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Daily News Analysis 06-01-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

 

Clean chit to Pakistan not justified, says India (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     I.R

a)     US – Pak relations

b)     Indias concerns

c)     Kerry-Lugar Bill

d)     Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act

e)     Pressler Amendment

f)     Taliban

g)     Al-Qaeda

h)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

i)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

a)     In a sharp reaction to the USs decision to clear $532 million to Pakistan after certifying that it had cracked down on the LeT and JeM, the Ministry of External Affairs said it did not believe that Pakistan was showing sustained commitment against these groups.

b)     The govt reacted that detailed US Secretary of State John Kerrys authorisation for civilian aid to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Act.

c)     The law required the Secretary to certify that the govt in Islamabad had taken steps in the preceding year to prevent the LeT, the JeM and other al-Qaeda and Taliban groups from operating in Pakistan to stop any support to them and to dismantle bases.

d)     How the Govt of the USA decides to spend US taxpayers money is entirely its right.

e)     However, India does not believe that Pakistan is showing sustained commitment or making significant effort or stopping support or dismantling bases of operations of the LeT, the JeM, the Haqqani network and the al-Qaeda.

f)     The Govt of India warned the US that the LeT and the JeM (based in Pakistans Punjab State) were targeting Indian and other diplomats in Afghanistan as well.

g)     The statement indicated that Kerry may have to face some tough questions on the subject when he meets PM Modi on Jan 11 at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, when they will also discuss US President Obamas upcoming visit to India.

 

h)     He is also expected to visit Pakistan later this month for the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue.

i)     The Kerry-Lugar Act (as the Enhanced Cooperation with Pakistan Act is commonly known) has seen the State Department certify the Pak govts actions routinely since 2010.

j)     The US has done this in the past when certifying Pakistans nuclear non-proliferation under the Pressler Amendment too.

k)     But certifying Pakistan on actions against the LeT and the JeM in a year they have been so active is shocking.

2.

Joint New Year celebration on India, China border (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     LAC

a)      Beijing has confirmed that troops from India and China celebrated the New Year together - a step that strengthen confidence of long-term stability along the border.

b)      It showed the determination and willingness of the two sides to strengthen peace and stability in the border area.

c)      The spokesperson said China was confident in maintaining long-term peace along the border based on the series of cooperation and communication mechanisms that the two countries had adopted in recent years.

d)     He said that the China was willing to work with India to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries to constantly improve and promote relations between the two frontier guards.

3.

Resolving the nuclear liability deadlock (Page 8)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     India-US civil nuclear agreement

c)     Nuclear liability deadlock

d)     Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act 2010

e)     Section 17(b)

f)     Section 46

g)     Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC)

h)     Article 10 of CSC

i)     Article 14 of the Constitution of India

j)     Bhopal gas tragedy 1984

a)      On Jan 26, Obama will become the first US President to attend Indias Republic Day celebrations.

b)     It will also mark nearly 10 years since the first announcement on the India-US civil nuclear agreement.

c)     A target of installing 63 Gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032 has been reduced to 27.5 Gigawatts and none of the landmark deals expected has been struck.

d)     The CLND Act 2010 which contains a speedy compensation mechanism for victims of a nuclear accident has been considered responsible for this deadlock.

e)     Specifically, provisions on recourse liability on suppliers (Section 17(b)) and concurrent, potentially unlimited liability under other laws (Section 46) have been viewed as major obstacles in operationalising nuclear energy in India and bilateral relations with key supplier countries.

f)      Under Section 17(b), a liable operator can recover compensation from suppliers of nuclear material in the event of a nuclear accident if the damage is caused by the provision of substandard services or patent or latent defects in equipment or material.

g)     It contradicts Article 10 of the Annex to the CSC, an international treaty which India has signed.

h)      The inclusion of Section 17(b) recognises historical incidents such as the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 for which defective parts were partly responsible.

i)     The small compensation paid to the victims was facilitated by gaps in legislation and extraordinarily uncooperative state machinery.

j)     That Section 17(b) incentivises supplier safety and reduces the probability of a recurrence of such instances is equally undeniable.

k)      India can retain Section 17(b) while ensuring compliance with its international legal obligations in two ways.

l)     First, the CSC allows countries to make reservations to certain provisions in treaties despite being signatories to them.

m)     India could make a reservation to Article 10 of the Annex to the CSC since it satisfies the requisite criteria for making a valid reservation under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, thereby excluding its application.

n)     Second, Article XV of the CSC implies that the rights and obligations of States under general rules of public international law are exempt from the application of the CSC. 

o)      One such principle of international law is the polluter pays principle - applicable both to the state and private entities.

p)      However in following the safety of supply, Section 17(b) goes too far in keeping liability for suppliers entirely open-ended.

q)     Rule 24 of the CLND Rules dilutes the right of recourse conferred by Section 17(b) by limiting compensation payable by suppliers to a specified amount and for a specified time period.

r)      Rule 24 arguably violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India because there is no specific power in the CLND Act to limit liability in the manner that Rule 24 does.

s)      As far as the limitation on the amount is concerned, (without Rule 24) the liability for each supplier potentially extends to the general liability cap of Rs.1500 crore.

t)      To address this, countries with a history of nuclear power have in place mechanisms to provide for insurance coverage through international insurance pools where insurers, operators and states share the risks of an accident, providing access to a wide pool of compensation

u)      In order to access international reinsurance pools, the Central govt could utilise the provisions in Section 43 and 44 of the CLND Act (Power to Call for Information from Operators) to establish a satisfactory inspections regime.

v)      In the absence of a comprehensive definition of the types of nuclear damage being notified by the Central Govt, Section 46 potentially allows civil liability claims to be brought against the operator and suppliers through other civil law such as the law of tort.

w)      Section 46 should thus be limited to criminal liability and should clarify that victims who suffer on account of nuclear damage can institute claims for compensation only under the CLND Act and not by recourse to other legislations or Courts. 

x)      The issue of the liability law has been a thorn in Indias bilateral relations especially with the US.

y)      By putting in place such a comprehensive, fair and pragmatic legislation on civil nuclear liability, there is no reason why India cannot receive the long-term benefits of civilian nuclear energy and resolve the irritable foreign policy issue, the time for whose resolution has come.

4.

Moderation warranted (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     Palestinian resolution

b)     UNSC resolution on Palestinian statehood

c)     UNSC

d)     UNGA

e)     International Criminal Court (ICC)

 

a)      The recent defeat of a resolution in the UNSC on Palestinian statehood should be read in the context of resistance from the US and Israel to the territorys offer for UN membership.

b)     In 2012, Washington and Tel Aviv opposed a landmark UNGA vote by 138 countries to upgrade Palestines status from Observer to Non-Member Observer State in the world body.

c)     Introduced by Jordan, the resolution last week called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank by 2017 and the creation of a capital in East Jerusalem - territories captured by Israel besides Gaza Strip in the so-called Six-Day War in 1967.

d)     Against the backdrop of the failure of peace talks, the Palestinian Authority (PA) under President Mahmoud Abbas has attached its hopes for any meaningful progress on taking recourse to international legal instruments.

e)     Accordingly, he has moved quickly to accede to the Rome Statute of the ICC once the UNSC resolution was defeated in December.

f)     Earlier in the month, Palestine was invited as an observer at the annual meeting of states that have joined the ICC.

g)      The Palestinians expect the step would eventually lead to the trial of certain Israeli leaders for war crimes in The Hague court.

h)     What is clear is that the activities of both the PA and the Islamic militant group Hamas would also come under scrutiny should the court consider it fit to investigate Israel.

i)     But paradoxically, the US and Israel continue to regard any attempt by the PA to gain international recognition as confrontational, insisting that direct negotiations are the only possible path to find a permanent solution.

j)     Both have threatened retaliation in the form of severe economic sanctions against Palestine and travel restrictions on their leaders.

k)     But international opinion in support of Palestinian self-determination is growing, as is evident from the great supprt accorded to the European Parliament resolution.

l)     The Palestinian offer to join the ICC is expected to strengthen Israels political groups in the elections in March.

m)     The larger interests of peace in the Middle East warrant moderation.

5.

Nepal introduces  women-only buses to combat sexual assault (Page 9)

a)     International

 

a)     Sexual assault

b)     Nepals initiative

c)     World Bank survey

a)      Nepals capital has introduced women-only minibuses in an offer to protect women passengers from sexual assault.

b)      Sexual assault is a problem for women who use buses, especially during peak hours when buses are overcrowded.

c)     Officials said this is our small initiative to make commuting safe and secure for female travellers.

d)      In a 2013 World Bank survey, 26 percent of female respondents aged between 19 and 35 years said they had experienced some form of sexual assault on public transport in Nepal.

6.

SC lawyers body plea to declare NJAC invalid (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill 2014

b)     Constitution 99th Amendment Act 2014

c)     Collegium system

d)     Supreme Court

e)     High Courts

f)     CJI

g)     Judicial Independence

h)     Judicial review

a)     Supreme Court Advocates filed a writ petition seeking a declaration that the Constitution 99th Amendment Act 2014 (providing constitutional status to the NJAC) is invalid, void and unconstitutional.

b)      They had (in August last year) challenged the NJAC law.

c)      The NJAC (which restores the political class role in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts) received the Presidents assent last week after ratification by 16 State legislatures.

d)     Both the Constitution Amendment Bill and the NJAC Bill were passed by Parliament in Aug 2014.

e)      The petition contends that by passing the NJAC Bill, Parliament had altered the basic structure of the Constitution and encroached into judicial independence.

f)     The petition said  Independence of the judiciary includes the necessity to eliminate political influence even at the stage of appointment of a judge.

g)      It said the amendment takes away the primacy of the collective opinion of the CJI and the two senior most Judges of the Supreme Court of India.

h)      It also said the NJAC Act did not give any suitability criteria for appointment as judge, leaving it to the Commission to frame them.

i)     It sought a return to the recommendations of the 2002 Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah Committee in which the NJAC was composed of five members.

7.

We lost an independent voice (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     NIIT Aayog

b)     Planning Commission

c)     Five year plans

d)     International Development Association (IDA)

e)     Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)

a)     National Statistical Commission Chairman has said that in the abolition of the Planning Commission, we have lost an independent voice.

b)      The Govt works in silos and the Planning Commission was a moderator.

c)     In inter-ministerial disputes, the Commission stepped in as it had both sides of the picture.

d)     In its absence, he said the silos are complete.

e)     According to him, the Commissions most important function was not allocations but checks and balances.

f)      He said the fear over empowering the finance Ministry to take on the Commissions role of funds allocation was that it tends to be interested in finance and deficits, not development.

g)     Its primary role of managing finances on a day-to-day basis does not let it take long-term views.

h)     He said the basic function of the Commission was to have a system-wide view of development interventions and to match it with the stated objectives of governance.

i)      He indicated that India might not be able to receive the World Banks IDA funds if the Five-Year Plans were also removed.

j)     After the end of the 12th Plan (from 2017), to continue receiving the IDA of $1 billion a year, India would need a new PRSP.

k)      To access its IDA funds, the World Bank requires a country to lay down its PRSP.

l)     India does not have a PRSP; Five-Year Plans were accepted as Indias nationally developed and owned PRSP.

m)      In August, the Centre removed the 1950 Cabinet Resolution under which the Planning Commission was established.

n)     Last week, the Union Cabinet passed a resolution to replace it with the NITI Aayog.

8.

Funds crunch hits  agriculture mission (Page 12)

a)     National

a)     National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)

b)     National Action Plan for Climate Change

c)     National Mission on Food Security

d)    National Horticulture Mission

e)     System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

a)      A funds crisis has led to some goals of the NMSA being embedded into five existing programmes of the agriculture and cooperation department.

b)     The NMSA was one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan for Climate Change launched in 2008 which was aimed at transforming Indian agriculture into a climate resilient production system through suitable adaptation and mitigation measures in the domain of crops and animal husbandry.

c)      According to the Mission document in 2010, implementation of the NMSA from 2011-2012 to the end of the 12th five year plan would require an additional budgetary support of Rs. 1,08,000 crore.

d)     Official sources said there was a resource constraint and the Mission was linked with five major existing programmes including the National Mission on Food Security and the National Horticulture Mission, which have been restructured to meet with climate change requirements.

e)      At least 60 percent of funds was to be used for mitigating risks related to climate change, which is expected to impact crop yields and water resources.

f)     The major challenge is ensuring food security and livelihood.

g)     India and other countries urgently need to scale up adaptation and mitigation actions to deal with a warming planet and experts feel that much more needs to be done.

h)      Sources said the restructured programmes have been operational since April 2014 and it will take at least two years to see some visible change.

i)     There is more focus on organic farming, bio-fertilizers, soil-analysis-based nutrient application, micro irrigation (which has been extended to horticulture) and methods like the SRI which uses less water.

j)     The govt is asking States to encourage all these programmes as pilot projects or demonstration plans which can be scaled up.

9.

Can India catch up with China?

a)     Economy

a)     Indias economy

b)     Chinas economy

c)     Economic reforms

d)     Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

e)      Human Development Index (HDI)

f)     Green Revolution

a)      Chinas approach to development has varied markedly over the last 40 years and has been so successful that it now ranks as the second most important economy in the world.

b)     India has made good progress but is still substantially behind China.

c)      China and India accounted for only 4.5 percent and 4.2 percent of global GDP in 1950 in PPP terms.

d)     Estimates of per capita income made by Angus Maddison and Dharma Kumar suggest that India might have had a higher per capita income.

e)     However, there was not a marked difference in the level of human development.

f)      Both countries have feared foreign domination, have considered the state as the driver of growth and have suspected the private sectors initiatives.

g)     For India, the problems were achieving unity in diversity and accommodating various languages and religions in a democratic set up.

h)     On the contrary, Chinas hard state enabled it to follow a single goal with determination and mobilise maximum resources to achieve its goals.

i)      On the whole, some estimates suggest that China grew at a much faster rate than India did during 1950-79 and Chinese per capita GDP was more than twice the rate of Indias.

j)     This is largely due to higher growth in Chinese labour productivity and capital deepening.

k)     By 1978, the per capita income of China was estimated at $979; Indias at $966.

l)     China had caught up with India over the 30 years but not dramatically surpassed it.

m)      In 1978, the economic reforms (by Deng Xiaoping) in China stressed the principle of each according to his work rather than each according to his need, professionalism and efficient economic management at all levels and the gradual introduction of policy changes to avoid problems in implementation.

n)      Chinans economic growth was also made possible by a very large net inflow of FDI, a sign of confidence in the Chinese economy by outside investors.

o)     China is the leading nation in exports and the second largest economy in the world.

p)      India also took tentative steps to modernise its economy in the early 1980s but these faded out.

q)     Using Green Revolution, India did not manage to apply to its industrial sector the lessons it learnt in its agricultural revolution using foreign knowledge, depending on the private sector and deploying subsidies selectively.

r)      Indian policy underwent directional changes in 1991.

s)     Indian economic growth accelerated during the period 1995-2008 but could not maintain the momentum due to political paralysis of policies that were necessary for economic growth.

t)     Gross national income per capita in 2013 was $1550 and Indias HDI increased from 0.369 in 1980 to 0.586 in 2013. 

u)      The primary difference between the performance of the Indian and Chinese economy has been the faster growth of capital stock in China. 

v)      China has outdistanced India in every area of economic endeavour in the last 35 years, except in computer software industry and agricultural research.

w)      India will most probably overtake China as the most populous country in the world in 2030. 

x)      India has an excellent chance of catching up with China if it can increase its labour force participation rate (particularly women), increase the average level of education, improve the quality of its labour force through special training programmes, reduce obstacles to let foreign capital participate in its development process, design policies to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and reduce corruption at all levels.

y)     PM Modi (with his majority in Parliament) has an opportunity to reignite the engines of economic growth. 

10.

Govt aligns FDI policy with NIC code (Page 14)

a)     Economy

a)     National Industrial Classification (NIC)

b)     FDI

c)    Ease of doing business

a)      With a view to improving the ease of doing business, the govt has aligned the FDI policy with the upgraded NIC Code.

b)      The code will classify business activities and help the industry in seeking policy approvals for specific activities.

11.

Bt Cotton not to blame for farm distress: scientists (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     GM crops

b)     Bt Crops in India

c)     Bt Cotton

d)     GM Maize

e)     Project Sunshine

a)     Scientists said farmer suicides in Maharashtras Vidarbha area and other parts of the country have nothing to do with Bt cotton.

b)      They said we can produce oil indigenously if we use Bt.

c)     But unfortunately, it is caught up in a debate taken up by the Left and now supported by the neo-right.

d)      In the recent past, there had been a sharp increase in the area of GM crops in the country and over 90 percent of the cotton cultivated was GM crop.

e)     They rejected arguments about monopolisation and said there were over 1000 Bt Cotton hybrids available in the country. 

f)      They referred to Project Sunshine in Gujarat and explained how Bt Cotton had powered the growth in agriculture in Gujarat.

g)     They said GM Maize had taken nutrition to Adivasi farmers.

h)      The scientists called for a clear policy decision by the Central govt on genetically modified crops. 

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