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Daily News Analysis 16-09-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Modi, Ranil discuss UN rights report (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     After meeting PM Modi, Sri Lankan PM Ranil said Sri Lanka plans to go ahead with promise of devolution of power to Tamil-majority areas, a move guaranteed under its constitution but not implemented so far.

2.

India reaches out, wants to upgrade ties with North Korea (Page 1,12)

a)     I.R

a)     India signalled upgraded ties with North Korea, by sending Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju to participate in an event marking North Korean national Independence Day in New Delhi.

3.

Pentagon cell to push India trade ties (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In a clear signal of Indias importance, both as major buyer and potential collaborator in the defence sector, the Pentagon has established its first-ever country special cell to speed up defence ties between India and the US.

4.

G4 leaders plan summit meet (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)    Leaders of Japan, Germany, Brazil and India (the G4 that wants expansion of the UNSC and permanent seats for themselves) are exploring the possibility of a summit meeting in New York in the last week of September, on the sidelines of the UNGA.

5.

Fresh initiatives in Sri Lanka (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan govts revelation in the current session of the UNHRC that it is committed to the setting up of a Constituent Assembly of Parliament that will adopt a new Constitution (besides a truth and reconciliation commission) is a laudable step forward six years after the end of the horrific civil war.

6.

Nepal set to unveil new Constitution (P14)

a)     International

a)     Nepal said it would unveil its long-awaited new Constitution on Sept 20, despite ongoing deadly protests by minority groups over the proposed federal structure.

7.

Its not Chinese economy thats in crisis (Page 11)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)    Western markets are only panicking about China because their own economies are so fragile.

8.

Hungary locks down EU border (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    The right-wing Hungarian govt shut the main land route for asylum-seekers into the EU, taking matters into its own hands to halt Europes influx of refugees.

9.

N. Korea restarts all n-bomb fuel plants (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     With a big anniversary drawing near, North Korea declared it had upgraded and restarted all of its atomic fuel plants, meaning it could possibly make more and more sophisticated nuclear weapons.

10.

UAE deports 4 from Kerala for IS links (Pages 1,12)

a)     International

b)     National

a)     A Hindu is among the four youths deported from the United Arab Emirates on suspicion of being sympathisers of the Islamic State.

11.

Mumbai blasts accused bats for 7/11 convict (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    The post-conviction proceedings on sentencing in 7/11 case took an unusual turn with the defence fielding an accused in the 2011 Mumbai triple blasts case to depose for a convict in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings.

12.

Small leap forward in child health (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     While the Rapid Survey on Children points to substantial progress in fields that have become a focus of serious action (such as safe delivery), it also highlights the penalties of inaction in other fields.

13.

Space for both India, China to invest in Cambodia: Ansari (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)    Vice-President Hamid Ansari said that China will not be uneasy about Indias increasing involvement in Cambodia and Laos.

14.

Disquiet over move to keep forest route open (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)    Andhra Pradesh government is reportedly examining a proposal to keep open from dusk to dawn a 12-km road that cuts through Sri Lankamalleshwar Sanctuary, only habitat in world for endangered bird, Jerdons Courser.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Modi, Ranil discuss UN rights report (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Sri Lanka relations

b)     Sri Lankas human rights issue

c)     UNHRC

d)     LTTE

e)     Eelam War

 

a)     After meeting PM Modi, Sri Lankan PM Ranil said Sri Lanka plans to go ahead with the promise of devolution of power to Tamil-majority areas, a move guaranteed under its constitution but not implemented so far.

b)     He said the reconciliation process with Tamil minority in Sri Lanka figured prominently in talks between two leaders, coming a day before UNHRC presents what is expected to be a damning report on Sri Lankas actions during the war and after. He said we are looking at how power-sharing takes place within the constitution.

c)     Ranil and Modi had discussed the UNHRC report and that both were very relaxed about its findings.

d)     The report (to be presented by the Human Rights Commissioner in Geneva on Aug 16, has already been shared with Sri Lankan govt. While it is expected to contain an indictment of the previous regime of former President Rajapaksa for war crimes during the final assault on the LTTE in 2009, it will be closely watched for its observations on ongoing reconciliation process by the new govt and what kind of enquiry it recommends.

2.

India reaches out, wants to upgrade ties with North Korea (Pages 1 and12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – North Korea relations

 

 

a)     In a quiet but extremely significant diplomatic move, India signalled upgraded ties with North Korea, by sending Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju to participate in an event marking the North Korean national Independence Day in New Delhi.

b)     Indias bilateral ties with North Korea have been frosty for several decades mainly due to the latters close strategic ties with Pakistan.

c)     He said that North Korea is an independent country and a member of UN and we should have good bilateral trade ties.

d)     North Korea is estimated to have one of the largest global deposits of minerals and rare earth metals necessary for Indias IT industry and electronic majors.

3.

Pentagon cell to push India trade ties (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Defence ties

c)     Trade ties

d)     India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC)

e)     Pentagon

f)     Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI)

 

a)     In a clear signal of Indias importance, the Pentagon has established its first-ever country special cell to speed up defence ties between India and the US.

b)     Official said the purpose of the IRRC is to work all the initiatives that we have ongoing under India-US DTTI to move quickly and timely and be thorough, which requires dedicated support to ramp up the operational tempo.

c)     Established in Jan 2015 to focus exclusively on advancing the DTTI, IRRC is the only country-specific cell of its kind in the Pentagon. The cell looks at ways to transform bilateral defence relationship without any bureaucratic obstacles, move away from the traditional buyer-seller dynamic to a more collaborative approach, explore new areas of technological collaboration and expand the US-India business ties.

4.

G4 leaders plan summit meet (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     G4 summit

b)     UNSC

c)     UNGA

d)     UNs Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN)

a)   Leaders of Japan, Germany, Brazil and India (the G4 that wants expansion of UNSC and permanent seats for themselves) are exploring the possibility of a summit meeting in New York in the last week of September, on the sidelines of the UNGA.

b)     According to diplomatic sources, G4 Foreign Ministers met in 2013 and 2014 on the sidelines of UNGA and called for urgent reforms, but efforts are on to have a summit this year. They said it is not yet final as it will depend on the convenience of all four.

c)     The UNs IGN that have been under way since 2008 finalised over the weekend a negotiating text for UN reforms, qualitatively changing the nature of the debate, though concrete action on it is unlikely to be immediate. A UN resolution also called for equitable representation on, and increase in the membership of, the Security Council.

d)     There are many opponents to the expansion of the UNSC, but most vociferous of them all were China and Pakistan. The G4 took shape in 2004 when the member nations issued a joint statement, kicking off their campaign for UN reforms, including more representation for developing countries, both in the permanent and non-permanent categories, in the UNSC which has 15 members.

e)     The Sept 2014 India-US joint statement said the President reaffirmed his support for a reformed UNSC with India as a permanent member, but subsequent suggestions from the US for a consensus approach was seen by India as a reading down of that position.

f)     India and other G4 members hope that, with the negotiations now moving to a text-based one, there will be more clarity on the respective positions of countries.

5.

Fresh initiatives in Sri Lanka (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     Sri Lankas human rights issue

c)     UNHRC

d)     United National Party (UNP)

e)     Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP)

f)     Tamil National Alliance (TNA)

g)     Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

a)    Sri Lankan govts revelation in the current session of the UNHRC that it is committed to the setting up of a Constituent Assembly of Parliament that will adopt a new Constitution (besides a truth and reconciliation commission) is a laudable step forward six years after end of horrific civil war.

b)     It reflects dramatic change in the political context in the country. The setting up of a govt of national unity with the two largest political parties, the UNP and the SLFP, sharing power, with the TNA being given the post of Leader of the Opposition, has provided a welcome space for a credible initiative on the Tamil question.

c)     Notwithstanding the outcome of UNHRC meeting, it is clear that institutional mechanisms are being put in order by the Sri Lankan govt. This offers the hope that there will be a redressing of the long-standing grievances of the minority community related to devolution of power. This is besides the pressing issues of rehabilitation and reconciliation.

d)     It was always clear that the flowering of an inclusive republic in Sri Lanka was not delinked from democratisation process. If violence, chauvinism and military conflict hampered this transition before the civil war, triumphalism, persisting militarisation and concentration of power within an increasingly authoritarian coterie acted as restraining fetters after the defeat of the LTTE.

e)     The defeat of the quasi-authoritarian and chauvinist forces in both the presidential and parliamentary elections, the formation of a national unity govt and its explicit call for an accountable and democratic form of governance by both the elected President and PM, have eased the process of building an acceptable solution to conflict.

f)     The international community should encourage Sri Lanka on this history-making reconciliatory path, and ensure that these efforts are not derailed on any account.

6.

Nepal set to unveil new Constitution (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Nepals new Constitution process

a)     Nepal said it would unveil its long-awaited new Constitution on Sept 20, despite ongoing deadly protests by minority groups over the proposed federal structure.

b)     The Constituent Assembly has already began clause-by-clause voting on the proposed constitution (under preparation since 2008) since Aug 13 and as of now 37 articles have already been endorsed by the 601-member strong body.

7.

Its not Chinese economy thats in crisis (Page 11)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     Global economic situation

b)     Chinese economic growth

c)     Global financial crisis

d)     Currency devaluation

e)     GDP

 

a)     According to the author, the wests bears have always well outnumbered the bulls when it comes to Chinese economy. A new problem is all too often seen as an intimation of impending crisis, a hard landing, consequent social instability, and perhaps the eventual collapse of the regime.

b)     After 35 years of extraordinary economic growth, China is still growing at 7 percent annually. That is lower than before, but still at a rate that dwarfs anything in west.

c)   One of the great weaknesses of so much western economic commentary is that it fails to look much beyond the next quarters (or months) results. In contrast, the Chinese understand where they have come from, where they are and where they need to go. They also readily admit they face new economic challenges.

d)     It is instructive then to look at Chinas global role since the financial crisis. When the western economies were on their knees in 2007-08, the Chinese economy rode to the rescue. Although the actions of the Beijing govt were primarily motivated by self-interest, they also had the effect of saving the western economies from a fate far worse.

e)     Confronted by the near-collapse of their western markets, which accounted for around half of Chinese exports at the time, China embarked on a $586 billion stimulus programme to boost domestic demand and offset the loss in demand for their exports. It worked. The Chinese growth rate continued to expand at around 10 per cent and thereby provided a major boost to the global economy.

f)     The growing importance of the Chinese economy for the health of global economy is illustrated by the fact that US GDP has grown by just over 10 percent since 2008, while over the same period Chinas has increased by about 66 percent.

g)    The rebalancing of the Chinese economy is making surprisingly rapid progress. In 2014, the share of services in Chinas GDP was 48.2 percent, comfortably ahead of the 42.6 percent accounted for by manufacturing and construction, with the gap steadily widening. There is also now evidence that the Chinese economy is becoming increasingly innovative.

h)     The western preoccupation with headline GDP figures overlooks this deeper structural shift. Ultimately it is the ability of the Chinese economy to make the transition from a labour-intensive, investment-led, export-oriented economy to one based on value-added production and domestic consumption that will be crucial to its long-term future.

i)     However, this should not deflect attention from the short-term risks. Chinas chronic debt problem (partly corporate; partly property; partly financial) could lead to a massive deleveraging and consequent economic contraction.

j)     One of the great problems is that the Chinese leadership is facing several serious challenges all at the same time. If it backtracks on restructuring and rebalancing to provide short-term economic stimulus and shore up the growth rate, this will only store up much more serious problems for the future. If it mishandles the debt problem, China could conceivably have the hard landing that it has so skilfully avoided over last few decades.

k)     Chinas leadership has made one serious error: its mistaken intervention to try to reverse the sell-off on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, from which it now appears to have largely backtracked. In the event, it was resulting plunge in western markets that was far more revealing and significant.

l)     The western world continues to depend on a life-support system, namely zero interest rates, combined with Chinese growth. What if the latter falters? That is why western markets have suddenly started panicking. In Beijing there is concern, not panic. Their challenges seem manageable in comparison.

8.

Hungary locks down EU border (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Europes refugee crisis

a)    The right-wing Hungarian govt shut the main land route for asylum-seekers into the EU, taking matters into its own hands to halt Europes influx of refugees.

b)    The move came a day after the bloc failed to agree on plans to relocate tens of thousands of refugees. An emergency effort led by Germany to force EU member states to accept mandatory quotas of refugees collapsed in discord on Aug 14.

c)     Hundreds of thousands of people have been arriving at the EUs southern and eastern edges and making their way to the richer countries further north and west in the greatest migration to Western Europe since World War-II.

9.

N. Korea restarts all n-bomb fuel plants (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Koreas nuclear plans

a)     With a big anniversary drawing near, North Korea declared it had upgraded and restarted all of its atomic fuel plants, meaning it could possibly make more and more sophisticated nuclear weapons.

b)     The statement has heightened concerns the North may soon either conduct a launch which US and its allies see as a pretext for testing missile technology or hold another test of nuclear weapons that it could conceivably place on such a rocket.

c)     North Korea has spent decades trying to develop operational nuclear weapons.

10.

UAE deports 4 from Kerala for IS links (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     International

b)     National

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Syria crisis

a)      A senior govt official has said a Hindu is among the four youths deported from UAE on suspicion of being sympathisers of the IS.

b)     A senior official said the Hindu boy was a core member of the online group. He was one of recipients of the messages being circulated on social networking platforms and he too had forwarded the radical content to others. The deportees were part of an online circle of 10 friends who had links with a 20-year-old Keralite, who is believed to have joined the ranks of Islamist group in Syria.

11.

Mumbai blasts accused bats for 7/11 convict (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     MCOCA court

c)     Mumbai train bombings case 2006

a)    The post-conviction proceedings on sentencing in 7/11 case took an unusual turn with the defence fielding an accused in the 2011 Mumbai triple blasts case to depose for a convict in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings.

b)     A special MCOCA court (which convicted 12 of the 13 accused in the serial train blasts cases last week) is yet to pass an order on their sentence. The court has allowed the defence to call witnesses to lead evidence on mitigating circumstances, an aspect which is to be considered when charges attract the maximum punishment of death.

12.

Small leap forward in child health (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC)

b)     National Family Health Survey (NFHS)

c)     Janani Suraksha Yojana

d)     Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs)

e)     Anganwadi workers

f)     Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs)

g)     Integrated Child Development Services

h)     National Food Security Act

a)     The recent release of summary findings from the RSOC has generated remarkably little interest in the mainstream media. Related to this, there has also been some speculation about the reasons for Central govts apparent reluctance to release the findings. However, the substance of the findings has passed largely unnoticed.

b)   This is unfortunate, because there is much to learn from the survey. In fact, RSOC can be regarded as some sort of substitute for a fourth NFHS. It may be recalled that the third NFHS was conducted almost ten years ago, in 2005-06. Prolonged delays in completion of fourth NFHS have created a huge gap in Indias social statistics.

c)     Fortunately, the RSOC survey (conducted in 2013-14) seems to be modelled on NFHS, generating a wealth of health and nutrition statistics that can be usefully compared with the corresponding findings from the third NFHS.

d)    Overall, the RSOC findings suggest a marked improvement in many aspects of maternal and child nutrition between 2005-06 and 2013-14. But the progress is uneven - fairly rapid in some fields, slow in others.

e)     At first glance, the biggest change relates to safe delivery. The proportion of institutional deliveries among recent births shot up from 39 percent in 2005-06 to 79 percent in 2013-14, and the proportion attended by a skilled provider rose from 47 to 81 percent. At least part of this trend is likely to reflect the impact of Janani Suraksha Yojana, including cash incentives for institutional delivery. However, this leap forward has not been accompanied by a general breakthrough in maternal care.

f)     Another area of substantial progress is vaccination. The proportion of children with a vaccination card rose from 38 percent in 2005-06 to 84percent in 2013-14, and vaccination coverage rose from 59 to 79 percent for measles, 55 to 75 percent for DPT3, and 44 to 65 percent for full immunisation. Even with these improved figures, India has some of the lowest child vaccination rates in the world, and lags far behind Bangladesh and even Nepal.

g)     As with institutional deliveries, this pattern can be plausibly attributed to recent health policy initiatives, such as the appointment of ASHAs, who are now actively involved in immunisation programmes along with Anganwadi workers and ANMs. Quite likely, these initiatives can also take credit for a substantial improvement in breastfeeding practices: the proportion of children breastfed within an hour of birth rose from just 25 percent in 2005-06 to 45 percent in 2013-14.

h)     Turning to other health and nutrition indicators available from these surveys, most of them point to moderate progress between 2005-06 and 2013-14 - more rapid than between NFHS-2 and NFHS-3 (conducted in 1998-99 and 2005-06 respectively), but nowhere as fast as one would hope to see in a booming economy.

i)     Finally, there are worrying signs of stagnation in some important fields. One of them is access to safe drinking water: 88 percent in 2005-06 and 91 percent in 2013-14. No less alarming is the slow progress of sanitation: the proportion of sample households practicing open defecation declined from 55 percent in 2005-06 to 46 percent in 2013-14, or barely one percentage point per year. At that rate, it will take at least another 40 years for India to eliminate open defecation.

j)    The RSOC findings suggest that the areas of rapid progress (example, safe delivery and vaccination) are those where serious action was initiated during the last 10 years or so. The need of the hour is to consolidate these initiatives and extend them to other domains where there is still no sign of rapid progress.

k)     Alas, the Central govt is going in the opposite direction. Financial allocations for the Integrated Child Development Services were slashed by 50 percent or so in the last Union budget, sending a disastrous signal about policy priorities.

l)   The Central govt is brazenly ignoring its legal obligation to provide for maternity entitlements under the National Food Security Act. Even the sanitation budget has been quietly reduced, soon after the PM made tall promises of India being open-defecation free within five years.

m)     Central govt is effectively palming off social policy to the States, with little regard for the consequences of undermining centrally sponsored initiatives that play a critical role in the field of maternal and child health. This does not augur well for another leap forward in the near future.

13.

Space for both India, China to invest in Cambodia: Ansari (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     India – Cambodia economic ties

a) Vice-President Hamid Ansari said that China will not be uneasy about Indias increasing involvement in Cambodia and Laos. He is in Cambodia to conduct delegation-level talks and sign MoU in tourism and infrastructure building.

b)    Official said that Cambodia is a growing economy that has maintained a growth rate of about 7 percent over last several years. It is seeking greater socio-economic development. They are also a very young nation much like India and they are looking at opportunities for human resource development.

14.

Disquiet over move to keep forest route open (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Sri Lankamalleshwar Sanctuary

b)     Jerdons Courser

c)     Seshachalam hills

d)     Nallamala hills

a)     In a move that is likely to take the sting out of ongoing drive against red sanders smuggling, Andhra Pradesh govt is examining a proposal to keep open from dusk to dawn a 12-km road that cuts through the Sri Lankamalleshwar Sanctuary, the only habitat in the world for endangered bird, the Jerdons Courser.

b)     The road between Sidhavatam and Badvel in YSR Kadapa district passes through this sanctuary, which is known for its rich diversity of plant species, particularly red sanders.

c)     The sanctuary once used to be a major tiger corridor between the Seshachalam and Nallamala hills ranges but got disturbed due to anthropogenic activities.

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