Mains Test Series


Download the compilation of all summaries of all the news articles here


GS-2

Free fall

News:

  1. The recent Puthiya Thalaimurai Case in Tamil Nadu  is considered as a direct attack on press freedom.

Important facts:

2. Certain remarks were made by the invited guests on the TV channel of Tamil Nadu.

3. They were booked for making such remarks which is directly considered as restriction on expressing views.

4. The Tamil Nadu government came under criticism for slapping a case against TV channel under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code(pertaining to promoting enmity between groups), and other sections of the law.

5. There have been apprehensions that the State government is using its dominance of the distribution space to bring news coverage by TV channel in line.

Related concepts :

Freedom of press:

  • The fundamental rights of the freedom of press implicit in the right the freedom of speech and expression is essential for the political liberty and proper functioning of democracy.
  • Unlike the American Constitution, Art. 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution does not expressly mention the liberty of the press but it has been held that liberty of the press is included in the freedom of speech and expression.

What is Freedom of Speech and Expression?

  •  Freedom of speech and expression is broadly understood as the notion that every person has the natural right to freely express themselves through any media and without outside interference, such as censorship, and without fear of reprisal, such as threats and persecutions.
  •   Freedom of expression is a complex right as freedom of expression is not absolute.
  •   It carries with it special duties and responsibilities therefore it may be subject to certain restrictions provided by law.

Freedom of Speech and Expression as per the Indian Constitution:

  • Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression.
  •  The law states that, “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”.
  • Under Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India imposes restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression.
  •  The law states that, “reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the exercise of this right for certain purposes. Any limitation on the exercise of the right under Article 19(1) (a) not falling within the four corners of Article 19(2) cannot be valid.”

 

Seychelles stalls project for Indian naval base

News:

  1. The Parliament of the Seychelles will not ratify India’s plan to build a naval base in the western Indian Ocean region.

Important facts:

  1. Opposition members in Seychelles Parliament argued against India to build a naval base on this strategically located island of Assumption saying it would infringe on the country’s sovereignty.

3.The decision was announced at country’s President, Danny Faure’s visit in India.

4.Although the visit of Seychelles president will provide an opportunity to review wide-ranging bilateral cooperation between the two nations with focus areas:

  • In the field of defence and security
  • Development partnership.
  • Seychelles has indicated that instead of allowing India to run the base, it would like to develop a coast guard facility at the Assumption.
  • The Indian project was to include facility for Indian ships and an airstrip that would allow New Delhi to guard the energy lanes vital to India’s economy.
  1. The agreement for the base was signed on January 27 when the former Foreign Secretary of India S. Jaishankar travelled to the country.

 

GS-3

Wages of vigilantism

Article:

  1. Zoya Hasan, Professor , JNU, discusses how episodes of mass communal violence shifted towards small scale attacks against individuals.

Important Analysis:

2. The incidents of lynching and targeted mob violence against vulnerable groups reported from various parts of the Country.

What is mob lynching?

  • Mob Lynching means killing of someone by a mob for an alleged offence without following any principles of jurisprudence or due process of law.
  • A lynching is a majority way of telling a minority population that the law cannot protect it.
  • Lynching served the broad social purpose of maintaining superiority in economic, social, cultural and political sphere.
  • Lynchings are encouraged by the atmosphere of hate and suspicion created through sustained propaganda.
  • According to India Spend, a data-journalism website, 86% people were killed in lynching incidents in 2017.

3. The incidences of hate violence are not new to the country.

4.These incidences were happened in the past also during festival seasons like Ram Navami(Bihar and West Bengal), Provocations over Azaan and namaz(Gurugram) and violence against those looking overtly Muslims(U.P, and Haryana).

5. The epicenter of these incidence mostly includes states like U.P.,M.P, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Haryana, Gujarat and West Bengal.

6. Citizens Against Hate (CAH), a civil society group investigation and seeking to provide legal help to victims of hate crimes, has reported 50 lynching related deaths.

7.According to CAH report, ‘ Lynching Without End’, published in 2017, 97% of cow-related lynching’s had occurred since BJP come to power.

8.The South Asia has a long history of communal violence, but this has now shifted to a smaller-scale of conflict and vigilante violence against individuals.

9.Reasons for this major shift are given below:

  • State inaction.
  • Avoid public scrutiny that accompanies mass violence.
  • India has a poor record in prevention and punishment of the perpetrators of mass violence or lynching’s.
  • Political reasons.
  • Intensification of communal polarization .
  • Lack of justice to victims further reinforces the vicious cycle of impunity.

10.Impacts of these incidents are many such as:

  • Threaten to democracy and social fabric of the country.
  • Widened the divide between Hindus and Muslims.

11.Solutions:

  • Preventing further atrocities requires respect for rule of law.
  • Legal institutions and strong prosecutions.
  • Expeditious punishments to accused persons

 

Oil rises after OPEC agrees to lift output

News:

  1. Oil prices rose almost 3% as OPEC agreed to modest increase in output.
OPEC:

  • OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of 14 nations (as of Feb, 2018)
  •  Founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members(Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela).
  •  Headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria.
  •  As of 216, OPEC nations accounted for an estimated 44 % of global oil production and 73% of the world’s oil reserves.

Important facts:

2. The Organsiation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), meeting in Vienna, agreed to boost output after Saudi Arabia persuaded Iran to cooperate in efforts to reduce the crude price and avoid a supply shortage.

3. The Organsiation expected to increase production by about 1 million barrels per day(bpd), or 1% of global supply.

4. The decision was taken to compensate for losses in production at a time of rising global demand.

5. Benchmark Brent crude jumped $ 2.19 a barrel to a high of $ 75.24 before slipping to about $ 75.

6. U.S. light crude was $ 1.80 higher at $ 67.34.

7. The real increase will be smaller because recently underproduced oil countries will struggle to return to full quotas while other producers will not be allowed to fill the gap.

8. The OPEC group started withholding supply because:

  1. Amid strong demand
  2. Market tightened significantly
  3. Triggering calls by consumes for higher supply.

9. There is shortage of supply because :

  1. Declining production in Venezuela and Libya
  2. Risk of lower output from Iran as a result of U.S. sanctions

 

States’ claim on fighting plastic only strong on paper

News:

  1. The states’ claims on reigning in plastic are stronger on paper than in reality.

Important facts:

  1. According to the Centre’s Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, all states have to annually appraise the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the steps taken to reign in plastic use.
  2. The latest report (July 2016) highlights that only 24 States and UTs have complied with these directions.
  3. The states like Kerala and Sikkim are the States with the most creditable plastic waste management policies. Sikkim has a system of buying back plastic from consumers.
  4. However, while claiming a ban, most states said that ban is imposed in specific towns or cities. Examples of these states are given below:

Examples:

  • Assam-  Its performance report states  that there is a complete ban on plastic carry bags in many cities and towns , but it allows the import of “substandard plastic carry bags”, provide the Commissioner of Taxes is informed.
  • Gujarat: The estimated plastic waste generation is approximately 2,69,294 tonnes per annum and there are nearly 689 plastic waste recyclers, all of them registered. But only Gandhinagar has an “explicit” ban on the use of plastic carry bags.
  • Delhi: Generates the largest quantity of plastic waste in the country, has not provided information on its plastic management initiatives to the CPCB.
  • Maharashtra: Increased its collection centers  but still problem remains related to single use plastics.
  1. The states’ claims on reigning in plastic are stronger on paper than in reality. The reasons for the same are given below:
    • All plastic waste recyclers register themselves but there were around 312 unregistered plastic recycling units in states like (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Manipur, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh.)
    • Most of the State/UTs have not set up proper monitoring system for use of carry bags as per the specified guidelines.
    • States who imposed complete ban on plastic bags, the plastic bags are stocked, sold and used indiscriminately
    • Besides, substandard carry bags (<50 micron) are used widely in other States/UTs, violating PWM Rules, 2016, the CPCB highlights in the report.
  2. India generates an estimated 32 million metric tonnes of packaging waste each year, of which plastic waste constitutes 16%. But only 60% of the collected plastic waste is recycled.
  3. Around 43% of manufactured plastics are used for packaging, most of it “single-use” plastic.
  4. No States report their plastic waste management performance have plans in place to tackle single use plastics.

10. Challenges:

  • Manpower
  • Enforcement of law
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