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Daily News Analysis 22-07-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India, Japan and US can shape Chinas peaceful rise (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Official said the coordination among India, Japan and the US on security cooperation and economic ties are essential because they can fundamentally talk about how they can shape Chinas rise in a peaceful way.

2.

New Development Bank of BRICS opens in Shanghai (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The BRICS grouping has formally opened the New Development Bank as a dedicated channel of alternate finance, which will focus on emerging economies and the Global South.

3.

Greece braces for next vote (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    The Greek government said that it wants to see a final deal on its international bailout hammered out by August 20, as it presented Parliament with more draft legislation on the cash-for-reforms agreement.

4.

PM relents, may agree to amend Land Bill (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Union Cabinet (chaired by PM Modi) deliberated a proposal to amend the Land Bill to give flexibility to the States to frame their own laws for land acquisition, a demand various CMs aired at the July 15 meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog.

5.

Show no more mercy to Rajiv killers, Centre tells SC (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Centre told the Supreme Court that no further mercy should be shown to convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

6.

Trial and error (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     In its 1980 Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab ruling, the Supreme Court laid down the rarest of the rare principle in handing out the death penalty.

7.

Crime and commensurate punishment (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Today, the Juvenile Justice Bill that seeks to equate 16 to 18-year-olds with adult criminals will be presented in the Rajya Sabha. Will the rights of children below 18 be protected here at least?

8.

Govt extends interest subvention scheme (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     The govt extended the interest subvention scheme to make banks advance crop loans of up to Rs. 3 lakh at the rate of 7 percent.

9.

Historic fly-by (Page 10)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     History was made on July 14 when NASAs New Horizons became the first spacecraft to successfully fly by the dwarf planet Pluto, the last unexplored world in the Solar System.

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India, Japan and US can shape Chinas peaceful rise (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India, Japan and US maritime security cooperation

b)     South China Sea

c)     East China Sea

a)     Japanese official said the coordination among India, Japan and the US on security cooperation and economic ties are essential because they can fundamentally talk about how they can shape Chinas rise in a peaceful way.

b)    Japanese Cabinet approved a defence white paper for 2015 which sounded alarm over Chinas one sided maritime activities in the South China Sea. Chinas land reclamation in South China Sea has increased tensions in the resource rich region which is contested by several nations.

c)     On the Japanese white paper and their reinterpretation of the constitution, he said the collective self-defence by Japan was defensive in posture meant to prevent an aggression. It is a delicate balancing act between reassuring China and also demonstrating deterrence to prevent it from following coercive actions that might destabilise the region.

d)     On Indias role, he pointed that Japan is set to join India and US in the Malabar maritime exercises in the Bay of Bengal and it is a sign of increased engagement and good way to express shared interests.

2.

New Development Bank of BRICS opens in Shanghai (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     New Development Bank (NDB)

b)     BRICS

c)     International Monetary Fund (IMF)

d)     World Bank

e)     Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

f)     Chinas Belt and Road initiative

 

a)     The BRICS grouping has formally opened the NDB as a dedicated channel of alternate finance, which will focus on emerging economies and the Global South.

b)     Top officials of new bank (which opened in Shanghai) stressed that the NDB would not rival but complement the western backed IMF and the World Bank, born out of the Bretton Woods Conference of the forties. However, the emergence of the NDB and the AIIB (a China-led initiative to fund infrastructure in Asia) was hastened by the reluctance by the West since 2010, to grant emerging economies a greater say within the IMF.

c)     Sources said IMF reforms would have shifted more power to developing and emerging market economies. However, these reforms have since stalled as a result of the US Congress failure to ratify implementing legislation domestically.

d)     Aimed at the integration of Eurasian economies, the AIIB and complementary $ 40 billion Silk Road Fund are expected to fund some of projects along Beijing-proposed Belt and Road initiative.

e)     Officials said the NDB is going to try to be a 21st century institution. NDB will have an initial capital of US$50 billion, which will be raised to US$100 billion within two years.

3.

Greece braces for next vote (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Greece debt crisis

b)     European Union (EU)

c)     European Commission

d)     European Central Bank (ECB)

e)     International Monetary Fund (IMF)

a)    The Greek government said that it wants to see a final deal on its international bailout hammered out by August 20, as it presented Parliament with more draft legislation on the cash-for-reforms agreement.

 

b)     After Parliament has voted on the second bill (which must pass if Greece is to receive the bailout worth up to €86 billion over three years), the govt will immediately resume negotiations with the lender institutions (EU, ECB & IMF).

c)     The second bill includes an EU directive (adopted after the financial crisis in Cyprus in 2013) that guarantees bank deposits up to 100,000 euros, as well as civil justice reforms designed to speed up legal proceedings and reduce their costs.

d)     Athens agreed last week to carry out tough reforms in exchange for a massive third bailout aimed at keeping Greece from crashing out of the Eurozone.

4.

PM relents, may agree to amend Land Bill (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Land Acquisition Act (LAA) 2013

b)     Land Acquisition Act (LAA) 1894

c)     Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency

d)     Social Impact Assessment (SIA)

e)     Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)

f)     Section 254 (2) of the Constitution

 

a)     Union Cabinet (chaired by PM Modi) deliberated a proposal to amend the Land Bill to give flexibility to the States to frame their own laws for land acquisition, a demand various CMs aired at the July 15 meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog.

b)     PM Modi admitted that the amendments to the LAA 2013 had not gone down well with the people and made his govt look anti-farmer. Sources said he had acknowledged that the perception needed to be corrected at the ground level and he would not proceed with the Bill without engaging the allies in a dialogue.

c)     Though the Union Cabinet discussed a proposal to amend the Land Bill to give flexibility to the States to frame their own laws for land acquisition, a JPC is examining the draft Bill.

d)     The proposed provision to enable the States to frame and pass their own laws can be introduced under Section 254 (2) of the Constitution, which allows the States to frame and pass specific laws on a Union Act. At present, 78 laws are in use in various States on the LAA 1894, all passed by them under Section 254 (2).

5.

Show no more mercy to Rajiv killers, Centre tells SC (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

c)     Solicitor-General of India

d)     Supreme Court

a)     The Centre told the Supreme Court that no further mercy should be shown to convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Solicitor-General of India said the court had done enough for them by commuting their death penalty to life imprisonment.

b)     Arguing before a 5-judge Constitution Bench, the Centre said it had a parental duty to voice the grief of families who lost their loved ones in the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur.

c)     The Centre said it could not allow the Tamil Nadu govt to tinker with the Supreme Court judgment and use its power of remission to free seven convicts whose death penalty was commuted. The Bench then dismissed Tamil Nadus preliminary challenge against the Centres locus standi and agreed to hear the case further on merit.

d)     The court had on Feb 20 2014 stayed the Tamil Nadu govts decision to release three convicts (Murugan, Santhan and Arivu) whose death sentences were commuted to life term by it on February 18.

e)     The Jayalalithaa govt had decided to set free all the seven convicts who have been in jail for 23 years for their role in Rajiv Gandhis assassination.

6.

Trial and error (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Supreme Court

c)     High Court

a)     In its 1980 Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab ruling, the Supreme Court laid down the rarest of the rare principle in handing out the death penalty. However, the high frequency of the award of capital punishment by trial courts across country should give pause for thought.

b)     New research findings from the Centre on the Death Penalty at the National Law University in Delhi show that trial courts handed down 1800 death sentences over last year. Trial courts have been handing out death sentences at the rate of ten a month for last 15 years.

c)     The numbers point to the fact that too little attention is being paid to the cruel misuse of death penalty in Indias lower courts, resulting in decades spent on death row while there is only a slim probability of it being confirmed.

d)     Why trial courts are handing out death sentences at such a fast pace needs to be studied. These courts are more proximate to crimes than higher courts in terms of occurrence and distance, and their working is poorly scrutinised by media. The data are rarely supervised by the High Courts under whose jurisdiction they come.

e)     In addition, a fair amount of confusion prevails over the circumstances in which the death penalty should be given, on account of lack of clarity on the part of higher courts. The principle of the rarest of rare seems subjective considering that among the 385 prisoners now on death row in India, the largest proportion is there for murder, and 25 percent for committing a single murder.

f)     These were cases in which not just the trial courts but the High Courts and the Supreme Court too had seemingly erred - every level of the system had then failed them. The moral imperative apart, inconsistent outcomes from the judicial system on this question should be reason enough for India to urgently revoke its position on the death penalty.

7.

Crime and commensurate punishment (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children Bill 2015

b)     Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) 2012

c)     Parliamentary Standing Committee

d)     Child rights

e)     Supreme Court

 

a)     For today, the Minister of Women and Child Development is slated to demand the passing of a bill (which if made into law) will instantly violate every elected govts compact in protecting all its people. As also every international pact that India has signed guaranteeing rights of children below 18 years of age.

b)     The govt has already passed the Juvenile Justice Bill in Lok Sabha. Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children Bill 2015 is on the Internet, and its high opening paragraphs go against the ruling. As does the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee to which this Bill was sent, which rejected the clause.

c)     Apart from being wrong at so many levels, the 16-18 heinous offence clause in the Juvenile Justice Bill is also a failure of imagination to come up with a collective political solution that can stand the test of time. It eventually culminated into the watertight POCSO 2012 under UPA govt, protecting minors (understood as being under 18) from adults (above 18) from any and all forms of sexual abuse.

d)     During POCSO, a violent debate had risen on whether 16 to 18 year-olds should be considered as minors at all. Readers might recall how middle-class, working professionals and young parents intensely opposed the lowering of the minor age. Agreeing with them were the present Finance Minister Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma, and the HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

e)     The Minister does not bother to spell out (consultations with the Law Ministry and an approval by the PM would have served the purpose of this Bill) on what actually constitutes heinous. Instead, the word is equated with its punishment.

f)   There are 2 other innocuous words that find their way into the Bill. Chapter I, Page 5 (33) says heinous offences includes offences for which minimum punishment under the IPC or any other law for the time being in force is imprisonment for 7 years or more. The word includes lays the entire system and not just juvenile vulnerable to misinterpretations and gross misuse by those with different agendas at every level the case goes through.

g)     Second, Chapter II, Page 8 (14) says under Principle of fresh start - all past records of any child under Juvenile Justice system should be erased, except in special circumstances. The author has pointed out that the phrase except in special circumstances is dangerous and leaves something so sensitive totally open-ended. It can lead to racial profiling of the child on lines of family background, caste, community, and religion. The circumstances must be specified.

h)     There is no stated legal definition of word heinous. There is no law to quantify or qualify what heinous should mean. In such a case, it could just as well be used in a civil context and not just a criminal one. When asked about the definition of rarest of the rare, Supreme Court Advocate says the following.

i)     In Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980), the Supreme Court said that death sentence can be declared by judges when the option of life imprisonment is unquestionably foreclosed. It also lays down the principle of weighing aggravating and mitigating circumstances. To ascertain whether justice will not be done if any punishment less than the death sentence is awarded, a balance sheet has to be drawn up. The court held that two prime questions may be asked and answered.

j)     First, is there something uncommon about the crime that provides the sentence of imprisonment for life inadequate and calls for a death sentence? Second, are there circumstances of the crime such that there is no alternative but to impose the death sentence even after according maximum weightage to the mitigating circumstances which speak in favour of the offenders?

k)     Thus, heinous offence by those between 16 and 18 can mean anything. It will include the violation of rights of not only a teenager but also (by extension) the violation of the civil rights of any parent who has a 16 to 18-year-old who has been foolish enough to cross a boundary.

l)     The Bill that can turn into a law today has a word so innocuously severe that it can affect the rights of all Indian children in future, as also their parents.  If it stands in statutes without definition, heinous offences condemns Indias future citizens. Once it holds such a sword over its citizenrys head, No govt will reverse it.

8.

Govt extends interest subvention scheme (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Interest subvention scheme

b)     Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme  

c)     Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project

d)     NABARD

a)     Union Cabinet has given its approval for the continuation of interest subvention by public sector banks, private sector commercial banks, regional rural banks, cooperative banks and NABARD to enable them to provide short-term crop loans of up to Rs. 3 lakh to farmers at 7percent a year during 2015-16.

b)     The Cabinet extended the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme by five years and expanded the scope of the programme to cover 15 new product categories. The scheme has been extended for a period of 5 years beyond July 26 2015. The extension of the scheme is a big boost towards making India a global destination for electronics manufacturing.

c)     In another decision, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs also approved a proposal for restructuring the ICZM project, which is aimed at protecting and conserving the coastal environment.

9.

Historic fly-by (Page 10)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     New Horizons spacecraft

b)     Pluto

c)     Kuiper belt

d)     Charon

e)     Solar System

f)     NASA

a)     History was made on July 14 when NASAs New Horizons became the first spacecraft to successfully fly by the dwarf planet Pluto, the last unexplored world in the Solar System. This it did after travelling a distance of nearly 5 billion kilometres since its launch in Jan 2006.

b)     A satellite carrying the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh (the astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930) confirmed Plutos pride of place as largest object in the Kuiper belt - Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status in Aug 2006 after the discovery of Eris (of similar size) in the Kuiper belt.

c)     Contrary to expectations, first close-up image revealed that the surface of Pluto was not explained with any impact craters formed by objects bombarding it. Without doubt, the surface is very young (probably less than 100 million years old) and the only way to explain this is by rejecting the grand old theory of an inert Pluto made up of ice and rock.

d)     Instead, the dwarf planet is geologically active with an internal heat source that drives the engine, and it has some yet-to-be deciphered mechanism that refreshes the surface from time to time; tidal heating can be ruled out as Pluto does not orbit any giant planet.

e)     Similarly, the existence of high mountains, possible volcanoes, fault lines, rift valleys and other features underlines the presence of active tectonics. Similar to the crater-free surface, a mountain range projecting out 3500 mtrs above it is also less than 100 million years old, and is one of the youngest surfaces seen in the Solar System.

f)     Much like Pluto, its largest moon Charon too has a young surface with geologically diverse features. More images are expected to be sent on by the spacecraft until August next year, and these could contain invaluable information about both Pluto and its moon, and other objects in the Kuiper belt.

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