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Daily News Analysis 15-06-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Call to preserve Kotnis spirit in India-China ties (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     A senior Chinese political leader said that the exchange of recent visits by PM Modi and the Chinese President Xi have ensured a new environment of friendship and co-operation between the two countries.

2.

Fear runs high in enclaves (Page 11)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     As the Indian and Bangladeshi governments are set to conclude the process of exchange of enclaves by July 31, residents of some of the enclaves in West Bengals Cooch Behar district are allegedly being harassed by anti-social elements.

3.

4300 from Af, Pak get citizenship (Page 1)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     The NDA govt said it had granted citizenship to nearly 4300 Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan and Afghanistan in its one year of being in power, nearly four times the number granted to such persons in preceding five years under UPA-II.

4.

Sub-optimal accord (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     The 16-point agreement signed on June 8 among Nepals four largest political parties should bring closure to the long-delayed process of promulgating a new Constitution for Naya Nepal.

5.

The hot Saudi-Iran cold war (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     Saudi Arabian-Iran rivalry is no longer about two nations fighting for supremacy, but is now deeply intertwined with regional geopolitics and sectarian equations. Any effort to find long-lasting peace in West Asia should primarily address this problem IS derives its strength from the weakening of nation states.

6.

Disinvestment hopes slip on stock market volatility (Page 13)

a)     Economy

a)    The govts efforts to offload a portion of its shareholding in public sector undertakings have begun in right intense.

7.

Submarine begins search for missing aircraft (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     The Indian Navys submarine INS Sindhudhvaj commenced its search to confirm transmission signals likely from the sonar locator beacon of the Coast Guards missing Dornier aircraft CG 791.

8.

Comet probe Philae wakes up (Page 12)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Mission officials said that Europes tiny robot lab Philae (moving through space on the back of a comet) awoke overnight and sent home its first message in nearly seven months.

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Call to preserve Kotnis spirit in India-China ties (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Industrial and cultural cooperation

a)     A senior Chinese political leader Zhang Dejiang said that the exchange of recent visits by PM Modi and the Chinese President Xi have ensured a new environment of friendship and co-operation between the two countries.

b)     On a visit to Mumbai, he said the legendary work of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis in his country will always be remembered and this Kotnis spirit of friendship and service must be preserved.

c)     Earlier, he met Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and explored the possibilities of enhancing industrial and cultural cooperation in various fields.

2.

Fear runs high in enclaves (Page 11)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     India – Bangladesh relations

b)     Land Boundary Agreement (LBA)

c)     Marijuana cultivation

a)     As the Indian and Bangladeshi governments are set to conclude the process of exchange of enclaves by July 31, residents of some of the enclaves in West Bengals Cooch Behar district are allegedly being harassed by anti-social elements.

b)     Activists working in the enclaves say that due to the absence of any police and administration in the enclaves so far, these culprits used to run extortion rackets and other illegal activities there. On June 6, both countries exchanged instruments of ratification of the LBA 1974.

c)     The Powtharkuchi enclave in the Dinhata (which had a history of illegal activities such as the cultivation of marijuana) was classified as highly sensitive. With the agreement, those who run the marijuana business fear that their business would stop. A resident said the marijuana season is just a month away and we are afraid these culprits will create trouble.

3.

4300 from Af, Pak get citizenship (Page 1)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     Citizenship for Hindu and Sikh refugees

b)     Israels Law of Return

 

a)     The NDA govt said it had granted citizenship to nearly 4300 Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan and Afghanistan in its one year of being in power, nearly four times the number granted to such persons in preceding five years under UPA-II.

b)     According to officials, this rapid increase in granting citizenships is in keeping with BJPs stated aim of positioning India as a natural home for Hindus fleeing persecution anywhere in the world, a policy similar to Israels Law of Return that grants only Jews the right to return and settle there. This policy was outlined in the BJPs election manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

c)     The decision was taken to address difficulty being faced by Hindu and Sikh minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had come with the intention of settling permanently in India. There are 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities such as Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jaipur. Hindu refugees from Bangladesh mostly live in West Bengal and northeastern States.

4.

Sub-optimal accord (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     Nepals new Constitution process

b)     Westminster parliamentary model

c)     Constituent Assembly (CA)

d)     Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)

e)     Nepali Congress

a)     The 16-point agreement signed on June 8 among Nepals four largest political parties should bring closure to the long-delayed process of promulgating a new Constitution for Naya Nepal.

b)     Losing from earthquakes in April and May, Nepal sorely required its polity and its elected CA to push for an accord to resolve outstanding issues - key ones being state restructuring and the form of governance. On the latter issue, the deal decided to retain the Westminster parliamentary model with an executive Prime Minister and a constitutional head of state in the President.

c)     Maoists had been opposed to the parliamentary model, but have agreed to take the process of promulgation forward. On state restructuring, the accord has roughly identified an eight-state model whose boundaries would be decided by a federal commission.

d)     State restructuring was a key demand among the plains-dwellers, minorities and jana jatis in the run-up to the first CA elections in 2008.

e)     The decision under the accord to leave the task of resolving what is effectively a political issue to an unelected commission is therefore not an optimal one. Ironically, the first iteration of the CA (before its dissolution in 2012) had managed to nearly resolve the state restructuring issue before  some elements from the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the Nepali Congress managed to prevent a closing solution.

f)     It is to be hoped that the proposed commission manages to bring about a federal structure that is close enough to what was nearly arrived at by the first CA.

5.

The hot Saudi-Iran cold war (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     Saudi-Iran cold war

b)     Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

c)     Syria and Iraq crisis

d)     Islamic State (IS)

e)     Al-Qaeda

f)     Iranian Revolution

g)     Islamic revolution of 1979

h)     Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88

i)     Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

a)     The rapid rise of the ISIS is a development that must have taken many by surprise. What was once a small group of Sunni militants in north-western Iraq engaged in a sectarian battle with the Shia govt in Baghdad till 3 years ago (the al-Qaeda of Iraq) has now transformed itself into one of the most sophisticated forms of jihadi machinery in the world, controlling territories that are as large as Great Britain with a population of around 8 million.

b)    IS derives its strength from weakening of nation states. And there are at least 3 factors that have contributed to weakening of states in contemporary West Asia - external interventions; the Arab revolts and Saudi-Iran hostility. First two gave Saudi-Iran balance of power conflict a new context and battlefields, and together are reshaping West Asian geopolitics.

c)    The Saudi-Iran competition dates back to the days before the Iranian Revolution. Both the Pahlavi dynasty of Iran and the al-Saud royal family of Saudi Arabia competed for regional influence as well as for an edge in the global energy market, even as they remained the two pillars of USs West Asian policy. The Islamic revolution of 1979 (that overthrew the monarchy in Iran) brought about an ideological twist to this competition - Shia Islamist Republicanism versus Sunni Wahhabism.

d)     Sunni monarchs and dictators faced two challenges in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution. First, the possibility of their own people (inspired by the Iranian revolution) turning against them; and second, the potential rise of Iran as a regional power. To prevent both, they wanted to contain Iran.

e)     On the other hand, Tehran seeing Riyadh as the leader of a bloc that sought to destroy its natural rise, wanted to counter those efforts. The stage was set for a new form of rivalry in the region. Its first definite manifestation was the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, in which most Sunni states stood behind an aggressive Saddam Hussein despite their differences with him.

f)     Though the Sunni coalition could not achieve its goal of overthrowing Islamic regime in Tehran, it succeeded in locking Iran into a long-lasting conflict with Iraq. At the same time, the Saudis stitched together an alliance of Gulf monarchies to strengthen their regional standing. The formation of the GCC (a group of conservative Gulf monarchies) in 1981 was initially designed to counter Iranian influence.

g)     It became the lynchpin of Saudi strategy towards Tehran. In the years that followed, an emergence of a Saudi-led axis of Sunni Arab monarchies and dictatorships voiced itself against Iran. Iran was behind the formation of the Hezbollah, a Shia militia-cum-political movement in Lebanon, in the early 1980s, and had been one of the consistent supporters of the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.

h)     What changed the rules of this balance of power game was the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. The war not only defeated Saddam Hussein (Irans biggest direct threat in region) but also set the stage for the political rise of Iraqs majority Shia community, who had historical ties with Iran.

i)     The formation of a Shia govt in Baghdad has only strengthened Iranian influence in Iraq. Saudi Arabia (which had seen Iraq as a buffer between Iran and the rest of the region) was alarmed by the fall of Baghdad into Iranian hands. To be sure, it was a historical blow for their interests, though that was not least of American intentions while launching the war. 

j)     This cold war went beyond Iraq into greater West Asia with breakout of Arab street revolts. In the fall of Egypts Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Arabia lost an ally. Iraq had already gone into Iranian camp and Riyadh did not want the same to happen in Bahrain, a GCC member.

k)     In Syria, a Sunni majority country ruled by the Alawite-dominated Baath party, this Saudi-Iranian rivalry played out disastrously.  When protests broke out in Syria, the Saudis changed tack. If they batted for stability in Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, their slogan in Syria has been regime change, because Damascus has been an ally of Tehran. Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies actively funded and weaponised Syrian rebel groups which played a major role in destabilising parts of the country.

l)     Syria is now effectively a divided country where at least five blocs (including the regime, the IS and the so-called moderate rebels) hold on to territories. In Iraq, Baghdads writ rules only in Shia majority regions, while the Iraqi Armys fight against the IS is largely backed by Iran-controlled militias. Yemen is being destroyed by Saudi bombers, while the Houthis are tightening their grip over the country. Lebanon could be the next battleground where Iran-backed Hezbollah is a strong actor.

m)     The Saudi-led axis has already expressed concerns over Hezbollahs growing power in the country, where Sunni extremist groups are particularly targeting Hezbollah positions, threatening to drag the country into another civil war.

n)     The Saudi-Iran rivalry is no longer about two nations competing for supremacy; its now deeply intertwined with regional geopolitics and sectarian equations. Any effort to find long-lasting peace in West Asia should primarily address this problem. If not, this game of destabilising the region in the name of proxy battles will go on, creating conditions for the emergence of more groups like IS.

6.

Disinvestment hopes slip on stock market volatility (Page 13)

a)     Economy

a)     Disinvestment

b)     Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)

c)     Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)

d)     Stock market

a)    The govts efforts to offload a portion of its shareholding in PSUs have begun in right intense. In third week of May, the CCEA headed by the PM gave its approval to Department of Disinvestment for the sale of govt stake in 20 PSUs.

b)     The market prices of the shares of the companies, being divested will obviously not be the same as those prevailing at the time of cabinet approval. The govt would have based their expectations on extremely optimistic stock quotes. The mistake of basing estimates on a volatile market stands exposed so early in the year.

c)     It is also problematic as to whether the market can absorb so many shares at one ago at the assumed price. However, the govt is right in planning ahead. It should minimise the faults that had troubled disinvestment programme over the years.

d)     The term disinvestment refers to the process through which the govt offloads a portion of its shareholding in a PSU. Capital receipts collected will help in central government finances. Under disinvestment, govt will remain the majority shareholder even if its post-divestment shareholding is smaller than before.

e)     Govt ownership with at least 51 percent stake after divestment has been non-negotiable in most cases. Economic logic would suggest a further divestment in some PSBs to enable them raise additional capital. However, even if govt would remain the biggest shareholder, it will not let its stake come down to below 51 percent.

f)   With such a large budgetary target, the govt faces a number of daunting challenges. Some of these are common, inherent in the process itself. The most important challenge is for the govts economic managers to remain steady in the face of severe criticism that could obstruct the process.

g)     If the conventional divestment (the govt sells only a small portion and keeps the majority stake) can be so controversial, strategic sale has become almost impossible. Here, the govt cedes control along with a majority stake and control to strategic partner.

h)     The shadow looms over one important source of public finance. The stock markets are unreliable and the other usual challenges remain as difficult as ever.

7.

Submarine begins search for missing aircraft (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     INS Sindhudhvaj

b)     INS Sandhayak

c)     National Remote Sensing Centre

a)     The Indian Navys submarine INS Sindhudhvaj commenced its search to confirm transmission signals likely from the sonar locator beacon of the Coast Guards missing Dornier aircraft CG 791.

b)     INS Sindhudhvaj was called in following intermittent transmission signals, likely from the missing aircraft. They were picked up by naval ship INS Sandhayak.

c)     The National Remote Sensing Centre - Hyderabad (which was requested to provide satellite imagery of the search area) is likely to provide a second imagery.

8.

Comet probe Philae wakes up (Page 12)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Philae

b)     Comet 67P

c)     Rosetta

e)     Solar system

a)     Mission officials said that Europes tiny robot lab Philae (moving through space on back of a comet) awoke overnight and sent home its first message in nearly seven months.

b)     The mission seeks to unlock the long-held secrets of comets - ancient clusters of ice and dust that scientists believe may reveal how the Solar System was formed.

c)     Philae touched down on the comet on Nov 12 after an epic 10-year trek piggybacking on Rosetta. But instead of striking itself onto the iceballs surface, the lander bounced several times before settling at an angle in a dark ditch.

d)     The hope was that better light as the comet approaches the Sun would recharge Philaes batteries enough for it to reboot, then make contact, and ultimately carry out a new series of experiments. But three bids to make contact, in March, April and May, all came to nothing.

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