UPSC IAS The Hindu Current Affairs 15 Feb 2018 highlights are:
- They allow for flexibility to continue political engagement and economic cooperation with their common adversary.
- They avoid entrapment of being dragged in to a partners dispute and potentially in to a conflict.
- At the same time, strategic partnership provides for regular political and military interactions for a collaborative approach to strategic policies.
India and Japan relations perfectly figure in to the above relationship.
- India will not get deep in to Japan disputes and the same is the case with Japan. A mutual cooperation exists on the wider issues where win win situation exists.
Important developments of India – Japan special strategic and global partnership are
- Japan is the only country India allowed to invest in infrastructure in North east.
- There is a joint infrastructure project development – Asia – Africa Growth corridor.
- Japan and India agreed to have annual summits and 2+ 2 format for defence and foreign ministers meeting.
- India is buying ShinMaywa Amphibious ships from Japan.
- Japan is investing in infrastructure development in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Nuclear deal in danger
Trump’s continuous tirade against Iran nuclear deal appears to be an end to Obama era pragmatism. Nuclear deal was successfully able to stop Iran form developing a nuclear weapon. Added to this, Iran never violated the deal. In these circumstances USA imposing sanctions against Iran, will set a dangerous precedent in international agreements. Iran nuclear deal being multilateral agreement, President shall end his rhetoric.
A big broom
Government effort to release names of shell companies, Name and shame its directors may not yield sufficient results to fight unaccounted money. In the process, there is a possibility of harassing genuine companies or directors.
The best way forward is to arrest systemic shortcomings.
Tax payer rights and obligations
Indian tax administration system shall move from an enforcement to a service based model. Intentions of reforms are good but they are reactive. DTAA, GAAR, transfer price mechanism, implementation of GST all have challenges.
improvement in taxpayers’ service, enhanced use of information and communication technology, exchange of information with other agencies, expansion of tax base, compliance management, etc. Need to be improved to make tax administration Service oriented.
Beyond social Media
In India Geographical indications (Registration and protection) act 1999 has provided for registration of Geographical indications. There is no effective monitoring mechanism for quality compliance of the same. Unlike this in the European regulation clearly provides for monitoring at multiple levels. India also shall have the same.
15 February 2018
Centre studying plea to ban PFI(popular front of India)
Kerala has asked for a ban on the organisation operating from the state – PFI.
11,500cr scam rocks PNB, stocks hit.
Punjab National bank – A public sector undertaking is evidently involved with accounting fraud and unauthorised transactions to the tune of 11,500cr rupees.
Rouhani visit signals balance in ties
Iran president Rouhani is visiting India and various pending issues are expected to sort out.
- Chabahar port – india is expected to complete berths behesti port project in Chabahar. It is expected to be reviewed.
- Banking channels – These are the biggest stumbling blocks in trade. The two sides are discussing the possibility of a rupee-rial trade.
- Farzad B oil field – Iran is shifting goal posts on Farzad B oil fields and it is yet to be finalised.
Iran is likely to seek India’s support to at the upcoming meeting of UN financial action task force to remove it from black list on money laundering and terror financing.
Back to the chessboard?
Political environment took a definite turn after local Government elections in Srilanka, UNP and SLFP contested elections separately and lost to Rajapaksa supported Sri Lankan people party. This has widened rift among parties in national unity Government.
Bank bonds financial fraud has brought a disrepute to Prime Minister Ranil wickramasinghe and his cabinet colleagues. It lead to increased demand for reconstitution of cabinet.
so, coming provincial, presidential and parliamentary elections are a test to both the parties.
Credit ratings have many structural flaws. Inspite of this their ratings are given huge importance and publicity across the world. They started rating of bank bonds and today they rate sovereign bonds, commercial paper etc.
- Non adherence to standard rating protocols.
- Conflict of interest between rating and non rating work of these agencies.
- Credit rating agencies give outstanding ratings and a sudden downgrade during a crisis. It worsened the debt crisis of any countries during east asian financial crisis in 1997.
- SEBI shall explore reforms so that credit rating agencies do not provide non rating advisory services to their clients, even at the cost of reduced profits.
- Outstanding ratings and sudden downgrades need a greater supervision.
- Issuer pay model has to change to investor pays model, with fees being standardised by the market regulator.
Mind the perimeter
The security protocol at military installations need to be speedily upgraded. Sunjuwan attack exposes the vulnerabilities in perimeter security. Former Army vice chief lt gen Philip compose conducted a security audit and gave a report and it need to be immediately implemented.
Poland’s ultra nationalist Government has brought in a holocaust legislation to separate polish nationals from the crimes of holocaust. It imposes three year imprisonment and fine for all references that imply the complicity of the polish nation or state in Nazi war crimes.
It is going to effect Poland in two ways
- Poland membership in EU can come to closer scrutiny for deviation from European values.
- USA already warned of implications to strategy relationship.
Can sanitation reduce stunting?
- Bangladesh is able to reduce open defecation from 42% in 2003 to just 1% in 2016.
- Policy challenge of India is open defecation and behavioural modification needs a great effort.
- Swachh Bharat abhiyan aims to eliminate open defecation by 2019.
The trials, which implemented water, sanitation and hygiene in Bangladeshi and Kenyan villages for two years failed to establish correlation between poor sanitation and stunting.