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Daily News Analysis 01-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

US plans re-merger of India, Pak desks (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Seven years after the State Department was restructured to de-hyphenate US relations with India and with Pakistan, it is considering a reversal of the move.

2.

Visa on arrival to attract Japan, Korea investors (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     After PM Modis announcement in December that all Japanese citizens would get visas on arrival, the government has decided to extend it only to the business community for now.

3.

Russia encouraging Provinces to develop ties with India (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     In a bid to take ties with India beyond the defence sector, Russia is giving more freedom to its Provinces to engage with Indian States directly.

4.

Push for IMF reform (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     Finally, the International Monetary Fund has made country quota reforms agreed by the G20 in 2010 a reality.

5.

Amendment to Juvenile Justice law challenged (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the new law passed by Parliament allowing suspects aged 16 years of age and above to be tried as adults if they commit heinous offences such as rape and murder.

6.

Gujarat must give up terror bill (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Gujarat should give up its persistent efforts to get the controversial Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015, approved by the President.

7.

SC to take a call on LGBT rights tomorrow (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     On Feb 2, the Supreme Court will take a final call on whether Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalises consensual sexual acts of LGBT adults in private, amounts to denial of their rights to privacy and dignity and results in gross miscarriage of justice.

8.

More than 2100 Colombian women infected with Zika virus (Page 14)

a)     Health

a)    More than 2100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, as the disease continues its spread across the Americas.

9.

Conservation of Malabar wetlands remains a far cry (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)    As per a previous field study conducted by scientists of the CWRDM, the existence of over 100 small and big wetlands in the north Kerala region faced threat with rampant human encroachment and land conversion attempts.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

US plans re-merger of India, Pak desks (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     US relations with India and Pakistan

b)     De-hyphenating

c)     Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP)

d)     Bureau of South and Central Asia (SCA)

 

a)     Seven years after the State Department was restructured to de-hyphenate US relations with India and with Pakistan, it is considering a reversal of the move.

b)     De-hyphenating refers to a policy started by US govt under President Bush, but sealed by the Obama administration, of dealing with India and Pak in different silos, without referring to their bilateral relations.

c)     It enabled the US to build closer military and strategic ties with India without factoring in the reaction from Pakistan, and to continue its own strategy in Afghanistan with the help of the Pakistan military without referring back to India.

d)     A proposal to re-merge the office of the SRAP back with the Bureau of South and Central Asia that handles India, the rest of the subcontinent and Central Asian republics is under active consideration.

e)     The re-merger proposal is ostensibly timed with the international troops pullout from Afghanistan.

f)     The de-hyphenation policy of the US was crystallised when the SRAP was set up in 2009 soon after President Obama had taken over, with appointment of Richard Holbrooke.

g)     At the time, Holbrooke had hoped to include India in his mandate, and even to discuss the resolution of Kashmir as a means to extract greater cooperation from Pakistan. India had strongly opposed the move.

h)     Other officials objected to US involvement as a third party in talks with Pakistan, which would become the case if special representatives would travel between Delhi and Islamabad regularly.

i)     However, there are indications that even as the US is planning to bring the desks back together, India may not object as strenuously as it did in 2009.

j)     To begin with, India has dropped its objections to talks with the Taliban in the past few months, instead asking to be kept in loop on developments in the US talks on Af-Pak.

k)     Indian officials also point out that PM Modi and his govt are being consulted more often by US govt on matters relating to Afghanistan, and 2015 saw the first visits by two US Generals in combat to India, as well as a visit by Cameron Munter to Delhi, shortly after he demitted office as US Ambassador to Pakistan.

l)     In Dec 2015, the visit of SRAP Richard Olson to Delhi, just before his visit to Islamabad was another key indicator of the shift in New Delhis position on the re-hyphenation of US visits to India and Pakistan.

2.

Visa on arrival to attract Japan, Korea investors (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Japan relations

b)     India – South Korea relations

c)     Electronic tourist visa (e-TV)

d)     Make in India policy

a)     After PM Modis announcement in December that all Japanese citizens would get visas on arrival, the government has decided to extend it only to the business community for now.

b)   Govt is actively considering including South Korea in this category. Officials say this was being done keeping in mind the Make in India policy of the govt and to make India an attractive destination for investors from two countries.

c)     Japan and South Korea are already on the list of 113 countries whose citizens can arrive in India through an e-TV platform. In December, during Japanese PM Shinzo Abes visit to India, Modi announced a liberalised visa regime for all Japanese citizens.

d)     Modi said that Japan had earmarked a $11-12-billion fund for Make in India. At least three Japanese firms were given the go-ahead in 2015 to set up shop in India.

3.

Russia encouraging Provinces to develop ties with India (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Russia relations

b)     Defence ties

 

a)     In a bid to take ties with India beyond the defence sector, Russia is giving more freedom to its Provinces to engage with Indian States directly.

b)     Moscow handles defence and strategic ties with India, but provinces have been given free hand to deal with India in the fields of agriculture, health, education, cultural cooperation.

c)     India and Russia (during the inter-governmental discussion in October 2015) had agreed to ramp up bilateral investment from $15 billion to $30 billion by 2025.

4.

Push for IMF reform (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     IMF reforms

b)     G20

a)     Finally, the IMF has made country quota reforms agreed by the G20 in 2010 a reality.

b)     With this structural shift, more than 6 percentage points of the quota, including both the Funds capital and its proportionate voting rights, have been transferred from developed to emerging economies.

c)     The greatest gains from the reforms accrue to the IMF itself, as the combined capital that its 188 member-countries contribute will increase to approximately $659 billion from nearly $329 billion.

d)   Other winners are India and China, who have respectively increased their voting shares by 0.292 and 2.265 percentage points. The emerging economies wrested a 2.6 percentage points increase. The developed nations have had a haircut in their voting share, somewhere between 0.2 and 0.5 percentage points.

e)   Consequently, India, China, Brazil, and Russia will be among the 10 largest members alongside large advanced economies.

5.

Amendment to Juvenile Justice law challenged (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015

b)     Article 14 of the Constitution

c)     UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

a)     A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the new law passed by Parliament allowing suspects aged 16 years of age and above to be tried as adults if they commit heinous offences such as rape and murder.

b)     The petition contends that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 is arbitrary and in violation of fundamental right of right to equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution.

c)     The petition sought the court to judicially review Section 15 of the 2015 Act which provides an option for a juvenile offender aged above 16 to be tried as an adult if the Juvenile Justice Board gives its consent on a preliminary inquiry.

d)     It said the Act focussed on punishment of juveniles rather than the stated constitutional objective of all juvenile laws, which is care and protection. The statute further violates the letter and spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

6.

Gujarat must give up terror bill (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015

b)     Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1985

c)     Prevention of Terrorism Act 2003

d)     Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2012

e)     Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act

a)     Gujarat should give up its persistent efforts to get the controversial Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill 2015, approved by the President.

b)     First moved by Modi in 2003 when he was CM of the State, the Bill has been facing objections on the ground that it contains some draconian provisions. The Centre refused to clear the Bill three times when the UPA was in power.

c)     The Union Home Ministry has now recalled the Bill from the office of the President, to whom it had been sent for assent. The reason appears to be that it wants the Bill to be reworked based on additional inputs from the State govt.

d)   Indias repeated experiments with anti-terrorism laws have been, by and large, unsuccessful. The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1985 (a law considered as draconian as the Rowlatt Act of the colonial era) and its latter-day version, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2003, had been allowed to lapse after it was found that they were prone to persistent misuse.

e)     However, with substantive amendments made to Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2012, the country does have an effective law to curb modern-day terrorism.

f)   The Gujarat law is modelled on the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, but that does not make it any more acceptable. The Maharashtra law itself has not achieved any remarkable success in curbing organised crime.

g)     The GCTOC Bill also has provisions similar to earlier anti-terrorism laws, such as making confession to a police officer of rank of SP admissible in court, and allowing 180 days (instead of the usual 90) for the filing of a charge sheet.

h)     There is really no need for more State-level laws of such a nature. Police investigators need better resources and training to combat organised crime and terror, and not laws that abridge and modify conventional criminal procedure to the detriment of human rights.

7.

SC to take a call on LGBT rights tomorrow (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights

b)     Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

c)     Supreme Court

d)     High Court

a)     On Feb 2, the Supreme Court will take a final call on whether Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalises consensual sexual acts of LGBT adults in private, amounts to denial of their rights to privacy and dignity and results in gross miscarriage of justice.

b)     A Bench of judges will hear a batch of eight curative petitions filed by parents, civil society, scientific and LGBT rights organisations against a Jan 28 2014 judgment by the Supreme Court dismissing their review petitions on the ground that Section 377 is constitutional and applies to sexual acts irrespective of age or consent of the parties.

c)     The Delhi High Court had declared Section 377 unconstitutional, and said it was in violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.

d)     The High Court had read down Section 377 to apply only to non-consensual, penile, non-vaginal sex, and sexual acts by adults with minors.

8.

More than 2100 Colombian women infected with Zika virus (Page 14)

a)     Health

a)     Zika virus

b)     Microcephaly

c)     WHO

a)    More than 2100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, as the disease continues its spread across the Americas.

b)     The virus has been linked to the devastating birth defect microcephaly, which prevents foetus brains from developing properly. There is no vaccine.

9.

Conservation of Malabar wetlands remains a far cry (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Malabar wetlands

b)     Mangrove forests

c)     Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM)

a)     In spite of the frequent alerts by various environmental organisations and results of field studies conducted by approved government agencies on the threat being faced by the major wetlands in north Kerala, the situation remains the same with no concrete measures.

b)     As per a previous field study conducted by scientists of the CWRDM, the existence of over 100 small and big wetlands in the north Kerala region faced threat with rampant human encroachment and land conversion attempts.

c)     Of the 100 wetlands, 17 important areas identified in Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, Kasaragod and Malappuram districts are on the verge of extinction with unregulated spatial development and disposal of domestic sewage and industrial effluents. Unscientific channelising of water flow too has been found to be destroying the rich and luxuriant mangrove forests.

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