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Daily News Analysis 09-07-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Modi takes up Lakhvi issue with Xi (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     PM Modi strongly and clearly conveyed Indias concern to President Xi over China blocking a proposal for action by UN against Pakistan on the release of jailed Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

2.

Modi, Sharif to meet in Russia (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     I.R

a)     PM Modi will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa (Russia). They are in the town to attend the SCO summit.

3.

To be a bridge, not fault line (Page 8)

a)     I.R

a)     The SCO is an important counter-balance to Indias perceived tilt towards the US and its allies on security issues.

4.

Islamabad wont ban JuD, says it has no LeT links (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Ahead of PM Modis expected meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Russia, Islamabad has announced that it will not ban the Jamaat-ud-Dawah as it has found no evidence linking it to terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.

5.

Israel hails Indias stand at Gaza vote (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Israel hailed Indias abstention at the UNHRC vote on Gaza war as a qualitative leap in bilateral ties that made it a normal relation without hangups, even as India maintained that the vote does not mark any shift in its policy on the Palestinian cause.

6.

Tsipras calls for fair deal as deadline looms (Page 12)

a)     International

a)    Greek PM Tsipras called in a speech to the European Parliament for a fair deal to keep his country in the Euro-zone, acknowledging Greeces own responsibility for its plight, after EU leaders gave him five days to come up with convincing reforms.

7.

Kabul, Taliban hold talks (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     The first official peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and govt in Kabul concluded with an agreement to meet again after Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

8.

Subverting a progressive law (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    The arms of the state have been chipping away at the Land Acquisition, Rehabiliation and Resettlement Act since its enactment in 2013. Hopefully, Parliament will see the Bill and the middle ground the government is now attempting for what they really are.

9.

Criminal defamation law is deterrent (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The govt told the Supreme Court that criminal defamation laws offer some deterrence to people from maligning others whereas civil cases take over 20 years and nobody cares.

10.

NJAC: Objection overruled (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The new judicial appointments act is clearly a superior alternative to the collegium system and raises the consultative process in the selection of judges to an almost philosophical level.

11.

Manual scavenging still a reality (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     The practice of manual scavenging (officially banned since decades in India) continues with impunity in several States. The latest SECC data released on July 3 reveals that 1,80,657 households are engaged in this degrading work for a livelihood.

12.

Centre wants to break forex reserves (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)    The Modi govt is examining if Indias forex reserves held by RBI can be deployed for funding infrastructure projects or recapitalising public sector banks.

13.

Invasive species of snail spotted on Goa varsity campus (Page 7)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)    The Giant African Land Snail (listed as one of the worlds 100 most invasive species by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) was spotted on the campus of Goa University at Taleigao.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Modi takes up Lakhvi issue with Xi (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

d)     26/11 Mumbai attacks

e)     Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)

a)     PM Modi strongly and clearly conveyed Indias concern to President Xi over China blocking a proposal for action by UN against Pakistan on the release of jailed Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.  India rejected the weak evidence theory propounded by Beijing in this regard.

b)     Modi voiced Indias concern over the $46-billion economic corridor that China was building with Pakistan as it crossed PoK.

c)     At a meeting of the UN Sanctions Committee last month, India had sought action against Pakistan for release of LeT operations commander Lakhvi in the 26/11 trial in violation of a UN resolution, but the Chinese representatives blocked the move on grounds that India did not provide sufficient information.

2.

Modi, Sharif to meet in Russia (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     SCO summit

c)     Kashmir issue

d)     Terrorism

 

a)     PM Modi will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa (Russia). They are in the town to attend the SCO summit.

b)     Sources said the two leaders might try to work on what could be announced at this stage - mainly agreeing to promote business-to-business exchanges, ease passage for businessmen, extend visa terms and issue multiple visas for bus travellers.

c)     With PM Modi meeting Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan has made it clear that it will not accept any red lines on dialogue, stating officially that all talks will include the issue of Kashmir and that contacts with the Hurriyat leadership will be maintained.

d)     Recently, tensions rose over Indias counter-terrorism operations against militants in Myanmar, with govt suggestion that a similar operation could be continued with Pakistan.

3.

To be a bridge, not fault line (Page 8)

a)     I.R

a)    Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit

b)     BRICS summit

c)     New Development Bank (NDB)

d)     Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project

e)     IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline project

a)     The Russian town of Ufa (where PM Modi is attending the BRICS and SCO summits) is suddenly the most important city.

b)     Chinese President Xi will be there discussing $100 billion BRICS-NDB in a week Chinese stock market has dropped 30 percent of its value. Afghan President Ghani will be there, soon after talks between the Taliban and the Afghan govt in Pakistan, with Chinese and US observers present.

c)     Modi and Pak PM Sharif will have a bilateral meeting after more than a year. Each of Modis meetings will be important, but Indias membership of the SCO is most significant.

d)     To begin with, it opens up trade, energy and transit routes between Russia and China that pass through Central Asia, that were previously closed to India. Irans observer status will ensure SCO serves as a platform for India to discuss trade through Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar, and link them to Russian proposal for a North-South Transport Corridor.

e)     While the SCO charter disallows bilateral issues being taken up, the security grouping provides a platform for India and Pakistan to discuss them, as it will when Modi and Sharif meet. With Russia and China taking the lead, the SCO could even prove a guarantor for projects such as the TAPI and IPI pipelines that India has held off on security concerns.

f)     SCO summit will provide a valuable interface to engage with Afghanistans neighbours at a time when so much is changing in its security outlook, between international troop pullout and talks with Taliban.

g)     Finally, the SCO is an important counter-balance to Indias perceived tilt towards the US and its allies on security issues. In a politically polarised world, with the US and Europe pitted against Russia and China and where all the powers are economically interlinked, Indias best hope to emerge a leader lies in its ability to bridge the two.

4.

Islamabad wont ban JuD, says it has no LeT links (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JeD)

d)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

e)     UNSC resolution

a)     Ahead of PM Modis expected meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of SCO summit in Russia, Islamabad has announced that it will not ban the JuD as it has found no evidence linking it to terror outfit LeT.

b)     India has persistently demanded action against the JuD and the LeT, alleging their involvement in 26/11 Mumbai attacks and the issue is expected to come up for discussion during the meeting between the PMs on the SCO sidelines.

5.

Israel hails Indias stand at Gaza vote (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Israel relations

b)     Gaza conflict

c)     UNHRC

d)     Foreign Office Consultations (FOC)

a)     Israel hailed Indias abstention at the UNHRC vote on Gaza war as a qualitative leap in bilateral ties that made it a normal relation without hangups, even as India maintained that the vote does not mark any shift in its policy on the Palestinian cause.

b)     The remarks came as India and Israel held FOC, days after the highly publicised vote. The FOC is a routine dialogue between the two sides to review bilateral relations and not related to the vote.

6.

Tsipras calls for fair deal as deadline looms (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Greece debt crisis

b)     European Union (EU)

c)     European Commission

d)     European Central Bank (ECB)

e)     International Monetary Fund (IMF)

a)     Acknowledging Greeces own responsibility for its plight, Greek PM Tsipras called in a speech to European Parliament for a fair deal to keep his country in the Euro-zone.

b)     The Greek govt formally submitted a request for a three-year loan from the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund that would be used to meet Greeces debt obligations and to ensure stability of the financial system.

c)     He promised to deliver detailed reform proposals and mostly avoided the angry expression that has alienated many European partners, although he criticised attempts to terrorise Greeks into voting for never-ending austerity.

d)     European Council President repeated that the final deadline for Greece to submit convincing reform plans and start implementing them was this week.

7.

Kabul, Taliban hold talks (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and government

b)     Afghanistan situation

c)     Taliban

 

a)     The first official peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and govt in Kabul concluded with an agreement to meet again after Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

b)   Pakistan hosted meeting in a tentative step towards ending more than 13 years of war in neighbouring Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been trying to re-establish its hard-line Islamist regime after it was overthrowed by US-led military intervention in 2001.

c)     The meeting was hailed as a development by Pakistani PM Sharif. But it was far from clear whether the budding peace process could end an escalating conflict that kills hundreds of Afghans every month.

8.

Subverting a progressive law (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act 2013

b)     Land Acquisition Act (LAA) 1894

c)     Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency

d)     Social Impact Assessment (SIA)

e)     Public Private Partnership (PPP)

f)     Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

g)     Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)

a)     According to author, the govt has expressed concern over the deadlock that has hit the proceedings of JPC on Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in LARR (Amendment) Bill 2015. The legislation under consideration aims to amend the Act with the same title and popularly known as the LARR 2013.

b)     The committee members are divided on three issues - the consent clause, SIA, and food security. Several organisations of farmers and agricultural workers have already criticised the provisions in the Bill pertaining to these issues.

c)     LARR Act 2013 requires prior consent of 80 percent of the owners for land acquisition for private projects; in the case of PPP, the figure is 70 percent.  Besides this, it mandates SIA to assess the costs and benefits of the project, and, therefore, whether land acquisition is in public interest or not.

d)     Moreover, the Act restricts the acquisition of irrigated and multi-crop land. In contrast, the Bill proposes to remove these provisions for defence projects and those belonging to unclearly-defined categories like affordable housing, industrial corridors, and infrastructure including SEZs, PPPs and urban development projects.

e)     The JPC deadlock and a growing anti-farmer image have forced govt to offer a middle ground. Reportedly, it plans to create a new category of projects called essential infrastructure that will be exempted from consent clause. Moreover, the govt has agreed to restore a diluted form of SIA that will separate the land acquisition decision from the rehabilitation and resettlement of people affected by projects.

f)     Moreover, we have come across several instances in the National Capital Region and elsewhere where State govts of different political parties have engaged in instances of open abuse of the land law - like issuing initial notification for an excessive amount of land, subsequent denotification of land belonging to powerful companies and individuals, and acquisition of multi-crop land even when infertile land is available.

g)     By mandating an SIA of the project and its review by the affected people, LARR 2013 had provided effective safeguards against such malpractices. Any dilution of SIA will reopen the door for abuse of the law.

h)     Any meaningful attempt at rehabilitation and resettlement requires documentation of people affected by the project and the effects of acquisition on their lives and livelihood. This exercise is carried out as a part of the SIA. Any dilution of the SIA will reduce rehabilitation and resettlement to a just fake.

i)     Specifically, a separation of the land acquisition decision from rehabilitation and resettlement would provide the latter a de-jure right with no bite de facto, as was the case with compensation under LAA 1894. The colonial law entitled the owner to fair compensation but separated its payment from the decision to acquire land. The consequence was that people never got their due.

j)     The prior consent clause in LARR Act is another sore point for corporate sector. The truth is that companies are finding it difficult to let go of the benefits of generosity they habitually enjoyed under the colonial law. Otherwise, there is no justification for diluting the consent clause and creating categories like essential infrastructure to permit land acquisition for private entities.

k)     The arms of the state have been chipping away at the Act since its enactment in 2013. The issue of compensation is another case in point. The Act has increased compensation from 1.3 times to 2 to 4 times. The increase was necessary, since due to well-known reasons, the officially determined market rate is a fraction of the actual land price.

l)     Not satisfied with these attempts at weakening of the law, the Centre has decided to launch a full frontal attack. Hopefully, Parliament will see the Bill and the middle ground for what they really are.

9.

Criminal defamation law is deterrent (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Criminal defamation law

b)     Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code

c)     Article 19 (2) of the Constitution

d)     Supreme Court

e)     Attorney General

a)     The govt told the Supreme Court that criminal defamation laws offer some deterrence to people from maligning others whereas civil cases take over 20 years and nobody cares.

b)    This was first oral response from govt to a batch of petitions filed, asking the Supreme Court to declare criminal defamation laws unconstitutional as they are inherently harsh and have a disproportionate scare effect on free expression.

c)     According to the appeals, the presence of Sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) of the IPC is an offence to free speech prescribed under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution. They said that defamation has been converted to a civil offence by countries across the world.

d)     Attorney General Rohatgi argued that the petitions should be referred to a Constitution Bench as the matter relates to whether Sections 499 and 500 of IPC are ultra vires of Article 19 (2) of the Constitution.

10.

NJAC: Objection overruled (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act

b)     Collegium System

c)     Judicial independence

d)     CJI  

e)     Supreme Court 

a)     The observation by the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court, which is presently hearing the petition challenging NJAC Act and the Constitution Amendment Act that the collegium system was good but its implementation was bad is the subject of much speculation in govt circles. There is worry that the court may even strike down the two enactments on the ground that judicial primacy in the appointment of judges has been done away with.

b)     However, from a closer reading of the judgment in the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association versus Union of India it would appear that it may not be easy for the Constitution Bench to strike down these two laws on ground that they destroy judicial independence and thus violate basic structure of Constitution.

c)     The judgment lays down the following propositions: (1) Judicial independence extends also to the stage of appointment of judges. It is not enough to have security of tenure, salary, pension, and so on;(2) Selection of judges is a participatory, consultative, constitutional function performed by high constitutional functionaries whose objective is to pick the best persons for the higher levels of judiciary.

d)     (3) In this exercise, no one is higher or lower than other; (4) normally a judge should be selected through a process of consensus. In case that is not possible, more weightage should be given to the opinion of CJ because he or she is the expert who can judge the competence of candidate better.

e)     In the narrative part of the judgment, the court has adopted a larger perspective on issue. Note the following observation of the court: The emphasis has to be on the importance of the purpose and not on comparative importance of the participants working together to achieve the purpose. Each of them has some inherent limitation and it is only collectively that they constitute the selector.

f)   It further says, Appointment of judges is a participatory constitutional function. It is perhaps inappropriate to refer to any power or right to appoint judges. It is essentially a discharge of a constitutional trust of which certain constitutional functionaries are collectively repositories.

g)     Somehow, this pacific approach of the court is missing towards the end of judgment, where it firmly says that appointment shall be made of only those proposed by CJ. The Court laid down an elaborate procedure on selection and appointment of judges and other related matters.

h)     Thus, the primacy of the executive was replaced by the primacy of the CJ. This was done after making the following observations: It is obvious that the provision for consultation with CJ was introduced because of the realisation that the CJ is best equipped to know and assess worth of candidate and his suitability for appointment as a superior judge.

i)     At the same time, the phraseology used indicated that giving absolute discretion or the power to veto to the CJI as an individual in the matter of appointment was not considered desirable (by the framers of the Constitution) so there should remain some power with the executive to be exercised as a check whenever necessary.

j)     Constitution Amendment Act and the NJAC Act can be struck down only on the ground that these enactments violate the basic structure, namely judicial independence.

k)     Constitution safeguards judicial independence. Apart from specific provisions that safeguard that independence, the new enactments extend the concept of independence to the stage of appointment also by providing for largest number of judges compared to other representatives on commission and a veto power for them.

l)     Judicial independence is not an end in itself. It is also a means to realise a higher objective, namely to find competent, independent-minded judges for Indias higher judiciary. It is not the means to select judges arbitrarily and without sense of accountability using power of primacy. The true merit of a judge will become known only through process of wider consultation. The two enactments provide for such consultation.

m)     The collegium system lacked transparency and was therefore susceptible to abuse. The present Constitution Bench admitted that there was bad implementation of collegium system and that is the severest indictment of the system by the judges themselves. The NJAC is by all accounts a superior alternative, and there is no ground to strike down the laws.

11.

Manual scavenging still a reality (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC)

a)     The practice of manual scavenging (officially banned since decades in India) continues with impunity in several States. The latest SECC data released on July 3 reveals that 1,80,657 households are engaged in this degrading work for a livelihood.

b)     As per the Census data, Maharashtra (with 63,713) tops the list with the largest number of manual scavenger households, followed by M.P, U.P, Tripura and Karnataka.

12.

Centre wants to break forex reserves (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

b)     Indias foreign exchange reserves

b)     RBI

a)    Modi govt is examining if Indias forex reserves held by RBI can be deployed for funding infrastructure projects or recapitalising public sector banks. Indias forex reserves touched a record $355.46 billion on June 19.

b)     Official said the proposal does not as yet enjoy unanimous support within the govt. It causes considerable unease in the Finance Ministry.

c)     Chief Economic Adviser said earlier this year that RBI should aim to build a larger stock of forex reserves.

13.

Invasive species of snail spotted on Goa varsity campus (Page 7)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Giant African Land Snail

b)     International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCNNR)

c)     Biological warfare

d)     Eosinophilic meningitis

a)    The Giant African Land Snail (listed as one of worlds 100 most invasive species by IUCNNR) was spotted on the campus of Goa University at Taleigao.

b)     Experts said this looks like a silent biological warfare against the local flora. If these snails multiply, there will be a threat to our agro-horticulture and public health since they act as a vector of human diseases like Eosinophilic meningitis.

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