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Daily News Analysis 07-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Send witnesses in 26/11 case, Pak tells India (Page 1)

a)     I.R

a)     Pakistan has asked India to send all 24 Indian witnesses to depose before the anti-terrorism court holding the Mumbai attacks case trial.

2.

Proceed with caution on trade pact: Rajapaksa (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Former President Rajapaksa urged the Sri Lankan govt to proceed cautiously on the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement with India.

3.

Taliban peace talks within weeks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    Afghan officials voiced optimism that Taliban peace talks would resume within weeks even after insurgents rebuffed calls for dialogue, with analysts dismissing their seemingly tough stance as a bargaining ploy.

4.

Xi tells Taiwan to stop dreaming of independence (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned Taiwan not to aspire for independence. His unambiguous assertion comes at a time when a new government that has put the exercise of sovereignty on its agenda has been voted into power in Taipei.

5.

South Korea set to announce new sanctions on North (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     South Korea will soon announce its own tougher sanctions on North Korea, a move set to further heighten tensions as Seoul and Washington prepare to launch their largest joint military exercise.

6.

Those under watch ineligible for income declaration scheme (Pgs 1,12)

a)     National

 

a)     Tax payers (whose returns were picked for random scrutiny by the authorities in recent years) would not be eligible to turn concealed income into white under the Income Declaration Scheme, announced in the Union Budget to bring black money into the tax net.

7.

Dont let down the children (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     With worrying levels of stunting and lack of healthy weight among children revealed by the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey for 15 States, Budget 2016-17 was expected to provide some remedies.

8.

Review the fiscal consolidation path (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Passed almost 3 years after it was first introduced in Parliament, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act has faced a rocky road in terms of implementation.

9.

Economy will absolutely not experience hard landing: China (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Chinas top economic planner said that Chinas economy is not headed for a hard landing and is not dragging on the global economy, but uncertainty and instability in the global economy do pose a risk to the countrys growth.

10.

A ray of hope for nature enthusiasts (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     The banks of the Tungabhadra in Karnatakas Sirguppa taluk have provided a ray of hope for the revival of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard.

11.

New snake species discovered in Gujarat (Page 20)

a)     Environment

a)     Two researchers from Mumbai and three others from Gujarat have confirmed the discovery of a new snake species. The find is one of the rarest of moments in the recent reptile history of India.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Send witnesses in 26/11 case, Pak tells India (Page 1)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Mumbai terror attacks 2008

d)     LeT

e)     Anti-Terrorism Court

f)     Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)

a)     Pakistan has asked India to send all 24 Indian witnesses to depose before the anti-terrorism court holding the Mumbai attacks case trial.

b)     Official said the Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad had completed recording the statements of all Pakistani witnesses. The Indian govt should send all Indian witnesses to record their statements so that the trial could move ahead.

c)     Last month, the court (which is holding the trial of the seven accused, including Mumbai attack mastermind and LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi) had ordered the FIA to present all 24 Indian witnesses.

2.

Proceed with caution on trade pact: Rajapaksa (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Sri Lanka relations

b)     Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA)

c)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

d)     Fishermen issue

a)     Former President Rajapaksa urged the Sri Lankan govt to proceed cautiously on the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement with India.

b)     Even as he called for a robust trade relationship, Rajapaksa said he wanted the govt to take a phased approach on the issue. Initially, impediments to implementation of the existing FTA with India should be ironed out.

c)     He said the problem of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters should also be sorted out.

d)     He stressed that the countrys focus should be to get India to open up without restrictions on Sri Lankas main commodities of exports such as apparel and tea.

3.

Taliban peace talks within weeks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Afghan government – Taliban peace talks

b)     Taliban

c)     NATO

 

a)    Afghan officials voiced optimism that Taliban peace talks would resume within weeks even after insurgents rebuffed calls for dialogue, with analysts dismissing their seemingly tough stance as a bargaining ploy.

b)     Talks brokered by a four-country group were expected to start in early March, but the Taliban stressed longstanding preconditions for dialogue including departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

4.

Xi tells Taiwan to stop dreaming of independence (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     China – Taiwan relations

b)     Taiwans internal issues

a)     Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned Taiwan not to aspire for independence. His unambiguous assertion comes at a time when a new govt that has put the exercise of sovereignty on its agenda has been voted into power in Taipei.

b)     Xis blunt warning follows the landslide election of Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwans President. Her position has been strengthened by the strong showing of her Democratic Progressive Party in the parliamentary polls.

c)     Tsai (who replaces China-friendly Nationalist Party President Ma Ying-jeou) will not assume office till May. Her predecessor steered a series of agreements with China during his 8 years in power, resulting in closer economic ties.

d)   Taiwan split from mainland China in 1945. Following the Communist revolution in 1949, Chiang Kai-sheks nationalists formed their govt on the island in that year.

e)  Xi observed that compatriots from both sides of the Taiwan Strait are expecting the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and we should not disappoint them. We will adhere to the 1992 Consensus as a political foundation, and continuously advance the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties.

5.

South Korea set to announce new sanctions on North (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

b)     UNSC

c)     Key Resolve/Foal Eagle military drill

 

a)     South Korea will soon announce its own tougher sanctions on North Korea, a move set to further heighten tensions as Seoul and Washington prepare to launch their largest joint military exercise.

b)     The new measures (following the decision by the UNSC to slap unprecedented sanctions on the North) will be announced this week.

c)     The Security Council announced its toughest sanctions yet to punish the North for its latest nuclear and missile tests in violation of UN resolutions.

d)   The North responded within hours by test-firing rockets into the sea. Its leader Kim Jong-un ordered the nations nuclear arsenal to be readied for pre-emptive use at any moment.

e)     In February, in an unprecedentedly tough move, the South announced the total shutdown of a jointly-run industrial park in North Korea, saying Pyongyang had been using it to fund its nuclear weapons programmes.

f)     On March 7, South Korea and its close ally US will begin their annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle military drill.

g)     This years will be the largest-ever, with the US reportedly sending more than 15,000 troops to the Key Resolve drill, which is largely a computer-simulated exercise.

h)    Foal Eagle (a field exercise also involving US strategic assets including a naval fleet led by an aircraft carrier and nuclear-powered submarines) is also expected to be far bigger than before.

6.

Those under watch ineligible for income declaration scheme (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

 

a)     Income Declaration Scheme (IDS)

b)     Benami Transaction Act

c)     Income Tax Act

d)     Union Budget 2016-17

a)     Tax payers (whose returns were picked for random scrutiny by authorities in recent years) would not be eligible to turn concealed income into white under the IDS, announced in the Union Budget to bring black money into the tax net. Experts believe this may prove a dampener for the scheme.

b)  Though the scheme provides immunity from wealth tax, scrutiny and prosecution and from the Benami Transaction Act, it closes the door on anyone whose income is already part of an assessment, reassessment or survey.

c)     The scheme also shuts out innocent taxpayers who filed returns on time but whose cases were chosen for scrutiny to verify claims. The scheme will be kept open for four months from June 1.

d)     Union Finance Minister Jaitley has proposed a limited-period Compliance Window for domestic taxpayers to declare undisclosed income or income represented in the form of any asset and clear up their past tax transgressions by paying tax at 30 percent, and Krishi Kalyan surcharge at 7.5 percent and penalty at 7.5 percent - a total of 45 percent of the undisclosed income.

e) Under the income declaration scheme, people who have received notices under Sections 142 (1), 143 (2), 148, 153A or 153C of the Income Tax Act are not eligible to disclose previously concealed income.

7.

Dont let down the children (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     National Family Health Survey

b)     Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

c)     Union Budget 2016-17

 

a)     With worrying levels of stunting and lack of healthy weight among children revealed by the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey for 15 States, Budget 2016-17 was expected to provide some remedies.

b)   To begin with, it could have raised funding for the flagship nutrition programme, the Integrated Child Development Services. Instead, the Budget has dealt the ICDS a blow in the form of a 7 percent cut over the revised estimate of expenditure for the previous year, of about Rs. 15,500 crore.

c)     This follows the pattern of Budget 2015-16 which cut the outlay initially, but with provision of some supplementary grants later in the year. Such an approach to a welfare programme that is so crucial to the health of the next generation reflects a poor set of development priorities.

d)     It also defies economic reasoning, given that India has been growing steadily after liberalisation and has the wherewithal to substantially raise social sector expenditure annually.

e)     To their credit, several States have used the ICDS to improve health and welfare by providing good supplementary nutrition to children under six; the support of the Supreme Court has also helped in ensuring that commercial interests are unable to corner the funds, and there is provision for community oversight.

f)     The Ministry of Women and Child Development must focus on States such as Bihar and Madhya Pradesh with a large burden of stunted, wasted and underweight children as revealed by latest NFHS data.

g)     Empirical evidence on the effectiveness of supplementary nutrition should prompt the Centre to enhance funding for the ICDS. Data from an earlier round of the NFHS show that when nutrition is available every day to children under two, there is a marked positive effect on their height, particularly for girls.

h)     However, scholars have found a tendency within the ICDS in some States to neglect the needs of children less than two years old. Only 6 percent in this age group were getting adequate daily nutrition a decade ago.

i)     Finance Minister Jaitley has missed the opportunity in the Budget to secure the future of Indias children, but he can still make amends. Raising the outlay, instituting a mechanism to heighten awareness among communities in less developed States and achieving full coverage are needed remedies.

8.

Review the fiscal consolidation path (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Fiscal consolidation

b)     Fiscal deficit

c)     Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act

d)     Union Budget 2016-17

 

a)     Passed almost three years after it was first introduced in Parliament, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act has faced a rocky road in terms of implementation.

b)     Paused four times since its enactment in August 2003, including for a reset of the fiscal deficit target in 2008-09 following the global financial crisis, the FRBM Act has become a subject of animated debate. Central to this has been the question of whether the law has served the purposes for which it was envisaged. 

c)   There is no denying that the Act has helped focus attention on the issues relating to fiscal consolidation - thanks to the mandatory medium-term and strategy statements that the govt of the day is required to present annually before Parliament. But with regard to the larger objective of ensuring macro-economic stability, the record has been less than ideal.

d)     Both headline consumer price inflation and the debt-servicing costs for the Central govt were, at different points in post-FRBM era, at divergence with the performance of fiscal deficit, raising questions about the over-emphasis on a cast-in-stone target number.

e)    Finance Minister Arun Jaitleys Budget proposal to have a committee review the implementation of the FRBM Act (even as he committed himself to sticking to the 3.5 percent fiscal deficit target for the next financial year) is timely and germane. He has referred to the possibility of adopting a target range rather than a specific number.

f)     The argument is that this would give the necessary policy space to deal with dynamic and volatile situations such as the one India currently faces - global economic and financial market uncertainty, a slowdown in China, and tepid private investment demand domestically.

g)     The suggestion that fiscal expansion or contraction should be aligned with credit contraction or expansion (as mentioned in the Budget speech) is worth exploring. While any attempt to jettison or even revisit the fiscal deficit targets is bound to draw sharp criticism from the global credit rating agencies, Jaitley has to look no further than the BRICS compatriot China.

9.

Economy will absolutely not experience hard landing: China (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Chinas economic growth

b)     GDP

c)     Fiscal deficit

d)     Global economic situation

e)     G20

a)     Chinas top economic planner said that Chinas economy is not headed for a hard landing and is not dragging on global economy, but uncertainty and instability in the global economy do pose a risk to the countrys growth.

b)     China acknowledged it faced tough battle to keep worlds No. 2 economy growing by at least 6.5 percent over the next five years while pushing hard to create more jobs and restructuring state-owned enterprises.

c)     Chinas economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, the slowest pace in a quarter of a century, but still comfortably the fastest among major economies.

d)     It has set a growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent for this year, introducing a band rather than a hard target as it seeks greater flexibility in juggling growth, job creation and restructuring of a host of zombie companies in bloated industries.

e)     Many investors had been hoping China would post an aggressive target for fiscal spending to prop growth.

f)   But the draft goal of running a fiscal deficit equivalent to 3 percent of GDP (while up from the previous years target of 2.3 percent) disappointed some.

g)     China has massive foreign exchange reserves of more than $3 trillion to tap if needed, but a sharp decline in reserves in the past 18 months as Beijing sought to support its yuan has rattled some investors.

h) The state of Chinas economy and Beijings ability to manage it were key talking points at G-20 finance ministers and central bankers in Shanghai last month.

10.

A ray of hope for nature enthusiasts (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

b)     Tungabhadra river

c)     Grasslands

 

a)     The banks of the Tungabhadra in Karnatakas Sirguppa taluk have provided a ray of hope for the revival of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard.

b) A group of nature enthusiasts and avid birdwatchers sighted three GIBs (two adults and a chick) in interior Sirguppa taluk. The presence of the chick is evidence that the vast grasslands there are a breeding ground for the species that is on the verge of extinction.

c)     The semi-arid and arid grasslands in the interiors of Sirguppa taluk could potentially be a perfect habitat for the Bustard. However, the expanse of irrigation networks has seen the habitat shrinking through the years.

11.

New snake species discovered in Gujarat (Page 20)

a)     Environment

 

a)     Wallaceophis Gujaratensis

b)     Colubrid snakes

a)   Researchers have confirmed the discovery of a new snake species. The find is one of the rarest of moments in the recent reptile history of India.

b)     The new snake genus, Wallaceophis is named after Alfred Russel Wallace for his pioneering work on biogeography, and for co-discovering the theory of natural selection. The species has been named gujaratensis.

c)     Colubrid snakes (Family Colubridae) are represented across the world with more than 1800 species. Wallaceophis gujaratensis has until now been found in 7 locations in Gujarat.

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