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Daily News Analysis 29-10-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Help change world order, Sudan tells India (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     On the third day of the India-Africa Forum Summit, Sudan forcefully demanded that the summit should seek to change the world order.

2.

PoK delegation wants India, Pak to resume talks (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     An 11-member delegation from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan met civil society members from J&K and jointly urged India and Pakistan to resume their dialogue and take the cross-LoC trade to next level.

3.

Carving out a path on Chinas road (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     Opting out of CPEC is a diplomatic risk as Pakistan may exploit Indias absence in the regional grouping.

4.

US bomber pact in contrast to Indian Rafale deal (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)    The US announced the contract for building the next generation long-range strike bombers at a whopping $55 billion, providing a stunning contrast to the way India has gone about concluding the purchase of Rafale fighters from France.

5.

Nepal gets first woman President (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    Nepals Parliament elected communist lawmaker BidhyaBhandari as the countrys first woman President after the adoption of a landmark Constitution last month.

6.

Pakistan backed LeT: Musharraf (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     In deeply embarrassing remarks for Pakistan, former president Pervez Musharraf has acknowledged that his country supported and trained terror groups like the LeT in the 1990s for fanning militancy in Kashmir.

7.

Day after slamming US, China calls for talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     China has sought to ease tensions with the US in the South China Sea by calling for dialogue.

8.

Iran to join Syria peace talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    The US has reversed long-standing opposition to Irans participation in peace talks to end the Syrian civil war, paving the way for a possible diplomatic breakthrough in the four-year conflict.

9.

Centre takes steps to speed up affordable housing schemes (Page 13)

a)     National

 

a)     Officials of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation met the representatives of other Ministries to set up a system through which affordable housing projects are cleared at a faster pace.

10.

Nutrition bureau axed, anti-poverty schemes starved (Page 13)

a)     National

 

a)    Forty years after being established with a mandate to generate data on nutritional status of socially vulnerable groups, the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau has been shut down by the Union Health Ministry.

11.

Reforms need to reach the needy (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)  Though reforms are aimed at increasing the efficiency through enhanced competition, they do not automatically result in growth. Neither does economic growth by itself translate into better social sector outcomes. A definite policy paradigm that prioritises social welfare is needed.

12.

Easing business blues (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)     The finding made in the World Banks Doing Business 2016 report that improvements in the regulatory environment helped lift Indias ranking four places higher will serve as a shot in the arm for the government, given PM Modis avowed focus on economic development.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Help change world order, Sudan tells India (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India-Africa Forum Summit

b)     India – Sudan relations

c)     UNSC

a) On the third day of the India-Africa Forum Summit, political disagreement over US became evident between India and Sudan, one of the major emerging energy suppliers for India. While India focused on the commercial aspect of India-Africa ties, Sudan forcefully demanded that summit should seek to change the world order.

b)     The Ministry of External Affairs highlighted the trade talks taking place between leaders of India and several African countries during the summit, but Sudans Foreign Minister told that his country wanted to discuss Africas rightful place in changed UNSC and also wanted to highlight how American domination of world affairs was proving to be counter-productive.

c)   Sudan has criticised the global human rights campaign against President Al Bashir, suggesting that the campaign was motivated and was a facade for Western interests. India has faced considerable pressure for the last few months to support and act on the ICCs arrest warrant against Al Bashir.

d)     He said that India is an important buyer of energy from Sudan. Now, we want to diversify relationship with India and spread it to other areas like security which is crumbling all around due to mishandling.

e)   PMModi held bilateral talks with heads of several African nations during which UN reforms, combating challenge of terrorism and boosting trade and investment, particularly in the oil and gas sector, figured prominently.

2.

PoK delegation wants India, Pak to resume talks (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)

c)     Line of Control (LoC)

 

a)     An 11-member delegation from PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan met civil society members from J&K and jointly urged India and Pakistan to resume their dialogue and take the cross-LoC trade to next level.

b)     They expressed concern at growing incidents of ceasefire violations. They commended the locals for continuing with the cross-LoC trade despite heightened tensions and growing civilian casualty.

3.

Carving out a path on Chinas road (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

c)     Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)

d)   Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)

e)     Chinas One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

f)     India-China Silk Route Corridor

g)    Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

h)     South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

a)    According to the author, New Delhi has recently made a subtle move by trying to reverse the Kashmir discourse hitherto scripted and played by Pakistan for seven decades. The new move is accompanied by a sudden spurt in video clippings showing Pakistani atrocities in Gilgit-Baltistan. Hopefully, this is not a propaganda stunt and the policy shift will gain seriousness from now on.

b)     New Delhis move comes against the backdrop of Chinas renewed push into PoK through its $46 billion CPEC initiative. The subsequent Karamay Declaration of August 2015 defined Pakistans role in Chinas One Belt, One Road initiative. The nexus is nothing new but the motivation, significance and implications of CPEC needs careful analysis.

c)    The plan seemingly aims to build a crucial two-way bridge-link for China to access the Indian Ocean and conversely for Pakistan to reach out to Eurasia. But it is likely to deepen the already complex strategic ties between the two iron brothers, dubbed now as equivalent to the US-Israel links. China expects CPEC will yield far-reaching economic benefits and regional security is instrumental for this purpose.

d)    First, the Karakoram (land) with Gwadar (sea) alignment has both commercial and military significance to serve as strategic chokepoints vis-a-vis India. Second, the CPEC is suspected to be about offsetting the growing US-India intimacy as also in Chinas quid pro quo to counter Indias Act East policy.Third, it seems linked to preventing the Afghan-Pak area from potentially becoming a safe haven for Uighur militants once the US troops leave Afghanistan. Beijings frantic initiatives for Afghan reconciliation talks explain that.

e)     Beijing seeks new opportunity to fill up gaps where India has largely failed. Considering PoKs strategic location, it could have many ramifications for India. It is here that CPEC is linked to Pakistans recent attempts at manipulating the legal and demographic profile of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

f)     Meanwhile works under the CPEC have started, ranging from building of hydro projects, roads and tunnels to leasing land in Gwadar. While Beijing has justified CPEC as a livelihood project, Pakistan is going the whole hog to get the landlocked SCO members to join the corridor and offering them access to Indian Ocean.

g)     For India, Chinas OBOR plan posed a dilemma: joining it raised fears of getting sucked into China game plan, but not joining is inconsistent with New Delhis broader diplomatic strategy. New Delhi also seems more peeved over the way Beijing announced the plan without prior discussion. Indias non-endorsement of OBOR has raised eyebrows on the future course of India-China relations.

h)     Clearly, India requires a two pronged strategy. First, New Delhi should start placing Gilgit-Baltistan plus Ladakh (82 percent of J&K) on centre-stage as a keystone policy to blunt both the Kashmir rhetoric and CPEC. It is also time to start working on Paks domestic resistance i.e. in Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.

i)  Second, India should explore opportunistic aspects in OBOR especially for regaining access to the northern axis, prevented by loss of GB to Pakistan. Therefore, India needs to weigh the option of getting a physical entry into GB, Sinkiang and Wakhan areas hitherto remained out-of-its-way - it cannot be in Indias interest to support the project and not reap all the economic benefits.

j)    As in the SAARC, Pakistan would be on lookout to place India in the role of the spoiler within the SCO. Clearly, Russia and others would want India in OBOR as a counterweight to Chinese influence. Regardless of economic interests, India cannot ignore the symbolic significance as it was along the Silk Route that Indian trade and philosophy (Buddhism) once travelled to the rest of Asia.

k)     In fact, a countervailing strategy would be to offer a mollifying connectivity plan for a direct transport, energy, trade, fiber optics and communication highway connecting Persian Gulf with China through Indian Territory under the rubric India-China Silk Route Corridor. The idea could help open a new path and become a masterstroke counter-strategy in Indias long-term home and foreign policy.

4.

US bomber pact in contrast to Indian Rafale deal (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)    India-US bomber deal

c)     India-France Rafale deal

d)     MMRCA

a)    US announced the contract for building the next generation long-range strike bombers at a whopping $55 billion, providing a stunning contrast to the way India has gone about concluding the purchase of Rafale fighters from France.

b)     The way US military authorities went about selecting the new generation bombers is an instructive manual for the way big spending military purchases are carried out in a transparent system. And it provides comparative frames to understand why the proposal to purchase 36 Rafale fighters from France, announced by PMModi when he was in Paris in April, has not fully satisfied any of players involved in the deal.

c)     One of the most noticeable aspects is that the future bomber would integrate several existing technologies, so as to reduce cost and time needed to complete the project.

5.

Nepal gets first woman President (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Nepals internal issues

b)     Nepals new Constitution

c)     Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)

a)    Nepals Parliament elected communist lawmaker BidhyaBhandari as the countrys first woman President after the adoption of a landmark Constitution last month.

b)     Bhandari(the vice-chair of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal) replaces Ram BaranYadav.He was elected as the countrys first president in 2008 following the abolition of a 240-year-old Hindu monarchy.

c)     Bhandari(who served as Defence Minister from 2009 to 2011) was hailed by campaigners for her strong stance in favour of increasing female representation in Parliament to 33 percent.

6.

Pakistan backed LeT: Musharraf (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

b)     Terrorism

a)     In deeply embarrassing remarks for Pakistan, former president Pervez Musharraf has acknowledged that his country supported and trained terror groups like LeT in 1990s for fanning militancy in Kashmir.

b)     He also asserted that terror leaders like Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri were Pakistans heroes but later became villains.

c)    He made the remarks while responding to a question about the demand for action against LeTs Hafiz Saeed and ZakiurRehmanLakhvi. The Kashmiri freedom fighters including Saeed and Lakhvi were our heroes. Later the religious militancy turned into terrorism.

7.

Day after slamming US, China calls for talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     China – US relations

b)     South China Sea

c)     Spratly islands

 

a)     China has sought to ease tensions with the US in the South China Sea by calling for dialogue.

b)     Tensions between Beijing and Washington in South China Sea had spiked after the US warship breached 12 nautical mile zone of an artificial island in the Spratly island chain, over which China claims and exercises sovereignty.

c)     Analysts say the US action has caused speculation inside China that Washington has decided to bury the formulation proposed by President Xi that China and US should establish a peaceful and collaborative major-country relationship.

8.

Iran to join Syria peace talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syrian crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

a)    The US has reversed long-standing opposition to Irans participation in peace talks to end Syrian civil war, paving the way for a possible diplomatic breakthrough in 4-year conflict.

b)     Officials in Washington insisted the move was a genuine multilateral invitation and implied they had succeeded in overcoming Saudi Arabian opposition to Iran attending the talks in Vienna on Oct 30.

c)     The presence of Iran (which along with Russia) has been a crucial ally of the Syrian govt, could be a crucial factor in bringing the competing external players in the conflict to a common agreement on how to end the conflict.

d)     The ultimate goal that everyone wants to get to is to come up with a framework for a successful political transition in Syria which leads to a govt not led by Bashar al-Assad and that is representative of and responsive to the Syrian people.

9.

Centre takes steps to speed up affordable housing schemes (Page 13)

a)     National

 

a)     Housing for All by 2022

a)     Officials of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation met representatives of other Ministries to set up a system through which affordable housing projects are cleared at a faster pace.

b)     At present, the govt is battling a housing deficit of 18.78 million units and 95 percent of it is required for the economically weaker population which lives in and around the urban centres.

c)     So far, the main hurdle in filling housing stock is shortage of land in urban areas, stringent land use regulations, inadequate infrastructure to support more housing neighbourhoods, rising costs of construction material, insufficient financing, restricted mortgage financing and rent control laws. The ministry aims to build two crore houses in urban areas by 2022.

10.

Nutrition bureau axed, anti-poverty schemes starved (Page 13)

a)     National

 

a)     National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB)

b)     Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

c)     Poverty

a)    Forty years after being established with a mandate to generate data on nutritional status of socially vulnerable groups, the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau has been shut down by the Union Health Ministry.

b)     The bureau (under the ICMR) had been critical in informing the govts poverty alleviation interventions with periodic assessments of nutrient deficiency among tribal communities, pregnant women, adolescents and at-risk elderly population in India.

c)     The problem was that the bureau was running in a project mode. Govtprogrammes that run in a project mode for this long are not sustainable.

d)   Official said these decisions have to be seen in the context of the fact that we have the largest population of the nutritionally deprived in the world. Our child malnutrition numbers are the highest in the world. This is a real emergency and the NNMB plays a very important role in projecting data in terms of what people are eating. The data gathered by the NNMB informs the policy intervention to address under-nutrition.

11.

Reforms need to reach the needy (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Economic reforms in India

b)     Economic growth

c)     GDP

d)     Poverty ratio

e)     Goods and Services Tax (GST)

f)     Land Acquisition Act

a)    According to the author (C. Rangarajan),whenever growth slows down, it is blamed on the slowdown in implementation of reforms. Despite the enormous noise made about reforms, there is no clarity on what constitutes reforms and what the impact of reforms is on growth and social sector spending.

b)     Looking back, 1991 is an important landmark in the post-Independence economic history of our country. The country then faced an acute economic crisis, caused by a severe balance of payments problem. But the crisis was converted into an opportunity to bring about fundamental changes in the content and approach to economic policy.

c)     Until the end of the 1970s, and to a large extent even in the 1980s, development was state-directed and state-driven. The govt subscribed to the theory of commanding heights which meant that key sectors of the economy were to be under state control. The private sector was kept in check through an elaborate scheme of licences and controls. In foreign trade, import substitution was the guiding principle and this meant quantitative controls on imports and high import tariffs.

d)     A fundamental shift from this perception to one supporting a liberalised economy occurred in the early 1990s. There is a common thread running through the various measures introduced since July 1991 - the objective of improving the productivity and efficiency of the economy by injecting a greater element of competition.

e)   Therefore, the touchstone of reforms is improved efficiency which comes from improved competition. However, the emphasis on efficiency does not exclude considerations of equity. If improved efficiency can lead to faster growth, that itself can generate larger surpluses in the hands of the govt which can be utilised to increase social sector expenditures and provide better social safety nets.

f)     In the post reform period beginning 1992-93, the economy has grown at an average rate of 6.8 percent. In more recent period, the growth rate has been even higher. Over the decade beginning 2004-05, the average annual growth rate has been 7.6 percent. Between 2005-06 and 2010-11, the growth rate was 8.7 percent. Contrast this with the annual growth rate of 3.5 percent between 1952 and 1980.

g)     It is true that the Indian economy grew between 1980 and 1990 at 5.6 percent. But the economy faced its worst crisis in 1991-92 and the growth rate fell to 1.0 percent. It is extremely doubtful if, without a change in the strategy of development, growth would have picked up again.

h)     Social development has many dimensions. One composite indicator is the behaviour of the poverty ratio. However, over years, there have been some changes in the methodology for measuring poverty. That growth has a favourable impact on the poverty ratio is seen even from recent data.

i)     The annual rate of growth of per capita income in period between 1993-94 and 2004-05 was 4.3 percent and the growth rate for the period between 2004-05 and 2011-12 was 6.7 percent. The annual decline in the poverty ratio in percentage points (according to the Suresh Tendulkar committees methodology) was 0.74 in first period and 2.18 in the second period.

j)     In fact, the finding that the decline in poverty was much faster in the latter period is valid irrespective of where the poverty line is drawn. Between 2009-10 and 2011-12, according to the Tendulkar Committees methodology, the reduction in poverty ratio was 7.9 points. According to the Rangarajan Committees methodology, it was 8.7 points.

k)     Without doubt, the poverty ratio still remains high. However, what is important to note is that the faster the growth, the greater the reduction in the poverty ratio. To reduce the poverty ratio substantially and to improve our performance on other social parameters, the country needs to grow faster in a sustained way.

l)     The objective of reforms is to improve efficiency through enhanced competition. The introduction of the GST will be a step in the right direction, as it will help in enhancing efficiency. Acquisition is against the spirit of competition and the reach of any Land Acquisition Act must therefore, be limited.

m)   Reforms do not necessarily translate into growth. The policy framework that gave our country an annual growth rate exceeding 9 percent between 2005 and 2008 was very much in place when our economy witnessed a substantial slowdown post 2011. Reforms are at best a necessary condition for growth.

n)  To be credible, reforms must not only result in higher growth but also benefit all sections of society. Therefore, govt must pursue a two-fold strategy: of accelerating growth through an appropriate reform agenda and deploying the surpluses generated through growth to augment social welfare.

12.

Easing business blues (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)    World Banks Doing Business 2016

b)     Ease of doing business

c)     Make in India campaign

d)     GST

a)     The finding made in the World Banks Doing Business 2016 report that improvements in the regulatory environment helped lift Indias ranking four places higher will serve as a shot in the arm for the govt, given PM Modis avowed focus on economic development.

b)     The overall ease of doing business ranking has climbed to 130 from a recalculated 134 last year following a change in methodology. And the distance-to-frontier score (which measures the absolute level of regulatory performance in an economy and the extent of improvement over time) has also advanced by two percentage points.

c)     Only Bangladesh fares worse than India among the eight South Asian countries in the 189 nations on the list in resolving commercial disputes. And the regions largest economy ranks a lowly seventh above war-torn Afghanistan on the ease of obtaining the approvals necessary to build.

d)     Indeed, a herculean task lies ahead to achieve the govts goal of breaking into the top 50 rankings in order to make the country a favoured investment destination for foreign capital and spur domestic enterprise.

e)     Even the smaller Asian and South Asian economies of Indonesia and Sri Lanka significantly outscore India on several parameters, showing why businesses find it easier to invest in these countries.

f)     With several key bills to broaden economic reforms (including GST) stuck in a legislative logjam, Modi and his parliamentary managers will need all their political nous if the Make in India campaign is to succeed.

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