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Daily News Analysis 14-10-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Is India softening stand on neighbours after pushback? (Pg14)

a)     I.R

a)    In the first indication that the govt is considering a softening of position after facing a pushback from Nepal and the Maldives, officials acknowledged that India needs a balance on the neighbourhood.

2.

Reversing the continental drift (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)    The India-Africa Forum Summit process (that began in 2008) is a much needed intergovernmental attempt to give direction and thrust to bilateral synergies.

3.

India plans big project along Bangladesh border (Pgs1,14)

a)     I.R

a)    Official told that the Cabinet Committee on Security cleared a massive infrastructure project for the Bangladesh border last week.

4.

India-Sweden tie-up for smart urbanization(P13)

a)     I.R

a)    Sustainable neighbourhoods are created by involving residents in planning, building and renovating our cities.

5.

Iranian Parliament approves nuclear deal (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Sources said that Irans Parliament passed a bill supporting the govt in implementing a nuclear deal with world powers, in a victory for the govt over conservative opponents of the deal.

6.

A Prime Minister in a new setting (Page 12)

a)     International

a)    Khadga Prasad Oli of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) has been elected Nepals 38th PM by legislators in the Constituent Assembly.

7.

Putin slams US on Syria (Page 16)

a)     International

a)    Russian President Putin slammed US for refusing to share intelligence with Russia on Syria, accusing it of muddled thinking.

8.

Uniform civil code need of the hour: Minister (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    Union Law Minister SadanandaGowda said that a uniform civil code was the need of the hour and in national interest and a step should be taken in that direction.

9.

Render sedition unconstitutional (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Sedition (defined as incitement to violence or disorder) is a legislation meant to suppress the voice of Indian people and has no place in a 21st century democracy. The Supreme Court, being the protector of the fundamental rights of the citizens needs to declare the law unconstitutional.

10.

RSS body invokes SCs to oppose J&Ks status (P14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    An RSS-related think tank is seeking to mobilise opinion on the Kashmir issue in terms of the rights of Scheduled Castes and women.

11.

National energy policy by year-end (Page 10)

a)     National

a)    With the Centre setting a steep target of increasing the countrys renewable energy generation capacity by nearly four and half folds from the present 38 GW to 175 GW by 2021-22, the national energy policy which is expected to be finalised by December-end, will prescribe various measures through which target can be achieved.

12.

Food inflation benign despite two straight years of weak monsoons (Pg 17)

a)     Economy

a)    Despite back-to-back two years of weak monsoon rains, overall food price inflation in India has remained benign, and concentrated in just two commodities - onions and pulses.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Is India softening stand on neighbours after pushback? (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)    Nepals new Constitution

a)    In the first indication that the govt is considering a softening of position after facing a pushback from Nepal and the Maldives, officials acknowledged that India needs a balance on neighbourhood.

b)     On Nepal, where India is accused of a blockade on fuel supplies after Nepal pushed through a Constitution that has provisions India believes would harm Madhesi interests, getting the balance right has historically been the challenge for us.

c)     While denying that India interfered in the Nepal constitution process by pushing the Madhesi cause, the official said that India had spoken to leaders from across the political spectrum, with the objective that all stakeholders should be taken along.

d)     He said that Indias main concerns over the Constitution: on proportional inclusion, constituency delimitation and provincial boundaries were being addressed by the new govt in Nepal, and India was hopeful of a resolution of other issues. The statement signifies a softening of the Indian position that the Constitution in its present form is unacceptable.

2.

Reversing the continental drift (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS)

 

a)     Geologically,(long period ago) peninsular India was once part of Africa, the fused Super-Continent called Gondwanaland. Some 200 million years ago when the continental drift started, the region broke away from the African continent and pushed in a north-easterly direction till it joined South Asia.

b)     In the economic domain, too, till recently there had been a similar sense of drift between India and Africa. The two sides were only partially able to leverage their socio-economic similarities (such as a colonial history, similar developmental profile and challenges) and complementarities (such as Indias growing need for Africas commodities and the suitability of Indian technology and spirit of jugaad for Africa).

c)     More often than not, it was left to private operators, market forces and middlemen. As a result there was a steady but slow growth in our ties with Africa, often called the only remaining economic Eldorado for its fast-growing population, increasing prosperity, and its untapped mineral and agricultural wealth.

d)     Thus, the India-Africa Forum Summit process that began in 2008 is a much needed intergovernmental attempt to give a direction and thrust to the bilateral synergy. After two summits in New Delhi (2008) and Addis Ababa (2011), the next summit is to take place towards end of this month once again in New Delhi. A number of new Indian initiatives are likely to be announced during IAFS-3 to boost ties.

e)     As we approach IAFS-3, it is necessary to assess the impact of over 7 years of the IAFS process and make it more effective and purposive. Over this period, India has committed unprecedented level of resources to Africa: for instance, at IAFS-2 India promised $5 billion dollars in soft loans, half a billion dollars in grants, institution building and training fellowships to Africa.

f)    Earlier at IAFS-1, India had offered duty-free market access to Africas least developed countries. Injection of these resources has had considerable impact. Indias credentials as a uniquely suitable development partner for Africa have been widely acknowledged. Similarly, the IAFS process has given a fillip to cultural and informational contacts and mutual awareness.

g)     Before we proceed further, a few of the contextual factors must be mentioned. First, India is not alone in having an Africa strategy. Our competitors on the continent, such the EU, China, Japan and the US also have IAFS-type processes and often commit even more resources than we do. Second, in recent years, new drivers of putative African century have emerged; these include lower commodity prices, greater democracy, rise in militancy, population growth, preponderance of youth and urbanisation.

h)     How can the momentum achieved so far by the IAFS process be sustained or even accelerated? First, we need to inject greater bilateralism and balance into the process. The African nations (many of them with higher per capita income than India) expect India to bear gifts for them under the IAFS process. But they also need to contribute more, so that the joint endeavour is more productive for their own people.

i)     Second, the IAFS process needs to better leverage two strong assets that have hitherto remained untapped: the vibrant Indian private sector and the Indian diaspora in Africa. Third, a lot can be done to improve the last mile of the delivery chain to ensure efficacy. Fourth, India needs to make more vigorous efforts to inform its African friends about its contributions.

j)     Last year, when the Ebola epidemic ravaged five West African countries, India rendered more assistance than many other donors. However, while their contributions were acknowledged and appreciated, Indian help received scant attention and publicity, partly because India delivered it multilaterally or in a piecemeal manner.

k) The IAFS process has shown the promise of Indo-African partnership. Indeed, the current global economic stagnation only enhances the relevance of a mutual interface between the worlds fastest growing continent and the worlds fastest growing major economy.

3.

India plans big project along Bangladesh border (Pages 1and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Bangladesh relations

b)     Cross-border migration

c)     Land acquisition

d)     Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)

a)    Official told that the Cabinet Committee on Security cleared a massive infrastructure project for the Bangladesh border last week.

b)    Cross-border migration has been high on the agenda of the NDA govt and it was one of the major poll issues before it came to power.

c)     The CCS has given an extension to the border fencing project till 2019 as the March 2014 target could not be met due to various issues like land acquisition, forest clearance, rough terrain and public protest.

d)     A high-level empowered committee will reschedule the balance work that has not been allotted yet and will expedite land acquisition in consultation with the State govts. The border with Bangladesh runs along West Bengal (2,216.7 km), Assam (263 km), Meghalaya (443 km), Tripura (856 km) and Mizoram (318 km).

4.

India-Sweden tie-up for smart urbanization(Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Sweden relations

b)     Smart City Mission

c)     Digitalisation

d)     Sustainable urban development

e)     Economic sustainability

f)     Ecological sustainability

g)     Social sustainability

h)     Urbanisation

a)    According to the author, India and Sweden have a long history of partnerships in various areas. Earlier this year, India and Sweden signed a MoU on sustainable urban development. This agreement means that our countries can cooperate on developing solutions in the field of sustainable urban development for the well-being of present and future generations.

b)    Current global urbanisationtrends will result in 70 percent of the worlds population living in cities by 2050. Living in cities brings environmental challenges, but with them real possibilities to shape smart and effective solutions. Public transport, efficient waste handling and energy accessibility are far easier to integrate when people live close together.

c)     Sweden is a global pioneer in developing smart cities, and this development is based on close collaboration between the private and public sectors. In 2014, the Indian govt launched an initiative to build 100 smart cities across India.

d)     Therefore, the agreement between the two nations will help to develop, govern and manage these cities according to best practices developed through close cooperation. The agreement focuses in particular on development with sustainable and integrated urban planning and land use, waste management, sustainable transport systems and water and sanitation management.

e)    Technological development too provides us with great opportunities to build cities that are both smart and sustainable. Information technology reduces the impact of cities on climate through a truly effective use of resources and dematerialisation of goods. Digitalisation also brings us closer together, regardless of physical distance.

f)     The authors view on sustainable urban development is threefold: we need a holistic approach based on economic, ecological and social sustainability. Success comes when all three are closely integrated in the planning and development of cities.

g)     Economic sustainability means that our investments today must be sustainable tomorrow. We must use the best available technology and methods for urban development. Buildings we construct today will be still there for many years ahead. So to secure our investment, we need to get it right from the beginning. For example, investment in solar panels can be repaid in just a few years.

h)     Building and developing cities in an ecological and sustainable way is key to the future of our children and our planet. As more people move into the cities, pressure on waste management, land use and infrastructure is soaring. Our response is to approach and develop smart solutions in an integrated way. For example, Swedish-Indian partner companies develop solutions for producing biogas from waste water and waste food.

i)     Thirdly, developing social sustainability means that we need to build a society that keeps together. India is the largest democracy in the world, with well-developed systems of local influence. Sustainable neighbourhoods are created by involving residents in planning, building and renovating our cities. For example, good urban planning helps through improved street lighting and well-planned public transport.

5.

Iranian Parliament approves nuclear deal (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

a)     Sources said that Irans Parliament passed a bill supporting the govt in implementing a nuclear deal with world powers, in a victory for the govt over conservative opponents of the deal.

b)     Some lawmakers have opposed the JCPOA that President Hassan Rouhanisgovt reached with world powers on July14 and the vote removes a major obstacle to putting the agreement into practice.

c)     However, the bill insists that international inspections of military sites under the nuclear pact should be approved by a top Iranian security body, leaving the possibility that disagreements could still arise.

6.

A Prime Minister in a new setting (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Nepals internal issues

b)     Nepals new Constitution

c)     Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist)

d)     Madhesis

a)    Khadga Prasad Oli of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) has been elected Nepals 38th PM by legislators in the Constituent Assembly.

b)     Considering that Oli was seen as a leader from among those who were less than exuberant about the peace-building and state restructuring processes that guided Nepals transition from monarchy to republic, it is remarkable that he is at the helm now. This has come at a time when the country has finally managed to complete the long-drawn Constitution-writing process - notwithstanding some critical flaws that remain in it.

c)     These flaws are what have impelled the plains-dwellers (the Madhesis) to agitate to seek amendments that would ensure a fair deal to them in terms of federal restructuring and constituency demarcation, among other issues.

d)     The Indian establishments support to this demand had drawn a predictable nationalist response from political parties that have their leadership dominated by those from the hills. Many in Nepals political class have often swung towards anti-India nationalism to whip up support for themselves, even as they relied on India to advance their own interests at expedient moments.

e)   Indias response to the recent protests in the Terai region might be a consequence of its discomfort with the instability spilling over into Bihar and UP, but the not-so-subtle economic coercion being used on border could definitely have been avoided. Any such action in the nature of what Kathmandu terms an economic blockade will only end up stoking ultra-nationalist impulses.

f)     To Indias credit, PMModi congratulated his counterpart for his election, while expressing the hope that Oli would carry all sections of society along, so that there is peace and stability. This is a subtle and well-thought-out message to the Nepal govt to work towards addressing the disaffection in the Terai.

7.

Putin slams US on Syria (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

 

a)    Russian President Putin slammed US for refusing to share intelligence with Russia on Syria, accusing it of muddled thinking.

b)     Late last month Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria, saying it needed to target IS jihadists before they cross into Russia, which has a large Muslim population.

c)     But US and its allies slammed Russias intervention in the conflict, saying Moscow was also targeting Western-backed moderate rebels and sought to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

8.

Uniform civil code need of the hour: Minister (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Uniform Civil Code (UCC)

b)     Preamble of the Constitution

c)     Article 44 of the Constitution

d)     Article 370 of the Constitution

a)    Union Law Minister SadanandaGowda said that a uniform civil code was the need of the hour and in national interest and a step should be taken in that direction,but added that the govt would not move on the issue without due consultation and consensus, not just within the govt but with all stakeholders.

b)     He said the Preamble of our Constitution and Article 44 do say that there should be UCC, but it is a very sensitive issue, needs wider consultation, across communities and party lines.

c)     The BJP considers three issues to be its core ideological issues - the UCC, the abolition of Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

9.

Render sedition unconstitutional (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Sedition

b)     Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

c)     Article 19 of the Constitution

d)     Supreme Court

e)     Federal Court

f)     Privy Council

a)    According to the author, Sedition is an offence incorporated into the IPC which they have found handy to silence or discipline critics. This 19 century law (enacted to silence the Indian people by the colonial rulers) has been retained by the democratic govt in free India. Sedition was not a part of the original IPC enacted in 1860 and was introduced in 1870.

b)     Independent Indiasgovts seem to have found great relief in having a provision on sedition in the penal statute. A spate of litigations in the fifties and sixties, and amendments made to Article 19 of the Constitution (widening the scope of penal legislation and validating them on the ground of reasonable restrictions) indicate just that. During the past four years, we have again witnessed frequent invocation of sedition to deal with free speech and expression.

c)     Recently, the Gujarat govt booked a Patel leader under sedition for sending messages containing offensive language against the PM, the State CM and Amit Shah (the President of BJP). These cases are indicative of a high level of intolerance being displayed by govts towards the basic freedom enjoyed by citizens. Democracy has no meaning without these freedoms and sedition as interpreted and applied by the police is a negation of it.

d)     Section 124A of the IPC defines sedition and says: (i) whoever by words either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, the govt established by law; or (ii) whoever by the above means excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the govt established by law, has committed offence of sedition. The punishment prescribed varies from imprisonment up to 3 years to life imprisonment, with fine or without it.

e)     The first explanation says that disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity. Explanations 2 and 3 in effect say that disapprobation of the measures or administrative action etc. of the government to obtain their alteration by lawful means is not an offence. However, the caveat is that there should be no attempt to excite hatred or contempt or disaffection.

f)     The history of the offence of sedition in the IPC is one of conflicts in judicial interpretations. In the pre-Independence era, a number of landmark cases on sedition were decided by the Federal Court as well as the Privy Council. These two high judicial bodies had taken diametrically opposite positions on the meaning and scope of sedition as a penal offence.

g)     The Federal Court held that public disorder or the reasonable anticipation or likelihood of public disorder is the gist of the offence. These judges were of the view that sedition implies resistance or lawlessness in some form. In all these cases the point that has been emphasised is that if there is no incitement to violence, there is no sedition.

h)     On the other hand, the Privy Council was of the view that acts like incitement to violence and insurrection are immaterial while deciding the culpability of a person charged with sedition. It said that since the IPC defines the offence of sedition, one needs to go by that definition only. 

i)     Now, let us look at the decisions of Supreme Court of independent India on sedition. The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court explained the amplitude of sedition for the first time in 1962 in the case of Kedarnath Vs. State of Bihar (1962). 

j)   Quite interestingly the court adopted the view of the Federal Court of India that the gist of offence of sedition is incitement to violence or the tendency or the intention to create public disorder. So, as per the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, a person can be charged with sedition only if there is incitement to violence in his speech or writing or an intention to create disorder.

k)     In fact, the issue before the court was whether Section 124A was violative of Article 19(1)(a) relating to freedom of speech and expression. If the view of the Privy Council on sedition was to be adopted, then Section 124A would have had to be struck down as violative of Article 19(1)(a).

l)   Supreme Court did not want to do that, so, it adopted the strict principles of English Law on sedition which were laid down in the Niharendu case in 1942. But the court upheld the punishment of Kedarnath who did not incite anyone to resort to violence and overthrow the government.

m)     Therefore, since the govts and its agencies have strictly gone by text of Section 124A though the Supreme Court itself did not apply these principles to the speech of Kedarnath, the law declared inKedarnath has lost its potency. The Supreme Court, being the protector of the fundamental rights of citizens may step in now and declare Section 124A unconstitutional.

10.

RSS body invokes SCs to oppose J&Ks status (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Article 370 of the Constitution

b)     77th constitutional amendment Act

c)     Article 35 A of the Constitution

d)     Article 368 of the Constitution

e)     Kashmir issue

a)    An RSS-related think tank is seeking to mobilise opinion on the Kashmir issue in terms of the rights of Scheduled Castes and women.

b)     As distinct from familiar focus on Indias oneness, the concomitant demand for repeal of Article 370 that grants J&K special status, and the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, the Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre is invoking the rights of marginal groups to attack the States special status.

c)     The petition that led to the judgment had challenged the extension of SC/ST reservation in promotions in State as per 77th constitutional amendment Act. For, no Presidential Order had been issued for the same, a procedural requirement under Article 370.

d)     The think tank has also taken up the issue of Article 35 A of the Constitution, which (it claims) was wrongfully added as an annexure to the Constitution in 1954, bypassing the constitutional amendment procedure with a special majority of Parliament as mandated by Article 368.

11.

National energy policy by year-end (Page 10)

a)     National

a)     National energy policy

b)     NITI Aayog

a)    With the Centre setting a steep target of increasing the countrys renewable energy generation capacity by nearly four and half folds from the present 38 GW to 175 GW by 2021-22, the national energy policy which is expected to be finalised by December-end, will prescribe various measures through which target can be achieved.

b)     The NITI Aayog(which has been entrusted with the responsibility of formulating the national energy policy) has commenced the process of consultations with various stakeholders, including State govts, industry and research institutes to seek their views on the methods of achieving the targets and the nature of the proposed policy.

12.

Food inflation benign despite two straight years of weak monsoons (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     Food inflation

b)     CPI inflation

c)     Retail inflation

d)    Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

a)    Latest official data show food inflation that was under 3 percent in July and August climbed to 4.3 percent in September, largely due to high prices of onions and pulses.

b)     Union Finance Ministry said that along with the latest data on industrial production, the retail inflation data points to the economy being towards steady improvement.

c)     The release said that the year-on-year inflation increased to 4.4 percent in Sept2015 from 3.7 percent in August 2015.However, it is low compared to 5.6 percent in September 2014.

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