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Daily News Analysis 25-11-2014

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

 

Many pacts to be signed today (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Indo – Nepal relations

b)     SAARC summit

c)     Upper Karnali hydro electric power project

d)     Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN)

e)     Arun-III

a)     PM Modi and his Nepal counterpart will witness the signing of many agreements they had discussed to increase road and rail ties between the two countries.

b)     The agreements will include project development agreement and power trading agreement for the 900MW Upper Karnali hydro electric power project that could not be completed in time for Modis visit in August.

c)     The Nepali Cabinet also cleared the agreement for another 900mw hydel project called Arun-III to be signed with Indias SJVN.

d)     In addition, the two countries will sign MoUs on traditional medicine and youth exchanges.

e)     They will meet a day ahead of the SAARC summit and will clear bilateral versions of the agreements to be signed there to facilitate motor vehicle access and for railway links.

2.

TFA linked to meeting Bali conditions: US official (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)

c)     Bali declaration

d)     US Trade Representation (USTR)

e)     FDI  

f)     Food security

g)     Trade Policy Forum

h)     Intellectual property rights (IPRs)

a)     Visiting USTR said that despite positive developments such as the easing of the FDI cap in the defence sector.

b)     He also said that the so-called Peace Clause proposed in the recently concluded Indo-US WTO agreement will depend on whether Indias foodgrain buffer programme meets the conditions set in Bali.

c)     The WTOs Bali package included heavy conditions on making public details about food security programmes which India has so far not followed with.

d)     As part of the deal to allow the TFA to be fully implemented, he said we agreed to intensity efforts to find a permanent solution to the food stockpiling issue and eliminate any ambiguity in the Bali package about the availability of the Peace Clause.

e)     He will meet Commerce and Industry Minister for the first Trade Policy Forum between the two countries in more than four years.

f)      He said enforcing a world-class IPRs regime is in Indias interests.

g)     He said dealing directly with piracy, counterfeiting and compulsory licensing will be critical if India is to play a leadership role in the knowledge economy and becoming Digital India.

h)     USTR said we have great interest in the ongoing review of Indias IPRs Policy.

3.

A case for SAARC reforms (Page 8)

a)     I.R

a)     SAARC

b)     General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

c)     Regional Trade Organization (RTO)

d)     South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)

e)     Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

a)     The organisation of eight South Asian nations (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) with observer nations (Myanmar, China, Iran, the EU and the US) is known as the SAARC.

b)     It was established at the first summit in Dhaka on Dec 1985.

c)     South Asian nations together also make an integrated group of common rivers, a mountain system, an ocean and a conjoint ecological system. 

d)     Since India constitutes 70 percent or more of SAARCs area and population and has political conflicts with all its neighbours, it has to redefine its role from seeking exchanges in bilateral relations to being prepared to go the extra mile in meeting the aspirations of all other SAARC nations.

e)     SAARC has yet to develop into a conflict-mediating or conflict-resolving institution both on multilateral and bilateral issues.

f)     It has succeeded however in evolving as a forum and a framework but which does not have the capacity to devise instruments and techniques for consultations on bilateral and multilateral political and security problems.

g)     This is because the SAARC Charter mandates that decisions at all levels in SAARC are only of multilateral issues and only those issues are for inclusion in the agenda in a SAARC summit meeting on the basis of unanimity.

h)     Today, there are five crucial issues on SAARC.

i)     First, SAARC is off and on in an unfinished state. Thus the first issue is how to grapple with SAARCs uncertain future and how to put it back on the rails again and not permit in the future, international political changes affecting the functioning of SAARC.

j)     Second, SAARC has to resolve whether essential economic cooperation in an increasingly globalised world economy can be achieved despite continuing political conflicts.

k)     Third, is SAARC so delicate that it cannot survive if bilateral controversial political questions are raised in its deliberations without undermining its utility?

l)     Fourth, does India have the special responsibility to go the extra mile to make SAARC work?

m)     Fifth, does SAARC need a level playing field regional agreement modelled on the GATT with cross-retaliatory powers and a RTO to enforce it?

n)     To address these five issues and overcome the current deadlock in SAARC and to make it work, two preconditions have to be obtained.                            (1) India has to go the extra mile to make SAARC work because India is 70 percent of South Asia and has common borders with seven SAARC nations.                (2) South Asian countries have to work on the common values and shared historical perceptions of the peoples of the region, consciously addressing essential political differences.

o)     Transparency in action in bilateral dealings is key to achieving these two preconditions.

p)     Hence, following are reforms for task of promoting South Asian regional integration.

q)     No SAARC nation should internationalise any bilateral issue beyond the SAARC forum.

r)     SAARC will do all it can to facilitate the creation of the SAFTA immediately, if possible by the end of 2014.

s)     SAARC should strive to enhance investment activity between its member states and not only trade. South Asian joint venture promotion schemes should also be promoted on a priority.

t)     The energy sector should be linked together through a unified South Asian electric power grid system and countries could pool their technical and financial resources in cooperative projects.

u)     In only the fields of science and technology, universities in SAARC countries should pool their faculties and teach across borders or engage in online education using the Internet.

v)     Broader popular support at the grass-root level must be vastly improved by encouraging freer legal movement of people for economic and cultural tourism reasons by minimising immigration procedures.

w)     Effective steps must be undertaken to jointly prevent cross-border, illegal migration, terror attacks and block the narcotics trade and drug trafficking.

y)     It should be remembered that the EU was made possible only due to the conclusion drawn by the people of Europe after the experience of two terrible world wars, that a third world war would destroy Europe totally. 

z)     With two of the eight SAARC nations in possession of deliverable nuclear weapons, it is imperative for the peaceful existence of SAARC nations that they effectively bind together and develop harmoniously.

4.

Nepal pushes for Modi-Sharif meeting (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Indo – Pak disputes

b)     SAARC summit

c)     UNGA

 

a)     Nepal is playing peacemaker to try and ensure Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Sharif have a bilateral pull-aside during the summit.

b)     Pak official said that Pakistan is ready for talks if India initiates the request.

c)     The SAARC summit will mark the first time the Indian and Pakistani PMs will come together since May 2014 when Sharif attended Modis swearing-in ceremony in Delhi.

d)     The two leaders failed to meet when they visited New York for the UNGA, after India called off Foreign Secretary talks.

e)     The difference between 2002 [when PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and General Musharraf did not have a bilateral] and 2014 is that there will be a retreat where only the leaders will meet.

f)     In 2002, the Nepali govt had to cancel the planned retreat in Pokhara because of India-Pakistan tensions. 

5.

India, Pak. vie to host merged SAARC centre (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pak relations

b)     SAARC Environment and Disaster Management Centre (SEDMC)

c)     SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC)

d)     SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre (SCZMC)

e)     SAARC Meteorological Research Centre (SMRC)

f)     SAARC Forestry Centre (SFC)

a)     India and Pakistan are among the five countries that are contesting to host a new SAARC centre that would be created by merging four regional centres.

b)     Besides the two neighbours, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Maldives have supported their claim to host the new Centre called SEDMC. Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal have not joined.

c)     The disagreement surfaced during the meeting of the foreign secretary-level Standing Committee of SAARC in Kathmandu.

d)     The centres that will be merged into SEDMC are SDMC in India, SCZMC in the Maldives, SMRC in Bangladesh and SFC in Bhutan.

6.

Iran deal: 7-month extension (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Iran nuclear deal

b)     P5+1 Countries

c)     UNSC

d)     Uranium enrichment

a)     Iran and world powers failed in an enormous diplomatic push to seal a landmark nuclear deal by the deadline, deciding instead to give themselves seven more months to reach agreement.

b)     Officials said that Iran and the five permanent members of the UNSC plus Germany will seek to strike an outline deal by March 1 and to nail down a full technical deal by July 1.

c)     In the best chance to resolve the 12-year deadlock over Irans nuclear programme, the P5+1 world powers have been for months seeking to turn an interim deal with Iran that expired into a lasting accord.

d)     Diplomats say that despite some progress, both sides remain far apart on two crucial points - uranium enrichment and sanctions relief.

7.

India must play-to-win to ensure GDP growth: PwC (Page 10)

a)     National

a)     GDP

b)     Price waterhouse Coopers (PwC)  

c)     Compound annual growth rate (CAGR)

a)     PwC report defined three possible scenarios for Indias economic growth. Of the three, the Winning Leap is the most aggressive growth scenario.

b)     The other two economic growth scenarios are Pushing old ways faster and Turbocharging investment.

c)      The former outlines a focus on investment in education, health and other dimensions related to human capital.

d)     Under this scenario Indias GDP could see a 6.6 percent CAGR between now and 2034.

e)     The scenario Turbocharging investment outlines the impact of rapid and significant investment in physical infrastructure and envisions a 7 percent CAGR for GDP leading up to 2034.

f)     For India to undertake the Winning Leap, it will also need a concerted effort from Corporate India, supported by a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and a constructive partnership with the govt. 

8.

IRDA chief moots Jan Bima Yojana (Page 14)

a)     Economy

a)     Jan Bima Yojana

b)     Jan Dhan Yojana

c)     Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)

a)     IRDA Chairman said Jan Bima Yojana on the lines of Jan Dhan Yojana can be introduced to increase awareness of insurance.

b)     He said that opening up of the insurance sector with 26 percent private participation showed impressive increase in market penetration, entry of new companies and the number of agents.

9.

Protecting biodiversity with rigour (Page 9)

a)      Environment

a)     Climate change

b)     United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

c)     Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)

d)     Convention on Biological Diversity

e)     Carbon emissions

f)     Wildlife Protection Act

g)     Forest Act

h)     Forest Conservation Act

i)     Environment Protection Act

a)     The MoEF is currently working on the NDAs position on climate change with two major UNFCCC meetings coming up.

b)     While some say that these recent developments have rightly raised the profile of climate change in the new govt, others believe that India needs to do more particularly in the face of a new US-China agreement on mitigating climate change.

c)     Voluntary action on climate change in India has centered around economic decisions such as cutting down on carbon intensity and increasing renewable sources of energy.

d)     Two important events have taken place in the past few months in the country, which are tied to climate change and the pressing issue of how we deal with it.

e)     First, the Convention on Biological Diversity (a Convention under the UN which seeks to regulate our use of the natural world) has reached important funding decisions.

f)     Second, a high-level committee set up to propose amendments in environmental laws in India has submitted its recommendations to the MoEF.

g)     Biodiversity and wildlife protection is often termed as a co-benefit of mitigating climate change.

h)     Other co-benefits are clean air, potable water, ecosystem services and a stable microclimate.

i)     Conservationists have argued that biodiversity has become a low second fiddle to climate change in international negotiations and decisions related to biodiversity are not yet part of the mainstream decisions related to growth, trade and carbon emissions.

j)     Parties have agreed to double biodiversity-related financial flow to developing countries, small island developing states, least developed countries and economies in transition.

k)     The funding is for average annual biodiversity funding for the years 2006-2010 and is to be delivered by next year.

l)     Climate change action in India is currently focussed on a lowering of carbon intensity in growth.

m)     But we are also seeking to peak emissions by a certain period, allowing growth to optimise and then allow a tapering off of emissions.  

n)     A high-level committee has reviewed all the environmental laws of India including the Wildlife Protection Act, the Forest Act, the Forest Conservation Act, and the Environment Protection Act.

o)     One of the most pressing questions is that of regulation.

p)     The govt has made moves to lift the moratorium for projects in critically polluted areas such as Vapi in Gujarat.

q)     The second question is one of environmental and forest clearances for projects. 

r)     The MoEF needs to have the forthright discretion to say no to projects with harmful impacts on biodiversity and climate action.

s)     The final question is - in our development efforts and in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, what strictness will the Indian govt put in for capturing our hard-won climate quota while simultaneously guarding a healthy environment?

t)     While conventional sources of energy will stay for a while, environmental regulation and post-project monitoring have to be strengthened and upheld because the country is a constituency wider than just developers who clamour for hurried clearances.

u)     Further in creating a different scenario (that is new forms of energy and low carbon development pathways such as biogas, solar and marine, wind mill energy and energy efficiency) there is a real chance for new job creation.

v)     The World Bank estimates that India loses more than 5 percent of its GDP each year to environmental degradation.

w)     A robust and growing biodiversity protected area framework will save money spent on pollution-related illnesses and keep climate change mitigation work. 

10.

All set to put unmanned crew module into orbit (Page 11)

a)     S&T

a)     Unmanned crew module

b)     GSLV-MkIII

c)     Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)

d)     ISRO

a)     There is intense activity at Sriharikota for the lift-off of Indias newest and the biggest launch vehicle in Dec, which will put an unmanned crew module into orbit.

b)     The mission is a stepping stone to the ISRO ultimately sending astronauts into space in the module.

c)     The 3.65-tonne module will get de-mated from the topmost cryogenic stage at an altitude of 125 km and return to the earth.

d)     ISRO Chairman said everything is progressing well for the GSLV-MkIII launch in December.

e)     VSSC (Thiruvananthapuram) has built both the GSLV-MKIII and the unmanned crew module. 

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