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Daily News Analysis 16-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

Nepal PM Oli says India visit aimed at normalising ties (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli said his maiden visit to India this week is aimed at bringing bilateral ties back on track by clearing misunderstandings even as he defended the new Constitution, opposed by Madhesis, as inclusive and democratic.

2.

Djibouti, Myanmar, Sri Lanka anchor Silk Road (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     A military base in Djibouti along with major port development projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are defining the contours of Chinas Maritime Silk Road - an oceanic connectivity project, of which, the Indian Ocean is the core.

3.

Kim pushes for more satellite launches (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promised to put more satellites in space, even as the international community prepares to punish his regime over a long-range rocket launch last week.

4.

Judicial hierarchy comes under strain as Madras HC judge stays his transfer (Pages 1 and 8)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The judicial hierarchy turned turtle on Feb 15 when Justice C. S. Karnan of the Madras High Court stayed the Chief Justice of Indias proposal to transfer him to the Calcutta High Court, forcing the Supreme Court to authorise a freeze on his functions as a judge.

5.

SC refuses to disclose data on pending verdicts (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Fifteen years after its verdict that the confidence of litigants would be shaken if judgments were kept pending for years, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea to maintain the data on its pending judgments and make the information public under the Right to Information Act.

6.

Govt. to renew efforts for consensus on GST Bill (Pg 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Modi-led NDA govt will once again reach out to the Opposition Congress to evolve a consensus on passing the crucial Goods and Services Tax Bill during the Budget session of Parliament.

7.

Sedition and the government (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    Section 124-A of the IPC (pertaining to sedition) negates the right to dissent, which is an essential condition of any reasonable government. Viewed thus, it is Section 124-A that is anti-India, that is opposed to the idea of a legitimate, liberal democratic state.

8.

Exports shrink for 14th straight month in January (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Merchandise exports fell for the 14th consecutive month with shipments in January, 2016 contracting 13.6 percent year-on-year to $21 billion due to weak overseas demand as well as fall in major export items such as engineering goods and petroleum products.

9.

Wholesale prices decline for 15th consecutive month (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Indias wholesale prices continued to fall in Jan 2016 (with the pace of price decline touching 0.9 from 0.73 percent in December) marking the 15th successive month of contraction in the wholesale price index for inflation.

10.

Mysuru retains cleanest city tag (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     Mysuru city in Karnataka retained the top position in Swachh Bharat Rankings for 2015 that were released on Feb 15 by the Ministry of Urban Development.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

Nepal PM Oli says India visit aimed at normalising ties (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepals economic blockade

c)     Nepals new Constitution

d)     Madhesis concerns

 

a)    Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli said his maiden visit to India this week is aimed at bringing bilateral ties back on track by clearing misunderstandings even as he defended the new Constitution, opposed by Madhesis, as inclusive and democratic.

b)     Olis much-anticipated visit to India at the invitation of PM Modi comes days after agitating Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, ended their crippling protests and blockade that had soured the bilateral ties.

c)     Oli asserted that the new Constitution promulgated on Sept 20 2015 was inclusive and democratic as it has all features of a democratic Constitution including guarantee of human rights, independent judiciary, social justice and equality.

2.

Djibouti, Myanmar, Sri Lanka anchor Silk Road (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Chinas Maritime Silk Road project

b)     Red Sea

c)     Suez Canal

d)     Strait of Bab Al-Mandab

e)     Straits of Malacca

f)     Maday Island

a)     A military base in Djibouti along with major port development projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are defining the contours of Chinas Maritime Silk Road - an oceanic connectivity project, of which, the Indian Ocean is the core.

b)     The Djibouti (Horn of Africa nation) is strategically located on the junction of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea - a gateway to the Suez Canal via the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab.

c)     Djibouti would become an ideal location for securing sea lanes, in the vicinity, which radiate from this area towards Africas Indian Ocean coastline and the Arabian Sea.

d)   China says it is establishing naval support facilities in Djibouti, which has the ambition of emerging as another Singapore, leveraging its position at the intersection of busy shipping lanes.

e)     China has also quietly signed a deal to develop an Industrial Park and a deep water port in Kyaukphyu in Myanmar. The facility in Bay of Bengal amplifies Beijings pitch to deepen its stakes in Myanmar in order to lower its dependence on the Straits of Malacca - a strategic commercial channel, dominated by the US sixth fleet.

f)     Maday Island has already emerged as a major pillar of Chinas energy security. Last year, a pipeline from the island transited oil sourced mainly from West Asia and Africa to Chinas Yunnan province, thus avoiding the Malacca trap.

g)  Sri Lanka has added another dimension to Chinas Maritime Silk Road. Chinese bloggers are pointing to improved prospects of revival of stalled Colombo port city project under new conditions, and establishment of an SEZ in Humbantota - both projects feeding into gradual unfolding of ambitious MSR.

h)     China is already steering the Gwadar to Kashgar economic corridor, adding another node to its growing Indian Ocean profile.

3.

Kim pushes for more satellite launches (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

b)     Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite

 

a)     North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promised to put more satellites in space, even as the international community prepares to punish his regime over a long-range rocket launch last week.

b)     North Korea sparked international anger last week with the launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite, which came just a month after its fourth nuclear test.

c)     The launch (which most in the international community viewed as a disguised ballistic missile test) violated multiple UN resolutions.

d)   Meanwhile, in South Korea, a top ruling party official called for the country to develop its own nuclear deterrent to combat the threat from North.

e)     US tactical nuclear weapons were withdrawn from South Korea in late 1991, though the country remains under the protection of the US nuclear umbrella.

4.

Judicial hierarchy comes under strain as Madras HC judge stays his transfer (Pages 1 and 8)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Judicial hierarchy

b)     Chief Justice of India (CJI)

c)     Supreme Court

d)     High Court

a)  The judicial hierarchy turned turtle on Feb 15 when Justice C. S. Karnan of the Madras High Court stayed the CJIs proposal to transfer him to the Calcutta High Court, forcing Supreme Court to authorise a freeze on his functions as a judge.

b)     Justice Karnan claimed he was being targeted because he was a Dalit.

c)     He even suggests to Chief Justice Thakur to look up the Second Judges case law of 1993 delivered by a nine-judge Constitution Bench. The 1993 case law had said that judges should be transferred only in public interest i.e. for promoting better administration of justice throughout country.

d)     Justice Khehar (who is a member of the Supreme Court Collegium which met on Feb 11 to decide on large-scale transfers of High Court judges including Justice Karnans) said it is left to the High Court judge to state his case against the transfer before the apex court, if he wants to.

e)  On Feb 12, the Madras High Court registry authorities had made an urgent plea to Supreme Court to intervene following an earlier letter shot off by Justice Karnan, accusing Chief Justice Kaul of caste discrimination.

5.

SC refuses to disclose data on pending verdicts (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    Right to Information (RTI) Act

b)     Supreme Court

c)     Central Information Commission (CIC)

a)     Fifteen years after its verdict that the confidence of litigants would be shaken if judgments were kept pending for years, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea to maintain the data on its pending judgments and make the information public under the RTI Act.

b)     The courts refusal to be made accountable under RTI Act is despite the decision of CIC to disclose the number of pending or reserved judgments. The Commissions decision was upheld by a single judge of the Delhi High Court in a case in which the Supreme Court itself was an opposing party.

6.

Govt to renew efforts for consensus on GST Bill (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill

a)     Minister for Coal Piyush Goyal said the Modi-led NDA govt will once again reach out to the Opposition Congress to evolve a consensus on passing the crucial GST Bill during the Budget session of Parliament.

b)     The Budget session of Parliament is likely to start on February 23.

7.

Sedition and the government (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

b)     Article 19(2) of the Constitution

a)     According to the author, the arrest by Delhi Police (at the behest of the Home Ministry) of Kanhaiya Kumar, president of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students Union, on complaints of sedition, represents the latest deplorable attack on free speech by the Indian state.

b)     The move presents with vivid clarity the governments pointed efforts at quelling any and every form of dissent. It also, through the invocation of Section 124-A of the IPC 1860 provides a stark reminder of the sheer depravity of some of our antiquated, colonial-era laws.

c)     In the case of Section 124-A of the IPC (which defines sedition in wide, expansive terms, and punishes the act with imprisonment for life), the danger does not lie merely in its abuse, or even in its potential for causing anti-democratic mischief.

d)     Unlike other provisions that might assume a pitiless character based on the nature of their usage, Section 124-A is intrinsically draconian. The problems in the clause are obviously apparent in its wordings, and the purpose that it unequivocally seeks to achieve: a suppression of all kinds of opposition.

e)     Although sedition was originally a part of the IPC (as drafted by Thomas Macaulay), it was bizarrely dropped from the law when it was enacted in 1860. A decade later, the offence was introduced into the IPC as Section 124-A, following explicit recognition from the colonial government that the earlier omission was based on a mistake.

f)    As it reads today after some amendments, the provision defines sedition as any action, which brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Govt established by law in India. Tellingly, the section also contains a clarification to the effect that the word disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.

g)     During the course of the British rule, there was a general consensus that Section 124-A was intended to indict any speech that as much as questioned the moral superiority of government, that harboured any sentiments of ill feeling towards the state.

h)     After the Constitution was adopted in 1950, it appeared Section 124-A would soon be denounced as an abhorrent relic of our colonial past. After all, efforts made by some members of the Constituent Assembly to include sedition as an express ground for limiting speech in Article 19(2) had been successfully resisted.

i)     However, in spite of the Supreme Court narrowing the scope of sedition, and in spite of the more recently evolved tests to determine when mere speech or expression can be prosecuted, governments have routinely invoked Section 124-A with a view to restricting even benign forms of dissent.

j)     To argue against sedition does not tantamount to arguing in favour of absolute free speech. That words which directly provoke violence or which directly threaten the maintenance of public order deserve censure is unquestionable, especially given Indias constitutional structure.

k)     Section 124-A of the IPC negates the right to dissent, which is an essential condition of any reasonable govt. Viewed thus, it is Section 124-A that is anti-India, that is opposed to the idea of a legitimate, liberal democratic state.

8.

Exports shrink for 14th straight month in January (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Indias imports and exports

b)     Trade deficit

a)     Merchandise exports fell for the 14th consecutive month with shipments in January, 2016 contracting 13.6 percent year-on-year to $21 billion due to weak overseas demand as well as fall in major export items such as engineering goods and petroleum products.

b)     Imports also fell during the month by 11 percent to $28.7 billion, resulting in the trade deficit narrowing to an 11-month low of $7.6 billion.

c)     The trade deficit would have been lower had the gold imports not recorded an 85.16 percent increase in January to $2.91 billion.

9.

Wholesale prices decline for 15th consecutive month (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Wholesale Price Index (WPI)

b)     Wholesale price inflation

c)     Consumer price inflation

a)     Indias wholesale prices continued to fall in Jan 2016 (with the pace of price decline touching 0.9 from 0.73 percent in December) marking the 15th successive month of contraction in the WPI for inflation.

b)     Experts said that the surge in the pace of price decline was driven by the global meltdown in commodity prices impacting energy and manufactured product costs. While food articles continued to see a rise in prices, the pace slowed down from 8.17 percent in December 2015 to 6.02 percent in January.

c)     Official data released on Feb 15 also included a revision in the wholesale price inflation numbers for Nov 2015 from -1.99 earlier to -2.04 percent.

d)     The divergence in consumer price inflation and wholesale price inflation was driven largely by prices for pulses shooting up in January.

10.

Mysuru retains cleanest city tag (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     Swachh Bharat Mission

b)     Solid waste management system

c)     Sanitation programme

a)     Mysuru city in Karnataka retained the top position in Swachh Bharat Rankings for 2015 that were released on Feb 15 by the Ministry of Urban Development.

b)  Compared to 2014 rankings, Chandigarh has replaced Tiruchirapalli of Tamil Nadu in the second rank while Dhanbad of Jharkhand is reeling at the 73rd slot, the lowest rank.

c)     In a year-long survey, the researchers studied 476 first-tier cities with two parameters: one, how minimal open defecation was in the city; two, how robust the municipalities were with the solid waste management system. Mysuru was found impressive on both the counts.

d)     Launched in Oct 2014 by PM Modi, the Swachh Bharat Mission is the flagship sanitation programme of NDA govt, which aims to bridge the gap between sewerage and solid waste management and construct several million toilets in the urban centres.

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