UPSC IAS The Hindu Current Affairs 17th May 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.
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17 May 2018
BJP invited to form Government, congress moves supreme court
In Karnataka, governor invited BJP to form Government and gave 15 days time to prove majority. Congress moved to supreme court challenging decision of Governor.
Ready to Join dialogue with India : Pak Army
Pakistan army stated to formally inject itself in to any dialogue process with India. Till date, Army played hand in influencing civilian Government during talks. It is first time, it is formally willing to become face of talks while civilian Government is still in power.
Reasons for depreciation of rupee
- Increasing oil prices and instability across wast Asia.
- Increasing interest rates in USA is leading to flight of capital.
Depreciation is making oil imports expensive and can lead to inflation in India.
Depreciation is expected to pull out exports. but, there is no Sogn of improvement in Indian exports. Government of India need to seriously focus on the same.
Death in GAZA
President Trump’s shifting of embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem made peace process more volatile. Added to this, there is a disproportionate response from people protesting at Gaza Israel border killing 60 people by Israeli army. The challenges in peace process are many.
- Gaza blockade for more than a decade reached a proportion of humanitarian crisis.
- West bank, East Jerusalem are still under occupation of Israel.
A Pilgrimage to Nepal
Indian Prime Minister visit to Nepal is to rebuild ties that have deteriorated. During visit, a bus service as part of Ramayana circuit between Ayodhya and Janakpur started. Prime Minister of India and Nepal have laid foundation for Aruna III hydel project. but, there are many commitments of India to Nepal remain unaddressed.
- Railway services agreement
- Air links connecting Luknow, Nepalgunj, Pokhara
- Setting up of Pancheshwar development authority
- Concluding an MOU for Nepal Police academy
- $2bn aid and credit to Nepal.
- Buddhist circuit connecting Lumbini with Sarnath and BodhGaya.
unless, promises are filled visits will have symbolism rather than substance.
How the Numbers stack up
Politics based on social coalitions has limited reach. Opposition today needs electoral alliances. This is what Gorakhpur and Phulpur by elections shows us.
Anything but green
National forest policy 1988 has important provisions for conservation of forests and safeguards against their diversion. They are
- Cost Benefit analysis is necessary before any diversion. It has to be examined and done by specialists.
- Tropical/ moist rain forests in areas like Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands should be totally safeguarded.
Draft National forest policy dilutes all these provision and proposes to constitute central and state boards chaired forest minister to approve diversion of forest land for non forest purposes.
Cabinet approves new policy on Bio fuels
- It expands raw material for ethanol production. Surplus food grains can be used for Ethanol production. But diversion of food for ethanol production need to be approved by Bio Fuel coordination committee.
- Advanced Bio ethanol refineries will be established.
- Tax incentives and higher purchase price are promised for ethanol.
- Conversion of crop resides in to Bio fuel is encouraged.
North Korea threatens to call off summit
North Korea threatened to call off summit if denuclearisation is made as a pre condition for talks.
New Vistas for India
New vistas for IndiaThe SCO provides it the chance to reset its ties
What is the SCO?
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a multi-government organisation that was formed in 2001 as an expression of greater coordination among the major powers in the Eurasian region. The organisation was launched by China, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, reflecting a growing awareness among these countries to come to terms with the unilateralism of the U.S.-led post-Cold War world order. The group was a formal initiative borne out of the Shanghai Five Mechanism which came up in the backdrop of growing unilateral moves by the U.S., such as the Iraq war of 1990-91.
What is its agenda?
The agenda of the nascent SCO was shaped under the Shanghai Five Mechanism to include violent liberation movements and counter-terrorism efforts. For instance, in a criticism of U.S.-led intervention in various states in West Asia and the Balkans, the Shanghai Five Mechanism aimed to secure national sovereignty of the member countries. The SCO also served as a platform to facilitate warmer ties among its countries by enhancing cooperation on the economic, technology, culture, energy and other fronts, subsequently helping China resolving its border problems with the Central Asian region. The SCO aims to create a ‘fair and rational new international political and economic order’.
What is India’s role in the SCO?
The SCO granted India and Pakistan full membership in 2017. After inclusion, both India and Pakistan are expected to participate in the activities of the SCO Secretariat in Beijing. While the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) provides a rare platform for regional cooperation to counter-terrorism, it also brought into focus the different views the two countries have on terrorism. Yet in September, India and Pakistan will join other SCO members in counter-terrorism exercises.
What is the importance of the upcoming summit in Qingdao?
The June summit will be the first major multilateral meeting since the re-election of Russian President Vladimir Putin where he is likely to push for Iran’s formal entry into the organisation. This could signal a coming together of SCO members against the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. This will also be an opportunity for India, China and Russia to reset regional ties, helping them navigate the adverse impacts of U.S. Treasury sanctions. India especially appears to be under pressure from the U.S. on its trade with Iran, as it is also an MNNA (Major Non-NATO Ally) of the U.S. and has held ‘Quadrilateral’ talks with the U.S., Australia, and Japan in 2017. The next summit will therefore provide the space for urgent consultations on India’s “plurilateralism”, a term that has been used to characterise India’s current foreign policy.
Prelims question is expected on this topic.