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Daily News Analysis 31-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

No proof against JeM chief, says Pak (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Pakistans Joint Investigation Team probing the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase has told the National Investigation Agency that so far it has not found any evidence against Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar linking him to the January 2 attack.

2.

What they talk about when they talk (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)   New Delhi and the Prime Minister could benefit from a more structured approach to talks with Pakistan, so that dialogue is about issues that India wants to address.

3.

Market access for Indias services key to BTIA (Page 18)

a)     I.R

b)     Economy

a)     Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharman told that obtaining greater access to the market for services in the EU is key for the progress of the Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement between the EU and India.

4.

Myanmar swears in first civilian President in five decades (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Myanmar has sworn in Htin Kyaw (a close aide of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi) as the countrys first civilian President in more than 50 years.

5.

Pak nuke deployment raises threat: US (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     As leaders from more than 50 countries are set to discuss measures to prevent nuclear terrorism, the US said the battlefield deployment of nuclear weapons by Pakistan was an enhanced threat though it has taken several other measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into the hands of terrorists.

6.

Lessons from the Palmyra victory (Page 10)

a)     International

a)  The recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra by Syrian govt forces marks one of the biggest setbacks for the IS since the group announced its Caliphate in June 2014.

7.

Cabinet nod for Uttarakhand, enemy property ordinances (Pg12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Union Cabinet approved the issuing of two ordinances, one to authorise expenditure beyond April one in Uttarakhand which is under Presidents Rule, and the other to amend the Enemy Property Act 1968.

8.

SC upholds rules to support Good Samaritans (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Supreme Court upheld a Central notification issuing standard operating procedure for the protection and examination of Good Samaritans (those who help road accident victims) and make it binding on all State governments and authorities.

9.

ADB lowers Indias growth forecast to 7.4 percent for 2016-17 (Page 18)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     With the failure of the govt to push through the GST and the Land and Labour Reforms, the Asian Development Bank has lowered Indias growth forecast to 7.4 percent from an earlier estimate of 7.6 percent for the financial year ending March 31 2017.

10.

Disrupting the disruptors (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     The decision to allow 100 percent FDI in e-commerce entities running online marketplaces is a belated yet welcome step by the government.

11.

Employment growth slows to six-year low (Page 1)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     According to Labour Bureau data, new jobs in eight labour-intensive industries fell to a six-year low in the first nine months of 2015 - with just 1.55 lakh new jobs being created compared to over three lakh jobs over the same period in 2013 and 2014.

12.

Sand-eating tadpoles found in Western Ghats (Page 22)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Adding to the burgeoning cache of frog-finds in India, researchers have discovered a sand-eating tadpole that lives in total darkness, until it fully develops into a young frog.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

No proof against JeM chief, says Pak (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Pathankot terror attack

d)     Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)

e)     Joint Investigation Team (JIT)

f)     National Investigation Agency (NIA)

a)     Pakistans JIT probing the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase has told the NIA that so far it has not found any evidence against JeM chief Masood Azhar linking him to the January 2 attack.

b)     The team said it was still verifying whether JeM founder (who was released from an Indian jail in 1999 in exchange for passengers of the hijacked IC 814 aircraft) had any role in the storming of the forward base of the Indian Air Force.

c)     At multiple forums, India has in the past said Masood Azhar and his brother Abdul Asghar Rauf were directly linked to the attack, which was planned at the JeMs Bahawalpur headquarters.

d)     India has sought the voice samples of Azhar and his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar, who planned and coordinated the attack. Asghar was also involved in the 1999 hijack.

e)     The JIT is learnt to have informed the NIA of the progress made in an independent investigation being done by it. Pakistan has asked for a series of documents and evidence from India.

2.

What they talk about when they talk (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Foreign Secretary-level talks

c)     NSA talks

d)     Terrorism

e)     Pathankot terror attacks

f)     Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)

g)     Joint Investigation Team (JIT)

h)     National Investigation Agency (NIA)

i)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

j)     SAARC summit

a)     According to the author, while the diplomatic process floundered over the past few months, the security relationship between India and Pakistan seemed to fare better.

b)     After NSA Ajit Doval and retired Lieutenant General Naseer Khan Janjua met in Bangkok in Dec 2015, they have been in regular touch over the telephone. The results have been unprecedented.

c)     Even as security forces finished battling JeM terrorists in Pathankot, the NSAs spoke. Doval asked for prompt action against the JeM, and Janjua reportedly swore to crush the group.

d)     While the Pakistan govt has taken action against JeM before, seldom has it offered to act so quickly, reporting that JeM offices were raided and some unidentified leaders taken into custody soon after.

e)     Next came the news that the Pakistan govt was filing an FIR in the case, based on Dovals information, and sending a JIT to India to gather evidence in order to prosecute the culprits. This now denoted a whole different order of cooperation between the NSAs.

f)     The five-member JIT/SIT from Pakistan landed in India to carry out its investigations in Pathankot and Amritsar on March 27.

g)   On Indian side, the govt has been criticised for extending its hand too far to ensure the visit happens. First, there was criticism that it did not call off the Foreign Secretary talks altogether. Next was that despite its statements that there will be zero tolerance on terror, it made no comment after the Pampore attack by suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants.

h)     Third, serving military officers from ISI and military intelligence were allowed access to the Pathankot airbase, a completely unique precedent worldwide. Eventually, these can all be chalked up to good communication both at prime ministerial and NSA levels.

i)     Even the date of arrival for the SIT, rushed through despite the fact that they had not sent the requisite letter rogatory, seemed timed before the Prime Ministers travel to the US.

j)     It is in order for the govt to consider its next steps very carefully, with firm grounding rather than flair and fireworks of PM Modis Lahore stopover. It may also be necessary to rethink the primacy of NSA-to-NSA engagement after the spy case, and giving back the reins of the dialogue to diplomats.

k)  PM Modi and his govt could benefit from a more structured approach to dialogue, which does not have to depend on domestic debate each time, and resolve to meet once a month to take talks on terror forward.

l)  In any case, with the PM still expected to travel to Islamabad in Nov for the SAARC summit, several official meetings where an Indian-Pakistan concord is necessary are unavoidable over the next few months.

3.

Market access for Indias services key to BTIA (Page 18)

a)     I.R

b)     Economy

a)     India – EU summit

b)     Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)

c)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

d)     WTO

e)     Indias solar dispute with US

 

a)     Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharman told that obtaining greater access to the market for services in the EU is key for the progress of BTIA between the EU and India.

b)     The two governments are hoping to make progress on the trade deal during the 13th EU India Summit in Brussels on March 30.

c)     In a global economic climate of falling demand and competitive currency devaluations, the textile industry was among those that had approached the Commerce Ministry and expressed a view that a FTA with the EU would be beneficial to it. However, she added that India would also take up the issue of market access for its services in EU.

d)     India has not been granted data secure status by the EU, and this has hampered the progress of negotiations around the liberalisation of trade in services in the BTIA talks. Being considered data secure is crucial for a number of services especially in the IT and ITES sectors.

e)     Re-iterating that India was not happy with higher fees for temporary US work visas (H-1B and L-1 caterogies), she said India initiated a dispute with the US at the WTO on this issue on March 3.

f)     This is against an increasingly disputatious background between India and US in WTO with the trade body recently ruling in favour of the US in a case involving domestic component requirements in Indias solar panel program. India is also considering filing a counter complaint with WTO on similar practices in the US.

g)     The govts objections to visa regimes extend beyond the US. After Brussels, Sitharaman will go to London where she will discuss UK visa issues.

4.

Myanmar swears in first civilian President in five decades (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Myanmars politics

b)     Myanmars Constitution

c)     National League for Democracy (NLD)

a)     Myanmar has sworn in Htin Kyaw (a close aide of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi) as the countrys first civilian President in more than 50 years.

b)     He suggested that the military-drafted Constitution (which barred Suu Kyi from becoming the President) be changed.

c)     Apart from controlling the ministries of home, defence and borders affairs, the men in uniform occupy 25 percent of seats in Parliament. Under the existing Constitution, an 80 percent majority is required to amend any part of it.

d)     In effect, the NLD (which won a three-fourths majority in Parliament) will cohabit with the military, which has directly or indirectly ruled Indias north- eastern neighbour since 1962.

e)     Despite being the NLDs undisputed leader, Suu Kyi was prevented from becoming the head of government. A law enacted by the armed forces debars her from holding this position as her two sons are British nationals.

5.

Pak nuke deployment raises threat: US (Page 14)

a)     International

a)      Nuclear Security Summit (NSS)

b)     Nuclear terrorism

 

a)     As leaders from more than 50 countries are set to discuss measures to prevent nuclear terrorism, the US said the battlefield deployment of nuclear weapons by Pakistan was an enhanced threat though it has taken several other measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into the hands of terrorists.

b)     Briefing on the agenda and expected outcomes of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit, US officials said the risks of nuclear terrorism have been substantially reduced over recent years, thanks to measures taken by various govts and agencies, including Pakistan.

c)     PM Modi will be leading the Indian delegation to the summit. Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif cancelled his trip to the US capital following the terrorist attack in Lahore.

d)     Pakistan continues to reject repeated US calls to hold back its deployment of tactical nuclear weapons.

e)     The US officials did not elaborate the nature of the deeper bilateral relations that it sought with India and the further measures it expected India to take.

6.

Lessons from the Palmyra victory (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

c)     Kurdish forces

d)     Palmyra

a)   The recapture of the ancient city of Palmyra by Syrian govt forces marks one of the biggest setbacks for the IS since the group announced its Caliphate in June 2014.

b)     It also demonstrates the continued weakening of the IS on the battleground. It lost about 14 percent of the territory in Iraq and Syria last year (including the city of Ramadi) to Iraqi troops.

c)   Several factors have been at play in structurally weakening IS over past few months. The tide started turning against it when in June it lost Tal Abyad (a strategically important town on the Turkish-Syrian border) to Kurdish rebels. The town was one of the ISs main access points for smuggling in weapons, materiel and fighters.

d)     Turkeys move to tighten its long and porous border with Syria after jihadists began attacking Turkish cities and international pressure mounted on Ankara, squeezed ISs cross-border supply lines. But the final blow came from Russia.

e)     From the beginning of its intervention in Syria, Russian President Putin kept saying that the best answer to the terrorists in Syria would be the restoration of statehood. This is what Russia achieved in Syria.

f)     Five months of Russian intervention has bolstered the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, raised morale of its troops and helped it make major advances on the ground. The ceasefire in Syria (which led to a partial suspension of the fighting with the rebels) may also have helped govt forces to use their resources more effectively.

g)     For the IS, territory is important. It is its hold over territories that makes the IS different from other jihadist groups. The claim of establishing a Caliphate comes out of the territories it controls. So every time it loses land the Caliphate shrinks, weakening its terror machinery further.

h)     Both the peace process in Syria between the regime and the rebels and the war on the IS in Syria and Iraq could continue simultaneously. The international community must help the Syrian and Iraqi govts continue their campaigns to free  more territories from the IS.

7.

Cabinet nod for Uttarakhand, enemy property ordinances (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Uttarakhand political crisis

b)     Presidents Rule

Enemy Property Act 1968

c)     Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill 2016

d)     Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA)

a)     The Union Cabinet approved the issuing of two ordinances, one to authorise expenditure beyond April one in Uttarakhand which is under Presidents Rule, and the other to amend the Enemy Property Act 1968.

b)     Since Uttarakhand was under Presidents Rule the Cabinet has recommended an Appropriation Ordinance for Uttarakhand, so that valid withdrawal of the government revenue can be done.

c)     This comes in the wake of the CCPA recommending proroguing the Budget session of Parliament, followed by the seeking and receiving of Presidential assent. This has enabled the government to recommend the promulgation of the two ordinances in what would have otherwise been the middle of the session.

d)     The ordinance for amendments in the 48-year-old Enemy Property Act was promulgated in January this year. The Bill to replace the ordinance was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 9 after the govt rejected demands by some Opposition parties that it be sent to the Standing Committee.

e)     However, it could not be cleared by the Rajya Sabha where the govt is in a minority and the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill 2016, was eventually sent to a Select Committee.

8.

SC upholds rules to support Good Samaritans (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Good Samaritans

b)     Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

c)     Supreme Court

 

a)     The Supreme Court upheld a Central notification issuing standard operating procedure for protection and examination of Good Samaritans (those who help road accident victims) and make it binding on all State governments and authorities.

b)     The SOP was framed by the govt on the orders passed by the Supreme Court on a PIL plea filed by NGO Save LIFE Foundation in 2012, highlighting the fact that more lives of accident victims can be saved if a law can be made to protect Good Samaritans from legal and procedural hassles at the hands of police and hospitals.

c)     The Centre issued a series of guidelines on May 12 2015, to protect Good Samaritans. These included assuring them anonymity and protecting them from any civil or criminal liability for taking the victim to the nearest hospital.

9.

ADB lowers Indias growth forecast to 7.4 percent for 2016-17 (Page 18)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Indias economic growth

b)     GDP

c)     Inflation

d)     GST

e)     Asian Development Bank (ADB)

a)     With the failure of the govt to push through the GST and Land and Labour Reforms, the ADB has lowered Indias growth forecast to 7.4 percent from an earlier estimate of 7.6 percent for the financial year ending March 31 2017.

b)     According to the latest Asian Development Outlook 2016, Indias GDP is forecast to grow to 7.8 percent for the fiscal year to March 2018.

c)     During the fiscal year ended March 31 2016, a pickup in manufacturing, private consumption, and capital expenditure by the government helped offset a double-digit decline in exports.

d)     After two years of decline, consumer inflation is likely to accelerate, fuelled by the salary hike for civil servants and a mild pickup in global oil prices, with inflation expected to average 5.4 percent in the fiscal year ending March 31 2017, rising to 5.8 percent in next year.

e)     India still faces significant challenges to finance the infrastructure it needs to deliver sustainable growth, with funding requirements estimated at around $200 billion a year through 2017-18.

10.

Disrupting the disruptors (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

b)     E-commerce

c)     Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)

a)     The decision to allow 100 percent FDI in e-commerce entities running online marketplaces is a belated yet welcome step by the govt. It clears the air a great deal on the norms governing a rapidly expanding part of the economy, and makes de jure what has hitherto been de facto.

b)     The latest guidelines make it clear that as long as a business entity acts purely as a marketplace, facilitating online transactions between a seller and a buyer, 100 percent overseas ownership is allowed in the venture.

c)     E-commerce firms can provide support services to sellers, including warehousing, logistics, call centres and payment collection. The rub for them lies in some of the other conditions pertaining to what the foreign-owned e-commerce marketplaces cannot do hereafter.

d)     The imposition of a 25 per cent cap on the value that sales from a single seller and group companies can contribute to overall turnover at marketplace means some of the largest e-commerce players will have to redraw their business strategies.

e)     The unequivocal assertion that any ownership of inventory by the entity running the marketplace will render its business into the inventory-based model, where FDI is barred, also makes it clear that these foreign-owned e-commerce enterprises can no longer sell wares sporting their own brand names online.

f)     E-commerce (including m-commerce spurred by Indias smartphone surge) have been a significant disruptor in the way domestic consumers shop. If consumers lose interest, the Centres guidelines could well disrupt this disruption and end up staunching the very flow of foreign capital it aims to attract.

11.

Employment growth slows to six-year low (Page 1)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Employment growth

b)     Labour Bureau

 

a)     According to Labour Bureau data, new jobs in eight labour-intensive industries fell to a six-year low in the first nine months of 2015 - with just 1.55 lakh new jobs being created compared to over three lakh jobs over the same period in 2013 and 2014.

b)     The latest quarterly survey conducted by the Labour Bureau showed 1.34 lakh jobs were created in July-September 2015, the lowest in the similar quarters since 2009 when the survey was started. In January-March 2015, though the number of jobs increased by 64,000, it declined by 43,000 in quarter ended June taking net addition of jobs during 2015 to 1.55lakh.

c)     By contrast, 3.04 lakh new jobs were added in Jan-Sept 2014 and 3.36 lakh in the same period of 2013. There was a sharp decline in hiring of contract labour in 2015.

d)     The Labour Bureau (under the Ministry of Labour and Employment) started conducting this quarterly survey after the 2008-09 global crisis to gauge its impact on employment in eight crucial sectors - textiles, leather, metal, automobiles, gems and jewellery, transport, information technology and handloom.

12.

Sand-eating tadpoles found in Western Ghats (Page 22)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Tadpoles

b)     Western Ghats

a)     Adding to the burgeoning cache of frog-finds in India, researchers have discovered a sand-eating tadpole that lives in total darkness, until it fully develops into a young frog.

b)     The tadpole belongs to the so-called Indian Dancing Frog family, Micrixalidae. They get that name from their habit of waving their legs as a sign of territorial and sexual display while sitting on boulders in streams.

c)     The purple tadpoles were discovered from the deep recesses of streambeds in the Western Ghats and they possess muscular eel-like bodies and skin-covered eyes, which helps them to burrow through gravel beds.

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