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Daily News Analysis 20-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

Oli arrives on 6-day visit (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     Aiming for Nepals recovery from more than five months of economic blockade, PM K.P. Sharma Oli (who arrived on a 6-day visit to India on Feb 19) is expected to seal crucial bilateral agreements on Feb 20.

2.

We, the people of South Asia (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     A really good Constitution holds up the mirror to government. As Sri Lanka and Nepal hew new ones, Indias experience would prove handy. Our Constitution-framers were bound by similar imperatives of post-war reconstruction, reconciliation and a vision for the future.

3.

Modi to attend summit of EU, India in Brussels (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     PM Modi will travel to Brussels for the EU-India summit on March 30, which is being held after a long gap of four years that have also seen the suspension of talks on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement.

4.

Pak files case against unnamed outfit (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     In a clear hint of the two countries holding the Foreign Secretary-level talks soon, India welcomed Pakistans move to file a case against an unnamed extremist group suspected of executing the January 2 attack on the Pathankot airbase.

5.

US imposes new unilateral sanctions on North Korea (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     US President Obama signed into law a piece of legislation passed by Congress imposing new sanctions against North Korea for testing a nuclear device on Jan 6 and launching a satellite on Feb 7 using ballistic missile technology.

6.

UK-EU talks go into extra time (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     A European Union summit to negotiate new membership terms for Britain was forced into extra time on Feb 19 as PM David Cameron struggled for a deal he could sell to sceptical British voters in a referendum.

7.

Tamil areas in Sri Lanka are the pockets of poverty (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     According to a study of the World Bank, regions with the highest rate of poverty in Sri Lanka are areas inhabited by Tamils.

8.

Cong rebel sworn in Arunachal CM (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     A few hours after Presidents Rule was revoked in Arunachal Pradesh on Feb 19, the dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn in as Chief Minister.

9.

ISRO upbeat as indigenous cryo engine passes test (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     ISROs bid to acquire the capability to launch heavier satellites into orbit received a boost with the successful hotbed test of the cryogenic engine for the upper stage of the GSLV Mark 3 rocket.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

Oli arrives on 6-day visit (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepals economic blockade

c)     Nepals new Constitution

d)     Madhesis concerns

 

a)   Aiming for Nepals recovery from more than five months of economic blockade, PM K.P. Sharma Oli (who arrived on a 6-day visit to India on Feb 19) is expected to seal crucial bilateral agreements on Feb 20.

b)     However, sources told that the visit was primarily aimed at reassuring Nepals topmost leadership that India did not harbour any negative intention about Nepals stability and unity.

c)     Sources said this visit is a confidence-boosting step. Its not just about agreements and accords. We want to remove the impression that some in Nepal have, that India somehow supports the internal problem between the Madhesis of Nepals Terai region and the government in Kathmandu.

2.

We, the people of South Asia (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     India – Sri Lanka relations

c)     Nepals new Constitution

d)     Madhesis concerns

e)     Sri Lankas new Constitution

f)     Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

a)     According to the author, this is turning out to be a year of Constitutions in South Asia. PM K.P. Oli of Nepal is in India with a newly amended Constitution that seeks to allay opposition to the previous draft, whose adoption 4 months ago led to widespread and violent ethnic protest in Nepals plains.

b)   Earlier in the year President Sirisena unveiled plans for an amended Sri Lankan Constitution which would heal the wounds of the four-decade-long Sinhala-Tamil conflict that ended seven years ago.

c)     Here in India, last year we held the first parliamentary debate for decades on our own Constitution, prompted by fear of its erosion, and the debate rages on.

d)     Unlike the debate in India, which is focussed on upholding the Constitution, the changes being proposed in both Nepal and Sri Lanka arise from peace processes and aim to accommodate diverse ethnic and group aspirations.

e)     Constitution-drafting has taken an inordinate amount of time in Nepal, 8 years thus far. Its successive iterations reflect different stages of Nepali peacemaking, from ideological reconciliation to integration of Maoist army to a democratic republic to pluralism, gender equality and devolution.

f)   The task has been especially difficult because of the complex and seemingly contradictory elements that the Constitution has to incorporate - Nepal as a secular socialist state with a Hindu identity, more equitable power-sharing between hill people and plains people, upper and lower castes, linguistic and cultural groups, inclusiveness, social justice and devolution.

g)     The last challenge was how to satisfy the demands of the Madhesis, plains people of the Eastern Terai who share a border and common familial and cultural bonds with Bihar. Whether they will be satisfied with the new amendments remains to be seen.

h)     Sri Lankas process of constitutional change began last year with the Amendment 19 which reduced the powers of the Presidency, transferring them to the Prime Minister and Parliament. The amendment was hailed as a return to the parliamentary democracy of the original Constitution, and was to pave the ground for further change that would acknowledge Tamil aspirations.

i)     On Jan 9 2016, Sirisena announced that the Sri Lankan legislature would begin drafting and debating Amendment 20 to grant greater devolution to provinces and districts, and PM Ranil convened a session of the Constitutional Assembly to kick-start discussion of the amendment over the weekend.

j)     If passed, it will go a large part of way towards reassuring Tamil community that it will not be even more vulnerable after the defeat of the LTTE. But ethnic and majoritarian opposition to the amendment has begun even before it has been drafted, and whether Sri Lankas new govt will be able to push it through is unclear.

k)     Yet the governments of both countries have a magnificent opportunity today to unite their people around a national agenda. The soul of a constitution lies in its vision of the kind of society that the country will seek to build through its institutions.

l)     Certainly, Sri Lanka could not ask for more propitious circumstances; the defeat of the LTTE created the space for the country to embark on lasting reconciliation and may be the first time since Sri Lankas independence that such an opportunity has presented itself.

m)     By contrast, the Constitution-drafting process in Nepal has degenerated into hard bargaining instead of vision. The key issue remaining is demarcation of provincial borders - while the main political parties would prefer to use geographical and economic criteria for demarcation, the Madhesis and some of the Maoists prioritise ethnic and cultural criteria.

n)     Indias own States reorganisation in the 1950s and 1960s did much the same, using ethnic and cultural criteria as a base while ensuring that economic and geographic factors were not ignored; similar principles were followed in the subsequent creation of new States.

o)     Indeed, the problem does not lie in internal demarcation since all citizens will have freedom of movement and residence; it lies in uneven administrative, growth and development capacity, the absence of which gives rise to chauvinism and conflict. This will be the bigger problem for Madhesis and in several other of Nepals provinces.

p)     Our Constitution was a post-war one, like the current Nepali and Sri Lankan drafts, and it was bound by similar imperatives of post-war reconstruction, reconciliation and unification. But it also held out the vision of what we would like to become, that is to say it envisaged a time when post-war tasks would have been completed, as they were in large part decades ago.

q)     What we face today are tensions arising from the failure to move to the next stage of implementation of the Directive Principles of the Constitution, to provide common citizen rights across the country.

r)     Our experience holds out both good and bad examples for drafters of the Nepal and Sri Lankan constitutional amendments. The two countries are moving to the parliamentary democracy that has stood India in good stead, and they too are exploring devolution as a means of reconciliation and unification.

3.

Modi to attend summit of EU, India in Brussels (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Brussels relations

b)     EU-India summit

c)     Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)

d)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

a)     PM Modi will travel to Brussels for EU-India summit on March 30, which is being held after a long gap of 4 years that have also seen suspension of talks on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement.

b)     Officials say they hope that the visit by Modi, who will stop in Brussels on his way to the US will also see an announcement on resumption of talks on the BTIA, as the free trade agreement is known.

c)     According to officials there are still some obstacles preventing the resumption of the India-EU FTA talks that were suspended in 2013 after 16 rounds of negotiation.

d)     To begin with, the EU is learnt to have asked India to substantially bring down the high duties on automobiles as a pre-condition for resumption of the FTA negotiations.

4.

Pak files case against unnamed outfit (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Foreign Secretary-level talks

c)     Terrorism

d)     Pathankot terror attack

e)     Anti Terrorism Act

f)     Pakistan Penal Code

g)     Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)

 

a)     In a clear hint of the two countries holding the Foreign Secretary-level talks soon, India welcomed Pakistans move to file a case against an unnamed extremist group suspected of executing the January 2 attack on the Pathankot airbase.

b)     Indias response came a day after the Pakistani police filed a case against a suspected terror group under the strict Anti Terrorism Act and the Pakistan Penal Code.

c)  Immediately after the attack, India pointed the finger at the JeM (which has its headquarters in Gujranwala), but did not receive a favourable response even after providing technical evidence of the involvement of members of this group.

d)    The filing of the case under the Anti Terrorism Act has been interpreted by observers as a sign that the actionable intelligence given by India to Pakistan after the attack has begun to produce results.

5.

US imposes new unilateral sanctions on North Korea (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     US – North Korea relations

b)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

c)     South China Sea dispute

 

a)   US President Obama signed into law a piece of legislation passed by Congress imposing new sanctions against North Korea for testing a nuclear device on Jan 6 and launching a satellite on Feb 7 using ballistic missile technology.

b)     New unilateral sanctions by the US seek to sharpen and expand the scope of existing sanctions against the North, but with its neighbour and closest ally China opposed to it, the efficacy of the move remains ambiguous at best.

c)     The new sanctions regime will require the President to mandatorily investigate and designate persons and entities for violations. The law will also give more tools to the administration to enforce secondary sanctions - which are restrictions on a third country from doing business with the North.

d)     The law also provides for $50 million to support humanitarian programmes and transmit radio broadcasts into the North. North Koreas main supply lines are from China, which has been unwilling to be harsher with sanctions. USs unilateral push could further add to the tensions with China, heightened in recent days over disputes in South China Sea.

6.

UK-EU talks go into extra time (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     UK – EU talks

a)     A European Union summit to negotiate new membership terms for Britain was forced into extra time on Feb 19 as PM David Cameron struggled for a deal he could sell to sceptical British voters in a referendum.

b)     EU officials said the main outstanding problems involved Britains demands to curtail welfare benefits for migrant workers from other EU countries, although other snags remained.

7.

Tamil areas in Sri Lanka are the pockets of poverty (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     Poverty

c)     Purchasing Power Parity

d)     World Bank

 

a)     According to a study of the World Bank, regions with the highest rate of poverty in Sri Lanka are areas inhabited by Tamils.

b)   The regions come under the districts of Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi in the Northern Province; Batticaloa in East and plantations in Badulla district (Uva Province) and Nuwara Eliya (Central Province). One Sinhala-dominated region the study has identified as having a high rate of poverty is the Monaragala district.

c) Going by Sri Lankas national poverty line of about $1.50 per day (Purchasing Power Parity in 2005), the poverty headcount rates of Mullaitivu, Mannar and Kilinochchi are 28.8 percent, 20.1 percent and 12.7 percent respectively.

d)   Lack of access to the labour market and high unemployment rates (particularly among the youth and among educated women) are the factors that have contributed to prevalence of such high rates of poverty.

e)    World Bank has called for implementation of programmes aimed at improving market accessibility, incentives to promote entrepreneurship among educated youth and schemes to help ex-combatants and women-headed households.

8.

Cong rebel sworn in Arunachal CM (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Arunachal Pradesh political crisis

b)     Presidents Rule

a)     A few hours after Presidents Rule was revoked in Arunachal Pradesh on Feb 19, the dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn in as Chief Minister.

b)     Prior to this, both factions of the Congress (one headed by Pul and the other by former CM Nabam Tuki) staked their claim to form a new govt in the State.

c)     The total strength of the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly is 50 seats.

9.

ISRO upbeat as indigenous cryo engine passes test (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     GSLV Mark 3

b)     ISRO

a)     ISROs bid to acquire the capability to launch heavier satellites into orbit received a boost with the successful hotbed test of the cryogenic engine for the upper stage of the GSLV Mark 3 rocket.

b)     Using Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as propellants, the high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) generates power of approximately 2 MW.

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