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Daily News Analysis 08-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

Troops will stay on in Siachen, says Parrikar (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar ruled out any troop withdrawal from the Siachen glacier after the last weeks avalanche claimed the lives of 10 soldiers.

2.

India, China hold first joint tactical drill on border (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     The border troops of India and China held their first joint tactical exercise in the Chushul-Moldo area along the northern border.

3.

Nuclear ambiguities (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     More than five years after India signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation, India ratified the insurance pooling agreement, which pertains to civil liability in the event of a nuclear accident in any of the acceding countries.

4.

Harbinger of change in global trade (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     The formal signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership by the 12 member-countries of the mega-regional free trade agreement is a milestone for international trade and, by extension, the global economy.

5.

UN commissioner meets North IDPs (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) interacted in Jaffna with groups of internally displaced persons and family members of those who disappeared during and following the conflict.

6.

Test triggers emergency UN meet (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    North Koreas launch of a long-range rocket on Feb 7 was conducted in defiance of UN sanctions and just weeks after a nuclear bomb test.

7.

Schooling without learning (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)    The Right to Education Act needs to be focussed back to its core intent instead of allowing the authorities to impose extraneous conditions on schools.

8.

With Zika, Indian firm scales up trials for GM mosquitoes (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Even as panic spreads worldwide over Zika virus (harboured by the mosquito species that spreads dengue and chikungunya), a Maharashtra company is getting ready to scale up trials to find out whether genetically engineered mosquitoes can be a useful tool to check the growth of the insect.

 

                                                                                                                                                              

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

Troops will stay on in Siachen, says Parrikar (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Siachen conflict

c)     Simla Agreement

 

a)     Defence Minister Parrikar ruled out any troop withdrawal from the Siachen glacier after the last weeks avalanche claimed the lives of 10 soldiers.

b)     Last week, a major avalanche hit a post on northern glacier at a height of 19,600 feet being manned by soldiers of the Madras Regiment.

c)     India and Pakistan have lost over 2000 soldiers in the last three decades. Time and again proposals have been put forward to demilitarise the glacier but India has refused any such move without proper delineation and acceptance of the current positions.

d)     Siachen (which means the land of roses) also has dubious distinction of being the worlds highest battlefield. Indian Army sits at heights of 12,000 feet at the Base Camp to 21,000 feet at Bana post on the glacier, a triangular bit of land between Pakistan occupied Kashmir and the part ceded by Pakistan to the Chinese. India occupied the glacier in April 1984, narrowly thwarting Pakistans plans.

e)     While India cannot demilitarise the glacier for strategic reasons, there is a need to find new ways of predicting weather as well as reducing the numbers posted on the glacier.

2.

India, China hold first joint tactical drill on border (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     Line of Actual Control (LAC)

a)     The border troops of India and China held their first joint tactical exercise in the Chushul-Moldo area along the northern border.

b)     This is part of the ongoing initiatives taken by India and China to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the Line of Actual Control, and thereby ensure peace and tranquillity along the border.

3.

Nuclear ambiguities (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC)

b)     Indias Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA) 2010

c)     Sections 17(b) and 46 of the Act

d)     India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement

e)     Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

 

a)    Indias nuclear politics was in the limelight again last week, and not for the best of reasons. More than five years after it signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation, India ratified the insurance pooling agreement, which pertains to civil liability in the event of a nuclear accident in any of the acceding countries.

b)   Prima facie, this was a good move, which had cast India in poor light internationally and which sat uncomfortably beside three hard-fought nuclear landmarks - the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement and the NSG waiver (both passed in 2008), and Indias CLNDA, which became law in 2010.

c)     However, Indias CSC ratification does not clear the air so far as an important stumbling block to bilateral nuclear commerce is concerned: is CLNDA truly in conformity with CSC or does it cast a shadow of doubt on supplier liability, which is a matter of critical importance to US nuclear corporations?

d)     The ambiguity stems from two clauses of CLNDA, Sections 17(b) and 46. Under Section 17(b), liability for a nuclear accident can be channelled from the operator (which is the Nuclear Power Corporation of India) to suppliers of nuclear material.

e)     Section 46 permits victims of a nuclear incident to sue the operator or the supplier for damages applying tort law, even though such proceedings would be beyond the scope of CLNDA and its liability cap, and thus exposing suppliers to unlimited liability.

f)     Both clauses are likely to raise suppliers cost of insurance cover, possibly beyond what is feasible commercially and within the confines of competitive energy pricing.

g)     While the liability morass has stymied US investment in Indian reactors, Russia, France and Japan have moved forward with their respective bilateral agreements for nuclear commerce.

h)     This suggests that the recognition of India as a responsible nuclear power by the international community (the US and the other NSG states) has allowed for windows of opportunity for nuclear commerce in India, even in the post-Fukushima world.

4.

Harbinger of change in global trade (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

b)     South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA)

c)     Nairobi Ministerial meeting of the WTO

a)     The formal signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership by the 12 member-countries of the mega-regional free trade agreement is a milestone for international trade and, by extension, the global economy.

b)     With worldwide trade having slowed sharply since the 2008 financial crisis and now faced with headwinds from Chinas slowdown, the deal (yet to be ratified) could provide a much-needed fillip to growth.

c)     As the World Bank noted in a study in January on the macro-economic implications of the TPP, the pact could (by 2030) help boost the overall GDP of member-countries by 1.1 percent. And given that the grouping includes two of the worlds three largest economies (the US and Japan) and overall accounts for more than one-third of the worlds economic output, the spillover benefits would be significant.

d)     Moreover, given the diversity of the member-countries, the TPP also demonstrates a willingness to look beyond domestic political considerations and hammer out a far-reaching agreement that could act as a template for future multilateral trade deals.

e)     For India, the agreement provides an opportunity to reflect on its approach to multilateral trade talks, while underscoring the need to build a strong multi-disciplinary cadre of specialist free-trade analysts and negotiators.

f)     Though the World Bank projects a limited trade diversion impact on non-members, including aggregate GDP losses of about 0.1 percent by 2030, India could suffer market share losses in certain categories of exports as a result of preference erosion.

g)     With the SAFTA having made little to no difference to Indias terms of trade in the neighbourhood, and the country having ceded substantial ground at the latest Nairobi meeting of the WTO, it is high time the govt proactively girded for the challenges ahead.

5.

UN commissioner meets North IDPs (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas human rights issue

b)     United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

 

a)     The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Zeid Raad Al-Hussein) interacted in Jaffna with groups of internally displaced persons and family members of those who disappeared during and following the conflict.

b)     After meeting Northern Province CM Wigneswaran and Governor Palihakkara, He said the discussion focused on the challenges faced by people in the Province and also the plans and achievements in connection with the region.

c)     The visit follows the adoption of a resolution by the UNHRC in October on accountability for the alleged human rights violations during the civil war.

6.

Test triggers emergency UN meet (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

b)      Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite

c)     UNSC

a)    North Koreas launch of a long-range rocket on Feb 7 was conducted in defiance of UN sanctions and just weeks after a nuclear bomb test. The US Strategic Command said it had detected a missile entering space, and South Koreas military said the rocket had put an object into orbit.

b)    Later in the day, the UNSC began an emergency meeting on and diplomats said they expected the 15-nation body to condemn Pyongyang and redouble efforts to agree on new sanctions.

c)     North Korea said the launch of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 (named after late leader Kim Jong-il) was a complete success and it was making a polar orbit of Earth every 94 minutes. The launch order was given by his son, leader Kim Jong-un.

d)     North Korea had notified UN agencies that it planned to launch a rocket carrying an Earth observation satellite, triggering opposition from governments that see it as a long-range missile test.

7.

Schooling without learning (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Right to Education Act (RTE) Act

b)     Right to Quality Education Act

a)     Contrary to popular perception, the vast majority of the 3.3 lakh private unaided schools in India are low-fee establishments. Only about 16,000 of them are ‘elite’ high-fee schools affiliated to the Indian Council of Secondary Education and the Central Board of Secondary Education.

b)     Despite giving far greater value for money (learning per unit of cost), thousands of low-fee private schools are being forced to shut down in India.

c)   The reason: the requirement of RTE that all private schools must mandatorily get govt recognition by complying with the norms stipulated in the RTE Act and in State RTE Rules.

d) With private school closures, many govt schools are also shutting down because of a lack of demand for dysfunctional schools where teachers are often absent. Meanwhile, the population of children who are of school-going age is rising by 3.8 percent per year, according to Censuses of 2001 and 2011.

e)     This situation where both private and govt schools are shutting even as more children are going to school has created a national crisis. It has also created a paradox: an Act that vows to promote childrens right to education is itself potentially violating the same. It is also violating fee-paying childrens right to attend a school of their choice.

f)     Low levels of teacher accountability and low student-learning levels have caused parents to desert publicly funded schools. In 2014-15, there were nearly 97,000 govt schools in India with a total enrolment of 20 or fewer students.

g)     The closure of private schools without adequate safeguards for the admission of the displaced children in other nearby schools should also wake up child protection agencies to the danger of the likely denial of children their right to education.

h) A Right to Quality Education Act needs to be enacted, to underscore the importance of ensuring learning. It should give central attention to teacher accountability.

i)     Second, it should give attention to the use of the power of financial incentives (for instance, making govt and aided schools funding either through a voucher or a per-student grant such that the school loses funding if student numbers fall, as happens in OECD countries).

j)     Third, it should give attention to using the power of parental information about the quality of different schools in their town or city, so parents can exit schools where learning is low, thereby giving poorly performing schools an incentive to make more of an effort to retain students.

k)     Finally, there should be strengthening of teachers subject-matter knowledge via restructured teacher training. Anything other than a singular focus on learning, buttressed with a Right to Quality Education Act, will squander the life chances of millions of Indian children.

8.

With Zika, Indian firm scales up trials for GM mosquitoes (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     GM mosquitoes

b)     Zika virus

c)     Microcephaly

d)     WHO

a)     Even as panic spreads worldwide over Zika virus (harboured by the mosquito species that spreads dengue and chikungunya), a Maharashtra company is getting ready to scale up trials to find out whether genetically engineered mosquitoes can be a useful tool to check the growth of the insect.

b)     Gangabishan Bhikulal Investment and Trading Ltd (a sister company of Maharashtra Hybrid Company that first brought Bt cotton to India) has been breeding male mosquitoes.

c)     These mosquitoes contain genes which when passed on to its progeny render them unable to mature unless they have access to tetracycline, a compound that is not naturally available in the environment.

d)     The idea is that once enough of these laboratory-bred mosquitoes mate with the disease-carrying females in an open environment, they would reduce the regions mosquito population.

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