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Daily News Analysis 08-12-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Sushma to attend meet in Pak, govt draws flak (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In the first visit by a Cabinet Minister of the Modi govt to Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Islamabad on Dec 8 to attend an Afghanistan conference, and meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and her counterpart Sartaj Aziz.

2.

Kargil was best chance to cross LoC (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     National Conference working president and former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has defended his fathers (Farooq Abdullahs) remarks that India cannot take Pakistan-occupied Kashmir away from Pakistan saying the Kargil war in 1999 provided an opportunity to cross the LoC but India preferred to respect its sanctity.

3.

Madhesis reject Nepals package (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     In a setback to peacemaking efforts by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the UMDF of Nepal rejected the Framework Agreement that the Nepal government had presented as a breakthrough solution to the nearly four-month-long economic blockade.

4.

India-based JV being considered for supply of Sukhoi-30 spares (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India and Russia are exploring the possibility of setting up a joint venture in India to improve supply of spares for the Sukhoi-30 frontline fighter aircraft.

5.

Vacate carbon space: India to West (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     Painted as a roadblock in the climate negotiations by many on its plans to use more coal and defer scrutiny for GHG emissions, India adopted an aggressive position and asked developed countries how their economies could grow without growth in India and other developing nations.

6.

Test of political will on GST (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The BJP-led NDA govt has rolled up its sleeves for the ongoing winter session of Parliament in a bid to guarantee the passage of the Constitution amendment Bill that will usher in a Goods and Services Tax.

7.

Amber signal on Delhi pollution (Page 10)

a)     National

a)     The Aam Aadmi Party govt in Delhi has announced a slew of measures to address the very poor air quality and pollution in the nations capital.

8.

India open to non-binding talks on new issues at WTO meet (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     In a significant change of tack to project a positive approach, India said it was open to non-binding discussions on new issues such as environment and labour that the rich world wants to initiate at the WTOs coming Nairobi meet, provided it is able to protect the interests of poor farmers and food security.

9.

Science equipment and groceries on way to ISS (Page 20)

a)     S&T

a)     Carrying over 3000 kg pounds of research material that will directly support over dozens of key investigations on the orbiting laboratory, a cargo-laden Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft soared towards the ISS.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Sushma to attend meet in Pak, govt draws flak (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     NSA talks

c)     Directors General of Military Operations

d)     Border Security Force (BSF)

e)     Pakistani Rangers

f)     Heart of Asia conference

g)     SAARC summit

 

a)     In the first visit by a Cabinet Minister of the Modi govt to Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Islamabad on Dec 8 to attend an Afghanistan conference, and meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and her counterpart Sartaj Aziz.

b)     However, the fact that it comes just days after meeting between PMs Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Paris, and the four-hour talks between NSAs and Foreign Secretaries, means the groundwork would have been laid on discussing the way forward in the dialogue.

c)    Other discussions that could be held would be on enhancing trade ties and liberalising the visa regime.

d)     In a joint press release issued in Bangkok on Dec 6, the two sides had spoken about peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquillity along the LoC.

e)     Swarajs visit to Pakistan comes at the end of a year that has seen many stops and starts in bilateral relationship, marred by a significant increase in cross-LoC firing, and a number of terror attacks that India had traced to Pakistan.

f)     Next year is likely to see more opportunities for high-level engagements, as India will host the Heart of Asia conference in New Delhi, and Pakistan will host the SAARC summit in Islamabad.

g)     With the NSAs of India and Pakistan breaking the bilateral impasse in Bangkok on Dec 6, expectations have risen in the establishment about a significant step forward on the security front by both the sides.

h)    A meeting of NSAs in New Delhi, and meeting of the DGMO, as well as that of Directors General of the BSF and Pakistan Rangers were the three key elements contained in the Ufa joint statement issued after a meeting between Modi and Sharif.

2.

Kargil was best chance to cross LoC (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Kargil war

c)     Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)

d)     LoC

 

a) National Conference working president and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah has defended his fathers (Farooq Abdullahs) remarks that India cannot take PoK away from Pakistan saying the Kargil war in 1999 provided an opportunity to cross the LoC but India preferred to respect its sanctity.

b)    In an interview, he claimed that during the Kargil war there were express instructions that no man or machine would cross LoC. We did more to maintain the sanctity of the LoC than Pakistan did. If the Parliament resolution was our guiding light then Kargil was the best excuse for us to cross the LoC and take back some territory.

c) Reflecting a change in earlier stand to convert the LoC into a border, he said People of the two parts of J&K (which have been artificially divided) should be allowed to reunite. Whether that reunification takes place under a sovereign arrangement or this sort of thing where the LoC is converted into a de facto border and then is made softer and irrelevant border.

d)     Calling for resumption of dialogue process on internal and external dimension of Kashmir, the former CM said his party would once again take to people the autonomy as a solution. He said the Autonomy is the cornerstone of our political identity.

3.

Madhesis reject Nepals package (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepal crisis

c)     Nepals new Constitution

d)     Madhesis concerns

e)     United Madhesi Democratic Front (UMDF)

a)   In a setback to peacemaking efforts by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the UMDF of Nepal rejected the Framework Agreement that the Nepal government had presented as a breakthrough solution to the nearly four-month-long economic blockade.

b)     The Madhesi delegation (which is on a four-day visit to Delhi) has conveyed to New Delhi that the ongoing protest in the Madhes region is the third in the recent history of Nepal and therefore has acquired the kind of intensity that can be witnessed at the Birgunj border trade post where India has a consulate.

c)     The Madhesi leaders pointed out that Nepals new Constitution has curtailed the rights of citizenship and equality that were granted in the interim constitution which was in place.  

4.

India-based JV being considered for supply of Sukhoi-30 spares (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Russia relations

b)     Defence ties

c)     Sukhoi-30

d)     Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)

a)     India and Russia are exploring the possibility of setting up a joint venture in India to improve supply of spares for Sukhoi-30 frontline fighter aircraft. They are also in advance negotiations for a long term agreement for spares for the fleet, of which just over 50 per cent are operational at any given point of time.

b)  The agreement will simplify the bureaucratic procedures for procuring spares and hence cut the time required to process any request from the Air Force by simplifying procedures like customs, bank guarantees, letter of credit and so on. The prices for spares and a method for price escalation will also be factored in.

c)     Official said that India and Russia started working on a long-term agreement in 2006 and eventually agreed on a technical assistance agreement in 2012 for aircraft maintenance and spares which brought down time of repairs of aircraft to be sent to Russia from 8-15 months to 60 days.

d)     India has contracted for 272 Su-30 MKI aircraft and the Air Force has already inducted over 200 of them with HAL licensing manufacturing the aircraft in India.

5.

Vacate carbon space: India to West (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

d)     Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

e)     UNFCCC

 

a)     Painted as a roadblock in the climate negotiations by many on its plans to use more coal and defer scrutiny for GHG emissions, India adopted an aggressive position and asked developed countries how their economies could grow without growth in India and other developing nations.

b)     India is being asked for a peaking date for coal use, as China has provided, and urged to adopt a five-yearly periodic review of its national emission reduction pledges.

c)  Union Environment Minister Javadekar said that India had no problem with freezing the worlds carbon emissions at the current level, to avoid any further man-made rise in global temperatures over 0.8 degrees C, but that would leave no space for growth. Developed countries had already occupied two-thirds of the 3 gigatonne carbon emissions space in the atmosphere available to stop a rise in temperatures beyond 2 degrees C.

d)    India said it did not believe the present forecast for a rise in global temperatures to 2.7 degrees C based on voluntary pledges (INDCs) made by 186 nations was the only scenario, because there would be technological developments during the coming years which would curb the increase.

e)    Taking head-on the issue of coal, he said that criticism of India ignored the fact that the country proposed a seven-fold rise in renewable power capacity, after which coal consumption will definitely come down. But in absolute terms, the US and many other countries had more emissions from coal than India did.

f)     On the second contentious issue of a periodic review under a Paris agreement, India is arguing that the voluntary pledges submitted are for a 10-year cycle from 2020. After that period, it could give more progressive INDCs. However, what is evident is that there is pressure from vulnerable countries such as islands and many poor nations that will be affected the most due to climate events, to tighten the emission targets in shorter cycles.

g)     He said climate change is a bigger challenge, and presents an extraordinary situation and calls for extraordinary solutions, demanding that the developed world deliver on its promise of providing $100 billion to developing nations as annual climate finance from 2020.

6.

Test of political will on GST (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill

b)     Constitution Amendment Bill

c)     Lok Sabha

d)     Rajya Sabha

e)     Parliament

a)      The BJP-led NDA govt has rolled up its sleeves for the ongoing winter session of Parliament in a bid to guarantee the passage of the Constitution amendment Bill that will usher in a GST.

b)    The govt (which has staked a lot of political capital on ensuring that the April 1 target deadline for the implementation of GST is met) has moved to try to build a consensus through a combination of political outreach and an internal reappraisal of some of the contentious features of the tax measure.

c)     A panel headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has recommended the government make some modifications to its proposals that are seen as helping to pave the way for a resolution of the political deadlock over the Bill.

d)    Among key suggestions are that the govt drop the proposed additional 1 percent levy on inter-State sales over and above the GST rate, and that alcohol and petroleum products be included in the ambit of the tax. However, the panel shied away from endorsing the Congresss demand for writing into the statute an explicit cap of 18 per cent on the standard rate of tax.

e) It is now time both sides rose above partisan considerations. That the implementation of GST will help reduce cascading impact of the prevailing multiplicity of taxes has been well-established. The projected benefit to the economy from an expected improvement in administration and compliance of the indirect tax regime is also fairly beyond doubt.

f)     The challenge will remain in warding off incipient inflationary pressures in early stages of the implementation of the tax, and enlightened politics is needed here.

7.

Amber signal on Delhi pollution (Page 10)

a)     National

a)     Pollution

b)     Air Pollution

c)     Air Quality Index

d)     Bus Rapid Transit System

e)     Compressed Natural Gas-powered vehicles

a)    The Aam Aadmi Party govt in Delhi has announced a slew of measures to address the very poor air quality and pollution in the nations capital. In principle, it is a largely welcome move that could push the needle for anti-pollution measures to be adopted by other Indian cities as well.

b)   These are possibly the most significant steps taken after the introduction of Compressed Natural Gas-powered vehicles in the city that are widely accepted as having helped reduce pollution.

c)     The benefits of this emphasis by the govt on regulations to address the citys alarming air pollution levels will depend on the manner of implementation as well as other concomitant actions.

d)     The announced measures include the closing down of two thermal power plants, pushing the entry time of trucks into the city late into the night, the advancing of the cut-off date for Euro-VI emission norms, among others. But the proposal that has predictably received the most attention is the one on regulating private vehicle use by means of licence plate restrictions.

e)     These curbs (that are to be implemented temporarily from Jan 1 2016) will allow private four-wheelers and two-wheelers access to Delhis roads only on alternate dates based on even/odd licence plate numbers.

f)     Cities such as Bogota, Beijing, Mexico City and Paris have implemented such restrictions in the past, amongst other reforms to decongest vehicle traffic and to reduce air pollution through expanding public transport and zoning certain areas as low emissions only.

g)     Licence plate restrictions by themselves are somewhat problematic: all private vehicles are treated equally, irrespective of their purpose and fuel they use. To mitigate this, the Delhi govt has relaxed the restrictions in case of emergency use. Other exceptions such as car-pooling by multiple commuters should have also been considered.

h)     The larger point is that, without a concomitant expansion and improvement in public transport, the introduction of licence plate restrictions could only have a limiting effect.

i)  Easing and expanding public transport must be the Delhi govts priority. The govt had recently discontinued the Bus Rapid Transit System - instead of addressing its design problems and furthering its intended purpose of decongesting routes for public transport and enticing private vehicle users to shift.

j)     The licensing regulations must be part of a package of well-sequenced and thought-out steps if they are to be more than a traffic decongestion measure.  

8.

India open to non-binding talks on new issues at WTO meet (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Nairobi Ministerial meeting of WTO

b)     Doha Development Round

c)     Special Safeguard Mechanism

d)     International Labour Organisation (ILO)

e)     United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

a)     In a significant change of tack to project a positive approach, India said it was open to non-binding discussions on new issues such as environment and labour that the rich world wants to initiate at the WTOs coming Nairobi meet, provided it is able to protect the interests of poor farmers and food security.

b)     Ministers from the WTOs 162 member countries will converge in the Kenyan capital during December 15-18 for negotiations meant to arrive at an agreement to liberalise global trade.

c)     So far, India has been rejecting out-and-out the developed worlds attempts to introduce new issues in the ongoing Doha Round talks saying it will dilute the development agenda.

d)    These new issues pertain to labour practices, environmental standards, global value chains and promotion of supply chains, e-commerce, competition and investment provisions, environmental and sustainable goods produced using clean and green energy, transparency in govt procurement as well as on state-owned enterprises and designated monopolies.

e)     India has been saying that these issues (especially the ones on labour and environment) should be taken up at other concerned international bodies such as the ILO and the UNFCCC, and not at the WTO. The developed world already has advanced standards on these new issues, including on labour and environment, in the context of trade.

f)     Developing countries such as India have been confronted with development challenges including on labour (with alleged instances of child labour, forced labour and cheap labour) and environment (allegedly higher levels of pollution and poor waste management standards). Therefore, these developing and poor countries fear that linking these issues with the WTO norms will amount to erecting non-tariff barriers, thereby hurting their exports.

g)     India wants an effective Special Safeguard Mechanism (a trade remedy allowing developing countries to temporarily hike duties on farm products to counter sudden import surges and price falls, thereby protecting the interests of poor farmers), a permanent solution to the issue of public food stockholding in developing countries for the purpose of food security.

9.

Science equipment and groceries on way to ISS (Page 20)

a)     S&T

a)     Cygnus spacecraft

b)     SpaceX

c)     International Space Station (ISS)

d)     NASA

a)     Carrying over 3000 kg pounds of research material that will directly support over dozens of key investigations on the orbiting laboratory, a cargo-laden Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft soared towards the ISS.

b)     NASA said the mission will deliver experiments, equipment and supplies to the orbiting laboratory and its six-member crew of astronauts and cosmonauts.

c)     In the near future, Boeing and United Launch Alliance plan to use the Atlas V to launch astronauts to the station in the CST-100 Starliner for NASAs Commercial Crew Programme.

d)     SpaceX is preparing its own spacecraft combination (Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon) to carry astronauts to the station in the near future.

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