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Daily News Analysis 23-10-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

US not to broker India-Pakistan ties (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     The US says it encourages India and Pakistan to engage in a direct dialogue, but steers clear of Pakistans demand that it intervene to reboot bilateral relations.

2.

Let down by both carrot and stick (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)   American readiness to offer aid has bred dependence, and the US has ended up as an enabler of Pakistans dysfunction.

3.

India-Maldives ties at a peak: envoy (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)      Maldivian High Commissioner to India said the India-Maldives relations have been restored to a comfortable plane with visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma for the joint commission meeting on Oct 10.

4.

Surveillance camera project fails (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     An ambitious project of the government to install high-resolution surveillance cameras along the China border has run into rough weather.

5.

Nepal quake widens scope of Sino-Indian military ties (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    The devastating earthquake in Nepal (to which troops from India and China were among the first responders) appears to have imparted fresh urgency among military planners of the two countries to include disaster relief on the agenda of joint military exercises.

6.

Centre clears first batch of flagship urban projects (Page 12)

a)     National

a)     For the first time in Indias urban governance, the Urban Development Ministry is sending money to States in massive chunks so that the development projects are run without financial delays.

7.

With start-up India, research parks to bloom (Page 13)

a)     National

a)    PMModis pitch for a start-up India campaign has revived the research parks initiative mooted by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

8.

Poor risk cover under govt health scheme (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     An evaluation of the RashtriyaSwasthyaBimaYojana has concluded that the government-financed health insurance scheme had little or no impact on medical impoverishment in India.

9.

Act fast on tax reforms: Chidambaram (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)    Indias former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram called for early implementation of the Direct Taxes Code and recommendations of the Tax Administration Reforms Commission in India.

10.

Digital India sectors attracting flow of foreign funds in big way (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     A report suggests thatwhile FDI inflows into Make in India industries have increased, the export focus of the campaign seems to have been diluted in favour of the Digital India sectors.

11.

India to grow at 7-7.5 percent in 2015-16: Moodys (Page 16)

a)     Economy

a)    Moodysreport said that India will clock the highest growth rate among the G20 nations in 2015-16 (at 7-7.5 percent), adding that the country is less exposed to external shocks than its peers.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.        

 

US not to broker India-Pakistan ties (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     US – Pakistan relations

b)     India – Pakistan relations

c)     Kashmir issue

a)     The US says it encourages India and Pakistan to engage in a direct dialogue, but steers clear of Pakistans demand that it intervene to reboot bilateral relations.This is a reiteration of the US position that while it will encourage both countries to talk, it has no direct role to play.

b)    Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif (who is on a three-day visit of the US) raised with Secretary of State John Kerry and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Indias reluctance to engage with Pakistan. He told about his four-point agenda for improving ties with India that he announced at the United Nations last month. India has rejected the proposal, saying that ending terrorism originating from Pakistan is essential before talks can begin.

c)     Kerry said normalisation of India-Pakistan relations was vital for the entire region. Incidentally, Afghanistan occupies a major part of discussions between the USand Pakistan during Sharifs visit.

d)     Members noted the PMs proposal that given Indias resistance to bilaterally resolve outstanding issues (including Kashmir), it would be imperative to have the third party intervention for which the US would be most relevant.

2.

Let down by both carrot and stick (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     US – Pakistan relations

b)     India – Pakistan relations

c)     Kashmir issue

d)      Afghanistan situation

e)     Taliban

f)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

g)     Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)

h)    Haqqani network

 

a)   According to the author, by inviting Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif to the White House, President Obama may only have wanted to signal Americas continued interest in nuclear-armed country. But in Pakistan it reignited the belief that US simply cannot manage the world without Pakistans help.

b)   For years Pakistans policies have coincided with those of US only nominally. Pakistans support for the Taliban in Afghanistan is the main reason Obama had to reverse his decision of pulling out troops from that country. Pakistans development of battlefield nuclear weapons also runs contrary to US plans for reducing nuclear proliferation. Diplomatic statements notwithstanding, the two sides have very different priorities.

c)      Obama lost the initiative on Afghanistan by relying on Pakistans ability to set up direct negotiations with the Taliban. He has spent the last 7 years alternating between coaxing Paks leaders with economic and military assistance and delivering tough messages. The pretence of toughness has lacked credibility. Diplomacy and inducements have failed because they only reinforce the Pakistani view that the countrys geostrategic importance for the US outweighs its resentment of negative Pakistani policies.

d)     Pakistan has received $40 billion in US military and economic aid since 1950, of which $23 billion were given after 9/11 attacks to strengthen the countrys resolve in fighting terrorism. But Pakistans focus has always been its rivalry with India (against whom it has initiated and lost three wars), using US equipment each time.

e)     The recent Pakistani announcement about an India-centric tactical nuclear programme indicates that despite serious threats to Paks security by Jihadi extremists, India (an American friend) remains the principal enemy in the eyes of Pakistans leaders.

f)     Americans have several reasons to mistrust Pakistan, which also accuses the US of being a fair weather friend. Pak acquired nuclear weapons while promising US that it wont go nuclear if it gets US assistance. Pakistans ongoing support of jihadi terrorists is part of its effort to expand regional influence in competition with India, especially in Afghanistan and disputed Kashmir region.

g)Over the last 13 years, many US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban and the Haqqani network - trained, armed and supported by Pakistan. The recent surge in Taliban activity (manifested most blatantly during the occupation of the Afghan city of Kunduz) is attributed by US and Afghan officials to Pakistani support.

h)  It seems that while officially Pakistan was helping the US and Afghan officials in peace talks with the Taliban, its covert support was preparing the latter for reoccupying Afghanistan after US withdrawal. Increased willingness to fight Pakistani Taliban has not diminished Pakistans support for Afghan Taliban. Groups that target India (such as LeT and JuD) are not even deemed terrorists by Pakistans establishment.

i)     Over the last two years, much optimism was expressed over Pakistans decision to militarily eliminate safe havens used by terrorists responsible for attacks inside Pakistan and against China. But now the administration appears to have woken up to the realisation that Pakistans decision to act against terrorists does not extend to all jihadi groups.

j)     During a recent visit to Islamabad, National Security Adviser Susan Rice reminded Pakistan of its unfulfilled commitments about helping with the Afghan peace process. She also asked Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network, which has been involved in several attacks on American targets including one on the US embassy in Kabul in 2011.If things have not changed since 2011, one cannot help but question the administrations intermittent hopefulness about a turnaround in Paks policies.

k)  The military and intelligence services that dominate Pakistani national security decision-making have sacrificed the countrys progress and prosperity in their relentless pursuit of military parity with India. Forcing New Delhis hand on Kashmir has become more important than educating Pakistans children.

l)     American readiness to offer aid has bred dependence and hubris. The US has ended up as an enabler of Pakistans dysfunction by reinforcing the belief of its elite that it is too important to fail or be neglected.

m)     The intermittent cycles of optimism and pessimism about Pakistan have led to confusion in Obamas Afghan policy. It is time to finally accept Paks lack of cooperation in Afghanistan as a given while making plans for that country. The US would help Afghanistan, and even Pakistans people, more by insisting consistently that Islamabad correct its course. Instead of telling Paks elite how important they are, it might be more useful to stop footing the bill for Pakistans failings.

3.

India-Maldives ties at a peak: envoy (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Maldives relations

b)     Mutual Legal Assistance treaty (MLAT)

c)     Maldives internal issues

a)     Maldivian High Commissioner to India said the India-Maldives relations have been restored to a comfortable plane with visit of the External Affairs Minister Sushma for the joint commission meeting on October 10.

b)     The govts are also ready to sign a MLAT and India is one of 5 countries helping with the investigation into a bomb blast aboard President Yameens boat.

c)     Indias actions in the past few weeks have come in contrast to the strain of previous months, marked not just by the MEAs stern statements on the Maldives handling of Nasheed trial, but also on Yameengovts growing closeness to China.

d)     During her visit to the Maldives, Sushma did meet a leader from Nasheeds party the MDP, but while reports say she took up the cause of Nasheed with President Yameen, neither side made any announcement to that effect.

4.

Surveillance camera project fails (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China border disputes

b)     Line of Actual Control (LAC)

c)    Depsang Valley

a)     An ambitious project of the government to install high-resolution surveillance cameras along the China border has run into rough weather.

b)     A pilot project undertaken in 2013 to monitor the movement along the LAC has failed to give the desired results and the govt is now rethinking its strategy. China has a robust surveillance system on its side.

c)     In the wake of the 21-day face-off with the Peoples Liberation Army of China at Depsang Valley in the Ladakh region in 2013, the govt had given the go-ahead to install surveillance cameras along the unmanned pockets on the China border.

d)  India has always maintained that incidents of transgressions occur due to difference in perception regarding the border. After the NDA government came to power, the frequency of patrolling along the China border has increased.

5.

Nepal quake widens scope of Sino-Indian military ties(Page 14)

a)     International

a)     India – China military relations

b)    Line of Actual Control (LAC)

c)     Nepals earthquake

 

a)    The devastating earthquake in Nepal (to which troops from India and China were among the first responders) appears to have imparted fresh urgency among military planners of the two countries to include disaster relief on the agenda of joint military exercises.

b)    Earlier editions of the Sino-Indian military drills have mainly focused on countering terrorism, but humanitarian assistance and disaster relief emerged as a top priority during the latest round of drills.

c)     Lt. General A.L. Chavan(Director General Military Training) stressed that the knowledge gained by confronting Nepal earthquake would greatly help the two armies in tackling natural calamities in the neighbourhood(as well as along the LAC) should the need arise.

6.

Centre clears first batch of flagship urban projects (Page 12)

a)     National

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

a)     For the first time in Indias urban governance, the Urban Development Ministry is sending money to States in massive chunks so that the development projects are run without financial delays.

b)     The ministry cleared the first batch of projects under the flagship Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation for 89 cities worth Rs. 2786 crore. The States that are getting benefited from this push are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

c)     The focus of the urban renewal projects would be on establishing infrastructure that could ensure adequate water supply and robust sewerage networks.

7.

With start-up India, research parks to bloom (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     Start-up India campaign

b)     Research parks

c)     Make in India campaign

 

a)    PMModis pitch for a start-up India campaign has revived the research parks initiative mooted by Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

b)     According to sources in the government, the MHRD has proposed an initial investment of Rs. 100 crore starting the next financial year to revive the research park initiative.

c)     With the emphasis on economic growth, production in India through the Make in India campaign, the Ministry sees the research parks as an important linkage between academia and industry; with the incubated start-ups filling the vacuum and meeting the requirements of industry.

8.

Poor risk cover under govt health scheme (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)    RashtriyaSwasthyaBimaYojana (RSBY)

b)     Healthcare system in India

a)     An evaluation of the RashtriyaSwasthyaBimaYojana has concluded that the government-financed health insurance scheme had little or no impact on medical impoverishment in India.

b)     The report pointed out that a major design flaw in RSBY and other such state health insurance programmes is their narrow focus on secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. It concluded that RSBY was being used mostly by those who already had better access (to healthcare services) and the most marginalised sections were being excluded further.

9.

Act fast on tax reforms: Chidambaram (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Direct Taxes Code (DTC)

b)     Tax Administration Reforms Commission (TARC)

a)    Indias former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram called for early implementation of the Direct Taxes Code and recommendations of the Tax Administration Reforms Commission in India.

b)     The DTC (despite having been placed in public domain for discussion in August 2009) had not yet been introduced in the form of a Bill in Parliament. Also, the core of the recommendations of the TARC had been accepted but no major recommendation had yet been incorporated in the laws.

c)    On the issue of offering tax incentives or concessions to attract foreign investment, he referred to Sri Lanka having signed 24 bilateral treaties since 1980. A growing body of evidence had called into question the effectiveness of offering tax incentives to promote investment.

10.

Digital India sectors attracting flow of foreign funds in big way (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Digital India programme

b)     Make in India programme

c)     FDI

d)    Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)

e)     United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

a)     The Emkay Global report suggests thatwhile FDI inflows into Make in India industries have increased, the export focus of the campaign seems to have been diluted in favour of the Digital India sectors.

b)     The report also adds that while recent media reports have said that India has outstripped China in terms of FDI, this is a limited view. In fact, Chinas gross FDI inflows are far higher than Indias.

c)     Based on data from the DIPP and the UNCTAD, the report findsthat while $5.3 billion flowed into the computer software and hardware sectors between Dec 2013 and June 2015, only $1.1 billion entered the construction sector in the same period.

d)    In addition, the report states that although FDI inflows into the automobile sector (a pillar of the Make in India mission) have been growing, the trends suggest that they have been focussing more on domestic demand rather than on export growth.

11.

India to grow at 7-7.5 percent in 2015-16: Moodys (Page 16)

a)     Economy

a)     Indias economic growth

b)     GDP

c)     Monetary policy

d)     Inflation

e)     Current Account Deficit

f)     Moodys

a)    Moodysreport said that India will clock the highest growth rate among the G20 nations in 2015-16 (at 7-7.5 percent), adding that the country is less exposed to external shocks than its peers.

b)     It said that the positive outlook on its Baa3 rating reflects our view that the relatively resilient growth and the policy reform momentum will slowly stabilise inflation, improve the regulatory environment, increase infrastructure investment and lower govt debt ratios.

c)     The main external risks facing emerging markets at present are prolonged risk aversion due to hopes of a normalisation of US monetary policy and the chance of Chinas slowdown progressing at a sharper rate than predicted.

d)  Mentioning Indias monetary tightening in 2013, the report said that this was an example of effective macroeconomic management that restored macroeconomic stability, albeit at expense of near-term growth.

e)     The report concludes that the stage is now set for monetary loosening (which has already commenced in 2015) due to various factors coming together such as regulatory reforms, lower inflation and healthy current account deficit outcomes.

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