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Daily News Analysis 07-01-2015








Confusion prevails over what US promised Pakistan (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     US – Pak relations

b)     Indias concerns

c)     Kerry Lugar Bergman Bill (KLB)

d)     Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act

e)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

f)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

a)     Despite an official denial from the US State Department, there is still confusion over just what the US promised Pakistan in terms of civilian aid through the Kerry Lugar Bill for the year 2014.

b)     State Department spokesperson said the US had neither notified nor disbursed any funds to Pakistan under the KLB since 2013.

c)     The statement directly countered what the Pakistan Finance Ministry had put out in its release of a meeting between the US Ambassador to Pakistan and Pakistan Finance Minister.

d)     He discussed with the Minister the civilian assistance package under the Kerry Lugar Act.

e)     He said that the Congress has notified a $532m assistance package for Pakistan with its break-up being given for different sectors like energy, defence against terrorism, economic growth, community building, education and health.

f)     A source in Islamabad told that like in 2011, the US had conveyed that it would certify the Pakistani govt on its actions against terror.

g)     In Sept 2012, the US Administration claimed certification requirements under national security provisions and in Feb 2013, it issued a right to allow for the transfer of major defence equipment.

h)     Pak Foreign Office spokesperson made no comment on the State Department ignore to Pakistan, instead lashing out at India for its remarks doubting Pakistans actions to dismantle terror bases and act against the LeT and Jaish.

i)     Indian officials said they were satisfied with the State Departments denial of any certification but said it was quite possible that some promise had been made during the meeting and the US backtracked when Pakistans Finance Ministry jumped the gun.

j)     Under KLB or the Enhanced Cooperation with Pakistan Act of 2009, co-written by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US would commit $7.5 billion to Pakistan for civilian aid over a period of five years (2009-2014).

k)     The funds would be disbursed after a certification from the State Department on the Pakistan govts actions against terror groups like the LeT and Jaish, as well as the continuance of a democratic set-up without interference from the military.

l)     Given that the funds still need to be disbursed and the Afghanistan security situation necessitates co-operation from Islamabad, the US has been under some pressure to fulfil its commitment to Pakistan. 


Where adventure and martyrdom beckon (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     Terrorism

b)     Jihad

c)     Islamic State (IS)

d)     Al-Qaeda

a)     The mobility of jihad continue to spread from its base in the mountains at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the al-Qaeda now has centres in the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa and then westwards - Algeria and Libya in the north and Mali and Nigeria in the south.

b)     The IS is firmly established in the Arab heartland across Iraq and Syria. In the Syrian conflict, it is competing with the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Nusra for territory and supporters.

c)     To participate in this violence, several thousand foreign jihad is have joined these groups.

d)     The cadres consist of three types of members: Muslim youth from across the Arab world and some Asian countries; second-generation Arab migrants from western countries and non-Muslims or recent converts from Europe, the US, Australia and even New Zealand.

e)     In the early 1990s, when Egypt and Algeria were in the grip of the violence perpetrated by extremist Islamic groups, the explanation was that members of these groups were young people from the economic underclass who had migrated to cities from rural and semi-urban areas, where they lived in poor conditions and were subjected to considerable abuse.

f)     The mosque provided both relief and sanctuary, and in due course a charismatic cleric or a sympathetic Islamic organisation would provide the brainwash and motivation to take up arms for Islam.

g)     This thesis needed to be reviewed after 9/11 in the US, when young men from the Saudi middle and upper middle classes participated in those assaults particularly when there was little evidence of a strong religious zeal in their background.

h)      The situation became more complicated when, in July 2005.

i)      A number of young people of South Asian and African origin from middle class backgrounds perpetrated a series of terrorist acts in London, raising concerns about the continued efficacy of policies of accommodation and multiculturalism.

j)     In some Muslim countries (such as Pakistan, the Gulf and the dictatorship of West Asia), the political, social and educational environment is entirely focussed on Muslim victimhood.

k)     Again, second-generation Muslims in western countries are particularly vulnerable to jihad smooth talks. 

l)     They now engage in military action in support of a great cause; a jihad itext describes them as waging an endless struggle to defend widows, orphans, the oppressed, those forgotten and those unjustly imprisoned.

m)      The distinguished scholars of terrorism point out that terrorists believe they are responding to a spiritual calling: their participation in violence creates in them a transcendent state in which their anger turns to conviction so that the weak become strong, the selfish become unselfish.

n)     Suicide attacks have proved to be the most effective weapon in jihadi armoury since they make up for the imbalance in conventional capabilities, inflict high casualties on the enemy, have considerable publicity value and intimidate large sections of the target population.

o)     Having seen how harmful they have been in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, they are now the weapon of choice for jihadi organisations. 

p)     It is estimated that about 3,000 young people from the West have joined the IS over the last year, including 200 women.

q)     Most of them have been attracted by powerful messages sent to them through the social media which have highlighted the great military victories of the IS and the image of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph.

r)     A terrorism expert has noted that al-Baghdadi represents a catastrophic vision of revolution, martyrdom and redemption through violence, which is particularly attractive for some young people.

s)     In both Afghanistan and Pakistan, a new generation of jihadis is emerging which  is more radical, better educated and deeply committed to jihad . 

t)     Indian Muslims (who have rejected jihad for 35 years) are now being specially targeted on social media by both al-Qaeda and the IS to participate in jihad at home and in West Asia.

u)     The presence of global jihad now stands over South Asia.


Unexploded munitions a peril as NATO ends Afghan war (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     US combat mission in Afghanistan

b)     Afghanistan situation

c)     NATO

d)     Unexploded ordnance (UXO)

e)     UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons 1980

a)     The end of NATOs combat mission in Afghanistan could be a watershed moment in tackling unexploded ordnance providing the country but experts complain US-led forces need to hand over more information on where all it is.

b)     Decades of conflict since the Soviet invasion in 1979 have left landmines, shells, bombs and rockets seperated across towns, villages and fields, even after extensive clearance efforts that have removed millions of items.

c)     All sides involved in the continued fighting have been responsible for UXO, with children most at risk because they often play in unmarked minefields.

d)     At the start of this year, NATOs International Security Assistance Force was replaced by the US-led Resolute Support - a training and support mission that signals a key stage of the withdrawal of foreign troops who arrived in 2001.

e)     According to the UN 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, all parties must help to clear unexploded equipments after conflict cease.


Unending confrontation (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Bangladesh politic

b)     Awami League

c)     Bangladesh National Party (BNP)

d)     Economic growth

e)     GDP

f)     Asian Development Bank (ADB)


a)     A year after the controversial election that returned the Awami League and Sheikh Hasina to office for a second term, the political disturbance and uncertainty refuse to go away. 

b)     The BNP wants fresh elections to be held under a non-partisan caretaker govt, while the Awami League insists it will continue in office for its entire term that is to end in 2019.

c)     There seems to be no meeting ground between the two parties, unable as they are to turn the page on their history of confrontational and violent politics.

d)      At the heart of the confrontation between the two parties are of course the unsettled questions from Bangladeshs violent birth in 1971, including the question of who was on which side in the movement for liberation from Pakistan. 

e)     Despite the nation-halting strikes and protests, Bangladeshs economy turned in a surprisingly good performance.

f)     The countrys GDP growth was estimated at 6.1 percent for the fiscal year ending with June 2014, half a percentage point higher than what the ADB had projected.

g)     For 2015, the projection is higher at 6.4 percent on the hope that private sector investment will also pick up given some political stability.

h)     May be Bangladesh might have done better and set an example for the entire region but for the unending political conflict.

i)     For India (which has seen ties improving with Bangladesh under the Sheikh Hasina govt), the challenge is to ensure that the instability in Dhaka does not cause to its territory and pose security problems on its eastern borders.


SC refuses early hearing of plea challenging NJAC (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity


a)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Bill 2014

b)     Collegium system

c)     Judicial Independence

d)     Supreme Court

e)     High Court

f)     CJI

a)     The Supreme Court declined an appeal for early hearing of a petition challenging the NJAC, saying it will come up in the usual course.

b)     Three petitions have been filed against the NJAC, a body which they declared affects the very foundation of judicial independence included in the Constitution.

c)     The NJAC ends the 21-year-old collegium system and restores the role of the political class in appointments to the higher judiciary.

d)     The petitions were filed shortly after the President gave his nod last week to the NJAC after ratification by 16 State legislatures.

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

f)     It said though the six-member commission has the CJI as chairperson and two senior most Supreme Court judges as members, there is no primacy for them.

g)     Even their collective recommendation of a candidate as judge can be frozen if any two non-judicial members on the panel veto it.


Improving an unworkable law (Page 10)

a)     National

a)     Land Acquisition Bill

b)     Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR)

c)     Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency

d)     Land Acquisition (Mines) Act

e)     Atomic Energy Act

f)     Railways Act

g)     National Highways Act

h)     Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act

i)     Social impact assessment 

a)     The govt of India continues to search for the right way to do land acquisition.

b)     Last week, the Union Finance Minister announced an ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition Bill that his party had helped vote into law a mere 15 months ago.

c)     That law (the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in LARR) had been pushed through by the UPA in its dying days.

d)     That LARR would be changed was obvious in the first weeks after the BJP came to power at the Centre.

e)     Several pro-farmer groups (whose ideas had formed the initial blueprint of LARR) have called this a giveaway to the corporate sector.

f)     LARR was meant to make the acquisition process just.

g)     It was designed in the mode of the Congresss other landmark laws on information, education, and food using a rights-based approach where the primary objective was to deliver fairness to the people affected by land acquisition.

h)     LARR expanded the definition of project-affected people and expanded the rights, protections and compensations for people who lose land or livelihood as a result of acquisition.

i)     But LARR was also a purely political and fundamentally bureaucratic approach based on little or no recognition of some simple economic principles on land markets and on transaction and opportunity costs.

j)     This price is not simply the money paid for acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement.

k)     There is a second component, an indirect price.

l)     This includes (a) transaction costs, which include the cost of doing social impact assessments, conducting referenda, running the massive new multilayered acquisition bureaucracy, etc. (b) opportunity costs, which arise from the time taken to conclude an acquisition - doing social impact assessments, conducting referenda, etc.

m)     The Modi govts ordinance is based on the principle that price matters to both the land-acquirer and the land-loser.

n)     Their interests are opposed, because the land-acquirer would like to pay the least he or it can get away with and the land-loser would like to get the most he or it can manage.

o)     For the land-acquirer, the ordinance tries to lessen  the indirect price of acquisition, the transaction and opportunity costs that have been listed.

p)     For the land-loser, the ordinance not only retains all forms of compensation and resettlement and rehabilitation but also grows the number of land-losers eligible for these lucrative pay-offs by bringing into the ambit of LARR, 13 categories of acquisition that had been excluded earlier. 

q)     These include the Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, the Atomic Energy Act, the Railways Act, the National Highways Act and the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act. 

r)     Land prices in India are now the highest in the world.

s)     For most pieces of agricultural land, these market prices are several times higher than the possible returns from keeping the land in agricultural use.

t)     For the land-acquiring interest reducing the time for acquisition by several years and thereby reducing the opportunity cost, is a huge benefit.

u)     LARR had placed an impossible double-burden on land acquirers: pay double or quadruple the highest prices in the world and wait for several years to begin work on the ground.

v)     There are priceless pieces of land that no amount of money can buy. The Niyamgiri hill region in Odisha where the Vedanta mining project ran grounded is an example.

w)     The social impact assessment was meant primarily to take stock of the non-land-owning project-affected population. 

x)     The price of peri-urban land has reached such levels in the most dynamic urban regions of the country that just doubling it may make many public projects unaffordable and private projects uncompetitive.

y)     The dull instrument of acquisition is already inappropriate in many such settings; using LARR (even after the ordinance), it may be impossible.

z)     New, creative methods that make stakeholders out of landholders must be devised, may be by following the better outcomes of some of the experiments being attempted in some States.


Centre to produce 100 MW solar energy in 2 years (Page 12)

a)     National

a)     Solar energy

b)     Central Public Works Department (CPWD)

c)     Solar Power Corporation of India (SPCI)

a)     The Union Urban Development Ministry has signed up for increasing the countrys solar energy production, expecting to add 100 MW over the next two years.

b)     The CPWD signed a MoU with the SPCI to achieve the target of producing 100 MW of energy that is sufficient to power 25,000 households (with a connection of 4 KW each).

c)     The CPWD will give to the SPCI 629 buildings owned and maintained by it in 18 States for installing solar photovoltaic projects on rooftops.

d)     The initiative will be kicked off with 1 MW capacity solar panels each installed over Central govt buildings in New Delhi like Nirman Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan, IP Bhawan, Vidyut Bhawan, Shram Shakti Bhawan among others over the next six months.

e)     The CPWD has installed 930 KW capacity on Indira Paryavaran Bhawan and Nirman Bhawan in New Delhi so far.


Industry wants Jaitley to focus farm sector (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Economic growth

b)     Farm sector

c)     Ease of doing business

d)    Make in India campaign

e)     MGNREGS

f)     Direct benefit transfer scheme

g)     GST


a)     Industry leaders demanded priority for the farm sector to improve agriculture productivity, raise rural incomes and promote inclusive growth.

b)     Industry lobbies demanded that tax officers be appraised on performance parameters rather than the tax revenue raised.

c)     Officials said since a large part of Indias population works in the farm sector, we impressed upon the Finance Minister that rural India needs due focus and that farm incomes are very important for raising consumption spending in the economy.

d)     The Centres focus has largely been on the manufacturing sector, improving the ease of doing business and the Make in India campaign.

e)     They told the Finance Minister that the Centre should push for increasing investment in agri-infrastructure and may be even use MGNREGS funds for it.

f)     They appreciated the Centre for its efforts to introduce the Constitution Amendment Bill on the GST, the Make in India campaign, fiscal prudence, the direct benefit transfer scheme rollout and subsidy rationalisation. 

g)     The Finance Minister must step up efforts to achieve the disinvestment target, expanding it to include strategic sales of loss-making public sector units and also for cutting down govt stake in public sector banks to 51 percent with the aim of filling capital in them.


First quarter financial performance below par: Centre (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Economic growth

b)     GDP

c)     Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act

d)     Fiscal deficit

e)     Indirect tax

f)     Service tax

a)     The Union Govt said that the economic growth achieved during the first quarter of the current financial year could not be translated into growth in tax revenues, particularly from indirect taxes.

b)     The GDP grew 5.7 percent during the first quarter of the year. In the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, the growth was 4.7 percent.

c)     Finance Minister said the Centres financial performance in the first quarter of 2014-15 was short of expectations.

d)     The statement (mandatory under the FRBM Act) said that except service tax, the important components of indirect taxes such as customs and excise duties recorded a negative growth over the receipts during the corresponding period of the previous financial year. 

e)     The data released show a slow pace of recovery on the tax front.

f)     With the macro-economic parameters showing an improvement, the pressure on revenues was likely to reduce in the latter part of the year.

g)     For the three months from April to June, the fiscal deficit was 56.1 percent of the budget target. 


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