental rights and freedoms, it has to follow what in international law is often called the three-part test. 
  • That requires action that is very clear; that could not have been done by a less intrusive means; and that follows standards of necessity and proportionality. 
  • In India, it is very clear that our fundamental right to free speech and expression applies to online content (too). 
  • Our own Supreme Court has said that.
  • The challenge in this particular situation is that the blocking of an entire service and app by the Indian government is a remarkable and a rather extraordinary step. 
  • And one would therefore go and ask (whether there were) less intrusive means that could have been followed. 
  • And if you do believe, for example, there are other concerns relating to security, which is one of the grounds allowed under Indian law, as well as other larger concerns on data and cybersecurity which the Indian government does not right now have any legal basis to take clear action on because it itself has not enacted law on that subject, they have to make that information available. 
  • It troubles me that that information is not there. 
  • And perhaps, in this case, what has happened is that concerns around national security or other geopolitical concerns have intervened to result in censorship administrative action... 
  • And that test of whether this is a proportionate restriction perhaps may not have been met.
  • More specifically, the use of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act has been criticised in some quarters, with one of the criticisms being that it isn’t designed for data protection compliance. 
  • And it is also argued that it is set for more specific violations rather than broad general violations, as you mentioned.

Raman Chima: 

  • The fact is that Section 69A has a limited set of defined grounds under which the government can take action. 
  • Those are often wide grounds, including security of the state that, as we know, over the last few years, the Union Government as well as several State governments have unfortunately taken very wide views of, but data protection isn’t one of them. 
  • And also, if you look at other actions taken by other regulators, what they initiate is action under a data protection framework where they investigate the entity, see whether other mechanisms could be followed (orders, fines etc).
  • Even under our existing legal framework regarding blocking of content, there are two mechanisms. 
  • There is the normal process by which a government department complains to the Central government officer and a committee reviews it, and an emergency process by which orders are issued and then a subsequent review is taken. 
  • They have done an emergency blocking order, and then said these platforms should perhaps come to them and make a case as to why they should be unblocked and these interim orders could be overridden. 
  • And more importantly, ultimately, Section 69A is a censorship power, a controversial one that is not well designed to protect people’s rights.

Arghya Sengupta: 

  • There is a wider point that Raman makes that I agree with, which is the fact that 69A is perhaps not fit for the purpose. 
  • But I think that the larger point is that the banning of the apps, as we all kind of have guessed, has become a proxy for a larger geopolitical battle. 
  • And I think that whenever we discuss the question of how the apps were banned, and the processes that were followed, while those are relevant questions, and we must ask them, but I think this is a larger question that needs to be asked in terms of both Internet freedom in India as well as in China.

How do you both see the system going from here to becoming a fairer system?

Raman Chima:

  • The first step in that path is something that the government itself could do. 
  • Currently, when the Government of India issues blocking orders under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, it asserts secrecy and confidentiality in those orders. 
  • This is, in fact, not something required by Parliament. The government should immediately stop asserting that privilege, so that the public indeed knows what is being blocked and for what reason. 
  • I would also argue that that is now a constitutional requirement. 
  • The Supreme Court in the issue of Internet shutdowns in the Anuradha Bhasin judgment said very clearly that any order blocking people’s rights to liberty, especially in relation to the Internet, requires to be published.
  • It can also undertake broader reforms, as well as a review of Section 69A itself. 
  • As somebody who has worked in the technology sector in both industry as well as now nonprofit and human rights roles, I can tell you that the blocking list in India is actually a shockingly long one, perhaps tens of thousands of websites that have been blocked over a period since the late 1990s. 
  • That is not a position India wants to be in. India never wants to be compared to China, or other totalitarian despotic regimes.
  • The reality today is that on cybersecurity, we don’t have a clear strategy in architecture. 
  • The Indian government has tried to do its best over the last few months to consult on a new national cybersecurity strategy, so it is clear as to who is in charge, what legal powers they may have, although again, legal powers are a subject determined by Parliament, as well as who responds, where does the buck stop? That, unfortunately, is not clear right now.
  • China is intimately involved in the global technology supply chain. That is not a fact that is going away. 
  • And, therefore, if we are saying that due to legitimate border or other conflict concerns, as well as perhaps other national strategy, we wish to contain or restrict that in a manner that protects human rights but also in a manner that is effective, we need an open conversation on what that process is. 
  • That is not happening right now.

Arghya Sengupta:

  • There has been a mindset within the government, particularly on issues relating to national security, that agencies can work best when they work outside the law. 
  • So, I think overall, there needs to be a change in mindset for national security agencies.
  • They must all be brought under a legal framework where we understand what everybody’s powers are. 
  • We just have to know the extent of their powers. And if they have overstepped their bounds, then there must be consequences as there are consequences for everyone else.
  • If we are going to look at it in terms of Section 69A, we can discuss it, but the point is that the Supreme Court in the Shreya Singhal case did indeed uphold Section 69A while striking down Section 66A. 
  • So, the point is that we need to think about a larger change of mindset.
  • We have seen one part of the ecosystem, where some homegrown Indian companies are probably rejoicing at the decision, but there are broader long-term consequences.

Arghya Sengupta:

  • The fact of the matter is that the banning of the Chinese apps is an incident of a larger dispute. 
  • And if that dispute resolves itself, this will resolve itself too. At the end of the day, there is a reason why those apps are so popular right? 
  • It is because they work. And the reason why Chinese products are in the global supply chain is because they are producing a certain quality at a certain price. 
  • What Indian tech companies should essentially be looking at is in trying to improve their products, so that they can compete globally. 
  • Currently, we are nowhere close.
  • We have to ask ourselves collectively as to whether we can preside over these years of technological hardship where products from China and other countries which are cheaper will not be available because of hopes of a brighter tomorrow. 
  • Number two, if they [the officials] have come to the conclusion that this is a price that we are willing to pay for longer term gains, then in that case, we have to set in motion certain sets of policies to ensure that Indian industry is appropriately incentivised.

Raman Chima: 

  • By making it a little bit unfortunately too clear that this is due to geopolitical reasons, India [becomes] vulnerable from a trade law perspective. 
  • It allows China to claim the moral high ground in trade talks. That is just a fact. 
  • Today, Indian apps servicing a global market could be forced to comply with government orders issued in India that apply to residents elsewhere. 
  • So, we do need to have an honest conversation around privacy and data that recognises that we are part of a global interlinked Internet. That is not yet happening.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the Sindhu Darshan puja, consider the following statements:

1. The Sindhu Darshan festival is celebrated along the banks of the River Indus (River Sindhu) in Ladakh.
2. It is celebrated every year on the day of Guru Purnima (full moon day) with the festivities continuing for three days.

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: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1). In the recent move to block 59 Chinese apps, the debate of ‘national security versus digital rights’ came into the picture. Discuss

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 10 July 2020 None gains: On U.S. withdrawal from WHO (The Hindu)



None gains: On U.S. withdrawal from WHO (The Hindu)


Mains Paper 2:International 
Prelims level: WHO 
Mains level: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate

 Context: 

  • On July 6, when the number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. reached over 2.8 million and nearly 0.13 million.
  • The U.S. officially notified the United Nations of its intention to withdraw membership from the World Health Organization. 
  • This comes after President Donald Trump announced on May 29 his decision to halt funding and pull out of the global health body. 

Deflecting the blame:

  • After accusing WHO of being “China-centric” on multiple occasions, this unfortunate development is one more attempt by Mr. Trump to deflect blame for gross mismanagement of the crisis. 
  • In a May 18 letter, he officially demanded that the WHO make “major substantive improvements” in 30 days while charging that the global body lacked “independence” from China, was slow to respond to the threat, and had “repeatedly made inaccurate or misleading claims” about the virus. 
  • Since the decision has apparently been taken without the approval of Congress, and as the withdrawal will become effective only on July 6 next year, there is a possibility that Congress or courts might reverse the withdrawal. Already, Democratic challenger Joe Biden has promised to revoke it if elected President. 
  • There is much at stake and unsurprisingly Congress is already under pressure from academia and medical associations to reject the withdrawal. 
  • The capricious decision to withdraw from WHO will have dire consequences for global public health. 

Major shortcomings:

  • The departure of the U.S. will be a significant blow to the WHO in terms of loss of technical expertise and, according to Mr. Trump, an annual funding of about $450 million.
  • The pandemic has clearly brought to the fore several shortcomings and weaknesses in the global health body. 
  • For instance, the 2005 revision of the International Health Regulations made it mandatory for countries to notify the WHO of all events that may constitute an international public health emergency and to “respond to requests for verification of information regarding such events”. 
  • Yet, the WHO has limited power to ensure compliance by member States, including limitations in independently verifying member states’ official reports. If the U.S. was majorly involved in the 2005 IHR revision, it will now have no role to play in strengthening the WHO. 
  • It will lose a seat at the table to determine the virus strain to be used for developing influenza vaccines have no access to new influenza virus samples for research. 
  • US will lose out on health intelligence that will compromise the country’s response to international disease outbreaks.

Conclusion:

Prelims Questions:

Q.1). With reference to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Innovation Challenge, consider the following statements:

1. It is an initiative of Union Ministry of Science and Technology. 
2. It has been launched to identify the best Indian Apps that are already being used by citizens and have the potential to scale and become world class Apps in their respective categories.

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: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1). What are the aftermaths effects after US withdrawal from the WHO? 

(The Gist of PIB) UMANG Mobile App


(The Gist of PIB) UMANG Mobile App

 [JUNE-2020]

UMANG Mobile App

The UMANG mobile app (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is a Government of India all-in-one single, unified, secure, multi-channel, multi-platform, multi-lingual, multi-service mobile app.

About:

  • It is powered by a robust back-end platform providing access to high impact services of various organizations (Central and State).
  • Prime Minister of India launched the UMANG App in 2017 to bring major government services on a single mobile app, with a larger goal to make the government accessible on the mobile phone of our citizens.
  • About 660 services from 127 departments & 25 states and about 180 utility bill payment services are live and more are in pipeline.
  • UMANG user base has crossed 2.1 Crore including Android, iOS, Web and KaiOS. Citizens can also access their Digilocker from UMANG and give their feedback after availing any service through Rapid Assessment System (RAS) which has been integrated with UMANG.
  • MeitY has taken various initiatives in recent past to ease of lives of citizens by facilitating online delivery of Government services. To further enhance the initiatives of Digital India Programme, MeitY has brought the India Meteorological Department (IMD) services on the “UMANG App”.

Key highlights of the services provided by the app:

  • Current Weather: Current temperature, humidity, wind speed, direction for 150 cities updated 8 times a day. Information on sunrise/ sunset and moonrise/ moonset is also given.
  • Nowcast:Three hourly warnings of localized weather phenomena and their intensity issued for about 800 stations, and districts of India by State Meteorological Centers of IMD. In case of severe weather, its impact also is included in the warning.
    • City Forecast: Past 24 hours and 7 day forecast of weather conditions around 450 cities in India are given.
    • Rainfall Information: All India district Rainfall information daily, weekly, monthly and cumulative series are available.
    • Tourism Forecast: Past 24 hours and 7 day forecast of weather conditions of around 100 Tourist cities in India are provided.
    • Warnings: The alert issued to warn citizens of approaching dangerous weather. It is colour coded in Red, Orange and Yellow are the alert levels with Red as the most severe category. Issued twice a day for all districts for the coming five days.
    • Cyclone: Cyclone warnings and alerts provides the track of cyclonic storms along with likely time and point of crossing of coast. Impact based warnings, area/district wise, are issued so that appropriate preparation including evacuation of vulnerable areas can be done.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FULL PDF

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

This is Only Sample Material, To Get Full Materials Buy The Gist 1 Year Subscription - "Only PDF" Click Here

Click Here to Download More Free Sample Material

<<Go Back To Main Page

Courtesy: PIB

(The Gist of PIB) PM CARES Fund Trust Allocates Rs. 3100 Crore for Fight against COVID-19


(The Gist of PIB) PM CARES Fund Trust Allocates Rs. 3100 Crore for Fight against COVID-19

 [JUNE-2020]

PM CARES Fund Trust Allocates Rs. 3100 Crore for Fight against COVID-19

  • PM CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund Trust decided to allocate Rs. 3100 Crore for the fight against COVID-19.

About:

  • Out of Rs 3100 crore, a sum of approximately Rs.2000 crore will be earmarked for the purchase of 50000 ‘Made-in-India’ ventilators, Rs. 1000 crores will be used for the care of migrant laborers and Rs.100 crores will be given to support vaccine development.
  • The trust formed on 27th March 2020 is headed by Hon’ble Prime Minister (ex-Officio) and other ex-officio Members of the trust are Defence Minister, Home Minister, and Finance Minister.
  • Relief Measures for Migrants:
  • The States/UTs will be given a lump sum assistance of total Rs. 1000 Crore from PM CARES Fund for the welfare of the migrants and poor.
  • State/UT-wise funds will be released on the weightage,
  • Population of the State/UT as per 2011 Census – 50%,
  • Number of positive COVID-19 cases as on date – 40% weightage and
  • Equal share (10% weightage) for all states/UTs to ensure the basic minimum sum for all states.
  • The fund will be released to the District Collector/District Magistrate/Municipal Commissioner through the State Disaster Relief Commissioner of the States/UTs concerned.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FULL PDF

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

This is Only Sample Material, To Get Full Materials Buy The Gist 1 Year Subscription - "Only PDF" Click Here

Click Here to Download More Free Sample Material

<<Go Back To Main Page

Courtesy: PIB

(The Gist of PIB) COBAS 6800 testing machine


(The Gist of PIB) COBAS 6800 testing machine

 [JUNE-2020]

 COBAS 6800 testing machine

  • Union Health Minister dedicated the COBAS 6800 testing machine to the nation.

About:

  • COBAS 6800 is for performing real-time PCR testing COVID-19. COBAS 6800 can also detect other pathogens like Viral Hepatitis B and C, HIV, MTb (both rifampicin and isoniazid resistance), Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neiserreia, etc.
  • COBAS 6800 will provide quality, high-volume testing with a high throughput of test around 1200 samples in 24 hours. It will largely increase the testing capacity with a reduction in pendency.
  • This is the first such testing machine that has been procured by the Government for testing of COVID-19 cases and is installed at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi. As the machine requires a minimum BSL2+ containment level for testing, it cannot be placed at just any facility.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FULL PDF

Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

This is Only Sample Material, To Get Full Materials Buy The Gist 1 Year Subscription - "Only PDF" Click Here

Click Here to Download More Free Sample Material

<<Go Back To Main Page

Courtesy: PIB

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - user8's blog