UPSC Online News Analysis
Context: In view of fraudulent cases where developers and promoters mislead homebuyers into investing in the Land Pooling Policy (LPP), the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) reiterated that it has not issued any licence or approval to housing projects in any zone under the policy.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Economy
What is Land pooling policy?
- Land pooling/readjustment (LP/R) is a technique for managing the planned development of urban‐fringe lands, whereby a government agency consolidates a selected group of land parcels and then designs, services and subdivides them into a layout of streets, open spaces and serviced building plots, with the sale of some of the plots for cost recovery and the distribution of the remaining plots back to the landowners to develop or to sell for development.
Context: To avoid allegations of unfairness and bias in case of complaints of sexual harassment against high rank officers of the government, majority of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) members preferably should not be from the same Ministry or Department, the Delhi High Court ruled.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Schemes, Initiatives, Acts
Why did Delhi High Court rule this?
- Justice Singh noted that if the ICC consists of members, who are from the same Department or Ministry, there is every possibility of them being required to entertain and decide allegations against their own superior officer who may be able to exercise influence on them.
What is Internal Complaints Committee?
- The Supreme Court of India had framed a set of guidelines (“Vishaka Guidelines”) for dealing with instances of sexual harassment at the workplace, which has now been codified in the POSH Act.
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“POSH Act”) was enacted as a comprehensive legislation to provide a safe, secure and enabling environment, free from sexual harassment to every woman.
- Under the POSH Act, an employer is legally required to comply with certain statutory requirements. One of these is the constitution of an Internal Complaints Committee (“ICC”).
- It is a body envisaged to receive complaints on sexual harassment at the workplace from an aggrieved woman, as well as to inquire into and make recommendations to the employer on the action required pursuant to its inquiry of such complaint made.
- How does it work?
Know about SHE-BOX:
- Ministry of Women & Child Development launched an online complaint management system titled Sexual Harassment electronic -Box (She-Box) on 24th July, 2017 for registering complaints related to Sexual Harassment at workplace.
- The She-Box is an initiative to provide a platform to the women working or visiting any office of Central Government (Central Ministries, Departments, Public Sector Undertakings, Autonomous Bodies and Institutions etc.) to file complaints related to Sexual Harassment at workplace under the Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
- Once a complaint is submitted to She-Box, it will be directly sent to the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) of the concerned Ministry/ Department/ PSU/ Autonomous Body etc. having jurisdiction to inquire into the complaint.
- The She-Box also provides an opportunity to both the complainant and nodal administrative authority to monitor the progress of inquiry conducted by the ICCs.
Context: Rivals Qatar and Saudi Arabia, along with neutral Oman and Kuwait, said on Friday progress had been made towards resolving the Gulf crisis that has pitted a regional group of nations against Doha.
Topic in the syllabus: Mains – IR (GS-2)
- Saudi Arabia led its allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of backing radical Islamist movements and Iran, charges Doha denies. They subsequently forced out Qataris residing in their countries, closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft and sealed their borders and ports, separating some mixed nationality families.
Why Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are interested in this process?
- ONE OF the major reasons for Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies to be taking part in the process aimed at eventually ending the boycott of Qataris their fear that Iran could become stronger after the end of the Trump administration.
- Qatar has had close ties with Iran, and the Saudis will likely hope that if they are able to bring Doha to their corner, it will become easier to isolate Tehran.
Context: Great Barrier Reef in ‘critical state, deteriorating’.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Places in news
About Great Barrier reef:
Context: China successfully powered up its “artificial sun” nuclear fusion reactor for the first time, state media reported on Friday, marking a great advance in the country’s nuclear power research capabilities.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Science & technology
About artificial sun:
- The HL2M Tokamak reactor is China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device, and scientists hope that the device can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source.
- It uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius, approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun.
Context: The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) approved this week the sale of a lab-grown meat product. This is the first time cultured meat has been cleared for sale anywhere in the world. The product approved by the SFA is cultured chicken, produced by US-based East Just. The company has announced the product will be manufactured with local partners under its new brand GOOD Meat.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Science & technology
How is lab-grown or cultured meat different from plant-based meat?
- The latter is made from plant sources such as soy or pea protein, while cultured meat is grown directly from cells in a laboratory. Both have the same objective: to offer alternatives to traditional meat products that could feed a lot more people, reduce the threat of zoonotic diseases, and mitigate the environmental impact of meat consumption.
- In terms of cellular structure, cultured or cultivated meat is the same as conventional meat — except that cultured meat does not come directly from animals.
How is it environment & health friendly?
- According to the Good Food Institute (GFI)’s 2019 State of the Industry Report on cultivated meats, compared to conventional beef, cultivated beef could reduce land use by more than 95%, climate change emissions by 74-87% and nutrient pollution by 94%.
- The report adds that since cultivated meat is created in clean facilities, the risk of contamination by pathogens such as salmonella and E coli, which may be present in traditional slaughterhouses and meat-packing factories, is significantly reduced. It does not require antibiotics either, unlike animals raised for meat, thereby reducing the threat posed to public health by growing antibiotic resistance.
Context: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to bring the 26 stressed sectors identified by the Kamath Committee within the ambit of sectors eligible under on tap Targeted Long-Term Repo Operations (TLTRO), providing more liquidity to the slowdown-hit economy.
Topic in the syllabus: Prelims & Mains – Economy (GS-3)
What is RBI’s ‘On Tap TLTRO’ scheme?
- LTRO lets banks borrow one to three-year funds from the central bank at the repo rate, by providing government securities with similar or higher tenure as collateral.
- Targeted Long-Term Repo Operations (TLTRO), banks can invest in specific sectors through debt instruments (corporate bonds, commercial papers, and non-convertible debentures (NCDs)) to push the credit flow in the economy.
- It is called ‘Targeted’ LTRO as in this case, the central bank wants banks opting for funds under this option to be specifically invested in investment-grade corporate debt.
- This helps banks get funds for a longer duration as compared to the short-term (up to 28 days) liquidity provided by the RBI through other tools such as liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) and marginal standing facility (MSF).
- There is no maturity restriction on the specified securities to be acquired under the TLTRO scheme. However, the outstanding amount of specified securities in the bank’s HTM portfolio should not fall below the level of the amount availed under the TLTRO scheme.
- LTROs provide banks with access to cheaper capital from the RBI. This, in turn, encourages them to lend more and spur economic activity. They can also invest these long-term funds in assets that yield better returns to improve profitability.
- Also, as banks provide government securities as collateral, the demand for such government bonds increases and helps in lowering yield.
Example related to Ethics (GS-4)
- The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Friday urged media organisations to refrain from labelling farmers as “Khalistani”, “anti-nationals” and other such terms so that the protests are not delegitimised. The EGI asked media organisations to display fairness, objectivity and balance in reporting. (Media ethics)
- Taking a dim view of online betting companies advertising on Indian platforms, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has instructed the private satellite channels to ensure that ‘advertisements do not promote any activity which is prohibited by statute or law.’ (Corporate ethics)
- “It had come to the notice of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting that a large number of advertisements on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports, etc have been appearing on television,” the MIB stated. “Concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be misleading, do not correctly convey to the consumers the financial and other risks associated thereof, are not in strict conformity with the Advertising Code.”
- Niti Aayog on Friday published a draft for discussion to regulate online fantasy sports platforms in India. Online fantasy sports like Dream11, Mobile Premier League and My11Circle, among others, have been accused of treading a fine line between sports betting and fantasy gaming. These games are banned in several states, which have strict gambling laws. However, recent High Court verdicts have said these are games of skill and not chance and therefore do not amount to gambling. (Also relevant to economy section)
News in short:
- The navies of India and Russia began a two day Passage Exercise (PASSEX) in the East Indian Ocean Region on Friday, the Navy said. “It is aimed at enhancing interoperability, imbibing best
practices and would involve advanced surface and antisubmarine warfare exercises, weapon firings and helicopter operations,” the Navy said.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday announced the introduction of risk based internal audit norms for large urban cooperative banks (UCBs) and nonbanking financial companies (NBFCs), as part of measures aimed at improving governance and assurance functions at supervised entities.
- The RBI also moved to harmonise the guidelines on appointment of statutory auditors for commercial banks, UCBs and NBFCs in order to improve the quality of financial reporting.
- To significantly improve the ecosystem of digital payment channels with robust security and convenience for users, the RBI has proposed to issue Digital Payment Security Controls directions for the regulated entities.