Current Affairs > Daily Current affairs

Back
Daily News Analysis 16-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Research tie-ups with Saudi Arabia growing (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     According to a study commissioned by Department of Science and Technology and conducted by Thomson Reuters, India (in the last decade) has seen a 10-fold increase in its research collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

2.

Nepal to brief India on Olis China visit (Pg14)

a)     I.R

a)     India and Nepal are scheduled to hold more talks this week on the sidelines of a SAARC meeting, days before Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Olis visit to China.

3.

Govt says three of 10 terrorists killed (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     A top government official said that three of the 10 terrorists on whom Pakistans NSA passed information to his Indian counterpart a few days ago, have been killed in an operation somewhere in western India.

4.

Suu Kyi aide becomes new President (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Myanmar got its first civilian President in decades on March 15 after lawmakers elected a close aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, who is expected to hold the real reins of power in the formerly junta-run nation.

5.

A new beginning in Myanmar (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     The country finally has a democratically elected govt, and how Aung San Suu Kyi negotiates power-sharing with her own party could determine its success.

6.

US eases trade restrictions on Cuba ahead of Obamas visit (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     The US announced it would further loosen travel restrictions on Cuba and ease limits on the use of US dollars in trade transactions there just days ahead of President Barack Obamas historic visit.

7.

An opportunity for peace in Syria (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Vladimir Putin has once again surprised world leaders by ordering the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria.

8.

Constitution Bench to decide on National Court of Appeal (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Noting that equal access to justice for all is a fundamental right under the Constitution, the Supreme Court decided to set up a Constitution Bench to debate the establishment of a National Court of Appeal with regional benches to act as final courts of justice in criminal and civil cases.

9.

Our national security mismanagement (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Despite all the BJPs pre-election rhetoric and ongoing grandstanding on securing and strengthening the nation, the Modi govt continues to adopt a visionless approach to national security issues and institutions.

10.

Lok Sabha nod for inclusion of more castes in SC list (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     A Bill to include certain castes (including Sais, Aheria and Peruvannan) in the list of Scheduled Castes in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal was approved by the Lok Sabha on March 15.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Research tie-ups with Saudi Arabia growing (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Saudi Arabia relations

b)     Research cooperation

c)     Department of Science and Technology (DST)

a)     According to a study commissioned by the DST and conducted by Thomson Reuters, India (in last decade) has seen a 10-fold increase in its research collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

b)     In the period 2005-2008, Saudi Arabia was only the 20th most prolific contributor of India, with 123 jointly-authored papers involving Indian and Saudi Arabian researchers. This has increased to 1303 in 2013-2014, making the oil rich kingdom Indias 12th most important contributor, surpassing Switzerland, Russia, The Netherlands and Poland.

c)     Saudi Arabias engagement with India is a point highlighted by the authors of the DST report, which has been prepared by Thomson Reuters Research and Data Services unit.

d)     The most prolific Saudi Arabian university mentioned in the analysis is the King Saud University, which is now among the top collaborators with Indian institutions.

2.

Nepal to brief India on Olis China visit (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepal – China relations

c)     SAARC meeting

a)     India and Nepal are scheduled to hold more talks this week on the sidelines of a SAARC meeting, days before Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Olis visit to China.

b)     On March 16, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will fly to Nepal and will hold talks with her Nepal counterpart Kamal Thapa on March 17.

c)  A significant meeting would also take place between Swaraj and Oli in view of the latters March 20 visit to Beijing. The visit to China is the second foreign trip of PM Oli.

3.

Govt says three of 10 terrorists killed (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Pathankot terror attack

d)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

e)     Special Investigation Team (SIT)

 

a)     A top government official said that three of 10 terrorists on whom Pakistans NSA passed information to his Indian counterpart a few days ago, have been killed in an operation somewhere in western India.

b)    Pakistan NSA Naseer Khan Janjua informed Ajit Doval that 10 Pakistan-based terrorists could have infiltrated into India, possibly through the Gujarat coast, in the first week of March. Following the tip-off, intelligence agencies were asked to track down infiltrators.

c)     Three months after the Pathankot airbase was attacked by terrorists belonging to the Pakistan-based JeM, a forensic report has established that six terrorists were present there..

d)     The NIA has preserved the bodies of the four terrorists and has shared the photographs with Pakistan through a letter rogatory. A SIT from Pakistan is expected to visit India to conduct joint investigations.

4.

Suu Kyi aide becomes new President (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Myanmars politics

b)     Myanmars Constitution

c)     National League for Democracy (NLD)

a)     Myanmar got its first civilian President in decades on March 15 after lawmakers elected a close aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, who is expected to hold the real reins of power in the formerly junta-run nation.

b)     Htin Kyaw hailed his elevation to the top post as Suu Kyis victory, a clear nod to her plan that he serve as a proxy for the Nobel laureate who is constitutionally barred from becoming President.

c)     Myanmar is undergoing a dramatic transformation from an isolated and repressed state to a rapidly opening aspiring democracy.

d)     Suu Kyis NLD won a thumping victory at elections in November, allowing her party to dominate Myanmars two legislative houses.

e)     But the military remains a powerful force and has refused to change a clause in the junta-era Constitution which bars her from the presidency. The veteran activist has instead vowed to rule above the next leader. Her choice of Htin Kyaw is seen as a testament to her absolute faith in his loyalty.

f)     Htin Kyaw will be sworn in on March 30, replacing incumbent Thein Sein. It will be first time Myanmar has had a civilian President since 1962, when the military seized power.

g)     Thein Sein (a former General) led a quasi-civilian reformist government for the last five years that has been praised for moving the nation out of the shadow of outright military rule.

5.

A new beginning in Myanmar (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     Myanmars politics

b)     Myanmars Constitution

c)     National League for Democracy (NLD)

d)    Human Development Report (HDR)

e)     United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

 

a)     After more than half a century, Myanmar has finally got a democratically elected govt with a civilian at the helm.

b)     With U Htin Kyaw (the NLDs candidate) being elected on March 15, the country will have a new President, a civilian Vice-President, and a Vice-President from the military, albeit under the supervision of the Myanmars military, which retains a quarter of the seats in Parliament and the power to nominate the 3 most important ministers: Defence, Home Affairs, and Border Affairs.

c)     And Myanmar has Aung San Suu Kyi, easily the countrys most beloved leader. Even though Suu Kyis NLD won a whopping 77 percent of the elected seats in Parliament, Suu Kyi cannot lead the govt because of a constitutional provision that bars her since her sons are British and not Myanmar citizens.

d)     The military has only agreed very slowly and grudgingly to her rise to power, retains control of Myanmar. By successfully inserting Vice-President-elect (retired) General Myint Swe into the power structure, despite vocal objections from the US, Tatmadaw (Myanmars military) has shown it will not give up even this toehold.

e)     Suu Kyis govt will also face the challenge of pulling Myanmar out of decades of economic backwardness while addressing ethnic and religious differences.

f)     Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in Asia: it ranks 149 among 186 nations rated in the 2013 HDR of the UNDP. Its forests have been plundered at a fast pace, while very little industrialisation or infrastructure development has taken place outside of its cities.

g)     This is where India, which has chosen to make aid to Myanmar a focal point in its development assistance plans this year, must work closer with the country in order to bolster the new government.

h)     Suu Kyi is by no means the only South Asian leader to attempt this power-sharing arrangement. She will have to learn from other subcontinental experiences if she is to be the rare one to succeed.

i)     The obvious parallel is to the tenuous relationship between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh, which was even the subject of a bestseller. Pakistans President Asif Ali Zardari found that his hand-picked PM Yousaf Raza Gilani broke ranks over bureaucratic appointments, leading to frequent rifts between the two.

j)     In Sri Lanka, President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are also often seen at loggerheads, as the unique power-sharing agreement between them is yet to be fully implemented.

k)     Even Bhutan has seen its share of tussle, when former PM Jigme Thinley initiated a closer relationship with China, and met the then Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of a summit in 2012, much to the chagrin of the revered Bhutanese King, a ruler who had paved the way for a fuller democracy and power to the Prime Minister and Parliament.

l)     The lesson is clear: even the most unambitious appointee may strain at the leash after he is placed in the seat of power.

6.

US eases trade restrictions on Cuba ahead of Obamas visit (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     US – Cuba relations

b)     US economic ban on Cuba

a)     The US announced it would further loosen travel restrictions on Cuba and ease limits on the use of US dollars in trade transactions there just days ahead of President Barack Obamas historic visit.

b)     The new rules reinforce Obamas move away from the long-standing US economic embargo against Cuba by using his executive powers to sidestep US lawmakers who so far have refused to lift sanctions.

c)     The easing comes as Obama prepares to travel on March 20-22 to Cuba.

d)     The latest package marks one of the most significant changes since Obama announced this historic opening to Cuba in December 2014.

7.

An opportunity for peace in Syria (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Syrian civil war

b)     Geneva peace talks

c)     Islamic State (IS)

 

 

a)     Vladimir Putin has once again surprised world leaders by ordering the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria.

b)     As in the case of Putins other major foreign policy moves in his current term as Russian President, such as the annexation of Crimea and the intervention in Syria, not many had seen this coming.

c)     The five and a half months of Russian intervention has irrevocably changed the course of Syrian civil war. As Russia started the bombing campaign on September 30, the regime looked fragile after continuous military setbacks.

d)     President Bashar al-Assad had publicly acknowledged that his army was struggling with manpower shortages. But since the Russian involvement started, the regime has regained some territory, weakened rebel positions and disrupted rebel supply lines.

e)     The timing of the Russian move is also important. The Geneva peace talks between the regime and the opposition are set to start. For the first time in the five years of the conflict, the prospects of peace look less doomed, if not actually bright.

f)     By announcing the troop withdrawal, Moscow is putting enormous pressure on the Assad regime to make real compromises in the peace talks. Moreover, Putin does not want Russia to be dragged into a protracted war, the way the Soviet Union got trapped in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

g)     However, Putin has made it clear that Russia would continue to operate the Latakia airbase. The Russian presence at the Tartus naval facility on the Mediterranean Sea will continue. This will allow Russia to quickly deploy troops in Syria in future if need arises.

h)     Putins actual plan appears to be to use the momentum created in favour of the regime by the Russian intervention to find a political settlement to the Syrian crisis. This is consistent with Russias position towards Syria.

i)    Now it is time for the rebels and their backers (including the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia) to respond to Russias gestures. They should make use of the opportunity at the Geneva talks to push for reconciliation with the regime. Because the only alternative to talks is pushing Syria into war again.

8.

Constitution Bench to decide on National Court of Appeal (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     National Court Appeal (NCA)

b)     Supreme Court

c)     Chief Justice of India

 

a)     Noting that equal access to justice for all is a fundamental right under the Constitution, the Supreme Court decided to set up a Constitution Bench to debate the establishment of a National Court of Appeal with regional benches to act as final courts of justice in criminal and civil cases.

b)     Now the apex court would judicially pronounce on whether there is a need to bifurcate higher judiciary, with the Supreme Court exclusively hearing constitutional and public law cases.

c)     Secondly, the apex court seems to introspect on its own role as the single, final court situated in the national capital dealing with an increasing load of cases.

d)     Supreme Court (under the stewardship of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur) has sent a clear signal to govt and lawmakers that it intends to push hard and pronounce a judgment on the constitutional viability of having an NCA. A verdict in favour of NCA would act as a great influence on Parliament to amend the Constitution itself to make room for NCA.

9.

Our national security mismanagement (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     National Security Council

b)     National Security Advisory Board (NSAB)

c)     Intelligence Bureau (IB)

d)     Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)

e)     NATGRID

f)     Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

g)     Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill

a)     According to the author, national security management under the incumbent BJP-led NDA regime can best be described as the management of systemic inefficiency, with the institutional and ideational foundations of the countrys national security architecture having become weaker since the new government took charge almost two years ago.

b)     PM Modis presidential style of national security management without bothering to create, consult and strengthen the countrys national security institutions is further contributing to this ominous structural decay.

c)     In fact, strengthening national security was one of the major electoral planks the BJP used in the run-up to the 2014 parliamentary elections.

d)     Modis presidential style is hampering key institutions of national security management which traditionally functioned on the basis of regular deliberations, briefings, and constant assessment of threat scenarios by experts, both internal and external.

e)     Take the example of the National Security Advisory Board, which was set up during the previous BJP-led govt (1998-2004) to undertake long-term analysis of and provide perspectives on issues of national security. Its policy recommendations and options are conveyed to the National Security Council for its consideration.

f)     The term of the ninth NSAB came to an end in Jan 2015 and the new govt has not only bothered to reconstitute it, but is actively thinking of doing away with it. We certainly need a more empowered NSAB, with access to classified files and whose inputs are regularly used for national security management by the leadership.

g)     The NSC, comprising of the members of the Cabinet Committee on Security and the National Security Adviser, which is supposed to be the locus of deliberations and decision-making relating to national security as well as oversee the formulation of the countrys nuclear strategy, hardly ever meets to take stock of the security environment.

h)     So with deliberative mechanisms such as the NSAB and NSC not doing their job, the countrys national security management is a one-man show based out of the Prime Ministers Office.

i)     The Manmohan Singh govt had created a highly specialised Strategy Programme Staff to work on a perspective plan for Indias nuclear deterrent in accordance with a 10-year cycle. There are legitimate concerns today about the mandate of this body, and how empowered it is to deliberate, strategise and engage in strategic nuclear planning.

j)     Indias nuclear strategy has a number of doctrinal inadequacies which need to be addressed and corrected by the government, something the BJP specifically referred to in its manifesto. This has so far remained an empty promise. The more Indias nuclear strategy remains unarticulated, the less political control there will be.

k)  Both the Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing are short-staffed at every level with acute deficiency reported at the level of foreign language speakers. The agencies clearly need a lot more trained personnel today than ever before due to the complexity of challenges and threats that the country faces.

l)     Another key post-26/11 institution that is in trouble today is the NATGRID. Created to function as a metadata intelligence grid by networking multiple datasets available with various agencies, NATGRID (a pet project of the UPA govt) is neither fully operational nor given adequate importance by the NDA regime.

m)     The demand for reforms in Indias higher defence management is a long-standing one and has been recommended by Kargil Review Committee (1999), the Group of Ministers report (2000), and the Naresh Chandra Task Force (2012). One key recommendation of these reports has been to create post of Chief of Defence Staff as a single, authoritative source of military advice to the govt.

n)     Defence Minister Parrikar has also been promising (as recently as Dec 2015) defence reforms including appointment of a CDS, in keeping with his partys electoral promise. But no tangible action has been taken so far in this regard.

o)   Nuclear safety, security and regulation is another key area that the govt needs to focus on. Worrying incidents like the recent heavy water leak at the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in Gujarat and Indias ambitious civilian nuclear expansion plans demand utmost priority to civilian nuclear issues.

p)     Keeping in mind the need to carry out structural reforms in the civilian nuclear sector, the UPA govt had presented the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill to the Lok Sabha in 2011. The Bill is currently lapsed, and the new govt has done precious little to bring an amended version for consideration of Parliament.

q)     Finally, despite all its claims of giving primacy to strengthening and safeguarding Indias national security, the BJP-led govt continues to adopt an unmistakably ham-handed and visionless approach to national security issues and institutions.

10.

Lok Sabha nod for inclusion of more castes in SC list (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 Amendment Bill 

b)     Scheduled Castes

c)     Sias

d)     Aheria

e)     Peruvannan

a)     A Bill to include certain castes (including Sais, Aheria and Peruvannan) in the list of Scheduled Castes in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal was approved by the Lok Sabha on March 15.

b)     Moving the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 Amendment Bill, Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said that the Bill proposes to include certain communities in the list and remove area restriction in respect of certain communities and exclude certain communities in the case of Odisha.

Branches

Ashok Nagar Branch
1-10-223/A, Sub-register office Line
Hyderabad
+91 9052 29 29 29, 9052 19 29 29

Madhapur Branch
Plot No.3, 2nd floor, Raghuma Towers
Hyderabad
+91 9052 492929

Delhi:
Old Rajendra Nagar

Send to mail

Request for call