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Daily News Analysis 09-12-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India-Pakistan ties should move forward, says Sushma (Pg 1,14)

a)     I.R

a)     Starting a new phase in India-Pakistan ties, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India-Pakistan ties should become much better and should move forward.

2.

Securing the pace of India-Pakistan talks (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)    External Affairs Minister Sushmas touchdown in Islamabad marks a decisive moment in the Modi govts Pakistan policy. While she is in Islamabad ostensibly for a conference on Pakistan, it is clear from the flurry of meetings that bilateral engagement is back on track.

3.

BASIC optimistic about legally binding Paris deal (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     The countries forming the BASIC group committed themselves to a comprehensive, balanced, ambitious and legally binding agreement emerging from the Paris Climate Change conference, but cautioned that it must not deviate from the differentiation principles that are already part of the UNFCCC.

4.

Doing its bit in Paris, and then some (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     India may have been late to the emissions party, but with innovation and rapid development, it can make a disproportionate contribution to emissions reduction.

5.

Tensions along South China Sea hastened Su-35 deal (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Russias decision to export is highly capable Su-35 planes is expected to bolter Chinas military presence in the South China Sea. It is also set to escalate military technology exchanges that would help Beijing and Moscow develop cutting edge weapons.

6.

Early passage of GST Bill unlikely (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The space Modi had created for political consensus over the GST, following his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh, seemed to be shrinking as the National Herald controversy gained traction in Parliament on Dec 8.

7.

Parliament must ratify WTO deals, say NGOs (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Days ahead of the Nairobi meeting of the WTO for negotiations towards an agreement to open up global trade, civil society groups have urged the Union govt not to undertake new binding commitments without public consultation as well as before debate and ratification by Parliament.

8.

No proof that Subhash Chandra Bose escaped to Soviet Union (Page 14)

a)     National

a)     Letters exchanged between the Indian and Russian governments between 1991 and 1995 re-affirm that Subhash Chandra Bose (founder of the Indian National Army) did not visit the Soviet Union in 1945 or after.

9.

Delhi to try out odd-even car formula from Jan 1 (Page 14)

a)     National

a)     Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has reached out to the public through a radio ad on Dec 8 justifying the odd-even formula and at the same time promising to scrap the system if it fails in the first 15 days.

10.

Agriculture cant remain the same, says FAO official (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     With rapid soil degradation, fast depletion of groundwater, excessive use of pesticides-fertilizers and extreme weather events all collectively putting stress on farming and forestry, it is time to recognise the fact that agriculture cannot remain the same, either in India or across the globe.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India-Pakistan ties should move forward, says Sushma (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan

 

a)     Starting a new phase in India-Pakistan ties, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India-Pakistan ties should become much better and should move forward. She is visiting Pakistan to participate in the Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan.

b)     Opening the conference, Aziz said the Heart of Asia process is contributing to greater coherence to the work of other regional organisations, projects and processes focusing on Afghanistan.

c)     The theme of the conference jointly hosted by Pakistan and Afghanistan, is Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process: Enhanced cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity in the Heart of Asia region.

2.

Securing the pace of India-Pakistan talks (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     NSA talks

c)     Jammu Kashmir issue

d)     Terrorism

 

a)    External Affairs Minister Sushmas touchdown in Islamabad marks a decisive moment in the Modi govts Pakistan policy. While she is in Islamabad ostensibly for a conference on Pakistan, it is clear from the flurry of meetings that bilateral engagement is back on track.

b)     After the Paris meetings between PM Modi and PM Nawaz Sharif, as well as the Bangkok meeting between the NSAs and Foreign Secretaries of both countries, the joint messaging in Islamabad and Delhi has been kept unified and simple.

c)     It is important that the confidence-building measures already agreed to, on trade and visa liberalisation, are implemented at the earliest. Finally, the way forward on J&K and terrorism (the two lasting issues between India and Pakistan) must be charted out.

d)     In Pakistan, the way forward should be even clearer: end support to all terror groups, especially those who seek violence against India. While it is hardly possible to put behind the decades of bad blood between the two countries any time soon, it is possible to pause, and to envisage a new chapter in relations.

3.

BASIC optimistic about legally binding Paris deal (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Carbon emissions

d)     UNFCCC

e)     BASIC group

 

a)     The countries forming the BASIC group committed themselves to a comprehensive, balanced, ambitious and legally binding agreement emerging from the Paris Climate Change conference, but cautioned that it must not deviate from the differentiation principles that are already part of UNFCCC.

b)    China (which has a parallel understanding with the US on tackling climate change) joined the other developing countries in the bloc, and carefully skirted the contradictions between US position and the stand of developing countries.

c)     Developing countries are being asked to undertake low carbon strategies as a commitment at CoP21, but there are differences on what kind of funding would be provided for adaptation, loss and damage, and support actions.

d)     From Indias perspective, events such as the Chennai and Uttarakhand floods and distressing crop failures due to drought are strongly linked to climate change, and an agreement for the future must have provisions for adaptation, and loss and damage.

e)     On Dec 8, the BASIC group made it clear that while they were fully cooperating with France, which holds the presidency of the conference to arrive at an agreement by Dec 11, they would like to see specific and clear provisions on finance.

f)    The review provision in the forthcoming agreement that will compel all countries to live up to their pledges should consider not just reduction of carbon emissions (mitigation), but also adaptation and finance. This stand was endorsed by China and South Africa. Brazil has called for the upcoming agreement to have transparency clauses in finance.

g)     The BASIC countries took note of the pressure from the US and the EU to widen the base of countries making climate finance donations.

h)     Their response is that developed countries should scale up their commitments even in next 5 years, and then for period beyond 2020, while developing countries can make voluntary bilateral donations or engage in other forms of south-south cooperation.

4.

Doing its bit in Paris, and then some (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

d)     Carbon budget

e)     Global warming

f)     Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

g)     UNFCCC

a)     According to the author, Indias carbon reduction pledges (the INDCs) have been labelled as medium or even weak by many global observers. Global op-eds talk of India as the stumbling block. In contrast, not only has China pledged to peak emissions by 2030, there are discussions it could peak even sooner.

b)     Emissions of CO2 (rather, all GHGs) result in a rise in average global temperature. Targeting a likely 2 degree C rise, there is only so much the earth can emit. Unfortunately, some three-quarters of this global carbon budget (including relevant historical emissions, since CO2 remains in the atmosphere), also termed the carbon commons, is already used up.

c)     Most of it was used up by countries other than India, which is not even using its per capita share. Naturally, India (coming from a low base) expects to grow its emissions.

d)     There are three framings one could choose from. First, India wants to emit as others have done. The world turns super-hot. Second, India says we will stay within our budgets fair share, but the world still turns hot, mainly because many others over-emitted.

e)     Third, India consumes less than its fair share, to try to avoid or at least minimise global warming. That seems to be the frame with which people are looking towards India, and then saying not enough.

f)     India emits about a quarter that of China, and on a per capita basis, an order of magnitude less than US. Chinas population is mostly stable, while Indias will still grow.

g)     China already has provided almost all its citizens modern energy. India still has hundreds of millions of people lacking electricity, and those that have a wire face supply shortfalls (load-shedding), sometimes on a daily basis. India needs to develop.

h)     That said, perhaps the world is better off with a disproportionate contribution to emissions reduction from growing economies like India, where new designs (of both supply and consumption) can likely be undertaken with greater effectiveness than in developed regions where the annual GDP growth is low and there is a lot of existing capital stock. However, such solutions require capital and other support (including technology).

i)     India has announced ambitious Renewable Energy (RE) plans - how it can meet or even exceed the targets depends on the economics, which goes beyond simplified Rs./kilowatt hour. RE cannot be stored easily, and it usually is not available when the demand is highest.

j)     Focus on the longer-term and on efficiency. Lots of houses (and even cities) are yet to be built. We should not rely on clean energy to absolve us of over-consumption or inefficiencies. Fixing this will take a systems approach that spans jurisdictions or even politics, with much of the effort required at a state or local level.

k)     Recognise that population growth is an issue. Make it easier for people to want fewer children (through social security schemes, non-agricultural jobs, etc.).

l)     India can be considered a spoilsport, but only if viewed through certain rules, including ones naive (or selfish) enough to ignore the past, allocating only the future carbon budget on a per capita basis. The new rules are for India to develop, but develop faster and in a more sustainable manner than anyone thought possible.

5.

Tensions along South China Sea hastened Su-35 deal (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     China – Russia relations

b)     South China Sea dispute

c)     US Pivot to Asia

d)     Ukraine issue

e)     Black Sea

 

a)     Russias decision to export is highly capable Su-35 planes is expected to bolter Chinas military presence in the South China Sea. It is also set to escalate military technology exchanges that would help Beijing and Moscow develop cutting edge weapons.

b)     After protracted negotiations that lasted several years, Russia finally relented to sell China, 24 Su-35 planes. The $2 billion deal means that transfer of technology, which Beijing badly requires to develop the next generation of weapons, is part of the contract.

c)     Analysts say that geopolitics has played a major part in cementing the deal. Both Russia and China are now strategically well aligned. Russia saw the toppling of an elected government Ukraine as an attempt by the Atlantic Alliance to dislodge it from Sevastopol, the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet in Crimea.

d)     The Chinese are also wary of USs growing presence in the western Pacific, following the Asia Pivot doctrine of the Obama administration.

e)     China will benefit from the purchase of the Russian jets in 3 ways. First, the acquisition of 24 Su-35 planes would greatly extend Chinas reach over the South China Sea.

f)     Su-35 planes (capable of taking off from short runways) will cover a large footprint if deployed from Chinas newly developed artificial islands in the South China Sea. Second, the Russian jets can effectively counter the US F-35 stealth fighters.

6.

Early passage of GST Bill unlikely (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill

b)     Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill

c)     Lok Sabha

d)     Rajya Sabha

e)     Parliament

a)   The space Modi had created for political consensus over the GST, following his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh, seemed to be shrinking as the National Herald controversy gained traction in Parliament on Dec 8.

b)     High-level sources in the govt told reporters that given the political situation, the Modi regime no longer expects the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill (meant to introduce the GST) to clear Parliament in current session. The Congress is stalling the GST Bill.

7.

Parliament must ratify WTO deals, say NGOs (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Nairobi Ministerial meeting of the WTO

b)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

a)     Days ahead of the Nairobi meeting of the WTO for negotiations towards an agreement to open up global trade, civil society groups have urged the Union govt not to undertake new binding commitments without public consultation as well as before debate and ratification by Parliament.

b)     Organisations such as the Forum against FTAs and the National Working Group on Patent Laws and WTO also asked Parliament to take inputs from all stakeholders and carry out a thorough assessment of the employment, social and environmental impacts arising out of the commitments India makes at the WTO-level talks as well as due to the various FTAs between India and other countries.

c)     They expressed concern over India engaging in non-binding discussions on new issues such as environment and labour that the developed world is keen on introducing during the December 15-18 meetings in the Kenyan capital. The new issues pertain to global value chains, e-commerce, competition and investment provisions, transparency in government procurement and state-owned enterprises.

d)     The civil society groups alleged that the new issues (which the rich world terms as the latest challenges facing world trade) represent the corporate agenda of advanced countries to further pry open developing country markets.

e)     The groups said India should provide leadership to developing countries by highlighting issues of concern to them, including reduction of huge and trade distorting agri-business subsidies in developed countries.

f)     They said India should also ensure that the WTO mandate of Special and Differential Treatment for developing countries is not abandoned by agreeing to aggressive tariff cuts in farm products - as demanded by the developed world. S&DT gives developing countries (among other things) longer time periods for implementing WTO agreements and commitments as well as provisions for safeguarding their trade interests.

8.

No proof that Subhash Chandra Bose escaped to Soviet Union (Page 14)

a)     National

a)     Subhash Chandra Bose documents

a)     Letters exchanged between the Indian and Russian govts between 1991 and 1995 re-affirm that Subhash Chandra Bose (founder of the Indian National Army) did not visit the Soviet Union in 1945 or after.

b)     The correspondence re-establishes the facts pertaining to this on the eve of PM Modis visit to Russia at end of Dec.

c)   The Govt of India under the Congress Ministry of P.V. Narasimha Rao made a formal request to the Russian govt in 1991, and again in 1995 after a demand was made in Parliament by Chitta Basu of the Forward Bloc that it do so again.

9.

Delhi to try out odd-even car formula from Jan 1 (Page 14)

a)     National

a)     Pollution

b)     Air Pollution

c)     Air Quality Index

a)     Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has reached out to the public through a radio ad on Dec 8 justifying the odd-even formula and at the same time promising to scrap the system if it fails in the first 15 days.

b)     Delhi govt announced the odd-even formula to bring down pollution levels after High Court called Delhi a gas chamber. From Jan 1, odd-numbered vehicles will be allowed on odd dates, like Jan 1, 3 and 5, and even-numbered cars on even dates. On Sundays, all cars will be allowed.

10.

Agriculture cant remain the same, says FAO official (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Agriculture

b)     Soil degradation

c)     Crop diversification

d)     Sustainable Development

e)     Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

a)     FAO official pointed out that with rapid soil degradation, fast depletion of groundwater, excessive use of pesticides-fertilizers and extreme weather events all collectively putting stress on farming and forestry, it is time to recognise the fact that agriculture cannot remain the same, either in India or across the globe.

b)     She said the govt should encourage crop diversification. Policies should be drafted keeping in mind long-term solutions for ensuring food security. Its important to realise that we have limited natural resources and hence, policies should be framed to ensure that everyone resorts to rational use of these resources. Only then will we be able to achieve food security with sustainable development in India and around the world.

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