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Daily News Analysis 23-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

Masood Azhar in police custody, says Pakistan (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India refused to react to the startling statement of Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharifs Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz that Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar is in custody, with officials questioning why this had not been communicated to the government formally.

2.

Referendum gamble for Britain (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     British Prime Minister David Cameron wants London to stay in and out of the European Union all at the same time, and his counterparts would let it be.

3.

US scrambles to contain IS in Libya (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The Islamic States branch in Libya is deepening its reach across a wide area of Africa, attracting new recruits from countries like Senegal that had been largely immune to the jihadist propaganda - and forcing the African authorities and their Western allies to increase efforts to combat the fast-moving threat.

4.

Arunachal: SC refuses to intervene (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Remarking that the Arunachal Pradesh experiment to topple State govts may prove deadly, the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the formation of the new govt under dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul, saying the highest judiciary has the power and strength to put the clock back in the sensitive border State.

5.

A fine balance on the Budget (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Given the pressing need for financial prudence and the equally pressing need for increasing public investment, the Finance Minister needs to raise additional resources and rationalise and target subsidies.

6.

NASA working on crunching a Mars trip to three days (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     NASA researchers are working on a technology that could harness the power of light and may be the key to cutting down travel time to Mars from months to as little as three days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

Masood Azhar in police custody, says Pakistan (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

 

a)     India refused to react to startling statement of Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharifs Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz that JeM chief Masood Azhar is in custody, with officials questioning why this had not been communicated to the govt formally.

b)     Aziz said that Azhar was in the protective custody of police ever since he was taken in on Jan 14 this year. This is the first time an official of the Sharif govt had said this on record, although Masood Azhar is not named in the FIR filed by the police in Pakistan last week.

c)     Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had also said that the FIR was insufficient action from Pakistan.

2.

Referendum gamble for Britain (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     EU referendum

b)     European Union

c)     Brexit

d)     Grexit

e)     UNSC

a)    British PM David Cameron wants London to stay in and out of the European Union all at the same time, and his counterparts would let it be.

b)     Regardless of the result in the June 23 in-out referendum on the question of the UKs EU membership, the difficult and delicate deal stitched together among the leaders of the 28-member bloc carries immense diplomatic significance and value for its near future.

c)   The enlargement of original bloc of six countries into what is today a gigantic transnational entity of 28 is forcing leaders of as many sovereign states to confront, from their individual perspectives, the cumulative and complex realities of competing nationalisms.

d)    As for Britain, the question whether it should stay or leave the EU has overshadowed the better part of the forty-plus years of its membership since 1973. Now, in the midst of the influx of immigrants in their millions from North Africa and West Asia, the UK feels the urgency to define its equation with the rest of the bloc in more precise terms.

e)     For their part, EU leaders would not easily reconcile to the idea of the exit of one of the continents biggest economies, one with immense international clout and a permanent UNSC seat.

f)     There was implicit appreciation in Berlin, Paris and Brussels in recent months that the prospect of a Brexit would not bode well politically for the bloc, as much as a Grexit would severely dent the project of the single currency, now nearing completion of two decades.

g)   That Britain is in a minority of countries that neither share the euro nor participate in the Schengen border-free zone does not diminish its weight and importance in the larger EU framework.

h)     Conversely, the exemption of Britain from ever-closer integration in the Union (a founding principle) promised in the latest agreement, represents an important selling point for Cameron.

3.

US scrambles to contain IS in Libya (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Libya crisis

c)     Islamic State (IS)

d)     Nusra Front

e)     Al-Qaeda

 

 

a)     The ISs branch in Libya is deepening its reach across a wide area of Africa, attracting new recruits from countries like Senegal that had been largely immune to jihadist propaganda - and forcing the African authorities and their Western allies to increase efforts to combat the fast-moving threat.

b)     The US air strikes in northwestern Libya (which demolished an Islamic State training camp and were aimed at a top Tunisian operative) underscore the problem.

c)     IS leaders in Syria are telling recruits travelling north from West African nations such as Senegal and Chad, as well as others streaming up through Sudan in eastern Africa, not to press on to West Asia. Instead, they are being told to stay put in Libya.

d)     The rising threat from Libya comes as President Obama is being asked by many of his top military and intelligence advisers to approve the broader use of US military force in Libya to open another front against the IS.

e)     Sources said a draft US-Russian plan calls for a cessation of hostilities in Syria to begin on Feb 27 but to exclude IS and al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front militants.

4.

Arunachal: SC refuses to intervene (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Arunachal Pradesh political crisis

b)     Presidents Rule

c)     Governor

d)     Supreme Court

a)     Remarking that the Arunachal Pradesh experiment to topple State govts may prove deadly, the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the formation of the new govt under dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul, saying the highest judiciary has the power and strength to put the clock back in the sensitive border State.

b)   The five-judge Constitution Bench (led by Justice Khehar) is looking into constitutionality of State Governor J.P. Rajkhowas move to advance the Arunachal Assembly session, which eventually triggered a political crisis that lead to the ouster of Congress-led Nabam Tuki govt and proclamation of emergency in the State on Jan 26 this year.

c)     Earlier in the day, the States Congress leaders moved the apex court against the manner in which the Presidents rule was withdrawn without the Supreme Courts knowledge and the formation of the Pul govt in the next three hours on Feb 19.

5.

A fine balance on the Budget (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Budget 2016-17

b)     Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

c)     Fiscal deficit

d)     Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act

e)     Goods and Services Tax (GST)

f)     One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme

g)     Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY)

h)     Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) initiative

 

a)    It is Budget time again, and a lot of things have been written and spoken about what the Finance Minister should and can do. Even in the best of times, Budget-making is a very difficult exercise in India.

b)   Given the depressing global environment, marked slowdown in domestic manufacturing and increasing expenditure demands, the challenges this year look formidable.

c)     The revival of investment climate requires structural reforms besides substantially increasing public investment since private sector investment is stagnant. At same time, the govt will have to leave enough savings for the private sector to borrow at a reasonable rate of interest which requires it to contain its claim on household sectors financial savings.

d)     In India, aggregate tax-to-GDP ratio is just about 17 percent. Gross tax collection at Union level is just a little over 10 percent and after devolution, the Union govt gets just about 6.5 percent. With the non-tax revenue collections amounting to about 2.5 percent, the total revenue available to Union govt is less than 10 percent of GDP.

e)     This year, the Finance Minister is saddled with the problem of recapitalising the public sector banks which are saddled with huge non-performing assets, provisioning for pay revision and meeting additional requirements for One Rank One Pension.

f)    It is therefore not surprising that the discussion has veered around the need to increase government expenditure even if this requires violating the fiscal deficit target.

g)  The problem is that at a time when the financial saving of the household sector is just about 7.6 percent of GDP, even if the govt conforms to fiscal deficit target of 3.5 percent, with the total deficit of the States at 2.5 percent, the consolidated deficit will be about 6 percent; the States have to take additional burden of over 1 percent of GDP under Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana.

h)     Furthermore, interest payments at the Union level are estimated at about 50 percent of net tax revenue and 40 percent of its net revenues. With nominal GDP growing at lower than real GDP, further addition to debt will increase debt-GDP ratio at a much faster rate.

i)   The govt has paused 4 times since the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act was passed in 2003; it has redefined the targets and more often than not, it has observed the targets by breaching it. Credit rating agencies will be keenly watching the stance.

j)     On the taxes front, the Finance Minister in the last Budget has indicated that he will phase out tax preferences for the corporate sector and reduce the rate of tax to 25 percent in the next three years, and his actions on these will be keenly watched.

k)     More importantly, the government will have to show its seriousness in introducing the GST by rationalising the excise duty and service tax structures.

l)     This requires, in the case of excise duty, pruning of the exemption list, reducing the threshold from the prevailing Rs.1.5 crore, limiting the list of items taxed at low rates to essential commodities and reclassifying them into general rate category, and unifying the rates of tax to two.

m)     On the expenditure side, the govt will have to expand the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile initiative and move over to cash transfers wherever feasible, particularly on items like gas and kerosene subsidy.

n)     Unfortunately, the Union govt has continued to expand centrally sponsored schemes rather than limiting them to a few meritorious services where the minimum standards of services must be ensured across the country. Perhaps, the Finance Minister should discontinue the less important schemes and fund those that are important adequately.

6.

NASA working on crunching a Mars trip to three days (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Photonic propulsion system

b)     Red Planet

c)     NASA

a)     NASA researchers are working on a technology that could harness the power of light and may be the key to cutting down travel time to Mars from months to as little as three days.

b)     Philip Lubin is developing the photonic propulsion system where lasers can propel spacecraft with giant sails to the Red Planet.

c)     The system relies on the momentum of photons (particles of light) to move forward. However, instead of photons from the Suns rays, Prof. Lubins design would be given a push by giant Earth-based lasers.

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