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Daily News Analysis 10-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India, US to deepen collaboration against terror (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Foreign Secretary Jaishankar visited the US capital ahead of PM Modis visit scheduled for later this month. The visit was aimed at reviewing the India-US bilateral relations and preparing for Indias participation in the forthcoming Nuclear Security Summit later this month.

2.

Four corners of a good deal (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     For India, a closer relationship with the US, Japan, and Australia should not only be seen in defence terms - it could help secure its energy supplies.

3.

Sharp drop in aid to SAARC nations (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Contrary to the NDA governments Neighbourhood First diplomatic posture, the development assistance for all SAARC countries has been significantly reduced in the 2016-17 Budget.

4.

Resolution passed to convert Parliament into Constitutional Assembly (Pg 14)

a)     International

a)     The Sri Lankan Parliament on March 10th adopted unanimously a resolution to convert itself into a Constitutional Assembly.

5.

Defiant Iran continues to test missiles (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Iran fired two more long-range ballistic missiles as it continued military tests in defiance of US sanctions and fresh warnings from Washington.

6.

N. Korea claims it has miniaturised nuclear warheads (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country has miniaturised nuclear warheads to mount on ballistic missiles and ordered improvements in the power and precision of its arsenal.

7.

Opposition sees amendment through in Rajya Sabha, again (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     In what is a major embarrassment to the govt in the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition got an amendment passed to the Presidents address, the second time in a row for the government and the fifth time in independent Indias parliamentary history.

8.

LS passes Bill to amend Enemy Property Act (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Lok Sabha passed a Bill to amend a 48-year-old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars.

9.

Good economic is good politics (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)    The qualitative stance in the Budget is praiseworthy: increase investment in the rural sector and infrastructure, particularly road construction, and hope that these relatively labour-intensive investments will have both a magnified effect on employment as well as output.

10.

Centre to sign pacts worth over Rs. 72,000 cr at shipping summit (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     The government is expected to sign agreements worth over Rs. 72,000 crore with private players on port-related projects at the Indian Maritime Summit to be held in Mumbai next month.

11.

Countdown for navigation satellite as per schedule (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)    The 54-and-a-half hour countdown to the launch of Indias sixth dedicated navigation satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota has been progressing as per schedule.

12.

Number of vulture nests declines in Wayanad (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Even after a curb on the use of Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug acknowledged to have caused the decimation of vultures in the Indian subcontinent, the nests of vultures are dwindling in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India, US to deepen collaboration against terror (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Nuclear Security Summit

c)     Terrorism

d)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

e)     Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)

a)  Foreign Secretary Jaishankar visited the US capital ahead of PM Modis visit scheduled for later this month. The visit was aimed at reviewing India-US bilateral relations and preparing for Indias participation in the forthcoming Nuclear Security Summit later this month.

b)     The visit comes amid Indias efforts to stop the US from selling eight F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan.

c)  Talks between two countries on 3 key defence agreements are also progressing ahead of US Defence Secretary Ashton Carters visit to India in April.

d)     In a meeting with US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, he discussed bilateral relations and cooperation against terrorist groups such as LeT and JeM.

e)     Rice and Jaishankar affirmed their commitment to deepening bilateral cooperation on climate change, trade and defence, and noted preparations for the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit.

2.

Four corners of a good deal (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     US-Japan-India-Australia quadrilateral relationship

b)     US-Japan-India trilateral cooperation

c)     India – Australia relations

d)     Indias Act East policy  

e)     TAPI gas pipeline project

f)     Chabahar port

a)     On March 2, speaking at a conference in New Delhi, the head of US Pacific Command issued a clarion call for more robust US-India cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. Admiral Harry Harris observed that India is beginning to exert its leadership in the region, which he referred to as the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

b) The US-Japan-India trilateral has gained momentum in recent years, with regular meetings and a variety of collective exercises. Conversely, the four-way arrangement has made much less progress and has largely been limited to some meetings and naval exercises several years back.

c)     This quadrilateral relationship is typically depicted in defence terms. It is undoubtedly a national security-based arrangement. It is therefore a sensitive matter, particularly given the message it sends to Beijing.

d)     However, something significant gets lost amid all this loud talk of national security and China concerns: a closer relationship between these four key democracies can also boost Indias tenuous energy security in a big way.

e)  Indias yawning energy needs are well-known. Economists say that for Indian economic growth to return to double digits, energy supplies must increase by 3 to 4 times over next few decades. However, Deficits are immense - including, for electricity alone, peak demand deficits of 25 percent in some southern States.

f)     This helps explain Indias addiction to overseas energy. Eighty percent of its oil is imported, as is about 20 percent of its coal - though in recent years, coal imports have increased by as much as 56 per cent in a single year. India also imports 40 percent of its uranium. And it is increasingly importing natural gas.

g)     Import-dependent energy policies are always fraught with risk, and Indias is no exception. Many of its hydrocarbon imports come from unstable or faraway regions; two thirds of its oil comes from West Asia, and distant Venezuela is also a key source of oil.

h)     Additionally, India sees great potential in gas-rich Central Asia. However, because Pakistan denies India transit rights to Afghanistan, India lacks direct access to the region.

i)     Though India has scored some successes in Central Asia (including uranium cooperation with Kazakhstan) it has largely lost out on many opportunities, even while China has seized them. India seeks to enhance its access to Central Asia by developing the Chabahar port in southern Iran.

j)     However, so long as Afghanistan remains unstable, access to Central Asia via Chabahar will be difficult. Afghanistans security problems also make the TAPI gas pipeline an unlikely prospect.

k)     Meanwhile, the lifting of sanctions on Iran following its nuclear deal with US opens up energy possibilities for India, which has reduced its imports from Iran in recent years. However, New Delhi faces serious competition from other importers rushing to cash in.

l)     Australia can provide immense energy benefits to India. It already provides sizeable quantities of coal. The two sides have explored uranium cooperation. And most importantly, Australia is a top global producer of LNG.

m)     In recent weeks, New Delhi has telegraphed a strong desire to capitalise on Australias gas riches. The quadrilateral would boost India-Australia relations overall, and better position New Delhi to negotiate workable LNG agreements with Canberra.

n)     Additionally, India could leverage a closer relationship with Australia to engage more deeply with the latters neighbour, Indonesia, which provides India more than 60 per cent of its current coal imports. This would help advance New Delhis Act East policy.

o)     Cultivating deeper energy relationships with these two relatively close-by Southeast Asian countries (an objective that quadrilateral relationship can help bring about) would ease the burden on Indias naval forces of protecting energy assets in areas more far-flung than Southeast Asia.

3.

Sharp drop in aid to SAARC nations (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – SAARC countries relations

b)     Union Budget 2016-17

c)     Salma hydel power project

d)     Punatsangchhu I and II hydel projects

e)     Kaladan multi-mode transport corridor project

 

a)     Contrary to the NDA governments Neighbourhood First diplomatic posture, the development assistance for all SAARC countries has been significantly reduced in the 2016-17 Budget. Except Pakistan, all other six members of SAARC receive significant financial assistance from India.

b)     Despite the expectation that Nepal will need increased assistance as it begins its reconstruction programme this year, the allocation has seen a drop of 28.6 percent. Sri Lanka and the Maldives have seen cuts of 54 and 78.1 percent compared with previous year. And even the countries with the lowest GDP, Afghanistan and Bhutan, saw cuts this year of 23 and 10.8 percent respectively.

c)   In Afghanistan, the Rs. 969-crore Parliament building that was completed and inaugurated by PM Modi in 2015, was started in 2009; the Salma hydel power project was nearing completion, and no new big projects had been announced.

d)     In Bhutan, hydel projects such as Punatsangchhu I and II or the massive 720 MW Mangdechu were in the preliminary stages of progress, and hence, Indias assistance had not yet been raised. Bhutan accounts for over 70 percent of Indias foreign assistance.

e)     The govt also pointed out that in the case of Bangladesh, with a 40 percent cut, lines of credit at concessional rates had replaced direct development assistance. As of this year, India has extended an $862-million line of credit, while another $2 billion is in the pipeline.

f)     The one exception to the Budget proposals is Myanmar (not a SAARC nation), and saw a major 48 percent increase in development aid, due to the governments focus on the Kaladan multi-mode transport corridor project, as well as the Trilateral Highway project.

g)     While the new accounting system will take a few years to implement, the Modi govt may have to face more criticism from its neighbours over the  allocations in the more immediate future, with a cut in aid to SAARC nations between 2015-16 and 2016-17 totalling a whopping 17.8 percent overall.

4.

Resolution passed to convert Parliament into Constitutional Assembly (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan Parliament

b)     Constitutional Assembly

a)     The Sri Lankan Parliament on March 10th adopted unanimously a resolution to convert itself into a Constitutional Assembly.

b)     Introduced by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in January, the resolution (since then) has undergone a number of changes on the basis of amendments proposed by Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Joint Opposition and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

c)     The abolition of executive presidency and the introduction of electoral reforms are among the subjects which were likely to be covered during the process.

5.

Defiant Iran continues to test missiles (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Irans ballistic missile tests

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

c)     Irans nuclear programme

d)     UNSC

 

a)     Iran fired two more long-range ballistic missiles as it continued military tests in defiance of US sanctions and fresh warnings from Washington.

b)     The missile tests come just weeks after the implementation of Irans historic nuclear deal with world powers.

c)     US had warned it could raise the issue with the UNSC and take further action after US sanctions were imposed in connection with Irans missile programme in January.

6.

N. Korea claims it has miniaturised nuclear warheads (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

b)     UNSC

a)     North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country has miniaturised nuclear warheads to mount on ballistic missiles and ordered improvements in the power and precision of its arsenal.

b)  The comments were his first direct mention of the claim to have successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead, a claim that has been widely questioned and never independently verified.

c)     South Koreas defence ministry said after the release of the images that it did not believe the North has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead.or deployed a functioning ICBM.

7.

Opposition sees amendment through in Rajya Sabha, again (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Panchayat elections

b)     Parliament

c)     Rajya Sabha

a)     In what is a major embarrassment to the govt in the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition got an amendment passed to the Presidents address, the second time in a row for the govt and the fifth time in independent Indias parliamentary history.

b)     The amendment regretted that the Presidents address did not support the rights of citizens to contest in panchayat elections, in the backdrop of restrictions imposed in Haryana and Rajasthan, both ruled by the BJP.

c)     Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu also pointed out that the right to contest elections was not a fundamental right, unlike the right to vote. He said the Centre had no role in the decision.

8.

LS passes Bill to amend Enemy Property Act (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill 2016

b)     Enemy Property Act 1968

c)     Defence of India Act

 

a)     The Lok Sabha passed a Bill to amend a 48-year-old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars.

b)     The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill 2016 (which amends the Enemy Property Act 1968) was passed by voice vote amid the govts assertion that the measure should not be seen from the prism of religion or caste.

c)     In the wake of the India-Pakistan war of 1965 and 1971, there was migration of people from India to Pakistan and under the Defence of India Rules framed under the Defence of India Act.

d)    The govt of India took over the properties and companies of such persons who had taken Pakistani nationality. These enemy properties were vested by Union govt in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.

9.

Good economic is good politics (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Union Budget 2016-17

b)     GDP growth

c)     Fiscal deficit

d)     Seventh Pay Commission

e)     Public-Private Partnership (PPP)

f)     National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

g)     Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

a)   According to the author, the backdrop to Finance Minister Jaitleys third Budget was a domestic economy confronted with a rather adverse global environment, an agricultural sector reeling from two successive years of drought, and a manufacturing sector that has been limping along.

b)     Although the GDP growth rate has been relatively impressive at over 7 percent, there was a universal feeling that the economy was in a vulnerable state and that even a relatively minor shock could cause a big downward slide.

c)    The believers in impending doom for the economy felt that an expansionary Budget designed to stimulate aggregate demand was the only way out. Ranged against this school were the fiscal conservatives who believed with equally strong conviction that the Budget must keep the fiscal deficit under control.

d)     However, Jaitley has announced that the budgetary deficit for the current year will not exceed 3.9 percent of GDP, and has promised to lower the fiscal deficit for 2016-17 to 3.5 percent of GDP. Since these are figures that were mentioned last year, the intention is clearly to ensure that there is no financial slippage in so far as the Central government is concerned.

e)     Jaitley has announced a significant increase in the allocation to agriculture and rural development, as well as infrastructure. He has also made a large budgetary provision for payments arising out of the Seventh Pay Commission awards and the modified pension scheme for the military.

f)     Jaitley has also made some rather optimistic assumptions about the volume of resources available to finance the govts expenditure. He is hoping for a significant increase in revenue from personal income tax. The bulk of this increase must come from better tax compliance since there has been only a modest increase in taxes for the super-rich.

g)     The govt also hopes to exploit non-budgetary sources of financing infrastructure projects. First, there is the hope that some infrastructure projects will be funded through PPPs. Second, the NIIF has been allocated Rs.4000 crore in the 2016-17 Budget.

h)     The govt hopes that the NIIF can leverage this to raise additional funds through the bond market. Third, there are approved market borrowings of around Rs.30,000 crore for several financial intermediaries.

i)     As far as budgetary allocations are concerned, the emphasis has definitely been on agriculture and the rural sector in general, with a huge increase in the allocation to the sector. A key policy instrument will be a large increase in investment in irrigation, with the emphasis on completing several projects very soon.

j)  The Budget also provides for an increase in funds allocated to gram panchayats. This is part of a huge increase in outlay on rural development, including rural road construction.

k)  Surprisingly, the Budget has dramatically increased funding for one of the previous UPA govts flagship programmes - MGNREGS. Other benefits to farmers include smoother credit flow, insurance against crop failures, and improved marketing facilities.

l)     There has been very little change in the structure of taxation. The Finance Minister has stayed away from overt populism such as raising the income tax exemption limit.

m)     There is clearly no justification for such a move when barely 5 percent of households pay personal income tax. Direct tax rates for the vast majority of taxpayers remain unchanged, but those with taxable income above Rs.1 cr will pay a higher surcharge.

n)     Viewed in its entirety, an admittedly simplistic characterisation of the Budget is that it is pro-poor rather than pro-rich. Certainly, there is very little in the Budget to label it as one for the suited-booted. It is debatable whether the quantitative targets claimed during the Budget speech will be achieved.

10.

Centre to sign pacts worth over Rs. 72,000 cr at shipping summit (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Indian Maritime Summit

a)     The govt is expected to sign agreements worth over Rs. 72,000 crore with private players on port-related projects at Indian Maritime Summit to be held in Mumbai next month.

b)     South Korea will be the partner country for the Summit.

c)     The sectors identified for investment include ship-building, ship repair and recycling, port modernisation, new port development and multi-modal logistic hubs among others.

d)     PM Modi will inaugurate the summit on April 14.

11.

Countdown for navigation satellite as per schedule (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     PSLV-C32

b)     IRNSS satellites 

c)     Satish Dhawan Space Centre

d)     ISRO

 

a)    The 54-and-a-half hour countdown to the launch of Indias sixth dedicated navigation satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota has been progressing as per schedule.

b)     The ISRO will put into orbit the 1425-kg IRNSS-1F regional navigation satellite developed by India on March 10. Indias workhorse satellite launch vehicle PSLV-C32 will carry the payload. As in the previous five launches of IRNSS satellites, PSLV-C32 will use XL version of PSLV.

c)   The ISRO had put into orbit the IRNSS-1E in Jan this year. The IRNSS-1F will be launched into a sub-Geosynchronous transfer orbit with a 284-km perigee (nearest point to Earth) and 20,657-km apogee (farthest point to Earth).

d)     The satellite will carry two types of payloads - navigation payload and ranging payload. The navigation payload will transmit navigation service signals to users while the other consists of a C-band transponder that facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.

e)     The IRNSS-1F is part of the space segment satellites of the IRNSS system. The space segment consists of seven satellites.

12.

Number of vulture nests declines in Wayanad (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

b)     Diclofenac drug

c)     Kurichyad forest range

a)     Even after a curb on the use of Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug acknowledged to have caused the decimation of vultures in the Indian subcontinent, the nests of vultures are dwindling in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, a safe habitat for different species of the birds in south India.

b)     A preliminary survey on vulture population has pointed to a considerable decline in the number of nests.

c)   While the largest number of nests was recorded at Kazhukan Kolly in Kurichyad forest range, no nest was found in Muthanga. No long-billed vulture was spotted during the survey.

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