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Daily News Analysis 22-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

Oli defends Constitution (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Visiting Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli described his countrys Constitution as institutionalised democratic struggle.

2.

Storm over Sri Lankan deal with India (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     The Opposition and sections of professional organisations in Sri Lanka have kicked up a storm over the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement between India and the island nation.

3.

Cameron begins campaign to keep Britain in EU (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     British PM David Camerons announcement of June 23 as the date on which the referendum to decide Britains continuing membership of the European Union will be held has drawn the political battle lines and lit a public debate over the future of the United Kingdom.

4.

Provisional deal reached on Syria ceasefire (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US Secretary of State John Kerry said that a provisional agreement has been reached on a cease-fire that could begin in the next few days in Syrias five-year civil war.

5.

India studying impact of market economy status for China (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Indias Commerce Ministry is assessing the implications of the likelihood of China being granted Market Economy Status from December this year under the World Trade Organisation norms.

6.

USIBC working hard to protect Indias IPR status (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Hectic lobbying is underway by the US-India Business Council to prevent the risk of a downgrade in the Special 301 report that identifies trade barriers to US companies and products due to a foreign governments intellectual property regime.

7.

Unreasonable demands (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     The recurrence of violent protests led by relatively well-off communities demanding reservation (be it Patidars in Gujarat last year or Jats in Haryana this year) is perplexing.

8.

Scheme for projects in Naxal zones extended (Page 12)

a)     National

a)   The Environment Ministry has extended to Dec 2018 a scheme granting default Forest Department approval for public utility projects in Naxal-affected regions.

                                                               

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

Oli defends Constitution (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepals new Constitution

c)     Madhesis concerns

 

a)     Visiting Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli described his countrys Constitution as institutionalised democratic struggle.

b)     He said the Constitution was drafted after consulting all sections of the Nepali people like the Tharus, the Madhesis, and the Janajatis, and does not discriminate against anyone in Nepal.

c)     Olis comments are significant as it marks a hardening of Nepals position, just a day after Foreign Secretary Jaishankar spoke of Nepals assurances on making the Constitution more inclusive.

d)     Oli argued that Madhesis do not have a solid basis for reverting to the blockade which froze Nepali economy and hit India-Nepal ties.

e)     Oli acknowledged that some misunderstanding had appeared between India and Nepal after the promulgation of the Nepali Constitution on Sept 20 2015. But the Constitution was drafted through an open consultative process.

2.

Storm over Sri Lankan deal with India (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Sri Lanka relations

b)     Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement

c)     Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

a)  The Opposition and sections of professional organisations in Sri Lanka have kicked up a storm over proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement between India and the island nation.

b)     Calling the pact a fresh variant of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (which was aborted earlier), the Joint Opposition said the deal had to be abandoned due to lack of public support.

c)     Critics have said the deal would pave the way for Indian professionals and semi-skilled and unskilled persons to flood Sri Lankas labour market.

3.

Cameron begins campaign to keep Britain in EU (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     EU referendum

b)     European Union

 

a)  British PM David Camerons announcement of June 23 as the date on which the referendum to decide Britains continuing membership of the European Union will be held has drawn the political battle lines and lit a public debate over the future of the United Kingdom.

b)     Cameron returned from Brussels with victory over his success at negotiating a country-specific agreement with all 28 EU heads of state that will bring in the sort of EU reforms that will make it advantageous for Britain to remain in the EU. Cameron has pledged to lead the in campaign in the run up to the referendum.

c)     Cameron had demanded from his European allies that child benefits to the children of EU migrants to the UK be fully curtailed. What he has got is that child benefits not be curtailed but tailored to the cost of living in the countries the migrants come from.

d)     Secondly, he asked for the UKs right to stop in-work benefits for EU migrants for the first four years of their stay in the country.  

4.

Provisional deal reached on Syria ceasefire (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Syria peace deal

c)     UNSC

a)     US Secretary of State John Kerry said that a provisional agreement has been reached on a cease-fire that could begin in the next few days in Syrias five-year civil war.

b)     Russian Foreign Ministry seemed to stop short of Kerrys announcement. They discussed the modality and conditions for a cease-fire in Syria that would exclude groups that the UN Security Council considers terrorist organisations.

c)     Fighting has intensified in Syria during recent weeks and an earlier deadline to cease military activities was not observed. The US, Russia and other world powers agreed on Feb 12 on a deal calling for the ceasing of hostilities within a week, the delivery of urgently needed aid to besieged areas of Syria and a return to peace talks in Geneva.

d)     However, Kerry reiterated the long-time US position that any political solution to the conflict will not work if Syrian President Bashar Assad remains at the helm.

5.

India studying impact of market economy status for China (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Market Economy Status (MES)

b)     WTO

c)     Dumping

 

a)     Indias Commerce Ministry is assessing the implications of the likelihood of China being granted Market Economy Status from December this year under the WTO norms.

b)     This comes against the backdrop of instances of Indias manufacturers in steel, chemicals, electrical and electronics sectors being severely hurt by unfairly low-priced imports from China, and the extensive usage of anti-dumping duty by India to offset the losses caused to the local manufacturers due to dumping.

c)     Of the 535 cases where anti-dumping duties were imposed by India from 1994-2014, a maximum of 134 has been on goods from China.

d)     Beijing has cited the 2001 agreement on China joining the WTO to say that WTO-member countries had then decided to deem China as a market economy from Dec 2016 while adjudicating anti-dumping cases.

e)     Dumping is an unfair trade practice of exporting goods to another country at a price lesser than what is paid in the exporting nation or their normal production cost, thereby distorting international trade and causing injury to the domestic manufacturers of the goods in the importing country.

f)     As per the 2001 agreement (Protocol on the accession of China to WTO), in calculating the normal value of exported goods while adjudicating anti-dumping cases, the WTO member nations could for 15 years (that is till Dec 2016) ignore selling price and production costs in China.

g)     The 15-year time period was given to China to carry out internal reforms and transition into a market economy. Like India, the EU is also undertaking stakeholder consultations on ramifications of granting MES to China.

6.

USIBC working hard to protect Indias IPR status (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

b)     International IP Index

c)     US-India Business Council (USIBC)

d)     US Trade Representative (USTR)

a)  Hectic lobbying is underway by the US-India Business Council to prevent the risk of a downgrade in the Special 301 report that identifies trade barriers to US companies and products due to a foreign govts intellectual property regime.

b)     The office of the USTR prepares the report annually and the Govt of India does not engage with the process as it considers it an infringement on the countrys sovereignty.

c)   USIBC efforts are to ensure that the India retains its current position, i.e on the priority watch list, which has countries of major concern to US Govt. There are two categories worse than this as per the Special 301 ranking and Indias faces risk being downgraded. The lowest category will face US sanctions.

d)     The US Chamber of Commerce International IP Index released recently had India at the lowest but one among 38 countries ranked.

e)     Venezuela was the only country below India. The USIBC (which has 350 companies investing India as members) is also part of the US Chamber of Commerce. It is now trying to avert a potential setback at the USTR.

7.

Unreasonable demands (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)    National Commission for Backward Classes

b)     Other Backward Classes (OBCs)

c)     Jats

d)     Patidars

e)     Dalits

f)     Adivasis

g)     Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC)

a)     The recurrence of violent protests led by relatively well-off communities demanding reservation (be it Patidars in Gujarat last year or Jats in Haryana this year) is perplexing.

b)     The Jats are a relatively prosperous land-owning community in Haryana and are regarded as being high on the social ladder in the region. Their political and social might is even more evident in the influence they wield in rural areas and in the leadership of the dominant political parties in the State.

c)     The National Commission for Backward Classes had in the past come out with specific reasons against the inclusion of the Jats in Haryana in the OBCs list. This was overruled by the Congress-led UPA govt at the Centre through a notification in March 2014, promising a special quota for Jats over and beyond the 27 percent reservation for OBCs in jobs and higher education.

d)     It was left to the Supreme Court in March 2015 to reiterate the reality and to quash the decision of the UPA to include Jats in nine States among OBCs, stating that caste alone could not be the criterion for determining socio-economic backwardness.

e)  Clearly, even if the demands do not make any constitutional or legal sense, the bipartisan consensus over extending reservations has emboldened protestors among the Jat community. After all, the BJP in power too had voiced support for the implementation of the March 2014 notification.

f)     Yet, the demands for reservations from these powerful communities is also a consequence of the success of the system of reservations that formed the most significant component of the Mandal Commission recommendations, implemented for the past 25 years, apart from the 65 years of reservations for Dalits and Adivasis.

g)     In the case of the more prosperous and diverse Patidars in Gujarat, the demands for reservation were a thin pretext to do away with the system of reservation itself. The agitations point to the need to review the list of castes counted as OBCs and to deepen the definition of creamy layer. An opportunity for this was provided through the SECC, but it was missed.

8.

Scheme for projects in Naxal zones extended (Page 12)

a)     National

a)     Naxal zones in India

a)   The Environment Ministry has extended to Dec 2018 a scheme granting default Forest Department approval for public utility projects in Naxal-affected regions.

b)     Such a scheme has been in place since 2011 in 117 districts, including those in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Telangana.

c)   All projects require separate forest and environmental clearances, given the specific circumstances of a project.

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