Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, 13th November 2019


Shiv Sena to contest Maharashtra President’s Rule in Supreme Court

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges there in.

Context 

  • With the President's Rule now imposed in Maharashtra, the political battle is set to move to the Supreme Court as the Shiv Sena is likely to challenge the imposition of President's Rule.
  • The Maharashtra Governor has shut the doors of the state assembly -- putting it in a state of suspended animation as the Shiv Sena and the NCP failed to utilise the 24-hour each window provided to each to submit a list of majority MLAs to form a government.

Background 

  • Events unfolded rapidly on 12th November as Shiv Sena initially filed a plea before the top court challenging Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's decision to deny their demand for 72 hours to submit letters of support and form the government.
  • As no party submitted a conclusive letter of support, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommended President's Rule -- basing his decision on two failed attempts for government formation under the circumstances prevailing at the time when he sent a report to the centre in the afternoon.

Highlights 

  • The events of the past two days have created a political upheaval in Maharashtra which sends 48 MPs to Lok sabha and is home to nation's financial capital Mumbai. 
  • While the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP took to criticising the Governor and the Centre over the imposition of President's Rule, the actions of the three parties plotting an alliance raise questions.
  • When the NCP and Congress leaders held their first discussion for forging an alliance they justified the delay and demand for time by stating that the Shiv Sena had raised a formal request for an alliance against the BJP. 

About President’s rule 

  • President’s rule has been imposed in Maharashtra for the third time since the state came into existence in May 1960. 
  • However, this is the first time that it has been imposed due to the inability of the political parties to coordinate and get majority support after state assembly elections.
  • The President’s rule means direct rule of the central government and suspension of state government's rule.
  • The President’s rule is imposed after invoking Article 356 of the Indian constitution. It is imposed on the recommendation of Governor in two cases:
    • In case of failure of constitutional machinery.
    • If a state legislature is unable to function according to constitutional provisions.
  • The non-formation of government after assembly elections and political instability as a result of the failure of coalition and coordination is also considered as a failure of constitutional machinery.
  • The President’s rule is imposed for a minimum duration of six months and a maximum duration of 3 years but it has to be approved by the Parliament after every six months.
  • The President’s rule can be revoked whenever a party is able to prove its majority and submit letters of support.
  • The President’s rule was first imposed in Maharashtra in February 1980 when Indira Gandhi’s government dismissed the PDF government headed by Sharad Pawar.
  • The President’s rule was imposed for the second time in the state when Prithviraj Chavan resigned as Maharashtra CM in September 2014 following the withdrawal of support by NCP to the Congress-led government.

Source: The Hindu.


28 developing nations back India on OECD tax proposal

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Image result for 28 developing nations back India on OECD tax proposal

Context 

A group of 28 developing nations has backed India’s opposition to a set of new global rules for taxing tech giants being brokered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

India and its supporters believe the proposal gives undue taxation rights to the US at their expense.

Background

  • The proposed rules are part of a bid to prevent corporations artificially showing profits in low-tax countries instead of the country where their economic activity takes place. 
  • As talks enter the final stage, a wide gulf has opened up over taxation rights on new age companies like Netflix, Google and Facebook between their home countries and developing countries like India as well as European Union nations where these companies have a large customer base.

Key points 

  • The G-24 group of developing nations, where India is a member and China a special invitee, wrote to OECD last week saying that the framework suggested by it for a new multilateral framework on taxation of MNCs will not benefit developing countries and needs a revamp.
  • India’s negotiations with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on resolving cross-border tax disputes involving large corporations and had served as director general of international taxation, before his current term as member of India’s apex direct tax policy making body handling legislation.
  • The development reflects rising tension among the US, the EU and developing countries, all of whom want to protect their taxation powers while the global economy confronts a downturn affecting tax revenues. 
  • While the new global tax code is still under discussion, France in July approved a 3% tax on sales generated locally by global tech companies, triggering tensions with US.

Highlights 

  • OECD’s draft proposal for negotiations suggest splitting of profits of MNCs into two classes—from markets where they have a physical presence and where they have no physical presence. 
  • Only a part of the profits in the latter class, called residual profits, after excluding profits from intellectual property rights and brand names etc. is to be distributed among countries where digital economy companies have customers. 
  • This could mean only 20-30% of such profits may be available for taxation in developing countries, which is a big market for digital economy companies. That, according to India, may defeat the entire purpose of writing a new tax code for digital economy companies for which market presence is not relevant due to their ability to deliver services remotely. 
  • India is also objecting to excluding business-to-business transactions, which account for a big chunk of cross-border sales, from the proposed new tax rules.

Source: Livemint.


Supreme Court set to decide on fate of 17 Karnataka MLAs

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Context

  • The fate of 17 legislators who brought down the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S) coalition government by switching sides to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is to be decided by the Supreme Court on 13th November 2019.
  • The order is also likely to further test the uncertain and volatile political climate of Karnataka. 
  • It holds the key to the stability and future of the 110-day-old B.S.Yediyurappa-led BJP government.

Background 

  • The 17 rebel legislators defected to the BJP after assembly elections in July but speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar refused to accept their resignations from the ruling parties. 
  • Instead, he disqualified them and barred them from contesting elections until the end of the assembly’s term in 2023.
  • The legislators challenged the ruling in the Supreme Court.

Highlights 

  • Byelections for 15 of the 17 affected seats are scheduled to be held on 5 December but uncertainty over the outcome of the case means that political parties have held back from naming their candidates.
  • Whichever way the verdict goes, it will not only determine the political future of Karnataka but also set a precedent on laws that govern defections at a time when politicians—both state and national—frequently switch sides.
  • This is even more so in Karnataka, which has become the epicentre of so-called “resort politics", where defecting legislators are bussed to a luxury resort and wooed with money and promises of ministerial positions.

Source: Livemint. 


Can e-learning be a substitute for the classroom?

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Image result for e-learning india

Context 

  • Massive open online courses (MOOCs)  are learning programmes on the Internet that aggregate courses from various universities or professors. 
  • The most prominent MOOC platforms are Coursera, edX, Khan Academy, Udacity, Udemy and the government’s SWAYAM. 

Background 

  • While some have free content, others have a freemium model—advanced content or certification is available only for paid users. 
  • With a massive range of learning topics, MOOCs are like open universities, where anyone can learn almost any topic, at one’s convenience and, in certain cases, for free. 
  • They have the power to democratize access to education.

About the kinds of courses 

  • Online learning is not restricted to MOOCs. 
  • Several universities and their partners offer digital versions of traditional college programmes. 
  • Such programmes are often as expensive as their classroom versions. 
  • There are other service providers who offer digital learning supplements, say for preparations for school exams or college tests, or certification programmes for professionals wishing to enhance their qualifications. 
  • Such digital learning does not come free, but by freeing up the limitation of space, the size of a classroom can expand infinitely, thus enabling access to more at a lower unit cost.
  • Though high-quality learning is available online, the demand for admissions to schools and colleges has not reduced. 
  • Educational institutions, particularly colleges, provide not only learning but also a recognition of “having learnt". 
  • It is the degree-granting capability of a college and its reputation that provides a competitive advantage.

Highlights 

  • Online learning can either be self-paced, at one’s convenience, or assisted, in real-time with a facilitator. With an appropriate blend of these two modes, online learning can be an effective replacement to the classroom. 
  • Learning programmes can be personalized and the progress of each individual can be tracked better. But education also requires social engagement and peer learning. This is possible through digital platforms, but is not yet the same as a classroom experience.
  • Given the huge demand for high-quality, affordable education that is not being met by traditional universities, it may now be time to treat online courses as reasonable substitutes. 
  • However, a college degree still enjoys social acceptance. Since employers are the biggest ‘customers’ for the education system, it is up to the recruiters to recognize those who have ‘graduated’ from the online programmes.

Source: Livemint.

 


State-owned fuel firms wary as India opens up retail market

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Dipping domestic demand

Context 

In a significant move last month, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government opened up the fuel retail market by lowering the entry barrier. 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the review guidelines, which will allow all companies with a net worth of ₹250 crore to set up retail fuel outlets. 

Background 

  • Under existing rules, companies were required to invest at least ₹2,000 crore in the petroleum sector to enter the fuel retail segment, which many believed, favoured state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs).
  • The Centre’s move will now allow even non-energy companies to sell petrol and diesel to consumers, but with a few riders—they can open multiple dealerships of more than one state-run OMC, but the outlets must be set up at different locations. 
  • Besides, the companies will have to install facilities for marketing at least one new-generation alternative fuel, such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), biofuels, or electric charging units. Apart from OMCs, any private entity can source and sell fuel from anyone.

Highlights 

  • The landmark decision comes amid a slump in fuel demand in September, and a fall in commercial vehicle traffic on highways, besides the consumption demand slump in a slowing economy. However, there was a rise in domestic cooking gas and petrol consumption.
  • Private sector oil companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd, Essar Oil Ltd and Shell India, have some presence in fuel retailing, but the segment is dominated by state-run OMCs such as Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd.
  • In recent times, the Indian energy space has been witnessing growing interest from investors. While Adani Gas Ltd and Total SA plan to build a gas fuel retail network of 1,500 outlets along highways, the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco), is also considering entering the fuel retailing market in India. That apart, other global energy majors, such as Rosneft, Kuwait Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Shell and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. are planning to acquire the government’s stake in BPCL.

Source: Livemint. 


Multiple policy flip-flops push telecom industry to a corner

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint

Context 

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," goes the saying. Government policy for India’s telecom sector over the past 25 years has left much to be desired. Not only have mistakes been repeated, but the industry has also had to grapple with various flip-flops in policy. 

Background 

Exactly two decades after the government’s relief package for the industry through the New Telecom Policy of 1999, the present government is considering another relief package for the industry. Besides, from the looks of it, Indian telecom seems headed towards a duopoly market again, which is ironic given that this is how it all began for the industry.

Highlights 

  • Even as operators were reeling under the effects of this major shift in policy, the next big shock hit them when Mukesh Ambani’s new telecom venture Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd entered the market in September 2016.
  • Jio disrupted the market with free data and voice offerings, leading to a brutal consolidation that reshaped the entire telecom sector. 
  • The poor returns of the sector for most of its history has sunk many a large company, even those controlled by large Indian conglomerates such as the Tatas as well as well-known overseas telcos such as UAE’s Etisalat, Russia’s MTS, Japan’s Docomo and Norway’s Telenor.
  • There is no other private operator left in the sector and the lack of government intervention at this stage could risk India’s telecom market becoming a duopoly yet again.
  • For nearly every other company that won a license, India’s telecom industry has been a case of unfulfilled potential, right from the first licence winners in the Beauty Parade.

Source: Livemint. 


Premature deaths in India: Different causes, different states

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context 

An analysis published in The Lancet Global Health, which looked at about 9.7 million deaths in India in 2017, found that every condition that was common in one part of India was uncommon elsewhere.

For example, the North eastern states, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh account for 44% of India’s cancer burden. 

Background 

  • Premature deaths due to various causes, expressed as YLLs, too were unevenly distributed in terms of the burden on the states. 
  • By the World Health Organzation definition, YLLs, or years of life lost, are calculated from the number of deaths multiplied by a standard life expectancy at the age of death.
  • Suicide YLL rates were highest in the southern states, accounting for 15% of national totals. 

Highlights 

  • Road traffic injuries were high in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, accounting for 33% of national totals.
  • Drowning YLL rates, meanwhile, were highest in the central states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and in Assam in the Northeast, accounting for 11% of national totals.
  • In 2017, India had 486 million DALYs (disability-adjusted life years, a measure of the number of years lost due to ill health or disability). The ratio of DALYs to the 9.7 million deaths was about 50 to 1. More than three quarters of deaths and DALYs occurred in rural areas, and males accounted for 54·3% of all DALYs.
  • At all ages, the DALY rate per 100 000 population was 36,300, but rates were higher among rural residents and among males. DALY rates in rural areas were at least twice those of urban areas for certain conditions.
  • The study, funded by the Ministry of Heath and Family Welfare, included authors from the Indian Council of Medical Research, and from the global health research wings of the University of Toronto and University of California, San Francisco.

Source: Indian Express.

 

Map of the Day – RAMSAR Sites in India


Image result for maps upsc

Quote for the Day


“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. – Winston Churchill

Mains Answer Writing


1.Despite having a comprehensive mid-day meal and Anganwadi program, Children in India face severe malnutrition. Identify the existing lacunae in these schemes and suggest reforms.  (250 Words).
2.Climate change is more threatening for developing countries compared to developed nations. Elaborate. (250 Words).
3.India needs a comprehensive water policy if it wants to provide clean drinking water to all. Mention the challenges and opportunities in framing such a policy. (250 Words).

Test your Knowledge


1.State Cabinet of Kerala has recently finalized the ‘Fibre Optic Network Project’, a plan for providing free Internet access to the poor. Which of the following is/are incorrect in relation to the project?
  1. The project follow the PPP Model.
  2. The project, worth Rs. 1548 crore, is an ambitious project of the government.
  3. Under the project, the government will deliver free Internet access to over two million BPL families.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 1 only
  4. All of the above 


2.Consider the following statements about Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016:
  1. The Rules are now applicable beyond Municipal areas and extend to urban agglomerations, census towns and even to SEZs (Special Economic Zones).
  2. Responsibilities of Generators have been introduced to segregate waste into two streams i.e Dry and Wet.
  3. Generator will have to pay ‘User Fee’ to waste collector and for ‘Spot Fine’ for Littering and Non-segregation.
  4. Concept of Extended Producer Responsibility has been recognised under which producer of  non-biodegradable waste should put in place a system to collect back the packaging waste generated due to their production.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 2, 3 and 4 only

b) 1 and 4 only

c) 1, 2 and 3 only

d) 1, 3 and 4 only 


3.Consider the following statements regarding Brown to Green Report 2019:
  1. It is the world’s most comprehensive review of climate action by Asian Countries.
  2. It noted that India is the only country among Asian nations that is close to 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise ‘pathway.
  3. It is released by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2only

c) 2 and 3 only

d) None of the above 


4.Consider the following statements regarding G20:

1.It was formed in 1999
2.It works under the aegis of UN
3.Both India and Pakistan are members of the G20.

Which of the statements given above is/are incorrect?

a.1 and 2 only
b.2 and 3 only
c.1 and 3 only
d.None of the above 

5.‘Inclusive Internet Index 2019 ranked India 47th out of 86 countries when it comes to inclusive Internet and connectivity for all. The index released by

a.Google
b.Facebook
c.Yahoo
d.NOTA

 

Answers

  1. C 2.D 3.D 4.B 5.B