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Daily News Analysis 10-01-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India to hold G20 Chair in 2018, Delhi may play host (Pages 1, 16)

a)     I.R

a)     India is set to be the G20 Chair in 2018, and New Delhi could host the prestigious annual G20 summit.

2.

Sharif proposes4-step peace plan (Page 17)

a)     I.R

a)     Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif used the United Nations General Assembly platform to propose a four-step peace plan with India.

3.

Angela Merkel coming on October 4 (Page 16)

a)     I.R

a)     Highlighting her personal engagement with the worlds largest democracy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to visit India between October 4 and 7 to attend the 3rd inter-governmental consultations.

4.

India, US, Japan say interests in Indo-Pacific converge (Pg 18)

a)     International

a)     The first trilateral meeting of Foreign Ministers of India, United States and Japan minced no words in declaring that their strategic and economic interests in the Asia-Pacific were increasingly converging.

5.

Wigneswaran expresses concern over resolution (Page 18)

a)     International

a)     CM of Northern Province Wigneswaran expressed concern over some of the serious weaknesses in a draft resolution on Sri Lanka, which is likely to be adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

6.

Russia starts bombing targets in Syria (Page 18)

a)     International

a)     Russia launched air strikes in war-torn Syria, its first military engagement outside the former Soviet Union since the intervention in Afghanistan in 1979.

7.

Five awarded death for 7/11 train attacks (Pages 1 and 17)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Nine years after a series of powerful explosions ripped through local trains in Mumbai, a special MCOCA court sentenced to death five convicts for planting bombs on July 11 2006.

8.

Development and security (Page 14)

a)     National

a)    Development comes in many forms and serves multiple purposes. Over the last few months, the Central government has initiated a series of steps to upgrade communications and transport infrastructure in areas affected by naxalite activity.

9.

India climbs 16 places in WEFs Global Competitiveness Index (Page 19)

a)     Economy

a)    After five years of decline, India has moved up 16 positions to 55th place on a global index of worlds most competitive economies for the year 2015-16, with Switzerland topping the table for the seventh consecutive year.

10.

Lost in a forest of bad ideas (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)    The Compensatory Afforestation Bill has raised significant money, which must be used to restore existing forests rather than on artificial plantations.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India to hold G20 Chair in 2018, Delhi may play host (Pages 1, 16)

a)     I.R

a)     G20 summit

 

a)     India is set to be the G20 Chair in 2018, and New Delhi could host the prestigious annual G20 summit.

b)  The G20 operates as a forum and not as an organisation. Therefore, it does not have any permanent secretariat or management and administrative structure. One of the G20 countries is selected to hold the Chair in rotation, also known as G20 presidency.

c)     The presidency establishes a temporary secretariat for the duration it holds the Chair. The secretariat coordinates all work and organises G20 meetings.

d)   The immediate past, present and next Chair constitute a troika and ensure continuity in G20 work. In current year, the presidency is held by Turkey. The Chair was handed over to it by Australia. Turkey will hand over the Chair for the next year (2016) to China. After China, Germany will hold it in 2017.

e)     For selecting presidency, a system has been in place since 2010, when South Korea held the Chair. Under it, 19 countries have been categorised into five regional groupings of a maximum of four nations each.

2.

Sharif proposes4-step peace plan (Page 17)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     Kashmir issue

d)     United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

e)     United Nations Military Observer Group

f)     Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

 

a)     Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif used the UNGA platform to propose a four-step peace plan with India.

b)     With reference to Kashmir as a land under foreign occupation, Sharif said he had tried to reach out to India to resolve issue. He then proposed that India and Pakistan begin with ending the firing at the LoC, formalise and respect the 2003 ceasefire and ask the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan to verify it. He proposed a no use of force agreement. Finally, he proposed steps to demilitarise Kashmir and mutually withdraw troops from the Siachen.

c)     Sharifs peace plan (which bears resemblance to the one proposed by former Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf) came close on the heels of a fiery intervention by Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz at OIC contact group meeting at the UN, where he accused India of trying to quell Kashmiri struggle by use of brute force.

d)     The Kashmiri leaders continue to remain in detention or have been put under house arrest. Aziz alleged that India is attempting to change the demographic make-up of Indian-occupied J&K by settling non-State, non-Muslim subjects in occupied J&K.

e)     External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told that India had consistently rejected the relevance of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir.

f)     Pakistan PMs speech at the UN was unusual, as his 4-point pitch for peace was made to India on the world platform, where other countries are normally not addressed directly. However, it indicates the Pak govts desire to show the international community that it is keen on resuming dialogue.

3.

Angela Merkel coming on October 4 (Page 16)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Germany relations

b)     G4

c)     UNSC

d)     Digital India programme

e)     Swachh Bharat campaign

a)     Highlighting her personal engagement with the worlds largest democracy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to visit India between Oct 4 and 7 to attend the 3rd inter-governmental consultations.

b)     Her visit will be a follow up to her meeting in New York with the Indian PM where they formed G-4 to push for reform in UNSC, and will be her third meeting with Modi in 6 months.

c)     Sources told that Merkel would focus on technology exchange, training, strategic partnership and some of the flagship programmes of the Modi government like Digital India, clean energy, and Swachh Bharat campaign.

d)     Despite last years irritants over the replacement of German with Sanskrit, official sources maintain that Germany has shown that it will promote mutual interests whenever opportunity arises.

4.

India, US, Japan say interests in Indo-Pacific converge (Page 18)

a)     International

a)     India, US and Japan trilateral relations

b)     Malabar joint naval exercise

c)     South China Sea

a)     The first trilateral meeting of Foreign Ministers of India, United States and Japan minced no words in declaring that their strategic and economic interests in the Asia-Pacific were increasingly converging.

b)     They underscored the importance of international law and peaceful settlement of disputes; freedom of navigation and overflight; and unimpeded lawful commerce, including in the South China Sea.

c)     The US has in the recent past asserted rights of overflight in areas China and its maritime neighbours have overlapping claims over.

d)     The elevation of India, US, Japan trilateral engagement from officials level to political level also comes weeks ahead of the Malabar naval exercise of the three countries in the Indian waters in mid-October. In 2007, China had strongly reacted to a similar exercise.

e)     External Affairs Minister Sushma, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also decided to meet again in the new format, as a platform for strengthening cooperation. Joint cooperation with Japan has become a component in India-US bilateral relations.

5.

Wigneswaran expresses concern over resolution (Page 18)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas human rights issue

b)     UNHRC

 

a)     CM of Northern Province Wigneswaran expressed concern over some of serious weaknesses in a draft resolution on Sri Lanka, which is likely to be adopted by the UNHRC.

b)     He said any attempt to entrust the responsibility of prosecution with any local prosecutor can never bring justice to victims.

c)     In this context, he referred to reservations of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights about a domestic judicial mechanism going into allegations of human rights violations. The draft resolutions failure to propose a mechanism that could gain the support and confidence of the victims is a matter of grave concern.

d)     He called for the most rigorous monitoring of implementation of resolution and proactive involvement of international community to ensure the kind of progress which all the communities of Sri Lanka deserve.

6.

Russia starts bombing targets in Syria (Page 18)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

c)     UNGA

d)     Ukraine crisis

e)     Annexation of Crimea

a)     Russia launched air strikes in war-torn Syria, its first military engagement outside the former Soviet Union since the intervention in Afghanistan in 1979.

b)     Russian warplanes carried out strikes in 3 Syrian provinces along with regime aircraft as Putin seeks to steal US President Obamas thunder by pushing a rival plan to defeat Islamic State militants in Syria.

c)    Putin warned Russia would be hunting down IS militants before they target Russia. He also said Assad should be ready for compromise with the opposition.

d)     Putins proposal is seen as a direct challenge to Obama who has vowed to crush IS and called on countries to join the US in its campaign. Russias air strikes drew a rebuke from US which has expressed concern that Moscows support for its Soviet-era ally may complicate operations of US-led coalition.

e)     Putin is seeking to muscle his way back onto the world stage after months of Western isolation following Russias seizure of Crimea from Ukraine and support for a separatist insurgency in the east of the ex-Soviet country. Putin and Obama agreed at a meeting this week that their defence and foreign ministries would be in contact on Syria.

7.

Five awarded death for 7/11 train attacks (Pages 1 and 17)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA)

c)     Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)

d)     Sections 302 of the IPC

e)     Explosive Substances Act

 

 

a)     Nine years after a series of powerful explosions ripped through local trains in Mumbai, a special MCOCA court sentenced to death 5convicts for planting bombs on July11 2006.

b)  The five bomb planters were awarded maximum punishment of death for hatching a criminal conspiracy to commit offences under Sections 302 of the IPC (murder), 16 of the UAPA (punishment for terror acts), 3(1)(i) of the MCOCA (related to organised crime) and 3(b) of the Explosive Substances Act (for using a special category explosive).

c)     The five were additionally sentenced to life imprisonment under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 326 (causing grievous hurt) of the IPC and 152 of the Railways Act (maliciously hurting persons).

d)     Also, the court sentenced all the 12 convicts to life imprisonment under Sections 20 of the UAPA (punishment for being member of terrorist gang); 3(4), 3(1)(ii) and 3(2) of the MCOCA (offences related to organised crime); and 121A and 122 of the IPC (related to waging war) along with fine.

e)     The offenders were separately awarded life term and lesser jail terms for other offences under these Acts. They were acquitted under some Sections of the UAPA, the IPC and the Passport Act.

8.

Development and security (Page 14)

a)     National

a)     Development

b)     Maoists

c)     Tribal areas in India

a)    Development comes in many forms and serves multiple purposes. Over the last few months, the Central government has initiated a series of steps to upgrade communications and transport infrastructure in areas affected by naxalite activity.  

b)     The larger project is to not only usher in development in the tribal areas and improve the living conditions of populations in hilly and forest terrains, but also facilitate security operations against Maoists, who specialise in ambushes and hit-and-retreat tactics.

c)  Ending the isolation of some of the villages in remote areas of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand is part of a strategy to win over local populations and wean them away from the influence of armed groups of Maoists. But, coming as it does with heavy deployment of Central police forces, such infrastructure development is suspect in the eyes of many villagers in the tribal regions.

d)     The development is often seen more as an effort to allow access to tribal areas for security personnel in pursuit of Maoists rather than as an attempt to open up the outside world to the villages. Any state-sponsored activity, even if it is in the name of development, is thus met with hostility, and viewed as no more than an extension of security apparatus.

e)     Better facilities can at best mark the beginning of a process of addressing the livelihood concerns and social insecurities of tribal populations. Without investing in health and education infrastructure, increasing employment opportunities, and raising the quality of life in tribal areas, it would be difficult to address the socio-economic grievances that feed into the Maoist agenda.

f)     Thus, only concentrating on upgrading infrastructure without addressing long-standing grievances will not meet the govts objectives. Representative institutions in the villages must be made party to decision-making in the development process, which should go beyond infrastructure needs of the security personnel.

9.

India climbs 16 places in WEFs Global Competitiveness Index (Page 19)

a)     Economy

a)     Global Competitiveness Index

b)     World Economic Forum (WEF)

c)     GDP

d)     Inflation

a)    After five years of decline, India has moved up 16 positions to 55th place on a global index of worlds most competitive economies for the year 2015-16, with Switzerland topping the table for the seventh consecutive year.

b)     The WEF said in its latest Global Competitiveness Report that this dramatic reversal is largely attributable to the momentum initiated by election of Narendra Modi, whose pro-business, pro-growth, and anti-corruption stance has improved the business communitys sentiment toward the govt.

c)     The Geneva-based think-tank stated that while the quality of Indias institutions is judged more favourably, business leaders still consider corruption to be the biggest obstacle to doing business in the country, followed by policy instability, inflation, access to finance, government instability and inadequate supple of infrastructure, among others.

d)     Indias performance in the macroeconomic stability pillar has improved, although the situation remains worrisome. The inflation also eased to 6 percent in 2014 (due to lower commodity prices), down from near double-digit levels the previous year.

e)     The govt budget deficit has gradually dropped since its 2008 peak, although it still amounted to 7 percent of GDP in 2014, one of the highest in the world (131st).

10.

Lost in a forest of bad ideas (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill

b)     Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds  

c)     Forest corridors

d)     Eco-sensitive areas

e)     Western Ghats

f)     National Highway Authority of India

 

a)     The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill seeks to govern how forests will be raised, cut, and resurrected across India. It will be looking at how a fund of Rs. 38,000 crore (collected from cutting down forests) is to be used.

b)     A major thrust of the Bill is to use money to set up artificial plantations, while another clause is to use it for infrastructure. While not irrelevant in themselves, a series of ecological checks are required before this money is unlocked for artificial measures: whether man-made forests or buildings.

c) The premise of compensation is that of a trade-off: environmental concerns will be sacrificed for developmental projects. Compensatory Afforestation relies on this notion, but it also believes that forests are replaceable fairly easily. This follows from a historic view of forests as sources of wood, bamboo and so on, rather than as systems of biodiversity.

d)     However, the science of biodiversity debunks the idea that complex forest systems can be recreated easily. Ecological restoration plays a key role in it, as does time. Secondly, several States have said that they do not have land banks for planting new forests. For this reason, parts of the CAMPA funds have been used in past for purchasing forest department vehicles or repairing buildings. Further, compensatory afforestation has been undertaken on the flanks of railway lines, highways, and so on, raising trees with poor survival rates but certainly not creating biodiverse forests.

e)     Rather than creating new and artificial forests, existing forest land should be restored and bought by the forest department using the CAMPA funds. Decisions have to be made on ecological (rather than political) merit and with safeguards. Such consolidation could include areas like forest corridors (a tenuous link between two tiger reserves) and eco-sensitive areas (a riparian or estuarine system).

f)     The Bill further suggests that the money received shall be used for artificial regeneration (plantation), assisted natural regeneration, forest management, forest protection, infrastructure development, wildlife protection and management, supply of wood and other forest produce-saving devices in the manner as may be prescribed.

g)     User agencies such as the National Highway Authority of India have suggested that the CAMPA fund be used for mitigation of wildlife deaths on roads through creation of underpasses and bypasses for animals. Other agencies might make similar demands. This is where the raison detre of the CAMPA fund must be remembered. It would only be fair for the fund to be used for infrastructure where such infrastructure does not deteriorate the situation for forests and wildlife.

h) There are critical ecosystems that require attention and funding today, including marine areas, birding areas, riparian and coastal areas, and high altitude grasslands. The scale of the CAMPA fund gives us a serious chance to reimagine and recreate no-go areas for nature preservation.

i)     The fact that most States have CAMPA funds means that these no-go areas can go beyond the States. For instance, no-go areas in Western Ghats (which is a geomorphological unit broken up administratively by States) can be secured with CAMPA money, by putting in community compensation or incentivisation schemes along with wildlife, wetland and forest protection schemes.

j)     Securing existing natural tracts, making forests contiguous, safeguarding fragile habitat, and bringing fair compensation schemes for local stakeholders is the way forward. Otherwise, we may be missing the woods for the trees.

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