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Daily News Analysis 22-04-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Doval confirms Pranabs visit (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     NSA Ajit Doval confirmed that President Pranab Mukherjee will be visiting China in May, following the stepped-up engagement between New Delhi and Beijing after PM Modis visit to China last May.

2.

The problem of making peace (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     The peace process between India and Pakistan has ground to a halt, and perhaps the usual suspects are to be blamed. But it appears the exchange of allegations is more gesture than substance, and meant for domestic constituencies.

3.

Pak must control its terror groups (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Gholamreza Ansari (the Iranian Ambassador to India) said that Pakistan-based terror groups have created difficulties for normal Iran-Pakistan bilateral ties.

4.

UK expresses concern over gender violence in India (Page 14)

a)     International

a)   In a review of the human rights situation in the world in 2015, the UK has expressed its particular concerns over the violence against women and girls in India.

5.

Rights improvements less apparent in North (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     A report of the UKs Foreign Commonwealth Office says that Sri Lanka has witnessed an improvement in the overall human rights situation. But, in the Northern and Eastern provinces, some of the positive changes are less apparent.

6.

Commonwealth concerned over anti-terror law in Maldives (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group has expressed concern over the continued misuse of anti-terrorism legislation in the Maldives and the little or no evidence of substantive progress in promoting freedom and space for civil society.

7.

Xi takes Commander-in-Chief title as military reforms peak (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The ongoing military restructuring in China appears to have peaked, with President Xi Jinping assuming the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Joint Battle Command of the Peoples Liberation Army.

8.

None of us has an interest in having conflict with Iran (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US President Barack Obama said that Washington and Gulf Arab states were united against the Islamic State group as he sought to overcome strains on Iran to boost efforts against the jihadists.

9.

Paris treaty: a lot of cost for doing very little (Pg 11)

a)     International

a)    By the UNs own reckoning, this treaty will only achieve less than 1 percent of the emission cuts needed to meet target temperatures.

10.

Uttarakhand HC sets aside Presidents Rule (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)  The Uttarakhand High Court quashed the Union govts order imposing Presidents Rule on the State on March 27, holding that the situation must be viewed on a larger canvas of democracy, federalism and the rule of law. 

11.

Slowdown hits services sector (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)    Indias trade surplus in services has been contracting, mainly due to a sharp drop in non-software services exports, which shows that global economic slowdown is finally beginning to affect Indias services sector.

12.

Bird hit: NGT halts Tawang hydro project (Page 1)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     The threat to the future of a vulnerable bird species has halted the Rs. 6400-crore hydro power project in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Doval confirms Pranabs visit (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     Terrorism

d)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

 

a)     NSA Ajit Doval confirmed that President Pranab will be visiting China in May, following the stepped-up engagement between New Delhi and Beijing after PM Modis visit to China last May.

b)     In his opening remarks during his call on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Doval referred to a series of high level meetings in recent months as a signal of intensifying ties.

2.

The problem of making peace (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     India-Pak peace process

c)     Kargil war of 1999

d)     Kashmir issue

e)     NSA talks

f)     Terrorism

g)     Pathankot terror attacks

h)     Mumbai attacks 2008

a)     In days gone by, the explanations for not having peace between India and Pakistan were far simpler to analyse, as it was to identify institutions on both sides of the border which were reluctant to engage in any process to overcome issues which have persisted for seven decades.

b)    Many scholars of Pakistans military and political process have argued very extensively, and correctly, that the army justified its omnipresence in the countrys politics and military rule over many decades by making the claim that only it could defend Pakistans geographical and ideological foundations and borders.

c)     The threat from India to undermine Pakistans existence has been the main excuse which has given, in the past, the moral justification for the Pakistan Army to claim an over-extended role in the countrys domestic and foreign polity.

d)     Despite the wide acceptance and prevalence of the argument of holding Pakistans military responsible for not wanting peace with India, its military leaders have played a surprising, and ambiguous, role in actually promoting peace with India as well. Or so it seems.

e)     General Zia-ul-Haq in 1987 (at a time of high tension between India and Pakistan) visited Jaipur to see a Test match between two countries. Interestingly, trade between India and Pakistan went up hugely (from the low levels that existed then) under General Zia.

f)     Again, Pakistans next military dictator (who openly claimed and took responsibility for the Kargil war of 1999) was talking peace with India once again by the mid-2000s. Not only did trade soar, people-to-people contact increased similar to what it was prior to 1965.

g)     There was even public revelation that the Kashmir issue was finally near some form of resolution. The narrative of an anti-India Pakistani military was swept aside by such initiatives and measures following militarys changing stance after the 9/11 attacks and the new war on Pakistans western borders.

h)     The timing of the Mumbai attacks (Nov 2008) offers an interesting juncture in both the position of the military in Pakistan and the peace process with India.

i)     From around May 2007, as General Musharrafs position weakened in Pakistan, and as civilian and democratic forces gained greater confidence and strength, the relative position of military in the political arena also weakened considerably.

j)     In fact, many scholars and analysts have argued that the period from around 2007-08 to the end of 2014 may have been one where Pakistans military was at its weakest in terms of determining the countrys domestic and foreign policies, with democratically elected civilian governments gaining the upper hand for the first time since the 1950s.

k)     However, in the last few months, the India-Pakistan peace process has seen some uncharacteristically new aspects compared to the past, some quite bizarre and unexpected.

l)     The fact that a pigeon was claimed to be sent as a spying device by the Pakistani intelligence agency to India, and that an unmanned boat off the shores of Gujarat was thought to be a terrorist boat by the Indians, suggested a change in tactics by the Pakistanis.

m)     Moreover, the belligerent tone towards Pakistan shown by Indian PM Modi for many months after his taking over seemed to have melted following his unexpected visit to Lahore on Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharifs birthday in December 2015.

n)     On the Pakistani side, the capture and confession of an alleged Research and Analysis Wing agent in Balochistan gave ample proof to the Pakistani authorities who had been looking for such proof that India was actively engaged in acts of subversion in Pakistan.

o)     Yet, the response by Pakistani authorities to help with the probe into the attack on the Pathankot airbase and the prompt interaction between the two NSAs was also refreshing, given the manner in which the two sides have interacted in the past.

p)     Even though the peace process between India and Pakistan seems to have come to a halt, and perhaps the usual suspects are to be blamed, one does get a sense that while there is no real peace between the two countries, the allegations at present are more gesture than substance, meant for domestic constituencies.

3.

Pak must control its terror groups (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Iran relations

b)     Iran – Pakistan relations

c)     Terrorism

d)     Chahbahar port

e)     Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project

a)     Gholamreza Ansari (the Iranian Ambassador to India) said that Pakistan-based terror groups have created difficulties for normal Iran-Pakistan bilateral ties.

b)     His comments hinting at Pakistan harbouring radical groups like the Jundollah came after a war of words between two sides.

c)     Pakistan had accused Iran of hosting anti-Pakistan elements in the southeastern Iranian port of Chahbahar after a former Indian navy official was arrested in March in Balochistan. The former naval officer, named Kulbhushan Jadhav was accused of planning sabotage on Pakistans Gwadar port.

d)     Criticising American hegemony in South Asia, Ansari said the IPI gas pipeline was unrealistic as the US would prevent its operationalisation.

4.

UK expresses concern over gender violence in India (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Human Rights and Democracy report 2015

b)     Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy 

c)     Indias human rights situation

a)   In a review of the human rights situation in the world in 2015, the UK has expressed its particular concerns over the violence against women and girls in India.

b)     Human Rights and Democracy (a report published by the British Foreign and Commonwealth office) said it welcomed the steps that the Indian government has already taken, such as fast-track courts and public safety measures.

c)     A group of Indian women leaders visited UK in Nov 2015 to learn about the measures taken by the UK in tackling violence against women.

d)     India does not figure among the 30 human rights priority countries where UK intervention would make a difference.

e)     Among these initiatives for intervention, the British government announced the doubling of funds for the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy.  

5.

Rights improvements less apparent in North (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Human Rights and Democracy report 2015

b)     Sri Lankas human rights situation

c)     UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances

d)     OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL)

e)     Human Rights Priority Countries (HRPCs)

a)   A report of the UKs Foreign Commonwealth Office says that Sri Lanka (which had a regime change in the beginning of 2015) has witnessed an improvement in the overall human rights situation. But, in the Northern and Eastern provinces, some of the positive changes are less apparent.

b)     In its annual report on human rights and democracy for 2015, the FCO stated that human rights defenders continued to report harassment and surveillance in 2015, a point raised by the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances during its visit in November.

c)     The OISL report also highlighted a number of human rights concerns that still remain, including continued reports of torture, and sexual and gender-based violence.

d)     The UK urged the govt to investigate these and other allegations of human rights violations, and will continue to push for progress in these areas. The document has been prepared in light of Sri Lanka being one of the 30 HRPCs.

6.

Commonwealth concerned over anti-terror law in Maldives (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Maldives anti-terror law

b)     Defamation Bill

c)     Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)

 

a)     The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group has expressed concern over the continued misuse of anti-terrorism legislation in the Maldives and the little or no evidence of substantive progress in promoting freedom and space for civil society.

b)   CMAG also raised concerns over the recent introduction of a broad-ranging Defamation Bill seeking to criminalise defamation and statements against national security.

c)     The CMAG (which comprises representatives of nine countries, including India and Pakistan) said the anti-terrorism legislation continued to be misused in a politicised manner in the Maldives.

7.

Xi takes Commander-in-Chief title as military reforms peak (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Chinas military reforms

b)     Peoples Liberation Army (PLA)

c)     Communist Party of China

d)     Central Military Commission (CMC)

 

a)     The ongoing military restructuring in China appears to have peaked, with President Xi Jinping assuming the title of Commander-in-Chief of the Joint Battle Command of the Peoples Liberation Army.

b)     The move showed that President Xi had built up a level of personal authority over troops on par with late leaders such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

c)     The new title adds to the other three that President Xi holds - general secretary of the Communist Party of China, President, and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

8.

None of us has an interest in having conflict with Iran (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US – Saudi Arabia relations

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

c)     Syria and Iraq crisis

d)     Islamic State

a)     US President Barack Obama said that Washington and Gulf Arab states were united against the Islamic State group as he sought to overcome strains on Iran to boost efforts against the jihadists.

b)     In Riyadh for talks hosted by Tehrans arch-rival Saudi Arabia, Obama said the US still has serious concerns about Iran, but insisted no country has an interest in conflict with the Shia power.

c)     With the IS suffering a series of recent setbacks in areas under their control in Syria and Iraq, Washington is seeking more help from the oil-rich Gulf monarchies to keep up the pressure.

d)     Obama said concerns remained about Irans destabilising activities despite its landmark nuclear agreement with world powers and the lifting of sanctions.

9.

Paris treaty: a lot of cost for doing very little (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Agreement

b)     Climate change

c)     Global warming

d)     Carbon emissions

e)     Kyoto Protocol

f)     International Energy Agency

g)     Green energy innovation coalition

a)    According to the author, the Paris Treaty talks a big game. It does not just commit to capping the global temperature increase at 2 degree C above pre-industrial levels. The text goes even further and says that the worlds leaders commit to keeping the increase well below 2 degree C and will try to cap it at 1.5 degree C.

b)     Even if these promises were extended for another 70 years, all the promises will reduce temperature rise by 0.17 degree C by 2100. This is very similar to a finding by economists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

c)     History gives us more reason for scepticism. The only global treaty to cut carbon (the Kyoto Protocol) famously failed when it was never ratified by the US, and eventually abandoned by Canada, Russia and Japan. Even before that, the treaty had holes in it so big that it was never destined to achieve anything.

d)    By the United Nations own reckoning, this treaty will only achieve less than 1 percent of the emission cuts needed to meet target temperatures. Ninety-nine percent of the problem is left for future leaders to deal with.

e)     Models show that the total cost by 2030 will possibly rise to $2 trillion annually - more than Indias total GDP. It is likely to be the most expensive treaty in the history of the world. India highlights the need to make a sensible transition. More than almost any other nation, India knows that cheap and plentiful power is crucial.

f)     PM Modi has suggested that he wants 100GW of solar power by 2022 and 60 GW of wind. This is highly ambitious; the International Energy Agency does not expect it to be achieved.

g)    Moreover, the International Energy Agency shows that the electricity cost of both wind and solar will remain higher than the average generation cost in India, even in 2040. That is why solar in 2020 is expected to produce just 7 percent of electricity in India, and provide just 1 percent of Indias energy.

h)     Right now India gets 0.3 percent of its energy from wind and just 0.02 percent from solar PV. Even in 2040, India will get 1.3 percent of its energy from wind and 1.3 percent from solar - all in all 2.6 percent. This emphasises that for the coming decades, Indias growth and development will be focussed on cheap, reliable power, often from coal.

i)    India has proposed 455 new coal plants. As India sees its energy consumption increase by 150 percent over next 25 years, a larger proportion will be serviced by coal.

j)     A new green energy innovation coalition backed by the philanthropist Bill Gates, business leaders, and around 20 governments including India to double global green energy research and development is an excellent global initiative, and is likely to achieve far more than the Paris Treaty.

k)     But the Gates fund is just a start. A panel of Nobel laureates for the project Copenhagen Consensus on Climate found that we should not just double R&D but make a 10-fold increase, to reach at least $100 billion per year.

10.

Uttarakhand HC sets aside Presidents Rule (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Uttarakhand political crisis

b)     Presidents Rule

c)     Article 356 of the Constitution

d)     Supreme Court

e)     High Court

a)  The Uttarakhand High Court quashed the Union govts order imposing Presidents Rule on the State on March 27, holding that the situation must be viewed on a larger canvas of democracy, federalism and the rule of law. 

b)     The decision is a setback to the Modi government, which had approached the President to prove that there was a breakdown of the constitutional machinery.

c)     The Congress celebrated the Uttarakhand High Court verdict quashing the Presidents rule imposed on the State last month and affirmed its faith in Indian democracy and judiciary. It also favoured a resolution in the Rajya Sabha condemning the BJP govt at the Centre for destabilising the Uttarakhand government.

d)     The Central govt will challenge the ruling of the Uttarakhand High Court revoking Presidents Rule in the State.

11.

Slowdown hits services sector (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Indias economic growth

b)     GDP

c)     Trade deficit

d)     Global economic slowdown

 

a)    Indias trade surplus in services has been contracting, mainly due to a sharp drop in non-software services exports, which shows that global economic slowdown is finally beginning to affect Indias services sector.

b)     In addition, though the overall trade deficit has been decreasing due to low commodity prices, Indias trade deficit with China is worsening which is a worrying trend.

c)     On a 12-month rolling sum basis, the services trade balance has fallen to 3.4 percent of GDP in February 2016 from 3.9 percent in February 2014.

d)     The main reason for this is the sharp decline in services exports, from 8.2 percent of GDP in February 2014 to 7.4 percent in February 2016.

12.

Bird hit: NGT halts Tawang hydro project (Page 1)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     Tawang hydro project

b)     National Green Tribunal (NGT)  

c)     International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

d)     Black-necked crane

e)     Indias Wildlife Act

f)     Nyamjang Chhu river

 

a)     The threat to the future of a vulnerable bird species has halted the Rs. 6400-crore hydro power project in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

b)     The NGT has suspended the Union Environment Ministrys clearance for the project granted in 2012. The clearance did not consider the impact of the hydro project on the habitat of the black-necked crane, a species that breeds on Tibetan plateau and migrates to Tawang for the winter.

c)     The bird (most commonly found in China) is legally protected in Bhutan and India and is considered sacred to certain Buddhist traditions.

d)     The black-necked crane is rated as vulnerable in the IUCN list of endangered species and is listed in Indias Wildlife Act as a Schedule 1 species, which gives animals and birds the highest legal protection.

e)   Other species that are found in the region include the red panda, the snow leopard and the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, a recently-described primate species in the area.

f)     The project is planned on the Nyamjang Chhu river and is the largest of 13 hydro power projects to be built in Tawang basin.

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