IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st October 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Kerala bagged the top spot on the School Education Quality Index (SEQI)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Education
- SEQI assesses States on the basis of learning outcomes, access, equity and infrastructure and facilities, governance processes using survey data, self-reported data from States and third-party verification.
- It is developed by NITI Aayog through a collaborative process, including key stakeholders such as Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) and World Bank.
- Some of the findings of the Index are
- Among the large States, Kerala bagged the top spot with 76.6 per cent and while Uttar Pradesh with 36.4 per cent scored the lowest for 2016-17.
- Among the small States, Manipur (68.8 per cent) emerged as the top performer while Arunachal Pradesh (24.6 per cent) came last in the category.
- Among Union Territories, Chandigarh (82.9 per cent) stood at the top position while Lakshadweep ranked lowest (31.9 per cent).
- The index provides instructive feedback to State authorities to drive reforms in crucial sectors and encourage innovation in cost-effective policy approaches
Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains I – Geography
- The Union Water Ministry has excavated an old, dried-up river in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) that linked the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.
- The discovery was made last December by a team of scientists from the CSIR-NGRI (National Geophysical Research Institute) and the Central Groundwater Board.
- A palaeochannel is a remnant of an inactive river or stream channel that has been filled or buried by younger sediment.
- Paleochannels typically act as pathways for groundwater movement and provide a potential source of groundwater. Their presence can be helpful in identifying areas suitable for recharge.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-II – Polity
- The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to commute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was convicted for the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, to life imprisonment
- Beant Singh, credited for ending terrorism in Punjab, was assassinated on August 31, 1995, in an explosion in Chandigarh.
About Presidential Pardoning Powers
- Article 72 says that the President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence
- Commutation: It means reducing the punishment by changing the nature of punishment. For example, punishment to death may be changed to life imprisonment.
- Pardon: It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all the sentences, punishments and disqualifications.
- Remission It implies reducing the period of sentence without changing its character
- Respite It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.
- Reprieve It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President.
Eight core industries’ output contracts (negative growth) by 0.5% in August 2019
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III – Indian Economy
- The eight core sector industries are coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity.
- The eight core sector industrieshad expanded by 4.7 per cent in August last year
- The contraction indicates weakness in industrial activity and may spur RBI to cut REPO rates in its next Monetary Policy Review.
Do You Know?
- These eight sectors have 40.27% of the weight of all sectors that figure in Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
- The IIP index is computed and published by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) on a monthly basis
- The base year used for IIP calculations is 2011-12.
- Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (RBI) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds
EMPLOYMENT & AGRICLUTURE
TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
The link between jobs, farming and climate
- Slowing economy is taking place, growth has slowed for the past two-and-a-half years
- Unemployment is the biggest crisis that India is facing today
- Periodic Labour Force Survey point to a dramatic rise in the unemployment rate since 2011-12
- Unemployment is the highest in the 45 years since 1972-73
- Unemployment in ‘Rural Males’, in 2017-18, is four times the average for the 40 years up to 2011-12.
Causes for the slow growth in rural income:
- Since 2008-2009, crop agriculture activity has recorded zero or negative growth in five years not seen anything like this since 1947.
- Other causes include low export growth , the state of the banking sector etc
- Decline in investment rate (due to poor agricultural growth)
- ecological factors like land degradation involving loss of soil moisture and nutrients, and the drop in the water table, leading to scarcity which raises the cost of cultivation
- excessive fertilizer use caused over-abuse of the earth’s resources.
- increasingly erratic rainfall, due to climate change
Measures to be taken :
- Recent Reduction in the corporate tax rate. ( but large part of corporate sales is driven by rural demand )
- The future growth of demand for much of industrial production is likely to come from rural areas so the rural picture matters
- Govt must strive to increase rural income
- Intelligent governance, resource deployment and change in farmer behaviour is a need of the hour
- Draw in the public agricultural institutes and farmer bodies for their views on how to resuscitate the sector.
- Policy focus is disproportionately on the tax rate, the ease of doing business in the non-agricultural sector which must be turned towards agricultural sector
Did you know:
- In the average country of the OECD, an increase in unemployment of such magnitude would have triggered a nationwide debate and agitation on the streets.
Connecting the dots :
It is imperative to focus on agricultural production in devising a long-term solution to the problem of unemployment. Substantiate .
General Studies 2:
- Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
- Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies..
The EC’s order on Sikkim CM’s disqualification
- Sikkim CM Prem Singh was found guilty of misappropriation of government funds in a cow distribution scheme while he was the minister of animal husbandry in the 1990s.A case was registered in 2003 under the Prevention of Corruption Act
- Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang’s disqualification period of 6 years, which began on August 10, 2018, was to end on August 10, 2024
- Tamang’s SKM party won the assembly elections held in April, took over as CM in May.
- He has to contest assembly polls within six months of becoming the chief minister to hold the office
- Tamang had requested the poll panel to waive his disqualification period under Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act.
- The EC reduced Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Tamang’s disqualification period by almost five years under a provision of the electoral law, paving the way for him to contest the state assembly elections.
Did you know?
Section 11 of the RP Act states, “The Election Commission may, for reasons to be recorded, remove any disqualification under this Chapter 1 (except under section 8A) or reduce the period of any such disqualification.”
- The legislature has, in its wisdom, deemed it necessary to vest this Commission with this power with the understanding that socio-economic-political factors may, in certain peculiar circumstances, warrant that the general disqualification prescribed by statutory rule should be removed/reduced by exercising this extraordinary power.”
The Prevention of Corruption Amendment Act 2018
The Bill incorporates the recommendations given by the 20th Law Commission headed by Justice (retd) AP Shah in its 254th Report.
- The Bill makes bribing a punishable offence.
- It redefines provisions related to criminal misconduct.
- It makes mandatory for taking prior approval of relevant Government or competent authority to conduct any investigation into offence.
- It modifies definitions and penalties for offences related to taking bribe, being habitual offender and abetting offence.
The Representation of the People Act, 1951
- Article 327 of Indian Constitution
- For the conduct of election of the Houses of Parliament and to the House or Houses of the Legislature of each State,
- The qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses,
- the corrupt practices and other offences at or in connection with such elections
- It was introduced in Parliament by law minister Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
Rationale behind the relief:
- Argument was that law prevailing at the time of his offence entailed disqualification only if the sentence was for a term of two years or more; and that the amendment in 2003, under which any conviction under the anti-corruption law would attract the six-year disqualification norm, should not be applied to him.
- Morally wrong and a dangerous precedent that may end up reversing the trend towards decriminalising politics
- Tamang was convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act for and his one-year prison term was upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court.
- Disqualification from contest is a civil disability created by electoral law to keep those convicted by criminal courts from entering elected offices.
- EC decision also goes against the grain of a series of legislative and judicial measures to strengthen the legal framework against corruption in recent years.( apex court has described corruption as a serious malady and one impinging on the economy.)
- The EC is already battling a perception that its actions are partisan and this action is bound to further strain its credibility.
Connecting the dots:
- Today, we have 43% of the people sitting in the Lok Sabha with pending criminal cases. Do you think the EC’s act of removing the disqualification of a convict is morally wrong and a dangerous precedent that may end up reversing the trend towards decriminalising politics? Elucidate .
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Index of Industrial Production is released by which body/ministry?
- Central Statistical Organisation
- Ministry of Commerce and Industry
- NITI Aayog
- None of the above
Q.2) Consider the following statements about Palaeochannel
- It is a remnant of an inactive river or stream channel that has been filled or buried by younger sediment.
- Their presence can be helpful in identifying areas suitable for groundwater recharge
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3) Consider the following statements
- Article 161 deals withpower of Governor to grant pardons, etc, and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases
- Commutation of sentence means reducing the period of sentence without changing its character
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.4) School Education Quality Index (SEQI) is developed by which of the following body/bodies?
- NGO Pratham
- NITI Aayog
- Union Ministry of Human Resource Development
- Both b and c
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