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Daily News Analysis 24-06-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

China blocks bid for UN action on Pak. over Lakhvi (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India has taken up the issue of China blocking its move at the United Nations to seek action against Pakistan for releasing the 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi at the highest level with Beijing.

2.

India moves to reset ties with Iran (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India has begun to reset its ties with Iran, notwithstanding the uncertainty surrounding negotiations between Persian Gulf nation and P5+1 group as June 30 deadline for concluding a nuclear agreement draws near.

3.

US to move  artillery close to Russian border (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Moving to reassure NATO allies distressed by Russian involvement in Ukraine, US Defense Secretary announced that US will pre-position tanks, artillery and other military equipment in eastern and central Europe.

4.

The siren call of pure Islam (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     The Islamic State is not a reaction to racism, alienation or Islamophobia. Rather, its a promise to return Muslims to a state of pristine glory.

5.

Cutting the Food Act to the bone (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)    Two years after openly arguing for an expansion of the provisions of the National Food Security Act, the BJP in govt is bleeding it with a thousand cuts, both fiscal and otherwise.

6.

India, Brazil cross swords with US at WTO (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Switzerland and US have begun a campaign at the World Trade Organisation to not renew a moratorium on non-violation complaints and situations for intellectual property rights that expires at the end of the year.

7.

India emerges as third largest FDI source for UK (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     India has emerged as the third largest source of Foreign Direct Investment for UK after US and France in terms of number of projects.

8.

El Nino may have only a minor impact (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     A recent report says that this years farm output may fall by only around 4.5 percent despite the projection of a strong El Nino year by India Meteorological Department.

9.

MOM completes 100th orbit around Mars (Page 8)

a)     S&T

a)     ISRO has said that the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission completed its 100th orbit around Mars. It is also gradually coming out of blackout it had entered earlier this month.

 

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

China blocks bid for UN action on Pak over Lakhvi (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan disputes

b)     Terrorism

c)     26/11 Mumbai attacks

a)     India has taken up the issue of China blocking its move at the United Nations to seek action against Pakistan for releasing the 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi at the highest level with Beijing.

b)     This move comes a little over a month after India and China agreed to deepen their commitment to fight terror, during PM Modis visit.

c)     A spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said the govt had taken up the issue of violation of the 1267 sanctions regime in respect of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Our concerns in this matter were conveyed to the Chair of the 1267 committee. In the case of China, this matter has been taken up at the highest level.

d)     Since Dec 2014, Indias Permanent Mission to the UN has filed separate proposals on Pakistan-based terrorists, each of which has been reportedly delayed or stopped by China.

e)     The US also has thrown its weight behind Indias demand for re-arresting Lakhvi. US has asked Pakistan to ensure that efforts are made to arrest Lakhvi and that he does not roam free.

2.

India moves to reset ties with Iran (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Iran relations

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

d)     International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

e)     Chabahar Port

f)     Terrorism

a)     India has begun to reset its ties with Iran, notwithstanding the uncertainty surrounding negotiations between Persian Gulf nation and P5+1 group as June 30 deadline for concluding a nuclear agreement draws near.

b)     After cutting down oil imports from Tehran in recent past following sanctions, India is now keen on pushing for connectivity with Iran, which will pave the way for its entry into Afghanistan and Central Asian region. An inter-govt MoU signed in May for the development of Chabahar Port in Iran and impetus being given to the North-South Transport Corridor are considered as attempts to restore ties.

c)     After its meeting on June 12, members of the INSTC reviewed the status of the dry run study between India, Iran and Russia via the Caspian Sea, a follow-up meeting to further streamline work related to the corridor has been scheduled for July.

d)     The international transport corridor across Nhava Sheva (Mumbai) through Bandar Abbas (Iran) to Astrakhan (Russia) and Baku (Azerbaijan) is expected to substantially reduce cargo transport time between India and Central Asia and Russia.

e)     Experts point out that India must look beyond trade and economic ties. India must openly follow relations with Iran with an eye on possible cooperation to fight emerging terror groups in Central Asia. The disturbing developments in Afghanistan, the penetration of militants into Central Asia, and the continued expansion of IS in Iraq, all necessitate better India-Iran ties.

3.

US to move  artillery close to Russian border (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US – Russia relations

b)     NATO

c)     Ukraine crisis

d)     Annexation of Crimea

a)     Moving to reassure NATO allies distressed by Russian involvement in Ukraine, US Defense Secretary announced that US will pre-position tanks, artillery and other military equipment in eastern and central Europe.

b)     The US decision to stage heavy equipment closer to Russias borders aims to speed deployment of rotating US forces as NATO steps up exercises in Europe following Russias annexation of Ukraines Crimea region last year.

c)     Neighbouring NATO countries (especially the former Soviet Baltic states with their Russian minorities) fear Russia could provoke trouble on their territories. Moscow denies any such intention.

d)     Under NATOs founding treaty, an attack on any member state would constitute an attack on all parties. Russia accuses the West of violating post-Cold War arrangements by extending NATO to Russias frontiers, something the West denies

4.

The siren call of pure Islam (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Syria and Iraq crisis

c)     Radicalisation

d)     Islamophobia

e)     Wests anti-Muslim foreign policy

f)     Al-Qaeda

a)     June 29 will be the first anniversary of the ISs strange declaration of the establishment of the modern worlds first caliphate on territories seized from Syria and Iraq.

b)    Though, for which no satisfactory explanation has been offered either by Muslims or counter-terror experts, the biggest worry is that what makes a group with such a medieval ideology and mindset so attractive to so many educated and intelligent people around the world that they are willing to abandon everything to join it, knowing fully well the risks involved?

c)     There is a widely held view that it is precisely this ISs romantic vision of restoring Islam to its pristine glory, its bloody-mindedness, its shock-and-awe plans that lie at the heart of much of its appeal.

d)     In the al-Qaeda days, it was simpler to explain Muslim radicalisation, especially among second and third generation immigrant youth in the West - people said they were alienated from the societies they lived in, by the everyday racism they experienced, by the post-9/11 Islamophobia, and the Wests anti-Muslim foreign policy.

e)   The explanation made sense in the wake of invasion of Iraq and talk of a new Crusades. In that sort of climate dominated by anti-Muslim expression, the act of Islam under threat and calls for pan-Islamic solidarity to rescue the religion worked. But this is unconvincing today, as the nature of Islamist extremism has changed.

f)     The IS has transformed what was once a global anti-West campaign into a sectarian civil war within Islam. The West is no longer the main enemy. Its not even so much about pan-Islamic solidarity as about pan-Sunni solidarity against other Muslims from enemy sects.

g)     Thus it is important to note that people targeted have little knowledge of Islam and allow interpretations they are sold. They are not particularly interested in religion until the point that they are radicalised, and then suddenly they become ultra religious - they grow beards, women start wearing burqas and avoiding men, they turn to namaaz, throw their old lifestyle and become secretive.

h)  The process of radicalisation is a lot more complex than is assumed but the ultimate pull factor is religion. Any de-radicalisation strategy will have to be anchored in a religious counter-narrative. And it will have to come from imams and maulvis - not from counter-extremism think tanks and reformed radicals.

i)     Today, nearly ten million people live under repressive IS rule. In spite of a determined US-led international bombing campaign that has killed several of its key figures, IS has managed not only to retain and consolidate previously occupied territories but also gain new ones. And it shows no sign of slowing down.

j)    Meanwhile, for all apparent anger and hand-wringing in the West, the fact is IS poses less of a threat to it than al-Qaeda did. Not only is its strategy not focussed against the West, it has effectively taken al-Qaeda off the Wests back by drawing it into a series of regional conflicts for supremacy.

5.

Cutting the Food Act to the bone (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     National Food Security Act (NFSA)

b)     Public Distribution Systems (PDS)   

c)     Minimum Support Price (MSP)

d)     Socio Economic And Caste Census

e)     Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

f)     Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) 

g)     Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

h)     PDS (Control) Order

i)     Right to food

j)     Article 21 of the  Constitution

a)     When Parliament passed NFSA in 2013, it had already become one of the most debated pieces of legislation in decades. After all, it was an outcome of remarkable public and judicial action - a battle of over a decade to secure freedom from hunger for millions who had not gained from Indias emergence as a major economy.

b)     With all its inadequacies, the Act is still seen by many as a final assault on excessive hunger that has stalked the countryside and urban slums. Over two-thirds, or more than 820 million Indians, came under its ambit.

c)     The then CM of Gujarat (Narendra Modi) wrote to the PM, asking for the law to be further strengthened. It was not unsurprising because the BJP-ruled States had considerably enhanced the outreach of the PDS in their respective States and were credited with having put in place robust systems of transparency and accountability in public food schemes.

d)     Now, the BJP-led NDA govt seems equally determined to control NFSA by bleeding it with a thousand cuts, both fiscal and otherwise, even before it is fully implemented. In the last one year, the officials at the Food Ministry have not allowed a single provision of the NFSA to remain unmolested.

e)     Subsequently, in July last year, the Food Ministry arm-twisted State governments not to declare a bonus for farmers over and above the MSP that is provided by Central govt. This despite the fact that it was paid from the coffers of State govts.

f)     Ironically, it was a move that hurt farmers in BJP-ruled States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan the most. The procurement of food grains from farmers was severely restricted as a result of this decision, one that we will rue if there is a monsoon deficit, as predicted this year.

g)     Union Budget for current fiscal dealt the next decisive blow with punishing cuts to some of the key programmes under the Act. The ICDS had a 50 percent cut. Similarly, the MDMS saw its budget reduced from Rs.13,000 crore to Rs.9000 crore for a flagship programme universalised by PM Atal Bihari Vajpayees govt. Other social sector schemes which have a direct bearing on nutrition have seen similar and vicious cutbacks.

h)     The weak argument that States can compensate the deficit with the additional 10 percent of revenues that they will have now from the share of taxes does not bear the scrutiny of numbers or logic. The majority of programmes that bear the stress of the austerity (like the MDMS) are Centrally sponsored schemes.

i)     PDS (Control) Order was notified by the Department of Food and Public Distribution on March 20.  There are three elements in this order that are in total contempt of Supreme Court orders and the provisions of the NFSA which stand out.

j)     First, the AAY is being sought to be phased out, with States being instructed not to add any new household to this category if any household drops out of the programme due to an improvement in social or economic status, death, etc; the number of households would be reduced to that extent. AAY provides 35 kgs of food grains per month to 20 million of the most vulnerable families in the country and which is currently accessed by the most vulnerable tribal communities, persons with disability and the aged.

k)     Second, the PDS (Control) Order fixes number of people who can access the entitlements, to decadal Census figures rather than expand it each year based on population estimates of Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.

l)     Most critically, for the first time, the PDS (Control) Order explicitly places an additional burden of citizenship (besides being a resident of the State) for someone to access benefits under the NFSA. Since the jurisprudence on right to food flows from Article 21 of the Constitution, the right to food should be available to all persons without their having to establish their citizenship first.

m)     The impact of these measures is already being felt across the country with visibly weakening political will of the Central government impacting programme implementation in the field.

n)     The irony that the world will not miss is that the Modi government has emerged as a global champion of farmers rights and food security with its progressive position on public-stockholding issue at the WTO to fix unjust trade rules.

6.

India, Brazil cross swords with US at WTO (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)

b)     Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement

c)     Section 3(d) of the India Patents Act (1970)

d)     World Trade Organisation (WTO)

a)     Switzerland and US have begun a campaign at the WTO to not renew a moratorium on non-violation complaints and situations for IPRs that expires at the end of the year.

b)     IP laws are governed internationally by the TRIPS Agreement. The moratorium first came into being in 1995, when the WTO was born.

c)     A non-violation and situation complaint can be raised against a WTO member when it undertakes a certain action which, while not violating WTO rules itself, denies another member an expected benefit by nullifying or countering another action or policy required by the WTO.

d)     Introducing subsidies to undo the effect of lowered tariffs would be an example of an action that could potentially attract a non-violation complaint. A proposal to continue the moratorium has been submitted by Brazil on behalf of a group of 19 countries that includes India and China.

e)     Section 3(d) of the India Patents Act (1970) is likely to be a target of complainants. It defines what an invention is and has been interpreted by Indian Patent Office to deny patents for drugs such as Sovaldi (a hepatitis C drug by Gilead Sciences) and Glivec (a cancer drug by Novartis).

f)     The denial of these patents has significant benefits for access to affordable medication in India. It also has implications for revenues of multi-national pharmaceutical companies and their incentives to innovate.

7.

India emerges as third largest FDI source for UK (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

b)     India – UK trade ties

 

a)     India has emerged as the third largest source of FDI for UK after US and France in terms of number of projects.

b)     The key sectors where Indian companies invested include healthcare, agri-tech, food and drink.

c)     Official said that India and the UK share a long-standing, highly cooperative relationship, fuelling the prosperity of both countries and we greatly value our association with India.

8.

El Nino may have only a minor impact (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Monsoons

b)     El Nino

c)     Kharif crop regions in India

d)     India Meteorological Department (IMD)

a)     A recent report says that this years farm output may fall by only around 4.5 percent despite projection of a strong El Nino year by IMD.

b)     The report has found that over the last four El Nino years (1997, 2002, 2006 and 2009), production fell by an average of 8 percent compared to the production in the previous years, across all major crops. However, some crops suffered more than others.

c)     Report says that major production loss is observed in groundnut followed by moong, castor seed, bajra, sesame, jowar, maize and paddy. The increase in production of cotton is mainly attributed to an increase in acreage due to its long sowing window as compared to other crops. Sugarcane has done well even during El Nino years as almost 90-95 percent of cane area is under irrigation across country.

d)   While the IMD has forecast a deficient monsoon, private weather company Skymet has maintained that this year will see a normal monsoon. June so far has seen 16 percent more rainfall than the average. In the event of a normal monsoon, the report predicts an average increase of 0.6 percent overall, with only castor seed, rice, bajra and sugar seeing a fall in production levels.

9.

MOM completes 100th orbit around Mars (Page 8)

a)     S&T

a)     Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)

b)     Red planet

c)     ISRO

a)     ISRO has said that the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission completed its 100th orbit around Mars. It is also gradually coming out of blackout it had entered earlier this month.

b)     It said the payloads on the spacecraft are to be re-started in a few weeks. They were last operated on May 27 to put the spacecraft in an autonomous mode. MOM remains healthy and all its payloads are performing satisfactorily.

c)     Launched on Nov 5 2013, MOM reached the red planet in September last year.

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