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Daily News Analysis 05-08-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India should assist campaign against IS: ex-US official (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Former US official said that India should join the US-led fight against the terror outfit, Islamic State, non-militarily, and support ongoing Afghan-Taliban talks.

2.

Citizenship soon for those who fled religious persecution (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In a move that will have far-reaching implications in Assam and some parts of north-west India, the Union Home Ministry will amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant citizenship to undocumented migrants who fled religious persecution in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

3.

India, Pakistan blame each other for ceasefire violations (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India and Pakistan were involved in accusations over ceasefire violations along International Border in Jammu and Kashmir. Loss of civilian lives was reported from both sides of the border even as both countries blamed the other for unprovoked firing.

4.

Former Pak. investigator blames LeT for 26/11 (Pages1,12)

a)     I.R

a)     Former Pakistani investigator Tariq Khosas statement that there is evidence to link the LeT to 26/11 Mumbai attacks has reinforced Indias position on cross-border terrorism.

5.

Pakistan hangs teen convict despite appeals (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Pakistan executed a convicted killer whose supporters say was a juvenile at the time of his crime, despite stiff objections from rights groups and the UN.

6.

S. China Sea tensions flare at ASEAN talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Southeast Asian diplomats said that Chinas controversial island-building drive is raising regional tensions, with the Philippines criticising its unilateral and aggressive activities.

7.

Afghanistan on edge again (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     Mullah Omar is a tough act for Mullah Mansour to follow, given that he has not yet won over either the Taliban cadres or the Afghan Shura.

8.

Autonomous councils key to Naga deal success (Pages 1 and 12)

a)    National

a)     A day after Naga peace accord was signed, a senior govt official said that creation of autonomous councils for Naga people outside Nagaland is under consideration.

9.

Breakthrough in Nagaland (Page 10)

a)    National

a)     India has taken a big step forward in ending the protracted Naga insurgency by signing a framework agreement with the largest and most prominent of armed Naga groups, the NSCN (Isak-Muivah).

10.

Rs. 120 cr. for urban renewal plan (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     A new phase of Indias urban renewal began with the Union Urban Development Ministry announcing release of Rs. 120 crore to the States and Union Territories.

11.

Its a diabolic act, but health of convicts matters too: TN (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Countering the Centres stand that no further mercy be shown to convicts in 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Tamil Nadu govt told the Supreme Court that though the killing of a former PM on Indian soil was a diabolic act, factors such as public sentiment and the age and health of the convicts need to be considered by the government 24 years later.

12.

Smart is as smart does (Page 11)

a)     National

a)     Smart Cities are inevitable in the same way that Smart Grids are inevitable. But we need something new, something better, and something that works.

13.

RBI kept rates unchanged (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)   RBI kept the indicative policy rate (Repo) unchanged at 7.25 percent, citing the delay in transmission of earlier rate cuts by banks and the continuing inflationary pressures in the economy.

14.

Nine US satellites to be flown from Sriharikota (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     In a small but significant progress in the chequered Indo-US space equations, Indian satellite launchers will for the first time put a few US-made satellites into space from Indian soil.

15.

Victory over Ebola (Page 10)

a)     S&T

a)    The alacrity and eagerness shown by the research community to find a safe and efficacious vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus has borne fruit.

16.

Rare Chera, Chola coins found in Thanjavur (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     History

a)   Ten coins including a Sangam age Chera coin datable to circa second century BCE, 8 Chola period coins and a Vijayanagara period coin have been found in a trench excavated at Senthalaipattanam, Thanjavur district.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India should assist campaign against IS: ex-US official (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Taliban – Afghan government peace talks

c)     Peacekeeping Summit

a)     The former US National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley said that India needs to be clear about threat of IS and how the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan will affect India.

b)     He said there was some doubt among Afghans over the success of Afghan govt-Taliban talks last month (especially after announcement of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar) but that the talks were a course that must be continued.

c)     Addressing concern and anger in India over the fact that the govt was not taken into confidence over Pakistan-led Afghan-Taliban talks, he said that India is not going to be able to show up at talks. He hopes that the US has had very frank conversations and there is some understanding on how Indias legitimate concerns about the process would be addressed.

d)     He said that he hoped PM Modi and President Obama will discuss cooperation on fighting the IS when they meet in US on the sidelines of a Peacekeeping Summit on September 28.

2.

Citizenship soon for those who fled religious persecution (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Citizenship Act 1955

b)     Foreigners Act 1946

c)     Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920

d)     Passport (Entry into India) Rules 1950

 

a)     In a move that will have implications in Assam and some parts of north-west India, the Union Home Ministry will amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant citizenship to undocumented migrants who fled religious persecution in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

b)     Sources have confirmed that a Bill is in works to amend the Act and make changes to some provisions in Foreigners Act 1946, the Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920, and the Passport (Entry into India) Rules 1950. The Law Ministry has reviewed the amendments.

c)     The cut-off date proposed for victims of religious persecution from Pakistan and Bangladesh who can apply for citizenship is Dec 31 2014. Citizenship by registration (a minimum stay of 7 years) and naturalisation (a minimum of 12 years) will be the two routes.

d)     The External Affairs Ministry has cautioned the Home Ministry that the move could hurt Indias relations with its neighbours. Nevertheless, the political call has been taken.

e)     The Citizenship Act 1955 would have to be amended to reflect the exemption from the status of illegal migrant. Section 2, sub-section 1s clause (b) will have a proviso which will reflect this exemption.

3.

India, Pakistan blame each other for ceasefire violations (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     Line of Control (LoC)

d)     International Border (IB)

e)     Border Security Force (BSF)

a)     India and Pakistan were involved in accusations over ceasefire violations along IB in Jammu and Kashmir. Loss of civilian lives was reported from both sides of the border even as both countries blamed the other for unprovoked firing.

b)     Indian authorities blamed Pakistan Rangers for targeting several BSF Border Outposts and said an infiltration bid by two suspected militants along the IB opposite Kanachak area was foiled.

c)   In Pakistan, the govt lodged a protest with India on what it alleged was latest unprovoked ceasefire violations by Indian security forces in the Pukhlian-Aknur sector at the IB.

d)     Pakistan Army has also been trying to provoke a strong Indian reaction by targeting civilian areas along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts.

4.

Former Pak. investigator blames LeT for 26/11 (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     26/11 Mumbai attacks

d)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

e)     Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)

a) Former Pakistani investigator Tariq Khosas statement that there is evidence to link the LeT to 26/11 Mumbai attacks has reinforced Indias position on cross-border terrorism.

b)     His reference to the trial of Mumbai case having dragged on for far too long has also found a resonance in India.

c)     Citing the Dec 16 2014 attacks carried out by the TTP, he had suggested that both India and Pakistan admit their mistakes and follies and learn to co-exist while trying to find solutions to their difficult issues through peaceful means.

5.

Pakistan hangs teen convict despite appeals (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    Death penalty

a)     Pakistan executed a convicted killer whose supporters say was a juvenile at the time of his crime, despite stiff objections from rights groups and the UN.

b)     Shafqat Hussain was hanged shortly before dawn at a jail in Karachi for killing a 7-year-old boy of the city in 2004. His case drew international attention as his lawyers and family claim he was only 15 at the time of the killing and was tortured into confessing.

c)     UN rights experts have said his trial fell short of international standards and urged Pakistan to investigate claims he confessed under torture, as well as his age.

6.

S. China Sea tensions flare at ASEAN talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     ASEAN talks

b)     South China Sea

a)     Southeast Asian diplomats said that Chinas controversial island-building drive is raising regional tensions, with the Philippines criticising its unilateral and aggressive activities.

b)   The US and some Southeast Asian states have watched with growing alarm as Beijing expands small reefs in South China Sea, topping some with military posts to reinforce its disputed claims over the strategic waters and blowing fears of future conflict.

c)     The flashpoint issue has taken centre-stage at the annual security forum hosted by the 10-member ASEAN that began on Aug 4th. But China has insisted it will not discuss the dispute during meetings. That prompted a sharp criticism from Philippines, which (along with Vietnam) has been involved in the most direct territorial confrontations with China.

7.

Afghanistan on edge again (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     Taliban

b)     Taliban – Afghan government peace talks

c)     Afghanistan situation

d)     Afghanistan – Pakistan relations

a)     Since their appearance on Afghan political landscape in 1994 and ascendancy to power in 1996, the Taliban have been confronted with formidable resistance and extreme challenges. They fought a relentless war against legendary commander Ahmad Shah Massoud besides confronting Uzbek commanders such as Abdul Rashid Dostum and Gen. Abdul Malik Pahlawan before consolidating their hold over most of Afghanistan by 1998.

b)     In the brief span of three years, from 1998 to 2001 (when their regime was defeated by US military intervention) the Taliban got a temporary respite when they formulated a vision for shaping the political and judicial systems of the country in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic beliefs and doctrines.

c)     The bulk of movements leaders and supporters survived and went on to put in place a defiant military campaign of resistance against one of the most lethal and potent military machines that the world has assembled for many years. The Talibans campaign took many military strategists by surprise. 

d)    Until late 2003, it appeared that Taliban had been consigned to the dustbin of history and that Afghanistan would now be a US outpost to be ruled by its proxies and its enlightened representatives, and that the country would be a US dependency to be used in advancing USs politico-military objectives in the region.

e)     However, the Taliban endured and gained strength as the years wore on. The year 2014 was the deadliest as far as attacks on Afghan and coalition forces were concerned. This was threatening, as the coalition forces had thinned out and were on their way to exiting country.

f)     Then came the bombshell. It was found that Taliban leader had been dead for two years. The Taliban had adored and loved chief Mullah Omar. The insurgency would now be waging a struggle for the first time without the leader who had defied the West and the world. He had engaged a superpower in the longest war in its history using rifles, improvised explosive devices, rockets and, above all, volunteers who would gladly die for the cause.

g)     Undoubtedly Taliban faces its darkest hour and its gravest challenge. The challenge is not one of appointing a successor who would be anointed as Amirul Mominnen - the leader of the faithful. Taliban is faced with an existential threat to its unity. There is doubt about whether and to what extent it can retain its fundamentalist values and norms.

h)     Mullah Akhtar Mansours accession to leadership is not going to resolve fundamental issues that concern not only unity in ranks but whether the insurgency would consistently follow trajectory of resistance that has defined the Talibans attitude and vision.

i)     Mansour faces multiple and invincible obstacles as he tries to consolidate power. Ensuring unity is one of these. Winning over the support of the Shura is another. Shedding the image of a leader too close to Pakistan is perhaps the most demanding challenge. If the cadres in the field develop any notion of their leaders contacts with external forces, they will lose motivation to fight. That is the biggest threat to Taliban.

j)     If the dilemma is not resolved soon and a clear policy outlined more or less on the lines that Mullah Omar had followed, there will inevitably be divisions in the ranks. That would signal a new era in the troubled history of a troubled nation.

k)     Significant developments loom on the horizon. Pakistan will do well not to give the slightest reason to the rank and file of Taliban to think that it is covertly arranging a transition to a new phase with a new and more flexible leadership. Such a phase might bring a short-term gain, but would irretrievably damage Pakistans image not only among the Taliban but also in the Kabul government and among the Afghan people.

l)    The best option for Pakistan is to reappraise its policy and invest in people of Afghanistan, in institution-building in that country, transcending ethnic barriers rather than investing in groups, parties or individuals. Such an Afghanistan (independent, sovereign, stable, and free of insurgency) would be a long-term partner to Pakistan for peace in the region.

8.

Autonomous councils key to Naga deal success (Pages 1 and 12)

a)    National

a)     Naga peace deal

b)     National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah)

a)     A day after Naga peace accord was signed, a senior govt official said that creation of autonomous councils for Naga people outside Nagaland is under consideration.

b)     A similar peace agreement failed in 2011 as States with a sizeable Naga population such as Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh put up a stiff resistance to the formation of such councils.

c)    Though the Centre is yet to release the terms of the accord signed with NSCN(IM), govt sources said a redrawing of the internal boundaries of the States is not on the cards, but the Naga people would have sovereignty.

d)     Autonomous councils are locally appointed governments that function in States such as Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir.

e)    NSCN has been demanding a Greater Nagalim comprising all contiguous inhabited areas.

9.

Breakthrough in Nagaland (Page 10)

a)    National

a)     Naga peace deal

b)     NSCN (Isak-Muivah)

c)     NSCN (Khaplang)

a)     India has taken a big step forward in ending protracted Naga insurgency by signing a framework agreement with the largest and most prominent of armed Naga groups, the NSCN (IM).

b)     While the Khole-Kitovi and the Reformation factions (which are not party to present accord) have signed a ceasefire agreement with the govt, the Khaplang faction of the NSCN (active in the eastern areas of Nagaland and with bases across border in Myanmar) remains hostile to the engagement with the Isak-Muivah faction.

c)   NSCN (Khaplang) is known to have carried out a deadly attack on Army personnel in Manipur in June 2015 as a way of communicating its opposition to evolving accord with the I-M faction, and demonstrating its capabilities. The NSCN (K) seems to have forged an alliance with other disgruntled splinter groups that are in opposition to the course taken by the I-M faction.

d)     Thus, while the agreement with the NSCN (I-M) is a development in decades-long peace process, the Govt of India will have to bear in mind that many of the players of the insurgency are still not on board, and several issues do not have a settled look yet.

e)     For this agreement to hold, and to be built upon, govt needs to involve all the stakeholders, including other groups and members of Naga civil society, and representatives of the neighbouring States. Otherwise, the present agreement could falter in the months ahead.

f)     To recognise Naga sense of identity without acceding to claims on the territories of other States, to allow the people of Nagaland greater autonomy in deciding their own lives and future without allowing concessions on sovereignty of India: these are the challenges before the govt. The agreement provides a basis for pushing ahead on these aspects, and is a hard-earned opportunity that should not be lost.

10.

Rs. 120 cr. for urban renewal plan (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Rural renewal plan

b)     Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)

c)     Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)

a)     A new phase of Indias urban renewal began with the Union Urban Development Ministry announcing release of Rs. 120 crore to the States and UTs. As part of the AMRUT, the money will be directly transferred to municipal councils nationwide, something that is happening for first time in Indias urban governance.

b)    The Ministry has identified 482 cities, and each will receive Rs.25 lakh to pinpoint faults (in the existing service providing mechanisms such as water supply and sewerage) and come up with solutions.

c)   Unlike the UPAs JNNURM that allowed the State govts to take municipal-level decisions, AMRUT claims to empower the city councils, encouraging the Mayors to roll out plans that generate the interest of private developers to invest in public infrastructure - if that happens, the BJP govt will succeed in marking the beginning of what the Ministry has dubbed cooperative federalism.

d)     The 482 cities where this new approach of urbanism will be adopted are towns with a population of above one lakh.

11.

Its a diabolic act, but health of convicts matters too: TN (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Mercy petition

c)     Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

d)     Section 434 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CPC)

e)     CJI

f)     Supreme Court

g)     High Court

a)     Countering the Centres stand that no further mercy be shown to convicts in 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the Tamil Nadu govt told Supreme Court that though the killing of a former PM on Indian soil was a diabolic act, factors such as public sentiment and the age and health of the convicts need to be considered by the govt 24 years later.

b)   The Centre had assumed the role of parent of the country for those who lost their loved ones in the blast. It voiced its grief in Supreme Court, saying it was plain injustice if the State govt was allowed to tinker with, and use, its power of remission to release 7 convicts whose death penalty had been commuted to life imprisonment by the court.

c)     Under Section 434 of the CPC, the State govt can remit sentences of convicts only after consultation with the Centre in cases investigated by the CBI.

d)     CJI said that undeniably the fact that the investigation went to the CBI itself was a sign of the seriousness of the crime. This is a serious issue here. In a serious issue, when the statute says consultation is necessary, it does not mean only asking. Consultation here means effective and meaningful concurrence.

12.

Smart is as smart does (Page 11)

a)     National

a)     Smart Cities

b)     Smart Grids

a)     If the benefits of a smart system are apparent (and most specialists would attest to its potential) why dont we have more such systems?

b)     The challenge is amplified when we move from Smart Grids to Smart Cities, where multiple domains and jurisdictions need to interact for optimal outcomes, and we have risks of underinvestment in public goods.

c)     Smart Cities are inevitable in same way that Smart Grids are inevitable: but business as usual is just not good enough, especially when it comes to providing quality services in a quick and sustainable manner.

d)     The current planning for Smart Cities (there are a 100 Smart Cities proposed) includes foreign collaboration. The author said that it will be less helpful in terms of design than for funding support. If we want relevant lessons for Smart Cities, we can find many from Smart Grids.

e)     First, there is no one definition or solution. Smart cities create an enabling environment, and we need to be clear about the choices we are designing towards. As soon as we articulate our choices (access, lower cost, sustainability, new services) we will be able to see the inevitable trade-offs.

f)     Iteration and learning are the next lessons we need to adopt. Smart Grids talk of pilot projects (and even these should ideally be split into learning and deployment pilots). Similarly, we need to define a pilot project for a city. Simulation and multi-stakeholder engagement are key steps in the process.

g)  Probably the most important lesson from Smart Grids is that they constitute a journey and not a destination. In other words, a city is a process and not a product. In the case of a Smart City, translating utilities into an empowering ecosystem should be the real objective.

h)   Focussing on functionalities rather than technologies can guide us towards success. It is said that a Smart Grid succeeds when we get the design right.  Focussing on the pain points of citizens is the most effective design criteria for the success of smart initiatives. Smart Grids can be anchors for Smart Cities and give us one starting point for the design - nothing works without electricity.

13.

RBI kept rates unchanged (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Monetary policy

b)     Repo rate

c)     Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)

d)     Inflation

e)     Retail inflation

f)     Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

g)     RBI

a)   RBI kept the indicative policy rate (Repo) unchanged at 7.25 percent, citing the delay in transmission of earlier rate cuts by banks and the continuing inflationary pressures in the economy. It also retained the CRR at 4 percent. It trimmed the retail inflation forecast for Jan-March 2016 by 0.2 percent.

b)     Repo rate is the rate at which banks borrow funds from the central bank. CRR is the portion of deposits which commercial banks have to hold as reserves either in cash or as deposits with the central bank.

c)     RBI Governor said we are looking for whether the recent increase in inflation is temporary and whether the monsoon will continue to be near normal. It is prudent to keep the policy rate unchanged at the current juncture while maintaining the accommodative stance of monetary policy.

d)     He said it would support govts plans to set up a MPC. RBI believed institutionalising the process of monetary policy formulation was vital given that the govt had given the RBI a clear inflation objective.

14.

Nine US satellites to be flown from Sriharikota (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Indo-US space cooperation

b)     Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA)

c)     Commercial Satellite Launch Agreement (CSLA)

d)     NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)

e)     PSLV

f)     ISRO

g)     NASA

a)     In a small but significant progress in chequered Indo-US space equations, Indian satellite launchers will for the first time put a few US-made satellites into space from Indian soil.

b)    ISROs commercial venture Antrix Corporation recently signed contracts to launch nine micro and nano spacecraft separately as small co-passengers on the PSLV light-lifter during this year and next.

c)     A micro satellite weighs in band of 10-100 kg and a nano satellite in range of 1 to 10 kg.

d)     The U.S. contracts are seen as the first fruit of the TSA that the Department of Space signed with US in July 2009. The TSA leaves the door open for ISRO to launch small non-commercial or experimental spacecraft that are made in US.

e)     ISRO and the US have been working at a bigger accord (the CSLA), which will bring in the business of launching bigger commercial Earth observation or other satellites.

f)     Another positive outcome with the US is the NISAR (signed about two years ago) to co-develop a radar imaging satellite and launch it from India around 2019-20. It will be the first synthetic aperture radar satellite in dual frequency.

15.

Victory over Ebola (Page 10)

a)     S&T

a)     Ebola

b)     Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV)

c)     Smallpox

a)    The alacrity and eagerness shown by research community to find a safe and efficacious vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus has borne fruit. The interim results of a Phase III clinical trial in Guinea using a novel virus vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV) have shown 100 percent efficacy after 10 days of vaccination.

b)    Given the promise, the trial is set to continue with everyone who has come in direct contact with an infected person (index case) and those exposed to the primary contacts set to receive the vaccine immediately.

c)     The virus is transmitted through direct contact with the body fluids of a sick person or a dead body. Given the falling incidence, the trial used a novel ring vaccination design that was earlier used for smallpox eradication in the 1970s.

16.

Rare Chera, Chola coins found in Thanjavur (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Chola dynasty

b)     Chera dynasty

c)     Vijayanagara dynasty

d)     Sangam age

a)     Ten coins including a Sangam age Chera coin datable to circa second century BCE, eight Chola period coins and a Vijayanagara period coin have been found in a trench excavated at Senthalaipattanam, Thanjavur district.

b)     Of the 8 Chola coins, one belongs to the emperor Raja Raja Chola (regnal years 985 CE to 1014 CE) and another to his son, Rajendra Chola (regnal years 1012 CE to 1044 CE). The miniscule Vijayanagara silver coin was issued by emperor Krishnadevaraya.

c)     The Senthalaipattanam trench yielded the Chera lead coin of second century BCE.

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