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Revamping Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus]- 15th November 2017

  • IASbaba
  • November 15, 2017
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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Revamping Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus]- 15th November 2017

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Hello Friends,

At IASbaba, we strive hard to provide the best quality content to ease your preparation. Our initiatives are known for their quality approach and guidance. The significance of our Daily Current Affairs needs no mention to sincere aspirants.

Continuing with our vision towards “One Stop Destination for UPSC Preparation“, IASbaba is happy to announce the new addition to our Daily Current Affairs Analysis which was hitherto, Mains oriented.

From now on, we will have quality coverage of both Prelims and Mains so that this initiative aptly becomes your ‘One-Stop Destination for Current Affairs’. 

More to come from IASbaba 🙂 


MAINS FOCUS


GOVERNANCE AND INTERNAL SECURITY

TOPIC:

General Studies 2:

  • Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability and institutional and other measures.

General Studies 3:

  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Reforming Indian Police Service

Background:

Two separate but similar tales of horrific murders of school-going children. Common to both incidents is the widespread public outrage that they rightly aroused, the serious charges of incompetence and complicity against the respective local police, and the dramatic twist in the two investigations that came about after the cases were handed over to the CBI.

Case study 1:

On July 6, 2017, the body of a 16-year-old girl was found in the forest near Kotkhai, a town approximately 80 km from Shimla. Rape and murder were evident from the scene. The Himachal Police constituted an SIT. In less than three days, the SIT claimed to have cracked the case and arrested six accused. However, widespread public anger forced the state government to transfer the case to the CBI. The CBI took up the investigation and within a few days ended up arresting two senior members of the SIT, including the then IG Shimla, a senior IPS officer. While the CBI too has not been able to solve the rape and murder case, their investigation suggests a tale of shocking police brutality and criminality, sheer insensitivity, and outright incompetence.

Case study 2:

On September 8, 2017, seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur was found murdered in the toilet of the Ryan International School in Gurugram. A few days later, Gurugram Police claimed to have solved the case and arrested a school bus conductor named Ashok Kumar and also recovered a knife that was allegedly used in the attack. On September 22, the CBI took over the case. On November 8, the CBI claimed to have solved the case with the arrest of a Class 11 student of the same school for this gruesome murder.

The two cases are yet to be finalised and much work remains to be done in both investigations.

Troubling questions being raised:

  • Why would the police falsely implicate innocent people? Even if they were not able to identify the guilty correctly, why couldn’t they establish the innocence of those wrongly accused?
  • During the initial investigation, at what level of the police hierarchy was the available evidence analysed and conclusions drawn?
  • What was the role of the media? Was there external pressure to take shortcuts and conclude the investigations?
  • What can be done to ensure that an Ashok Kumar or a Suraj Singh are not falsely accused of murder and suffer dishonour or worse, torture and death, allegedly at the hands of the police during the investigation itself?

Need for reform:

A handful of conscientious officers apart, there is general entropy in the professionalism and social skills of IPS brass leading the Police forces. The IPS is therefore in urgent need of reform to ensure effective policing.

The elitist feeling among the IPS is at the root of the ailing police system. This makes it difficult for them to comprehend ground realities and prevents them from becoming leaders rather than managers. Their aim remains to contain political fallout and focus on managing politicians, leaving day-to-day work to lower functionaries. Common people are rarely the focus.

Restraining media pressure:

Succumbing to media pressure and the desire to become instant heroes in the public eye by quickly “solving” cases is an ill-tendency. When the media and the public are seeking instant answers in sensational cases, it takes leadership to step up to the limelight and resist the pressure for instant answers. There are no instant answers in heinous offences. It takes courage to acknowledge that publicly.

Way forward:

Political interference and non-implementation of police reforms are blamed for all the ills of the police system. While that may be true to some extent, police leadership must take initiative to implement measures within their realm of authority.

  • The IPS leadership must take steps to change the perception of police from exploiters to facilitators so that the public stops despising and making fun of them. They need to transform the character of police to that of “service” as opposed to “force”.
  • Proactive crime prevention and follow-up investigation has to be the priority in order to ensure reduction in crime and improvement in the conviction rate.
  • Modernisation should focus on training and other aspects of human resource management, apart from incorporating modern investigative practices and forensics rather than simply acquiring vehicles and computers.
  • A total overhaul of the recruitment system is the need of the hour. The aim of direct recruitment to the IP (Imperial Police) was to perpetuate the British rule and not for any higher purpose of ensuring impartiality.
  • Having qualified in a fiercely competitive exam, IPS officers are mostly chair-bound. They must develop an eye for detail and become proficient in matters of policing to be able to properly guide their subordinates.
  • An alternative method of recruitment could be on lines similar to that of Defence Services Officers through an institution similar to NDA immediately after qualifying class 12 and being put through rigorous academic, social skills and professional training through a four-year training programme.
  • The curriculum should be focused on practical aspects and social skills.
  • Policing in states is also adversely affected due to the irrational deputation policy. Policymakers, therefore, need to seriously review the existing deputation policy to ensure that all officers obtain at least 15 years of core policing experience at the district level.
  • A methodology to link promotion to performance at every level must be devised.

Other areas that need fixing:

  • The chronic under-investment and under- staffing.
  • The relentless political interference.
  • The unconscionable delay in implementing the 11-year-old SC judgement on police reforms.

Conclusion:

Effective policing is the first step towards creating a safe, crime-free, and just society. The police leadership has an extremely important role to play in ensuring this aim. It is therefore essential that the police leadership consist only of the most suitable and conscientious officers. Urgent reforms in selection and training of IPS officers is therefore the need of the hour.

Connecting the dots:

  • Effective policing is the first step towards creating a safe, crime-free, and just society. However, the Indian policing system is facing various issues. Discuss these issues and reforms to be taken.

Further Reading/Revise

 


DEFENCE/SECURITY

TOPIC:

General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General Studies 3:

  • Mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment
  • Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Boosting India’s military capabilities

Background:

The meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Manila produced a significant resolution – that two of the world’s great democracies should also have the world’s greatest militaries. The meeting highlighted the shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and pledged to enhance bilateral defence cooperation. Trump would like nothing better than to sell more American military equipment to India. This would not only be a geostrategic move to shore up India’s military capabilities vis à vis China but also help create American jobs.

Poor indigenous defence production- A major challenge:

While India’s security challenges have multiplied from terrorism to low-intensity conflict to being prepared for a two-front war, its armed forces continue to face the issue of sub-optimal weapons platforms.

A key reason for this is the inability to boost indigenous defence production. Indigenous projects are afflicted by inordinate delays, which usually make the finished product out of date.

Examples:

  • While the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft is yet to become combat ready after being in the making for over three decades, the Arjun main battle tank has proved to be too heavy in operational deployment and suffers from poor serviceability.
  • The air force is grappling with just 33 fighter squadrons when 42 are needed to counter the threat perception from China and Pakistan.
  • Several squadrons of ageing Russian fighters are set to retire. At the same time acquisition of foreign weapons platforms is expensive. Such shortcomings hamper the combat-readiness of our armed forces.

Way out:

  • Facilitate greater private sector participation in the defence industry.
  • Establishing an American-style military-industrial complex that significantly reduces the time between research and field deployment.

The defence ministry has finalised the strategic partnership policy earlier this year. The policy envisages Indian private companies producing cutting-edge weapons through joint ventures with foreign partners. This is where American defence manufacturers can help.

Connecting the dots:

  • Boosting India’s military capabilities is the need of the hour. America’s support in this regard should be taken with caution. Critically analyze.

Further Reading

 


PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS


Diabetes in Women

Part of: Main GS Paper II – Social issue, Welfare and Health, Women issue

Key PT pointers:

  • World Diabetes Day is observed on 14th November
  • 2017 Theme: ‘Women and Diabetes — Our Right to a Healthy Future’

Central focus: Women Health

  • One in 10 women are living with diabetes
  • Poor access to healthcare, screening and awareness
  • A diabetic female faces four times higher risk of developing heart ailments than men

Article link: Click Here


The Maternity Benefit Act: Concerns

Part of: Main GS Paper II – Social issue, Welfare and Health, Women and Child issue

Key pointers:

  • Amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act were introduced this year.
  • Path­breaking changes/measures – provisions of 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and the mandatory cre?che facility.
  • Amendments seek to improve infant mortality rate (34 per 1,000 live births) and maternal mortality rate (167 per 100,000 live births).

Central focus:

  • Maternity leave and cre?che facility.
  • One of the key goals of any maternity benefit policy is to facilitate breastfeeding by working mothers.
  • To ensure that working women are not forced to discontinue breastfeeding.

Concerns:

  • Financial burden of implementing these measures squarely on the employers.
  • Set up of cre?che facility are cost­ intensive, therefore may deter employers from hiring or retaining pregnant women.

Making employers solely liable is not a viable option:

  • 2014 ILO report had specially cautioned against making employers solely liable for the cost of maternity benefits.
  • Advocated that maternity benefits should be provided either through compulsory social insurance or public funds.
  • Standing Committee on Labour in 2007 had suggested that the government should create a corpus fund to partially sponsor the costs to be incurred by the employer to provide maternity benefits.

Article Link: Click Here


Climate change and UNESCO natural sites: IUCN Report

Part of: Main GS Paper III – Environment and Ecology, Biodiversity, Impacts of Climate Change

Key pointers:

  • Impact of climate change on UN-listed natural heritage sites, including coral reefs, glaciers, and wetlands have doubled — according to IUCN report.
  • The number of UNESCO natural sites at risk has grown to 62 from 35 in 2014.
  • 29% of UNESCO natural sites faced “significant” threats.

UNESCO natural sites at critical risk:

  • Everglades National Park in the United States
  • Lake Turkana in Kenya

Coral reefs: Most affected

  • Among the ecosystems most threatened by global warming are coral reefs which bleach as oceans heat up, and glaciers which melt.
  • The following three World Heritage-listed coral reefs — have been affected by “devastating” bleaching events over the last three years.
  • the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean,
  • the Belize Barrier Reef in the Atlantic, and
  • Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the biggest on Earth.

Article Link: Click Here


India, Japan, US, Australia hold first ‘Quad’ talks

Part of: Main GS Paper II – International Relations, India and the World, India-China issue, India’s Act East Policy

Key pointers:

  • Officials from India, Australia, the US and Japan met in Manila (capital of the Philippines).
  • Seen as a first move to set up a quadrilateral grouping to pursue common interests.
  • They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large.
  • The move to set up the quadrilateral comes in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.

Common interests:

  • Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Promotion of peace, stability and prosperity.
  • Addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity.

Note:

  • The Indian side highlighted India’s Act East Policy as the cornerstone of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • India also said it was open to working with like-minded countries on issues that advance its interests.
  • Part of Post-Doklam measures by India.

Article Link: Click Here


India’s Health Divide

Part of: Main GS Paper II – Social issue, Welfare and Health

Key pointers:

Lancet published report on the ‘India State-Level Disease Burden’ highlights –

  • severe inequalities in the disease burden in different States
  • every State in India has a higher burden from non-communicable diseases and injuries than from infectious diseases
  • contribution of non-communicable diseases to health loss has doubled (unhealthy diets, high blood pressure, and blood sugar)
  • Air pollution and tobacco smoking continue to be major contributors to health loss
  • suggests need for more specific health planning
  • malnutrition continues to be the single largest risk for health loss in India (higher among females)
  • life expectancy at birth improved significantly during 1990 to 2016
  • under-5 mortality also improved in every State
  • Kerala – better performing state

Note: You can quote reports or findings of Lancet in your Mains answer.


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