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Daily Current affairs 10 NOVEMBER 2018

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

[op-ed snap] The need of customs duty rationalization



Mains Paper 3: Economy | Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy & their effects on industrial growth

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Import duty, CAD

Mains level: Underutiliztaion of resources in India and need of a structured import policy


Rise in custom duties

  1. A second round of hikes in import duties was announced recently, this time on telecom equipment
  2. This is a move to not only curb imports but also rein in a rising current account deficit (CAD), aiming to check the rupee’s weakness against the dollar
  3. The Indian rupee has been one of the worst performing currencies among the emerging markets in this calendar year

Import theory

  1. Imports are a necessity when a nation doesn’t have the wherewithal to produce goods locally
  2. However, it is an inefficient utilization of resources when a nation allows a copious flow of imports even when the domestic industry has the necessary capacity and expertise to manufacture the same products
  3. Supplies of various materials have been facing persistent dumping for several years now

Need for tweaking duty structure

  1. A key area that has been efficiently manufacturing and has the necessary scale to not just meet domestic demand but even exports is metals and minerals
  2. However, the lopsided duty structures and free trade agreements (FTA) have translated into a raw deal for the domestic industry
  3. About 38% imports for domestic consumption results from various FTAs
  4. A correction in the duty structure, within the World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines, and liberalization of the mining sector is sufficient to boost domestic manufacturing and significantly cut down India’s import bill
  5. Such is the inherent strength of India’s resources sector that right policies can boost domestic manufacturing and cut down India’s import bill by as much as $20 billion per annum

Underutilization of resources

  1. Given India’s massive untapped hydrocarbon reserves, the nation has the potential to easily enhance the domestic production of oil and gas to cut import dependency by more than 10% in the foreseeable future
  2. India currently meets more than 80% of its oil and gas demand through imports
  3. Despite having the fifth largest coal reserves in the world, India is likely to import 164 million tonnes in the current calendar year as production inefficiencies and transport bottlenecks force companies to look overseas
  4. Iron ore is another example. India produces 210 million tonnes of iron ore every year, which is far more than what it consumes
  5. More than 150 million tonnes of iron ore is lying idle in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and other parts of the country. The local prices of iron ore are 30 to 40% cheaper than imports
  6. Even then some of the largest steel companies continue to import iron ore, putting pressure on domestic miners
  7. Data shows that India’s primary aluminium production capacity of 4.1 million tons per annum is 1.25 times its consumption
  8. Yet, imports account for nearly 60% of consumption
  9. India imports about 1.1 million tons of scrap because the import duty on aluminium scrap is merely 2.5%
  10. Experts fear that with the ongoing trade war between the US and China, aluminium meant for the US will now find its way into India, worsening the situation
  11. While domestic producers can meet the industry’s demand, India imported 185,000 tonnes of refined zinc in 2017-18
  12. Of this, 70% came from South Korea because of an ill-conceived comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA)

Stopping misuse of FTAs

  1. The misuse of FTAs for variously identified imports should be looked into very seriously with heavy penalties on importers who deliberately misuse these agreements
  2. As a corollary, rationalization of customs duty and prevention of FTA misuse will give a fillip to domestic output, boost the ancillary eco-system and lead to employment generation

Way forward

  1. The need of the hour is to take bold decisions that will not only help cushion the rupee but also usher in a sustained reduction in India’s import dependency
  2. A well-thought-out strategy that benefits the nation in the long run by bringing down dependency on non-essential imports will not only save foreign exchange but also add to the stability of key macro-economic numbers



[op-ed snap] Cause to remain alert: on Zika virus



Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Zika virus & associated facts

Mains level: Reports of Zika virus spread in India & how to tackle the situation


Risk from Zika

  1. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently announced that the Zika virus strains causing the outbreak in Jaipur, Rajasthan, cannot cause microcephaly
  2. Epidemiological, clinical, and experimental data have indicated that microcephaly and a range of other birth defects (such as miscarriages and ocular disease) could be caused by the Zika virus passing from a pregnant woman to her foetus
  3. There is not a specific Zika virus strain — or mutation — linked to microcephaly
  4. All Zika virus strains could possibly cause birth defects

Why ICMR announcement is flawed?

  1. This conclusion was based on a genetic sequencing of viruses isolated from the outbreak
  2. The problem with this conclusion is that the research was based on infection in mouse brains — not humans — and contains no epidemiological or clinical support
  3. Numerous other studies suggest that all Zika virus strains may have the capacity to infect foetuses and cause neurological disease

Support for ICMR claim

  1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., only 5-10% of Zika virus infections during pregnancies lead to Zika-associated birth defects, and the rates of microcephaly are much lower

Other associated risks

  1. It is also difficult to determine how extensive Zika virus outbreaks will be in India
  2. If the Zika virus has been silently spreading in the country, as it did throughout most of Asia for the last 50 years, then enough people may be immune to the virus to prevent large outbreaks

Precautionary measures

  1. Pregnant women and their families, including those planning to get pregnant, should take great caution to avoid mosquitoes
  2. Those infected should be isolated in order to contain the spreading of the virus

Way forward

  1. Zika-associated birth defects could be a serious public health crisis in India
  2. Despite the recent announcement suggesting that the Jaipur Zika virus strains cannot cause foetal microcephaly, all possible measures to control transmission and monitor pregnancies should be taken



No double jeopardy bar if there was no trial: Supreme Court



Mains Paper 2: Indian Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Fundamental rights and their interpretation

Mains level: Read the attached story


  • The bar of double jeopardy does not arise if an accused was discharged of a criminal offence, even before the commencement of trial, on the basis of an invalid sanction for prosecution held the Supreme Court.


  1. The corruption case was filed by the Aizawl police in February 2009 for misappropriation of public money.
  2. During inquiry, it was detected that the respondent had acquired valuable assets disproportionate to known sources of income.
  3. The first invalid sanction for prosecution was issued by the Commissioner-Secretary, Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms (DP & AR) directly without the Governor’s approval.
  4. Following the discharge of the accused by the special court, the Governor accorded a fresh sanction in December 2013.
  5. The judgment is based on an appeal filed by the State of Mizoram against an order passed by the Gauhati High Court in August 2015.
  6. It upheld a Special Court decision to decline to entertain a second chargesheet filed in a corruption case against the accused, Dr. C. Sangnghina, on the ground of double jeopardy.

SC Ruling

  1. Article 20 (2) of the Constitution mandates that a person cannot be prosecuted or punished twice for the same offence.
  2. A Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee held in a judgment that if an accused has not been tried at all and convicted or acquitted, the principles of double jeopardy cannot be invoked at all.
  3. If an earlier order of sanction was found to be invalid, there is no bar for the competent authority to issue a proper order of sanction for prosecution.
  4. The courts are not to quash or stay the proceedings under any Act merely on the ground of an error, omission or irregularity in the sanction granted by the authority unless it is satisfied that such error, omission or irregularity has resulted in failure of justice, the SC observed.


Article 20 of the Indian Constitution

  1. The Article 20 is one of the pillars of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. It mainly deals with protection of certain rights in case of conviction for offences.
  2. When an individual as well as corporations are accused of crimes, the provisions of Article 20 safeguard their rights.
  3. The striking feature of the Article 20 is that it can’t be suspended during an emergency period.
  4. The Article has set certain limitations on the legislative powers of the Union and State legislatures.

Ex Post Facto Legislation 

  • The clause (1) of Article 20 protects individuals against ex post facto legislation, which means no individual can be convicted for actions that were committed before the enactment of the law.
  • In other words, when a legislature declares an act to be an offence or provides a penalty for an offence, it can’t make the law retroactive so as to prejudicially affect the individuals who have committed such acts prior to the enactment of that law.

Immunity from Double Punishment 

  • The Constitution of India prohibits double punishment for the same offence. That is reflected in the clause (2) of Article 20, which safeguards an individual from facing multiple punishments or successive criminal proceedings for the same crime.
  • According to this clause, no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.
  • If someone has been put on trial and punished in a previous proceeding of an offence, he can’t be prosecuted and punished for the same proceedings of an offence again in subsequent proceeding. If any law provides for the double punishment, it will be considered void.

No immunity from Proceedings

  • Although Article 20 disapproves of the doctrine of ‘Double Jeopardy’, it does not give immunity from proceedings before a court of law or tribunal.
  • Hence, a public servant who has been punished for an offence in a court of law may yet be subjected to departmental proceedings for the same offence.
  • It is to be noted that Article 20 provides protection against double punishment only when the accused has been ‘prosecuted’ and ‘punished’ once.
  • Also, the Article does not prevent subsequent trial and conviction for another offence even if the two offences have some common aspects.

Immunity from Self-Incrimination

  • The immunity from self-incrimination is conferred in the Article 20(3) of the constitution which states that the accused can never be compelled to be a witness against himself. In short, no individual can be forced to accuse himself.
  • The scope of this immunity has, prima facie, been widened by the Supreme Court by interpreting the word ‘witness’ as inclusive of both oral and documentary evidence.
  • Hence, no person can be compelled to furnish any kind of evidence, which is reasonably likely to support a prosecution against him.
  • This ‘Right to Silence’ is not called upon in case any object or document is searched and seized from the possession of the accused.
  • For the same reason, the clause does not bar the medical examination of the accused or the obtaining of thumb-impression or specimen signature from him.

This immunity is only limited to criminal proceedings. 

  • The Article 20 (3) can be rightfully used as an anchor only by those accused of an offence and against whom an FIR has been lodged, which in normal course would result in prosecution.




Ozone layer is recovering, says UN



Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Montreal Protocol, Kigali Agreement

Mains level: Success of international collaboration against Ozone Depletion


  • Evidence has shown that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3 percent per decade since 2000, a/c to UNEP and WMO.

Success of Montreal Protocol

  1. The four-yearly review of the Montreal Protocol, a 1987 ban on man-made gases that damage the fragile high-altitude ozone layer was held.
  2. It found that long-term decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances and the ongoing recovery of stratospheric ozone.
  3. The Antarctic ozone hole is recovering, while continuing to occur every year.
  4. As a result of the Montreal Protocol much more severe ozone depletion in the polar regions has been avoided.
  5. The Antarctic ozone hole was expected to gradually close, returning to 1980 levels in the 2060s, the report said.

Complete healing

  1. At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060.
  2. In the Arctic, annual variations were much larger, making it hard to confirm whether there had been a definite recovery in the layer since 2000.


  1. While most of the banned gases have been phased out, the report found at least one violation of the protocol: an unexpected increase in production and emissions of CFC-11 from eastern Asia since 2012.
  2. If CFC-11 emissions continued at the same rate, return of mid-latitude and polar ozone-depleting chemicals to their 1980 values would be delayed by about 7 and 20 years, respectively.


Montreal Protocol

  1. It seeks to cut the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer.
  2. It also aims at phase out HCFCs by 2030. It came into force in 1989 and has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified protocol in UN history.
  3. It is also highly successful international arrangement, as it has phased-out more than 95% of the ODS so far as per its main mandate in less than 30 years of its existence.
  4. Under the Montreal Protocol, the accelerated phase out of Hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) is underway with a aim to complete phase out by 2030 of these chemicals that result in ozone depletion and aid global warming.

Kigali Amendment

  1. The Kigali Amendment amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol that was designed to close growing ozone hole in by banning ozone-depleting coolants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  2. Thus, amended Montreal Protocol which was initially conceived only to plug gases that were destroying the ozone layer now includes HFCs responsible for global warming.
  3. This move will help to prevent a potential 0.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century.
  4. The Kigali Agreement or amended Montreal Protocol for HFCs reduction will be binding on countries from 2019.
  5. It also has provisions for penalties for non-compliance.
  6. Under it, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support estimated at billions of dollars globally.

Air Pollution

NASA’s Ralph and Lucy set to visit Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids in 2021


Image result for NASA’s Ralph and Lucy


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology |Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ralph, Lucy

Mains level: Space missions and their objectives


  • NASA’s Ralph — a space instrument that has travelled as far as Pluto — is set to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, which are remnants from the early days of the solar system.


  1. Ralph was first launched aboard the New Horizons spacecraft in 2006 and obtained stunning flyby images of Jupiter and its moons.
  2. This was followed by a visit to Pluto where Ralph took the first high-definition pictures of the iconic minor planet.
  3. In 2021, Ralph is set to journey with the Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.
  4. The instrument will fly by another Kuiper Belt object called 2014 MU69 nicknamed Ultima Thule in January 2019.
  5. Ralph’s observations of 2014 MU69 will provide unique insights into this small, icy world.

Lucy and L’Ralph

  1. The Lucy spacecraft carries a near-twin of Ralph, called L’Ralph, which will investigate Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.
  2. The L’Ralph instrument suite will study this diverse group of bodies.
  3. Lucy will fly by six Trojans and one Main Belt asteroid more than any other previous asteroid mission.
  4. L’Ralph will detect the Trojan asteroids’ chemical fingerprints.
  5. L’Ralph allows scientists to interpret data provided by the Sun’s reflected light that are the fingerprints of different elements and compounds.
  6. These data could provide clues about how organic molecules form in primitive bodies, a process that might also have led to the emergence of life on Earth.



China unveils new ‘Heavenly Palace’ space station as ISS days numbered


Related image


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology |Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Tiangong

Mains level: Space missions and their objectives


  1. China unveiled a replica of its first permanently crewed space station.
  2. It would replace the ISS, international community’s orbiting laboratory .

Tiangong- The Heavenly Palace

  1. The unveiled model is a 17-metre (55-foot) core module.
  2. It represented the living and working space of the Tiangong or “Heavenly Palace” which will also have two other modules for scientific experiments and will be equipped with solar panels.
  3. Three astronauts will be permanently stationed in the 60-tonne orbiting lab, which will enable the crew to conduct biological and microgravity research.
  4. Assembly is expected to be completed around 2022 and the station would have a lifespan of around 10 years.
  5. China will then have the only space station in orbit, though it will be much smaller than the ISS which weighs 400 tonnes and is as large as a football pitch.

Open for All

  1. China has announced that the lab would be open to “all countries” to conduct science experiments.
  2. Research institutes, universities, and public and private companies have been invited to propose projects.
  3. The European Space Agency has sent astronauts to China to receive training in order to be ready to work inside the Chinese space station once it is launched.


International Space Station

  1. The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit.
  2. It is collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan.
  3. The ISS is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth.
  4. The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields.
  5. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.
  6. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, and the last pressurized module was fitted in 2011 and is expected to operate until at least 2028.
  7. It consists of pressurized modules, external trusses, solar arrays.



[pib] Global Cooling Innovation Summit, New Delhi



Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Cooling Innovation Summit and Prize

Mains level: R&D in the field of climate resilient cooling technology


Global Cooling Innovation Summit

  1. Two-day summit will be inaugurated by Union Science & Technology Ministry in New Delhi.
  2. The Summit is a first-of-its-kind solutions-focused event that will bring together leaders from around the world to explore means and pathways to address the climate threat that comes from the growing demand from room air conditioners.

Global Cooling Prize

  1. The Global Cooling Prize – Mission Innovation challenge aims to spur development of a residential cooling solution that has at least five times (5x) less climate impact than today’s standard.
  2. It is a competition with global reach and participation to achieve dramatic breakthroughs in cooling technologies.
  3. The competition aims to develop a cooling technology that requires radically less energy to operate, utilizes refrigerants with no ozone depletion potential and with low global warming potential, and has the potential to be cost-effective at scale.

[pib] India joining as member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme



Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: AMF TCP

Mains level: International collaboration for alterative cleaner energy sources.


  • The Union Cabinet has been apprised of India joining as Member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme (AMF TCP) under International Energy Agency (IEA).

Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme

  1. AMF TCP is an international platform under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) for co-operation among countries to promote cleaner and more energy efficient fuels & vehicle technologies.
  2. The activities of AMF TCP are deployment and dissemination of Advanced Motor Fuels.
  3. It looks upon the transport fuel issues in a systemic way taking into account the production, distribution and end use related aspects.
  4. The primary goal of joining AMF TCP by India to bring down emissions and achieve higher fuel efficiency in transport sector.
  5. AMF TCP also provides an opportunity for fuel analysis, identifying new/ alternate fuels for deployment in transport sector and allied R&D activities for reduction in emissions in fuel intensive sectors.

India and Other Members

  1. AMF TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) to which India has “Association” status since 2017.
  2. Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has joined AMF TCP as its 16th member in May, 2018.
  3. The other member Countries of AMF TCP are USA, China, Japan, Canada, Chile, Israel, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Thailand.

Working of AMF TCP

  1. The R&D work in AMF TCP is carried out within individual projects called “Annex”.
  2. Over the years, more than 50 Annexes have been initiated in AMF TCP.
  3. A number of fuels have been covered in previous Annexes such as reformulated fuels (gasoline & diesel), biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel etc.), synthetic fuels (methanol, Fischer- Tropsch, DME etc.) and gaseous fuels.

India’s vision for Cleaner Fuel

  1. Our PM at UrjaSangam, 2015 had directed to reduce the import in energy sector by at least 10% by 2022.
  2. Subsequently, National Policy on Biofuels-2018 was notified which focuses on giving impetus to R&D in field of advanced biofuels such as 2G Ethanol, Bio-CNG, bio-methanol, Drop-in fuels, DME etc.

Implications for India

  1. India’s association with AMF TCP will help in furthering its efforts in identification & deployment of suitable fuels for transport sector for higher efficiency and lesser emissions.
  2. The benefits of participation in AMF TCP are shared costs and pooled technical resources.
  3. The duplication of efforts is avoided and national Research and Development capabilities are strengthened.
  4. There is an information exchange about best practices, network of researchers and linking research with practical implementation.
  5. After becoming member, India will initiate R&D in other areas of its interest in advanced biofuels and other motor fuels in view of their crucial role in substituting fossil fuel imports.



[pib] Cabinet approves laying down procedure and mechanism for Sale of Enemy Shares



Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Enemy Properties

Mains level: Utility of Funds from Enemy Properties in India


  • The Union Cabinet chaired by PM has approved the mechanism and procedure for sale of the enemy shares which approximately worth 3000 Crores Rs.

Defining Enemy

In the Act of 1968, the definition of “enemy” was as follows:

  • “Enemy” or “Enemy Subject” or “Enemy Firm” means a person or country who or which was an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm, as the case may be, under the Defence of India Act and Rules, but does not include a citizen of India.
  • In the amendment of 2017, this was substituted by “…. including his legal heir or successor, whether or not citizen of India or the citizen of a country which is not an enemy or the enemy….. who has changed his nationality”.

Enemy Properties Act 1968

  1. After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the custodian’s powers.
  2. The government amended the Act in the wake of a claim laid by the heirs of Raja Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan, known as Raja of Mahmudabad, on his properties spread across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
  3. The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the Central government.

Amendments to the Act

  1. The Enemy Property Act, 1968 provides for continued vesting of enemy property vested in the CEPI under the Defence of India Rules, 1962 and the Defence of India Rules, 1971.
  2. In 2017, through an amendment to this Act, vide Section 8A, the CEPI has been empowered for sale of enemy property. Further,
  3. According to amendment, as in sub-section 7 of section of the Enemy Property Act, 1968, Central Government may direct that disposal of enemy property shall be made by any other authority or Ministry or Department instead of Custodian.

Sale of Enemy Shares

  1. Sale of enemy shares under the Custody of Ministry of Home Affairs/ Custodian of Enemy Property of India (CEPI), as per sub-section 1 of section 8A of the Enemy Property Act, 1968.
  2. Department of Investment and Public Asset Management have been authorized under the provisions of sub-section 7 of section 8A of the Enemy Property Act, 1968, to sell the same.
  3. Sale proceeds are to be deposited as disinvestment proceeds in the Government Account maintained by Ministry of Finance.

Procedure of Disposal

  1. Before initiation of sale of any Enemy Shares, the CEPI shall certify that the sale of the Enemy Shares is not in contravention of any judgment, decree or order of any court, tribunal or other authority or any law.
  2. The intermediaries like Merchant Bankers, Legal Adviser, Selling Brokers etc. may be required for the disposal of movable enemy property.
  3. They will be appointed by Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) through an open tender/limited tender process.
  4. An Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) will guide the process of sale.

Impact of the move

  1. The decision will lead to monetization of movable enemy property lying dormant for decades. Sale proceeds from this may be used for development and social welfare programmes.
  2. With the amendment of 2017, an enabling legislative provision was created for the disposal of enemy property.
  3. With the approval a procedure and mechanism for sale of enemy shares and enabling framework has been institutionalized for their sale.