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Daily News Analysis 16-11-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India and China link Home Ministries to counter terror (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India and China have decided to establish a ministerial mechanism that would (for the first time) link the two home ministries, filling a vital gap in the overall institutional architecture of the bilateral ties.

2.

Modi to visit Kabul: Afghan Minister (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     PM Modi is expected to travel to Kabul soon on his first official visit to Afghanistan. Confirming the planned visit, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Hekmat Khalil Karzai said at a discussion in a think tank that preparation and requirements for visit were discussed.

3.

Pak beats India in curbing terror funding (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     A report by a global anti-financial terror body has said that Pakistan has beaten India in cracking down on entities and individuals involved in terrorist financing.

4.

Prosecuting David Headley (Page 10)

a)     International

a)  The arraignment of Pakistan-born American operative David Headley as a conspirator in the case relating to the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 may appear redundant after he was sentenced to 35 years in US in Jan 2013 for his admitted role in terrorist plots in India and Denmark.

5.

Life-saving medicines in short supply in blockade-hit Nepal (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Shortages of life-saving medicine because of political protests in Nepal that have blocked key roads could lead to a crisis, as hospitals have started to cut services.

6.

A way to judicial independence (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The crucial issue to be examined in the search for a proper system of appointment to the higher judiciary is how far the appointment procedure secures the personal independence of judges.

7.

SC banks on collegium to fill judicial vacancies (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)   With judicial vacancies in High Courts mounting and transparency yet to kick in over appointments, the Supreme Court turned to very collegium process it wants to reform to appoint judges, at least for the time being.

8.

Holding power to account (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Ten years of implementation of the Right to Information Act has spawned a new breed of activism and citizenship.

9.

Childrens deaths from pneumonia, diarrhoea bring India shame (P13)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     The International Vaccine Access Centre reports that India has the highest number of pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths among children globally.

10.

Astronomers in US watch the birth of a new planet (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Astronomers have observed for first time a planet taking shape out of microscopic dust particles 450 light years from Earth.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India and China link Home Ministries to counter terror (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Counter-terrorism

c)     Paris terror attacks

d)     Islamic State (IS)

a) India and China have decided to establish a ministerial mechanism that would (for the first time) link the two home ministries, filling a vital gap in the overall institutional architecture of the bilateral ties.

b)  The two sides also discussed counter-terror collaboration at length, in the backdrop of the Paris attacks, and other events, including the killing of a Chinese hostage in Syria by IS.

c)     Indias Ambassador to China said a decision was taken on an exchange of information on terrorist activities, terrorist groups and linkages - widely seen as an agreement on intelligence sharing by security authorities of the two countries.

d)     The new mechanism will provide an institutional platform that will cover all issues that impact on the internal security of the two countries. The topics include law enforcement, cyber crimes, terrorism, trans-border crimes and drug trafficking.

2.

Modi to visit Kabul: Afghan Minister (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Afghanistan relations

 

a)     PM Modi is expected to travel to Kabul soon on his first official visit to Afghanistan. Confirming the planned visit, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Hekmat Khalil Karzai said at a discussion in a think tank that preparation and requirements for visit were discussed with Foreign Secretary Jaishankar.

b)   He said Afghanistan wished an early operationalisation of the strategic partnership with India. His visit has once again showcased that Afghanistan is eager to push bilateral ties to front of military cooperation.

3.

Pak beats India in curbing terror funding (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Terrorist financing

b)     Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

c)     Islamic State (IS)

a)     A report by a global anti-financial terror body has said that Pakistan has beaten India in cracking down on entities and individuals involved in terrorist financing.

b)     The report by the FATF said that while India took action against 37 entities and individuals till August this year, Pakistan booked 117 people. China took action against 29 entities, while SriLanka cracked down on 437 individuals.

c)     FATF conducted a mid-session review of various countries and economic powers in the wake of the increased activities of IS around globe.

d)     India is a full-member of the FATF, along with the US, France, Germany and the United Kingdom among others.

4.

Prosecuting David Headley (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Terrorism

b)     Mumbai terror attacks 2008

c)     LeT

a)     The arraignment of Pakistan-born American operative David Coleman Headley as a conspirator in the case relating to the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 may appear redundant after he was sentenced to 35 years in the United States in January 2013 for his admitted role in terrorist plots in India and Denmark.

b)     It may even seem particularly strange in the light of the specific condition on which he had pleaded guilty - that he would not be extradited to India, Pakistan or Denmark. The possibility of Headley being jailed in India is less than remote, as it is unquestionably ruled out by his present legal situation.

c)    The former US intelligence agent may buttress Indias long-standing position that the LeT and its handlers in the Pakistani intelligence establishment masterminded the deadly Nov 26 2008 attacks. The court has summoned him to appear before it on December 10 through video-conferencing.

d)     It is entirely appropriate that Headleys admissions, of which the most relevant are parts of his testimony concerning specified LeT operatives and military officials in Pakistan in arming, preparing and despatching the Mumbai assailants, are reiterated before an Indian forum.

e)     However, some legal questions remain. Indian law allows recording of evidence through electronic means, but can it be stretched to sentencing someone without being present in court? How far will he be able to confirm the role of Abu Jundal, who has been charged with being present in a control room that was directing the Mumbai attackers from Pak?

f)     Besides, the prosecution may want to prove that the conspirators named by Jundal are also the ones referred to in Headleys testimony.

5.

Life-saving medicines in short supply in blockade-hit Nepal (Page 14)

a)    International

a)     Nepal crisis

b)     Nepals new Constitution

c)     Madhesis concerns

a)     Official said truckloads of medicine have been blocked at the main border crossing with India for the last few months by Nepals Madhesi ethnic protesters, adding that Indian authorities were also not allowing the shipments across even at points where there are no protests.

b)     Talks between the protesters and the government have made little progress. India (which has close cultural ties with the group) has restricted fuel and other goods to Nepal.

c)     Nepal imports 60 percent of its medicine from India. Most of the fuel comes from India, and the restriction has led to severe shortages in Nepal.

6.

A way to judicial independence (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Judicial independence

b)     Collegium system

c)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act

d)     99th Constitution (Amendment) Act

e)     Supreme Court

f)     High Court

a)     By striking down the NJAC Act and the 99th Constitution (Amendment) Act as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has (once again) focussed public attention on the process of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

b)     Neither the Executive-appointment model (which prevailed till 1998) nor the judges-appointing-judges (Collegium) model (as practised till recently) have been found satisfactory to preserve the independence of the judiciary while promoting efficiency and accountability in the system.

c)     The court is now hearing views and suggestions from the government, the bar and civil society on how to reform the process while keeping control over the appointment of judges with the judiciary itself.

d)     Under the scheme of the Constitution, the final interpreter of the law is the court, not the legislature or the executive. Therefore, Judicial independence is central to democracy because it is the judiciary which helps the realisation of the Rule of Law and protection of human rights.

e)     But the concept of independence is a complex one which subsumes in it concepts like impartiality, accountability, efficiency and respect for other institutions of governance. In this regard, one has to distinguish individual independence from institutional independence, adjudicative independence from administrative independence, as well as actual independence from perceived independence.

f)     These relationships have to be factored in while appointing judges to the higher judiciary. Admittedly, a judges personal independence is incomplete unless it is accompanied by the institutional independence of the judicial branch. The idea of a separation of powers is related to latter aspect of independence.

g)     The crucial issue to be examined is how far the appointment procedure secures the personal independence of judges. The search for a proper system of appointment will have to address this fundamental question if the public is to be persuaded to accept the appointment system in the name of protecting the independence of judiciary.

h)     The court is now trying to figure out how the collegium can be retained and still secure independence and accountability on which it failed to prove its superiority to the earlier model.

i)     The pool of eligible candidates for judicial selection is partly determined by the Constitution. The Constitution does not speak about standards of integrity, propriety, competence, independence, etc. as qualifications essential for judicial selection. Apparently, they are taken for granted and left to the selectors to assess them by whatever means available to them.

j)     Collegium judges say they know the qualities of the men and women practising before them and no one else can claim better knowledge about this. In the circumstances, a transparent procedure is to prescribe the norms and standards expected of candidates seeking to be appointed as judges and invite applications from them.

k)     The collegium will then sit to verify and decide the final selection of candidates who deserve to be appointed. The list of selected candidates can be more than the number of vacancies and also be in the order of merit.

l)     As judicial independence is both an individual and collective responsibility, it is important to involve the full court in selection, appointment and transfer processes of judges. Towards this end, it is necessary to broadbase the membership of the collegium.

m)    It is difficult to accept the theory that all advocates selected through the processes prescribed will turn out to be competent judges from the day they join the high bench.

n)     Let the window of opportunity provided by the Supreme Court in looking at suitable procedures for selecting judges be utilised to push for other structural changes necessary in order to give the country a judicial system which will decide disputes competently, and in reasonable time and expense.

7.

SC banks on collegium to fill judicial vacancies (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Collegium system

b)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act

c)     Supreme Court

d)     High Court  

 

a)     With judicial vacancies in High Courts mounting and transparency yet to kick in over appointments, the Supreme Court turned to very collegium process it wants to reform to appoint judges, at least for the time being.

b)     Addressing the growing anxieties about vacancies touching 40 percent in the High Courts, the Constitution Bench headed by Justice Khehar said judges would continue to be appointed under the prevailing collegium system, which was restored when NJAC laws were struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

8.

Holding power to account (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Right to Information (RTI) Act

b)     Decision-making process

c)     Good governance

a)    The RTI Act has completed 10 years of implementation. According to a conservative estimate based on the Information Commissions annual reports, there are at least 50 lakh RTI applications filed in India every year.

b)     The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative used the data to estimate that just under 1 percent of the electorate uses the RTI every year. Over the last decade, at least 2 percent of the Indian population has used the law.

c)     Despite all our justified complaining about poor implementation, bureaucratic resistance, interference, absence of political and administrative support, threats against users, and attempts at dilution, people have fiercely owned the law like no other. They have defended it against every attack and put it to sustained use.

d)     In the world of democratic politics, people face the bleak scenario of political, economic and social promises being twisted to serve personal profit. Occasionally an election re-infuses great hope. But political leadership apart, the long march of attempting to make constitutional promises of equality and liberty is part of the daily survival of millions of Indians.

e)     People struggle every day to establish some reason in dealings in public life with assertions of citizenship, entitlements, and ethics. Discussions and deliberations within such groups and collectives gave birth to the process and principles of the RTI movement.

f)     The genesis of the RTI addressed issues of constitutional rights: empowering individuals and collectives to demand answers from a corrupt government.

g)     The RTI is a law that has spawned a new breed of activism and citizenship. RTI enthusiasts do not only file RTI applications; they also spend countless hours debating sections, cases, applications, and answers. These are ordinary people who have suddenly become obsessed and even possessive about their particular connection to this law.

h)     A decade gives us an opportunity to see what RTI is doing to the much larger processes of change. These are matters not of law, but of culture, of equations of power, and of unquestioned norms. It is very rare that one gets an opportunity to not just ask a question but change the basis of questioning.

i)     Its not often that one can see the impact of a law in terms of its social and philosophical implications. RTI is a process of dismantling illegitimate concentrations of power. There are many perspectives on each issue. RTI provides a platform for each view to engage with the other on basis of a shared logic. It can help us escape from policy paralysis, and build a more informed, equitable and robust decision-making process.

9.

Childrens deaths from pneumonia, diarrhoea bring India shame (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)      Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea

b)    International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC)

a)     The International Vaccine Access Centre reports that India has the highest number of pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths among children globally.

b)   With 2,97,114 deaths, India is once again at the top of the list of countries with the highest burden of two diseases among children under the age of five. The list includes Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

c)    In 2015, these two diseases together were responsible for one in four deaths in children under five, with 15 countries bearing a disproportionate burden.

d)  The report says that progress is evaluated by the Global Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea intervention scores, including parameters such as vaccination, exclusive breastfeeding, access to care and use of antibiotics, oral rehydration solution and zinc.

10.

Astronomers in US watch the birth of a new planet (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Protoplanet LkCa 15b

a)     Astronomers have observed for first time a planet taking shape out of microscopic dust particles 450 light years from Earth. The primordial process that turns enormous clouds of cosmic dust into newborn planets over millions of years has been observed directly for the first time.

b)     The discovery is a boon for scientists who have never before had a real star system against which they can check theories of how the universe came to be dotted with different worlds.

c)     They used large binocular telescope in Arizona to look at infrared light coming from the vicinity of LkCa 15, a two million-year-old star around which astronomers had spotted a candidate protoplanet (LkCa 15b) in 2012. Infrared light received by telescope pointed to two (perhaps three) young planets in orbit around the star.

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