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Daily News Analysis 24-08-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Setback to anti-terror agenda (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     The list had 54 fugitives, up from the 50 in 2012. India was planning to hand it over to Pakistan during the talks between the National Security Advisers of the two nations, which was cancelled amid high drama.

2.

No alternative to talks (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)    The failure of India and Pakistan to hold the planned meeting between their NSAs (as was agreed in Ufa six weeks ago) is unfortunate, indeed disquieting.

3.

Focus on civilisational, trade ties (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Revival of civilisational ties and trade will dominate discussions, but India and Egypt are also likely to focus on terror when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrives in Cairo on Aug 24 for a two-day visit.

4.

Ranil hopeful of political solution to Tamil question (Pages 1 and 11)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is confident and hopeful that political situation in Sri Lanka following the Aug 17 general election is favourable for forging an enduring political solution to the Tamil question.

5.

The Korean conundrum (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     The Koreas are still technically at war, as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice agreement and not a proper ceasefire.

6.

Britain, Iran reopen embassies (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond reopened the British Embassy in Tehran, nearly four years after it was closed following an attack by hard-liners.

7.

A reductive reading of Santhara (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     The judgment (on the age-old practice on Santhara) has made brief and superficial attempts to make a differentiation between Santhara and euthanasia, sati and suicide.

8.

Tripura tribals demand separate State (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     The demand for a separate tribal State was raised during the observance of the 31st anniversary of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.

9.

Exchange rate to determine corporate profitability (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)    The fall in the value of rupee (which is nearing 66 a dollar) is likely to impact corporate earnings and exchange rate becomes the only critical factor to determine corporate profitability.

10.

Tiger reserve in a limbo (Page 9)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Three years after it was notified a tiger reserve, Kawal (in Telangana) is yet to start functioning like one.

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Setback to anti-terror agenda (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     NSA talks

c)     Terrorism

d)     LeT

e)     Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)

f)     United Nations Security Resolution

a)     The list had 54 fugitives, up from the 50 in 2012. India was planning to hand it over to Pakistan during the talks between the NSAs of the two nations, which was cancelled amid high drama.

b)     The list of fugitives taking shelter in the neighbouring country was number one on Indias agenda for the discussions, followed by a heavy file or dossier on underworld gangster Dawood Ibrahim and the pending trial in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case.

c)     Indias argument was that under UN Security Resolution and being a member of the Commonwealth Committee on Terrorism, Pakistan was bound to take action against the accused. India would have taken up the repeated reminders sent to Pakistan for help in the investigation, one as recently as May.

d)     India has on the list names of at least nine accused, among them JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who walked out of a Pakistani jail in May and have gone underground.

e)     The US has said it is disappointed that the proposed talks between NSAs of India and Pakistan were called off.

2.

No alternative to talks (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     NSA talks

c)     Ufa joint statement

d)     Hurriyat conference

e)     Kashmir issue

 

a)    The failure of India and Pakistan to hold the planned meeting between their NSAs (as was agreed in Ufa six weeks ago) is unfortunate, indeed disquieting. It should give pause to both Islamabad and New Delhi on what kind of relations they could possibly expect to have in the foreseeable future.

b)     At Ufa there was a clear agreement on the agenda for the New Delhi meeting: that the NSAs would discuss all issues connected to terrorism. Ufa had also yielded a discernible road map to bring about a degree of peace and calm along the border and the LoC, which has been witnessing rounds of unprovoked firing and unacceptable casualties.

c)     There is no doubt that through its grandstanding on Kashmir and Hurriyat, Pakistan revoked on the understanding reached in Ufa. It is equally obvious that India has recalibrated its Pakistan policy, willing perhaps to take a calculated risk that the world would be better disposed to its preferences in the matter of dealing with Pakistan, almost 14 years after 9/11.

d)     To assume that those who formulate Indias Pakistan policy believed Islamabad would respect the sudden red line drawn on Hurriyat, would stretch credulity. The Hurriyat certainly does not have a place in bilateral processes. It is at best a Pakistani side-show with some nuisance value and without much consequence. India had indeed learnt to tolerate that.

e)     It is best at this point to open a discreet back channel that ensures better bilateral deliverables than has been the case over the last year and a half. There is simply no alternative to talks.

3.

Focus on civilisational, trade ties (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Egypt relations

b)     Trade ties

c)     Terrorism

d)     Islamic State (IS)

a)     Revival of civilisational ties and trade will dominate discussions, but India and Egypt are also likely to focus on terror when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrives in Cairo on Aug 24 for a two-day visit.

b)     Govt sources said both countries were keen on stitching together an alliance against terror, which poses a threat to their attempts to give a boost to trade and economy. During her meeting with President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, Swaraj is expected to raise the issue.

c)     India has recently announced a strategic partnership with the UAE, China and several Western nations to build a wall against terror. Cairo too faces threat from terror outfits that support the IS and have a presence in neighbouring Libya.

d)     While External Affairs Ministry officials described the visit as an attempt to renew civilisational ties, foreign policy watchers said that in the absence of renewed engagement, old ties had stagnated over time.

e)     On the trade and economy front, both nations are keen to strengthen their engagement. The fields of energy and pharmaceuticals too have potential for bilateral ties.

4.

Ranil hopeful of political solution to Tamil question (Pages 1 and 11)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     United National Party (UNP)

c)     Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)

d)     Tamil National Alliance (TNA)

e)     Human Rights issue

f)     UNHRC

g)     Statute of Rome

a)     Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is confident and hopeful that political situation in Sri Lanka following the Aug 17 general election is favourable for forging an enduring political solution to the Tamil question.

b)     Noting that the two main national parties, his UNP and the SLFP, and the TNA were the three key players in formulating the proposals for an enduring solution, he said he had tried to keep the UNP position flexible so that we can bridge the differences.

c)     The Sri Lankan political situation has taken an interesting turn with the narrow victory of UNP in the general election, its leader being sworn in as PMr for fourth time, and the signing of a MoU between the two main parties (UNP and SLFP), paving the way for a unity or national government.

d)     Asked about time lost after the war with the LTTE ended in 2009 and the prospects of moving towards an enduring political solution now, he responded that there have been a lot of administrative barriers, which have to be removed. Secondly, there has been a request by some of Provincial Councils that as far as powers exercised jointly (by both the Centre and the Provinces), concurrent powers are concerned, some of it could be transferred to the Provinces.

e)     He also expressed hope that a political consensus could be reached within months on a new Constitution for Sri Lanka, especially because the issues that needed to be resolved were fairly narrow.

f)    On the human rights issues, he said we have agreed it is domestic for the simple reason that we did not sign the Statute of Rome. The commitment that was given by the Rajapaksa administration to the UNHRC in 2009 could be interpreted in many ways.

5.

The Korean conundrum (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     North Korea – South Korea relations

b)     Korean War 1950-53

c)     Demilitarised zone (DMZ)

 

a)     The Korean Peninsula is no stranger to tensions. But the ultimatum given by North Korea to the South to either stop its propaganda broadcasts across the DMZ or face war has raised them to their highest level in many years.

b)     The Koreas are still technically at war, as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice agreement and not a proper ceasefire. Since then there have been several incidents of border violence.

c)     The latest flare-up is particularly troubling because of at least two factors - the growing unpredictability of the North Korean regime under Kim Jong-un, and the relatively more assertive response by South Korea to provocations.

d)    Beating up tensions with the South could be a deliberate strategy on the part of Kim in order to divert attention from crucial internal problems. The latest crisis started with a landmine blast in the DMZ. Seoul retaliated by resuming anti-North propaganda, which led to shelling from the North and counter-artillery fire from the South.

e)     While the two countries have not had a full-scale armed conflict since 1953, tensions on the peninsula have remained high, particularly after North went nuclear in 2006. With the US remaining committed to defending South Korea, any major confrontation between the North and the South could potentially lead to a nuclear conflagration.

f)     South Korea should rather regain its rational restraint, and use diplomatic means to tone down tensions. It could reach out to China, the only major ally of North, to put pressure on Pyongyang. If China is serious about taking a more proactive regional leadership role, North Korea will be the best starting point.

g)   The recent Iran nuclear deal shows that even complicated international issues could be resolved through imaginative diplomacy. But whether the Koreas and their respective backers have the will to earnestly follow a diplomatic solution, is the big question.

6.

Britain, Iran reopen embassies (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Britain – Iran relations

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

c)     Terrorism

d)     Islamic State (IS)

a)    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond reopened the British Embassy in Tehran, nearly four years after it was closed following an attack by hard-liners.

b)     Britain has had no diplomatic presence in Tehran since hard-liners protesting the imposition of international sanctions stormed it in Nov 2011, but the election of President Hassan Rouhani and the recent nuclear deal between Iran and world powers have brought about a significant diplomatic thaw.

c)     Hammond said the terrorism, regional stability and the spread of IS group in Syria and Iraq are among challenges Britain and Iran should be prepared to work together on.

7.

A reductive reading of Santhara (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Santhara

b)     Jain Philosophy

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

d)     Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

 

a)     Courts (as institutions of interpretation) intrigue citizens and often wonder them. The dignity of their ritual, the imprimatur of the official, the detailed litany of textual interpretations before a judgment is arrived at, are often impressive. One felt that about the judgments around nuclear energy; equally, one senses these limits in the judicial reading of Santhara.

b)     The author refers to the Rajasthan High Courts verdict against Santhara, or the centuries-old Jain practice of voluntarily starving to death. On Aug 10 2015, the courts Jaipur Bench ruled on a PIL filed in May 2006 against the practice.

c)     It held that Santhara would henceforth be treated as suicide and accordingly made punishable under the relevant sections (Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) and Section 306 (abetment of suicide)) of the IPC. It made its absolute rejection of the Jain philosophy underlying the practice unequivocally clear. An appeal challenging the order has now been filed in Supreme Court.

d)     The word Santhara means a way of life and encompasses a way of dying as well. In Jainism, the body is seen as a temporary residence for the soul which is reborn. One must remember that a word can hold a multiplicity of worlds and meanings. As a result, translation is one of the most difficult of acts. It demands a delicacy of understanding about words which (in their consequences) can be lethal.

e)     While playing with the cultures of difference, the court judgment eventually yields to a reductive act which is textually disappointing. There are critical lumps of information in initial pages. It claims that the Jain attitude to the body is different from the Christian attitude to the body and that Santhara is a ritual farewell to the body; it is an act of non-violence performed as an ethical act. The court hints that for petitioners, Santhara cannot be suicide. The etymology and the cosmologies are radically different.

f)     Santhara encapsulates a different narrative. It is a ritual act of purification, done in consultation with a guru, and follows the most detailed of procedures. It cannot be an impulsive act or an egoistic one. It bears the imprimatur of theology and the approval of society.

g)    As one looks at the colonial interpretation, the critique of sati (where a woman sacrifices herself for her husband) brought condemnation. Santhara was read in a different way as an act of non-violence tuned to the deepest norms of Jain culture.

h)     Santhara is a multivalent term which cannot be reduced to the dreariness of suicide as closure or a termination. The English term cannot comprehend Santhara in terms of being a ritual exit and a rite of passage to a different world. Santhara (performed correctly) is ritual non-violence. The author feels that the courts judgment misinterprets both the word and world.

i)     There are doubts about Santhara. Many people have pointed to the coercive, even aspirational aspects of the practice. Witnesses claim that families whose reputations are at stake often refuse to let a person change his mind. There is an aspirational aspect as families of the individual who wishes to observe Santhara get respect and status, so they often tend to advertise the act. Here, Santara is often presented as sati. Its voluntariness is forgotten.

j)     The court had to make a differentiation between Santhara and euthanasia, sati and suicide. It has made brief and superficial attempts to do so. And in this abortive act of comparative sociology, the ritual dignity of Santara has been lost. In the confusion between the literal and the symbol, between a construction of fact and celebration, the meaning is lost.

k)     After its abbreviated move through philosophy, ethics, language and law, the court has reduced the whole to one narrow issue, namely the test of essentiality. It asks where Santhara is an essential tenet of Jainism and declares that it is not. Such a litmus test might work in textbook chemistry but it fails to work in contextuality and polysemy of culture.

l)     The court could have been strict about aberrations or deviations from Santhara but to reduce the ritual act to suicide amounts to an exhibition of illiteracy. The court seems more worried about the debates on euthanasia and sati than about looking at Santhara as a cultural practice with its own collection of meanings.

m)     The court has held that extinguishing life, sacrificing it or effacing it cannot be considered as acts of dignity. A right to die cannot be a part of a right to life. In constructing such a judgment, the courts ethno-centricity becomes obvious. It enshrines a piece of Christian theology and Anglo-Saxon law in its response to the logic of Santhara. Eventually, the judgment creates a monologic sense of life and a standardised sense of what death and dying is.

n)     The aridity of a reductive secularism often comes out in displays of language. In fact, translation becomes a test of justice. This is the epic tragedy of the Santhara judgment. It conveys the fact that nation states that can inflict and adjudicate death, often feel lost in complexity of phenomenon.

8.

Tripura tribals demand separate State (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC)

b)     Indigenous Peoples Front of Twipra (IPFT)

c)     Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT)

d)     Bodo Territorial Council

a)     The demand for a separate tribal State was raised during the observance of the 31st anniversary of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.

b)     The Indigenous Peoples Front of Twipra (IPFT) held a massive march and rally to reiterate its pledge for Twipraland for the States 33 percent indigenous population.

c)     The IPFTs rival INPT and other parties also celebrated the day. These groups are opposed to the separate home demand, but want a strong council like that of the Bodo Territorial Council in Assam.

9.

Exchange rate to determine corporate profitability (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)    Currency devaluation

b)     Currency war

c)     ICRA

d)     Exchange rate

e)     Interest rate

f)     WPI inflation

g)     RBI

a)    The fall in the value of rupee (which is nearing 66 a dollar) is likely to impact corporate earnings and exchange rate becomes the only critical factor to determine corporate profitability.

b)     Peoples Bank of China changed the way it calculated the reference rate of yuan recently, which led to more than 4 percent fall in Chinese currency against the dollar. This fall in yuan, prompted other countries to resort to competitive devaluation of their currencies to support their exports.

c)     ICRA says that the yuan devaluation reflected the market concerns regarding a slowdown of Chinese economic growth and flagging exports. This has given rise to the worries that the currency may weaken further unless Chinese macroeconomic fundamentals stage an improvement and that the devaluation had actually been permitted to boost the competitiveness of Chinese exports.

d)     According to ICRA, the sectors (in India) expected to be directly impacted by yuan devaluation include, steel, tyre and auto component as these sectors have a large overhang of Chinese capacity in the global market. This apart, it says the power and telecom sector would also be impacted indirectly by devaluation of rupee against the dollar, due to a combination of increase in input costs and foreign currency borrowings.

e)     RBI had come out with a working paper recently which talks about rupees exchange rate against the dollar as most important risk component for Indian corporate profitability.

f)    The RBI study says that the importance of macro economic factors such as exchange rate, interest rate and WPI inflation rate to determine corporate profitability is amplified. Among them, the exchange rate of rupee compared to the dollar was a significant factor whose importance has increased manifold in recent times.

10.

Tiger reserve in a limbo (Page 9)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Kawal Tiger Reserve

b)     National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

c)     Project Tiger

d)     Tiger Reserves in India

a)     Three years after it was notified a tiger reserve, Kawal is yet to start functioning like one. Wildlife activists state that the reserve may not serve the big cat in its present form as the Telangana State has failed to administer it as per stipulated guidelines.

b)     An order passed in June this year calls for reorganisation of the Adilabad Forest Circle to facilitate unified administration of core and buffer areas of Kawal Tiger Reserve by a field director as required by NTCA.

c)     It is located in the Adilabad Circle of Telangana forest and is being administered by a conservator. Before its notification as tiger reserve in 2012, Kawal was a wildlife sanctuary, also under the conservators supervision.

d)     On the other hand, tiger reserves in India are administered by field directors as mandated by NTCA that administers Project Tiger in India.

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