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Daily News Analysis 30-10-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India, Africa two bright spots of hope, opportunity: Modi (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     The India-Africa Forum Summit ended with the announcement of the Delhi Declaration 2015, which called for a global plan to combat cross-border terrorism, better trade between India and Africa and faster reform of the UN Security Council.

2.

PM offers $10 billion credit for infrastructure projects (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)    PMModi outlined his desire to assist Africa with infrastructure building from Cairo to Cape Town, Marrakesh to Mombassa.

3.

Revive research in African studies: Sudan (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Even as India and Africa discuss their relations, trade and commerce at the four-day-long India-Africa Forum Summit, negligible reference has been made to the once famous African studies centres of India.

4.

Copters, long-range missiles on Defence Ministers Russia agenda (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Acquisition of long-range air defence systems and two different kinds of helicopters are among the top issues on the agenda of Defence Minister Parrikars three-day visit to Russia beginning on Oct 31.

5.

China confirms sending fuel to Nepal (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    China confirmed it was sending fuel supplies to Nepal, breaking Indias monopoly on the export of petroleum products to the Himalayan nation.

6.

Pakistan loses UNHRC seat (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Pakistan failed to win a re-election to the top UN human rights body, garnering just 105 votes in the 193-member General Assembly.

7.

As workforce ages, China ends its one-child policy (Page 1)

a)     International

a)    China has dropped its controversial one-child policy, allowing all couples to have two children for the first time in more than three decades amid pressure from an ageing society and a growing shortfall in the workforce.

8.

Iran got nuclear tech from Pak: Rafsanjani (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has said his country considered building nuclear weapons during the 1980s and that it received centrifuges from Pakistan.

9.

An anti-Constitutional judgment (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     It is indisputable that judicial independence (based on the principle of separation of powers) is part of the Indian Constitutions basic structure. However, the majority judgment in NJAC case has wrongly interpreted judicial independence to mean primacy in appointments.

10.

Tough penalties will only punish the victims (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The recent judgment of Justice N. Kirubakaran of Madras High Court in the context of child sexual abuse assumes that castration of offenders will bring magical results in preventing and containing child abuses.

11.

World Bank projects sub-8 percent growth till 2018 (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)    The World Bank projected that Indias GDP growth will remain below 8 percent till 2018, the penultimate year of the Modi Governments tenure.

12.

Security agencies eye Israel spy balloons (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)  Indian security agencies such as the National Security Guard, the Border Security Force and the Karnataka police have shown interest in acquiring balloon-based aerial surveillance systems from Israels RT.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India, Africa two bright spots of hope, opportunity: Modi (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India-Africa Forum Summit

b)     Delhi Declaration 2015

c)     UNSC

a)     The India-Africa Forum Summit ended with the announcement of the Delhi Declaration 2015, which called for a global plan to combat cross-border terrorism, better trade between India and Africa and faster reform of the UNSC.

b)    Emphasising that India and Africa must speak in one voice for UN reforms, PMModi called India and Africa the two bright spots of hope and opportunities in the global economy.

c)     Modi(who held bilaterals with all 40 leaders) also spoke to them about the need to coordinate their positions at the UN during its 70th year, when India hopes the reform process will be taken forward.

d)     Interestingly, the Delhi Declaration has a special mention of the sanctity of state sovereignty which acquires a new dimension in view of several states in Africa, facing serious challenges to their sovereignty.

2.

PM offers $10 billion credit for infrastructure projects (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Africa relations

b)     India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS)

c)     Paris Climate Conference 2015

d)     UNFCCC

 

a)    PMModi outlined his desire to assist Africa with infrastructure building from Cairo to Cape Town, Marrakesh to Mombassa.

b)     Modi announced credit at concessional rates of $10 billion over 5 years, in addition to about $7.4 billion that India had already pledged since 2008, and the first IAFS. He said we will also offer a grant assistance of $600 million. This will include an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million.

c)He also spoke of cooperation on climate change between India and Africa, both who had contributed the least to global warming, and suggested a common forum of solar-rich countries that he would convene at the COP21 UNFCC conference in Paris on November 30 this year.

d)     With good chunk of the Delhi Declaration dedicated to pharma and medical issues, it was evident that India (which is the largest supplier of anti-retroviral drugs to Africa) has vast explored potential in the field of African healthcare.

3.

Revive research in African studies: Sudan (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Africa relations

b)     India-Africa Forum Summit

c)     Non-Alignment Movement (NAM)

a)     Even as India and Africa discuss their relations, trade and commerce at the four-day-long India-Africa Forum Summit, negligible reference has been made to the once famous African studies centres of India.

b)     India has 3 African studies centres- two in the Capital at Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, and one in Mumbai University. They were set up in the spirit of the NAM, but the centres have gradually come to represent less dynamic scholarly activities due to a mix of issues.

4.

Copters, long-range missiles on Defence Ministers Russia agenda (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Russia defence ties

b)     Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM)

c)     Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA)

 

a)     Acquisition of long-range air defence systems and two different kinds of helicopters are among the top issues on the agenda of Defence Minister Parrikarsthree-day visit to Russia beginning on Oct 31. These agreements are likely to be signed during PMModis visit to Russia in December.

b)   According to officials, India is interested in procuring S-400 SAM from Russia, which have a range of up to 400 km. Also, negotiations are expected to be wrapped up to build Kamov-226 T utility helicopters in India and buy additional Mi-17 V5 medium lift helicopters.

c)     On the FGFA to be jointly developed by India and Russia, Parrikar said that negotiations would proceed further.

5.

China confirms sending fuel to Nepal (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     China – Nepal relations

b)     India – Nepal relations

c)     India-Nepal economic blockade

d)     Nepals new Constitution

e)     Madhesis concerns

a)    Chinas Foreign Ministry spokesman said that in response to a request from the Nepali side, the Chinese govt decided to supply Nepal with a certain amount of emergency fuel assistance so as to help Nepal to tide over its fuel shortage.

b)     He also signalled that China could well become a long-term fuel supplier to Nepal, undercutting Indian Oil Corporation, which had been the sole supplier of fuel to Nepal for four decades.

c)     Analysts point out that Indias de facto embargo on oil supplies to Nepal, following the adoption of a new Constitution, in which the Indian origin Madhesis appeared poorly represented, had imparted fresh urgency in Kathmandu to seek China as an alternative energy supplier.

d)The fuel deal with Nepal feeds into Chinas broader strategic perspective, with Kathmandu as one of the nodes of the Beijing-led Belt and Road connectivity initiative that would integrate the economies of Eurasia. Nepal and China have inked a four-point document endorsing the Belt and Road initiative.

6.

Pakistan loses UNHRC seat (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     UNHRC

a)     Pakistan failed to win a re-election to the top UN human rights body, garnering just 105 votes in the 193-member General Assembly.

b)   A total of 18 members were elected to the UNHRC through a secret ballot. Pakistans current term is set to expire on Dec 31 and it was seeking re-election to the 47-member Council.

c)     Pakistan lost the seat in the Asia-Pacific category in which five seats were vacant. India is also a member of the Council and its term will end in 2017.

7.

As workforce ages, China ends its one-child policy (Page 1)

a)     International

a)     Chinas one-child policy

b)     Chinas population

 

a)    China has dropped its controversial one-child policy, allowing all couples to have two children for the first time in more than three decades amid pressure from an ageing society and a growing shortfall in the workforce.

b)     The policy change is an advance over the 2013 ruling, which allowed couples, where one of the parents was a single child, to have two children.

c)     Pressure was mounting on the authorities to ease the family-size norms after it became evident that the one-child policy (meant to restrain a burgeoning population in the 1970s) was leading to severe labour shortages and an ageing population.

d)   According to UN estimates, nearly 440 million people in China would be over 60 by 2050, signalling a sharp decline in the labour pool. Last year, the working population between the ages 15 and 59 slid by 3.71 million.

8.

Iran got nuclear tech from Pak: Rafsanjani (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

a)     The former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has said his country considered building nuclear weapons during the 1980s and that it received centrifuges from Pakistan.

b)     His revelations come at a crucial time when Iran is implementing a landmark nuclear deal it reached with US and other major world powers earlier this year.

c)  Throughout the negotiations, Tehran maintained that its nuclear programme had always been peaceful. The IAEA is investigating whether the Iranian nuclear programme ever had military ambitions. Its report is expected to be released in December.

9.

An anti-Constitutional judgment (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

b)     99th Constitution Amendment

c)     Collegium system

d)     Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution

e)     Articles 124-A, 124-B and 124-C

f)     Chief Justice of India (CJI)

g)     Supreme Court

a)   In the aftermath of Supreme Courts verdict that invalidated 99th Constitution Amendment, rendering nugatory the NJAC, a popular narrative has entered our conscience: that the commission is not a credible alternative to the Supreme Courts collegium.

b)     According to the author, what we must really consider in analysing this verdict is not our respective concerns about what makes for good policy, but rather, what interpretation would ensure the greatest conformity to the Constitutions text, to intention of its framers, and to the documents finest aspirations.

c)The verdict upholds an extra-constitutional forum, created by Supreme Courts own members to serve its own ends, in place of a system lawfully enacted by a popularly elected Parliament. The judgment fails to adequately answer the fundamental question at the root of the controversy: how is judicial primacy in making appointments to the higher judiciary a part of our Constitutions basic structure?

d)     As we are well aware, the Constitution (in Articles 124 and 217) is crystal clear in its mandate. It accords to the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and to the various High Courts. In performing this function, the executive is required to compulsorily consult with certain persons.

e)     To make appointments to the Supreme Court, the CJI must always be consulted. In elevating persons to a High Courts bench (in addition to the CJI), the Chief Justice of that High Court and the Governor of the State concerned (acting through his or her Council of Ministers) must be mandatorily conferred with.

f)  In 1993, in a case commonly referred to as the Second Judges Case, Supreme Court (sitting as a nine-judge bench) interpreted the word consultation (used in Articles 124 and 217) to mean concurrence. In making appointments to the higher judiciary, the Court held, the executive was bound by the advise of the CJI - who acted in concert with a group that also comprised his two (later four) senior-most colleagues, a body that we today call collegium.

g)     The 99th Amendments object was to replace collegium with a more broad-minded forum, which would provide a genuine chance to participate and influence the selection of our higher judiciary - not only to the Supreme Court and the executive, but also to laypersons outside the constitutional framework. Through the Amendment, Parliament introduced (among other provisions)3 key articles.

h)     The first (Article 124-A) created the NJAC, which would comprise the CJI, his two senior-most colleagues, the Law Minister, and two eminent persons, who would be jointly appointed by PM, the Leader of the Opposition and the CJI. The second (Article 124-B) vested in this NJAC the power to make appointments to both Supreme Court and the various High Courts. And the third (Article 124-C) accorded express authority to Parliament to make laws regulating the manner of the NJACs functioning.

i)    Since this decision, the term basic structure and the theory underpinning its doctrinal creation have come to occupy a rather nebulous space in our constitutional jurisprudence. The verdicts democratic legitimacy may not be beyond all doubt. But, over time, we have reached a consensus: that certain principles ingrained in the Constitutions foundation are sacrosanct. It was one such inviolable value, the independence of the judiciary, derived as it was from a theory of separation of powers, that the petitioners argued was violated by the 99th Amendment.

j)     The Union of India (in defending the Amendment) did not dispute the fundamental proposition that maintenance of an independent judiciary is a part of the Constitutions basic structure. Rather, it contended that the Amendment did not affect this admittedly vital feature of the Constitution.

k)     Therefore, the primary question that the Supreme Court had to decide was this: does the removal of prerogative solely vested in the collegium in appointing judges to Indias higher judiciary violate the Constitutions basic structure? Answering this question would have entailed an analysis on the methods of maintaining an independent judiciary, and a consideration of whether (under our constitutional scheme) the only means to achieve an independent judiciary was by granting primacy to the CJI and his colleagues.

l)  If anything, the 99th Amendment (quite contrary to infracting the Constitutions basic structure) strengthened the checks and balances that were originally ingrained in the document. The passage of the Amendment ought to have been recognised as an important moment in the strengthening of our democratic foundations.

m)   The Supreme Courts power to exercise judicial review is unquestionable. But, in this case, the Courts use of that power is bitterly disappointing.

10.

Tough penalties will only punish the victims (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Criminal Justice System

b)     Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 (POCSO Act)

c)     National Crime Records Bureau

d)     Castration

 

a)    According to the author, the recent judgment of Justice N. Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court in the context of child sexual abuse assumes that castration of offenders will bring magical results in preventing and containing child abuses.

b)  In support of his suggestion, Justice Kirubakaran states that when law is ineffective and incapable of addressing the menace, this Court cannot keep its hands folded and remain a silent spectator, unmoved and oblivious to the recent happenings of horrible blood-curdling gang rapes of children in various parts of India.

c)    According to the National Crime Records Bureau data cited in the judgment, conviction under the POCSO Act is a measly 2.4 percent (Nov 2012-March 2015). Effectiveness and credibility of the criminal justice system depends on how it treats victims, investigates sexual offences, and conducts trials. However, the Madras High Court did not delve into reasons for the poor rate of conviction.

d)     The Madras High Court liberally cites from the 2007 study on child abuse by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which revealed that 53.22 percent of children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse.

e)    It is also counterproductive to cite increase in reporting of sexual offences as justification for enhanced penalties. Sexual offences remain under-reported. The recent spurt in numbers can be attributed to an increase in awareness following POCSO Act as well as the raising of age of consent from 16 to 18 years.

f)     The Madras High Court judgment does offer some valuable suggestions outside the criminal justice framework such as a distinct Ministry for Child Development, compulsory sex education in schools, and amendments to visa forms to capture information about pending cases and convictions against foreigners seeking entry into India.

g)    Any proposal to enhance the punishment for child sexual abuse cannot overlook the fact that in a majority of the cases, the perpetrators are known to the victims and is perhaps even related to them. The criminal justice system offers little support or protection to victims, who are already traumatised and disillusioned with life, and see little hope in the system.

h)     In such a scenario, a stringent penalty often operates as yet another disincentive for families of victims, who are convinced it is preferable to compromise by retracting their statement in court. We will be gravely endangering victims and aggravating their trauma by further enhancing the penalties for sexual offences. Instead, focus should be on better policing and investigation, child-friendly trials, support during and after the trial, and on psychological healing.

11.

World Bank projects sub-8 percent growth till 2018 (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Indias economic growth

b)     GDP

c)     Ease of doing business

d)     GST

a)    The World Bank projected that Indias GDP growth will remain below 8 percent till 2018, the penultimate year of the Modigovts tenure. The projection contrasts sharply with govts projection that the growth rate will cross 8 percent this year and will be in double digits before the end of its term.

b)     The Update projected that GDP growth is expected to accelerate gradually to 7.5 per cent in 2015-16 and to 7.8 and 7.9 percent in the subsequent two fiscal years. However, this acceleration in growth is conditional on the growth rate of investment picking up to 8.8 percent during the period 2015-16 to 2017-18.

c)    For the economy to achieve its potential, the Update called for three key reforms: First, boosting balance sheets of the banking sector by addressing the underlying challenges in the infrastructure sector, especially power and roads. Second, continuing to improve the ease of doing business and enacting the GST and third, enhancing the capacity of states and local governments to deliver public services as more resources are devolved from the centre.

12.

Security agencies eye Israel spy balloons (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Aerial surveillance system

b)     National Security Guard

c)     Border Security Force

a)     Indian security agencies such as the National Security Guard, the Border Security Force and the Karnataka police have shown interest in acquiring balloon-based aerial surveillance systems from Israels RT.

b)   The aerostat system (widely used by Israel Defence Forces and recently purchased by the US army) includes a helium balloon that is tethered to a mobile ground platform and provides surveillance images from its airborne perch.

c)According to a report, India is expected to emerge as one of the largest players in homeland security systems by 2020. It projects that India (along with Britain, Germany and France) will outgrow the US, which enjoys about 35 percent of global procurement in this field. The helium-inflatable device is equipped with imaging equipment.

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