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Daily News Analysis 05-04-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

A balancing act in Riyadh (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to Riyadh reflects a resolve to deepen Indias engagement in West Asia.

2.

China to export electricity along the New Silk Road (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     In tune with its One Belt, One Road initiative, China is positioning itself as a formidable energy exporter, targeting markets that span from Germany to India along the New Silk Road.

3.

Pak unlikely to be invited for Chabahar summit (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The Director General of Indian Ocean Rim Association confirmed that Pakistan is likely to be kept out from the Chabahar free trade summit Iran is organising in May.

4.

Northern Province Governor for changes in housing scheme (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray has sought changes in the design of the contentious housing project in the Northern and Eastern Provinces that has proposed to build 65,000 houses in the conflict-hit region in four years.

5.

World figures named in massive offshore investment leak (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Governments across the world began investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful following a leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm which allegedly showed how clients avoided tax or laundered money.

6.

Centre orders probe against Indians linked to tax havens (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     The BJP-led NDA govt ordered the formation of a special agency to investigate Indians who figure in the Panama papers - a set of over 11 million leaked documents that reveal how the rich and the connected around the world used tax havens for salting away their wealth.

7.

Towards restorative criminal justice (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     While keeping the adversarial system of criminal justice for grave offences, India needs to experiment with more democratic models aimed at reconciliation and restoration of relationships.

8.

E-commerce norms will curb unfair practices (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the recent FDI guidelines on e-commerce will curb anti-competitive practices and bring in a level-playing field between offline and online entities.

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

A balancing act in Riyadh (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Saudi Arabia relations

b)     Counter-terrorism cooperation

c)     West Asia crisis

d)     Pakistan-Saudi relationship

e)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

 

a)     Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to Riyadh reflects a resolve to deepen Indias engagement in West Asia.

b)     Saudi Arabia has been a traditional source of energy and of remittances for India. In recent years, bilateral ties had acquired a security dimension with both countries stepping up cooperation in counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing.

c)     While Modi is clearly trying to build on existing momentum, he is also seeking to upgrade the economic and security cooperation into a strategic partnership with Riyadh - an approach that is in line with the wider foreign policy outreach to improve ties with close allies of Pakistan.

d)     The timing of Modis visit is significant. It has been reported that there are tensions in the Pakistan-Saudi relationship after Islamabads renewed engagement with Iran. Pakistan had also refused to send troops to Yemen to join a Saudi war coalition.

e)     Hours ahead of Modi landing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the US imposed joint sanctions on individuals linked to the LeT. Moreover, the joint statement issued by India and Saudi Arabia has an oblique reference to Pakistan as it calls on all states to dismantle terror infrastructure where they happen to exist.

f)     The India-UAE joint communique in August had made a similar call.

g)     Even though the joint statement denounces all kinds of terrorism, the Saudis are accused of funding extremist groups in West Asia, particularly in war-torn Syria.

h)     Besides, there are some fundamental weak spots in India-Saudi ties, ranging from concerns about Indian workers in the kingdom to its funding of Wahhabi groups elsewhere, including in India.

i)     Another obvious concern is the drastic change under way in West Asia, and the aggressive role Riyadh is playing in regional geopolitics.

j)     During the visit Modi may have focussed on the positive factors of the relationship to improve ties, and rightly so. Also, India would be wary of appearing partisan at a time when the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia is at its peak.

k)     The best way forward is to continue the multi-directional West Asia policy with more vigour, but maintaining its equilibrium.

2.

China to export electricity along the New Silk Road (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Chinas One Belt One Road initiative

a)     In tune with its One Belt, One Road initiative, China is positioning itself as a formidable energy exporter, targeting markets that span from Germany to India along the New Silk Road.

b)     Two factors are driving Beijings ambitions of emerging as a regional electric supply hub. First, China is already a surplus power producer following a decade of continuous investments at home in all forms of energy.

c)   Second, China has mastered ultra–high voltage technology, which has allowed State Grid (Chinas state-owned power behemoth) to transmit electricity from production centres in West (in places such as Xinjiang) to coastal industrial centres in the faraway east.

d)     Now, with Xinjiang in western China as the hub, China has the proven technological heft to transmit electricity as far as Germany.

e)     Sources reported that State Grid is actively in bidding for power assets in Australia, hoping to add them to a portfolio of Italian, Brazilian and Filipino companies.

f)     The idea is to connect these and other power grids to a global grid that will draw electricity from windmills at the North Pole and vast solar arrays in Africas deserts, and then distribute the power to all parts of the world.

3.

Pak unlikely to be invited for Chabahar summit (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Chabahar free trade summit

b)     Chabahar port

c)     Gwadar port

d)     Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)

a)     The Director General of Indian Ocean Rim Association confirmed that Pakistan is likely to be kept out from the Chabahar free trade summit Iran is organising in May.

b)     Twenty seven countries have been invited to participate in the summit in Chahbahar. Some non-littoral Indian Ocean states have also been invited.

c)     India scaled up its investment in Chabahar following Transport Minister Nitin Gadkaris visit to Iran last year.

d)     Iran wants to present Chabahar as a new door to the newly revived Iranian economy. Pakistan has an alternative in the Gwadar port but Chabahar has a broader appeal unlike Gwadar which is dedicated to Chinese energy needs.

4.

Northern Province Governor for changes in housing scheme (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas housing scheme

b)     Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

c)     Eelam war

a)     Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray has sought changes in the design of the contentious housing project in the Northern and Eastern Provinces that has proposed to build 65,000 houses in the conflict-hit region in four years.

b)  Another 40,000 houses were required to be built in the North and the Governor would favour at least the number of houses to be increased to 90,000 under the present project.

c)     Emphasising that resettlement had to be given top priority, he said that as part of the creation of livelihood opportunities, utilisation of the resources such as lagoons and palmyrah should be done to the maximum.

d)     As the province had been under the control of the Sri Lanka Army, Indian Army, LTTE and many other militant groups in the last 30 years, he said the staff in the provincial administration had no practice with civilian administration.

5.

World figures named in massive offshore investment leak (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Panama Papers

b)     Black money

 

a)     Governments across the world began investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful following a leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm which allegedly showed how clients avoided tax or laundered money.

b)     The documents detailed schemes involving an array of figures from friends of Russian President Putin to relatives of the PMs of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan and as well as the President of Ukraine.

c)     While the Panama Papers detail complex financial arrangements benefiting the worlds elite, they do not necessarily mean all the schemes were illegal.

d)     Australia, Austria, Brazil, France and Sweden were among countries which said they had begun investigating the allegations, based on more than 11.5 million documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, located in the tax haven of Panama.

6.

Centre orders probe against Indians linked to tax havens (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Panama Papers

b)     Black money

c)     Special Investigation Team (SIT)

d)     Central Board of Direct Taxes

e)     Financial Intelligence Union

f)     Foreign Tax & Tax Research division

g)     Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

 

a)     The BJP-led NDA govt ordered the formation of a special agency to investigate Indians who figure in the Panama papers - a set of over 11 million leaked documents that reveal how the rich and the connected around the world used tax havens for salting away their wealth.

b)     The multi-agency group that was set up following directions from PM Modi will consist of officers from the investigative units of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the Financial Intelligence Union and Foreign Tax & Tax Research division and the RBI.

c)     The SIT on Black Money (appointed under the Supreme Courts directions) had in its third report submitted last year to the court said that various departments were not prepared to share the information received in tax evasion cases.

7.

Towards restorative criminal justice (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Criminal justice system

b)     Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System (2003)

c)     Chapter XXI-A of the the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)

d)     Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act of 2006

e)     Indian Penal Code (IPC)

f)     Restorative justice

g)     Mediation

h)     Concept of plea bargain

 

a)   According to the author, the way criminal justice is designed and administered today hardly serves any of the purposes for which it is set up: towards securing life and property.

b)     With nearly 30 million criminal cases pending in the system, and with another 10 million or more cases being added every year, whatever is left of the system is bound to collapse completely unless some radical alternatives are adopted urgently.

c)     Faced with a similar situation, the US adopted plea bargaining and diversion to administrative and quasi-judicial institutions in a big way several years ago with the result that less than a third of criminal cases are allowed to go for trial.

d)  Diversion is followed in UK as well. Recently, it reformed its criminal justice system giving a central role to victims to direct their cases in system. In Russia, Australia and several other countries, the victim is brought centre stage through what is called restorative justice to replace unproductive aspects of conventional criminal processes.

e)     On the recommendation of the Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System (2003), India also adopted plea bargaining under Chapter XXI-A of the CrPC to take out from the system cases punishable up to seven years of imprisonment for negotiated settlement without trial.

f)     However, the Bar and the Bench seem to be allergic to plea-bargained settlement, with the result that even after a decade of its introduction, it remains a dead letter not invoked by those caught in the system.

g)    The committee on criminal justice reforms recommended a threefold strategy to arrest the drift and to prevent total disaster. First, the law (substantive and procedural) requires a fresh comprehensive look based on changes in society and economy as well as priorities in governance.

h)     The guiding principle in the reform process should be decriminalisation wherever possible and diversion, reserving the criminal justice system mainly to deal with real hard crimes.

i)     A suggestion was made to divide the Penal Code into four different codes - a Social Offences Code consisting of matters which are essentially of a civil nature and can be settled or compounded through administrative processes without police intervention and prison terms.

j)     A Correctional Offences Code containing offences punishable up to three years imprisonment where parole, probation and conditional sentences can be imposed in lieu of prison terms and can be handled under summary/summons procedure where plea bargaining can be liberally invoked without the stigma of conviction.

k)     An Economic Offences Code where property offences which affect the financial stability of the country are dealt with by a combination of criminal and administrative strategies including plea bargaining (both on charge as well as on punishment) with a view to making crimes economically non-viable.

l)     And an Indian Penal Code which will have only major crimes which warrant 10 years imprisonment or more or death and deserve a full-fledged warrant trial with all safeguards of a criminal trial. The police and prosecution systems will accordingly be reorganised making them more specialised, efficient and accountable.

m)     Second strategy proposed by committee was institutional reform of police processes, including investigation of crimes, professionalisation and rationalisation of court systems with induction of technology and limiting appeal procedures to the minimum required. It is here the committee sought to bring in a bigger and responsible role to victims of crime in the whole proceedings.

n)     The CrPC (Amendment) Act of 2006 adopted a small part of the recommendation on victims and left the rest for future consideration. This did not help in changing the system to a victim-centric one; nor did it support a restorative approach necessary to make system serve its reformatory and deterrent functions meaningfully.

o)     The victim-centric in the criminal justice system means restoring the confidence of victims in the system and achieving the goal of justice in whichever sense the idea is conceived.

p)   Toward this end, the system must confer certain rights on victims to enable them to participate in the proceedings, including the right to be impleaded and to engage an advocate in serious offences, the right to track the progress of the proceedings, the right to be heard on critical issues and to assist court in pursuit of truth.

q)     Second, victims have the right to seek and receive compensation for injuries suffered including appropriate interim relief irrespective of the fate of the proceedings. Victims may also submit a victim impact statement to the courts setting out the effect of the crime on their lives.

r)     Today, a victim-centric approach in criminal justice can also mean healing the wounds through reconciliation and restorative means of justice rather than letting it get prolonged in system, leading to frustration and more wrongs.

s)     Restorative justice is distinct from mediation though it involves meetings and dialogues to fix responsibility for wrongdoing and to find a solution acceptable to all three parties. More importantly, it directly addresses victim needs and therefore emphasises the private dimensions of a public wrong.

t)     It is not a substitute to the formal criminal justice system, but a good backup to reduce its workload and to increase the sense of justice in the system as a whole. In a sense, the concept of plea bargain is closer to idea and processes of restorative justice and therefore nothing new to criminal proceedings.

u)     Crime and violence constitute a major impediment for development and social integration for a plural society like India. The adversarial model of criminal justice (with punishing the offender as its only aim) has proved costly and counterproductive.

v)     While keeping the adversarial system for certain serious and complex offences, India needs to experiment with more democratic models aimed at reconciliation and restoration of relationships. Restorative justice is a welcome idea particularly in the matter of juvenile justice, property offences, communal conflicts, family disputes, etc.

8.

E-commerce norms will curb unfair practices (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

b)     E-commerce

c)     Competition Act

d)     Predatory pricing

e)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

a)     Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the recent FDI guidelines on e-commerce will curb anti-competitive practices and bring in a level-playing field between offline and online entities.

b)   While allowing 100 percent FDI in the market place-based model of e-commerce (where an entity provides a platform to act as a facilitator between the buyer and the seller), the norms also specified that market place e-commerce entities will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods and services. A section of experts had raised concerns regarding this clause.

c)     Sitharaman said she was encouraged by the feedback from experts that the norms will help in checking predatory pricing and discount-giving exercises.

d)   Predatory pricing is an anti-competitive practice (under the Competition Act) and it refers to a dominant player reducing prices to a very low level to edge out competing players from the market. In most cases, after the rivals are driven out, the dominant firm increases the prices and makes huge gains.

e)     The minister also said India hopes to conclude the negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement with the European Union and Australia.

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