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Daily News Analysis 11-06-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Inside Myanmar, in hot pursuit (Page 8)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     By striking at militant camps across the border and inside Myanmar territory, PM Modi has demonstrated that he is willing to take tough action when it comes to the killing of Indian soldiers.

2.

Africa: 26-nation free trade pact signed (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     African leaders signed a potentially historic 26-nation free trade pact to create a common market spanning half the continent from Cairo to Cape Town.

3.

Obama approves 450 more troops for Iraq training (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     US President Barack Obama approved the deployment of up to 450 more US military personnel to Iraq, in a bid to reverse gains by the Islamic State group.

4.

Centre tears into Collegium system (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Kid gloves came off on the third day of Supreme Court hearing on constitutionality of the new National Judicial Appointments Commission with the Centre blaming the Collegium system for appointment of judges who lacked both discipline and decorum.

5.

From welfare to paternalism (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Fiscal discipline is not the only agenda behind the savage welfare cuts in the NDA govts very first year. The aim is to alter the default settings of social welfare in India.

6.

Sanctioning cruelty in the name of faith? (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     The Environment Ministrys proposal to allow the hunting of some animals on cultural grounds will set a dangerous precedent that encourages poaching.

7.

India richer by 349 new species (Page 7)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Scientists and taxonomists of the country have discovered 349 new species of flora and fauna in the past one year - 173 species and genera of plants and 176 species of animals.

8.

Now, soft tissue found in ancient dinosaur samples (Page 14)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     For the first time, soft tissue-like structures that appear to be red blood cells and collagen fibres have been found in 75-million-year-old (Cretaceous) dinosaur specimens that are not well preserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Inside Myanmar, in hot pursuit (Page 8)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     India – Myanmar relations

b)     Manipur situation

c)     National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang)

d)     Indian Army

e)     Indian Special Forces

a)     By striking at militant camps across the border and inside Myanmar territory, PM Modi has demonstrated that he is willing to take tough action when it comes to the killing of Indian soldiers.

b)     Days after June 4 killing of at least 20 personnel of the 6 Dogra Regiment in Chandel district of Manipur allegedly by militants of the NSCN(K), a robust response has come from the Indian Special Forces.

c)     Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting pointed out that Modi had taken a very bold step and given the go-ahead for hot pursuit into Myanmar, adding that the response was a message to other countries that might be inimical to India.

d)     Meanwhile, the official Army version simply spoke of the forces having engaged two separate groups of insurgents long Indo-Myanmar border, without referring to any cross-border operation.

e)     India had traditionally justified its links with military-run Myanmar govt by pointing to the need to keep its eastern borders calm. Keeping the Myanmar govt in the loop on any cross-border operation can only strengthen Indias efforts to ensure that more attacks do not take place.

f)     For its part, Indian Army has spoken of communication and close cooperation but stopped short of saying whether or not prior information was given on a cross-border operation. For its part, the Khaplang faction has denied that any of its cadres were killed by the Indian Army in the crackdown.

g)     There are implications beyond Myanmar reflected in the nature of the operation conducted by the Indian Army. While India makes it clear that as a nation it would not take attacks such as this lying down, the Myanmar operation sends its own signal to the rest of South Asia.

h)     It would be contextual to recall that even a major operation in end-2003 against anti-India separatist groups that were based in Bhutan was conducted by Bhutanese army with support from India. The operation by the Indian Special Forces can only be welcomed. But at the same time, security damage in govt-to-govt relationships must be avoided.

2.

Africa: 26-nation free trade pact signed (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Free Trade pact

b)     Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA)

c)     East African Community

d)     Southern African Development Community

e)     Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

a)     African leaders signed a potentially historic 26-nation free trade pact to create a common market spanning half the continent from Cairo to Cape Town.

b)     The deal on the TFTA caps five years of negotiations to set up a framework for preferential tariffs easing the movement of goods in an area home to 625 million people.

c)     Analysts say the pact could have huge impact for African economies, which despite growth still only account for about two percent of global trade.

d)     The deal will integrate three existing trade blocs (the East African Community, the Southern African Development Community and the COMESA whose countries have a combined GDP of more than $1 trillion. 

3.

Obama approves 450 more troops for Iraq training (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Syria and Iraq crisis

c)     US-led anti-IS coalition

d)     Ramadi

e)     Palmyra

a)     US President Obama approved deployment of up to 450 more US military personnel to Iraq, in a bid to reverse gains by the IS group.

b)     Recent IS victories in Ramadi in Iraq and Syrias Palmyra seem to have criticised Obamas strategy of depending on US airpower and a mix of disparate ground forces to defeat and degrade the IS.

c)   IS has expanded its territory to include the whole of the central city of Sirte, and Harwa to the east. It has carried out attacks on oilfields and embassies and also claimed the killing of dozens of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians.

d)     Libya is in trouble as two govts controlling limited territory fight each other, with IS attacking forces of both administrations.

4.

Centre tears into Collegium system (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

b)     Collegium system

c)     Supreme Court

d)     High Court

e)     CJI

f)     Attorney General

a)     Kid gloves came off on the third day of Supreme Court hearing on constitutionality of the new NJAC with the Centre blaming the Collegium system for appointment of judges who lacked both discipline and decorum.

b)     The Centres attack on the Collegium system (now useless after the NJAC Act became law) came a day after the Bench hinted mischief on the govts part for blocking the appointment of a person to the Supreme Court.

c)     Attorney-General Rohatgi assured that independence of the judiciary would not be hurt only because the judiciary lost primacy and has to do with parity in judicial appointments under the new NJAC regime. Besides, he pointed out that the CJI and two senior-most judges in the NJAC enjoy the power to veto judicial appointments.

5.

From welfare to paternalism (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     National Health Mission  

b)     Backward Regions Grant Fund

c)     Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

d)     Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)

e)     Anganwadi Centres

f)     Ayush

g)     Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan

h)     Sarva Siksha Abhiyan

i)     Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh

j)     Jan Dhan Yojna

a)     According to the author (Veerappa Moily), Modi govt has cut social sector spending by Rs. 1,75,122 crore in one year alone  by way of a Rs. 66,222 crore cut in grants to social sector schemes, a Rs. 5,900 crore cut by closing down the Backward Regions Grant Fund, and a Rs. 1,03,000 crore cut by not implementing Food Security Programme that targets 67 percent of the population.

b)     What is shocking is that the worst budget cuts have been applied to the most vulnerable segments - women, children, agriculture, irrigation, Panchayati Raj, education, health, and SCs and tribes.

c)     Funding for the National Health Mission has been reduced by Rs. 3,650 crore, for National AIDS and STD Programme by Rs. 392 crore, and for Ayush by Rs. 64 crore. The total allocation for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been decreased by Rs. 6000 crore. The National Health Policy Draft acknowledges that achieving the MDGs will mean increasing public health expenditure to 4-5 percent of GDP, but proposes instead an increase of only 2.5 percent.

d)     Women and children are another big casualty, with the budget of the ICDS (aimed at improving health and nutrition of millions of children and lactating mothers) reduced by Rs. 9,858 crore. It faces many challenges such as inadequate availability of space for Anganwadi Centres and child minder posts lying vacant but with only about 0.5 percent share in the budget, it is unlikely that it can meet its stated objectives.

e)    The PM launched Swacchh Bharat Abhiyaan with much fanfare on Oct 02 last year, but the allocation for the sector (including drinking water and sanitation) has actually been reduced by Rs.9025 crore. And, finally, in education, the govt has attempted to shift burden of financing central schemes to the States, since 90 percent of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan allocation is now coming from Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh and only 10 percent from govts Plan Budget.

f)    None of the NDAs schemes are rights-based. They are contributory and earnings-linked. If poor dont have jobs, they wont have an income, and if they dont have an income, they wont have the money to put in the Jan Dhan accounts, from which they are meant to pay their insurance and pension premiums under the various Pradhan Manthri Yojanas. There ends their social security.

g)     The very idea of social welfare in a modern, capitalist, market economy is informed by two essential principles. One, because capitalism does not work equally well for everyone, it requires some cushioning, achieved through income redistribution. This is accomplished via progressive taxation and by setting up a public infrastructure of universal social benefits, such as free health service, subsidised schooling or subsidised housing. Second, it recognises that social entitlements are a political right and not charity.

h)     It is precisely this two-pronged welfare paradigm (rights-based social provisions and redistribution of gross national income) that the Modi govt is determined to dismantle. Under so-called Modinomics, citizens will have no right to work, no right to food, and no right to ask for what is their due by right.

i)     Indias rights-based legislations (the right to work, the right to food, the right to education, and the right to information) form the structure on which social and economic aspirations of a vast majority of Indians rest. Modi dispensation is under pressure to kowtow to the principle of fiscal righteousness. But fiscal discipline is not the only agenda behind the savage welfare cuts in its very first year.

j)     The aim is also to prepare the ground for altering default settings of social welfare in India from a rights-based one that honours the dignity of the poor to a paternalistic one that will push thousands more of the landless poor into a debt trap, depress rural wages, and make them ever more dependent on government charity.

6.

Sanctioning cruelty in the name of faith? (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Biodiversity

b)     National Wildlife Policy

c)     Environment laws  

a)     The new draft National Wildlife Policy (framed by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change) suggests amending existing laws to allow hunting of animals like cobras. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has repeatedly made statements saying wildlife protection laws can be amended to accommodate religious and cultural practices.

b)     The question is whether endangered and protected species should be subjected to further commodification through unclear terms like culture and religion. Whether decisions that impact ecology and non-human species should be taken on lines that will likely favour one dominant community or custom, over another.

c)     Hunting of most animals, except notified vermin (like rats) is prohibited in India. This stems from strong conservation and preservation laws in independent India. However, the draft of the new National Wildlife Policy suggests that if cruelty in hunting can be removed, hunting should be allowed. The regulations for appropriate safeguards and prevention of cruelty can be provided in the Act.

d)     Both high-level documents suggest that removing cruelty in the capture or procurement of these animals can not only give the animal respect but also fulfil cultural traditions. For Nag Panchami each year, tens of thousands of snakes are captured. Cobras (like many wild snakes) do not take well to capture. They are almost always harmless using stones or hot metallic instruments and their mouths are stitched up.

e)     In India, several animals are deemed holy. This has led in a major part to unsustainable practices. Snakes and conch shells are illegally harvested for sale at scandalously greedy rates. For several wild species, their being sacred has actually led to physical profanity.

f)     As with other social evils, hunting too was deemed an anachronism and banned. We will be taking several steps back if we re-allow hunting, whether for religious use or otherwise.

g)     The Environment Ministry needs to show leadership in protecting biodiversity. Towards this end, it should uphold hunting restrictions, instead of considering changes which will be cruel, regressive, and fetishise species. The only right answer is in creating new and evolved cultures.

7.

India richer by 349 new species (Page 7)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Biodiversity

b)     Botanical Survey of India (BSI)

c)     Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

d)     Biodiversity hotspots

e)     Western Ghats

f)     Eastern Himalayas

g)     North-eastern States

a)     Scientists and taxonomists of the country have discovered 349 new species of flora and fauna in the past one year - 173 species and genera of plants and 176 species of animals.

b)     The list of new discoveries by the BSI and the ZSI were released on the World Environment Day on June 5.

c)     Of the new plants, some of the significant findings include nine new taxa of wild Musa (bananas), four species of black plum (jamun), three species of wild gingibers and 10 species of orchids.

d)     According to scientists of BSI, Western Ghats accounted for 22 percent of the new discoveries, while the Eastern Himalayas and north-eastern States each accounted for 15 percent of the species found.

e)     While most of the new species of amphibians were discovered from the Western Ghats, majority of fish species were from north-east India. Scientists of both BSI and ZSI agree that the Western Ghats and northeast are biodiversity hotspots where most new species were found.

8.

Now, soft tissue found in ancient dinosaur samples (Page 14)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Dinosaur specimens

b)     Cretaceous period

a)     For the first time, soft tissue-like structures that appear to be red blood cells and collagen fibres have been found in 75-million-year-old (Cretaceous) dinosaur specimens that are not well preserved.

b)    Reseachers said we showed for the first time that we can have preservation of soft tissues in micro regions of fossils that are not well preserved.

c)     The discovery could help in better understanding of the conditions needed for soft tissue preservation and could give the way for biochemical and cellular investigations of the remains of extinct animals. In addition, the soft tissue can help palaeontologists to understand the physiology and behaviour of extinct animals.

d)    Explaining why soft tissues were never seen in old samples that were not well preserved, they said the key point is that we have applied different methods not commonly used by palaeontologists.

e)     The researchers examined part of a fossilised dinosaur claw and identified small egg shaped structures with an inner denser core. Similarly, four samples showed fibrous structure similar to calcified collagen fibres found in modern bones. Unlike mammalian red blood cells that are devoid of a nucleus, nucleus is found in red blood cells of birds and other non-mammals.

f)     They said we still need to do more research to confirm what it is that we are imaging in these dinosaur bone fragments, but the ancient tissue structures we have analysed have some similarities to red blood cells and collagen fibres. If we can confirm that our initial observations are correct, then this could provide fresh insights into how these creatures once lived and evolved.

NOTE: Read all snapshots in S&T Page 14.

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