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Daily News Analysis 08-08-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Deep divisions over NSA talks (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)  Union govt has made it clear it plans to go ahead with talks between Indian and Pakistani NSAs despite the terror attacks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur, and the latest Pakistani snub on Commonwealth Parliamentary Union.

2.

India decides to boycott CPU meet (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)  New Delhi has decided to boycott the 61st conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Union to be held in Islamabad unless Pakistan extends an invitation to the Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, or the CPU changes the venue of the meeting.

3.

India follows global trends in taking on cyber attacks (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)    The number of cyber attacks in the country stood at nearly 50,000 during the first five months of 2015, with most of these attacks on computer networks of Indian organisations originating from countries such as the US, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.

4.

Key lawmakers oppose Iran nuclear deal (Page 14)

a)     International

a)  US President Obamas hopes of preserving the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers were dealt a setback when Chuck Schumer (one of the top Democrats in the US Senate) said he would oppose the agreement.

5.

The meaning of cheaper oil (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     World oil prices (already lower than they have been in six months) are not likely to recover anytime soon, going by market conditions.

6.

Many have faith in unelected bodies, but India values dissent (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

a)     New numbers from a global survey show that a substantial number of Indians support undemocratic modes of rule, yet identify themselves as democrats.

7.

Barelwi madrassas to have chapter on anti-terrorism (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     Amid the perceived and possible dangers of the terror group like the IS radicalising and recruiting Muslim youths, the Barelwi sect among Muslims has decided to include a chapter against terrorism in all madrassas functioning under its fold across the country.

8.

Questions that will not die (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     A series of questions are circulating in various circles of law, which raise disturbing issues about how Yakub Memons last-minute efforts to stay his execution were handled.

9.

Home Ministry seeks Naga deal details from interlocutor (P 13)

a)     National

a)     The Ministry of Home Affairs has written to the Joint Intelligence Committee chief Ravi (who is also the interlocutor for Naga peace talks) asking for a copy of peace accord signed by him with NSCN (I-M) on Aug 3.

10.

The widening vortex of global finance (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)   The recent move to allow the investment of provident fund money in the stock market basically takes the matter out of the individuals hands. So, it is not just the rich and the middle classes, but the poor too who must become investors.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Deep divisions over NSA talks (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     LoC

d)     Terrorism

e)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

f)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

g)     Commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU)

a)     The Union govt has made it clear it plans to go ahead with talks between Indian and Pakistani NSAs despite the terror attacks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur, and the latest Pakistani snub on CPU.

b)     But the process is hitting several roadblocks, both over the date of meeting as well as the agenda. More than a week after India proposed a schedule, Pakistan has yet to accept the dates of August 23 and 24.

c)     A statement issued after PM Modi and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Ufa said the two NSAs were to meet in Delhi to discuss all issues connected to terrorism. While Indian officials maintain that it means Doval and Aziz will only speak about terror-related issues, Pak officials say many other issues are on the agenda.

d)     As sources reported last week, India is preparing to hand over forensic and electronic evidence of Pakistans support to terrorists operating against India. The evidence include those on banned organisations LeT and JeM; cross-border infiltration; harbouring of fugitives like underworld don Dawood Ibrahim; terror financing networks; pumping of fake Indian currency into India; and the 26/11 trial.

e)  Pakistan has its own dossiers related to its allegations of an Indian hand in attacks in Balochistan and support to the Pakistan Taliban. But a senior Pakistani official said other issues would be discussed during the talks.

f)     The official said the NSAs would discuss the setting up of a back-channel, meetings of the Commerce Ministers in the upcoming months, and an extended mechanism to deal with border and LoC firing which would include the Directors-General of Military Operations and External Affairs Ministry officials.

g)     The back-channel idea was disclosed by Aziz shortly after he returned to Islamabad from Ufa, when he faced a barrage of criticism over the exclusion of any mention of J&K from the joint media statement. Aziz said the issues of Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek would all be discussed on the back-channel, or through appointed interlocutors.

2.

India decides to boycott CPU meet (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Commonwealth Parliamentary Union (CPU)

c)     UNSC

 

a)   India has decided to boycott the 61st conference of the CPU to be held in Islamabad unless Pakistan extends an invitation to the Speaker of the J&K Assembly, or the CPU changes the venue of the meeting.

b)     Indias decision stems from Pakistans refusal to invite the J&K Speaker on grounds that it is in violation of the UNSC Resolution 1991(1951) of March 30 1951 and resolution 122 (1957) of Jan 4 1957. Pakistan has also said the invitation to J&K would contradict the fundamentals of Pakistans foreign policy.

c)     Indias strong reaction comes amid escalating tension between India and Pakistan over ceasefire violations along the border in J&K and over the involvement of Pakistani nationals in recent terror strikes.  Officials said Paks decision is in violation of CPU rules and also confusing as J&K branch was part of 3rd Asia and India Regional CPU Conference held in Islamabad in March 2007.

3.

India follows global trends in taking on cyber attacks (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Cyber attacks

b)     Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)

c)     Internet Protocol (IP)

a)     Parliament was informed the number of cyber attacks in the country stood at nearly 50,000 during first 5 months of 2015, with most of these attacks on computer networks of Indian organisations originating from countries such as US, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.

b)     Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said attackers are compromising computer systems in different parts of the world and use simulating techniques and hidden servers to hide the identity of systems from which the attacks are launched. In such cases, CERT-In notifies the organisation concerned regarding the cyber attacks and requests for logs of network devices, servers and other related components for analysing the attacks and identifying sources of attack.

4.

Key lawmakers oppose Iran nuclear deal (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

a)   US President Obamas hopes of preserving the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers were dealt a setback when Chuck Schumer (one of the top Democrats in US Senate) said he would oppose the agreement.

b)     His opposition could pave way for more of Obamas fellow Democrats to come out against the nuclear pact (announced on July 14) between the US, five other world powers and Iran.

c)     Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing lawmakers to oppose the nuclear agreement.

5.

The meaning of cheaper oil (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     Global economic growth

b)     OPEC

c)     Inflation

d)     Current Account Deficit (CAD)

a)     World oil prices (already lower than they have been in six months) are not likely to recover anytime soon, going by market conditions. A further increase in supply (compounding current surplus, and a parallel contraction in demand in the major consuming nations) are likely to keep prices low.

b)     The ongoing fall in prices stems largely from simple demand-supply mechanics. The shale revolution in the US has drastically increased the supply of oil. And several international events are likely to further boost supply to levels far exceeding demand.

c)     Notably, the nuclear deal between Iran and the West has further depressed prices due to expectation that sanctions on Iran would soon be lifted, allowing it to again supply oil to the world. In addition, Saudi Arabia is moving strongly to increase refinery capacity, which will further add to global supplies. This comes on top of OPEC output in July hitting its highest levels in recent history.

d)     On the demand side, the increased supply has been met by recessionary or slow-growth conditions in most industrialised countries, which have greatly moderated their consumption since the economic crisis. Now, this contracting demand has been compounded by slowing economic growth in China, one of the biggest consumers of oil.

e)     Russia has 70 percent of its export income coming from oil and gas. Falling oil prices have hit Russian economy hard. World Bank has warned that Russian economy would shrink by at least 0.7 percent this year if oil prices do not rebound.

f)     European economies are likely to welcome falling oil prices, beset by poor growth and low inflation as they currently are. Some estimates predict that a 10 percent fall in oil prices could lead to a 0.1 percent increase in output for them.

g)     India is one of those countries that stand to benefit significantly from falling prices. India imports about 75 percent of its oil needs, so cheaper oil benefits it directly by easing the CAD while simultaneously lowering govts petroleum subsidy burden. However, the latter point is now somewhat mitigated by the fact that petrol and diesel prices have been decontrolled.

6.

Many have faith in unelected bodies, but India values dissent (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

a)     Democracy in India

b)     Parliament

c)     Army

a)     New numbers from a global survey show that a substantial number of Indians support undemocratic modes of rule, yet identify themselves as democrats.

b)     The report (Democracy in India: A Citizens Perspective) is part of a global survey on attitudes to democracy conducted in India in 2013, covering over 6000 respondents in 22 States. The sample was selected to be representative of gender, caste, religion and class.

c)     As in the past, the proportion of respondents who said that they always preferred democracy to other kinds of govt was under 50 percent, with 43 percent either indifferent or of no opinion, and 11 percent saying that under some circumstances, an authoritarian government was preferable to a democratic one.

d)     In the report, respondents gave the highest weightage to the freedom to participate in protests and demonstrations, followed by the provision of basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter.

e)     Trust in Parliament (while low) rose between 2005 and 2013, while Army continued to be the most trusted institution.

7.

Barelwi madrassas to have chapter on anti-terrorism (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Taliban

c)     Barelwi madrassas

 

a)     Amid the perceived and possible dangers of the terror group like the IS radicalising and recruiting Muslim youths, the Barelwi sect among Muslims has decided to include a chapter against terrorism in all madrassas functioning under its fold across the country.

b)     The Dargahe-Aala-Hazrat (the headquarters of the sect in Bareilly) announced about the move which is the first-of-its-kind taken by a Muslim sect on its own. The leadership of the sect had recently issued a fatwa asking Muslims not to attend the funeral prayers of convicted terrorists.

c)     Barelwi sect (a prominent religious school of thought among Muslims in the Indian sub-continent) has millions of followers across the country and the world over. It runs thousands of religious seminaries across the country.

d)     A spokesperson of the sect told that the move was seen by the sect leadership as a strategy to counter the threats posed by terror groups like the IS and Taliban.

8.

Questions that will not die (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Mercy petition

c)     Mumbai serial blasts case 1993

d)     TADA court

e)     Supreme Court

a)     A week after Yakub Memon was sent to the gallows for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, questions have been raised about the nature of the Supreme Court proceedings leading up to the execution, and the manner of disposal of his mercy plea by President Pranab Mukherjee hours before he was hanged. These had caused unease in legal and judicial circles and refuse to die down.

b)    Questions have been raised on whether President Pranab rejected Memons mercy plea without proper application of the mind and in haste, considering the fact that there is no deadline for a President to decide mercy petitions.

c)     Prominent among the questions to the Supreme Court is why Memon was not allowed 14 days between the rejection of his clemency petition by the President and his hanging on July 30. The hearings in the Supreme Court dominated the week which ended in the execution of Memon.

d)     On July 28 2015, while dealing with a writ petition filed by Yakub Memon claiming procedural irregularity and violation of natural justice in the issue of a death warrant by a TADA court in Mumbai, a bench of Justices Anil R. Dave and Kurian Joseph disagreed on the latters point that Memons curative petition was not heard by the Supreme Court in accordance with the mandatory procedure prescribed in Order 48 (curative petitions) of the Supreme Court Rules 2013.

e)     Justice Joseph raised the serious issue that the procedure prescribed under the law has been violated while dealing with the curative petition and that too, dealing with life of a person. Staying the death warrant, he observed that the Supreme Court committed a serious procedural violation under Order 48, Rule 4 of the Supreme Court Rules 2013 by not including all the judges (including him) who had heard Memons review petition in the subsequent curative process.

f)     The matter was referred to a 3-judge bench led by Justice Dipak Misra and heard on July 29, the eve of the execution. In a day-long hearing which witnessed Attorney-General Rohatgi calling the convict a traitor, the bench held that there was no legal fallacy in the issue of the death warrant.

g)     In a judgment delivered at 4.15 pm the court pointed out that the review process is limited to re-examination of the principal judgment of March 21 2013, which confirmed the death penalty. On the question of validity of death warrant, the bench held that it was served on Memon on July 13 2015, giving him sufficient time under the law. It pointed out that Memon continued to avail himself of legal remedies even after the warrant was issued.

h)     The court acknowledged Rohatgis argument that this is not a person who has never gone to court. Hours after this judgment was pronounced, the President rejected Memons mercy petition, causing another round of litigation, which culminated in unprecedented pre-dawn hearing at Supreme Court even as the clock ticked for the condemned man.

i)     In a fresh petition, Memon (through his lawyers) said he had a right to challenge the Presidents rejection of his mercy plea, but could only do so if it was formally served on him. With only hours to live, he said he would be deprived of his right to a minimum 14 days to settle affairs and make peace with God.

j)     The judgment held that Memon had had sufficient time to make wordly arrangements when the first mercy petition (filed by his brother Suleiman) was rejected by the President in April 2014. It said granting Memon another 14 days would be a travesty of justice.

9.

Home Ministry seeks Naga deal details from interlocutor (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     Naga Peace Accord

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

a)     Ministry of Home Affairs has written to Joint Intelligence Committee chief Ravi (who is also interlocutor for Naga peace talks) asking for a copy of peace accord signed by him with NSCN (I-M) on Aug 3.

b)     Though the details have not been made public by govt, it is learnt that the I-M group has dropped its earlier demand for shared sovereignty with India. The group has been assured of autonomous councils as per the agreement signed in presence of PM Modi, but all the 3 States (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, which have a sizeable Naga population) have opposed it.

c)    The letter was sent after the Home Ministry was kept out of the loop and the contents of the agreement signed with the I-M group were not shared with it, even though it is the nodal Ministry on the subject.

10.

The widening vortex of global finance (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)     Financialization

b)     Hedge funds

c)     Inequality of wealth

d)     Jan Dhan Yojana

e)     Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana

f)     Atal Pension Yojana

g)     Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)

h)     Goods and Service Tax (GST)

i)     Value Added Tax (VAT)

 

a)     It is fairly well established that the past three decades have witnessed a worldwide growth in inequality. This phenomenon is often evoked in the same breath as the extraordinary salaries and bonuses that financiers pay themselves.

b)     Clearly, financial institutions such as hedge funds and investment banks are able to generate huge profits, which is why they can afford huge compensation packages. But what exactly is the source of financial profit? And what is the link between rising financial profits and growing inequality of wealth/income?

c)     First, rising inequality and sky-rocketing financial profits have paralleled rise of global finance or financialization, which also denotes the growing penetration of real economic activity (to do with generating surplus value) by finance capital. Financialisation is born when uncertainty is quantified into risk.

d)     Therefore, at ideological level, financialisation entails two exercises: one, the transformation of indistinct uncertainty into quantifiable risk, which is then managed through an array of calculative technologies; two, a shift in the common-sense understanding of risk as something potentially harmful, to something potentially rewarding.

e)   Given that risk is essentially a financial category, the current civilisational obsession with data is another evidence to the growing supremacy of finance capital (in alliance with technology), which wants every piece of the worlds data on anything and everything in order to be able to manage risk optimally for maximum returns.

f)     The recent move to allow the investment of EPFO money in stock market basically takes the matter out of individuals hands. So, it is not just the rich and the middle classes, but the poor too who must become investors, which is why its vital to substitute the provision of essential survival goods with cash transfers.

g)     It is the logic behind the neo-liberal states enthusiasm for so-called financial inclusion through schemes such as the Jan Dhan Yojana, whose bank accounts would presumably channel portions of personal income (wages/cash transfers) to financial markets via schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana.

h)     The objective of these social insurance schemes is less to serve as savings to be drawn upon when needed, than as another source of liquidity for the financial markets. Why else would one want to cap premature withdrawals of PF at 75percent? But it makes perfect sense in context of the move to invest PF savings in capital market. The flipside of ensuring that one cannot save without investing is that one cannot spend without borrowing.

i)     What financialisation does is to transfer (or spread) the burden of risk from bearers of investment capital such as banks (or the state) onto the individual worker or household. Given that financialisation is not just an abstract economic phenomenon but has real social consequences, the next question is: what is the source of financial profit?

j)     Experts said that financial profit is ultimately derived from two channels: expropriation of a portion of surplus value generated by productive capital, and expropriation of a portion of personal income earned by workers (as they turn investors/borrowers).

k)     The debt burden could also be indirect. Here, servicing sovereign debt will take precedence over public investment for development, as is happening with Greece. These debt payments will come from future streams of tax revenue extracted from working population through a multitude of income-indifferent indirect taxes such as VAT and GST.

l)     So, is it at all possible for a lifelong wage-earner to secure her post-employment future in a financialised world where savings lose value unless they become finance capital? And, which in turn, holds the ever-present threat of losses on account of the risks inherent in investment, perhaps not. This may explain why our age is often described as risk society.

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