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Daily News Analysis 27-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Sri Lanka contemplating joining TPP (Page 14)

a)     International

a) According to Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka is very seriously exploring the possibility of applying to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

2.

Democracy at stake in Maldives (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    According to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (a non-governmental organisation based in New Delhi), Maldives is steadily sliding towards authoritarianism with flagrant disregard to the rule of law, human rights and good governance.

3.

BRICS bank set to fund green energy projects (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The New Development Bank (a multilateral lender with a focus on the Global South of the of the BRICS grouping) is all set to fund more than a dozen projects this year that will focus on renewable energy.

4.

Iran votes to shape post-deal era (Page 14)

a)     International

a)   Millions of Iranians voted in high-stake elections that could shift balance of power within hardline-controlled Islamic elite by ushering in a reformist comeback or help conservatives tighten their grip on power.

5.

Invest in welfare, undertake reforms (Pages 1, 12 and 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Shunning last years over-optimism, Economic Survey 2015-16 projects that the real GDP growth for the current financial year and for 2016-17 will be in the range of 7-7.75 percent.

6.

Cautious optimism (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     The Economic Survey presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reaffirms the positive growth numbers that have been projected by many global agencies, including the International Monetary Fund.

7.

Survey questions Indias stand at WTO (Page 16)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     The economic survey questioned Indias unequivocal stance at the WTO-level negotiations on the need for developing countries to have an effective and easy-to-use Special Safeguard Mechanism to protect poor and very vulnerable farmers from import surges and price dips.

8.

Bees are vanishing: UN report (Page 20)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     A new UN scientific mega-report warns that many species of wild bees, butterflies and other insects that pollinate plants are shrinking toward extinction, and the world needs to do something about it before our food supply suffers.

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Sri Lanka contemplating joining TPP (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

b)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

c)     GSP Plus

a)     According to Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka is very seriously exploring possibility of applying to join the TPP.

b)    The TPP (with 12 countries as members) is aimed at establishing new, market-oriented rules in international commerce and reducing trade and investment barriers. US, Singapore, Japan and Australia are among the members which signed a pact early this month.

c)     Giving his govts plans for improving foreign trade, he termed India one of the worlds largest markets and said we are leveraging this unique geo-economic location to accelerate growth. Negotiations are already under way to deepen our existing FTA with India, which we hope to complete by the middle of this year.

d)     Acknowledging that Colombo had lost GSP Plus concessions due to the previous govts human rights violations, he said subsequent to the successful visit of the EU Working Group on Human Rights to Sri Lanka, a formal application was being finalised to seek the concessions again, which, would be regained by the end of this year.

e)     GSP plus is common shorthand for the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance which is one of three non-reciprocal, preferential import regimes for developing countries under the EUs Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

2.

Democracy at stake in Maldives (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Maldives internal issues

b)     Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

c)     Amnesty International

a) According to Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (a non-governmental organisation based in New Delhi), Maldives is steadily sliding towards authoritarianism with flagrant disregard to rule of law, human rights and good governance.

b)     Since coming to power in Nov 2013, the govt of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has curtailed human rights, democracy, and rule of law in violation of the Maldives Constitution, UN and Commonwealth standards.

c)     The CHRI urged the govt to respect the principle of separation of powers and constitutionally protected human rights; cease assaults on civil society, journalists and activists through repressive laws and practices; ensure impartiality and accountability of the police; release all political prisoners; and rectify the poor state of the judiciary.

d)     Another NGO (Amnesty International) said in its annual report that the govt of Maldives had failed to defend the independence of Human Rights Commission in the country. It had also failed to address issue of judicial impartiality, which remained a serious concern.

3.

BRICS bank set to fund green energy projects (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     New Development Bank (NDB)

b)     BRICS group

c)     Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB)

d)     International Monetary Fund (IMF)

e)     World Bank

f)     Asian Development Bank (ADB)

 

a)     The New Development Bank (a multilateral lender with a focus on the Global South of the of the BRICS grouping) is all set to fund more than a dozen projects this year that will focus on renewable energy.

b)     NDB President revealed that the initial focus of the bank would on green energy projects.

c)     The NDBs initial capital has been fixed at $50 billion, and the total paid in capital would be $10 billion.

d)     Analysts point out that following the 2008 financial crisis, the NDB and the China-led AIIB (both geared towards infrastructure development in Asia and the Global South) are reshaping the global financial architecture, a field that had been monopolised by western backed IMF, the World Bank and the ADB.

4.

Iran votes to shape post-deal era (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Iran elections

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

a)   Millions of Iranians voted in high-stake elections that could shift balance of power within hardline-controlled Islamic elite by ushering in a reformist comeback or help conservatives tighten their grip on power.

b)     Control of Parliament will influence the ability of moderate President Hassan Rouhani to deliver on his promises of greater freedoms and economic reforms - as well as his own chances of re-election next year.

5.

Invest in welfare, undertake reforms (Pages 1, 12 and 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Economic Survey 2016-17

b)     GDP growth

c)     Fiscal deficit

d)     Central Statistics Office (CSO)

e)     Climate change

f)     Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

g)     Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

a)     Shunning last years over-optimism, Economic Survey 2015-16 projects that the real GDP growth for the current financial year and for 2016-17 will be in the range of 7-7.75 percent. The CSO estimates that growth this year will be 7.6 per cent, lower than the 8.1-8.5 per cent projected in last Survey.

b)     The survey says that improved investments in education and health, where India fares the worst among BRICS nations, and adequate attention to agriculture could realise the potential.

c)     It made several path-breaking recommendations including raising resources for recapitalising public sector banks by carefully leveraging the assets of the RBI and other regulatory institutions.

d)    The survey unambiguously said the govt would keep the fiscal deficit within the target of 3.9 percent of GDP in the current year.

e)     According to the survey, India is far from being a full tax-paying democracy with about 5.5 percent of the people who earn paying tax and only 15.5 percent of the net national income being reported to the tax authorities.

f)     The survey finds that India will find it hard to meet its variety of obligations to tackle climate change without substantial help from the private sector.

g)     Successful implementation of the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals and the ambitious targets set out in the INDCs will require huge financial resources which cannot be met through budgetary sources alone.

h)     The SDGs set by the UN last September lay the onus on countries to make significant progress on a wide range of goals including ending poverty and hunger and combating climate change.

i)     The INDCs are plans by govts communicated to the United Nations climate change council regarding the steps they will take to address climate change domestically.

6.

Cautious optimism (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Economic Survey 2016-17

b)     GDP growth

c)     Fiscal deficit

d)     Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

a)     The Economic Survey presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reaffirms the positive growth numbers that have been projected by many global agencies, including the IMF.

b)     The Survey indicates the possibility of India posting 7-plus percent GDP growth for the third year in a row.

c)     Liberally lauding the govt for its initiatives on fiscal front, the Survey indicates that the Centre should be in a position to adhere to its fiscal deficit target of 3.9 percent of GDP.

d)     According to the survey, a robust expansion in the service sector, accelerated growth in industry and a pick-up in IIP have all created a climate of optimism. Still, given the extremely uncertain external environment, the Survey warns that Indias growth will face considerable headwinds.

7.

Survey questions Indias stand at WTO (Page 16)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Nairobi Ministerial meeting of the WTO

b)     Doha Development Agenda

c)     Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM)

d)     Uruguay Round talks 1986-94

 

 

a)     The economic survey questioned Indias unequivocal stance at the WTO-level negotiations on the need for developing countries to have an effective and easy-to-use Special Safeguard Mechanism to protect poor and very vulnerable farmers from import surges and price dips.

b)     The SSM is a tool, which will permit developing nations like India to temporarily hike tariffs to counter import surges or price falls of farm products. Differences between the developing and the developed world over the SSM issue had even led to the WTO talks breaking down in July 2008.

c)     Though WTO members agree that developing countries should have an SSM, the differences are on allowing developing nations to hike tariffs above the commitments they (developing nations) made in the WTOs 1986-94 Uruguay Round talks.

d)     The observations come even as WTO members began work this week at the global bodys headquarters in Geneva to take forward negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda on the basis of decisions arrived at during Dec 15-19 Ministerial Conference in Nairobi.

e)     The Nairobi Ministerial Declaration had incorporated the right of developing nations to have recourse to an SSM. The declaration also said SSM negotiations will be pursued in dedicated sessions of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session.

f)   During the Nairobi meeting, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the SSM was important for developing nations to address import surges and price dips due to heavily subsidised imports of farm products from rich nations.

g)     Pointing out that an instrument similar to the SSM was available to a select few WTO members (including rich nations) for over two decades, she said the demand for SSM for developing nations was reasonable and pragmatic.

8.

Bees are vanishing: UN report (Page 20)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Pollination

a)     A new UN scientific mega-report warns that many species of wild bees, butterflies and other insects that pollinate plants are shrinking toward extinction, and the world needs to do something about it before our food supply suffers.

b)     The report stated that the variety and multiplicity of threats to pollinators and pollination generate risks to people and livelihoods.

c)     These risks are largely driven by changes in land cover and agricultural management systems, including pesticide use.

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