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Daily News Analysis 04-12-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India always for better ties with Nepal: Sushma (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the Rajya Sabha that Nepal has made progress in the dialogue on the contentious issues with the agitating parties.

2.

G77, China mount sharp attack on rich nations (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The developing country bloc of G77 and China launched a sharp attack on some developed countries at the climate talks for trying to amend the UNFCCC by tying finance to conditionalities in the draft agreement.

3.

UK starts bombing Syria after Commons support (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     British aircraft began bombing Syria just hours after the govt secured an overwhelming parliamentary vote in the House of Commons for military action against the Islamic State in the West Asian country.

4.

Myanmars best hope (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Aung San Suu Kyis meetings with Myanmars President Thein Sein and military chief General Min Aung Hlaing are highly significant, given the tumultuous civil-military relations in the Southeast Asian nation.

5.

GST Bill: government may go for compromise (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Of the three objections the Congress has on the GST Bill, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Modi govt is prepared to address two: it is willing to scrap the one percent additional origin tax proposed to help manufacturing states make up the losses they may incur due to GST by promising to make up those losses for five years and set up a grievance redressal mechanism.

6.

Ending politics of remission (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The verdict of a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on legal questions relating to grant of remission to life convicts exposes the haste with which the Tamil Nadu government acted in February 2014 in seeking to release the seven persons serving life terms for plotting to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

7.

Is India actually free of polio? (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Why New Delhi must not bask in the WHOs polio-free certification and, instead, have an ambitious plan to eradicate polio-like flaccid paralysis.

8.

India opposes attempts of rich nations to stall WTOs Doha Round talks (P15)

a)     Economy

a)     The government opposed alleged attempts of the developed world to abandon the 14-year-old Doha Round talks of th WTO at the coming Nairobi ministerial meeting by citing the slow progress of negotiations to liberalise world trade.

9.

Ancient idol to be restored (Page 20)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Authorities of the iconic Mahabaleshwar Temple in the coastal temple town of Gokarna in northern Karnataka have approached officials of the Mahalaxmi Temple in Maharashtras Kolhapur district seeking assistance in the restoration of a Ganesha idol.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India always for better ties with Nepal: Sushma (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepals crisis

c)     Nepals new Constitution

d)     Madhesis concerns

a)     External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the Rajya Sabha that Nepal has made progress in the dialogue on the contentious issues with the agitating parties.

b)     The Ministers statement on the situation in Nepal and State of Indo-Nepal Relation emphasised Indias commitment to better ties with the Himalayan country.

c)     Nepali sources have told that a major announcement would be made in the next few days in Kathmandu to begin the implementation of framework agreement between the govt of Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli and the agitating Madhesi political parties.

2.

G77, China mount sharp attack on rich nations (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Carbon emissions

d)     G77

e)     UNFCCC

f)     Kyoto Protocol

a)  The developing country bloc of G77 and China launched a sharp attack on some developed countries at the climate talks for trying to amend UNFCCC by tying finance to conditionalities in the draft agreement.

b)     In contrast to India (which has been maintaining a low key position), the G77+China group (India is a part of it) said the developed countries that had jumped out of Kyoto Protocol (or failed to ratify it) were introducing conditions for financing which were not part of the Framework Convention.

c)     A group of developed country parties were trying to introduce a condition that the finance mechanism for developing countries under the Paris agreement would depend on domestic mobilisation of resources.

d)     The G77+China views this as a deviation from what was agreed at the Climate Change conference held in Durban in 2011. The mandate at that event was for full implementation of the UNFCCC, and come up with an agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020.

e)     Two sharp issues raised by the group are on the inclusion of loosely defined text and conditionalities to financing. For instance, the draft says that developed countries in a position to do so will provide finances to help developing countries adapt. This is vague in legal terms, and difficult to enshrine in an agreement.

f)     The G77 group is also unhappy with the foregrounding of decarbonisation in the draft text. It says nowhere is the term mentioned in the UNFCCC, and slipping this into the Paris agreement would be dangerous as it could be used as a non-tariff barrier or to impose sanctions.

g)     India on Dec 3 adopted a moderate position, reiterating its commitment to scale up renewable energy, for which it was seeking international support, and declining to identify a likely date when its carbon emissions would peak.

3.

UK starts bombing Syria after Commons support (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

 

a)     British aircraft began bombing Syria just hours after govt secured an overwhelming parliamentary vote in the House of Commons for military action against the Islamic State in the West Asian country.

b)     The Commons voted 397 to 223 in support of the motion with 66 Labour Members of Parliament voting in support, and seven Conservatives voting against it. Fifty three of the Scottish National Party MPs voted against the motion. The mandate resulted in a 174 majority, which gave PM David Cameron the clear support he was looking for.

c)     He claimed that the recent resolution passed by the UNSC established the legality of the operation. His arguments meant to dispel widespread scepticism over the figure of 70000 ground troops from anti-IS forces in Syria did not convince his critics.

4.

Myanmars best hope (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Myanmars internal issues

b)     Myanmars Constitution

c)     National League for Democracy (NLD)

a)     Aung San Suu Kyis meetings with Myanmars President Thein Sein and military chief General Min Aung Hlaing are highly significant, given tumultuous civil-military relations in the Southeast Asian nation.

b)     The military-written Constitution bars Suu Kyi from becoming the President because her children are not Burmese, and it reserves key Ministries, including defence, interior and border security, for the military. Gen. Aung Hlaing has already said there would not be any change in the Constitution to let Suu Kyi become the President.

c)     Suu Kyi is the best hope Myanmar has at this point of time. She is a stout democrat and widely popular, and her party has a legitimate mandate to lead the country, which faces several problems from poverty to ethnic conflict.

d)     One of the reasons the military agreed to a transition to a more democratic set-up was the realisation that it could not rule the country with an iron fist forever. Despite years of suppression, the political opposition has been resolute. Besides, the internal dynamics of the Myanmar society remain fragile.

e)     The govts efforts to end the civil war with ethnic groups through negotiated agreements were only partially successful as rebels in the region bordering China refused to sign ceasefire pacts in October. The country also faces a huge economic challenge. What Myanmar needs now is a leader who can unify the people and take the country to a new era of social and political democracy.

5.

GST Bill: government may go for compromise (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill

b)     Constitution Amendment Bill

c)     Lok Sabha

d)     Rajya Sabha

e)     Parliament

a)     Of the three objections the Congress has on the GST Bill, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Modi govt is prepared to address two: it is willing to scrap the one percent additional origin tax proposed to help manufacturing states make up the losses they may incur due to GST by promising to make up those losses for five years and set up a grievance redressal mechanism.

b)     On the third (capping the GST) a committee headed by the govts Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian is preparing a report that could be out this week.

c)     Instead of one fixed GST rate, the govt is exploring the possibility of going for a tax band, which can start at a low of 18 percent and a high of 24 percent.

6.

Ending politics of remission (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

b)     Death penalty

c)     Power of remission

d)     Supreme Court

a)  The verdict of a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on legal questions relating to grant of remission to life convicts exposes the haste with which the Tamil Nadu govt acted in Feb 2014 in seeking to release the seven persons serving life terms for plotting to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

b)     The courts finding that the Central govt has primacy in according remission to life convicts in a case of this nature is a political setback to CM Jayalalithaa. It was apparent that she wanted to be seen as a champion of Tamil rights rather than stern opponent of terrorism that she was believed to be.

c)     However, the larger significance here is that the court has barred State govts from invoking their statutory remission power for premature release of those sentenced by a High Court or the Supreme Court to a specified term above 14 years without remission.

d)   It indicates that those whose death sentences are altered to life terms will have to spend the rest of their life in prison. At the same time, it has kept a small door open for life convicts by declaring that one who had got the benefit of commutation of death sentence to life is not barred from getting remission from the executive.

e)     In any case, it has said the constitutional powers of the President and the Governor for grant of clemency remain untouched. The State govt will now have to get concurrence of the Centre in cases investigated by Central agencies before it can use its power of remission to release convicts. The court rejected the idea that a State govt can remit prison terms on its own without following the prescribed procedure.

7.

Is India actually free of polio? (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Polio Virus

b)     Wild Polio Virus (WPV)

c)     Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV)

d)    Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP)

e)     Vaccine Derived Polio Virus (VDPV)

f)     NPAFP (non-polio AFP)

g)     WHO

a)     According to the author, India has not reported a single case of polio caused by the wild polio virus since Jan 2012. It is important to note that it also received a polio-free certificate from the WHO in 2014, after a nervous 2-year wait to establish that the country can indeed maintain its polio-free status.

b)     The polio virus causes paralysis (medically known as an AFP) which is characterised by sudden muscle weakness, and fever in one or more limbs. AFP can occur due to many reasons, one of which is vaccine-linked.

c)     WHO certified freeness only from WPV, a condition which India still meets. Other cases of the same condition are called non-polio AFP.

d)     Between January 2014 and March 2015, India reported four cases from four different States, of vaccine-derived polio. This is not all. Until November this year, the country has reported 36,968 cases of non-polio AFP. There has been a surge of non-polio AFP since India eradicated polio. The number of cases reported in 2012 was 59,436, in 2013 it was 53,421, and in 2014 it was 53,383.

e)     Three years after India reported its last case of WPV, the country has been reporting around 50,000 cases of flaccid paralysis that is exactly like polio, indicating how hollow the polio-free status is.

f)     At present, the govts only strategy to combat the invisible kinds of polio is the addition of IPV. As per the WHO norms, the best way to cope with cases of NPAFP and VDPV is a synchronised switch from trivalent to bivalent Oral polio vaccine, which India has already done. To further prevent risk of re-emergence, a booster dose of inactivated polio vaccine is recommended in routine immunisation, prior to the switch.

g)     A 2005 study in the Indian Journal of Medical Research on NPAFP found that a fifth of cases of NPAFP were reported from Uttar Pradesh. This means that children who had NPAFP are more than twice at risk of dying than those who get infected with WPR.

h)     We may be polio-free but we are reporting the worlds largest number of NPAFP. We need an urgent policy intervention to address NPAFP and VDPV with the same urgency and political will with which we addressed the wild polio virus cases.

i)     For now, the govt is still basking in glory of one of its rare public health achievements since Independence, and is patting itself on the back for eradicating polio even while cases of flaccid paralysis have seen a serious resurgence. For a parent whose child has been diagnosed with flaccid paralysis polio or the non-polio kind, nomenclature offers little consolation.

8.

India opposes attempts of rich nations to stall WTOs Doha Round talks (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Nairobi Ministerial meeting of WTO

b)     Doha Development Round

c)     Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM)

a)     The govt opposed alleged attempts of the developed world to abandon the 14-year-old Doha Round talks of the WTO at coming Nairobi ministerial meeting by citing the slow progress of negotiations to liberalise world trade.

b)     The Nairobi ministerial meeting is slated to be held during Dec 15-18. The Doha Development Round (the ongoing negotiation round of the WTO for a pact to open up world trade by lowering or eliminating barriers) had begun in 2001.

c)     Official said one group of countries (indirectly referring to the rich world) was not only stonewalling the Doha Round talks, but also was making efforts to introduce new issues into the round.

d)     These new issues include labour and environmental standards, e-commerce, global value chains and promotion of supply chains, environmental and sustainable goods produced using clean and green energy, transparency in government procurement, state-owned enterprises and designated monopolies, besides competition and investment provisions.

e)     Protecting the interests of poor farmers was paramount for India, along with other developing nations. India has been pushing for an effective SSM in this regard. 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.

f)     India also wants the rich countries to drastically reduce their trade distorting farm subsidies.

g)     Another item that India desires to be taken up on priority at 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.

h)     India also wants an effective implementation of a package for least developed countries including duty-free and quota-free market access for them as well as decisions on preferential rules of origin, on the operationalisation of the LDC services waiver and in the area of cotton.

9.

Ancient idol to be restored (Page 20)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Mahabaleshwar Temple

b)     Kadamba dynasty

a)     Authorities of the iconic Mahabaleshwar Temple in the coastal temple town of Gokarna in northern Karnataka have approached officials of the Mahalaxmi Temple in Maharashtras Kolhapur district seeking assistance in the restoration of a Ganesha idol.

b)     The Mahabaleshwar Temple (suffused with Indias ancient heritage and religiosity) was built during the reign of the Kadamba dynasty that held sway over the State during the 4th-6th centuries CE.

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