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Daily News Analysis 24-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

No access for Pak SIT: Parrikar (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Serving and retired military officers said that India should not allow Pakistans Special Investigation Team into the Pathankot airbase, even as reports claimed that India could give the team access to the forward airbase.

2.

No option but to engage (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     Having committed to attending the SAARC summit in Islamabad which is only months away, the Prime Minister must know that talks with Pakistan will have to resume well before that.

3.

Indian delegation to visit Colombo (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that a delegation of officials from India will visit Colombo on March 4 to hold talks with Sri Lankan officials regarding the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement.

4.

Xis China digs into Maoist roots (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     China appears to be digging into its Maoist roots by reinforcing the guiding principle of the Communist Party of China in steering the countrys economic and political transition under President Xi Jinping.

5.

Brexit referendum campaign begins in UK (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The campaign on Brexit has begun in the UK, with Prime Minister David Cameron receiving early backing for his call for the country to remain in the European Union from opposite ends of British society.

6.

Assad regime agrees to Syria peace deal (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syrias regime agreed to a ceasefire deal announced by the US and Russia, but there were widespread doubts it could take effect by the weekend as hoped.

7.

President spotlights welfare programmes (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     In his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee dwelt on the govts programmes, especially those aimed at financial inclusion and the agricultural sector, including the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana.

8.

Fiscal metrics remain weak: Moodys (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Moodys Investors Service said that Indias economic growth at more than 7 percent may be faster than that of its peers, but subdued rural demand and weak corporate profitability will contribute to hampering fiscal consolidation in the upcoming Budget.

9.

Government to unveil IPR policy in a fortnight (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     The government is likely to announce its National Intellectual Property Rights Policy within a fortnight.

10.

Clean air agenda for the cities (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)    Air quality has a strong bearing on Indias ability to sustain high economic growth, but national policy has treated the issue with scant importance.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

No access for Pak SIT: Parrikar (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Pathankot terror attack

d)     Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)

e)     Special Investigation Team (SIT)

 

a)    Serving and retired military officers said that India should not allow Pakistans SIT into the Pathankot airbase, even as reports claimed that India could give the team access to the forward airbase.

b)     A section in the Indian establishment and several Pakistani media reports have been saying that the six-member Pakistani team will visit India in March and may be given access to the airbase.

c)     India seems to be happy about the progress made in Pakistan over the Pathankot attack investigation.

d)     Sartaj Aziz (adviser to Pak PM on Foreign Affairs) said that SIT would need access to some parts of Pathankot airbase as part of their investigation. He also claimed that JeM founder Masood Azhar had been under police custody since January 14, information that Indian officials were not confirming.

2.

No option but to engage (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

d)     Pathankot terror attack

e)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

f)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

g)     SAARC summit

a)     According to the author, PM Modis sudden Christmas Day detour from Kabul to Lahore at the instance of Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif appeared to be the public manifestation of a serious new approach to dealing with Pak. It was a breathtaking development which was greeted with howls of derision from the Congress.

b)    Consider this: the govt was alive to the ever-present risks inherent in engaging Pakistan - terrorist attacks, increased firing across the Line of Control, attacks on our interests in Afghanistan, an uptick in the use of both political and armed proxies in Kashmir, as we have just seen in Pampore.

c)     Fifteen years after the attack on the World Trade Center, there is little the world does not know about Pakistans Deep State and its proclivities in using terrorism as a tool of statecraft.

d)     We do not need to wait for Pakistans former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to confirm that the ISI trains terrorist groups such as the LeT and JeM before it becomes the gospel truth.

e)     When he was running Pakistan, Gen Musharraf referred to such terrorists as freedom fighters and kept telling Indian High Commissioners in Islamabad that the work done by these freedom fighters was vital as it helped India focus on the need for dialogue on Kashmir.

f)     Nothing that 26/11 plotter David Headley says through video conferencing is likely to embarrass Pakistan or Washington for that matter. Even as Islamabad brazens it out, if New Delhi keeps waiting for its neighbour to act effectively against JeM leader Maulana Masood Azhar.

g)     The first thing India to do is to read the Pathankot message properly. The message is that such attacks will continue irrespective of whether we engage or not. The more important message is that there are serious gaps in our security that we continue to remain blind to and which still remain a serious cause of embarrassment.

h)     Then there is the matter of the quality of evidence India has listed that suggest point of origin of the attacks. It is unlikely that Pakistan will be impressed with Indias forensic diplomacy, mainly because it requires more pressure than the kind New Delhi can unilaterally mount on Pakistan.

i)     India should not let itself be misled by incremental steps such as registering a first information report like Pakistan just did. This is more tokenism. The Pathankot attack was not in the same league as some of Pakistans more atrocious terrorist depredations. It was a modest attack that could have ended differently had India thwarted it in time.

j)     Indias international well-wishers are probably already telling the country after the usual patient hearing that the window of opportunity that was opened by Modis surprise visit to Lahore should not be allowed to close. Pakistans own investigations into Pathankot attack are not likely to meet a fate different from that fallen on the Mumbai attacks.

k)     Modi should look at the sale of more F-16s to Pakistan (a major non-NATO ally) as another aspect of the reality that confronts policymakers in New Delhi: the longer India continues to remain nonplussed over Pathankot, the sooner it will find itself in an area of diminishing returns.

l)     It will also give rise to speculation that Indias Pakistan policy could well be based on whimsy. For example, India cannot change the national interest of the US to suit itself, but it can always define its own national interest better.

m)     Surely, Modi could not have initiated engagement with Pakistan on presumption that all sections of the establishment in Pakistan want peace with India all of a sudden. He must have proceeded after due consideration, with serious intent.

n)     Having committed to attending the SAARC summit in Islamabad which is only months away, Modi knows that talks with Pakistan will have to resume well before that. He needs to give a sustained engagement a chance and enlarge the peace constituency while he is at it.

3.

Indian delegation to visit Colombo (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Sri Lanka relations

b)     Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA)

c)     Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

 

a)     Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that a delegation of officials from India will visit Colombo on March 4 to hold talks with Sri Lankan officials regarding the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement.

b)     During the discussion, the two countries would exchange their draft, and Parliament and all parties would be taken into confidence before finalising the agreement.

c)     Assuring the House that his government would be transparent on the proposed pact, he said unlike in the now-aborted CEPA, there would not be any provision in ETCA for movement of natural persons.

d)     The new pact would cover areas such as financial services, promotion of trade and investment, e-commerce and tourism.

4.

Xis China digs into Maoist roots (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Chinas internal issues

b)     Communist Party of China (CPC)

c)     Rectification Movement of 1942

a)     China appears to be digging into its Maoist roots by reinforcing the guiding principle of the Communist Party of China in steering the countrys economic and political transition under President Xi Jinping.

b)     Analysts say the Chinese leadership is working on a double track to ensure that the disruption caused by its raging anti-corruption campaign that has felled influential tigers is countered by steps that unite the CPC under President Xis watch.

c)     Xi is also the General Secretary of the Central Committee of CPC and the Chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission.

d)   Some analysts say President Xis assertion to steer the CPC echoes the Rectification Movement of 1942, which eventually led to consolidation of Maos unrivalled leadership within the Party.

5.

Brexit referendum campaign begins in UK (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     EU referendum

b)     European Union

c)     Brexit

d)     Grexit

 

a)     The campaign on Brexit has begun in the UK, with Prime Minister David Cameron receiving early backing for his call for the country to remain in the European Union from opposite ends of British society.

b)     The political divide over Brexit could not have been more evident in the House of Commons, when David Cameron presented his case for staying in a reformed Europe. It was an unusual Commons debate not least because the two opposing groups did not face each other as occupants of Treasury and Opposition benches usually do.

c)     The differences between Cameron and the Conservative Party Mayor of London, Boris Johnson (who has backed Brexit) came to the fore in the Commons debate, with the PM ridiculing a proposal floated by Johnson of holding a second referendum after an out vote in order to wrest more concessions from the EU.

6.

Assad regime agrees to Syria peace deal (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syria peace deal

b)     Syria crisis

c)     Islamic State (IS)

d)     Al-Nusra Front

a)     Syrias regime agreed to a ceasefire deal announced by the US and Russia, but there were widespread doubts it could take effect by the weekend as hoped.

b)     The agreement does not apply to jihadists such as the IS group and the al-Nusra Front, putting up major hurdles to how it can be implemented on Syrias complex battlefield.

c)     Syrian Foreign Ministry said the govt would continue to fight both those groups as well as other terrorists, while agreeing to stop other military operations in accordance with the announcement.

7.

President spotlights welfare programmes (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana

b)     Financial inclusion

c)     Prevention of Corruption Act

d)     Enemy Property Act

a)     In his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee dwelt on the govts programmes, especially those aimed at financial inclusion and the agricultural sector, including the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana.

b)     The govt has recently launched the farmer-friendly Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana, with the biggest-ever govts contribution to crop insurance, and with the lowest-ever premium rates for farmers.

c)     Also, the President said amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act to make it more stringent were on the anvil.

d)    A copy of the proclamation imposing Presidents rule in Arunachal Pradesh and another revoking it were tabled in the Lok Sabha, which met briefly after President Mukherjees address to the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.

e)     The government also tabled a copy of the Ordinance to amend the Enemy Property Act promulgated on January 7.

8.

Fiscal metrics remain weak: Moodys (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Indias economic growth

b)     GDP

c)     Fiscal deficit

d)     Fiscal consolidation

e)     Moodys

a)     Moodys Investors Service said that Indias economic growth at more than 7 percent may be faster than that of its peers, but subdued rural demand and weak corporate profitability will contribute to hampering fiscal consolidation in the upcoming Budget.

b)     The credit rating agency said that even if the February 29 budget shows deficit targets are being met or surpassed, fiscal metrics in India will remain on a weaker footing than other countries with similar sovereign credit ratings.

c)     Even if budgetary consolidation continues, Indias fiscal metrics will remain weaker than rating peers in the near term, because of the relatively high level of Indias state and central govt deficits and debt. The fiscal weakness is partly due to structural factors.

d)     Indias fiscal deficit stood at 4.1 percent of GDP in 2014-15 and the govt has committed to a target of 3.9 percent for this fiscal and 3.5 percent for 2016-17, deviating from an original target to bring the deficit down to 3 percent of GDP by then.

e)     The rating agency did highlight one silver lining for India compared to its peers - lower reliance on foreign currency debt, even though its public debt to GDP ratio is higher than similarly rated countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Romania and Turkey.

9.

Government to unveil IPR policy in a fortnight (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy  

b)     Trade Related aspects of IPRs (TRIPS)

c)     WTO

d)     Make In India initiative

e)     Start-up initiative

f)     Digital India initiative

a)     The government is likely to announce its National Intellectual Property Rights Policy within a fortnight.

b)     As per PM Modis suggestion, the policy (which will be entirely compliant with the WTOs agreement on TRIPS) will have a special thrust on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives.

c)     However, the policy will not suggest any changes in the existing Indian IPR laws or other related policies on the patent-disabling Compulsory Licencing (CL) and the provision-preventing ever-greening of drug patents (done through minor modifications of an existing drug).

d)     The move to retain the provisions on CLs (in the National Manufacturing Policy and Section 84 of Indias Patents Act) as well as Section 3(d) of Indias Patents Act (preventing ever-greening of drug patents) comes even as the EU and the US have been pressing India to make changes in this regard to boost innovation, research and development and foreign investment in India.

e)   The policy will also suggest incentives such as tax benefits and fee waivers to encourage R&D and IP creation to strengthen Make In India/Start-up/Digital India initiatives.

10.

Clean air agenda for the cities (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     Air Pollution

b)     Air Quality Index

c)     Aerosol Optical Depth

d)     Central Pollution Control Board

a)    Air quality has a strong bearing on Indias ability to sustain high economic growth, but national policy has treated the issue with scant importance. This is evident even from the meagre data on pollution for a handful of cities generated by the ambient air quality measurement programme.

b)     A new report from Greenpeace (based on NASAs satellite data) indicates that people living in some parts of India are at greater risk for health problems linked to deteriorating air quality than those living in China.

c)     The measurements for Aerosol Optical Depth, which have been used to assess the level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that gets lodged deep in lungs, point to a worsening of air quality in India in 10-year period from 2005, particularly for States along Punjab to West Bengal corridor, compared to Chinas eastern industrial belt.

d)     This finding matches the Air Quality Index data for cities monitored by the Central Pollution Control Board.

e)     The Centre has to begin with a more comprehensive system of real-time data collection, expanding the coverage from the present 23 cities to all agglomerations with a significant population and economic activity, and within a given time frame.

f)     High levels of particulate matter in cities arise from construction and demolition activity, burning of coal in thermal plants, as also biomass, and from the widespread use of diesel vehicles, among other sources.

g)     Greater transparency in data dissemination and public awareness hold the key to change. Technological solutions to contain construction dust are equally critical, as is the low-cost solution of covering all urban surfaces with either greenery or paving.

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