Comprehensive News Analysis – 01 August 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Retrenched Indians in Saudi Arabia to come back home

2. Norms eased for foreign tourists visiting Ladakh

3. Chinese Army did recce before entering Chamoli

C. GS3 Related:

1. Kudankulam plant safest in the world

2. Tripura gets Delhi train, now eyes Dhaka

3. Upcoming events of significance and their impact on the economy

4. Excess rainfall poses key risk to inflation outlook

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

The Hindu

1. Floods in Assam, Bihar and Urban areas and poor preparedness with regard to mitigation and disaster management.

2. The South China Sea Dispute

The Business Line

1. It’s time for Iran

2. Too cagey about sharing geospatial data

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 today folks!

 

B. GS2 Related


1. Retrenched Indians in Saudi Arabia to come back home

Category: International Relations

Topic: Indian Diaspora

Key points:

  • The government is preparing to evacuate a large number of Indian workers facing an uncertain future in Saudi Arabia following widespread layoffs.
  • New Delhi is “arranging exit visas for jobless workers”
  • Apart from providing food and relief to the hundreds in various labour camps, Indian officials are also in talks with the Saudi authorities to see that the pending salaries are paid to the laid off before they are brought back.
  • Embassy of India in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah has arranged for food and relief through community support for the workers who had been living in inhuman conditions in labour camps after losing jobs.
  • Falling oil prices have hit the construction sector in the Gulf region with expat workers in Saudi Arabia being among the most affected.

 

  1. Norms eased for foreign tourists visiting Ladakh

Category: Indian Polity

Topic: Freedom of Movement

Key Points:

  • Union Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to relax the Protected Area Permit for foreigners visiting various parts of Ladakh and as a consequence foreign tourists will be now able to visit various parts of Nubra Valley
  • To boost tourism infrastructure in the State and open up new areas in Kashmir as well as Jammu province for tourists.

 

  1. Chinese Army did recce before entering Chamoli

Category: International Relations

Topic: National Security

Key Points:

  • Ahead of its transgression in the Barahoti area of Uttarakhand, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army had conducted a reconnaissance mission using high class aircraft armed with Synthetic Aperture Radar which provides broad-area imaging at high resolution.
  • ‘TupolovTu 153M’ aircraft of the PLA had carried out two to three sorties earlier this year in the middle sector falling in the areas of U.P., Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.


C. GS3 Related


  1. Kudankulam plant safest in the world

Category: Energy and Infrastructure, Science and technology,

Topic: Nuclear Energy, Non-proliferation and Nuclear Safety

 

Key Points:

  • The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), built with Russian help, is the first in the world to have post-Fukushima safety enhancement requirements implemented and operated successfully
  • On India’s request, additional safety measures are being enforced in Units 3 and 4 to withstand even higher seismic, climatic and technical impact.
  • There are a number of advanced active and passive safety systems which ensure unprecedented design-level nuclear and ecological safety of the plant
  • Double localizing and protective containment, passive heat removal system from reactor plant automatically, core catcher, and closed industrial water intake are some of the safety features incorporated.
  • Given that a large amount of seawater is drawn in to cool the reactors, measures have been taken to preserve the biological diversity of the Mannar Bay adjacent to Kudankulam. Seawater is supplied from the so-called “bucket” constructed in the sea into the special facilities and systems which ensure that fish and plankton return to sea.
  • Russia is awaiting India’s decision on another site for setting up additional reactors. According to officials, Andhra Pradesh is the likely location for not only the Russian reactors but also the proposed U.S. ones.

 

2. Tripura gets Delhi train, now eyes Dhaka

Category: Infrastructure, International Relations

Topic: Railways, India-Bangladesh

Key Points:

  • Tripura Sundari Express was rolled out by the railways and marked a milestone in establishing connectivity between Agartala, the capital of the northeastern State and New Delhi.
  • Foundation stone was also laid for the India-Bangladesh broad-gauge link between Agartala and Akhaura.

 

  1. Upcoming events of significance and their impact on the economy

Category: Economics

Topic: GST, 7th Pay Commission

7th Pay Commission


4. Excess rainfall poses key risk to inflation outlook

Category: Economics

Topic: Inflation, Impact of Monsoons
Key Points:

  • According to a report by Edelweiss Securities, although monsoon has gathered pace in July after a slow start in June, there is some risk of excess rainfall and floods posing a key risk to the inflation outlook.
  • The key risk to benign inflation outlook arises from the possibility of excess rainfall damaging crops. In such a scenario, rural consumption could be hit
  • Currently, CPI (excluding pulses) is 5.2 per cent against a headline CPI of 5.8 per cent. The firm expects a 60 basis point dip in CPI if pulses inflation declines to around five per cent.
  • Monsoon is only a marginal factor in boosting rural sentiment or spending. It is far more dependent on the behaviour of agricultural prices, construction activity and government’s rural spending.
  • The report forecasts a lower inflation by September, the correction in international food prices along with expectations of good Kharif output raises hopes on the inflation front but it does not augur well for farm-incomes and rural- spending.

 

D. GS4 Related


E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance

 

The Hindu


  1. Floods in Assam, Bihar and Urban areas and poor preparedness with regard to mitigation and disaster management.

Category: Disaster Management, Urbanization, Environment, Geography

Topic: Floods, Wetlands conservation, Environment Impact Assessment

Key Points:

  • The flood situation remained grim in 12 districts of Bihar. Ghaghara, Bagmati, Koshi, Mahananda and Jhhawa are flowing above the danger mark.
  • In Assam, the NDRF has been deployed to respond to the crisis caused by the seasonal swelling of Brahmaputra and its tributaries during monsoons.
  • From Assam to Karnataka, heavy rainfall in a short span of time has created paralyzing floods that have taken a heavy toll of life, wiped out crops and destroyed hard-earned assets.
  • The NDRF set up under the NDMA Act and the recently approved national disaster management policy provides for huge allocations for disaster management preparedness. In Assam, there are projects to strengthen the embankments of the heavily silted Brahmaputra.
  • Yet, the hundreds of crores of rupees periodically spent on flood preparation, relief and mitigation research in the State have not yielded a protocol that reduces the impact of heavy rain.
  • Frequent floods in various parts have been providing fresh insight into the causes, effects and impact of rain and floods in northeastern India and elsewhere, it is time the Centre took a coordinated view in tackling the crisis.
  • Urban India is no less traumatized by floods (Gurgaon, Bengaluru and Delhi) but city governments have not learnt too many lessons from devastation and losses.
  • Bengaluru is the epitome of governmental indifference to wetlands, most of which have been severely encroached upon or polluted.
  • lakes have to be desilted and restored on a war footing. New artificial wetlands may have to be created to compensate for those that have already been built over.
  • Environment Ministry needs to realize that it is retrograde to sanction large real estate projects without an environmental impact assessment.
  • Some real estate companies have been slapped with penalties by the National Green Tribunal for encroaching upon lakes, but urban planning agencies are equally responsible and must also be called to account for tacitly sanctioning the violations.

 

  1. The South China Sea Dispute

Category: International Relations

Topic: Disputes impacting Indian diplomacy

Key Points:

  • China sees the U.S. hand ubiquitous in the July 12 award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the Scarborough Shoal dispute in the South China Sea
  • The Court ruled that China’s claims over the waters enclosed by the ‘Nine-Dash Line’ had no legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), that China had no claim to historic rights to resources there, and that it had aggravated the dispute by building an artificial island on Mischief Reef, besides violating the Philippines’s sovereign rights within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including its fisheries and petroleum exploitation.
  • The ruling has comprehensively rejected China’s territorial and sovereignty claims in the disputed area, is dismissive of China’s activity in turning reefs, rocks and low-tide elevations into artificial islands, replete with military structures such as airstrips and fortifications in waters that belong to the Philippines
  • China has asserted that it would not accept “the so-called award,” and has reiterated its commitment to “peacefully settling relevant disputes in the South China Sea through negotiation” with countries directly concerned, “on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law”.
  • In disregarding the ruling, and by its occupation, reclamation, and construction of military facilities on disputed territory, China has acted as a practitioner of hard power.
  • In defence of China’s rejection of the ruling, Chinese commentators have cited the U.S. dismissal of the 1986 judgment of the International Court of Justice awarding reparations to Nicaragua for “Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua” by the U.S., and the U.K.’s rejection of this year’s ruling by an expert group under the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in favour of Argentina in the context of Malvinas.
  • ASEAN claimants include Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. China, furthermore, has effectively divided ASEAN on this issue. The group is unable to adopt a common position concerning a territorial dispute directly involving four of its 10 members.
  • China prefers to settle these disputes on a bilateral platform and rejects any outside interference.
  • Although the provisions of the UNCLOS make the Award “final and binding,” the absence of any enforcement mechanism limits the choice for the Philippines.
  • Chinese pressure, exerted through Cambodia and Laos, prevented an ASEAN declaration expressing “serious concerns” over the South China Sea disputes
  • By following the U.S. and U.K. playbook on Nicaragua and Malvinas, China has shown it is no different from other imperial powers. Moreover, China’s dismissal of the ruling does not show a “win-win” attitude, propagated by it to create “communities of common destiny” from Asia to Eurasia, and through the maritime silk route that has the ASEAN countries at its centre.

 

The Business Line


1. It’s time for Iran

Category: International Relations

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

Key points:

  • Iran stands out as the next big market for European merchandise, Chinese infrastructure and Indian services.
  • India might have a tightrope walk ahead, trying to enlist US support for its ambitions, like permanent membership of the UNSC and entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • Either way (Hillary or Trump), Iran does not seem better placed with its US relations in the post-Obama scenario.
  • With a population of 80 million, a strong customer sentiment and moderates dominating the political space, Iran is too good a market to miss for the beleaguered global economy.

 

2. Too cagey about sharing geospatial data

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key points:

  • The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill has aroused a spate of controversies and discussions around its impact on big companies such as Google and Apple, businesses such as Uber, and for consumers using certain apps.
  • India contributes a huge student population to the US, many of whom get PhDs and work in academia as scientists. However, the absence of high quality data prevents many scientists and academics from contributing to knowledge in their home country.
  • Since the current Bill is highly restrictive in the use of geospatial data of any form, it leads to loss of knowledge.
  • For example, the Bill says, “no person shall disseminate or allow visualisation of any geospatial information of India either through internet platforms or online services, or publish or distribute any geospatial information of India in any electronic or physical form”.
  • Geospatial information can be extremely useful in disease surveillance, detecting patterns, and predicting outbreaks of certain types.
  • In many situations, public and private hospitals run a surveillance system to track where their patients are coming from and then identify the population at risk within those catchments — this relies on being able to collect location data.
  • Mobile health is another emerging area that harnesses the use of location information to track health indicators such as breast cancer screening or cervical cancer screening, number of antenatal care visits made by women, and patient outcomes.
  • For a resource-constrained developing country such as India, with an enormous population that lacks access to basic government services, limiting the use of geospatial data for informed policy related decision-making, is like aiming the axe on one’s own foot.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Geospatial Information Regulation Bill
  • UNSC
  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP)
  • CPI
  • ASEAN


G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: With which geographical region is the nine-dash line associated with?
a) South China Sea

b) Indian Ocean

c) Atlantic Ocean

d) Sea of Japan


Question 2: Consider the following statements,
  1. The National Disaster Response Force and Civil Defence come under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India.
  2. On 23 December 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.



Which of the above are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 3: Consider the following statements,  
  1. The Garo Hills is predominantly inhabited by the Garos, belonging to the Bodo family of the Tibeto-Burman race, said to have migrated from Tibet.
  2. The traditional Khasi male dress is “Jymphong” or a longish sleeveless coat without collar, fastened by thongs in front.


Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 4: Consider the following statements regarding,
  1. The seven States of the North Eastern Region barring Sikkim are linked to the rest of India through the 26 km long Siliguri Corridor commonly known as Chicken’s neck. They therefore form an integrated geographical unit.
  2. 98% of NER’s border is bounded by India’s international neighbours.


Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), built with Russian help, is the first in the world to have post-Fukushima safety enhancement requirements implemented and operated successfully.
  2. There are a number of advanced active and passive safety systems which ensure unprecedented design-level nuclear and ecological safety of the plant.


Which of the statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 Only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Check Your Answers

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