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Daily News Analysis 24-07-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Will not allow Chinese military bases, Maldives assures India (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     After ratifying the constitutional amendment on freeholds, the Maldives President Abdullah Yameen said that Maldives governments move to allow foreign ownership of its islands will not affect Indias strategic interests.

2.

The Iran deal, a triumph for diplomacy (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     While the nuclear deal between Iran and West has removed one of major obstacles in real rapprochement, resistance from conservative opponents on the one hand and Israel and Saudi Arabia on the other could end up being the spoilers.

3.

China on course to shed one-child policy (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     China could be on course to throw its one-child policy (allowing couples to have a second child) to counter the demographic trend of an aging society and growing labour shortages.

4.

Creditors satisfied with second round of Greek reforms (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     As Parliament approved a second batch of reforms needed for negotiations to go ahead, the government said that Greeces creditors will head to Athens shortly to open talks on a huge new international bailout.

5.

India and the IS (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     National

a)     Union Home Ministry decided to formulate a coherent national strategy to take on IS and prevent Indians being recruited by it.

6.

SC lifts stay but says Rajiv killers cannot be freed (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Even as the Supreme Court lifted its year-old ban on State govts from releasing life convicts on remission, it doubly ensured the relief does not extend to those serving life terms in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

7.

Justice or vengeance? (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The procedure followed to obtain a death warrant for Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon suffers from serious constitutional faults.

8.

Govt proposes to strip RBI chief of veto power on monetary policy (Pages 1 and 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Union govt proposed to remove the RBI Governors veto vote on Indias monetary policy. Govt also proposed to grant itself the power to appoint four of the six members of the Monetary Policy Committee, whose remit will include decisions on setting interest rates to maintain inflation at the targeted level.

9.

Constitutional conversations on Adivasi rights (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     A little used provision in the Constitution may hold the key to protecting the interests of Scheduled Tribes as they fight to hold on to their traditional lands.

10.

SAARC satellite to cost Rs. 235 cr. (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Parliament was informed that the launch of SAARC satellite has been fixed at an estimated Rs. 235 crore and the cost associated with the launch will be met by the country.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Will not allow Chinese military bases, Maldives assures India (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Maldives relations

b)     Maritime Security

c)     Chinas Maritime Silk Route (MSR) project

d)     South China Sea

e)     India Ocean

a)     After ratifying constitutional amendment on freeholds, Maldives President Abdullah Yameen said that Maldives govts move to allow foreign ownership of its islands will not affect Indias strategic interests. The decision could benefit countries like China that are eager to build land holdings in the Indian ocean.

b)    The conciliatory statements from Male come after India raised concerns over the land law amendment that was passed by the Maldivian Peoples Majlis (Parliament).

c)     In his statement, President Yameen specifically referred to Indias objections to China building military bases or using reclaimed islands for them, as it is accused of doing in the South China Sea. He said the Maldivian govt has given assurances to Indian govt and our neighbouring countries as well to keep Indian Ocean a demilitarised zone.

d)     However, it is clear that given the parameters laid out for land ownership (including investments of over $1 billion for projects where 70 percent of land has been reclaimed), China will be the obvious beneficiary. President Xis 21st century new MSR attaches on projects in the Maldives, a key stop for route.

2.

The Iran deal, a triumph for diplomacy (Page 10)

a)     International

a)      US – Iran relations

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

c)     Irans nuclear programme

d)     West Asia crisis

e)     Islamic State (IS)

f)     Taliban

a)     Iran and West (particularly the US) had been on a collision course for decades. This hostility reached its peak under US President George Bush who launched a global campaign to impose crippling sanctions against Islamic Republic aimed at suppressing its economy. On its part, Iran took advantage of crises caused by US interventions in West Asia to expand its regional influence as a hedge.

b)     From those bitter days, the US-Iran relationship has undergone major changes within a relatively short span of time. And, the nuclear deal would not have been concluded unless such a transformation had taken place in bilateral ties. 

c)     US President Barack and his Iranian counterpart Rouhani deserve credit. From the very early days of his presidency, and when compared with the hostility towards Iran advocated by his predecessor, Obama had taken a pragmatic view of the nuclear deadlock. The Obama administration continued with the sanctions, while at the same time signalling his readiness to engage with Islamic Republic.

d)     The election of moderate Rouhani as Irans President in August 2013 breathed new life into the diplomatic process. While leaders vision and resolve are an imperative, their efforts should be pushed by other factors (notably political, economic and geopolitical) for comprehensive solutions to deep-rooted crises. In the case of Iran, there was a confluence of such factors that were in favour of a peaceful solution.

e)     Obama became President at a particular juncture of American history. The country was in the midst of an economic crisis; its people were tired of the wars the previous administration fought, and from a strategic point of view, American power was in steady decline.  Its so-called leadership of world was in a state of disarray. There was also a vibrant anti-war movement in US. These factors forced the Obama administration to recalibrate the countrys foreign policy.

f)     The administration faced difficult challenges in Asia: stabilising Iraq and Afghanistan; neutralising terror groups operating from within the region and dealing with Iran, all without risking one more major war. The way ahead was to open the door of diplomacy for Iran. The Obama administration chose to engage with Iran, hoping to bring the spoiler power to the table of stability.

g)     Since the revolution, the two key driving forces of Irans foreign policy were the survival of Islamic Republic and anti-Americanism. But the Iranian leadership (particularly the conservatives) consider these two as interconnected forces.

h)     George Bushs anti-Iranism only helped reinforce the view in Tehran that US continued to be a threat to the survival of the Islamic Republic and that Iran would continue to destabilise American interests in West Asia. Obama tried to disrupt this narrative by writing a letter directly to the Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei immediately after he assumed office in which he expressed an interest in nuclear cooperation. So, the correspondence between them was viewed in Washington as a signal for a go-ahead in nuclear talks.

i)     But the decision in Iran to get into direct talks with US was taken much later, and it was caused by a silent reformist movement that gradually gained prominence in Tehran. In two years, streets in the Arab world witnessed scenes of protests against dictatorships, sending alarm bells ringing across the region. Iran was particularly vulnerable as the countrys economy was in a bad shape following the sanctions.

j)     Besides the internal dynamics, the new geopolitical realities in Asia also played a crucial role in bringing US and Iran together. For example, the US shares more strategic interests with Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other Asian country. Take the case of Iraq, a country that Americans helped destroy. Several key cities in the northwest are in the hands of IS. If Baghdad falls, it would be a setback for both American and Iranian interests in West Asia.

k)     America does not want to send ground troops to Iraq and its aerial campaign alone cant defeat IS. In Afghanistan, both sides have coordinated once in taking on Taliban. Iran would not like to see Taliban returning to power in its neighbouring country. The US (which has withdrawn most troops from Afghanistan) now wants Irans help in stabilising the country.

l)     So the stage is set for greater cooperation. And the deal on the nuclear issue has removed one of major obstacles in real rapprochement. The US would like Iran to no longer be a spoiler power and instead play a stabilising role in West Asia, suited to its interests. On the other hand, before effecting any structural change in its foreign policy orientation, Iran would seek strategic assurance from Washington that it would not return to anti-Iranism.

3.

China on course to shed one-child policy (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Chinas one-child policy

b)     Population

a)     China could be on course to throw its one-child policy (allowing couples to have a second child) to counter the demographic trend of an aging society and growing labour shortages.

b)     According to UN estimates, nearly 440 million people in China would be over 60 by 2050, signaling a rapid decline in the labour pool. Last year, the working population between ages 15-59 dropped by 3.71 million – a trend that is like to continue in the future.

c)     Responding to the adverse demographics, the govt had (two year ago) allowed couples (either of whom was a single child) to have a second child. The ruling especially benefited those couples born in the 1980s and 90s when the one-child policy was strictly enforced. Nevertheless, the 2013 ruling has not resulted in a dramatic rise in the second child births.

4.

Creditors satisfied with second round of Greek reforms (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)     As Parliament approved a second batch of reforms needed for negotiations to go ahead, the government said that Greeces creditors will head to Athens shortly to open talks on a huge new international bailout.

b)     Greece and its creditors last week struck a bailout-for-reforms deal aimed at preventing Athens from crashing out of Eurozone as it struggles to pay its huge debts.

5.

India and the IS (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     National

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     West Asia crisis

c)     Wahhabism

d)     Salafism

e)     Babri Masjid demolition

f)     Gujarat riots

a)     The meteoric rise of IS into a state-like apparatus from the detritus of the civil war and insurgency-riven Iraq and Syria has been well-documented. How the terror group has managed to retain control over territory it holds, through a mixture of brutality, fear and immense money power, has also been noted widely.

b)     What is perhaps less understood is how it has managed to draw recruits from all over the world. A tentative reason being offered is the radicalisation of some alienated Muslims even in countries that promote multiculturalism and ease of assimilation of minority identities within nation-state. Another is the spread and reach of exclusivist ideologies such as Wahhabism and Salafism that are being promoted by West Asian state actors.

c)     It is in this context that the Union Home Ministrys decision to formulate a coherent national strategy to take on IS and prevent Indians being recruited by it must be seen. Reports have indicated that less than a dozen Indians have joined IS in the past year, even as IS symbols have been seen in places such as Kashmir at rallies led by separatist groups.

d)     ISs millenarian and medieval notions of Islam treats Muslims who do not stick to its ideology (especially members of other non-Sunni sects of Islam) as apostates. On other hand, Islam in India has a broad syncretic reach; the possibility of the ideological influence of groups such as IS coming to play in India is limited.

e)     Yet, there is the distinct possibility of IS targeting or influencing disaffected youth among the community. Radical groups have spread their influence in the last decade due to grievances and disaffection, following incidents such as the Babri Masjid demolition and the Gujarat riots, and some of them have linked up with terrorist groups.

f)     The threat of IS in India has to be tackled not just by means of a security-oriented response but also by ensuring that the grounds of this disaffection among Indias largest minority community are addressed  in a just way.

6.

SC lifts stay but says Rajiv killers cannot be freed (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Rajiv Gandhi assassination case  

c)     Terrorists And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act

d)     Supreme Court

e)     High Court

a)     Even as the Supreme Court lifted its year-old ban on State govts from releasing life convicts on remission, it doubly ensured the relief does not extend to those serving life terms in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

b)     The cause for July 2014 stay order was the Centres writ petition challenging the Tamil Nadu govt decision to remit the punishment of 7 life convicts in the assassination case whose death penalty was commuted to life sentence by Supreme Court.

c)     The order brought relief to many life convicts who have already served over 14 years of their life sentences. Again, States were restrained from releasing persons convicted for crimes under Central laws like TADA and for horrible crimes like rape with murder.

d)     The order came shortly after the Centre had urged the apex court not to show any further mercy to the convicts in Rajiv Gandhi case. The Centre had said that its voice was that of families who lost loved ones in the 1991 assassination.

e)     The Centre had said it could not allow Tamil Nadu to tinker with the Supreme Court judgment and use its power of remission to release seven convicts whose death penalty was commuted to life imprisonment in the case.

7.

Justice or vengeance? (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Curative petition

c)     TADA court

d)     Code of Criminal Procedure (CPC)

e)     Mumbai serial blasts 1993

f)     Supreme Court

 

a)     There is a worrying certainty around the hanging of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, convicted for planning and executing the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. Maharashtra govt seems determined to execute him on July 30 despite several omissions on its part and constitutional options still remaining open for him.

b)     Unfortunately, there has been virtually no discussion around the death warrant proceedings of April 2015 at TADA court in Mumbai, which have now come to light. There is even less reportage on the multiple legal options available to him (the exercise of which is his constitutional right) and on which the crimes he has been convicted for have no bearing.

c)     Death warrant or black warrant proceedings are held in the court that first ordered the sentence of death. The contents of a death warrant can be found in the CPC, in the innocuously named Form No. 42. The form states the name of the person to be executed, the offence for which he was originally sentenced and the time, date, and place of execution.

d)     Ideally, black warrant proceedings ought to take place only after a prisoner has exhausted all legal remedies. Yet there is very little clarity in the law, and consequently in the actions of State govts, on precisely when a death warrant can be issued. Recently, there have been demonstrable lapses on the part of State govts.

e)     Unfortunately, what govts ignore is unimaginable impact of unnecessary, premature, open-ended or multiple death warrants against a prisoner - that of swinging between life and death, or living with an indeterminate fate.

f)     In Memons case, the death warrant that was issued on April 30 2015 scheduling his execution for July 30 2015 was unnecessary and invalid in law. Maharashtra govt should have known that Memon still had the option of filing a curative petition. Before proceeding to execute an individual, it is the govts obligation to ensure that all legal options have been explored.

g)     Another strong inconsistency in the states actions is the assumption that Memons curative petition would be undoubtedly rejected on July 21. Ideally, the state ought to have cancelled the death warrant upon knowing that a curative petition was pending before Supreme Court, and issued a fresh warrant.

h)     Apart from challenging the validity of death warrant, Memon has other legal remedies that remain unexplored. Supreme Court in Shatrughan Chauhan v Union of India (Jan 2014) once again affirmed the rights of death row prisoners to challenge rejection of their mercy petition on certain grounds.

i)     Memon has now filed a fresh mercy petition in his name and the Govts of Maharashtra and India will now have to consider the grounds raised in it. If the concerned govts choose to reject his mercy petition, Memon can ask the courts to examine the rejection on various grounds, including that of procedural impropriety.

j)     Constitutional safeguards allow prisoners on death row, regardless of offence they may have committed, to exhaust all legal remedies and to be spared hurried, arbitrary and secret executions. Memon cannot be denied the opportunity to exercise his legal options, and it would be a dangerous precedent to prevent him from doing so. The taking of life by the state must be subject to the highest levels of constitutional scrutiny.

8.

Govt proposes to strip RBI chief of veto power on monetary policy (Pages 1 and 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Monetary Policy Committee  

b)     Public Debt Management Authority (PDMA)

c)     RBI Act

a)     Union govt proposed to remove the RBI Governors veto vote on Indias monetary policy. Govt also proposed to grant itself the power to appoint 4 of the 6 members of the Monetary Policy Committee, whose remit will include decisions on setting interest rates to maintain inflation at the targeted level.

b)     The revised draft of the Indian Financial Code (put out by Union Finance Ministry for comments) proposes that the RBI Chairperson shall head the committee, with no reference to the Governor.

c)     The Reserve Banks Board will nominate one of its executives as fifth member of the committee. The Chairperson will nominate one of its employees as the sixth member.

d)     The move comes in the wake of a severe breakdown of talks between the Centre and the RBI over amendments to the RBI Act, which Finance Minister Jaitley had announced in his Budget speech.

e)     RBI has rejected the Union Finance Ministrys diluted proposal for a non-statutory PDMA, and instead proposed a public debt management cell to be headed by the Finance Secretary.

9.

Constitutional conversations on Adivasi rights (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Adivasi rights

b)     Article 21 of the Constitution 

c)     Article 19 of the Constitution 

d)     Schedules V and VI of the Constitution

e)     Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order 1950

f)     Food securty

g)     Public Distribution System (PDS)

h)     Jarawas

i)     Chenchus

j)     Baigas

a)     Even 67 years after Independence, the problems of Adivasi communities are about access to basic needs. These include elementary education, community healthcare, sustainable livelihood support, PDS, food security, drinking water and sanitation, debt, and infrastructure. For them, equality of opportunity remains largely unfulfilled.

b)     In this context, it is important to stress that the values of tribal culture are transmitted in a manner that protects the right of the bearers of knowledge to determine the terms of the transmission without exploitation or commodification. Nor can the Adivasis unhindered access to land and forests, including full access to the commons (especially in scheduled areas) be understated.

c)     While most of these protections are available to groups named in Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order 1950, there are some tribal communities that fall within the categories of SC and OBC and some that dont fall into any of these categories.

d)     Within the category of ST, there are over 500 groups listed of whom roughly 70 are part of sub-classification Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups, a small cluster of groups that include the Jarawas of the Andaman Islands, the Chenchus of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and the Baigas of Chhattisgarh. These groups face an acute crisis of survival, evident in their rapidly decreasing numbers.

e)     Therefore, they are in need of special protection even within the larger ST category, protections in relation to non-tribal communities as well as in relation to other tribal communities. Notwithstanding these complex intersections and overlaps, tribal communities (especially STs) are subject of special constitutional attention.

f)     The right of tribal peoples to development through pathways that affirm their autonomy and dignity (as set out in Article 21 and under Schedules V and VI of Indian Constitution) is often seen as the core of Adivasi rights.

g)     The constitutional arguments in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh resisting the Polavaram dam centred on whether the state could alter the boundaries of a scheduled area without presidential assent. Submergence alters boundaries, causes disappearance of villages and village institutions, and provides people from these communities vulnerable through dispossession by displacement - all of which are the subject of special protections for the STs.

h)     An important part of Article 19 protections have to do specifically with protection of interests of STs (Clause 5) as distinct from other marginalised groups through limitations on right to freedom of movement (sub-cause 1(d)) and right to freedom of residence (sub-clause 1(d)). This offers a core and express fundamental right protection to Adivasis from a range of state and non-state intrusions in scheduled areas as well as from the perennial threat of eviction of Adivasis from their homelands.

i)     It is the interests of STs that are paramount in this fundamental right provision, which is presented importantly as a restriction on an enumerated right that is clear and specific - not a restriction of a general nature (namely, the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order, decency or morality) as is the case with the other constituent freedoms in Article 19.

j)     Understanding situation of tribal communities is key to understanding Constitution, its framework and its possibilities in the fullest sense. Perhaps it is time to strengthen our reading of the Constitution in troubled times we live in.

10.

SAARC satellite to cost Rs. 235 cr. (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     SAARC satellite

b)     Geostationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-II

c)     ISRO

a)     Parliament was informed that the launch of SAARC satellite has been fixed at an estimated Rs. 235 crore and the cost associated with the launch will be met by the country.

b)     It will enable full range of applications and services to the member-nations in the areas of telecommunication and broadcasting applications namely television, direct-to-home, very small aperture terminals, tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management support.

c)   The satellite was announced by PM Modi at the SAARC summit in Nepal in Nov 2014.

d)    The ISRO will build the satellite with 12 Ku-band transponders and launch it using the Indian GSLV Mk-II.

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