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Daily News Analysis 08-09-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Pak Army Chief warns against misadventure (Page 1)

a)     I.R

a)     Pakistans Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has warned enemies that they will have to pay an unbearable cost for aggression.

2.

Threat from IS is serious, Rajnath tells Russia (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Two days after he said that terrorist organisation Islamic State was not big challenge to India, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told a Russian delegation that the threat of IS was a matter of serious concern.

3.

Germany, France urge EU to do more (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The leaders of Germany and France have called on the EU nations to step up to their responsibilities towards refugees who are streaming into Europe in thousands.

4.

The Syrian catastrophe (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     The shocking image of the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi (the three-year-old boy who drowned while fleeing Syrias Kobani) was a tragic reminder of the humanitarian crisis in the West Asian country.

5.

A bit for the state, a bit for the investor (Page 11)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     In reviewing Bilateral Investment Treaties, the idea is to provide an internationally recognised and basic minimum protection for investing companies.

6.

SC rejects PIL plea against MPs right to disrupt House (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Supreme Court declined to hear a public interest petition asking it to interpret the absolute privilege a Member of Parliament claims to disrupt parliamentary proceedings at the cost of the taxpayers money.

7.

An odd pitch to curb free speech (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Maharashtra government circular (on free speech and sedition) is unconstitutional as it is violative of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution.

8.

Passage of GST Bill need of the hour: Venkaiah (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu sought the cooperation of all political parties when Parliament is convened to pass the GST Bill.

9.

Modi govts  model for GST may not result in significant growth push (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)  Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs has put out estimates that show that the Modi Govts model for the GST will not raise growth, will push up consumer prices inflation and may not result in increased tax revenue collections.

10.

Kali river contaminates groundwater (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Rivers in western Uttar Pradesh like Kali, Krishna and Hindon have been polluted to dangerous levels because of the industrial waste released illegally into them by the industries.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Pak Army Chief warns against misadventure (Page 1)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Indo-Pak war 1965

c)     Kashmir issue

 

a)     Speaking at a function to mark the 50th anniversary of the India-Pakistan war of 1965, Pakistans Army Chief General Raheel Sharif said Pakistan was fully capable of defeating all sorts of external aggression.

b)     The statement was in response to Indian Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singhs remarks at a seminar last week, stressing the need to prepare for the swift, short nature of future wars.

c)     Gen. Sharif also referred to Kashmir as the unfinished business of Partition. Without resolving the issue according to the aspirations of Kashmiris, peace in the region is not possible.

d)     Rejecting his comments, the government asserted Indias claim on all of J&K. The only issue with Pakistan is to get back parts of J&K under its illegal occupation.

2.

Threat from IS is serious, Rajnath tells Russia (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Russia relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Islamic State (IS)

d)     Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

e)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

f)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

 

a)     Two days after he said that terrorist organisation Islamic State was not big challenge to India, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told a Russian delegation that the threat of IS was a matter of serious concern.

b)     He also asked Russia to tell Pakistan to rein in terrorist groups operating from its soil and support New Delhi in its effort to isolate Islamabad in international forums on the issue of terror.

c)    Indian side told the visiting Russian delegation that terrorist groups like LeT, JeM (which have been targeting India) operate from Pakistans soil and Moscow should ask Islamabad during their bilateral meetings to dismantle all such groups.

d)     The meeting comes in the backdrop of reports of enhanced diplomatic and military ties between Russia and Pakistan that include decision to hold joint military exercises by the two countries for the first time ever and Russia agreeing to sell military helicopters to Pakistan.

3.

Germany, France urge EU to do more (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Europes refugee crisis

b)     Syria crisis

c)     UNSC

a)     The leaders of Germany and France have called on the EU nations to step up to their responsibilities towards refugees who are streaming into Europe in thousands.

b)     The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has admitted that the UNSC is failing Syria because of big power divisions that have prevented action to end a conflict that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and driven the biggest refugee exodus in a generation.

c)     He told that Russia and China should look beyond national interest and stop blocking Security Council action on the conflict in Syria as flow of refugees to Europe reaches unprecedented levels.

4.

The Syrian catastrophe (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Syrian crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

a)     The shocking image of the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi (the three-year-old boy who drowned while fleeing Syrias Kobani) was a tragic reminder of the humanitarian crisis in the West Asian country. Thousands flee Syria every day as it grapples with one of greatest humanitarian tragedies in recent history. More than two lakh people have already been killed in the four-year-long civil war, according to the UN.

b)     After the image of the boy lying face-down on a Turkish beach surfaced, several European govts (including that of the UK) have agreed to take in more Syrian refugees. While such moves should be welcomed on humanitarian grounds, it cant be forgotten that the policies of very same European govts towards Syria helped cause the chaos in that country.

c)     Ever since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, there were no meaningful international efforts to find a political solution to the crisis. Instead, regional powers turned Syria into a geopolitical battlefield. Rich Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar supported different rebel groups against the regime because they wanted President Bashar al-Assad (an ally of Iran) to be toppled.

d)     Turkey (driven by its regional ambitions) also threw its weight behind the rebels and kept open its long border, through which fighters could cross into Syria to join the war. Western powers such as the US and Britain joined the regime change chorus and offered support to the rebels. This drive failed to oust Assad, but has destabilised Syria, leading to rise of terror groups such as IS.

e)     Regional heavyweights such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia and their backers in the West should reverse their policy towards Syria. They should rein in the rebels they bankroll and directly engage with the Assad regime to push for talks. Assad clearly has to be an integral part of any future plan for Syria.

5.

A bit for the state, a bit for the investor (Page 11)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT)

b)     India-Australia BIT

c)     Most Favoured Nation (MFN)

d)     Law Commission of India (LCI)

e)     Model Indian Bilateral Treaty (Model Draft)

a)     In an attempt to redraft 83 archaic BIT, Law Commission of India in its 260th report on the Draft Model Indian Bilateral Treaty has walked the tightrope and tried its best to maintain the balance between the rights of the investors and the rights of the state.

b)     A BIT is a treaty between two countries that sets out to provide certain basic protections to the investors of one state investing in another. For instance, most such treaties provide investors a guarantee of fair and equitable treatment - the clause (to draw an analogy from constitutional law) is broadly akin to the right of equality and protection against arbitrary state action.

c)     Other protections include: rights against expropriation, both direct and indirect, of an investors investment; and a MFN provision, which guarantees an investor a treatment not less favourable than a treatment afforded to any other investor claiming rights under any other BIT.

d)     It was only in end-2011 that India faced its first adverse arbitral award arising out of a BIT in the White Industries case. White Industries (an Australian entity) succeeded in obtaining a foreign arbitral award against Coal India Ltd. White Industries had initiated proceedings for enforcement of this award before Indian courts and for about 10 years, the said proceedings did not progress.

e)     White Industries argued that it had been denied effective means of enforcing its rights in relation to its investment, a protection incorporated into the India-Australia BIT by virtue of an MFN clause it contained. The arbitral tribunal accepted the plea and India was forced to pay a huge price for the delays caused by its judicial system.

f)     The award opened a Pandoras Box and since then 17 investors have issued notices of arbitration against India. The Indian govt was staring at an enormous liability arising out of these causes of action. As a reaction to the White Industries case and the various subsequent notices of arbitration, the govt published a Draft Model proposing to renegotiate the BITs it had already entered into in line with the draft.

g)    The Model Draft protected interests of the govt; however, it defeated the very purpose of entering into a BIT by drastically narrowing down the protection for investors by, inter alia, a) providing an extremely narrow definition of investment b) deleting the MFN clause c) providing for the exhaustion of remedies on one hand and for the decision of the court to be binding on arbitral tribunal on the other and finally d) by providing for a number of exceptional self-judging state actions, which would not be within the purview of challenge before an arbitral tribunal set up pursuant to the dispute resolutions contained in BIT.

h)    Therefore, it was necessary for a new draft, which would find the right balance between the rights of the govt and the rights of the investors. For this reason, the LCI set up a sub-committee to submit a report. The LCIs endeavour has been to ensure that the interests of India are taken care of while providing an internationally recognised basic minimum protection for investors.

i)     First, the LCI recommends a modification from a highly narrow enterprise-based definition of investment to a broader and universally accepted asset-based definition. An enterprise-based definition would mean that a foreign investor who did not set up an enterprise in India to carry on business would have absolutely no protection.

j)     Second, the LCI reiterates the stand adopted in the Model Draft that the MFN must not be incorporated since India might chose to provide differential benefits to trading partners based on the extent of incoming investment from a country. Third, the LCI encourages the incorporation of a denial of benefits clause, wherein an investor is denied benefits of a treaty should it be involved in corrupt practices or should it act contrary to the laws of country.

k)     Fourth, the LCI suggests amendments to certain provisions of the dispute resolution mechanism contained in the Model Draft. The Model Draft precluded an arbitral tribunal from reviewing any legal issue which has been finally settled by any judicial authority of the home state.

l)     Fifth, the Model Draft contained general exceptions with a long list of permissible objectives such as public health, environment, public order, public morals, improving working conditions, ensuring the integrity and stability of the financial system, banks and financial institutions etc., and it provided that any measures which the state considered to be in furtherance of the above objectives would not be subject to scrutiny before an arbitral tribunal.

m)     While having a set of exceptions is internationally recognised and is in furtherance of sovereignty, the provision in the Model Draft provided the state with the authority to self-judge, that is, to determine if a measure would fall within the exception and not be subject to a challenge. The LCI has suggested that the said provision be re-drafted so as to not be self-judging. It is to be seen if India is successful in renegotiating the existing BITs.

n)     All that the LCI report does is to set out certain basic minimum internationally recognised criteria that India must keep in mind in order to appear reasonable to international investors and yet ensure that the White Industries saga is not repeated.

6.

SC rejects PIL plea against MPs right to disrupt House (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Right to disrupt House

b)     Parliament

c)     Supreme Court

d)     Public Interest Litigation (PIL)

 

a)     Supreme Court declined to hear a public interest petition asking it to interpret the absolute privilege a Member of Parliament claims to disrupt parliamentary proceedings at the cost of taxpayers money.

b)     It said privileges are given to parliamentarians to smoothen the work in the House and not to freeze it.

c)   The petition also questioned whether there was any scale to define the term disruption.

7.

An odd pitch to curb free speech (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Freedom of speech

b)     Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution

c)     Section 124A IPC

a)     Maharashtra govt circular (of Sept4 2015, while clarifying an earlier circular dated Aug27) states that if words or signs or representations by someone cause hatred, enmity, contempt or disloyalty against the govt and can also be an incitement to violence or are intended to cause public disorder, then charges of sedition under Section 124A IPC can be invoked against that person. However, it was clarified with a view to bring about change in govt by lawful means cannot by themselves be regarded as an act of treason.

b)     This comes after a submission made by Advocate-General in the Bombay High Court in a case involving political activist and cartoonist Aseem Trivedi that the Home Department would issue these guidelines in the form of a circular to all policemen. Later, the State govt clarified that these guidelines were part of a general circular, and not a Govt Resolution, and were strictly in accordance with the orders issued by Bombay High Court.

c)     In authors (Justice Markandey Katju, a former judge of the Supreme Court and former Chairman, Press Council of India) opinion, the Maharashtra govt circular (despite its clarification) is clearly unconstitutional as it is  violative of the freedom of speech guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

d)   There are many things done by the Union and Maharashtra govts that do not strike a chord with many people and which causes them to express their contempt, enmity and disaffection openly. Some have even called for a revolution in view of the massive levels of poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, price rise, a lack of health care, farmers suicides, and discrimination against minorities, women and Dalits to name some of issues that are still prevalent in India.

e)     In Whitney vs. California, 274 US 357 (1927), Justice Brandeis of the US Supreme Court observed that fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of free speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To justify suppression of free speech there must be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil will result if free speech is practiced and that the danger apprehended is imminent.

f)     In Yates vs. US, 354 US 298 (1957), Justice Harlan of US Supreme Court observed that in failing to distinguish between advocacy of forcible overthrow as an abstract doctrine and advocacy of action to that end, the District Court appears to have been led astray by the holding in Dennis that advocacy of violent action to be taken at some future time was enough. The District Court apparently thought that Dennis obliterated the traditional dividing line between advocacy of abstract doctrine and advocacy of action.

g)     In Brandenburg vs. Ohio, 395 US 444 (1969), the US Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision in Whitney vs. California, 274 US 357 (1927) and observed that the Constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

h)     All these judgments of US Supreme Court were referred to with approval by the Indian Supreme Court in Sri Indra Das vs. State of Assam 2011 and, therefore, are a part of the law of the land in India too.

i)     In his historic decision in New York Times vs. US 1971, Justice Hugo Black observed that in the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Govts power to censor press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.

8.

Passage of GST Bill need of the hour: Venkaiah (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     GST Bill

b)     Global financial crisis

a)     Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu sought the cooperation of all political parties when Parliament is convened to pass the GST Bill.

b)     He said the GST Bill is the need of the hour. In view of the global financial crisis that is developing, India has to take extra steps to strengthen the economy and the GST Bill that has been pending for eight years is one such step.

9.

Modi govts  model for GST may not result in significant growth push (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Goods Services Tax (GST)

b)     Value added Tax (VAT)

c)     GDP

d)     National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)

a)  Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs has put out estimates that show that the Modi Govts model for the GST will not raise growth, will push up consumer prices inflation and may not result in increased tax revenue collections.

b)     It says the decision to exclude from the GST items such as tobacco, alcohol and electricity and the 1-percent additional tax over and above it are among the faults in the model that will lead to these sub-optimal results from the biggest economic reform in India in recent years.

c)     It says the estimate of the impact on GDP is significantly lower than that of the NCAER in part due to the proposed GST excluding key taxes such as on petroleum, alcohol, electricity and real estate as well as a proposed additional up to 1 percent tax on inter-state movement of goods. NCAER in 2009 estimated that moving to the GST can increase Indias growth by 0.9 percentage point to 1.7 percentage point.

d)     Its analysis of the impact of implementing the VAT in the mid-2000s suggests that the states which introduced the tax witnessed, on average, just about 0.6 percentage point higher GDP growth in the three years after implementation relative to those that did not implement VAT.

e)     Its analysis suggests that about a third of the basket of products in the consumer price inflation index would come under the GST. The rate of price-rise for services would go up by more than a percentage point if the Centre and States settle for a GST rate of 20 percent as against the existing service tax rate of 14 percent. Inflation in goods could be lower by about 0.3 percentage point against the current average tax on consumer goods works out to about 22 per cent.

f)     It also found that Asian countries which implemented GST between 1977 and 2015 all had retail inflation 1.1 percent point higher on average in the year of implementation.

g)     The GST is a nation-wide integration of goods and services tax in India. It combines about 16 types of taxes such as central excise and service tax, states VAT, entertainment and luxury tax, and various surcharges into a single tax.

10.

Kali river contaminates groundwater (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Kali river

b)     River pollution

c)     Ground water depletion

a)     Rivers in western Uttar Pradesh like Kali, Krishna and Hindon have been polluted to dangerous levels because of the industrial waste released illegally into them by the industries.

b)     A scientific study (of river Kali which flows through nine districts and covers about 200km) revealed that they have also contaminated groundwater of hundreds of villages located on the banks of these rivers thereby endangering the health of millions of people.

c)     The heavy metals present in the Kali have entered the groundwater of these villages through seepage. The study has shown that dangerously high levels of lead, total dissolved solids and iron, have been found in water samples picked from hand pump of 8 villages.

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