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Daily News Analysis 11-09-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Positive vibes as BSF, Pakistan Rangers meet (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In a sign of thaw, the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers have decided to allow maintenance of the existing defence-related construction along the border.

2.

Indian diplomacy comes under spotlight (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     As India sought waiving of diplomatic immunity for Saudi official charged with rape of two Nepalese women in Gurgaon, there were conflicting reports on whether the diplomat had left for Saudi Arabia or whether he was staying at the embassy here, till a decision was taken.

3.

Russia joins combat in Syria (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Three Lebanese sources familiar with the political and military situation in Syria said that Russian forces have begun participating in military operations in support of government troops.

4.

U.S. to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016 (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Amid criticism that the United States has not done enough, President Barack Obama has ordered his team to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees next year.

5.

The devil is in the details (Page 10)

a)     National

a)    Whether we are at the point of a historic accord or a Framework Agreement in Naga peace process, adherence to fundamental principles of Indian Constitution is vitally important. Therefore, the concept of shared sovereignty needs to be examined.

6.

Many govt. law officers inept: SC (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Supreme Court said that with the State governments appointing political favourites to the public posts of government pleaders and law officers, the already-beleaguered justice delivery system in the lower courts across the country has been further weakened.

7.

Old problems mar a new solution (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     District Mineral Foundations were set up to protect the interests of Adivasi communities who have borne the costs of mining. But they are faulty in their current form.

8.

UK largest G20 investor in India, currently employs 6.91 lakh people (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     According to a report, the UK has emerged as the largest G20 investor in India since 2000, pumping in $22.2 billion as of March 2015, more than 30 percent of all investments made by G20 economies in India in that period.

9.

China deflation fears escalate (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Chinas manufacturers slashed prices at fastest rate in 6years in August as commodity prices fell and demand cooled, signalling stubborn deflation risks in economy and adding to expectations for further stimulus measures.

10.

Over 3 million premature deaths in India in 2013, says study (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     In 2013, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, household air pollution from solid fuels, unsafe water sources and smoking were the top avoidable risks associated with health loss and a significant amount of disease burden among Indians in both sexes.

11.

It is for govt to decide on manned mission: ISRO chief (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said it was for the government to decide as to when a manned space mission should be undertaken.

12.

Where grass is greener (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)    Tribal hamlets of A.P. have turned into a narcotics hub.

13.

New species of ancient humans found: scientists (Page 14)

a)     History

b)     Geography

a)    A huge haul of bones found in a small, dark chamber at the back of a cave in South Africa may be the remnants of a new species of ancient human relative.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Positive vibes as BSF, Pakistan Rangers meet (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     Border Security Force (BSF)

d)     Pakistan Rangers

 

a)     In a sign of thaw, the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers have decided to allow maintenance of the existing defence-related construction along the border. While no new construction will be allowed, each force will allow the other to carry out maintenance work of the border outposts and observation points on the zero line.

b)   Pakistan Rangers reportedly told the BSF that it had three times their force along the 2308-km border, and it was primarily Indias responsibility to plug the gaps that led to tension and cross-border firing.

c)     The two forces also decided to devise a mechanism of enhanced detection and communication to immediately check any ceasefire violation and cross-border firing at the ground level.

d)     A senior govt official said that Pakistan was extremely supportive of our observations, and they seemed to agree with us on most of the issues. They admitted that the drug menace was as big a problem for them as it was to us, as it was being smuggled into their country from the Afghanistan border.

2.

Indian diplomacy comes under spotlight (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Saudi Arabia relations

b)      India – Nepal relations

 

a)     As India sought waiving of diplomatic immunity for Saudi official charged with rape of 2 Nepalese women in Gurgaon, there were conflicting reports on whether the diplomat had left for Saudi Arabia or whether he was staying at the embassy here, till a decision was taken.

b)     The case has put Indian diplomacy in the spotlight as both the victim and the accused belong to different nationalities.

c)     Nepal has a special relationship with India and its citizens are granted national treatment on a par with Indian citizens on many issues, and the govt would wish to satisfy the Nepal government that it has taken effective action.

d)    On the other hand, the govt would rather not strain ties with Saudi Arabia where 3 million Indians live and work. Saudi Arabia is also Indias largest provider of oil since 2001.

3.

Russia joins combat in Syria (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Russia – Syria relations

b)     Russias military deterrence

c)     Islamic State (IS)

d)     Syria crisis

a)     Three Lebanese sources familiar with the political and military situation in Syria said that Russian forces have begun participating in military operations in support of government troops.

b)     The sources gave the most forthright account yet from the region of what US officials say appears to be a new military build-up by Russia (one of President Bashar al-Assads main allies), though one of the sources said the numbers of Russians involved so far were small.

c)     The move comes at a time when forces of Assads govt have faced major setbacks on the battlefield in a four-year-old multi-sided civil war that has killed 2,50,000 people and driven half of Syrias 23 million people from their homes.

d)     Officials in US (which is fighting an air war against the Islamist militant group IS in Syria and also opposes Assads govt) have said in recent days that they suspect Russia is reinforcing to aid Assad.

e)     US has put pressure on countries nearby to deny their air space to Russian flights, a move Moscow denounced as international boorishness. Moscows only naval base in the Mediterranean is at Tartous on the Syrian coast in territory held by Assad, and keeping it secure would be an important strategic objective for the Kremlin.

4.

U.S. to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016 (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syrian crisis

b)     Refugee crisis

c)     Islamic State

a)     Amid criticism that the US has not done enough, President Obama has ordered his team to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees next year.

b)     With global public opinion shocked by images of drowning refugees, US is under political pressure to act quickly. The US currently accepts around 70,000 refugees from conflicts and persecution each year, but has been slow to accept Syrians.

5.

The devil is in the details (Page 10)

a)     National

a)     Naga Peace Accord

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

c)     NSCN (Khaplang)

d)     NSCN (Konyak-Kitovi)

e)     Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organization

f)     Naga Hoho

g)     United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA)

a)   Several weeks after the Aug 3 historic accord (since diluted to the status of a framework agreement) between Delhi and the NSCN (I-M), the contours of what was agreed upon remain unclear. Instead, it has all the makings of a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

b)     It is not the first time that the NSCN (I-M) has claimed to have reached an agreement with the Indian govt. The then PM Narasimha Rao had first met an NSCN (I-M) delegation in Paris way back in 1995. His successor Deve Gowda had a meeting with the NSCN (I-M) in Zurich. Later, the venue shifted to New Delhi, where PM Manmohan Singh had a meeting with Isak Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. All meetings were held in a cordial atmosphere, but hardly given publicity, lest it raised undue hopes.

c)     Muivah has been a canny and shrewd opponent and an even smoother operator at the negotiating table. Considering the hype surrounding the agreement, Muivah seems to have reconciled to (i) upholding allegiance to the Indian Constitution and (ii) giving up his demand for Nagalim- a euphemism for a homeland for all Naga tribes of the Northeast. The latter would implicitly involve redrawing the boundaries of at least three States - Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

d)     However, less than a fortnight after the Delhi accord, on the occasion of Naga Independence Day in Hebron (Aug 14), Muivah declared that there was no question of giving up the demand for Naga sovereignty, and that the Nagas appreciated the fact that New Delhi had changed its mind regarding these issues. He said that both sides accepted concept of shared sovereignty - the details of which had still to be worked out.

e)     On Naga integration, he declared that there could be no solution without integration. Given Muivahs reputation as a master dissimulator, the need for greater clarity on what had transpired has become essential.

f)     Details of what was agreed upon are still not in the public realm. From remarks attributed to govt of Indias interlocutor to the talks, it would appear that sharing of sovereign power did figure in the talks with NSCN (I-M). Further, according to the interlocutor, sharing of sovereign power would not be confined to just semantics, and that the Nagas could hope to become almost sovereign-like.

g)  The interlocutor also seemed rather vague on the question of Naga integration. At one point he mentioned that it would be achieved through a democratic process; almost immediately he seemed to imply that physical integration in terms of boundaries was not possible at this point of time, making it clear that the government of India was not going to alter the boundaries of States.

h)    Whether we are at point of a historic accord or framework agreement, adherence to certain fundamental principles is vitally important. Accepting the Indian Constitution is an inalienable principle, and whether shared sovereignty violates the basic principles of the Indian Constitution needs to be examined.

i)     Almost every ethnic group in the Northeast has come up with somewhat similar prescriptions - the ULFA (for example) had championed the cause of dual citizenship. Shared sovereignty also has implications and repercussions well beyond the borders of Nagaland, not only impacting States like Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, but many other regions of India as well.

j)     There are other issues that also need to be taken into consideration. The NSCN (I-M) leadership has mastered the art of semantics, but it has hardly endeared itself to other Naga communities in the region. The NSCN (I-M) does not represent all Naga communities. NSCN (Khaplang), NSCN (Konyak-Kitovi) and Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organization, all act independent of NSCN (I-M).

k)     Politics in the region also clearly matters. This is particularly true as far as moves on the Naga chessboard are concerned. India has plenty of experience in the effective management of conflicts in the Northeast and, by and large, these have been dictated by a broader strategic vision.

l)     The existence of different ethnic and tribal entities in the Northeast gives identity politics here special traction, and violence is often a given. Additionally, many pockets in the Northeast suffer from a sense of siege. Hence, political narratives have to be carefully thought through, lest these foment newer demands, including that for territory. This could vitiate an already disturbed atmosphere.

m)     It is imperative that prior to finalisation of any framework agreement, care is taken to see that there is an across the board acceptance of fundamental principles and objective necessities. Different communities in the Northeast compete for power and rank, and an identity crisis afflicts most tribes and communities. It is essential that special social mechanism that sustains tribal orthodoxy is not disturbed. Otherwise, it would have a tectonic impact on peace and tranquillity in the entire region.

6.

Many govt. law officers inept: SC (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Appointments of Law officers

b)     Justice delivery system

c)     Supreme Court

a)     Supreme Court said that with the State govts appointing political favourites to the public posts of government pleaders and law officers, the already-beleaguered justice delivery system in the lower courts across the country has been further weakened.

b)     When told that even property dealers and political activists having Law degrees were being appointed govt pleaders, a Bench of Justices said there should be some semblance of objectivity in the appointment of law officers who carried out the crucial job of defending the State and the publics interest in courts.

c)  Justice Thakur said the State govts had left public function of public pleaders in hands of incompetent persons with political contact but little merit.

7.

Old problems mar a new solution (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Adivasi rights

b)     District Mineral Foundation (DMF)

c)     Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MTA)

d)     Grama Sabha

e)     Shah Commission on illegal mining

 

 

a)     Through 2011-13, dogged investigators from Justice M. B. Shah Commission on illegal mining toured rust-red villages, forests and rivers of northern Odisha, and trawled through reams of official records including from environment, minerals, railways, and revenue departments.

b)     The stark conclusion of the commissions 1619-page report confirmed what Odisha (in particular its Adivasi citizens) has long known: there is no rule of law, but the law is what mighty mining companies decide, with the connivance of the concerned department.

c)     Faced with the scrutiny of Justice Shahs team, the State govts belated admission that there were many illegal miners in Odisha took the form of 146 recovery notices. The notices, and the larger issues of lawless mining, ecological damage and abuses borne by local communities remain buried under litigation and neglect.

d)    The commissions findings showed that the State-miners combine cannot be trusted to uphold public interest, and that decision-making in mining projects must yield to greater public scrutiny, in particular of local communities. But ongoing policy changes suggest that few lessons have been learnt.

e)     Through an August 18 notification, Odisha has become the first State in the country to issue rules for District Mineral Foundation - an institution created by a March 2015 amendment through which the Modi govt brought far-reaching changes to Indias mining regulations.

f)     The amendments primarily aimed at giving the State the power to auction vast tracts of mineral-rich forests and farmlands to mining corporations, and were not preceded by any inter-ministerial consultation with other relevant departments, such as the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

g)     DMFs are defined in the amendment as bodies that will work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining-related operations. They are the States belated response to clinching evidence that citizens of Indias ore-rich areas, primarily Adivasi communities, endure degraded livelihoods and bear social, environmental and health costs of mining, but get few benefits. In their current form, the DMFs are also faulty.

h)     Five months after the amendment, there is no clarity on what percentage of revenues miners must contribute to the DMF. A 2011 bill drafted by the UPA govt had mandated that mining companies pay to the DMF an amount equivalent to royalty. NDA govt diluted this provision. The amended law now states that new lease-holders will contribute an amount not exceeding a third of the royalty to the DMF; existing lease holders will contribute an amount not exceeding royalty.

i)     While mining associations lobby the Centre on keeping their contributions to the DMF to a minimum, there is no similar platform for other stakeholders outside govt to voice their concerns. In fact, there is absolutely no transparency or disclosure from the Centre on how it is carrying out the decision-making process on this crucial issue.

j)     Similarly, the Odisha govts Aug 18 DMF notification was neither preceded by any public consultation exercise nor was a draft version of the rules issued to incorporate public feedback and review. Unsurprisingly, this opaque process has resulted in a DMF that centralises powers in the bureaucracy, and is cast as an executor of official-driven programmes.

k)     Worse, govt officials dominate the DMFs Board of Trustees, and constitute entirety of its Executive Committee. Officials have the powers to prepare plans and budgets, sanction funds, award contracts, and if they deem appropriate, even use DMF funds for projects at the block and district level, thus bypassing remote Adivasi villages in forests and mountains witnessing mining.

l)     It is alarming how, despite local communities being the hardest hit by mining projects, the institutional framework created by these rules entirely sidelines public participation and local knowledge as elements crucial to building an effective DMF. The only allowance the rules make is the provision of gram sabha approval for decisions of DMF in scheduled areas. However, officials have prepared the ground for reducing this to a token by not detailing what the approval process will entail.

m)     In this overly centralised structure, communities can neither plan nor authorise tasks, which they believe the DMF should undertake. They cannot even conduct social audits of projects carried out in their name - in fact, the only audit the notification specifies is an internal one.

n)     As the Shah Commissions reports outlined, mineral-rich areas are afflicted by a severe asymmetry of power between local communities and the State-miner combine. Ongoing policies are widening this inequity, and reinforcing the harmful approach that Adivasi lands are a site for resource extraction.

8.

UK largest G20 investor in India, currently employs 6.91 lakh people (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     India – UK economic ties

b)     G20

c)     FDI

a)     According to a report, the UK has emerged as the largest G20 investor in India since 2000, pumping in $22.2 billion as of March 2015, more than 30 percent of all investments made by G20 economies in India in that period.

b)     Official said Britain is the biggest investor in India, and creates the most jobs by any country in India. India as well is the biggest investor in the UK. The UKs economic relations with India are very strong. India invests more in the UK than the rest of the EU combined.

9.

China deflation fears escalate (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Chinas economic growth

b)     Deflation

c)     Producer Price Index (PPI)

a)     Chinas manufacturers slashed prices at fastest rate in 6years in August as commodity prices fell and demand cooled, signalling stubborn deflation risks in economy and adding to expectations for further stimulus measures.

b)     Data showed the PPI fell 5.9 percent in August from the same period last year, its 42nd consecutive month of decline and biggest drop since the depths of the global financial crisis in late 2009.

10.

Over 3 million premature deaths in India in 2013, says study (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Premature deaths in India

b)     Child and maternal undernutrition

c)     Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)

d)     Air pollution

 

a)     In 2013, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, household air pollution from solid fuels, unsafe water sources and smoking were top avoidable risks associated with health loss and a significant amount of disease burden among Indians in both sexes.

b)   In contrast, the contribution of unsafe water sources and poor sanitation, as well as child and maternal undernutrition to health loss in India has dropped significantly since 1990. While poor sanitation does not figure among top 10 risk factors for health loss in men in 2013, it is the fifth greatest risk factor for women.

c)     However, early deaths caused by high BP, high blood sugar and other risk factors may reduce when on Sept 25 India signs the SDG to reduce by one-third premature mortality caused by non-communicable diseases in those aged 30 to 70.

d)     Household air pollution from solid fuels and ambient particulate matter pollution are two of the major risk factors in both men and women in India.

11.

It is for govt to decide on manned mission: ISRO chief (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Manned space mission

b)     Mars Orbiter mission

c)     ISRO

a)     ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said it was for the govt to decide as to when a manned space mission should be undertaken. On its part, the ISRO is working on developing certain critical technologies for the proposed mission.

b)     He said ISRO scientists had to go through anxious moments during Mars Orbiter mission, as it was the first time they were sending an object beyond the sphere of influence of earth. One of the crucial challenges of the mission was the re-ignition of the propulsion system after nine months.

12.

Where grass is greener (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     Ganja cultivation

b)     Darakonda

c)     Eastern Ghats

a)    Darakonda (a remotest corner of the tribal Agency area of Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh) is the heart of the marijuana country, tucked away in the folds of the Eastern Ghats. Conventional reportage from these parts used to be all about raging viral fevers and hamlets scooping up water from muddy pools.

b)     But the cultural and economic fabric of these tribal villages has changed in recent years, ever since cannabis cultivation began to make inroads into these parts. Today, an entire ecosystem of ganja cultivation has developed, with supply lines to the north, south, east and west, making the Agency of Vizag a major narcotic hub in the country.

13.

New species of ancient humans found: scientists (Page 14)

a)     History

b)     Geography

a)     Ancient humans

b)     Homo naledi

c)     Rising Star cave

a)    A huge haul of bones found in a small, dark chamber at the back of a cave in South Africa may be the remnants of a new species of ancient humans.

b)     Explorers happened upon bones after squeezing through a fissure high up in the rear wall of the Rising Star cave (50 km from Johannesburg), before descending down a long, narrow chute to chamber floor 40 metres beneath the surface. They have named creature Homo naledi, where naledi means star in Sesotho, a local South African language.

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