DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |22 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS

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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |22 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS

UPSC News Analysis

News

Context: There is a mention of Dal lake & Challai kalan in the newspaper.

Topic in syllabus:  Prelims – Geography, Culture

About Dal lake:

  • Dal is a lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, India. 
  • It is an urban lake, which is the second largest in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir.  
  • The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting. 
  • Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. 
  • It is a natural lake. 
  • The location of the lake is in the Zabarwan mountain valley, in the foothills of the Shankaracharya hills. 
Map of Dal Lake

What is Chillai kalan?

  • The most severe part of the winter in Kashmir consists of three months. It is divided into three parts called the Chilas:- The Chillai Kalan, the Chillai Khurd, and the Challai Bache. 
  • Chillai-Kalan, is the 40-day period of harsh winter. Chillai-Kalan begins from December 21 and ends on January 31 next year. 
  • Chillai-Kalan is followed by a 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) that occurs between January 31 and February 19 and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold) which is from February 20 to March 2. 

News

Context: New irrigation model to help desert villagers.

Topic in syllabus: Mains – Agriculture (GS-3)

About the new model:

  • A new model of minor irrigation through subsurface porous vessels (SSPV) being developed here is set to benefit the farmers with small land holdings in the villages of the Thar desert. 
  • Experiments have indicated a higher yield of farm produce and improvement in the nutrient value of soil after the installation of frustum shaped vessels at the mounds formed on land. 
  • The local villagers have created heaped piles of earth and are growing vegetables such as brinjal, tomato, spinach and lady’s fingers with the new model. 
  • A SSPV is made of location specific clay and saw dust, mixed in a proportion to suit the desert sand, press formed to the frustum shape and baked at a temperature of 750-800 degree Celsius with the addition of a carbon layer in its structure. 
  • The irrigation model, has obtained technical assistance from the experts of IIT Jodhpur for manufacturing the vessels with the porosity required for different locations to suit the farming of vegetables and fruits. The SSPVs, with the storage of 8 to 9 litres of water, supplies it to a radius of land measuring 1.25 metres. 
Photo of India Farmer lady

News

Context: Super Hornet fighter jets being tested for Navy use.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Defense

About Super Hornet fighter jets: 

  • The F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet is the world’s most lethal, advanced, combat-proven, multi-role frontline fighter-jet. 
  • The Block III version which is currently being manufactured for the United States Navy will enable the Indian armed forces to challenge the next generation of adversaries. 
  • It can perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum including air superiority, day/night strike with precision guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defence, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and buddy refuelling. 
  • Key Feature:
  • Multi-role Superiority – Capable of tactical strikes, air reconnaissance, air defense, and maritime roles 
  • Cutting-edge Technologies – Enhanced computing and data link, advanced cockpit system, signature improvements 
  • Lifecycle Affordability – Lowest cost per flight hour among all U.S. tactical fighter in production. High mission capability rates 
  • Future Ready – Unrivalled growth potential to complement future air wing capabilities.
Photo of a fighter jet

There are no Examples related to Ethics (GS-4) in today’s newspaper

Important news in short

  • There should be a comprehensive public health Act with suitable legal provisions to keep checks and controls over private hospitals in times of a pandemic and to curb black marketing of medicines, the parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs, headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, has said in a report. 
the panel's suggestions
  • The government has decided to extend the suspension of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) till March 31, 2021, to help businesses cope with the lingering difficulties posed by the COVID19 pandemic, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

UPSC Online Editorial Analysis

Editorial

Title: India’s new Europolitik 

Written by:  C. Raja Mohan

Topic in syllabus: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting
India’s interests. (GS-2)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about how India now sees European powers as natural partners in
constructing a durable balance of power in Indo-Pacific. And the reasons behind this stance.

Introduction: 

  • As the problem of reversing Chinese aggression in the Ladakh region carries over from 2020, strengthening Delhi’s international coalitions becomes an important priority for Indian foreign and security policies in 2021. 
  • If the intensification of security cooperation with the United States has become an important milestone in India’s foreign policy in 2020, integrating Europe into India’s new strategic calculus ought to be a major objective in 2021.

Three recent developments underline Delhi’s changing strategic perceptions of Europe:

  • India’s support for France’s membership of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). 
  • India’s backing for a larger European role in the Indo-Pacific. Delhi has welcomed the interest of Germany and Netherlands in building a new geopolitical architecture in the Indo-Pacific. 
  • Security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific is also emerging as an important theme in the plans to work out a decade-long road map to transform the partnership between Delhi and London, which is in the throes of separating from Europe and defining a new international role for itself. 

Important conceptual departures of India: 

  • India is looking beyond the bipolar geopolitical competition between the US and China. 
  • Delhi has also begun to shed the postcolonial mental block against regional security cooperation with post-imperial Europe. 
  • Delhi also wants to insure against the inevitable volatility in the complex dynamic between Washington and Beijing. 

How uncertain political trajectory of the US & China is shaping our policies? 

  • The US-China relationship has rapidly soured in the Trump years Sino-US relationship marked by intense competition and significant cooperation. 
  • China is already teasing the incoming Biden administration with the promise of a reset in bilateral relations and hinting at its support for the new US president’s ambitious goals on mitigating climate change. 
  • The political questioning of the costs and benefits of America’s alliances in Europe and Asia initiated by Donald Trump is likely to continue under Biden. 
  • To cope with the uncertain political trajectory of the US, Delhi is already supplementing its American partnership with a network of minilateral groups with other middle powers, such as the India-AustraliaJapan forum and the trilateral dialogue with France and Australia.

India & Europe relations:

  • Delhi now sees European powers, individually as well as collectively through the European Union, as natural partners in constructing a durable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific. 
  • Why Europe did not engage with India in the past? 
  • When Europe looked at Asia, China loomed large as an attractive commercial partner. 
  • And as the economic gap between China and India widened, so did the scale of European interest in both countries. 
  • Communist China, with its special sensitivity to “inter-imperialist” contradictions, invested massive political and diplomatic effort to cultivate European political classes and economic elites. That began to pay off handsomely. 
  • India & France relations:
  • France has been an exception. Through the 1990s, in the name of promoting a multipolar world, Paris had reached out to Delhi. 
  • President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to India in early 2018 unveiled an expansive framework for revitalising the strategic partnership. 
  • India’s partnership with France now has a strong regional anchor — the Indo-Pacific. 
  • France, with its territories in the Western Indian Ocean and the South Pacific as well as a historic naval presence, was quick to see the challenges arising from China’s maritime expansion and the emergence of the Indo-Pacific as a new political geography. 

How rise of China Shaping the policies of European countries?

  • The rest of Europe and Britain have now woken up to the China challenge and are ready to pay greater attention to Asian geopolitics and the Indo-Pacific.
  • What was once a political taboo in Delhi—regional security cooperation with the former imperial powers of Europe has now become a strategic necessity. 
  • The rise of China and the consequent geopolitical instabilities are inevitably producing new coalitions that break out of an old political paradigm. 
  • France and Britain have lingering disputes left over from the era of decolonisation in parts of the Western Indian Ocean. 

The way forward for India:

  • Rebuilding ties with Europe needs a significant corrective to Delhi’s traditional strategic neglect of the continent. 
  • Delhi will have to contribute to the amicable resolution of these problems. 
  • It is also true that the European ability to project military power into the Indo-Pacific is limited. But in combination with Asian democracies, Europe can certainly make a difference. 
  • It can mobilise massive economic resources for sustainable development of regional infrastructure, wield political influence and leverage its significant soft power to shape the Indo-Pacific discourse. Above all, it can significantly boost India’s own comprehensive national power. 
  • A strong coalition of Asian and European middle powers must now be an indispensable element of the geopolitics of the East. Such a coalition can’t be built overnight. But Delhi could push for a solid start in 2021. 

Editorial

Title: Humans are still core to Digital India


Written by:
Sarayu Natarajan (the Founder of Aapti Institute) and Gautham Ravichander (Head of Policy Initiatives at e-Gov Foundation)

Topic in syllabus: Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, E-governanceapplications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability
and institutional and other measures. (GS-2)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about significance of human intermediaries in e-Governance

Introduction: 

  • During the pandemic, we came to rely on various individuals to address our daily needs, even as more and more services went online. This transformation is underway in governance. 
  • According to the study done by writers, in ‘Digital India’, humans are significant in brokering trust between governments and citizens. These intermediaries often worked without any formal backing and
    role.

What are these intermediaries? 

  • Intermediaries can be both political and apolitical, individuals or collectives with varying motivations to do this work. 
  • Apolitical social workers and community leaders do their work as service. Partisan political individuals see their work as constituency service to secure vote bases. 
  • Community based organisations and NGOs see their work as allied to their core work. 

What is the status of Intermediaries in India? 

  • Only a few States have built a cadre of individuals for last mile governance. 
  • Andhra Pradesh, for instance, rolled out a ward secretariat programme with over 16,000 ward secretaries and volunteers for delivering government services at citizens’ doorstep. 

Significance of Intermediaries: 

  • Intermediaries help citizens overcome barriers to awareness and ability, which includes the ability to navigate these solutions with trust. 
  • These barriers are worse for citizens who are marginalised, with the poor, women, the elderly, and caste and gender minorities being additionally disadvantaged. 
  • Intermediaries support individuals by placing complaints, directing them to the right authorities, and following up. 
  • Intermediaries are crucial offline architectures that enable the state to do its work better. 
  • Intermediaries can unlock the capacity of the state to serve citizens. Indeed, they are a reality of everyday life for the average Indian, and incorporating this reality in design can be impactful. 

What must be done? 

  • It is essential to pay attention to the varying incentives of intermediaries and not romanticise the
    benefits. 
  • We need to see intermediaries as crucial to the realisation of governance outcomes. 
  • India has formalised intermediation in traditional markets (such as mutual funds) from which we can learn. In these areas, formal governance mechanisms, structured capacity building, widespread awareness campaigns, and process reengineering enabled growth and usage. 
  • Increasing digitisation of governance across domains including healthcare, financial inclusion, justice and social services is inevitable. 
  • We need to ensure that during this transition, we work with intermediaries to raise citizens’ awareness, build intermediaries’ skills and capabilities, and establish governance frameworks with suitable feedback loops. 
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