DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |07 Jan 2021| RaghukulCS

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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |07 Jan 2021| RaghukulCS

UPSC News Analysis

Context: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the ‘New Anubhava Mantapa’ in Basavakalyan, the place where 12th century poet philosopher Basaveshwara lived for most of his life.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Art & culture

About Saint Basaveshwara:

·      Basavanna was an Indian 12th-century statesman, philosopher, poet, Lingayat saint in the Shiva-focussed Bhakti movement, and Hindu Shaivite social reformer during the reign of the Kalyani Chalukya/Kalachuri dynasty.

·      Basavanna was active during the rule of both dynasties but reached his peak of influence during the rule of King Bijjala II in Karnataka, India.

·      Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas. Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals but introduced Ishtalinga necklace, with an image of the Shiva Liṅga, to every person regardless of his or her birth, to be a constant reminder of one’s bhakti (devotion) to Shiva.

·      In the Sharana movement he headed people from all castes, and produced a corpus of literature, the vachanas, that unveiled the spiritual universe of the Veerashaiva saints. Sharana movement was too radical for its times.

Anubhav Mantapa

What was Anubhava Mantapa?

·      As the chief minister of his kingdom, he introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”), which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.

·      Anubhava Mantapa was an academy of mystics, saints and philosophers of the ‘Lingayath’s’ faith in the 12th century. It was the fountainhead of all religious and philosophical thought pertaining to the Human Values, Ethics.

·      The Anubhava Mantapa worked to build a Vibrant casteless, creedless Society with full of Human Values propagated through Vachanas.

·      The movement taken over by Basava through Anubhava Mantapa became the basis of a sect of Human values. It gave rise to a system of ethics and education at once simple and exalted. It sought to inspire ideals of social and religious freedom, such as no previous faith of Earth had done.

Important news in short

·      A dedicated, first-of its-kind tree transplantation cell will also be established, which will overlook the
transplantation process, the Delhi government said.

·      Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy to find an appropriate solution to the issues related to language, culture and conservation of land in the Union Territory of Ladakh, the Home Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

·      Avian flu has been reported at 12 epicentres in four States — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala. Directions have been given to enforce culling of sick birds as per the government’s 2015 National Avian Influenza Plan, according to a press statement from the Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry on Wednesday.

·      NITI Aayog officials said China continued to outstrip India and, in fact, had managed to narrow the gap
with the U.S. in the post pandemic scenario.

·      The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it was “very disappointed” that China had not allowed a
team of international experts to go ahead with a visit to study the origins of COVID­19 that was planned for this week.

·      At the heart of the on­going tussle between Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group and regulators in China is the control over “troves of consumer credit data” that authorities believe have given the e­commerce giant an unfair advantage over its competitors, according to a report.

Examples related to Ethics (GS-4) in today’s newspaper

·      It is a crime to punish a person for falling in love and yearning to have a life in each other’s company, the Supreme Court has said. (Human Values & rights)

The Chief Justice, leading a three­judge Bench, was hearing the case for granting bail to 11 former khap
panchayat members who ordered the murder of a Dalit boy, his cousin and a girl. The boy had eloped with the girl. They were caught and hanged from a tree. The genitals of both the boys were burnt before they were hanged. (lack of Empathy, Tolerance and Compassion towards the weaker-sections.)

UPSC Editorial Analysis

(The Hindu & The Indian Express)

An Expert Explains: New investments in science

Source: The Indian Express

Topic in syllabus: Science and Technology (GS-3) | Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors (GS-2)

Introduction:

·      The draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy released on Jan 1 contains radical and progressive proposals that could be game-changers for not just the scientific research community, but also for the way ordinary Indians interact with Science. The chief author of the policy explains how and why.

What is the overall philosophy behind the government’s draft Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy?

·      It aims to be dynamic, with a robust policy governance mechanism that includes periodic review, evaluation, feedback, adaptation and, most importantly, a timely exit strategy for policy instruments.

·      The STIP will be guided by the vision of positioning India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come; to attract, nurture, strengthen, and retain critical human capital through a people-centric STI ecosystem; to double the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers, gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) and private-sector contribution to GERD every five years; and to build individual and institutional excellence in STI with the aim of reaching the highest levels of global recognition and awards in the coming decade.

Why has the draft STIP proposed an Open Science Framework, with free access for all to findings from publicly funded research?

·      Open Science fosters more equitable participation in science through increased access to research output; greater transparency and accountability in research; inclusiveness; better resource utilisation through minimal restrictions on reuse of research output and infrastructure; and ensuring a constant exchange of knowledge between the producers and users of knowledge.

·      It is important to make publicly funded research output and resources available to all to foster learning and innovation.

What is the point of buying bulk subscriptions for all journals and giving everyone free access? How feasible is this proposal?

·      The larger idea behind One Nation, One Subscription is to democratise science by providing access to scholarly knowledge to not just researchers but to every individual in the country. Scientists are producers of scientific knowledge in the form of scholarly articles, but the consumers of this knowledge — such as line departments, innovators, industry, the society at large, etc., — are several times larger in number. But in the present mechanisms, they do not have access to this knowledge.

The draft STIP contains very progressive ideas on inclusion and equity. Why is a policy needed for such things?

·      India has valued the participation of women in science and education from ancient times. Some of the earliest women scientists, including Leelavati, Gargi, and Khana, made significant contributions to mathematics, nature science, and astronomy.

·      Over the last six years, the participation of women in S&T has doubled in India; however, overall participation of women in R&D continues to be only about 16%. 

·      To address the issue of inclusion and equity in a holistic way, an Indian version of the Athena SWAN Charter (a global framework to support gender equality in higher education and research, especially in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) is needed.

·      The STIP has made recommendations such as mandatory positions for excluded groups in academics; 30% representation of women in selection/evaluation committees and decision-making groups; addressing issues related to career breaks for women by considering academic age rather than biological/physical age; a dual recruitment policy for couples; and institutionalisation of equity and inclusion by establishing an Office of Equity and Inclusion, etc.

How does the government propose to increase funding in R&D?

·      STIP has made some major recommendations, such as expansion of the STI funding landscape at the central and state levels; enhanced incentivisation mechanisms for leveraging the private sector’s R&D participation through boosting financial support and fiscal incentives for industry and flexible mechanisms for public procurement; and creative avenues for collaborative STI funding through a portfolio-based funding mechanism called the Advanced Missions in Innovative Research Ecosystem (ADMIRE) programme to support distributed and localised collaborative mission-oriented projects through a long-term investment strategy.

Boosting India with maritime domain awareness

Source: The Hindu

Written by: Abhijit Singh (retired naval officer and Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi)

Topic in syllabus: Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas – Linkages of Organized Crime with Terrorism. (GS-3)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about the importance of maritime domain awareness and threat of China.

Introduction:

·      The legendary military theo­rist, Sun Tzu, is once said to have observed that the critical element in battle was foreknowledge, but that it “could not be elicited from spirits, nor from gods, nor by analogy with past events, nor from calculations”.

·      As the great Chinese general saw it, foreknowledge could only be gathered with specialised tools and by men who knew the enemy well.

·      In the modern maritime arena, war is a more complex proposition than in the days of Sun Tzu, but
‘foreknowledge’ is still critical. Today, the enemy at sea is often unrecognisable — a terrorist, a pirate,
a criminal or a sea robber — an invisible presence that lurks behind regular actors such as fishermen
and port workers.

What are the threats & concerns for India?

·      Indian maritime planners have been wary of the possibility of a greater Chinese presence in the
eastern littorals.

·      There is concern among maritime watchers that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) may be
poised to develop a generation of quieter submarines that would be hard to detect in the near seas.

·      Analysts fear that the next generation of PLAN nuclear submarines could be stealthier than
ever, capable of beating adversary surveillance.

·      The recent discovery of a Chinese unmanned underwater vehicle close to a southern Indonesian island suggests that China may already be mapping the undersea terrain in the approaches to the Indian Ocean Region, with a view to advance submarine operations.

What India is doing to deter these threats?

·      Of late, the Indian Navy has been on a drive to improve domain awareness in the Indian Ocean. The Navy is seeking to expand India’s surveillance footprint by setting up radar stations in the Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh; Mauritius, the Seychelles and Sri Lanka have already integrated into the wider coastal radar chain network.

·      The Indian Navy’s efforts seem focused primarily on monitoring Chinese activity in the Eastern Indian Ocean, particularly in the seas around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

·      India has moved to expand its underwater detection capabilities in the Eastern chokepoints. In a bid to enhance surveillance over sensitive sea spaces, the Indian Navy has inducted two Sea Guardian drones on lease from the United States.

With nine operational P­8I aircraft, the Navy’s coverage of the Bay of Bengal littoral is already considerable. With nine more aircraft planned to be inducted — three under an ongoing contract
from the U.S. and six as part of a deal being negotiated with Washington — the 
·      surveillance footprint

is set to further grow.

·      Speculation abounds that New Delhi might also partner Japan in installing an array of undersea sensors near the Andaman Islands to help detect Chinese submarines.

·      India’s military satellite (GSAT­7A) may soon facilitate a real time sharing of maritime information
with partners.

·      These endeavours, naval officers say, are a manifestation of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s philosophical mantra that advances the idea of India as a ‘security provider’ and ‘preferred partner’ in the Indo­-Pacific region.

How strong India’s neighbourhood synergies are? (helpful to deter Chinese threat)

·      There are reports that seven Indian Ocean countries — Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles — will soon post Liaison Officers at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram.

·      France already has an officer at the IFC, and four other Indo­-Pacific navies — Australia, Japan, the U.K
and the U.S. — have also agreed to position officers at the centre, fast emerging as the most prominent
information hub in the Eastern Indian Ocean.

·      New Delhi is also upping its engagement in the Western Indian Ocean by positioning a Liaison Officer at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar.

India has also posted an officer at the European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz

·      (EMASOH) in Abu Dhabi to assist in the monitoring of maritime activity in the Persian Gulf and the
Strait of Hormuz.

·      Delhi’s moves in the Western and South Western littorals have been facilitated by France, a key Indian
Ocean power and a critical partner for India in the region.

·      Having signed a logistics agreement with New Delhi in 2019, Paris is keen for a stronger partnership in the maritime commons.

·      France has been instrumental in securing ‘observer’ status for India at the Indian Ocean Commission, and is pushing for greater Indian participation in security initiatives in the Western Indian Ocean.

The way forward:

·      While cooperative information sharing allows for a joint evaluation of threats, countries do not always share vital information timeously.

·      To bring real change, India must ensure seamless information flow, generating operational synergy with partners, and aim to expand collaborative endeavours in shared spaces.

·      That would be the real test of the maritime domain awareness ‘game changing’ potential.

 

Explained: How horizontal, vertical quotas work; what Supreme Court said

Source: The Indian Express

Topic in syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation. Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws (GS-2)

Introduction:

·      The Supreme Court last month clarified the position of law on the interplay of vertical and horizontal reservations. The December 18 decision by a two-judge Bench in Saurav Yadav versus State of Uttar Pradesh dealt with issues arising from the way different classes of reservation were to be applied in the selection process to fill posts of constables in the state.

What are vertical and horizontal reservations?

·      Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes is referred to as vertical reservation. It applies separately for each of the groups specified under the law.

·      Horizontal reservation refers to the equal opportunity provided to other categories of beneficiaries such as women, veterans, the transgender community, and individuals with disabilities, cutting through the vertical categories.

How are the two categories of quotas applied together?

·      The horizontal quota is applied separately to each vertical category, and not across the board. For example, if women have 50% horizontal quota, then half of the selected candidates will have to necessarily be women in each vertical quota category — i.e., half of all selected SC candidates will have to be women, half of the unreserved or general category will have to be women, and so on.

What was the Saurav Yadav case about?

·      Sonam Tomar and Rita Rani had secured 276.5949 and 233.1908 marks respectively. They had applied under the categories of OBC-Female and SC-Female respectively. OBC and SC are vertical reservation categories, while Female is a horizontal reservation category.

·      The two candidates did not qualify in their categories. However, in the General-Female (unreserved-female) category, the last qualifying candidate had secured 274.8298 marks, a score that was lower than Tomar’s.

·      The question before the court was that if the underlying criterion for making selections is “merit”, should Tomar be selected under General-Female quota instead of the OBC-Female category for having secured a higher score?

What did the court decide?

·      The court ruled against the Uttar Pradesh government, holding that if a person belonging to an intersection of vertical-horizontal reserved category had secured scores high enough to qualify without the vertical reservation, the person would be counted as qualifying without the vertical reservation, and cannot be excluded from the horizontal quota in the general category.

What was the government’s argument?

·      The government’s policy was to restrict and contain reserved category candidates to their categories, even when they had secured higher grades. The court said this was tantamount to ensuring that the general category was ‘reserved’ for upper castes.

What was the court’s reasoning?

·      The court did the math. Examining a number of hypothetical scenarios, it concluded that if both vertical and horizontal quotas were to be applied together — and consequently, a high-scoring candidate who would otherwise qualify without one of the two reservations is knocked off the list — then the overall selection would have candidates with lower scores.

·      On the other hand, if a high-scoring candidate is allowed to drop one category, the court found that the overall selection would reflect more high-scoring candidates. In other words, the “meritorious” candidates would be selected.

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