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Daily News Analysis 24-11-2014

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

 

Modi to club bilateral with SAARC meet in Kathmandu (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     SAARC summit

b)     India – Nepal relations

c)     Indo – Pak disputes

d)     Power agreement between India and Nepal

a)     PM Modi will try to hold as many bilateral meetings as possible when he visits Kathmandu for the SAARC summit.

b)     There was no comment on whether he would schedule a meeting with Pak PM Sharif.

c)     He will also review progress on agreements between India and Nepal signed during his visit in August, including the power agreement, rail links and infrastructure construction India has committed to.

d)     India was ready to sign agreements that have been circulated ahead of the SAARC summit on improving connectivity and integration in the region, which include energy cooperation, railways and motor vehicle movement between SAARC countries.

2.

Canada province offers uranium (Page 1)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Canada relations

b)     Saskatchewan province

c)     Uranium

d)     Carbon emissions

a)     Premier of the Saskatchewan province in Canada said it is discussing sale of uranium to India as well as partnering in agriculture and clean coal technologies.

b)     Leading an agricultural trade mission on his second visit to India, he said we are looking for uranium exports to India and have held preliminary discussions with officials of the Atomic Energy Commission and hope to conclude an early agreement.

c)     On energy cooperation, he said that like India, Saskatchewan province also depends on coal for about 50 percent of its needs and to minimise carbon emissions, a clean coal technology has been developed resulting in significant carbon capture and storage.

d)     India and China are globally the largest users of coal and shifting to clean coal will contribute to their carbon reduction measures.

e)     Agriculture and trade are major focus areas and Saskatchewan province already provides to the large Indian demand for pulses and potash which is a substitute for urea.

f)     Saskatchewan province led Canadas exports to India in 2013 with $1 billion worth of products. 

3.

Rebuilding a regional architecture (Page 8)

a)     I.R

a)     SAARC summit

b)     South Asian Economic Union

c)       South Asia Free Trade Agreement

d)     Customs Union and a broader Economic Union

e)     South Asian energy cooperation

a)     The much delayed SAARC summit in Kathmandu on Nov 26-27 provides Modi an opportunity to reconnect with Indias neighbours

b)     When SAARC was constituted three decades ago, India was obstructed by limited resources for financing partnerships and investments in the region.

c)     India has to commit to and accelerate its efforts towards building closer bilateral and regional partnerships and economic integration within the subcontinent and beyond.

d)     It can do so by facilitating optimal utilisation of the regions natural resources, building regional infrastructure, creating connectivity within the region and with the world - with energy grids, cross-border transport networks, coastal shipping, air links, roads, railways and waterways, besides flood and other natural disaster mitigation and prevention measures.

e)     It can implement trade facilitation measures, thereby lowering transaction costs and generating greater regional investment and employment.

f)     South Asian cooperation faces multiple challenges.

g)     South Asia constitutes the worlds second least developed region after Sub-Saharan Africa.

h)     While the connection of countries constituting SAARC is complemented by cultural commonalities and common terrain, temperament and civilisational space, these were fractured by the borders created in 1947 and poor political relationships thereafter.

i)     Sixteen years ago, the SAARC Group of Eminent Persons had charted an aspiring, three-stage road map for South Asia - a South Asia Free Trade Area, followed by a Customs Union and a broader Economic Union by the year 2020.

j)     Atal Bihari Vajpayee lent his support for the creation of a South Asian Economic Union at the previous summit in Kathmandu in 2002.

k)     The 2004 Islamabad Summit called for South Asian energy cooperation and strengthened transportation, transit and communications links across the region.

l)     Intra-regional trade and investment remain well below double digit figures, making South Asia the least economically integrated area in the world.

m)     South Asian States are connected more to the outside world than to each other.

n)     Initially, SAARC had uninterested political support and lacked dynamic leadership.

o)     India remained afraid in the scope of its ambition and commitments.

p)     Within SAARC, the South Asia Free Trade Agreement has a deal on tariffs but the negative lists cover almost half the goods of export interest. 

q)     South Asia has no regional production chains, as logistics related trade costs are excessively high.

r)     The leaders of SAARC must concentrate their efforts on its strategic priorities, instead of spreading cooperation across every aspect of South Asian culture, society and economy.

s)     The two core objectives are promoting freer and more trade and investment and building connectivity and infrastructure.

t)     India must invest in SAARC through structural funding for infrastructure and social investment through the Cohesion Fund in order to reduce regional disparities.

u)     India could take the lead in developing South Asian power trade, which could alter the social and fiscal dynamics of Nepal and contribute to the regions welfare, besides helping reduce greenhouse gases emissions damaging the Himalayan ecosystem.

v)     If Nepal were to build the Kosi high dam ensuring availability of navigable waters in the channels connecting Nepal to India, India could help unlock Nepal from its landlocked status by gaining access to the Bay of Bengal through Indias national waterway on the Ganga.

w)     India and Bangladesh have agreed already on further measures to facilitate bilateral and third country trade between Bangladesh and Nepal and Bhutan respectively.

x)     India will have to fasten infrastructure building in Bangladesh, focussing on improved energy and transportation connectivity with India.

y)     Afghanistan joined SAARC in 2007 in the hope of becoming a land bridge between Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East and a trade, transportation, energy and minerals hub in the region. 

z)     India must lift its game for SAARCs rescue and restore. It must lead by example, building trust with its neighbours, showing solidarity and building with them a habit of cooperation.

4.

Stepping out of the shadows (Page 8)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     India-US civilian nuclear deal

c)     Intellectual property rights (IPRs)

d)     Defence cooperation agreement

e)     US Afghan combat mission

f)      NATO

 

a)     Modis invitation (to US President Obama to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade) signals that the India-US relationship is now stepping out of the shadows on all aspects of bilateral relations - economic, political and military.

b)     In the past 23 years since India opened up its economy, trade with the US has grown by 1000 percent and the US is now Indias biggest defence supplier.

c)     There was a criticism of Manmohan Singhs tenure during negotiations over the India-US civilian nuclear deal and upsets over into issues of WTO and agricultural subsidies as well as IPRs.

d)     The concerns are also influenced by historical relations - the USs support to Pakistan during the Bangladesh war, its support of the Mujahideen and then the Taliban to defeat the Soviet Union in the Afghanistan war and its refusal to take a position during the Kargil war.

e)     It would seem both levels of concerns are now in the past and put aside by the Modi govt as it starts on a new course of relations with the US including engagements with its strategic allies in the region, Japan and Australia.

f)     It may be in reaction to these developments that two other significant moves have been seen in Indias neighbourhood - the recent reachout by China to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Afghanistan and by Russia to Pakistan with a new defence cooperation agreement.

g)     Even as India now prepares to celebrate its shared values with the US, the larger meaning of Obamas forthcoming visit has clearly not gone unnoticed.

5.

Afghan-Us bilateral security pact approved (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Afghan – US relations

b)     Bilateral Security Agreement

c)     Afghanistan

d)      Taliban

e)     US-led NATO combat

f)     Resolute Support

a)     Afghanistans lower house of Parliament approved agreements that will allow about 12,500 NATO-led troops to stay on next year as the national army and police struggle to hold back the Taliban.

b)     US-led NATO combat operations will finish at the end of this year but the Taliban have launched a series of recent offensives that have severely tested Afghan soldiers and police.

c)     The new NATO mission (named Resolute Support) will focus on supporting the Afghan forces in parallel with US counter-terrorism operations.

d)     The Bilateral Security Agreement with the US and a similar pact with NATO were the source of huge friction between the Afghan govt and its allies under previous President Hamid Karzai.

e)     Karzais refusal to sign the security deal came to symbolise the breakdown of Afghan-US relations after the optimism of 2001, when the Taliban regime was removed from power with US assistance.

6.

Yiwu to Madrid cargo train could touch 3 million lives (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     China – Russia relations

b)     Silk Route

c)     Alataw pass

d)     US Pivot to Asia

a)     An 82-wagon cargo train has left for Madrid from the Chinese city of Yiwu, signalling the efforts by China and Russia to revive the ancient Silk Route and shift the balance of power in Eurasia towards the East.

b)     Strarting from Yiwu, the train is to cross Alataw pass in Xinjiang province, before entering Kazakhstan.

c)     It will then cover five other countries (Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France) before completing its journey in Madrid.

d)     China hopes that it would impact 3 billion people across 40 countries.

e)     It is an extension of the service between Chinas Chongqing and Germanys Duisburg, operational since 2011.

7.

Diagnosis in Digital India (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Digitalisation

b)     Electronic Health Record

c)     Primary healthcare

d)     Secondary healthcare

e)     Universal Healthcare System

a)     Digitisation is aimed at improving health care delivery, quality and safety and also facilitating the measurement of quality and safety metrics.

b)     Errors in diagnosis of several common diseases have been well described.

c)     Many of these diseases are common in India including infections, cancers and cardiovascular conditions.

d)     Both problems in clinical judgment such as failing to gather or synthesise history, a physical exam or test data appropriately, as well as healthcare system faults such as a lack of record or data availability, problems with communication or coordinating care and insufficient access to specialists, can all contribute to misdiagnosis.

e)     Reducing misdiagnosis in the future Digital India will remain a challenge without a national body or movement to coordinate patient safety initiatives related to misdiagnosis and strengthening the overall health system.

f)     Indian medical training traditionally lays greater emphasis on basic clinical examination and history-taking skills but this might change with digitisation.

g)     We do not have a culture of transparency and learning to reduce misdiagnosis, an area in which even US hospitals lag behind.

h)     Technology can make things more transparent as long we are prepared to handle this transparency.

i)     As measurement is the first step to improvement, we must raise awareness of this problem and support health systems research to measure and understand misdiagnosis.

j)     We could use technology to enable better measurement if we build a culture of transparency and learning.

k)     We could prioritise high-risk areas that can be improved with relatively minor investments including strengthening primary and emergency care systems.

l)     We will need a lot more than 4.1 percent of GDP to be spent on health care to do that.

m)     Policy agenda should first focus on developing and implementing safe and reliable information technology that works all the time.

n)     India must develop the workforce and clinical practices required to use this technology correctly and completely.

o)     With a new govt working on a new national health policy and a health innovation fund, it must recognise the role of low-cost health IT innovations could play in improving diagnostic accuracy including many that would be useful for rural India.

8.

Private sector role splits expert groups (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Universal Health Assurance Mission (UHAM)

b)     Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH)

c)     Janani Suraksha Yojana

d)     Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY)

e)     National Health Assurance Agency

f)     BPL

a)     Officials and experts working on an outline of the proposed UHAM are divided over what role private health care providers and private insurance should play in the programme of the Modi govt.

b)     At present, 60 to 70 percent of all primary and secondary care is given through the private providers.

c)     The UHAM will make 348 essential drugs besides AYUSH drugs available free of cost to everyone. 

d)     It will provide free diagnostics at primary, sub-centre and district levels while continuing with existing schemes such as Janani Suraksha Yojana.

e)     It will expand RSBY (the existing insurance scheme for BPL families) from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 and include select tertiary care.

f)     A National Health Assurance Agency and similar agencies at the State level will be set up to decide on purchase of care and costing, among other features.

g)     Health Ministry officials said they had designed the role of the private sector as supplementary to the public health system and that UHAMs implementation may vary across States.

h)     The focus is to shift from care during sickness to wellness care or preventative care by making screening facilities more accessible.

9.

Rate cut call loud and clear (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     GDP

b)     Inflation

c)     Food inflation

d)     Retail inflation

e)     CPI

f)     WPI

g)     Minimum support price (MSP)

h)     Current account deficit

i)     Fiscal deficit

j)     Repo rate

a)     During the middle of this month, inflation data covering the CPI (retail inflation) and the WPI (wholesale inflation) for October were released.

b)     The most significant point is that inflation under both heads has fallen sharply.

c)     Over the past several years, it has been the rise in food prices (food inflation) that has been supporting overall inflation.

d)     There is some significance attached to the fact that the rate of food inflation at 5.6 percent is almost the same as that of retail inflation. 

e)     The new govt has not been encouraging States to pay a bonus over and above the MSPs.

f)     The NDA govt is aiming to reorient the signalling mechanism of the MSPs to crops other than commodities.

g)      Although the southwest monsoon recovered, farmers probably went in for short duration crops such as vegetables.

h)     The WPI has ceased to be the cornerstone for monetary policy purposes.

i)     There are a different set of factors behind the WPI compared to the CPI.

j)     Falling petroleum and other commodity prices are obviously good for the macroeconomy.

k)     The current account deficit should narrow and the fiscal deficit will reduce.

l)     Going by the steep decline in inflation alone, the case for a rate cut in the following policy statement looks obvious.

m)     The RBIs target range for inflation (6 percent by Jan 2015) has been achieved. 

n)     A repo rate cut may force banks to not only reduce their lending rates but also their deposit rates.

o)     Indias external sector may be comfortable now.

p)     The rupee is stable and the expected flight of portfolio investment in the wake of the US Federal Reserve terminating its ultra soft policies has not materialised.

q)     In any case, the war against inflation cannot be toned down on assumptions of commodity prices remaining soft for a fairly long period.

r)     Therefore, there will be a large number expecting or at least hoping for a rate cut. 

10.

IIT-Madras joins CERN experiment (Page 7)

a)     S&T

a)     Higgs Boson (god particle)

b)     Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS)

c)     Large Hadron Collide

d)     Teraelectronvolts energy (TeV)

a)     The CMS experiment (which is part of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN) is famous for its role in the discovery of the Higgs Boson (god particle). 

b)     It is expected to start collecting data once again around March 2015.

c)     IIT-Madras has been accepted as a full member of the cooperation and is looking forward to make best use of the opportunity.

d)     Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai) and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre have long been members, as also Delhi and Panjab Universities.

e)     The key areas where they hope to work are in data analysis and upgrading of the detector.

f)     At present, the CMS experiment has gone up to 8 TeV and is geared to touch 14 TeV.

g)     Broadly speaking, the questions the experiment will research are - whether the Higgs boson will undergo a decompose in B quarks; whether there exist charged versions of the Higgs particle, which would mean physicists need to look beyond the standard model; whether dark matter can be produced by collision experiments and so on.

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