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Daily News Analysis 30-11-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Hopes rise for Paris climate deal (Pages 1, 13 and 14)

a)     International

 

a)     Paris prepares to host the UNFCCC beginning on Nov 30, raising expectations that the participation of nearly 150 Presidents, Prime Ministers and heads of state in a leadership event will bring about a good agreement.

2.

India questions OECD claim on climate finance (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     International

a)     On a day when PM Modi left for Paris to take part in the climate change conference, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said India questioned the correctness of the recent report by the OECD, which claimed a significant progress on a road map to achieve $100 billion in climate change finance annually by 2020.

3.

Why India must up the stakes in Paris (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     While India should not hesitate to defend its interests at the climate negotiations, it should be careful to not paint itself into a corner.

4.

Fresh row breaks out as Nepal detains 13 Indian border guards (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India-Nepal ties hit another flashpoint after 13 personnel of the Sashastra Seema Bal were detained by the Nepal Armed Police Force in Jhapa, Nepal.

5.

Chinese envoy hopeful of closer trade ties with Northeast (Page 9)

a)     I.R

a)     Manipur is one of the States that have responded positively to China’s call to enhance trade and cultural contacts between the southern Chinese provinces and eastern India.

6.

Iran demands closure of IAEA probe (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Iran said there would be no final implementation of a nuclear deal with world powers unless a probe into allegations of past weapons research is closed.

7.

Secularism and the Constitution (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The current winter session of Parliament was expected to add clarity to the ongoing debate on tolerance (or the lack of it) in the country.

8.

Minority rights absolute, Ambedkar said (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)  B.R. Ambedkar (the Chairman of Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution) had strongly pitched for minority rights as the Constituent Assembly discussed the interim report on Fundamental Rights on May 1 1947.

9.

Dont entertain PIL plea against individuals: SC (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Supreme Court has ruled that public interest litigation petition essentially directed against one particular individual or organisation should not be entertained.

10.

India for protection of poor farmers interests at Nairobi WTO meet (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     At the forthcoming Nairobi meeting of the World Trade Organisation, India will put all its energies on pushing through a plan meant to protect the interests and livelihood of poor and vulnerable farmers.

11.

We believe RBI will keep interest rates unchanged (Page 12)

a)     Economy

a)    SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya says the central bank is likely to keep the interest rates unchanged, given the uncertainty over what the US Federal Reserve may do in December.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Hopes rise for Paris climate deal (Pages 1, 13 and 14)

a)     International

 

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Carbon emissions

d)     UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC)

e)     Kyoto Protocol

a)     Paris prepares to host the UNFCCC beginning on Nov 30, raising expectations that the participation of nearly 150 Presidents, PMs and heads of state in a leadership event will bring about a good agreement.

b)     The high-profile opening event at which US President Obama is to join Chinas President Xi Jinping and PM Modi, is intended to signal the seriousness with which climate change is being approached at CoP21, the conference of member countries.

c)     France (the host) has been pursuing diplomacy with govts most connected with the issue. For India and other developing countries, the momentum that has built around the Paris conference is an opportunity to press their case for funds from the First World.

d)     On Nov 29, Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said that we have to move forward from the Kyoto Protocol (which is in effect till 2020), and developed countries must accept their responsibility for the 75 or 80 percent of emissions already in the atmosphere.

e)     As a signal of Indias own resolve to act on the emissions issue, PM Modi will inaugurate the solar alliance of countries with the maximum potential to tap the suns energy, and also deliver his address as part of the Leaders Event at the UNFCCC.

f)     The voluntary pledges being made by countries with significant emissions including India to reduce their carbon use, are seen as key steps that can aid the Paris process.

g)  On the issue of raising funds to help developing countries mitigate their carbon emissions, and help communities adapt to climate change consequences, Javadekar said that this was easily achievable if rich countries taxed their coal use as India did, at the rate of about 4 four dollars a tonne.

h)     Funding poor countries with 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 is one of the decided actions under the UNFCCC, although only pledges totalling about ten billion have come in so far. Moreover, in US, there is little support for funds being given for emission cuts abroad.

i)     US Secretary of State John Kerry had said that the Paris outcome would not be a legally binding treaty, apparently hinting at the difficulty of getting such a deal through the US Congress.

j)     The US appears careful not to be confrontational with India ahead of the Paris climate conference after New Delhi reacted sharply to Kerrys statement earlier this month that India would be a challenge in negotiations.

2.

India questions OECD claim on climate finance (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

 

a)     On a day when PM Modi left for Paris to take part in the climate change conference, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said India questioned the correctness of recent report by OECD, which claimed a significant progress on a road map to achieve $100 billion in climate change finance annually by 2020.

b)     A discussion paper said the OECD report (Climate Finance in 2013-14 and the $100-billion goal) had mentioned that the developed countries and their private sector had provided $62 billion in climate finance flows during 2014 (up from $52 billion during 2013) and an average of $57 billion a year over 2013-14.

c)     Describing the OECD as a club of the rich countries, the paper said the Paris conference and negotiators would need to worry about the credibility of the OECD report.

d)     It said a road map for increasing climate change finance was urgent and a must in Paris. The amounts of annual finance flowing from the rich to poor countries (which were new and additional) remained extremely low.

e)     The report comes even as the rich nations have asked the emerging economies like India to take greater responsibility in mitigating climate change.

3.

Why India must up the stakes in Paris (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Carbon emissions

d)     Principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR)

e)     Kyoto Protocol

a)     According to the author, the Paris climate negotiations are a pivotal moment for global climate policy and carry huge implications for Indias developmental future.

b)     The Paris outcome could affect the extent to which India faces dangerous impacts from climate change, which will magnify its development challenges. But it could also impact whether India faces undue global pressure to prematurely cap its emissions or limit its use of fossil fuels for development.

c)     As a highly vulnerable country, with relatively high energy efficiency, low per capita carbon emissions, and a respectable track record of domestic initiatives, India has a good hand. But it has to play it well.

d)     India needs to argue for a more, not less, effective agreement in Paris. This must strengthen obligations for all and promote equity. The agreement must also operationalise the oft-cited principle of CBDR that tailors the obligations of countries to their responsibilities and capabilities.

e)     There are several components to this strategy. First, India needs to join the gathering consensus that 2015 agreement will take the form of a legally binding treaty. A treaty signals highest expression of political will, generates accountability and predictability in implementation, and typically survives national political changes.

f)   Second, the Paris agreement will likely be a hybrid one containing bottom-up elements comprising nationally determined contributions to climate action (mitigation, adaptation, and supportive actions such as finance), and some top-down elements such as how these contributions are reviewed and updated.

g)     India needs to argue for a more, not less, effective review and update process. A process that includes regular, five-year updates based on a global aggregate stocktaking of country contributions is in Indias interest as a highly vulnerable country.

h)     This stocktaking process should include consideration, albeit in principle, of equity and fairness in the assessment of aggregate progress towards the objective of the agreement - in particular, its temperature goal. It should also include consideration of the implementation not just of mitigation but also of financial and other support obligations.

i)     Third, India needs a complementary but nuanced approach to ensure that such a review, update and stocktaking process maintains pressure on industrialised countries with much higher levels of total cumulative emissions over time, and far higher per capita emissions, and is not used to pressure India.

j)     The latter is a real concern - our review of existing studies suggests that even with Indias ambitious renewable energy targets, coal-fired electricity will provide the majority of our electric power at least through 2030. The principle of CBDR, and the differentiation that flows from it, will need to be thoughtfully articulated and operationalised to ensure that India has the necessary carbon space to develop.

k)     Although the template provided by the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol for differentiated responsibility has served India well thus far, given the fundamentally different conceptual architecture of the 2015 agreement and the realpolitik, a more tailored approach to differentiation is now necessary.

l)     This tailored approach to differentiation will need to build on the notion of self-differentiation, in which countries implicitly place themselves along a spectrum of actions through their climate pledges. Such an approach can be accomplished through a mix of implicit and explicit signals to guide the self-differentiation process.

m)  At the core of this approach is the idea that India seeks an ambitious and effective Paris agreement, but one founded on every country leveraging up its pledges and actions in a manner that recognises different starting points and responsibilities. The alternative is to play for a weak agreement, one that is unlikely to place pressure on India, but will let developed countries off the hook as well.

n)     Implementing this strategy of leveraging up will be a challenge, requiring going beyond rote recitation of ideas and text from an earlier era. Instead, it will take detailed and clever textual negotiation using concepts such as progression, and careful alliance building with those who support an effective and equitable climate agreement.

4.

Fresh row breaks out as Nepal detains 13 Indian border guards (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

c)     Nepal Armed Police Force (APF)

d)     Nepals new Constitution

e)     Madhesis concerns

a)    India-Nepal ties hit another flashpoint after 13 personnel of the Sashastra Seema Bal were detained by the Nepal Armed Police Force in Jhapa, Nepal. They were released after several hours in custody.

b)    Sources said the govt would not react officially, so as not to further harm bilateral relations that have deteriorated since Nepal promulgated a Constitution that India has objected to. However, the govt of PM K.P. Sharma Oli has consistently accused India of fuelling Madhesi protests against the Constitution, a charge India denies.

5.

Chinese envoy hopeful of closer trade ties with Northeast (Page 9)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Trade ties

c)     Cultural ties

a)     Chinese Ambassador to India Le Yucheng has said he is delighted to visit Manipur because he is perhaps the first Chinese diplomat to set foot in the Northeast, which is close to China.

b)   Manipur is one of the States that have responded positively to Chinas call to enhance trade and cultural contacts between the southern Chinese provinces and eastern India. Formal cooperation is yet to increase between the countries in the region, but people-to-people contact has gone up immensely over the last decade.

c)     Manipur (which is closest to the Chinese border) played a proactive role in enhancing bilateral cooperation. Manipuri students were encouraged to study at universities in south-west China and many legislators visited the country to step up cultural and trade ties.

6.

Iran demands closure of IAEA probe (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     IAEA

a)    Iran said there would be no final implementation of nuclear deal with world powers unless a probe into allegations of past weapons research is closed.

b)   The declaration comes after the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said a report into the possible military dimensions of Irans activities would not be black and white.

7.

Secularism and the Constitution (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Secularism

b)     Constitution of India

 

a)     The current winter session of Parliament was expected to add clarity to the ongoing debate on tolerance (or the lack of it) in the country. But before the issue was taken up, the BJP-led NDA govt came up with the idea of a 2-day debate on how far the values of Constitution are being understood today.

b)     The occasion was to mark the 125th birth anniversary year of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in Constituent Assembly on Nov 26 1949.

c)     The secularism is a core value in the constitutional system has always been beyond debate, and its inviolability as a principle of governance has been taken for granted. Whenever the subject was debated in independent India, it was in terms of questioning the balance between the rule of equality before law and the exception in the interest of protecting rights of minorities.

d)     Home Minister Rajnath Singhs contention that secularism is the most misused word in Indian politics and that the time has come to end such misuse came close to questioning the continuing relevance of the very concept of secularism. It is indeed true that the Constitution originally had no reference to secularism, and that the word was introduced only in 1976.

e)     Yet, in terms of emphasis it gave to religious freedom, freedom of conscience, equality and non-discrimination, the Constitution was indeed imbued with the secular spirit. The 42nd Amendment merely made it explicit.

f)     Given the attempt by a previous NDA regime (1998-2004) to force a review of the Constitution, it is natural that those committed to secularism read in Rajnath Singhs remarks an attempt to dilute the concept. PM Modis intervention in the debate, ruling out any such review and reaffirming his govts commitment to the core principles of the Constitution, must be welcomed.

8.

Minority rights absolute, Ambedkar said (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Constitution of India

b)     Fundamental Rights

c)     Directive Principles

d)     Minority rights

e)     Secularism

f)     Socialism

a)     B.R. Ambedkar (Chairman of Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution) had strongly pitched for minority rights as the Constituent Assembly discussed the interim report on Fundamental Rights on May 1 1947. However, more than a year later, he opposed a proposal to insert the words socialist and secular in Article 1 of the Constitution.

b)     Protesting against Munshis proposal that the clause forbidding discrimination against minorities in admission to state educational institutions and prohibiting compulsory religious instruction to them be referred to a committee for further consideration, Ambedkar said in 1947 that the rights for minorities should be absolute rights. They should not be subject to any consideration as to what another party may like to do to minorities within its jurisdiction.

c)     While saying nothing specific on secularism, Ambedkar suggested that though socialism might be seen by most as better than capitalism in those days, people in future might prefer another form of social organisation. However, he added that some Directive Principles did have a socialist direction.

d)  Ambedkar was disappointed even with Jawaharlal Nehrus resolution on the Aims and Objects of the Constitution moved on Dec 13 1946, which laid down justice, equality, freedom of expression and belief, faith and worship and safeguards for minorities and backward classes as among the objectives of the Constitution.

e)     He saw as pure pedantry and unnecessary repeating the values enshrined in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, which were by now part and parcel of our mental makeup.

9.

Dont entertain PIL plea against individuals: SC (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Public interest litigation (PIL) petition

b)     Supreme Court

a)     The Supreme Court has ruled that public interest litigation petition essentially directed against one particular individual or organisation should not be entertained.

b)    The Supreme Court (which had once revolutionised Indian legal system by empowering a public spirited citizen or a third person to fight in court to extend social justice to the poor and needy) had in recent times not shied away from imposing heavy costs on PIL petitioners.

10.

India for protection of poor farmers interests at Nairobi WTO meet (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Nairobi meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

b)     Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM)

c)     G-33

d)     Uruguay Round of WTO global trade pact negotiations

a)    At the forthcoming Nairobi meeting of the WTO, India will put all its energies on pushing through a plan meant to protect the interests and livelihood of poor and vulnerable farmers.

b)    The Indian position echoed the one recently proposed by the G-33 on an effective SSM. The G33 is a coalition of 48 nations including India, Indonesia and China, which took up the issue of developing countries getting considerable flexibility in limiting market opening of agriculture sector.

c)    The SSM is a trade remedy that would allow developing countries to temporarily hike import duties on farm products to counter sudden import surges and price falls, thereby, protecting the interests of poor farmers. The same issue had led to the breakdown of a WTO ministerial meeting in July 2008.

d)   It has been generally agreed that the developing countries could have an SSM, but developed countries including the US have opposed a proposal to enable developing countries to raise tariffs (using SSM) over and above the duty commitments made by them (developing countries) in the farm sector during the earlier Uruguay Round of WTO global trade pact negotiations.

e)     The Uruguay Round took place before the current Doha Round talks that began in 2001. The new SSM proposal was to include provisions to empower developing countries to impose additional duties (temporarily) on agriculture products when their imports breach specified ceilings on price or volume

f)     India wants this SSM proposal to be taken up on a high priority-basis during WTO ministerial meeting at Nairobi (Kenya) slated to start on Dec 15, sources said that there will not be any compromise on this (SSM) issue as it involves protection of poor farmers, which is of course a politically sensitive matter.

g)     However, the developed world (including the US, EU, Australia, along with leading agriculture producer and exporter Brazil) has expressed their disagreement with the proposal.

h)     Official sources said the developing countries including India had (during recent discussions at the WTO) wanted an effective SSM for addressing volatilities and instabilities causing import surges and price depressions.

i)     Another item that India wants to be taken up on priority at the Nairobi meeting is that of arriving at a permanent solution to the issue of public food stockholding in developing countries for the purpose of food security.

11.

We believe RBI will keep interest rates unchanged (Page 12)

a)     Economy

a)     Monetary policy

b)     RBI

c)     US Federal Reserve

a)    SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya says the central bank is likely to keep the interest rates unchanged, given the uncertainty over what the US Federal Reserve may do in December.

b)     She expresses the confidence that the asset quality of Indias largest public sector bank will improve even though a few sectors and some large accounts need to be monitored.

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