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Daily News Analysis 19-06-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Indian funds in Swiss banks see a dip due to black money heat (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     According to Swiss National Banks annual report for 2014, funds held by Indians in Swiss banks in 2014 fell to $1.97 billion from around $2.2 billion in 2013, a 10.6 percent decrease.

2.

New environment impact study on Colombo port project (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     The Chinese-funded Colombo Port City Development Project (which has been caused in controversy) will hereafter be handled by the Urban Development Authority.

3.

Pak-Russia deal on Mi-35 copters (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Pakistan is close to finalise a deal with Russia to buy Mi-35 (Hind E) attack helicopters, a sign of increasing defence ties between Cold War-era conflicts.

4.

Facing up to IS (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     The capture of the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad by Kurdish fighters from Islamic State this week deals a significant blow to radical Sunni Salafi terrorist group.

5.

No grace period for Greece: IMF (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     International Monetary Fund chief warned Athens that it cannot delay a huge payment due at the end of the month, pushing on the pressure as eurozone Ministers sought a deal on the Greek debt crisis.

6.

SC contests Centres claim on judges track record (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Supreme Court contested the governments claims about the professional track record of a former apex court judge who it cited as an example of bad appointments made by the collegium.

7.

Time for an indigenous arms industry (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     Even as the security environment has deteriorated, India has not managed to escape the excessive arms import trap.

8.

Jaitley promises speedy reforms (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Union Finance Minister Jaitley has assured global investors that the Modi govt is making efforts to reduce their concerns over accelerating reforms, the tax regime and policy stability.

9.

Positive expansion (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     With the India Meteorological Departments forecast putting average seasonal rain for this year at 88 percent of the annual long period average for the last 50 years, India is looking at consecutive drought-like years for the first time since 1987.

10.

Valleys, gaps, climate change affect songbirds speciation (Pg 18)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     A new study (by National Centre for Biological Sciences on high elevation songbirds of Western Ghats) has found that deep valleys have greater impact on speciation than shallow ones in this mountain chain.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Indian funds in Swiss banks see a dip due to black money heat (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     India – Switzerland relations

b)     Black money

c)     Special Investigation Team (SIT)

a)     According to the Swiss National Banks annual report for 2014, funds held by Indians in Swiss banks in 2014 fell to 1.8 billion swiss francs ($1.97 billion) from around 2 billion swiss francs ($2.2 billion) in 2013, a 10.6 percent decrease.

b)     Swiss banks in 2014 had $1.6 trillion of foreign funds, up from $1.4 trillion in 2013. The increased scrutiny on banking system led to a fall in foreign funds in 2012 and 2013, but this trend was bucked by 11 percent increase in foreign funds in 2014.

c)     This latest data comes at a time when Switzerland has finally begun to share foreign client details following the submission of evidence of wrongdoing.

d)     The figures released in the Swiss National Banks annual report for 2014 do not take into account the sums of money Indians might have parked under the names of entities from other countries.

e)     In India, the govt has formed a SIT to probe cases of black money being held by Indians, including the funds held by them in banks of other countries like Switzerland.

2.

New environment impact study on Colombo port project (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan internal issues

b)     Chinas projects in Sri Lanka

c)     Colombo Port City Development Project

d)     Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

a)     Chinese-funded Colombo Port City Development Project (which has been caused in controversy) will hereafter be handled by Urban Development Authority. This was decided by Cabinet, considering various aspects of the project such as requirements of water, transport and other infrastructure.

b)    The project (which became an issue during the presidential election in Jan this year) was suspended by the present govt, a week ahead of Indian PM Modis visit in March.

c)     The Cabinet also decided that the Central Environmental Authority would commence immediately a complete EIA of the project with regard to sand mining, rock blasting and other related activities.

d)     When the project was suspended 3 months ago, China Communications Construction Company Ltd (the investor in the project) had stated in a release that the FDI by the Company for the project would be $1.4 billion and an estimated 83,000 jobs would be generated locally.

e)     Another decision of the Cabinet was to hold the 2016 national sports festival in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts of the Northern Province.

3.

Pak-Russia deal on Mi-35 copters (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Pakistan – Russia relations

b)     Defence ties

c)     Mi-35 (Hind E) attack helicopters

d)     Cold War-era disputes

a)     Pakistan is close to finalise a deal with Russia to buy Mi-35 (Hind E) attack helicopters, a sign of increasing defence ties between Cold War-era disputes.

b)     The deal is believed to be signed after the conclusion of Army chief General Raheel Sharifs 3-day visit to Moscow.

4.

Facing up to IS (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Syria and Iraq crisis

c)     Kurdish fighters

d)     Peoples Protection Units (YPG)

e)     Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)

f)     Tal Abyad

g)     Ramadi

h)     Palmyra

i)     Ankara

a)  The capture of Syrian border town of Tal Abyad by Kurdish fighters from IS this week deals a significant blow to radical Sunni Salafi terrorist group.

b)     The action not only cut off a vital supply line for IS to its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, but also marked a stunning reversal of fortunes for the group which just last month captured Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria.

c)     The Peoples Protection Units (the armed wing of Democratic Union Party that controls the Kurdish-populated areas on the Syrian side) was on the front lines against IS in Tal Abyad. Over the year, YPG has been proved to be resilient in terms of its actions and resolve in the fight against IS. It played a key role in rescuing thousands of Yazidis in Iraq from IS last year, and defeated the radical Islamists in Kobane near the Turkish border in January.

d)     With the capture of Tal Abyad, the YPG has emerged as a very potent anti-IS force. The YPG challenges the group both politically and militarily, which makes it a progressive alternative to the difficult world view of IS.

e)     Kurdish fighters of the YPG are social liberals whose commitment towards gender equality and secularism stand in sharp contrast with ISs barbarism and misogyny. Ideally they should have been in the forefront of a united anti-IS campaign. But in reality the Syrian/Turkish Kurds are not getting the support they need in the battle.

f)     This is mainly because of the Turkish approach towards the Kurds. YPG is affiliated to the PKK, considered a terror group by Turkey and US. Ties between the YPG and the PKK have deepened since the start of the Syrian civil war and Turkey fears any direct help to the YPG would eventually strengthen the hands of PKK.

g)     But this approach has several faults. First, IS is a bigger threat to Turkey than the secular PKK, which has been in a peace process with the govt in Ankara for two years now. Second, a defeat of Kurdish militias by IS would cause a humanitarian crisis, which would not only enhance the flow of refugees into Turkey but also make its borders strategically vulnerable.

h)     So it is in its best interest to move ahead with the peace process with PKK and effect a rapprochement with the Kurds. Ankara has to seize momentum to overhaul its approach to the Kurds. Such a move would not just help it end a 3-decade-old civil war that featured the brutal persecution of the Kurds, but also infuse fresh energy into the Kurdish resistance to IS along Syrian-Turkish border.

5.

No grace period for Greece: IMF (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Greece debt crisis

b)     International Monetary Fund (IMF)

a)     IMF chief warned Athens that it cannot delay a huge payment due at the end of the month, pushing on the pressure as eurozone Ministers sought a deal on the Greek debt crisis.

b)     The crisis is nearing a climax with Greeces international bailout due to end on June 30 before Athens gets the last €7.2billion ($8.1billion) tranche, and without a deal it will be unable to pay the IMF.

6.

SC contests Centres claim on judges track record (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Collegium system

b)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) law

c)     Judicial independence

d)     Judicial review

e)     Supreme Court

f)     High Court

a)     The Supreme Court contested the governments claims about the professional track record of a former apex court judge who it cited as an example of bad appointments made by the collegium.

b)     A five-judge Constitution Bench (led by Justice Khehar) hearing petitions challenging NJAC law, chose to meet govt head-on by producing internal records to counter its claim.

c)     Attorney-General Rohatgi (while handing over a sealed cover with a list of bad appointments made by the collegium during a hearing on June 10) had searched into this particular judges professional graph. He submitted that the judge was elevated to Supreme Court despite the number of his judgments in various High Courts not crossing the three-figure mark.

d)     However, the Bench caught Rohatgi off-guard when it said they had checked officials records and found that the govt was wrong about him.

e)     Senior advocate Fali Nariman argued that NJAC takes away a vital part of judicial independence in the appointment process. He also objected to Centres submission that NJAC was introduced in accordance with the wishes of the people.

7.

Time for an indigenous arms industry (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     Indias Defence development

b)     Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI)

c)     Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)

d)     Defence Offsets Management Wing (DOMW)

e)     Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

f)     Defence Acquisition process

g)     Defence budget

h)     National Defence University

i)     One rank one pension scheme

 

a)     Union Defence Minister Parrikar and US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter signed the 10-year DTTI in early June, to extend defence cooperation between the two countries. The move has been hailed as path-breaking, but in reality the agreements on joint technology development are far below expectations.

b)     In fact, to expect any country to share cutting-edge defence technology would be gross innocence. As the Modi govt enters its second year, its time to map the challenges facing it in the defence sector.

c)     According to author, the defence budget has rarely crossed 2 percent of the GDP and it is doubtful if it ever will. To make optimal use of the scarce money, the Ministry of Defences (MoD) task is cut out along two paths: operational and administrative.

d)     Operationally, two basic issues require immediate consideration. First, the DPP has to be urgently revamped to address the hollowness of the forces. Second, DOMW must be strengthened immediately. Even as security environment has deteriorated, the defence acquisition process has failed to get India out of the arms import trap.

e)     The DRDOs efforts have been embarrassingly poor. The reality is that India will continue to import for the next two decades. These frightfully expensive acquisitions need using through the DPP and DOMW to ramp up Research and Development and manufacturing capabilities.

f)     Our defence procurements need to address these complexities and the nation must have the strategic depth of a continuous supply chain, which only an indigenous arms industry can ensure. So, Indias acquisition process must become the enabler of an indigenous defence manufacturing base that delivers on quality, timeliness and capacity.

g)     Any reform of DPP has to start with creation of an entity that owns the acquisition process. This entity should have officers of all departments influencing defence indigenisation and must work under one head, who will oversee the process of drafting policy and implementation.

h)     The immediate reform of the DOMW is the second major requirement. With offsets still a norm, India has paid at least 10 to 15 percent more in each contract as a cost of offsets. The 36 Rafales that are coming from France have a $4 billion offset estimate, while total estimate in the next decade could reach $100 billion.

i)     To manage such massive amounts, the staff needs to be immediately expanded and must be given a fixed tenure of at least five years. In parallel, training in defence acquisition needs to be institutionalised through the upcoming National Defence University.

j)     In its second year in office, the government must work on the administrative aspects of defence building. The nation expects the armed forces to deliver everywhere. Surely, the government can respond with correct pay, housing and one rank one pension policies.

8.

Jaitley promises speedy reforms (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Economic reforms

b)     Tax regime

c)     Policy stability

d)     Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

e)     Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)

f)     Make in India initiative

g)     Economic growth

h)     Poverty

a)     Union Finance Minister Jaitley has assured global investors that the Modi govt is making efforts to reduce their concerns over accelerating reforms, the tax regime and policy stability.

b)     Jaitley said he was in the US really to be in dialogue with a larger body of investors because the more investment in India, the more it helps us in our growth process. Our growth helps us remove poverty in India.

c)     He pointed out that the last year was fairly good as the FDI went up by 39 percent. Almost by the day, we are getting proposals through the direct route and the FIPB.

9.

Positive expansion (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

b)     Poverty

c)     Monsoons

d)     India Meteorological Department (IMD)  

 

a)     With the IMDs forecast putting average seasonal rain for this year at 88 percent of the annual long period average for the last 50 years, India is looking at consecutive drought-like years for the first time since 1987.

b)     It is in this context that the NDA govts proposal to extend the number of work entitlement days under the MGNREGS from 100 to 150 in drought-hit districts must be seen. The decision to extend the number by 50 clearly stems from the concern that there would be greater demand for wage-related work in drought-affected districts.

c)     Reports recently suggested that the Ministry of Rural Development was keen to reduce the scope of the scheme to select blocks. Sources had recently pointed to reduction in demand and lack of regularity in work allocation under the scheme over past year, leading to a trend of fewer person-days being available to households. Ground reports suggested this was mostly due to delayed payments and lower outlays by the govt, in a sign of lack of enthusiasm for the scheme.

d)     MGNREGS could bring relief to farm workers and labourers affected by the laying waste of cropland for the rabi cycle due to both unseasonal rain and deficient monsoon. This fact was acknowledged in a recent observation by the World Bank on MGNREGS as an effective substitute for lack of crop and weather insurance in India.

e)     Govts decision to extend the days of entitlement at this expedient hour must therefore be welcomed. That said, it is imperative that the govt realised the importance of the scheme as a crucial intervention to support the rural economy and alleviate poverty, and not just as a short-term or stopgap arrangement to alleviate distress - which in any case it does.

10.

Valleys, gaps, climate change affect songbirds speciation (Page 18)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Songbirds

b)     Western Ghats

c)     Shola forests

d)     Sky islands

e)     Palghat gap

f)     Shenkotta gap

g)     Chaliyar River valley

h)     Climate change

i)     National Centre for Biological Sciences

a)     A new study (by National Centre for Biological Sciences on high elevation songbirds of Western Ghats) has found that deep valleys have greater impact on speciation than shallow ones in this mountain chain.

b)     The study was conducted to investigate genetic variation of all 23 species of songbirds that inhabit the Shola forests of sky islands of Western Ghats.

c)     The study found that not all species are affected by the gaps. Out of the 23 species studied, 10 showed genetic divergences across the deepest, widest valley (Palghat gap), while three others diverged across the Shenkotta gap. Only one species diverged across the shallowest valley, the Chaliyar River valley.

d)     While the Western Ghats were formed some 50 million years ago, the arrival of songbirds in the Western Ghats is only dated earliest to 34 million years ago.

e)     The study shows that it was not only the valleys and gaps in the mountain, but also the climate that affect to play an important role in these bird divergences. Going by their past response to climate changes, we can predict that future climate changes may impact speciation of these birds.

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