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Daily News Analysis 15-08-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Ahead of NSA talks, India & Pak in war of words (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     As Pakistan upped the ante ahead of talks between Indian and Pakistani NSAs by raising the Kashmir issue and protesting against the bail granted to the Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand.

2.

For a durable engagement (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     The announcement by Sartaj Aziz that he would be in New Delhi on Aug 23 for talks with NSA Ajit Doval is welcome news.

3.

US backs Indias UNSC claim, says Ambassador (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Restating that the US continues to support Indias candidature for a permanent seat, US Ambassador Richard Verma said that there has been no change in his countrys position on the expansion of UNSC since 2009.

4.

The clincher that was the n-deal (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     The India-US nuclear deal signed 10 years ago is an exemplar of Indias recognition of strategic patience and the importance of building partnerships and has brought in handsome returns.

5.

Utilise post-sanctions opportunities: Iran (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that India must take advantage of the new economic opportunities that will arise once sanctions on Iran are lifted.

6.

India, US push to tackle mounting threats, online and offline (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     In a fresh bid to tackle the mounting threats in cyberspace and from more traditional terrorist rivals such as Pakistan-based LeT, senior officials from Indian and US govts came together this week to boost collaborative efforts under the aegis of 2015 US-India Cyber Dialogue.

7.

Kerry reopens Havana embassy (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     US Marines raised the American flag at the embassy in Cuba for the first time in 54 years, symbolically ushering in an era of renewed diplomatic relations between the two Cold War era enemies.

8.

Greece approves third bailout (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Greek PM Tsipras faced the widest rebellion yet from his leftist lawmakers as Parliament approved a new bailout programme, forcing him to consider a confidence vote that could pave the way for early elections.

9.

Farmers may get Modis I-Day gift (Pages 1 and 15)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     In his second Independence Day speech, PM Modi is likely to announce a new crop income insurance scheme for all farmers nationwide.

10.

Santhara in the eyes of the law (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Rajasthan High Court judgment which criminalised the Jain ritual of fasting unto death unwittingly bared the cultural divide between disparate end-of-life concepts.

11.

Yuan devaluation: experts divided over India trade competitiveness factors (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     The devaluation of Chinese yuan currency is a matter of concern and this could lead to a situation where China will start dumping its goods into India. But the govt has assured that it will safeguard the sectors which are likely to be affected by the Chinese currency.

12.

Hopes of economic stability (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)    Inflation is under control, manufacturing and IIP figures are encouraging and there is growth in indirect tax revenues.

13.

Select ASI sites all set to come alive (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     History

a)    Tipu Sultans Summer Palace in Bengaluru is all set to go beyond just being a tourist spot. The space will accommodate collaborative programmes from external agencies willing to join hands with the Archaeological Survey of India.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Ahead of NSA talks, India & Pak in war of words (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     LoC

d)     Kashmir issue

e)     Terrorism

f)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

g)    National Investigation Agency (NIA)

a)   As Pakistan raised the stake ahead of talks between Indian and Pakistani NSAs by raising Kashmir issue and protesting against the bail granted to the Samjhauta blast accused Swami Aseemanand, India restated that the only struggle in Kashmir was Pak-sponsored terrorism.

b)     High Commissioner Abdul Basit said that Pakistan will never abandon Kashmiris and their cause. His comments came on the day Paks NSA Sartaj Aziz confirmed that he would lead a delegation for the talks with his counterpart Ajit Doval on Aug 23 and 24. While India has stressed that terrorism will be the main topic of discussions, Basits speech is an indication that the Kashmir issue will be brought up.

c)     Pakistan responded to Indias protest against bail to the 26/11 accused Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, by summoning the Deputy High Commissioner and lodging a protest over the NIAs decision not to oppose the bail to Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the 2007 Samjhauta blasts.

2.

For a durable engagement (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     LoC

d)     SCO summit

e)     SAARC summit

a)     The announcement by Sartaj Aziz that he would be in New Delhi on Aug 23 for talks with NSA Ajit Doval is welcome news.

b)   Once the visit is announced, it will give both countries an opportunity to work out a way to ensure a sustainable bilateral engagement. Evidence that India and Pakistan are working towards such an objective has been sorely missing.

c)     PM Modi got off to a good start by calling leaders of the neighbouring countries to his swearing-in ceremony in May 2014, but events since then have left much to be desired, and there has been a lack of meaningful follow-up where Pakistan is concerned.

d)     By August, the Foreign Secretary-level talks had been called off at the eleventh hour on the rather unconvincing ground that the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi had met leaders of the Hurriyat Conference.

e)  It bears reiteration that when Modi and Sharief met again at Ufa where they attended the SCO summit, hopes for an honest bilateral engagement were once again kindled by a joint statement that promised meetings between NSAs, the Director-General of BSF and his counterpart from Pakistan Rangers, and the two Directors-General of Military Operations.

f)     On the issue of terrorism, neither India nor Pakistan has ever been short of talking points. The challenge that both Doval and Aziz will face will relate to how India and Pakistan should work to transform the relationship to something more meaningful and durable than one that is episodic.

g)     Their first task will be to have a working ceasefire going along the LoC. It would be best as a sign of serious intention if it could be put in place before Modi goes to Islamabad for the 19th SAARC summit.

3.

US backs Indias UNSC claim, says Ambassador (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Defence ties

c)     United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

a)     Restating that the US continues to support Indias candidature for a permanent seat, US Ambassador Richard Verma said that there has been no change in his countrys position on the expansion of UNSC since 2009.

b)     He said that the US would stand by President Obamas bilateral commitment that in the event of a vote on the issue, Washington would support New Delhi.

c)     The Ambassador marked out cooperation for protecting the global commons such as the high seas, skies, space and the Internet as emerging driver of India-US strategic cooperation. He said such cooperation could lay the groundwork for the next big development in bilateral relations.

d)     In a clear reference to contested Chinese claims in the Pacific, he said both India and the US were aligned to counter the use of intimidation or force to assert unfounded territorial or maritime claims.

e)     He voiced for expanding bilateral defence cooperation, and proposed that the US and India could build fighter aircraft together, pointing out that the country faced critical shortage of frontline fighter aircraft, limiting its capabilities to keep the skies patrolled and safe.

4.

The clincher that was the n-deal (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     India – US civil nuclear deal

c)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

d)     Irans nuclear programme

e)     IAEA

f)     Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

g)     Multilateral Export Control Regime (MECR)

h)     Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs)

i)     Light Water Reactors (LWRs)

a)     In July this year, Iran and the P5+1 countries reached a nuclear agreement, ending a period of exclusion and sanctions of the West toward Iran. July also marked the 10th anniversary of the iconic India-US civil nuclear deal. However, the objective and scope of the two deals could not have been more different.

b)     The Iran deal reduces and constricts Irans capabilities as a nuclear power. On the other hand, the India-US nuclear deal liberated India in many ways, effectively dismantled the complex of sanctions, and has resulted in India being recognised as a state with advanced nuclear technology.

c)    The Iran nuclear agreement weakened Irans nuclear programme, and denied it the capability of becoming a nuclear threshold state in the foreseeable future. Restrictions on Iran include a freeze on its nuclear research programme; preventing it from producing fissile material for a nuclear weapon at its nuclear facilities for at least 10 years; ensuring that it would not have recourse to advanced centrifuges for at least a decade; restricting its store of enriched uranium to levels below that needed for a nuclear device; and blocking its plutonium programme.

d)     As against this, the India-US nuclear deal was truly path-breaking in terms of its favourable impact. While India did not host any event to mark the deal, US brought together some of the movers and shakers from both sides, highlighting its transformational nature and how it was helping to shape the course of world events in the 21st century. The thrust was on how to further strengthen cooperation between the two largest democracies in the world, and sustain underlying spirit behind the deal.

e)     Criticism that the India-US deal had failed to deliver amounts to missing the wood for trees. Measuring outcomes based on a select laundry list of items (complaining that energy security remains vanishing, that many dual-use technologies remain out of Indias reach, and that entry into the MECR still avoids India) is misleading. It is because the real achievement is that nuclear deal has been the key to technology redemption.

f)     Energy security was one of main considerations underlying the deal, and considerable progress has been made in this direction, with much more to come. Equally important was the need to find ways and means to dismantle technology denial regime that obstructed Indias scientific, technological and economic progress. While for US, strategic convergence was one of the imperatives, Indias focus was on energy and technology initiatives.

g)     With the nuclear deal, which has the imprimatur of the US and IAEA, together with an unconditional waiver given by NSG, India is well-positioned to violate the digital divide that restricts Western companies and govts from supplying us crucial technology.

h)     The civil nuclear energy sector has been biggest gainer. The lifting of restrictions on civil nuclear trade between India and the rest of the world has paved the way for uranium imports. Availability of imported uranium ensures that our PHWRs and LWRs can now operate at full capacity.

i)     Fast Reactor Programme can correspondingly be accelerated. Indias experiment with Fast Breeder Reactors should gain still further momentum. Spent fuel from PHWRs recycled in Fast Breeder Reactors after reprocessing, has the potential of increasing our energy quotient several-fold. As the Fast Breeder Programme advances, and attains a certain level of performance, we should also be able to utilise our extensive thorium deposits.

j)     Linked to the nuclear deal are other changes, some of which are already evident. The US has effected certain changes to its export control laws, and with this, India and the US are today exploring co-production and co-development in defence technologies. After years of isolation, the US and Indian scientific communities are coming together in path-breaking joint research in several sectors.

k)     Possibly the most enduring impress of the India-US nuclear deal is in creating a new awareness across the world that Indias ancient wisdom is now decorated with new paradigms of thought, action and behaviour. Indias successful diplomatic initiative to win friends among the global community for the nuclear deal has helped many of them to view India from a totally new perspective. A new framework of relationships across the world has been established.

5.

Utilise post-sanctions opportunities: Iran (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Iran relations

b)     Trade ties

c)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

a)     Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that India must take advantage of the new economic opportunities that will arise once sanctions on Iran are lifted.

b)     He said that India should invest in Iranian infrastructure particularly, railway construction, while Iran would look at oil investments in India as well.

c)     He is on a briefing tour of various countries to discuss the nuclear deal forged with the P-5+EU countries in July, as well as future bilateral relations.

6.

India, US push to tackle mounting threats, online and offline (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     US-India Cyber Dialogue 2015

c)     Cyber security cooperation

d)     Terrorism

a)     In a fresh bid to tackle the mounting threats in cyberspace and from more traditional terrorist rivals such as Pakistan-based LeT, senior officials from Indian and US govts came together this week to boost collaborative efforts under the aegis of 2015 US-India Cyber Dialogue.

b)     In a series of meetings on August 11 and 12, leaders from both sides appeared to define the cyber space threat in the broadest terms, including within its ambit enhanced cyber security information sharing, cyber incident management, combating cyber crime, Internet governance issues, norms of state behaviour in cyber space and cyber security cooperation in the context of Indian PM Modis Make in India initiative.

7.

Kerry reopens Havana embassy (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     US – Cuba relations

b)     Cold War

 

a)     US Marines raised the American flag at the embassy in Cuba for the first time in 54 years, symbolically ushering in an era of renewed diplomatic relations between the two Cold War era enemies.

b)     The symbolic event took place 8 months after Havana and Washington agreed to restore ties and nearly 4 weeks after the US and Cuba formally renewed diplomatic relations and upgraded their diplomatic missions to embassies.

c)     Critics of Obamas move (which seeks to end decades of US isolation and was announced last December in a landmark agreement with Cuban President Raul Castro) complain the Cuban govt has made no concessions in exchange for diplomatic ties.

8.

Greece approves third bailout (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Greece debt crisis

a)     Greek PM Tsipras faced the widest rebellion yet from his leftist lawmakers as Parliament approved a new bailout programme, forcing him to consider a confidence vote that could pave the way for early elections.

b)     He comfortably won the vote on countrys third financial rescue by foreign creditors in five years. That clears the way for Eurozone Ministers to approve the deal later.

c)     But the vote laid bare the depth of anger within Tsipras leftist Syriza party at austerity measures in exchange for €85 billion in aid, as 43 lawmakers voted against or abstained.

9.

Farmers may get Modis I-Day gift (Pages 1 and 15)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Crop income insurance scheme

b)     Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana

c)     Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana

d)     Atal Pension Yojana

e)     Swachh Vidyalaya campaign

f)     Financial inclusion

g)     Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)

a)    In his second Independence Day speech, PM Modi is likely to announce a new crop income insurance scheme for all farmers nationwide. It is expected to cushion them against deficient monsoon, inadequate storage facilities, lack of assured power supply and restrictions on free trade between States.

b)     Govt expects the proposed scheme to address inadequate farm insurance cover. A report by RBI in June said that only 4 percent of the farmers were reported to have crop insurance cover and only 19 percent ever used any. The report recommended that the insurance cover be expanded.

c)     The top official said the scheme would be rolled out on the DBT platform, along the lines of Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and the Atal Pension Yojana. The DBT will address the issue of delayed settlement of claims.

d)     But Modi can still claim to have delivered on some of the announcements he made last year - primarily, the financial inclusion initiative and ensuring that every school in the country has a toilet.

10.

Santhara in the eyes of the law (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Santhara

b)     Jainism

c)     Section 309 and Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

a)     When Samuel Huntington coined the phrase clash of civilisations its unlikely that the American political scientist was thinking of an emaciated Jain muni, peacefully awaiting death on a bed of dry grass after weeks of starvation. But the angst that has gripped the Jain community following the Rajasthan High Courts verdict Aug 10 against Santhara (the centuries-old Jain practice of starving to death) reflects just such a conflict.

b)     Courts ruling on a 2006 public interest litigation petition against Santhara held that it would henceforth be treated as suicide and made punishable under Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) and Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of IPC. In its directive to the State that the latter shall stop and abolish the practice in any form and register any complaint against it as a criminal case - the court made its rejection of Jain philosophy underlying the practice unequivocally clear.

c)     As suicide is an act of extreme desperation fuelled by anguish and hopelessness, a Santhara practitioner has arrived at that decision after calm introspection, with an intent to cleanse oneself of karmic burdens and attain the highest state of transcendental well-being. For him, Santhara is an act of spiritual purification premised on an exercise of individual autonomy.

d)     Dietary abstinence as religious ritual is not unique to Jainism. But none of the others takes fasting to the point of starvation and ultimately death as does Santhara. Since any kind of eating or drinking would result in a disruption of and add a burden to the ecology around them, orthodox Jains consider zero-consumption i.e. starvation unto death a la Santhara - to be the high-point among traditions of austerity and self-denial, and therefore the truest real-world act of ahimsa or non-violence, the fundamental belief of Jainism.

e)     A conspiracy of history, circumstance and expedient decision-making has resulted in our law-making and law-administering bodies being structured on the Westminster model of our colonial rulers, not to mention our judicial machinery and its key statutes (criminal laws) remaining largely untouched since the time they were first designed by the British and written with their colonial feather-pens.

f)     The IPC set the ball rolling for a fundamental discordance between the Western ideologies that created the institutions and procedures of the Raj, and the Eastern philosophies that shaped the world-view of the people those institutions were meant to serve. Instead of the earth, the quiet religions of sub-continent have thus inherited an ill-fitting legal template forged in the smithies of the West.

g)     The Santhara case serves to highlight the seemingly irreconcilable difference in perspective on the specific issue of suicide. In contrast to a Christian believer who looks upon the human body as a God-given temple of the human soul and therefore, beyond the realm of willful and deliberate destruction by any human being, a devout Jain views that same body as a prison of the human soul, the fulfillment of whose needs corresponds to the accumulation of bad karma.

h)     This basic contradiction between a statute founded largely on a Christian-inspired bioethic and the essentially Eastern variant of the idea of spiritual advancement through abstinence and renunciation, rears its head whenever a religious practice like Santhara collides with contemporary law.

i)     Although the conventional idea of secularism in western democracies largely keeps religion out of governance, the influx of immigrants of various faiths in recent times and their assertive stance on their rights of religious practice has made these countries confront the problem anew. The issue of burqa-wearing in France manifests the same law-religion conflict. The unease over Santhara may well be part of a global discontent.

11.

Yuan devaluation: experts divided over India trade competitiveness factors (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     Yuan devaluation

b)     Trade deficit

a)    The devaluation of Chinese yuan currency is a matter of concern and this could lead to a situation where China will start dumping its goods into India. But the govt has assured that it will safeguard the sectors which are likely to be affected by the Chinese currency.

b)     The devaluation of yuan has put a special focus on the potential of the move eroding Indias trade competitiveness. Experts differ on the impact with some saying that the competitiveness factor were beyond currency movements, while others saying that India can maintain its competitiveness if rupee also declines.

c)     India has had a sustained trade deficit with China which touched nearly $50 billion in fiscal 2015. The risk for India comes from two ways: one cheaper imports from China affecting domestic companies and second it would affect Indias exports to other countries.

12.

Hopes of economic stability (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     Economic stability

b)     Inflation

c)     WPI inflation

d)     CPI inflation

e)     Food inflation

a)      Wholesale price inflation fell to -4.05 percent in July from -2.4 percent in June (a historic low) sparking hopes of a rate cut by RBI possibly even before its next scheduled policy announcement on Sept 29.

b)     The July WPI data marks the ninth straight month of contraction in wholesale prices, and follows CPI inflation slowing to 3.8 percent in July from 5.4 percent in June. The contraction in WPI inflation (which measures price-rise in inputs primarily for factory production) can be attributed largely to falling food and global commodity prices.

c)     Finance Minister said the inflation is under control, the manufacturing figures, IIP figures are quite encouraging, the indirect tax revenue figures are extremely encouraging.

d)    Food inflation as measured in the CPI also slowed in July, from 5.5 percent in June to 2.15 percent in July.

13.

Select ASI sites all set to come alive (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

b)     Tippu Sultans Palace

c)     Chitradurga fort

d)     Hampi

e)     Ajantha & Ellora

f)     Khajuraho

a)     Official said ASI had drawn up a long list of monuments across the country for opening them for cultural events. That includes Tipu Palace in Bengaluru, the famed fort of Chitradurga in Central Karnataka, Hampi in Northern Karnataka, Mahabalipuram in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, Ajantha & Ellora in Maharashtra, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and Taj Mahal in Agra.

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