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UPSC Online News Analysis

News – 1

Context: Government brought “Over the Top” (OTT) platforms or video streaming service providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and others under the ambit of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – terms related to technology, communication etc. | Mains – Polity (freedom of expression) (GS-2)

What is OTT platform?

  • An over-the-top (OTT) media service is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet.
  • OTT bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the companies that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.

Why did the government bring OTT under regulation?

  • The government felt the need to have a mechanism that would ensure digital content did not cross the accepted lines. The government has been getting complaints about vulgar content on OTT platforms and there has been no mechanism to redress such grievances.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has jurisdiction over the digital media, but it is not equipped to monitor content and the powers are restricted only to technical aspects.

News – 2

Context: The Central government unveiled a production-­linked incentive (PLI) scheme to encourage domestic manufacturing investments in 10 more sectors, with an estimated outlay of about ₹1.46 lakh crore over the next five years.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Economy, Schemes | Mains – Economy (GS-3)

Which sectors?

  • Food processing, telecom, electronics, textiles, speciality steel, automobiles and auto components, solar photo­voltaic modules and white goods, such as air conditioners and LEDs.
  • Products brought under the PLI scheme now include complex generics, anti­cancer and diabetic drugs, in­-vitro diagnostic devices and special empty capsules.

What is the ambition behind this move?

  • The scheme will make Indian manufacturers globally competitive, attract investment in the areas of core competency and cutting-edge technology; ensure efficiencies; create economies of scale; enhance exports and make India an integral part of the global supply chain.

News – 3

Context: The India Customs intercepted an 18 ­tonne shipment of red sandalwood destined for the United Arab Emirates, during a month ­long “Operation Thunder 2020”, coordinated by the Interpol and the World Customs Organisation, which involved law enforcement agencies in 103 countries.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Environment & Ecology, International organisations

About Red sandalwood:

  • It is endemic to the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India.
  • This tree is valued for the rich red colour of its wood.
  • The wood is not aromatic.
  • The tree is not to be confused with the aromatic Santalum sandalwood trees that grow natively in South India.
  • In India sandalwood is one main and lucrative market for smugglers, as a high price is paid for this wood in China.
  • Since the exporting of sandalwood is illegal in India, the underground market is growing and there are a number of arrests every year of those trying to smuggle this wood to China.
  • It is used in traditional herbal medicine as an antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, tonic, haemorrhage, dysentery, aphrodisiac, anti-hyperglycaemic and diaphoretic.


  • The International Criminal Police Organization commonly known as INTERPOL.
  • It is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
  • Headquarter is in Lyon, France.
  • INTERPOL provides investigative support, expertise, and training to law enforcement worldwide, focusing on three major areas of transnational crime: terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.
  • Its broad mandate covers virtually every kind of crime, including crimes against humanity, child pornography, drug trafficking and production, political corruption, copyright infringement, and white-collar crime.
  • The agency also facilitates co-operation among national law enforcement institutions through criminal databases and communications networks.
  • INTERPOL is itself not a law enforcement agency.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation is the representative of India for the purposes of correspondence with the INTERPOL.

About World Customs Organisation:

  • The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The WCO is noted for its work in areas covering the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics such as commodity classification, valuation, rules of origin, collection of customs revenue, supply chain security, international trade facilitation, customs enforcement activities, combating counterfeiting in support of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), drugs enforcement, illegal weapons trading, integrity promotion, and delivering sustainable capacity building to assist with customs reforms and modernization.
  • The WCO maintains the international Harmonized System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.
  • The WCO is internationally acknowledged as the global centre of customs expertise and plays a leading role in the discussion, development, promotion and implementation of modern customs systems and procedures.

News – 4

Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has relaxed norms for farmer, student, religious and other groups who are not directly aligned to any political party to receive foreign funds if the groups are not involved in “active politics”.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Acts

What is FCRA?

  • The Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, 2010 is an act of the Parliament of India, by the 42nd Act of 2010. It is a consolidating act whose scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest.

What are new changes in Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020?

  • The Bill prohibit public servants from taking foreign fund.
  • It makes the transfer of foreign contribution to any other person illegal.
  • The foreign contribution must be received only in designated FCRA account in branches of the State Bank of India, New Delhi.
  • Not more than 20% of the total foreign funds received should be used for administrative expense purposes.
  • The Bill makes Aadhaar card number compulsory.
  • It allows the government to stop the usage of unutilised foreign fund.
  • Not more than 20% of the total foreign funds received should be used for administrative expense purposes.

News – 5

Context: Bahrain PM, world’s longest-serving, dies at 84

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Geography

Bahrain location:

News – 6

Context: The government on Wednesday expanded the provision of financial support by means of viability gap funding for public private partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure projects to include critical social sector investments in sectors such as health, education, water and waste treatment.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Economy

What is viability gap funding?

  • Viability Gap Finance means a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
  • The scheme is designed as a Plan Scheme to be administered by the Ministry of Finance and amount in the budget are made on a year-to- year basis.
  • Such a grant under VGF is provided as a capital subsidy to attract the private sector players to participate in PPP projects that are otherwise financially unviable.
  • Projects may not be commercially viable because of long gestation period and small revenue flows in future.
  • The VGF scheme was launched in 2004 to support projects that comes under Public Private Partnerships.
  • The usual grant amount is upto 20% of the total capital cost of the project.
  • VGF grants will be available only for infrastructure projects where private sector sponsors are selected through a process of competitive bidding.
  • The VGF grant will be disbursed at the construction stage itself but only after the private sector developer makes the equity contribution required for the project.

Examples for Ethics (GS- 4)

  • Amazon.com Inc. has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India to investigate Future Retail Ltd. for insider trading, a letter seen by Reuters showed, as it seeks to prevent its business partner from becoming part of rival Reliance’s empire. (Insider trading is against business ethics)
  • Lack of access to healthcare has reportedly claimed the lives of at least three pregnant women in a remote village of Arunachal Pradesh. (against the Probity in Governance, Quality of service delivery)
  • In a shocking incident, an employee of Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel (SVBC) reportedly shared the link of a pornography site to a devotee, instead of religious content, causing outrage among the devout. (against integrity towards profession & duty)

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