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Daily News Analysis 21-08-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

In flip-flop, Hurriyat leaders held, let off (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In an apparent attempt to show the govts displeasure over the proposed meeting between separatist Hurriyat Conference leaders and Pakistans NSA Sartaj Aziz on August 23, the police in Srinagar placed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Mallik, and Moulvi Abbas Ansari under house arrest and imposed more restrictions on Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

2.

Cabinet approves pact with the Seychelles to fight black money (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Adding one more to the list of countries that have joined India in the fight against black money, the Union Cabinet approved the signing and ratification of an agreement with the Seychelles for exchange of information on taxes.

3.

Iran no longer on restricted visa list (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     The Union govt has removed Iran from the list of countries put under restricted visa category, indicating that it wants to reach out to the Persian Gulf nation.

4.

UNSC: India eyes support from Pacific Island nations (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Support for Indias claims for a permanent seat in the UNSC will be high on the agenda at the second Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation summit that will be addressed by PM Modi in Jaipur.

5.

China to build $10b N-plants in Pak (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif inaugurated construction work on a China-backed $10 billion nuclear power project near Karachi to add 1100 MW to the energy-starved countrys electric grid.

6.

Britain to reopen Iran embassy (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Britain will reopen its embassy in Iran this weekend nearly four years after protesters robbed the elegant ambassadorial residence and burned the British flag.

7.

SLFP to join national govt. in Sri Lanka (Pg 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan President Sirisena initiated the process to strike a deal between his Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Ranils United National Party for forming a national govt.

8.

Tsipras steps down, calls for snap polls (Pg 14)

a)     International

a)     Greek PM Tsipras submitted his resignation and that of his cabinet to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked that elections be held on the soonest possible date.

9.

The politics of parliamentary paralysis (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    Disruptions are now very much a part of established parliamentary practice in India. While trying to wish them away is unrealistic, trying to minimise them is in the best interests of democracy and deliberation.

10.

Govt considering Bill to ensure right to services (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Union government is considering a Bill to guarantee time-bound delivery of services (called the Right to Services Act) on the lines of the Acts already in place in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

11.

Banks for the unbanked (Pg 10)

a)     Economy

a)    For the first time in Indias banking sector, the RBI is giving out differentiated banking licences.

12.

Kerala banana variant on GI list (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)    The nendran banana variety (Chengalikodan) has been accorded the Geographical Indication status.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

In flip-flop, Hurriyat leaders held, let off (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     NSA talks

c)     Hurriyat Conference

d)     Kashmir issue

e)     Terrorism

 

a)     In an apparent attempt to show the govts displeasure over the proposed meeting between separatist Hurriyat Conference leaders and Pakistans NSA Sartaj Aziz on August 23, the police in Srinagar placed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Mallik, and Moulvi Abbas Ansari under house arrest and imposed more restrictions on Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

b)     The police action marked another day of high drama with tensions between India and Pakistan rising ahead of talks between NSAs Ajit Doval and Aziz. Efforts of Indian and Pakistani officials to set the ground rules for the talks have received a setback.

c)     Sources in Delhi and Islamabad confirmed that both sides had rejected the letters exchanged last week on the proposed agenda for the talks.

d)    However, govt sources said any meeting between Hurriyat and Aziz was unacceptable if it sought to give the impression that the separatists were being consulted. Official said that there is no space for a third party in talks between India and Pakistan, especially given these talks will only focus on terror.

e)     Meanwhile, officials in New Delhi confirmed there was no agenda for the NSAs talks, adding that it was Pakistans attempt to expand the agenda beyond Ufa that caused the collapse of pre-talk talks.

f)     Significantly, it was not Kashmir that caused the diplomatic divergence between foreign offices, but Pakistans insistence on discussing the future of bilateral talks and setting up the next round of Foreign Secretary-level talks that made India reject it.

g)     Indian official said the Ufa statement was very clear in what it mandated, and that is the NSA talks on terror, including 26/11 voice samples, and some discussions on DGMO meetings, fishermen and religious tourism.

2.

Cabinet approves pact with the Seychelles to fight black money (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Seychelles relations

b)     Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

c)     Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information

d)     Black money

e)     India – Australia relations

 

a)     Adding one more to the list of countries that have joined India in the fight against black money, the Union Cabinet approved the signing and ratification of an agreement with Seychelles for exchange of information on taxes.

b)     The agreement would stimulate information exchange for tax purposes to help curb tax evasion and avoidance.

c)     India has already signed an inter-governmental agreement with the US to implement the FATCA, a significant step towards curbing overseas tax evasion and black money.

d)     Prior to that, India joined 59 countries in the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in May. This agreement obliges signatories to exchange periodically and automatically a wide range of financial information among themselves.

e)     Cabinet also announced its approval for the signing of a revised Air Services Agreement with Seychelles to modernise and update the pact signed in 1978. Under new agreement, the number of flights between two countries will be increased from three a week to seven.

f)     The Cabinet approved the signing of a MoU with Australia regarding cooperation in the fields of education, training and research. The MoU will help intensify existing partnerships between India and Australia in higher education and research, including technical and professional education, schools, vocational education and training and will open up new and innovative areas of cooperation.

3.

Iran no longer on restricted visa list (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Iran relations

b)     Prior Referral Category (PRC)

c)     Terrorism

d)     Islamic State (IS)

e)     Chabahar Port

a)     The Union govt has removed Iran from the list of countries put under restricted visa category, indicating that it wants to reach out to the Persian Gulf nation.

b)     India sees Iran as a key supporter in the wake of the growing threats and influence of Islamist terror groups such as the IS in Central Asia. India has liberalised its visa policy for Iran and struck it off the PRC of countries. Three categories of visas (employment, conference, students and research visa) were on restricted list till now.

c)  Union Home Ministry issued an order which said Iran was no longer on the PRC list, which has countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.

d)     NSA Ajit Doval convened a high-level meeting in July to explore possibilities of lifting restrictions on visas for Iran nationals. Doval visited Iran in February and underlined the need for widening cooperation between the two countries in fighting terrorism.

e)     They have agreed to facilitate development in fields such as ports, north-south corridor, petrochemicals, steel industries, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. In May, India signed a MoU to develop the Chabahar Port in Iran. India is keen on opening new avenues of connectivity with Iran, which will pave way for its entry into Afghanistan and Central Asian region.

f)     The decision also comes in wake of the P5+1 nations concluded a nuclear agreement with Iran, easing economic sanctions on it.

4.

UNSC: India eyes support from Pacific Island nations (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

b)     Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) summit

c)     UNGA

d)     G4

a)     Support for Indias claims for a permanent seat in UNSC will be high on the agenda at the second FIPIC summit that will be addressed by PM Modi in Jaipur.

b)     President Pranab said that UNSC reform and expansion will be discussed and concrete proposals are expected to be considered in the forthcoming UNGA session next month. An inter-governmental negotiating text is already on the table, for which India needs their support.

c)     Of the 14 Pacific Island nations, 12 have a vote in UN, and India asserts it has firm stated commitment of support from at least 10 of these. According to MEA sources, of these two countries (that are yet to back Indias claim) one supports the G4 resolution (which indirectly supports the Indian position), while the other is yet to announce its stand.

d)     India is banking on old, cultural ties with these nations, especially Fiji, which wields considerable influence in the region, and has a significant percentage of population that is of Indian descent, to gather support.

5.

China to build $10b N-plants in Pak (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     China – Pakistan relations

b)     Chinese projects in Pakistan

c)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

d)     Fukushima nuclear disaster 2011

a)     Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif inaugurated construction work on a China-backed $10 billion nuclear power project near Karachi to add 1100 MW to the energy-starved countrys electric grid.

b)     Two new nuclear power plants (K2 and K3) will be built near Kanupp (Karachi Nuclear Power Plant) which was built 43 years ago. The projects will be implemented with assistance from China, which has become biggest investor in energy and infrastructure projects in Pak.

c)     Pakistan is one of the few developing countries in world pursuing atomic energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

d)     Pakistans key ally China in April announced it would invest $46 billion in infrastructure, energy and transport projects as part of an ambitious project dubbed the CPEC.

6.

Britain to reopen Iran embassy (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Britain – Iran relations

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

a)     Britain will reopen its embassy in Iran this weekend nearly four years after protesters robbed the elegant ambassadorial residence and burned the British flag.

b)     The move to restore full diplomatic relations marks a warming of ties with Iran since it reached a nuclear deal with the US, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain.

c)     After more than a decade of casting the Islamic Republic as a rogue power seeking to cause disorder through West Asia, Britain has sought to improve ties with Iran, whose natural gas reserves are larger even than Russias.

7.

SLFP to join national govt. in Sri Lanka (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)

c)     United National Party (UNP)

d)     19th Amendment

e)     Article 46 (5) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka

 

a)     Sri Lankan President Sirisena initiated the process to strike a deal between his SLFP and Ranils UNP for forming a national govt.

b)     According to Article 46 (5) (inserted in May through the 19th Amendment) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the term national govt means a govt formed by a recognised political party or an independent group which obtains the highest number of seats in Parliament together with other recognised political parties or independent groups.

c)     Sirisena has requested the newly-elected lawmakers of the SLFP to prepare a report, which will consist of proposals of the party to be part of national govt.

8.

Tsipras steps down, calls for snap polls (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Greek debt crisis

b)     European Union (EU)

c)     European Central Bank (ECB)

d)     European Commission

a)  Greek PM Tsipras submitted his resignation and that of his cabinet to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked that elections be held on the soonest possible date. Tsipras said the present parliament cannot offer a government of majority or a national unity government.

b)    Tsipras effectively lost his majority in the 300-seat Greek Parliament after members of his leftist Syriza party broke ranks over a multi-billion euro bailout his government concluded with international lenders this month.

c)     Earlier, Tsipras defended his governments negotiating plans and said Greece got the best deal possible for its three-year, 86 billion euro bailout from other Eurozone countries.

d)     Tsiprass resignation came after debt-crippled Greece paid a huge debt to the ECB. The European Commission (one of creditor institutions overseeing the new rescue package) earlier welcomed reports of a snap election, saying it would politically strengthen the new bailout, the countrys third in five years.

9.

The politics of parliamentary paralysis (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Parliamentary practice in India

b)     Parliament

c)     Lok Sabha

d)     Rajya Sabha

e)     Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill

f)     Preventive Detention (Amendment) Bill 1952

g)     Official Languages Bill 1963

a)     Disruptions are now very much a part of established parliamentary practice in India. Trying to wish disruptions away is unrealistic; trying to minimise them is in the best interests of democracy and deliberation. Both the government and the Opposition have signally failed in the latter.

b)     The first thing to note is that disruptions and disorderly scenes in Parliament are not of recent period. As far back as 1952, the Preventive Detention (Amendment) Bill brought about an unprecedented uproar. Again, in the third Lok Sabha, in 1963, when the Official Languages Bill was introduced, there were strong protests by some Opposition members which a newspaper described as the first time that such disorderly scenes were witnessed in the House.

c)     Former Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha Subhash C. Kashyap points out that the 4th Lok Sabha period may be remembered for fundamental changes in the idiom, the style and culture of parliamentary politics. Hereafter, it was politics in the raw with much of masks and gloves off. Such disruptions became frequent since the 1970s.

d)     It is true that the time lost to disruptions has dramatically increased in last two decades. In the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14), when the Congress-led UPA was in govt, as much as 40 percent of the total time was lost to disruptions, making it the least productive Lok Sabha ever. Indeed, there has been a secular rise in the time lost due to disruptions in the last five Lok Sabhas.

e)     There are several reasons for this. The first is the change in parliamentary culture. In the first decade of Parliaments existence, there was a fair degree of homogeneity in the composition of the House, with many of leading MPs having been schooled in traditions of British parliamentary practice. Besides, Congresss formidable majority in the early years of Parliament meant that the Opposition never really had the numbers to seriously challenge the government.

f)     The adherence to British parliamentary norms gradually broke down from the 1970s, which was also the time the Congress lost its dominance. The composition of the House became more heterogeneous (in terms of both caste and class), completely transforming the voice and idiom of debates.

g)     This process was hastened in the late-1980s (which saw the establishment of coalition politics as well as new political forces), particularly the sharp rise in the number of representatives from the OBCs,   released by the Mandal Commission report. The changed composition and diversity of Parliament had a significant impact on parliamentary culture, which was far more permissive to disruptions and protests inside the House.

h)     A second and more recent reason that helped fuel disruptive behaviour and theatrics was the live telecast of proceedings inside the House. Though the Railway Budget and Union Budget were telecast live for the first time in 1992, it was from 2006 that the entire proceedings of Lok Sabha were telecast live by Doordarshan.

i)     While the phenomenon of disruptions predate live telecast of proceedings, live images and the explosion of television channels changed the rules of the game. Experts point out in an analysis of Parliament that the clear disorder witnessed in parliament is a rational response by MPs to incentives created by the media, which gives greater coverage to MPs who engage in this behaviour than those who busy themselves in parliamentary debates.

j)     Over the last 25 years or so, disruptions have got a legitimacy which they lacked earlier. This has meant that both national parties, the Congress and BJP, along with regional outfits have been guilty of disruptions at different times.

k)     Under Rule 374(A) of the general Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, the Speaker has the power to eject and suspend members who disrupt proceedings. And the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan did suspend 25 Congress MPs on Aug 3 for five sessions. But such disciplinary action often proves counterproductive. In the current instance, it only served to unite the entire Opposition which was prior to that ready to part ways with the Congress on its disruptive agenda.

l)   Unlike earlier parliamentary sessions, where the Congress cooperated on certain items of legislation, in the monsoon session it made the mistake of prolonging its disruptive plans for far too long. In the process, the Congress stalled the GST Bill, with which it has no fundamental argument, drawing a sharp response from industry.

m) Finally, Modis interventions have been few and rarely spontaneous or unscripted; for the entire monsoon session he was silent inside the House. Modis lack of engagement with Parliament is in contrast to Atal Bihari Vajpayee who enjoyed the cut and thrust of debate. The absence of leadership (of the sort that a Nehru or Vajpayee provided) offered fodder to the Opposition and contributed to the parliamentary deadlock.

10.

Govt considering Bill to ensure right to services (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Right to Services Act 

b)     Sakala service

c)     The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievance Bill 2011

a)     Union govt is considering a Bill to guarantee time-bound delivery of services (called the Right to Services Act) on the lines of the Acts already in place in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

b)     Official said this Bill would be important in curbing petty corruption in delivery of govt services, some of it can be seen in the States where it has been implemented and also in places such as the passport office, where processes have been streamlined.

c)     Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda gave the example of Sakala, a service delivery programme in Karnataka launched when he was CM and which covers 11 departments and 151 services routinely provided from a single portal. While he has advocated the adoption of the Sakala model for enacting the Bill, there are several versions available in various States.

d)    UPA govt too had a similar Bill called the Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievance Bill 2011, which had been introduced in the Lok Sabha but it subsequently lapsed.

11.

Banks for the unbanked (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)     Payment Banks

b)     Financial inclusion

c)     Regional rural banks

d)     RBI

a)     For the first time in Indias banking sector, RBI is giving out differentiated banking licences. The in-principle go-ahead given to 11 payments banks is an experiment - the latest in long series of attempts to take banks to the unbanked.

b)     The push towards financial inclusion started with the nationalisation of 14 commercial banks in July 1969 through Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Ordinance 1969. Then a second round came in 1980, involving six more commercial banks.

c)     With a view to economically mainstreaming rural areas, the Indira Gandhi govt established regional rural banks by means of an ordinance in 1975. But even 45 years later, all these attempts have had little success in expanding banking coverage to the desired extent and scale: only 7 percent of Indias villages have a branch of a rural or commercial bank.

d)     The policymakers seem now to have finally understood that banking inclusion cannot be just one among many businesses of a bank: it has to be core business. The licensing condition that puts a Rs 1-lakh cap on deposits that payments banks can receive from customers defines the market they will target - primarily the unbanked population.

e)  RBI expects payments banks to target migrant labourers and the self-employed, besides low-income households, offering low-cost savings accounts and remittance services so that those who now transact only in cash can take their first step into the formal banking system.

f)    While this is a bold move, and underscores that the RBI is anything but conservative, it is ironical too that the cycle of experiments that started with 1969 round of nationalisation has now come full circle. The responsibility of financial inclusion is now almost entirely entrusted to the private sector.

12.

Kerala banana variant on GI list (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Geographical Indication (GI)

b)     Chengalikodan

c)     Geographical Indications in India

a)    The nendran banana variety (Chengalikodan) has been accorded the GI status.

b)     GI status is an indication that identifies goods as produced from a particular area, which has special quality or reputation attributable to its geographical origin.

c)     The banana (the special variety grown in suburbs of Thrissur and Thalappilly taluks) is known for its unique size, shape, colour and taste.

d)     Chengalikodan is the latest agricultural produce of Kerala to get GI status. Palakkadan matta rice, Vazhakkulam pineapple, Pokkali rice, Wayanadan scented rice varieties Gandhakasala and Jeerakasala and Central Travancore jaggery are among those already on the list.

e)     GI registration confers legal protection to the products, prevents unauthorised use of a GI by others, helps consumers get quality products of desired traits, promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods by enhancing demand in national and international markets and is essential to get protection in other countries.

f)     Nearly 200 unique goods have been registered as GIs in India.

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