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Daily News Analysis 29-11-2014

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

 

Success at WTO without any compromise: Nirmala (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)

b)     Bali declaration

c)     Doha Development Agenda

d)     Food security

a)     The WTO has committed itself to finding a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes by Dec 31 2015.

b)      The WTOs General Council adopted a decision on public stockholding for food security purposes on the TFA and also on Post Bali Work.

c)     Commerce and Industry Minister said this would ensure that the negotiations for a permanent solution would continue even if the negotiations on such other issues are delayed.

d)     On Aug 5, she informed Parliament that India had decided not to join the consensus in the WTO on the implementation of the TFA till concerns relating to the implementation of other Bali Ministerial decisions were addressed.

e)     The General Council decision on food security is new and clear.

f)     It makes it clear that a mechanism (under which WTO members will not challenge the public stockholding programmes of developing country members for food security purposes in relation to certain obligations under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture) will remain in place in bond until a permanent solution regarding this issue has been agreed and adopted.

g)     She also said that there was a firm commitment to engage in negotiations for a permanent solution through an intensified programme of work.

h)     It would prevent the danger that countries like India would have to make concessions in some other area of the agriculture negotiations in order to achieve a permanent solution.

2.

The fading SAARC initiative (Page 8)

a)     I.R

a)     SAARC summit

b)     Indo – Pak disputes

c)     SAARC – China engagement

a)     The SAARC invitation was completely Modis own idea and came when India was at a low retreat with all its neighbours.

b)     It is then disappointing to see that just half a year later, the SAARC moment has failed and the meeting between the South Asian leaders did not produce much more than a few face-saving agreements forged at the last moment.

c)     While Nepal was the host of the event, it had been hoped that Indias leadership would accompany the event to a more glorious outcome and into a show of real solidarity.

d)     One factor adding to the optimism ahead of the event was that along with Modi, most of the leaders have been elected or re-elected to office in the last two years and carried their countrys mandate if they agreed to bold measures to achieve the 18th SAARC summits theme of regional integration.

e)     India cannot possibly be blamed for the fact that they did not do so but it did not expend the required extra effort for that either.

f)     Modi ignoring Sharif as the latter walked up to the stage during the inaugural session, set an uncomfortable tone to the entire summit.

g)     India and Pakistan have many differences and Pakistan has much to answer for when it comes to tackling terror but the lack of basic remarks at the inaugural session effected a chill that was not dismissed even after their very warm handshake at the closing session.

h)     Chinas attempt to enter the SAARC grouping was opposed successfully by India but not before differences between member-states over the issue were exposed.

i)     India would do well to counterpoise Chinas economic weight by engaging its neighbours more deeply to formulate a consensus, instead of being seen as obstructing a closer SAARC-China engagement.

j)     India comes into its own on the world stage when it carries the neighbourhood with it.

k)     That is why Modis out-of-the box ideas of inviting SAARC leaders or of a SAARC satellite are applauded everywhere.

3.

From a domestic to an international narrative (Page 9)

a)     I.R

a)     Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)

b)     WTO Bali declaration

c)     General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

d)     Indias Foreign policy

e)     Food security

f)     United States Trade Representative (USTR)

g)     Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)

a)     As the USTR noted, the breakthrough at the WTO could not have been possible without the direct and personal engagement of PM Modi and President Obama.

b)     Earlier this year, Indian negotiators had effectively vetoed an intensively negotiated multilateral trade agreement, citing the need to provide food security to Indias needy population.

c)     The motivations and merits of Indias position aside consider the fact that India could take the position it did despite being isolated at the WTO negotiations.

d)     That is indicative of a kind of geoeconomic power that India did not possess two decades ago during the Uruguay Round of the GATT negotiations that covered the way for the creation of the WTO. 

e)     Consider also the implications of New Delhis position not only would have a multilateral trade agreement come unfinished but the very future of the WTO would have been in doubt.

f)     The ideas of international free trade and open markets that underpin globalisation would have taken a beating.

g)     Agricultural policies of both the rich countries and the developing world would have been affected, impacting global human development. 

h)     All this to protect the interests of a section of Indian farmers who depend on the govt to set higher-than-market prices for public procurement.

i)     Even as the Modi govt has injected new effort into domestic and foreign policy, it is important for everyone to get a better grip on the mechanics of both how Indias growth affects the world and how international developments influence Indias prospects.

j)     Foreign and trade policies were geared defensively by India to protect its interests.

k)     Without much power, India had to depend on international rules, so getting the phrasing right in international agreements was of considerable importance.

l)     Many parts of the Indian govt continue to have organisational mindsets of this period to various degrees - defensiveness, legalistic attentiveness and compliance with rules.

m)     This means that Indias negotiators would go to the extent of breaking the WTO to ensure that the countrys position was properly codified in the agreement.

n)     India has the capital to be less difficult about complying with international rules when they come in the way of national interests. 

o)     It is not only diplomats and trade negotiators who must be aware of the connection between domestic policy and international developments.

p)     All policymakers need to be aware that there is an international narrative running parallel to the domestic narrative in all sectors.

q)     The Indian policymaker is already a world policymaker.

r)     For instance, labour reforms are not only about protecting workers and creating employment, they are also about India providing a competitive alternative to global supply chains that want to be diverse from China.

s)     Indias innovation policy is not only about encouraging entrepreneurship and research but also about international IPRs regimes.

t)     Health care policy in India might be seen as how best to provide treatments to the needy but it plugs into the global debate on how to make healthcare inexpensive in both the rich and the developing worlds.

u)     Given Indias size, population and preoccupations, our public discourse focuses entirely on domestic narratives.

4.

Our sub docked in Sri Lanka to refuel: China (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     China – Sri Lanka relations

b)     Chinas projects in Sri Lanka

c)     Maritime security

d)     Gulf of Aden

e)     Walvis Bay

 

a)     China has clarified that one of its submarine (on an escort mission to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somalia coast) docked on its onward and return journey to Sri Lanka for replenishment.

b)     A Chinese Type 039-class submarine escorting navy warships conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden docked at the Colombo International Container Terminal.

c)     Govt of Sri Lanka has informed that the submarine visited Colombo for replenishment purposes and has reassured that the govt of Sri Lanka will not do anything against the security interest of India.

d)     China is not the first country to deploy submarines as part of counter-piracy missions in the Indian Ocean.

e)     A NATO anti-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden included a Dutch Walrus class submarine between August and Dec 2010.

f)     The Dutch navy also deployed its submarine HNLMS Bruinvis in the Gulf of Aden later between June and Dec 2012.

g)     The spokesman criticized reports that China was building a permanent base at Walvis Bay in Namibia. 

h)     The Chinese insist that they are building a modern military force with Chinese characteristics.

5.

Parliament clears Bill to amend Labour laws (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Labour laws

b)     Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) (LLE) Amendment Bill 2014

c)     Parliamentary Standing Committee in 2011

d)     Parliament

e)     Lok Sabha

a)     Parliament cleared the LLE Amendment Bill 2014 with the Lok Sabha giving its nod for the draft legislation that reduces small establishments obligations to file returns.

b)     Some Opposition members urged the government to factor in the recommendations made by a Parliamentary Standing Committee in 2011. 

c)     The 2014 Bill specifies small establishments would cover those employing between 10 and 40 workers as against 19 in the Principal Act and increases the number of laws under which small establishments enjoy exemptions from nine to 16.

6.

Smart cities should be child-friendly (Page 11)

a)     National

a)     Smart cities

b)     Urban development

c)     Poverty

 

a)     Union Urban Development Minister wants the smart cities proposed across the country to provide for the needs of children.

b)    He said harsh urban realities were adversely affecting the brain development and perspectives of young children particularly those from the economically weaker sections.

c)     Deficient urban planning resulted in an adverse impact on children in terms of poor behavioural and academic outcomes, high risk of diseases, inadequate early brain development and impaired physical development and skills.

d)     He urged urban planners, architects and stakeholders to aim at creating an enabling environment for children for their all-round development.

7.

Good show by States in last 5 years (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Child nutrition

b)     Child stunting

c)     District Level Health Survey (DLHS)

d)     Empowered Action Group (EAG)

a)     New official data shows that Indias more developed States (especially southern States) have seen improvements in child nutrition over the last five years but have a patchy record on immunisation,.

b)     The Ministry has begun releasing data for the fourth round of the DLHS, which covers all of the country except the eight backward northern States known as the EAG States and Assam. 

c)     The new numbers deal with nutritional and health coverage for 2012-13 based on a large sample survey conducted by the Mumbai-based International Institute for Population Studies.

d)     The DLHS data confirms the fall in child stunting previously reported.

e)     In all five southern States, child stunting has declined to between 20 and 30 percentage of all children.

f)     Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana and Punjab have seen the largest declines in child stunting.

g)     Female sterilisation remains by far the most common method of family planning with over 95 percent of all contraception in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh being female sterilisation. 

h)     While stunting (recently identified by the World Bank as the key indicator of malnutrition) has declined, the proportion of children underweight and those with a below average weight for height has increased in some states including Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. 

8.

GDP rises 5.5 percent in first half of fiscal (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)     GDP

b)     Monetary policy

c)     Inflation

d)     Kharif crops

e)     GST

 

a)     The GDP growth in the first half of the financial year (Apr-Sept) stands at 5.5 percent as against 4.9 percent in the corresponding period last year.

b)     Growth in govt consumption expenditure during the quarter reflected in the pick-up in community and social services growth that flowed from 9.1 percent to 9.6 percent.

c)     Agriculture performed better than expected even in the face of a lower kharif output and decreasing acreage cultivation. 

d)     Noting the steep decline in manufacturing, industry chambers made a call for reforms and pro-investment policies.

e)     Experts recommended that the Centre roll out proactive policies which would help revive investments and address the bottlenecks causing the agriculture and industrial sectors, a stable and predictable taxation system, faster regulatory clearances and industry-friendly land acquisition and labour laws.

f)     While the growth in agriculture and services sector is in line with expectations, the reduced growth in manufacturing at 0.1 percent is a matter of concern.

g)     An important element of the cost structure for manufacturing is interest rates and given the current inflation situation the RBI should ease the monetary policy stance.

9.

ASI digging Chandayan site for Harappan link (Page 7)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Harappan civilization

b)     Chandayan

c)     Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

d)     Hindon river

a)     The discovery of a broken copper crown on the skull of a skeleton, a red ware bowl, a small pot and a sling ball at Chandayan village (100 km from New Delhi) has made the ASI excavate the site.

b)     There is excitement in the air because Chandayan could turn out to be a late Harappan site.

c)     The village is in Baraut tehsil, Baghpat district, UP in the surrounding plains of the Hindon and another river.

d)     The pottery shows similarities with late Harappan pottery in a preliminary observation, reflecting a regional or local character.

10.

Coral Triangle could be last bastion for planets reefs (Page 9)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Climate change

b)     Coral reefs

c)     Coral Triangle

d)     Marine biodiversity

a)     Scientists estimate that by 2050, the ocean could be largely devoid of reefs as climate change and our continuous devastating of the sea set in motion geological changes not seen for millions of years.

b)     But according to the surveys, there may be evidence that certain reefs in the Coral Triangle could resist longer than others.

c)     Studying coral reefs provides a better understanding of short-term risks on a local scale.

d)     But it gives us better information about the long-term risks of climate change on a global scale.

e)     Coral reefs represent just 1 percent of our oceans but support 25 percent of the species that live in them.

f)     This makes south-east Asias Coral Triangle bioregion the global epicentre of marine biodiversity on the planet.

g)     Over the last few months, scientists have been assessing reefs in hotspots throughout the Coral Triangle, which surrounds the territorial waters of Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

h)     They believe the bioregion could become one of the last shelters on earth for coral reefs.

11.

Gateway to memory in brain found (Page 7)

a)     S&T

a)     Alzheimers disease

b)     Brain mapping

c)     Hippocampus

d)     Entorhinal cortex

e)     Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

a)     An international team has successfully determined with a level of precision never achieved before the location in the brain where memories are generated.

b)     The team was able to pinpoint this location down to specific circuits of the human brain.

c)     The results and method of the study is likely to assist in acquiring a better understanding of the effects Alzheimers disease has on the brain.

d)     We have been able to locate the generation of human memories to certain neuronal layers within the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex.

e)     For their study, the scientists used a particularly accurate type of MRI technology.

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