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Daily News Analysis 17-07-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India warns Pak over firing (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Admitting that the situation on the India-Pak border had worsened in the past few days, Foreign Secretary Jaishankar accused Pakistan of unprovoked firing on the International Border and the Line of Control that left one woman dead and several others injured.

2.

Pledge to fight terror together (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Following the first meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint Consultative Commission (chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma and Myanmar Foreign Affairs Minister), it was announced that the two countries would work together to fight the menace of terrorism and insurgent activity in all its forms and manifestations.

3.

India, and the Talibans changing dynamics (Pg 13)

a)     I.R

a)      The Taliban is no longer the monolith that it was and many streams of thought have emerged in the movement.

4.

Europe set to restore funding to Greece (Page 16)

a)     International

a)   Europe moved to re-open funding to Greeces stricken economy, after a fractious Greek parliament approved a tough bailout programme in a vote that left govt without a majority and looking to new elections within months.

5.

Japan passes security bills despite stiff opposition (Pg16)

a)     International

a)     Controversial security bills that opponents say will undermine 70 years of pacifism and could see Japanese troops fighting abroad for first time since World War-II passed through the powerful lower house of Parliament.

6.

Obama defends nuclear deal; Khamenei calls for scrutiny (P 16)

a)     International

a)     President Barack Obama defended a nuclear deal the US and world powers reached with Iran saying 99 percent of the world community agrees to the agreement.

7.

The power of pardon (Page 12)

a)     International

b)     Polity

a)    That only a small percentage of prisoners in US are repeat offenders, and many have proven their innocence after conviction and incarceration upholds Obamas recent decisions to grant clemencies. His actions hold lessons for India.

8.

SC seeks Centres reply on re-promulgation of land ordinance (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Supreme Court sought the Centres response after farmers bodies challenged the governments re-promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance as a contempt of the Constitution and running the country through ordinances.

9.

Expert group set up to classify caste data collected by survey (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Rejecting claims that it is withholding data from the SECC 2011, the govt set up an expert group headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to classify the caste count before making it public.

10.

Thatcher trod a fine line as India sought crackdown on Sikh extremists (Pg 15)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     British Cabinet documents relating to India-UK relations during 1984 and 1985 throw light on how the establishment viewed developments in India in turbulent years that saw the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi and the early phase of Rajiv Gandhi, who replaced her.

11.

Britain overtly linked Westland deal to aid, UK documents show (Page 15)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)    Newly released UK Cabinet office papers from 1984 and 1985 reveal the aggressive way in which the govt of Margaret Thatcher lobbied India over the sale of 27 Westland-30 helicopters, clearly linking the continued provision of aid to the deal going ahead.

12.

Soil Health Card scheme takes off gingerly (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)    The Modi govt is projecting its programme for issuance of Soil Health Cards to farmers as a flagship programme but so far against a target of 84 lakh cards, only 34 lakh have been issued.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India warns Pak over firing (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     Line of Control (LoC)

d)     International Border (IB)

e)     Kashmir issue

a)    Admitting that the situation on the India-Pak border had worsened in the past few days, Foreign Secretary Jaishankar accused Pakistan of unprovoked firing on the IB and the LoC that left one woman dead and several others injured.

b)    India also accused Pakistan of aiding an infiltration attempt by suspected terrorists in the Jammu sector. The violence is of particular concern as PM Modi is due to visit Jammu.

c)     Home Ministry sources told that the forces had been instructed to give a befitting response and retaliate in equal measure to any aggression from Pakistan.

d)     The exchange of charges and fire comes less than a week after the meeting between Modi and Pak PM Nawaz Sharif in Ufa (Russia), where they spoke about measures to decrease tensions at the LoC.

e)     Two sides had agreed to meetings between the NSAs to discuss terrorism, and DG BSF and DG Pak Rangers as well as the Armys DGMOs to discuss incidents of border firing.

2.

Pledge to fight terror together (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Myanmar relations

b)     Security cooperation

c)     Counter terrorism

d)     Maritime security

e)     Ti-Ho (Tizu) river

 

a)      A little over a month after India led a counter-terrorism operation against militants in Myanmar, both countries have agreed to intensify cooperation between security forces and border guarding agencies to fight insurgency and secure the border areas.

b)     Following the first meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint Consultative Commission (chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma and Myanmar Foreign Affairs Minister), it was announced that the two countries would work together to fight the menace of terrorism and insurgent activity in all its forms and manifestations.

c)     According to a joint statement, regular meetings of the bilateral regional border committee will be held for better border management and both sides have restated that territories of either country would not be allowed to be used for activities harmful to the other. They also discussed the need for undertaking negotiations for early conclusion of the MoU on movement of people across the land border.

d)     To resolve the border issues, a meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint Boundary Working Group will be scheduled soon and a joint survey will be undertaken to inspect the earth blockage site on the Ti-Ho (Tizu) river on the India-Myanmar border to inspect the efforts made by local authorities of Mizoram to remove the debris and restore the normal course of the river.

e)     As per the joint statement, Sushma said India was committed to supporting the modernisation of the Myanmar armed forces and in building a professional and capable Myanmar navy to safeguard and ensure its maritime security. Two sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the energy sector, trade and commerce.

3.

India, and the Talibans changing dynamics (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Talibans – Afghan government peace talks

b)     Afghanistan situation

c)     India – Afghanistan relations

a)     The first officially acknowledged dialogue between Taliban and Afghan govt took place in Murree (Pakistan) on July 7. Among those attending were representatives of Pakistan, China and the US. This comes 8 months after Afghan President Ashraf Ghanis meeting with Gen. Raheel Sharif and the subsequent assurance that Pakistan would help convince the Taliban to negotiate.

b)     According to Pakistani media sources, the major outcome is that the next round of talks is provisionally planned for August 15 and 16 in Doha, Qatar. Another projected win was the reported endorsement by Taliban leader Mullah Omar on the Taliban website.

c)     The Murree talks were significant in that they highlighted a shift in the stance of Talibans Qatar office, which has now emerged as its official voice. While not formally rejecting the talks, the Qatar office made a convoluted pronouncement indicating that future negotiations needed its approval for any chance of success.

d)     The Taliban is no longer the monolith that it was and many streams have emerged in the movement. None of them are watertight compartments, allowing individuals and factions to flow from one to another. Each has several factions that may or may not have problems with each other.

e)     Yet another line of thought is the one that is open to talks, provided it is held on their terms. This means two things: one, they are not comfortable with Pakistan leading the talks and two, they see escalation in violence as a means to get to a view point before discussions begin. It is averse to a ceasefire, as that would allow the troubled unity government to consolidate its control.

f)     With pressure mounting on Pakistan, it had thrown its weight behind the latest round of talks in Murree. Given the mounting international criticism that it had misled the Ashraf Ghani govt, it had to display its sincerity and influence over the Taliban by mediating talks on its soil.

g)     Moreover, critical demands by the Taliban, such as establishment of a Sharia state and the complete withdrawal of foreign troops are sure to cause a roadblock. Another roadblock is Pakistans role - a split in the Taliban enables it to continue talks on one hand while allowing for violence on other.

h)     India has been on the sidelines because of its limited relationship with the Taliban. Though India has never recognised the Taliban, what often goes unnoticed is that there was limited interaction even during the Kandahar hijacking. The perception that talks with at least some of the Talibani elements might bring an end to the problem is gaining ground in Afghanistan. This allows India to reconsider its position on Afghanistan.

i)     Considering the social capital that India has built in Afghanistan, India might (at an appropriate moment and in consultation with Afghan govt and other stakeholders) consider opening a channel to factions associated with Talibans Qatar office.

4.

Europe set to restore funding to Greece (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Greece debt crisis

b)     European Union (EU)

c)     European Commission

d)     European Central Bank (ECB)

e)     International Monetary Fund (IMF)

f)     Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) programme

a)   Europe moved to re-open funding to Greeces stricken economy, after a fractious Greek parliament approved a tough bailout programme in a vote that left govt without a majority and looking to new elections within months.

b)     PM Tsipras won backing of parliament for strict reform measures demanded by Greeces creditors led by Germany, but was left weakened by a revolt in his left-wing Syriza party.

c)     The move by the Greek parliament was enough to induce the ECB to re-open vital funds for Greek banking system under its ELA programme, after eurozone finance ministers signalled they would unlock €7 billion in bridge loans.

d)     The Greek parliament comfortably approved the agreement that Tsipras struck with the Eurozone that demands austery measures and liberal economic reforms tougher than those rejected by voters in a July 5 referendum.

5.

Japan passes security bills despite stiff opposition (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Japans security bills

b)     World War-II  

a)     Controversial security bills that opponents say will undermine 70 years of pacifism and could see Japanese troops fighting abroad for first time since World War-II passed through the powerful lower house of Parliament.

b)     The vote marks a victory for nationalist PM Shinzo Abe and other right-wingers, who have ignored popular anger in a bid to break what they see as the shackles of the US-imposed Constitution.

c)     The bills (a mix of updates to existing provisions that will allow Japans military to take part in non-UN peacekeeping missions) now go to the upper chamber.

6.

Obama defends nuclear deal; Khamenei calls for scrutiny (Page 16)

a)     International

a)      Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     P5+1 group

a)     President Barack Obama defended a nuclear deal the US and world powers reached with Iran saying 99 percent of the world community agrees to the agreement.

b)     While Obama defended the deal in Washington, Irans supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned President Rouhani that some world powers are not to be trusted in implementing it. Bringing the talks to a close was a milestone, but agreement requires careful scrutiny before it is approved.

7.

The power of pardon (Page 12)

a)     International

b)     Polity

a)     US criminal justice system

b)     Indian criminal justice system

c)     Criminal conviction

d)     Power of pardon

 

a)     Obamas decision on July 13 to commute the sentences imposed on 46 non-violent drug offenders now serving term in various US Federal prisons should warm the hearts of those who strongly believe that a criminal justice system without mercy and compassion is blind and lame; 13 of these prisoners had been on life sentence, while 1000 others continue to be incarcerated for life without parole.

b)     Unlike a presidential pardon, a commutation does not erase a criminal conviction, but only reduces a sentence. In his presidency, Obama has granted 64 pardons. When a head of state himself takes such an initiative and personally sends out a message to each of the released persons, the gesture assumes an import that is difficult to overstate.

c)     This unequivocal endorsement of a kind approach to crime and criminals rests on two inviolable facts: first, judicial officers imposing sentences are not infallible; they actually commit mistakes. Second, many offenders are known to display guilt and a desire to reform themselves and not laps the law again.

d)    While there is no guarantee that those released would not go back to their career of crime, there is every hope that they will not given the hardship that they had undergone during their long spell of incarceration. There is an element of trust here which is the foundation of civilised living and a stable public order.

e)     In general, it is widely known that many prisoners in the country have established their innocence after conviction and incarceration. According to the Innocence Project, a non-profit private initiative launched in the US in 1992, 330 convicts have been released since 1989, after they successfully invoked their right to a DNA test and convincingly proved that they had been wrongly sentenced.

f)    These facts uphold Obamas recent action as one that has merit and is justified; one which will at least partially restore the faith of Americas minorities in the administrations willingness and ability to undo injustice. In essence, what we need is a system that will take care to make a distinction between the one who lapsed into crime by accident and on impulse, and the one who is revengeful, and displays hate and no penitence whatsoever.

g)     Our Law Commission released a consultation paper on the subject recently, and followed it up with day-long discussions by experts. Such initiatives confirm that enlightened opinion does not set much score by the deterrent effect of severest of punishment and that there is still a case for continual evaluation of the impact of penalties.

h)     Obamas action revives memories of certain classical personalities who have contributed greatly to evolution of criminology as a fascinating discipline, and especially to the subject of deterrence. While Cesare Beccaria (an Italian criminologist) conceded that deterrence had a role in controlling crime, he would rather place a premium on certainty, proportionality and promptness of punishment.

i)     British philosopher Jeremy Benthams stand was that since punishment and pain were closely associated with each other, the state should inflict only so much punishment as was necessary to ward off the greater evil of a penalty. While both Beccaria and Bentham believed somewhat in deterrent effect of criminal punishments, they never overstated it.

j)     In recent years, they have been questioned because of a lack of scientific evidence to substantiate the effect of deterrence. But then we are still nowhere in our attempts to scientifically prove that punishment deters crimes. It is this anomalous situation that strengthens the case in favour of measures such as the one Obama has initiated.

k)    In all this, there are lessons for India. Although the US is guilty of incarcerating more people than it should, we are no less blameworthy. We carry the shame of having far too many undertrial detainees in our prisons because of an overburdened judicial apparatus and the extremely slow pace of trials.

l)     There is a need to spread knowledge on justice processes so that fearless decisions are made by investigating officers and prosecutors. This is the only way we can change the face of Indian criminal justice system that currently suffers from a very poor image in the eyes of both victims of crime and the layman.

8.

SC seeks Centres reply on re-promulgation of land ordinance (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

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

b)     Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency

c)     Social Impact Assessment (SIA)

d)     Article 123 of the Constitution

 

a)     The Supreme Court sought the Centres response after farmers bodies challenged the governments re-promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance as a contempt of the Constitution and running the country through ordinances.

b)     The government recently re-promulgated the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in LARR (Amendment) Ordinance 2015, which lapsed earlier this month. The ordinance was first promulgated in Dec 2014, re-promulgated in April this year and again in May.

c)     The court had on April 13 issued notice to govt after the farmers approached it following the first re-promulgation of the ordinance on April 3 2015.

d)     The petition had then sought the government to place on record before the court the trail of documents detailing the decision leading to the re-promulgation.

e)     It contended that the lack of political will or consensus or fear of the executive of getting defeated on the floor of House is not a ground for exercise of power under Article 123 (power of the President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament). The petition wanted the ordinance to be declared unconstitutional.

9.

Expert group set up to classify caste data collected by survey (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011

b)     Caste census

c)     Registrar General of India

d)     Census of India 2011

a)     Rejecting claims that it is withholding data from the SECC 2011, the govt set up an expert group headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to classify the caste count before making it public.

b)     Finance Minster Jaitley said the caste census conducted by Registrar General of India had come out with 46 lakh categories of caste, sub-caste, different surnames in the caste and clan names, which had been sent to the States 8 to 9 months back for clubbing them to consolidate the caste count.

c)     He said the govt was keen to release the caste data as soon as the States sent the details, because only then would the committee be able to classify it.

10.

Thatcher trod a fine line as India sought crackdown on Sikh extremists (Page 15)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     Sikh extremism

b)     Indira Gandhis assassination 

c)     India – UK relations

a)     British Cabinet documents relating to India-UK relations during 1984 and 1985 throw light on how the establishment viewed developments in India in turbulent years that saw the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi and early phase of Rajiv Gandhi, who replaced her.

b)     The making of British foreign policy is revealed in deep background briefing notes, talking points, telegrams, advisories, news clippings and personality assessments (of Indian politicians and bureaucrats) prepared for the then British PM Margaret Thatcher.

c)     The advice to Thatcher on how to respond to urgent demands by the Indian govt to crack down on Sikh extremism in the UK in the wake of Indira Gandhis assassination, and the close relations between Thatcher and Indira Gandhi are laid bare in the papers.

d)     A confidential internal assessment sent to Thatcher before her departure for New Delhi to attend the funeral says Indian govt machinery is robust by third world standards and is quite capable, with the armed forces, of containing large-scale civil disorder.

11.

Britain overtly linked Westland deal to aid, UK documents show (Page 15)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     Westland deal

b)     India – UK relations

a)   Newly released UK Cabinet office papers from 1984 and 1985 reveal the aggressive way in which the govt of Margaret Thatcher lobbied India over the sale of 27 Westland-30 helicopters, clearly linking the continued provision of aid to the deal going ahead.

b)     Hundreds of pages of documents reveal the clear way in which British diplomats and senior govt officials discussed how UK aid to India would be impacted if India failed to sign the Westland deal and instead chose a deal with the French.

c)     It was suggested that as much as 45 million pounds of UK aid for India that year had been allocated for helicopter programmes. Aid could instead be refocussed on other nations such as Indonesia or China.

d)     India eventually bought 21 Westland helicopters from Britain in 1987 in a 65 million pound deal, but withdrew them from service in 1991 amid safety concerns after 2 crashes in 1988 and 1989. They were sold in 1993 for less than a million pounds.

12.

Soil Health Card scheme takes off gingerly (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Soil Health Card scheme

b)     Fertilizer Quality Control System

c)     Participatory Guarantee System

d)     Soils

 

a)     Modi govt is projecting its programme for issuance of Soil Health Cards to farmers as a flagship programme but so far against a target of 84 lakh cards, only 34 lakh have been issued.

b)   Official said the Soil Health Card, Participatory Guarantee System-India (Certifying Organic Products), and Fertilizer Quality Control System are flagship programmes in the farm sector aimed at improving soil health and reducing input costs for farmers.

c)     The Soil Health Card is a printed report that will be given to farmers once in three years for each of his/her land holding. It will contain crucial information on macro nutrients in the soil, secondary nutrients, micro nutrients, and physical parameters. It will be followed by an advisory on the corrective measures that a farmer should take to improved soil health and obtain a better yield.

d)     The Fertilizer Quality Control System web gives information on the quality of imported fertilizers at ports while States check the quality of indigenously manufactured fertilizers.

e)   The Participatory Guarantee System portal provides for online registration, approval, documentation, record of inspection and Certification of organic products produced by a farmer.

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