Newspaper notes for UPSC 04-07-18

Hello friends, this is Newspaper notes for UPSC of 04-07-18, Please do leave your valuable comments , feedback and suggestions, , telegram: @naylak .

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Consult UPSC for selecting police chiefs

  • The Supreme Court restrained the State governments from appointing Directors-General of Police without first consulting the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • The State government concerned has to send to the service commission the names of the probables three months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a list of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back. It shall, as far as practicable, choose the people who have got a clear two years of service and must give due weightage to merit and seniority.
  • The State, in turn, shall ‘immediately’ appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the commission.

In Prakash Singh Vs Union of India (2006), SC delivered a judgement instructing the central and state governments to comply with a set of seven directives that laid down practical mechanism to kick-start police reforms.

  1. Constitute a State Security Commission (SSC) to:
    1. (i)Ensure that the state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police
    2. (ii) Lay down broad policy guideline and
    3. (iii) Evaluate the performance of the state police
  2. Ensure that the DGP is appointed through merit based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years.
  3. Ensure that other police officers on operational duties (including Superintendents of Police in-charge of a district and Station House Officers in-charge of a police station) are also provided a minimum tenure of two years.
  4. Separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police
  5. Set up a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of police officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and make recommendations on postings and transfers above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police
  6. Set up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at state level to inquire into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody and at district levels to inquire into public complaints against the police personnel below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct.
  7. Set up a National Security Commission (NSC) at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organisations (CPO) with a minimum tenure of two years.

Political masters wanted their own DGPs

  • The Centre wanted to dilute the 2006 Supreme Court judgment on police reforms as it pleaded that Directors-General of Police should have a two-year tenure subject to superannuation, said Prakash Singh, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh who had moved the court on the subject.
  • Singh, who had first moved the petition in the court on police reforms, said distortions had crept in the appointment of DGPs as “political masters” wanted these posts to be filled with their choice.
  • These distortions were brought to the notice of the court. The Home Ministry, through the Attorney-General, complained that the majority of States didn’t comply with the 2006 order and suggested a remedy that DGPs should have two-year tenures subject to superannuation. This was an excuse to modify the original order of two-year fixed tenure,” Mr. Singh said.

States obliged to prevent lynchings: CJI

  • State governments are obliged to prevent mob lynchings, Chief Justice of India observed.
  • The Supreme Court classified lynchings as sheer ‘mob violence.’ But it said compensation for victims should not be determined solely on the basis of their religion, caste, etc., but on the basis of the extent of injury caused as “anyone can be a victim” of such a crime.
  • Chief Justice said States cannot give even the “remotest chance” to let lynchings happen. “People cannot be allowed to take law into their hands,”.

Centre open to discuss RBI’s power over regulating PSBs

  • Finance minister said the government is open to discuss the issues that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had raised recently over the lack of powers in regulating state-run lenders.
  • Amidst criticism that the apex bank had failed in its regulatory oversight over government-owned banks following the Rs. 13,500-crore PNB scam, RBI governor had recently blamed it on the lack of powers to control them.
  • The minister also ruled out government paring its stake in public sector banks (PSBs), saying there is no proposal with the government to lower its ownership in state-run banks to under 51% in 20 of them.
  • A day after accepting the Sunil Mehta panel recommendation to set up an asset management company to resolve smaller loan defaults of up to Rs. 500 crore, FM said liquidation can’t be the panacea for all NPAs as there are genuine business failures which need to be resolved.

MCX plans currency derivatives

  • The Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX), the country’s largest commodity bourse in terms of market share, plans to enter the currency derivatives segment.
  • The unified licence regime kicks in on October 1 and will allow equity and commodity exchanges to expand their offerings by starting new segments. The BSE and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) have already announced plans for commodity trading under the new regulations framework.
  • Currency derivatives see average daily volumes in excess of Rs. 60,000 crore. The BSE is the largest player in the currency segment followed by the NSE with the Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India (MSEI) having small share.

Thanjavur painting

  • Thanjavur paintings are characterised by rich, flat and vivid colors, simple iconic composition, glittering gold foils overlaid on delicate but extensive gesso work and inlay of glass beads and pieces or very rarely precious and semi-precious gems. In Thanjavur paintings one can see the influence of Deccani, Vijayanagar, Maratha and even European or Company styles of painting. Essentially serving as devotional icons, the subjects of most paintings are Hindu gods, goddesses, and saints. Episodes from Hindu Puranas, Sthala-puranasand other religious texts were visualised.
  • however, there was no way to find out if the gold foil and gemstones used in these traditional crafts were authentic or fake, now it can be found out  using Raman spectroscopy.
  • Researchers now have found a solution that uses Raman spectroscopy to tell whether the foil used in the paintings is made of gold or some other cheaper material.
  • The researchers tested ten ‘gold foils’ and found only three to be genuine. In the case of paintings, only one or two out of ten turned out to be genuine gold foil.
  • Thanjavur paintings have Geographical Indication tags, which puts a premium on their authenticity, but there are no regulations governing the quality or authenticity.
  • The researchers validated their detection of fake gold by carrying out an energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX) of the paintings, which confirmed the Raman spectroscopy findings. “EDX can also be used to find out if the foil is made of gold. But unlike in the case of EDX, Raman spectroscopy does not require the removal of the frame and the glass.

Raman Spectroscopy:


It is the shift in wavelength of the inelastically scattered radiation that provides the chemical and structural information. Raman shifted photons can be of either higher or lower energy, depending upon the vibrational state of the molecule under study.Raman spectroscopy has some unique advantages such as:

  • Non-contact and non-destructive analysis
  • High spatial resolution up to sub-micron scale
  • In-depth analysis of transparent samples using a confocal optical system
  • No sample preparation needed.
  • Both organic and inorganic substances can be measured
  • Samples in various states such as gas, liquid, solution, solid, crystal, emulsion can be measured
  • Samples in a chamber can be measured through a glass window
  • Typically, only 10 msec to 1 sec exposure to get a Raman spectrum
  • Imaging analysis is possible by scanning the motorized stage or laser beam.

Nipah outbreak from fruit bats

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has confirmed that fruit bats were the primary source of the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, where 17 people died due to the virus earlier this year.
  • In its report to the Union Health Ministry, said bats could not be ruled out as the samples were collected from insectivorous bats, which were not known to be Nipah carriers.
  • The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus. Intermediate hosts of this instance were found to be pigs.
  • In the second round, samples from 55 fruit bats were collected and sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune.The samples from fruit bats tested positive for the virus.
  • Explained : Nipah Virus

Editorials and Opinions :

A good beginning

  • The first meeting of the Cauvery Water Management Authority took place in a cordial atmosphere augurs well for a sustained phase of constructive cooperation among the States concerned.
  • The CWMA has been formed by the Centre to implement the water-sharing award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court earlier this year.
  • For the Authority to successfully perform its role, it needs the cooperation of the States in gathering data on rainfall, inflows and outflows, cropping patterns and periodic withdrawals from reservoirs.
  • The CWMA is expected to meet once every 10 days during the monsoon months. The south-west monsoon has been active for nearly a month, and is forecast to be normal this year. Therefore, the CWMA may not face any major problem in overseeing the release of water to Tamil Nadu. As long as the inflows into Karnataka’s major reservoirs are substantial, it has had no problem releasing its surplus water into the lower riparian areas of the basin.
  • It is only in a distress year that the CWMA will face a significant challenge, as determining the extent of distress, and dividing the shortfall among the States on a pro rata basis can be tricky exercises.
  • The provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, make it clear that it is the Centre’s duty to notify a scheme to implement the award of a Tribunal. Parliament has the power to modify the scheme, or leave it as it stands, but Karnataka’s claim that the scheme requires parliamentary approval before it is implemented is questionable.
  • Now that the CWMA has become functional, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry should approach the issue of sharing the waters of the inter-State river in a spirit of cooperation and help the Authority in implementing the verdict. The parties concerned should leave behind the era of litigation.
  • After having been locked in a contentious legal dispute for so long, all parties concerned must embark on a new era of mutually beneficial water-sharing.

Mob violence is a crime

  • TAKING SERIOUS note of lynchings and mob violence, the Supreme Court  put the onus on the states to check such incidents. Saying it would “not confine these incidents to any particular motive”, the court said “this is mob violence, which is a crime”.
  • “Whoever they are, they can’t take the law into their hands. These kinds of incidents cannot occur. It can’t be accepted in the remotest sense,” said the CJI.
  • This is mob violence, which is a crime. The Centre should frame a scheme under Article 257 (Control of the Union over States in certain cases) of Constitution,” said the CJI.

Why rumours love WhatsApp

  • Although word of mouth played a key role in spreading the rumours that set off mob violence which led to the lynching of five persons in Dhule of Maharashtra, it was social media that spread most of the rumours leading to a recent spate of lynchings in various parts of the country, including in districts next door.
  • Of all social media platforms, WhatsApp is proving the most challenging for investigators trying to track the source of such rumours and formulate a response.
  • Messaging services by nature do not leave a trail for specific messages. From SMS to Facebook Instant Messenger, it is very difficult to track where a message originated if has been forwarded many times. However, with most of these services, the information is with the parent server and police can request the company for access to information, such as IP address, for investigation.
  • With WhatsApp, it is more complex. Everything on the platform is encrypted end-to-end at the device level — all data is stored on the device and not on servers. So, WhatsApp does not know what is being discussed.
  • For things that are widely shared on WhatsApp, it is next to impossible to identify the source.
  • Metadata is defined as data about other data, and includes information such as user name, device info and log-in time. Each file has a certain amount of metadata, which is embedded when the file is created. WhatsApp removes this, too, when it compresses a video or photo. This is called stripping.
  • A WhatsApp spokesperson said that the company is trying to learn more about the way misinformation spreads by looking into the metadata that the company has access to.
  • At the moment, WhatsApp is working on a mix of in-platform fixes and off-platform intervention. Within the platform it is offering more control for group administrators, flagging forwarded content and offering resources like fact-checking websites for verifying content. Off-platform, it is expected to initiate measures to educate people about the perils of misinformation and ways to identify them.

India’s forest cover

  • The Delhi high court will hear a petition challenging the felling of 16,000 trees to build houses for government employees in Delhi on Wednesday. The hearing comes in the wake of growing protests over the felling of 16,000 trees.
  • According to official estimates of the Forest Survey of India, Delhi has witnessed a whopping 73% rise in forest cover between 2001 and 2017, the third highest gain among all states and Union territories (UTs).
  • However, a Mint analysis of official and alternative estimates suggests that the Forest Survey of India estimate may be grossly overstating the true extent of forest cover in the national capital, and in the nation.
  • While the official data suggests that India has been able to increase green cover since the turn of the century, alternative estimates provided by Global Forest Watch, (GFW) —a collaborative project of the University of Maryland, Google, USGS, and Nasa—suggests that green cover has declined sharply in the country.
  • The main reason for the stark difference in the two estimates seems to lie in the definition of forest cover used by Forest Survey of India.
  • Forest Survey of India employs satellite imagery to estimate “forest cover”, considering “all lands which have a tree canopy density of more than 10% when projected vertically on the horizontal ground, within a minimum areal extent of one hectare” as forests.
  • This definition fails to distinguish between native forests and man-made tree plantations, overstating the extent of forest cover. While the Convention on Biological Diversity has a similar definition of forests, it mentions that the land in question should not be under agricultural or non-forest use.
  • the GFW database relies on satellite data for estimation of “tree cover”, employs similar criteria as Forest Survey,However, the GFW definition is stricter as it only considers vegetation that is taller than 5 metres in height. It is this difference that seems to explain the striking differences in results obtained from the two data sources.
  • As per GFW The tree cover loss for Indian states shows an accelerating trend in recent years, with the heavily forested northeastern states, Odisha, and Kerala showing the greatest amount of tree cover loss in the period 2001-2017. However, the official data represents that Kerala gained 30% forest cover in the same period. This can be explained by the fact that Kerala is one of the biggest producers of plantation crops in India.
  • According to the GFW data, all states and union territories with the exception of Chandigarh show a decline in the extent of tree cover in the time period 2000-2010. In contrast, in terms of official data, 28 of 36 states and UTs have registered an increase in forest cover.
  • Since the GFW data adopts a globally consistent definition, it enables international comparison of the extent of tree cover loss, and the results do not paint a pretty picture. India ranks 14th among all countries in tree cover loss in the decade 2000-2010.

Urban Chipko

  • There is no faith among residents that city governments would do the right thing.
  • That lack of faith has spread across many Indian cities spawning a number of city-wide ‘urban chipko’ movements in its wake.
  • The intensity of tree cutting seen in Indian cities does not happen anywhere else in the world. Mumbai loses about 2000 trees every month, on average.
  • As Indian cities grow, tree loss is increasingly being treated as an inevitability.
  • But since trees aren’t yet viewed as an integral part of city’s “infrastructure”, studies show 96% of Mumbai surface area is concretised. Delhi has less than one tree per resident. In contrast, Singapore has committed to put a green open space within 400 metres of every resident, treating trees on par with access to mass transit.

The marriage penalty on women in India

  • The discourse on economic development has become increasingly gendered, in recognition of both the ethical construct of equality between men and women and the realization that women’s empowerment generates positive externalities.
  • India ranks 108 in global gender equality report, in 144-nation list. The country slipped 21 places between 2016 and 2017 in The Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum. Within the sub-indices, India’s low rank on gender parity in labour force participation (LFP) fell further, by four points, to 139 (among 144 countries).
  • The National Sample Survey shows that among working-age women who are currently not enrolled in educational institutes, LFP stood at 37% in 2011, registering a 10% fall over 20 years.
  • The explanations for this decline have circled around rising incomes, the changing education structure and the decline in number of agricultural jobs.
  • What is missing from this discourse is the focus on one specific demographic group—married women.
  • The observed decline in female LFP has been the largest and most significant for rural married women. In urban areas, while there has been no decline in participation by married women over time, the figure has been stagnating.
  • In 2011, around 50% of unmarried women in the 15-60 age bracket were in the labour force, while the proportion for married women was 20%. There has been a rise in labour force participation rates among urban unmarried women between 1999-2011, from 37% to 50%, but, for married women, it has been stagnant for 30 years.
  • For married and unmarried men, the participation rates are high (around 95%) and constant over time.
  • The latest figures from the National Family Health Survey show that the average age at first marriage in India is 18 for rural and 4 for urban women. Age at first birth is 20 for rural, and 21 for urban, women. While the average years of education acquired by a girl who is 15-19 years is low (8.5 and 10 in rural and urban India, respectively), even for a girl with graduate or higher education, the mean age at first marriage is 23 years and mean age at first birth is 24 years.
  • These numbers lay bare two realities that young girls face in the country. First, there is a small window of opportunity to be economically active after completion of education and before marriage. Second, with universal marriage and expected child-bearing, there is little space between marriage and first child. While the number of children born to a woman has come down (two in urban areas and 2.5 in rural areas in 2015), this may not necessarily increase women’s labour force.
  • Are women more likely to (re)enter the labour force once the children have grown up? A look at participation numbers at the cohort level shows that there is an increase in participation proportion from 17% in the early 20s to 22% in the early 30s. Even for women with graduate and higher level of education, it increases from approximately 13% in the early 20s to 28% in the early 30s. Childcare is clearly a constraint for married women and continues to remain a roadblock from the employment perspective.
  • Hence, an exclusive focus on educating and skilling women or financial inclusiveness is unlikely to be effective in making women economically more empowered unless policy measures address the constraints of childcare faced by married women. The burden of domestic work lies on women. At the same time, the absence of flexible work hours and easier physical access to work have been compounded by the persistent gender gap in wages.
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