Comprehensive News Analysis - 01 April 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Delhi to Agra In 100 Minutes: Gatimaan Express hits tracks next week

2. Govt needs to take child rights issues seriously: Satyarthi

3. Ministries and institutes join hands to promote research

C. GS3 Related:

1. 21 killed as Kolkata flyover collapses

2. SBI and Bank of Baroda take lead in lowering lending rates based on new formula

3. Core sector grew 5.7% in February

4. NITI Aayog moots legalising land leasing

5. India-European Union boost strategic partnership as free trade talks flounder

D.GS4 Related
E.Important Editorials : A Quick Glance
The Hindu:

1. Rare frogs and the circle of life

Indian Express:

1. Is agriculture a business?

Others:

1. Business Standard: Pricing energy in an era of volatility

2. Business Line: Don’t blame global crisis for exports slide

F.Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G.Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H.Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today folks!

 

B. GS2 Related

1. Delhi to Agra In 100 Minutes: Gatimaan Express hits tracks next week

Topic: Governance

Category: Railways

Location: The Indian Express
Key points:

  • India’s fastest train, the “semi-bullet” Gatimaan Express is set to begin its inaugural run on April 5
  • The proper commercial run of the train, slated to achieve a top speed of 160 kmph — a landmark for India — will commence from April 6

2. Govt needs to take child rights issues seriously: Satyarthi

Topic: Governance

Category: Government policies and interventions

Location: The Hindu
Key points:

  • In early 2015, the Union Cabinet had given its approval to move official amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012.
  • The proposed amendments allowed children below 14 years of age to work in family enterprises or entertainment industry and the list of prohibited occupations was reduced to three from the earlier 83.
  • The present law prohibits the entry of children in hazardous occupations but allows them to work in family-run enterprises.
  • According to Satyarthi, ‘Make In India’ initiative would bring foreign investors  to India only if India conforms to international standards in child rights protection.

3. Ministries and institutes join hands to promote research

Topic: Governance

Category: Government policies and interventions

Location: The Hindu
Key points:

  • The IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology (IMPRINT) initiative of the government is a multidisciplinary, multi-partner and multi-goal oriented national programme aimed at technology development involving the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), national academies, ministries etc.
  • 26 government ministries and departments have entered into an agreement to collaborate under it
  • 10 technology domains have been identified under IMPRINT including healthcare, energy, sustainable habitat, Nano technology hardware, water resources and river systems, advanced materials, information and communication technology, manufacturing, security and defence
  • IMPRINT aims to create synergy with all the major initiatives of the Government like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Namami Gange, Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Swachh Bharat Mission and other Ministries engaged in research covering these domains
  • For every domain area, there shall be a Domain Expert Committee (DEC), chaired by a subject matter expert of eminence and with such members as decided by the National Coordinator for all domains

 

C. GS3 Related

1. 21 killed as Kolkata flyover collapses

Topic: Disaster Management

Category: Structural Collapse

Location: The Hindu
Key Points:

  • two parts of an under-construction Vivekananda Flyover collapsed in a congested market area in BurraBazar, north Kolkata
  • The Army was called in to help with the rescue
  • The National Disaster Response Force deployed five of its teams. Specialist rescue teams armed with concrete and metal cutters, drilling machines, sensors and sniffer dogs were deployed
  • a team of engineers and a medical team from the Command Hospital were also engaged

Note: Please read about the disaster management capabilities of India in our upcoming DNA

2. SBI and Bank of Baroda take lead in lowering lending rates based on new formula

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: Banking sector

Location: The Economic Times
Key Points:

  • State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda have taken the lead in setting lower lending rates based on the Marginal Cost Lending Rate system that will benefit millions of borrowers
  • RBI’s efforts to push banks to lower their borrowing costs may at last be bearing fruit because of this move.
  • The central bank, vexed with the lack of transmission of its interest rate reductions to the market, forced banks to adopt this formula based on their incremental cost of funds along with operational costs thrown in instead of the average cost of funds.

Note: Please familiarize yourself with Marginal Cost Lending Rate System

3. Core sector grew 5.7% in February

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: Industry

Location: The Business Line
Key Points:

  • the eight core sector industries grew 5.7 per cent in February a 15-month high with a sharp rise in production of fertiliser, cement and refinery products
  • The eight core industries –– cement, coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel and electricity –– account for nearly 38 per cent of the Index of Industrial Production
  • In the month under review, fertiliser production grew 16.3 per cent, cement rose 13.5 per cent and refinery products 8.1 per cent. However, steel production dipped 0.5 per cent, while growth in crude oil and natural gas output was negligible at 0.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively

4. NITI Aayog moots legalising land leasing

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: Agriculture Sector

Location: The Economic Times
Key Points:

  • Suggesting a major land reform, an expert committee set up by the NITI Aayog has proposed legalising agricultural land leasing and widening the use of such land for all kinds of crop activities, horticulture, and food processing
  • The Aayog will soon unveil a central Model Land Leasing Act that will supersede all existing land laws in states, which will have to conform to the central legislation
  • Disputes under the Act will be resolved at the gram panchayat level and, as a last resort, one could approach a special tribunal which will be set up for the purpose. The civil court jurisdiction has been barred from such cases.
  • The existing tenancy laws, most of which are several decades old prohibit or heavily discourage leasing and sub-leasing of land.
  • The Aayog had set up an expert committee under T Haque in September last year to prepare a model agricultural land leasing Act in consultation with the states keeping in view the need to legalise and liberalise land leasing

5. India-European Union boost strategic partnership as free trade talks flounder

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: Industry

Location: The Business Line
Key Points:

  • The 13th India-EU Summit concluded in Brussels without a consensus on a bilateral free trade deal known as the BTIA (Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement)
  • The fields of cooperation are defined by the EU-India Agenda for Action-2020, which the Indian Prime Minister and the presidents of the European Council and European Commission endorsed range from foreign policy, counter terrorism and disarmament to transport and space.
  • There were joint declarations on the India-EU Water Partnership and a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership
  • India is no longer eligible for development assistance from the EU. But India will still have access to concessional loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB). India and the EIB signed the first tranche of a Euro 450- million-loan at the Summit towards the construction of a metro rail line planned in Lucknow
  • The two sides agreed to cooperate in countering violent extremism, disrupt recruitment of terrorists and prevent the free passage of foreign fighters in a joint declaration on counter terrorism, which also called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN
  • the possibility of India and EUROPOL, the EU’s law enforcement agency, to share intelligence is being explored
  • The Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), which was also adopted, is designed to control and organize migration
  • A joint statement from India and the EU stressed that both countries upheld the sanctity of human rights and the rights of women.
D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today folks!

E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance
The Hindu:

1 .Rare frogs and the circle of life

Topic: Ecology
Category: Biodiversity
Key points:

  • the research on the tadpoles of the dancing frog Micrixalus herrei have revealed that such animals can complete their life cycle only if critical features of the natural landscape are preserved
  • in the case of the Indian dancing frog, the availability of shallow streams with sandy depressions enables the laying of eggs and development of tadpoles
  • In the Western Ghats the threat level is high for an estimated 40 per cent of amphibian species, even as more are being discovered.
  • Deficiency of data for a third of the frogs and related species here highlights the need for continuous and intensive research.
  • the efforts of scientists to explain the uniqueness of such animals is beginning to yield results, and tribal communities are willing to consider alternatives to mass capture during the breeding seasons.
  • It is this rich diversity that the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel led by Madhav Gadgil recognised, and sought, correctly, to protect from unsustainable human pressures. Frogs may not have the charismatic stature of many bigger animals, but often they are the keystones that is critical for the survival of other species
Indian Express::

1 .Is agriculture a business?

Topic: Economy
Category: Agriculture
Key points:

  • agriculture is the only business where you face both production as well as price risks on a daily basis
  • This renders farm insurance commercially unviable. So govt, has to subsidize it
  • Farmers are the only lot who pay retail prices for everything, from tractors to shovels, while being forced to sell their entire produce at wholesale rates
  • Farmer producer organisations that procure seeds, fertilisers, pesticides or animal-feed from manufacturers in bulk and make these available to their members at wholesale rates can help
  • In India there are no farm lobbies of any consequence- onion and potato shipments are frequently subjected to minimum export price restrictions, anti dumping duties are not imposed on rubber imports even after domestic realisations of rubber more than halved and imports doubled in the last four years. There is no effective voicing of these concerns
  • In India agriculture is the only business where introduction of new technology is a matter of controversy
  • The agenda of blocking any new farming technology or innovation on the basis of unsubstantiated side-effects have to end
Others:

1 .Business Standard: Pricing energy in an era of volatility

Topic: Economy
Category: Energy sector
Key points:

  • Resilient economies are those where price signals are promptly transmitted down to the end-use
  • The shift in the subsidy on cooking gas (LPG) to a direct cash transfer is a courageous and appropriate
  • The design of an energy system that is flexible, resilient and fit for purpose over the time, heavily depends on pricing and viability
  • There are many uncertainties caused by the shift from traditional to modern fuels (acknowledged in the proposals for rural cooking gas in the 2016 Budget speech); the growing importance of urban areas as shapers of energy demand; the deeper integration of Indian energy with global sources of supply; and the challenges and opportunities of a world increasingly committed to reducing
  • Putting in place a price mechanism to stimulate energy production and distribution by encouraging a much more diverse group of investors and actors to participate is becoming more and more important in the light of these uncertainties

Note: Watch out for the forthcoming National Energy Policy being prepared by the NITI Aayog

Line Source: The Business

2 .Business Line: Don’t blame global crisis for exports slide

Topic: Economy
Category: Export sector
Key points:

  • In first nine months of 2015-16, India’s exports have fallen to $196.60 billion and its import was $295.81 billion.
  • According to the latest data released by the International Monetary Fund, the total volume of global trade has fallen by 0.5 per cent in the second half of 2015
  • The proportionate decline in India’s trade is much more than the global decline.
  • Export of goods such as petroleum products, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, drug formulation, gems and jewellery, readymade garments, rice, iron and steel has come down both in value and volume terms. Similarly, there is a fall in the value of import of petroleum due to a fall in global prices of that commodity
  • It is time that the government deals with structural issues, such as lack of reforms in input markets like those in land, labour, capital, logistics, which are hindering our producers to produce goods at competitive rates
  • building of primary infrastructure in terms of better multi modal transportation for improved road connectivity to ports, rail heads, airports and inland waterways
  • the creation of a supportive infrastructure for exports, including more laboratories for testing, more tool rooms and plant quarantine facilities, larger trade facilitation centres and land customs stations and enhanced cold storage facilities for pharmaceutical and perishable goods
  • the movement of goods within the country, from one territory to another, is constrained by the laws, practices, regulations and taxation regimes of various states. Concerted action from relevant departments at the central and State government levels alone can be a solution to this
  • the lack of inter-agency coordination and stakeholder participation in the administration of trade procedures is another bottleneck. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, recommends the creation of the National Committee for Trade Facilitation for this role.
  • Exchange rate management
  • It appears that India’s exports are facing difficulties because of a relatively over-valued rupee as reflected in India’s real effective exchange rate. Our exports are becoming relatively dearer, while imports are getting relatively cheaper. The RBI should let rupee finds its bottom, and true value.
  • RBI needs to use its discretion, and think about adjusting the value of our currency with that of our competitors. This would inspire confidence amongst other stakeholders and facilitate aligning their strategy with that of the RBI.
  • Capacity building of the relevant stakeholders and institutions is of utmost importance in this regard, in order to fully realize the potential of various trade agreements and foreign trade policy measures.
  • Given the fall in world commodity prices, if we do not consider our exchange rate adjustment now, we will miss an opportunity to boost our exports. This is particularly true when our exports are supply-driven and not necessarily dependent on their demand in other countries.

Note: Please familiarize yourself with FTP(2015-20)

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  1. CLPA
  2. IMPRINT
  3. MCLR System
  4. NDRF
  5. Core Industries
  6. T.Haque Committee
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1:Which of the following are categorised under core industries in India?
  1. natural gas
  2. steel
  3. electricity
  4. textiles

a) 1 and 2

b) 2, 3 and 4

c) 1,2 and 3

d) 2 and 3

Question 2:Which of the following are true about Child Labour(Prevention and regulation)Act,1986?
  1. In this act,”child” means a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age
  2. Carpet weaving and bidi making are included in hazardous processes.

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 3:Choose the species which are endemic to Western Ghats.
  1. Nilgiri Tahr
  2. Purple Frog
  3. Nilgiri blue robin
  4. The Great Indian Hornbill

a) 1, 2 and 3

b) 2 and 4

c) 1,3 and 4

d) 1 and 2

Question 4:Which of the following are true about Marginal Cost Lending Rate system 
  1. It was introduced by RBI to induce banks to pass on low lending rates to customers
  2. The formula for its calculation is based on average cost of funds to banks

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 5:T Haque Committee was instituted to give recommendations on :

a) Integrated Energy Policy

b) banking reforms

c) private participation in defence

d) agricultural land leasing

Check Your Answers

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