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Daily News Analysis 18-09-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Saudi diplomat issue casts shadow on Indo-Nepal ties (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     The departure of the Saudi Arabian diplomat Majed Hassan Ashoor has not ended the crisis over the brutal treatment of the two women. Following Ashoors exit, the triangular crisis has acquired a bilateral shape involving India and Nepal.

2.

Sri Lanka resolution in UNHRC likely by Sept 25 (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister Samaraweera said a consensus resolution on Sri Lanka may come up during the ongoing session of UNHRC by Sept 24 or 25.

3.

Moving towards accountability (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     The human rights investigation report on Sri Lanka (submitted to the UNHRC by the High Commissioner for Human Rights) seeks to address the crucial question of accountability in the island nation for the horrific crimes committed by all parties to conflict that ended in 2009.

4.

Refugees pour into Croatia (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Amid chaotic scenes at its border with Serbia, Croatia said it could not cope with a flood of refugees seeking a new route into the EU after Hungary kept them out by erecting a fence and using tear gas and water cannon against them.

5.

Military confirms coup in Burkina Faso, dissolves govt (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     While gunfire rang out in the streets, Burkina Fasos military took to the airwaves to declare it now controls the West African country in a coup mounted weeks before elections.

6.

New plan of action to end global problems (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Heads of states will gather at the UN from Sept 25 to 27 to adopt a new set of development goals aimed at resolving the social, economic and environmental problems troubling the world.

7.

Mayors stumble on Smart City mission (Page 11)

a)     National

a)     The Smart City initiative expects municipalities to generate funds from private investors and take capacity-building measures to initiate big projects.

8.

Ahimsa cannot be forced, says Supreme Court (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Noting that meat bans cannot be shoved down someones throat, the Supreme Court refused a Jain community organisations plea to set aside the Bombay High Court stay on a State government notification banning sale of meat and slaughter in Mumbai during the Jain Paryushan period of penance.

9.

The way out of the economic tailspin (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)    As it stands at present, the Indian economy is headed for a crisis and a crash by early 2016. The govt needs a Crisis Management Team of politicians and economists who are rooted in Indian ethos and not complaint to finance institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.

10.

Fed leaves key interest rates unchanged, citing low inflation (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     The Federal Reserve is keeping US interest rates at record lows in the face of threats from a weak global economy, persistently low inflation and unstable financial markets.

11.

Sustained low inflation necessary for lower cost of funds, says RBI (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Ahead of the bi-monthly monetary policy review, the RBI Deputy Governor Urjit Patel said sustained low inflation over medium to long-term is necessary to bring down the cost of fund.

12.

Now, bid to push back antiquity of the Vedas (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     History

a)    Moves are on to push back the commonly accepted date of the Vedas through astronomical calculations.

13.

Ashoka stupa restored in China (Page 14)

a)     Geography

b)     History

a)    A 2000-year-old lost stupa, one of 19 built with Lord Buddhas relics sent by Emperor Ashoka to China, has been restored with religious rites by an Indian monk in the remote Tibetan town.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Saudi diplomat issue casts shadow on Indo-Nepal ties (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Saudi diplomat issue

c)     Nepals new Constitution

 

a)     The departure of the Saudi Arabian diplomat Majed Hassan Ashoor has not ended the crisis over brutal treatment of the two women. Following Ashoors exit, the triangular crisis has acquired a bilateral shape involving India and Nepal, and has cast a shadow on Indias work in the last stages of the delicate process of making Nepals Constitution.

b)     The overall sense of emergency generated by the case, and the context of Nepals fractured internal politics, can be measured by the fact that Foreign Secretary Jaishankar is being sent to Kathmandu as the Special Envoy of PM Modi to soothe the frayed nerves of the Nepali civil society and its political parties.

c)     Nepal govt representatives in Delhi have said that India cannot wash off its share of responsibility in the case as the crime was committed on Indian territory.

2.

Sri Lanka resolution in UNHRC likely by Sept 25 (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas human rights issue

b)     UNHRC

c)     Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

d)     Eelam war

 

a)     Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister Samaraweera said a consensus resolution on Sri Lanka may come up during the ongoing session of UNHRC by Sept 24 or 25. According to the schedule, the UN report on Sri Lankas war crimes (released in Geneva on Sept 16) will come up for discussion on Sept 30.

b)     Describing the UN report on Sri Lankas war crimes as well drafted and sober, he said the document gave a narrative of some of the human rights violations that may have taken place in the country. It is up to us to investigate and ensure that justice is done and see to it that such things do not happen again.

c)     The report has urged the Sri Lankan govt to establish a special court to try the horrific abuses committed by the authorities and the rebels in the closing phase of the civil war.

d)     The report was very, very balanced in its reporting of the excesses committed by the LTTE. It also acknowledged great strides accomplished by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime in the last six months.

3.

Moving towards accountability (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas human rights issue

b)     UNHRC

c)     LTTE

d)     Eelam war

a)      Accountability for past excesses is not easily achieved in post-conflict societies, but its need and relevance cannot be brushed aside. Fostering peace and reconciliation among formerly feuding sections of society, and finding constitutional solutions to core political issues are often the final objectives.

b)     However, transformative and substantive justice requires establishing the truth about past crimes perpetrated as part of a deliberate policy.

c)     The human rights investigation report on Sri Lanka, submitted to UNHRC by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, seeks to address the crucial question of accountability in the island nation for the horrific crimes committed by all parties to the conflict that ended in 2009.

d)     The report proposes a special hybrid court that will integrate international judges, prosecutors and investigators with domestic resources. It concludes that many of the instances established may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.

e)   The report records unlawful killings, disappearances, deliberate bombardment of hospitals, and other crimes by the security forces. It also records the killing of civilians by LTTE, its forced recruitment of adults and children, and preventing civilians from leaving the conflict zone.

f)     The report recognises the present national unity govts efforts to engage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Sri Lankas brief response does not contain any explicit reference to the proposed hybrid court, but only a promise of reconciliation and non-recurrence of violations.

g)     India will also be looking at the process closely, the South Asian region being new to such a trans-national inquiry. However, it should not be forgotten that the Sri Lankan conflict always had an international dimension, with many countries involved in supporting both war and peace.

h)     The new proposal strikes a necessary balance between the clamour for an international probe and the need to involve domestic institutions. It is time to render justice to the victims of what was South Asias longest war.

4.

Refugees pour into Croatia (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Europes refugee crisis

 

a)     Amid chaotic scenes at its border with Serbia, Croatia said it could not cope with a flood of refugees seeking a new route into the EU after Hungary kept them out by erecting a fence and using tear gas and water cannon against them.

b)     The EU is split over how to cope with the influx of people mostly fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

c)   European Council President Donald Tusk summoned EU leaders to an extraordinary summit on Sept 23 to discuss migration and a proposed scheme to distribute 120,000 asylum seekers across the bloc.

5.

Military confirms coup in Burkina Faso, dissolves govt (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Burkina Faso internal issues

a)     While gunfire rang out in streets, Burkina Fasos military took to the airwaves to declare it now controls West African country in a coup mounted weeks before elections.

b)     A former aide to ex-President Blaise Compaore (who was ousted in a popular uprising last year) was named the new head of state. Demonstrators who opposed Compaores bid to prolong his 27-year rule forced him from office.

c)     US said it is deeply concerned about the events unfolding in Burkina Faso. The US strongly condemns any attempt to seize power through extra-constitutional means or resolve internal political disagreements using force.

6.

New plan of action to end global problems (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

b)     Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

c)     Climate change

a)     Heads of states will gather at the UN from Sept 25 to 27 to adopt a new set of development goals aimed at resolving social, economic and environmental problems troubling the world.

b)     A set of 17 goals and 169 targets covering the next 15 years that will replace the MDGs which expire this year.

c)     The SDGs are intended to be universal, applying to all countries rather than just the developing world. They emphasise the need to urgently tackle climate change.

7.

Mayors stumble on Smart City mission (Page 11)

a)     National

a)     Smart City Mission

b)     Swachh Bharat Mission

c)     Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)  

d)     Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)

e)     Urbanisation

a)     On Sept 4, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the BJP-led govt has formulated radical policy shifts in Indias urban governance that empowers mayors to take back control of cities from States and encourages them to be self-reliant.

b)     From a logistical standpoint, the mayors (who are frontrunners of the mission) found it hard to follow the mission guidelines. Previous urban development schemes had rendered them powerless and they were reduced to just bystanders watching the central govt handing over projects to State ministers. As the new set of urban policies (Smart City Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, AMRUT) claim to transfer powers of designing and building cities to municipalities, the shift has been overwhelming.

c)     The mandate establishes direct contact between the municipal bodies and the Urban Development Ministry, and the coordination assures easy access to central funding with minimum bureaucratic delays. On other hand, the municipal commissioners are struggling to make the transition from being armchair bureaucrats to on-ground managers, tasked with designing solutions to meet peoples aspirations.

d)     For the entire mission, the Centre has asked the States to generate half the funding (Rs. 48,000 crore) through public-private partnerships. And mayors are encouraged to use their political clout to attract private investors.

e)     If all these elements work in tandem, the govt is optimistic that one smart city will inspire an urban sprawl expected to function more on private investments, less on govt funding. The endgame is to generate as many urban centres as possible and ensure a double digit GDP.

f)     To speed up growth for a slowing economy and create a consuming class of city dwellers, the role of a municipal body is crucial. Since the Smart City initiative is cutting out aggressive State spending, municipalities have to generate funds from private investors and take capacity-building measures to initiate big projects. But that is precisely where the shortcoming exists.

g)     In recent past, the efforts of roping in private investors to quickly transform societies have often hindered urban progress. Between 2008 and 2014, the previous Congress-led UPA govt rolled out the ambitious JNNURM, and partially relied on private sector investments to speed up its implementation.

h)     Sceptics also say the govts hasty drive to urbanise small towns with the support of private money is doomed to fail. Like in the Smart City Mission, JNNRUM also featured the need for setting up strong mechanisms for sewage treatment, solid waste management and drainage, but these were the areas where private investors were not forthcoming.

i)     Before jumping into the deep end with urbanising 100 small towns that have met the smart city criteria, the BJP govt should consider whether its financing model is feasible. And simultaneously mayors and commissioners should be trained to design new projects and tap into local resources. Otherwise, the Smart City Mission will turn into an unattractive proposition right from the municipal level, which is its core.

8.

Ahimsa cannot be forced, says Supreme Court (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Meat ban issue

b)     Jain Paryushan period

c)     Article 21 of the Constitution

d)     Supreme Court

a)     Noting that meat bans cannot be shoved down someones throat, the Supreme Court refused a Jain community organisations plea to set aside Bombay High Court stay on a State govt notification banning sale of meat and slaughter in Mumbai during the Jain Paryushan period of penance.

b)     Submissions were made that a two-day ban on meat ban was an expression of compassion to animals and reverence to principle of ahimsa practised by Mahatma Gandhi.

c)     In its petition, the Jain Trust argued that a ban on meat for 15 to 20 days can only be conceived as compassion for animals. Even animals had the right to live under Article 21 of the Constitution, counsel Manish Singhvi argued.

9.

The way out of the economic tailspin (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Indias economic growth

b)     GDP

c)     World Bank

d)     International Monetary Fund (IMF)

e)     Non-Performing Assets (NPAs)

f)     Participatory Notes (PNs)

a)     East Asian nations such as Japan, South Korea and Philippines were growing very fast during the 1975-95 period, the growth rates of their GDP exceeding 10 percent per year. Japan was slated to overtake the US by 2005.

b)     The World Bank and the IMF termed it an East Asian Miracle in their publications and called it a model for other nations like India. However, in 1997, a sudden financial blowout knocked out these countries and all the talk of miracle evaporated. Japan is yet to recover from that blowout.

c)     As it stands at present, the Indian economy is headed for a crisis and a crash. According to author (Subramanian Swamy, former Union Cabinet Minister for Commerce and professor of economics), the likely date is by early 2016. Today, a course correction can rectify and rescue the economy from a crash, only if there are short-term and long-term prescriptions to be followed. Does the Modi govt have such contingency prescriptions ready? Not as of now.

d)     Following are the authors prescriptions. First, the govt must constitute a Crisis Management Team (CMT) of politicians and economists who understand the dynamics of Indian society and, more importantly, the general equilibrium calculus of an economy. At present, there is no such team in place.

e)     World Bank and IMF are institutions which had miserably failed to either foresee or rectify the financial crises in Latin America in the 1970s; in East Asia in late 1990s; and even in US in 2008. IMF/World Bank studies are of value only as tabular, statistical compilations and no more. Hence, the CMT has to consist of those who are rooted in the ethos of India and not compliant to international financial institutions.

f)     Second, to know what crisis-managing reforms to initiate, we must first know which problem to focus on and prioritise for action. In authors considered opinion, the following questions deserve immediate answers and consequent policy rectification:

g)     Despite crude oil prices having crashed and the dollar value of rupee having dropped in a steep devaluation, why have both exports and imports (especially the former in 23 of 30 commodity groups) declined steadily over last 14 months?

h)     Why have household savings, which were the bulk of national domestic investments, dropped from a high of 34 percent of GDP in 2005 to 28 percent of GDP in 2015?

i)      Why have the NPAs of the public sector banks risen so sharply, in fact at a rate much higher than the rate of the new advances made by these banks?

j)     When the economy needs about a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure to render Make in India a reality, why is the actual investment in just 75 projects in Financial Year 2015-16 valued at Rs.42,749 crore, less than the amount invested in 2005-06, which was Rs.44,511 crore?

k)    Why has the manufacturing sector (which provides the bulk of employment to the skilled and semi-skilled labour force) grown at abysmally low rates of between 2 and 5 percent?

l)     Why, when Indias agricultural products are among the cheapest in the world despite a low yield per hectare, are we not able to double the production and export the products abroad?

m)     To address these priority problems, it is essential to implement a menu of measures to uplift the household sentiments by abolishing the personal income tax; by lowering the cost of capital, by reducing prime lending interest rates of banks to below 10 percent; by shifting to a fixed exchange rate of Rs.50 per dollar for financial year 2016; and lowering exchange rate further for subsequent years; by abolishing PNs while invoking UN Resolution of 2005 to bring back black money of about $1 trillion; and by printing rupee notes to fully finance basic infrastructure projects.

n)     The CMT should also initiate steps for transforming agriculture into a globalised sector by providing adequate infrastructure to export food and milk to Europe and the US

o)     In the long run, we need to tap the advantages we have in our demographic dividend. Through innovation, we must tap our vast Thorium deposits for clean electricity generation and thus end power shortage; set up desalination plants along our long coastline to provide adequate water for coastal States; overcome technological issues and build a water grid by linking major rivers, from Ganga to Cauvery, through canals; and develop new alternative technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells to provide an environmentally friendly substitute to petroleum products.

p)     India has always come out of crises renewed and on a higher growth path. The food crisis of 1965-67 led to Green Revolution self sufficiency in food, and the foreign exchange crisis of 1990-91 led to economic reforms, enabling the country to move away from Soviet-style statism to market system and high growth rates.

q)    Thus, the present imminent economic crash should galvanise the way we do business and make us rise to new heights through innovation and achieve high growth rates with financial stability.

10.

Fed leaves key interest rates unchanged, citing low inflation (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Global economic situation

b)     US Federal Reserve

c)     Inflation

d)     Global Recession

 

a)     Federal Reserve is keeping US interest rates at record lows in the face of threats from a weak global economy, persistently low inflation and unstable financial markets.

b)    Ending a highly anticipated meeting, Fed officials said that while US job market is solid, global pressures may restrain economic activity and further drag down already low inflation. Signs of a sharp slowdown in China have intensified fear among investors about the US and global economy. And low oil prices and a high-priced dollar have kept inflation undesirably low.

c)     Before years end, many analysts still expect the Fed to raise its key short-term rate, which its kept near zero since 2008. A higher Fed rate would eventually send rates up on many consumer and business loans.

d)     Some economists argued that many factors from a sharply slowing China to uproar in markets to persistently less-than optimal inflation raised concerns about a rate hike. Others contended that with the US job market considered essentially recovered from the Great Recession, it was time to start edging toward normal rates.

11.

Sustained low inflation necessary for lower cost of funds, says RBI (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Monetary policy

b)     Inflation

c)     WPI

d)     CPI

e)     Current Account Deficit (CAD)

f)     GDP

g)     RBI

a)     Ahead of the bi-monthly monetary policy review, the RBI Deputy Governor Urjit Patel said sustained low inflation over medium to long-term is necessary to bring down the cost of fund. Sustained low inflation at a low enough level is an important ingredient for making the cost apposite to that particular level of inflation and inflationary expectation.

b)     Inflation (which RBI takes into account while deciding the interest rate) has remained low for the past several months.

c)     While the WPI remained in negative territory for 10 months in a row, the retail inflation (CPI) eased to 3.66 percent in August.

d)     The RBI is scheduled to announce bi-monthly monetary policy review on September 29. In the last policy review on Aug 4, the RBI had kept its policy rates unchanged because of elevated inflation level.

e)    He said the RBI expects the CAD to be about 1.5 percent of GDP in the current fiscal.

12.

Now, bid to push back antiquity of the Vedas (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Vedas

b)     Rig Veda

c)     Harappan civilisation

a)     Moves are on (at Sanskrit Department of the University of Delhi) to push back commonly accepted date of Vedas through astronomical calculations. Next weekend, the department will host scholars from across India, who will reassess the existing Vedic chronology accepted by a range of European scholars and Indian historians.

b)   Most Indian historians have held that Harappan civilisation declined by 1800 BC and the Aryans appeared in north-west India around 1500 BC. Using philological evidence, the overlap between Vedic Sanskrit, old Persian and ancient European languages, most scholars have argued since 19th century that the Rig Vedic Aryans came from outside.

c)     Politically, this led to low-caste movements since the 19th century in western and southern India, where this theory was used to argue that Aryans had defeated pre-Aryan original inhabitants of India.

d)    Official says many scholars have used archaeology to date the Vedas, and this does not take them before 3000 BC. But there are other dating tools that have been ignored or forgotten. There are instances where Vedic literature offers positions of stars and constellations at the moment it was composed. This can be calculated back mathematically to figure out the date when the positions actually corresponded to description.

13.

Ashoka stupa restored in China (Page 14)

a)     Geography

b)     History

a)     Ashoka stupa

b)     Budddhas relics

c)     Drukpa lineage of Buddhism

a)    A 2000-year-old lost stupa (one of the 19 built with Lord Buddhas relics sent by Emperor Ashoka to China) has been restored with religious rites by an Indian monk in the remote Tibetan town.

b)     A symbol of the advent of Buddhism from India to China, the renovated stupa and Ashoka pillar were consecrated by Gyalwang Drukpa (the spiritual head of Drukpa lineage of Buddhism based in Ladakh) in Chinas Qinghai province.

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