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Daily News Analysis 02-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

Kashmir willow set to cross LoC, boost trade with Pak (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Despite the Pathankot terror attack destabilising the normalisation of ties with Pakistan, India may soon begin a different kind of cricket diplomacy to boost the bilateral trade across the Line of Control and as a major confidence-building measure.

2.

India likely to sign defence pact with Brunei (P14)

a)     I.R

a)     Vice-President Hamid Ansari (currently on a trip to the Southeast Asian region) is expected to reach a landmark defence agreement with Brunei on Feb 2.

3.

Neo-fascists opposing closer India-Sri Lanka ties: Minister P14

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has criticised neo-fascists in Sri Lanka for opposing closer ties with India.

4.

Myanmar MPs hold historic session (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Myanmar entered a new political era on Feb 1 as Aung San Suu Kyis pro-democracy MPs took their seats in Parliament, bearing the hopes of a nation subjugated for decades by the military.

5.

Seizing the One Belt, One Road opportunity (P 11)

a)     International

a)     Chinas One Belt, One Road could potentially allow India a new track on its own attempt to integrate South Asia.

6.

No deal following Britain-EU talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a) An agreement on a possible re-negotiated membership status for Britain in the EU failed to materialise during talks between European Council president Donald Tusk and British PM David Cameron on Jan 31.

7.

WHO declares Zika a global emergency (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     International

b)     Health

a)     The WHO has announced that the explosive spread of Zika virus in the Americas is an extraordinary event that merits being declared an international emergency.

8.

Lets register sex of foetus, says Maneka (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)  Striking a startlingly contrarian note on social evil of prenatal sex determination and resultant female foeticide, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi suggested the determination of the sex of the foetus from the moment pregnancy is detected.

9.

Do you want to break away from the Union, court asks Gujarat (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Supreme Court verbally thrashed the State govt and the Centre for not implementing the National Food Security Act passed by Parliament in 2013 to ensure that the poor in the nation do not go hungry.

10.

Trans-Pacific pact may impact exports (Page 13)

a)     Economy

a)    The Trans-Pacific Partnership is likely to indirectly impact Indias exports in several industrial sectors such as textiles, plastics, leather, clothing, cotton and yarn, besides countrys regime on investment, labour standards, IPR, govt procurement and State-owned enterprises.

11.

Punjab asks PM to push for public stock-holding of food grains (Page 13)

a)     Economy

a)     In a bid to ensure countrys food security, Punjab wants the Centre to push for finalising the work programme for public stock holding of food grains and Special Safeguard Mechanism in the special sessions of committee on agriculture during the upcoming negotiation meet of WTO in Geneva.

12.

States to get greater role in wetland management(P13)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)   Union govt has begun revising the existing regulatory framework on wetlands across the country in a bid to enable a greater role for State govts in their management.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

Kashmir willow set to cross LoC, boost trade with Pak (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Kashmir willow

c)     Line of Control (LoC)

 

a)     Despite the Pathankot terror attack destabilising the normalisation of ties with Pakistan, India may soon begin a different kind of cricket diplomacy to boost the bilateral trade across LoC and as a major confidence-building measure.

b)     The list of tradable items is likely to be substantially expanded from the current 21 (of mainly garments, handicrafts, carpets, agricultural items), by allowing (among others) Kashmiri willow used to make cricket bats. Other items that could be included in list are leather goods, spices, pulses, jams and fruit juices.

c)     The new list will include goods that can be exported to Pakistan mainly from J&K to ensure that the State benefits economically.

d)   These items were suggested on the Jammu and Kashmir governments request as they wanted to promote items produced in the State itself.

e)     Suggestions received by the government to improve the cross-LoC trade include better physical infrastructure (such as roads) and telecom systems.

2.

India likely to sign defence pact with Brunei (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Brunei relations

b)     Defence ties

c)     South China Sea dispute

a)     Vice-President Hamid Ansari (currently on a trip to the Southeast Asian region) is expected to reach a landmark defence agreement with Brunei on Feb 2.

b)     The agreement will be aimed at starting a new generation of Indian defence cooperation with Brunei, which disputes Chinese claims on the South China Sea.

c)     The defence agreement is being interpreted as a major diplomatic breakthrough since both sides established relations in 1984. The Southeast Asian country has been a key supplier of energy to India.

3.

Neo-fascists opposing closer India-Sri Lanka ties: Minister (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     India – Sri Lanka relations

b)     Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement

 

a)     Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has criticised neo-fascists in Sri Lanka for opposing closer ties with India.

b)     Delivering a talk at the Sri Lanka-India Society, he was referring to reactions among a section of parties and groups to reports on the Indian govts plan to build a sea bridge and tunnel connecting Rameswaram with Thalaimannar in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

c)     His observations were also made in the context of steps being taken to get Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries.

4.

Myanmar MPs hold historic session (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Myanmars internal issues

b)     National League for Democracy (NLD)

a)     Myanmar entered a new political era on Feb 1 as Aung San Suu Kyis pro-democracy MPs took their seats in Parliament, bearing the hopes of a nation subjugated for decades by the military.

b)     Novembers election saw the NLD wrest a majority from the army establishment and has spurred hopes of a new political dawn in long-repressed nation.

c)     The new government faces a daunting rebuilding task in one of Southeast Asias poorest countries, whose economy was crushed by almost half a century of junta rule.

d)     The country will now choose a new President to succeed President Thein Sein, the former general who in 2011 launched dramatic political and economic reforms which culminated in election. Suu Kyi herself is barred from post by a military-scripted Constitution because she married and had children with a foreigner.

5.

Seizing the One Belt, One Road opportunity (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     Chinas One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative

b)     Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

c)     New Development Bank (NDB)

d)     Indias Project Mausam

e)     Make in India programme

f)     Digital India programme

g)     Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)

h)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

 

a)    According to the author, the recent conversations with Chinese scholars, Communist Party of China members and officials indicate that the One Belt, One Road initiative of Xi Jinpings government is likely to become lynchpin of Chinese engagement with the world.

b)     Some facets of the new formulations that are giving shape to Beijings vision for OBOR and Asia could be discerned at this recent interaction.

c)     The first was the novel idea of entity diplomacy. This construction argues for engaging within and across regions to secure the best interests of an entity that is necessarily larger and with interests broader than those of any sovereign.

d)     This follows from the argument of a revival of continentalism as the Eurasian landmass deepens linkages and Asia emerges. OBOR segues perfectly into this framework.

e)   For the Chinese, it becomes an Asian undertaking that needs to be evaluated on the gains it accrues to the entity, i.e. Asia, as opposed to China alone. Therefore, it follows that Indian and other Asian nations must support and work for the OBOR initiative.

f)     Entity diplomacy also translates into the establishment of one economic continent, the second theme undergirding the conversation. Then, OBOR becomes a vehicle that promotes alignment of infrastructure, trade and economic strategies.

g)     Indeed, for some Chinese speakers, India is already part of the initiative, as its own projects like Project Mausam and economic initiatives such as Make in India and Digital India complement and complete OBOR. Indian participation in the AIIB and joint ownership of the NDB only reaffirm Indias partnership in this Asian project for many in Beijing.

h)     The third formulation was that of a mutually beneficial swap - India protecting Chinese interests in Indian Ocean, and China securing Indias essential undertakings in their part of the waters, read the South and East China Seas. However, there was unambiguous clarity that if India cannot assume more responsibility in the Indian Ocean, China will step in.

i)     Structural challenges confront the Chinese formulations and the OBOR proposal. First, the perception, process and implementation to date do not inspire trust in OBOR as a participatory and collaborative venture. The unilateral ideation and declaration further weaken any sincerity towards an Asian entity and economic unity.

j)     The second poser for the Chinese is on Beijings appetite for committing its political capital to the project. While for obvious reasons the Chinese would not want to be seen as projecting their military and political presence along OBOR, it was clear that China is willing to underwrite security through a collaborative framework.

k)     The third challenge deals with the success of the whole scheme, given that the Chinese vision document lays out five layers of connectivity: policy, physical, economic, financial and human.

l)     Finally, how can this initiative navigate the irreconcilable geometries of South Asia that prevent India from providing full backing to OBOR? A formal nod to the project will serve as a de-facto legitimisation to Pakistans rights on PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan under the CPEC that is closely related to OBOR.

m)   Fundamentally, New Delhi needs to resolve for itself whether OBOR represents a threat or an opportunity. India needs to match ambition with commensurate augmentation of its capacities that allows it to be a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region.

n)     Arguably, OBOR offers India another political opportunity. There seems to be a degree of Chinese eagerness to solicit Indian partnership. OBOR could potentially allow India a new track to its own attempt to integrate South Asia.

6.

No deal following Britain-EU talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Britain-EU talks

b)     European Union (EU)

c)     European Commission (EC)

d)     Brexit

a)   An agreement on a possible re-negotiated membership status for Britain in the EU failed to materialise during talks between European Council president Donald Tusk and British PM David Cameron on Jan 31.

b)     However, negotiations on an acceptable draft text are to continue over the next 24 hours. A summit on Brexit is scheduled for Feb 18 and 19.

c)     Britains demand that it be allowed to restrict state benefits to EU migrants for the next seven years has emerged as a sticking point. As per this condition, any migrant arriving in Britain over the next 7 years will have to wait for a period of 4 years before becoming eligible for any govt benefit that British citizens enjoy.

d)    The European Commission has instead offered the option of an emergency brake - a ban on benefits that can be activated only if the country can prove that its public services are under unsustainable pressure. This cannot be invoked by the country concerned but has to be voted on by the EU.

e)     The seven-year emergency brake is the most ambitious of Camerons demands that he would like to see incorporated into the draft.

f)     Additionally, his basket of demands include strengthening of national institutions like Parliament vis-a-vis the EUs legislative institutions;  protection to London Citys status as a financial hub from policies that favour eurozone economies; and the elimination of unnecessary legislation that hinders economic growth.

7.

WHO declares Zika a global emergency (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     International

b)     Health

a)     Zika virus

b)     Microcephaly

c)     WHO

a)     The WHO has announced that the explosive spread of Zika virus in the Americas is an extraordinary event that merits being declared an international emergency.

b)     The last such public health emergency was declared for the devastating 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which killed more than 11,000 people.

c)     Colombia is the second worst-hit country in the current Zika outbreak, after Brazil, which has recorded thousands of suspected cases of microcephaly.

8.

Lets register sex of foetus, says Maneka (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Sex Ratio

b)     Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act 1994 

a)     Striking a startlingly contrarian note on social evil of prenatal sex determination and resultant female foeticide, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi suggested the determination of the sex of the foetus from the moment pregnancy is detected.

b)     She said it is really not feasible to go around trying to catch every ultrasound technician for revealing the foetal gender to parents in violation of the PCPNDT Act.

c)     Currently Indias strategy to combat declining sex ratios hinges on PCPNDT Act, which prohibits ultrasonography for the purpose of determining the sex of the foetus.

9.

Do you want to break away from the Union, court asks Gujarat (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     National Food Security Act (NFSA)

a)  The Supreme Court verbally thrashed the State govt and the Centre for not implementing the National Food Security Act passed by Parliament in 2013 to ensure that the poor in the nation do not go hungry.

b)     Its more than two years since Parliament passed the NFSA which seeks to provide foodgrains to the poor in the country. However, the Gujarat govt has not yet implemented the Central Act and instead obtained four consecutive extensions from the Centre.

10.

Trans-Pacific pact may impact exports (Page 13)

a)     Economy

a)     Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement

b)     RCEP

c)     Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

d)     Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

e)     Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

f)     State-owned enterprises (SOE)

a)     According to Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the TPP (or the mega-regional free trade pact led by the US and including 11 other Asia-Pacific countries) is likely to indirectly impact Indias exports in several industrial sectors such as textiles, plastics, leather, clothing, cotton and yarn, besides the countrys regime on investment, labour standards, IPR, government procurement and SOEs.

b)   She said that the challenges arising from the TPP (which has set very high standards for international trading regime) could be similar to those experienced by India post the 1991 economic liberalisation.

c)     She said some of the TPP standards were higher than that of the WTO norms, including on IPR and possible ever-greening of patents, which could hurt Indias pharma sector. The operations and the production methods of Indias public sector units (or SOEs) could also be constrained due to the TPP.

d)     Pointing out that the TPP, RCEP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (a proposed mega-regional between the US and the EU) excluded African countries, she said India would also have to focus on improving its trade with African countries.

e)     Meanwhile, India is also considering engaging with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries to ensure that it did not miss out on the emerging trade dynamics, she said.

11.

Punjab asks PM to push for public stock-holding of food grains (Page 13)

a)     Economy

a)     Nairobi Ministerial meeting of the WTO

b)    Doha Development Agenda

c)     Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM)

d)     National Food Security Act

a)     In a bid to ensure countrys food security, Punjab wants the Centre to push for finalising the work programme for public stock holding of food grains and SSM in the special sessions of committee on agriculture during upcoming negotiation meet of WTO in Geneva.

b)     CM Parkash Singh Badal said that India should mobilise an opinion amongst developing countries to support these issues during the negotiations in the committee in the larger interest of small farmers of these countries and more importantly, food security of our country.

c)  The food-grain requirements would increase with the rise in population in the coming years and to ensure the food security for the people, the public stock holding was necessary so that requirements under the National Food Security Act could be met.

d)     He expressed concern that absence of SSM would expose the domestic market to the cheap imports from developed countries and would impair the agricultural production and thereby the livelihoods of small farmers of the country.

e)     WTO ministerial meeting in Nairobi in December 2015 ended with a declaration welcoming the progress on Doha development agenda.

12.

States to get greater role in wetland management(Page 13)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Wetland management

b)     National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA)

 

a)     The Union govt has begun revising the existing regulatory framework on wetlands across the country in a bid to enable a greater role for State govts in their management.

b)     The Environment Ministry said the NPCA provides the policy framework and support to the States.

c)     The theme of World Wetlands Day this year is Wetlands for our Future - Sustainable Livelihoods.

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