Comprehensive News Analysis – 02 December 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Foreigners can enter India through five ports on e-visa

2. Parrikar holds detailed discussions in Dhaka

3. U.S. for closer defence ties with India

4. Putin seeks better ties with U.S. in conciliatory address

5. No troop presence in Afghanistan: China

C. GS3 Related:

1. Taxman says 85%, experts opine 83.25%

2. First private moon mission next year

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

The Hindu

1. Patriotism by diktat

2. HIV: The self-test option

3. The message from Amritsar

The Indian Express

1. Broken Promises

Business Line

1. Carrot and stick

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
I. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here today folks!

B. GS2 Related
  1. Foreigners can enter India through five ports on e-visa

Category: International Relations   

Topic: Agreements involving India

Key Points:

  • Foreigners will be able to enter India through five seaports with electronic visa (e-visa). This is in addition of 16 airports where the facility is available.
  • These seaports include: Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Goa and Mangalore.
  • As part of the new liberalised visa policy, the government of India has also decided that business visitors and those coming on medical emergency will be issued visa within 48 hours of application.
  • Separate immigration counters will be set up in all 16 major airports and the five seaports for medical tourists coming to India on e-visa.
  • A go-ahead was also given by the Government for an ‘internship visa’ for foreigners who want to gain professional experience in India.
  • It was also decided that the electronic tourist visa (eTV) will now be known as electronic visa and that visitors could apply through the existing online portal.

How will the liberalized visa policy help?

  • It is expected to stimulate

a) economic growth,

b) increase earnings from export of services like tourism, medical value travel and travel on account of business and to

c) make Skill India, Digital India, Make in India and other such flagship initiatives of the government successful.

 

  1. Parrikar holds detailed discussions in Dhaka

Category: International Relations 

Topic: India and the Neighbourhood 

Key Points:

  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar ended his two-day visit to Bangladesh this week.
  • He held wide-ranging discussions with Bangladesh’s political and military leadership.
  • This was the first-ever visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Bangladesh. 
  • It is important to note what the press release statement  made by the Indian High Commission.
  • The Indian High Commission said that the visit was also the first by an Indian Defence Minister to any of India’s immediate neighbouring countries.
  • It went on to further add that it was “ indicative of the importance the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi places on its relationship with Bangladesh.”

 

  1. U.S. for closer defence ties with India

Category: International Relations   

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Key Points:

  • There are important developments set to take place in the U.S. over the next week.
  • The National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 is scheduled to be passed by the U.S Congress next week.
  • This act seeks executive action to “recognise India’s status as a major defence partner of the United States.”
  • It is important to note that the U.S had already recognised India as a “major defence partner” in June 2016. This was done during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, but the implications of it remains undefined. 

 

  1. Putin seeks better ties with U.S. in conciliatory address

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Key Points:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin recently voiced hope for mending a rift with the U.S. and pooling efforts in fighting terrorism.
  • Significantly, Mr. Putin emphasised that friendly relations between the two superpowers are essential for global stability.

Past Escalations

  • Tensions had escalated during the U.S. election campaign. President Barack Obama’s administration had accused Moscow of hacking American political sites and e-mail accounts in an effort to interfere with the vote. Russia had rejected the accusations.
  • It is important to note that the Russian economy contracted 3.7 per cent in 2015 and the recession has continued in 2016 as well under the combined blow of low oil prices and Western sanctions. 

 

  1. No troop presence in Afghanistan: China

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Key Points:

  • Recently, China has denied that its forces were conducting vehicular patrols in Afghanistan.
  • It is important to note that along with Pakistan and Tajikistan, China and Afghanistan are part of a quadrilateral military mechanism.
  • This quadrilateral military mechanism is aimed at countering terrorism.
  • This assumes importance as terrorism could radiate and destabilise key areas of Central Asia — a core component of the China-led One Belt One Road (OBOR) connectivity initiative.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Taxman says 85%, experts opine 83.25%

Category: Indian Economy   

Topic: Taxation

Key Points:

  • Tax practitioners are puzzled in the wake of the tax law amendments to implement the latest voluntary income disclosure scheme.
  • There appears to be a sense of ambiguity between what the Government has said, and the language of the amendments to the income tax law cleared by the Lok Sabha recently.
  • While the government has said that the tax rate and penalty to be levied on undeclared cash and assets for which a source of income can’t be explained, would add up to 85 per cent, the language of the amendments, suggest that the actual amount payable could be a little lesser.

 

  1. First private moon mission next year

Category: Science and Technology 

Topic: Developments, Space 

Key Points:

  • A Bengaluru-based private aerospace company, named ‘TeamIndus’ has said that it will send a spacecraft to the moon on December 28, 2017, aboard an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket.
  • The aim of the mission is to land the spacecraft on the moon, have it travel at least 500 metres and beam high- definition video, images and data back to the earth.

A look at TeamIndus:

  • TeamIndus is one among four international teams, and the only one from India which is in the running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million (approx. Rs. 200 crore) competition, to encourage private companies to launch space missions.
  • TeamIndus has high-profile investors. These high-profile investors include Ratan Tata of the Tata Group; Sachin and Binny Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart and Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd.
  • TeamIndus is composed of a 100-member team of engineers, space enthusiasts, former Air Force pilots and former ISRO employees.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. Patriotism by diktat

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Judiciary, Government Initiatives    

Key Points:

  • The recent order of the Supreme Court order, that every cinema hall should play the national anthem before the exhibition of a film, is hard to understand by certain sections of our society.  
  • Critics of this order by the honourable Supreme Court believe that the national anthem hardly requires judicial promotion.
  • They are of the belief that the singing of the national anthem on special occasions, especially in schools and colleges, is sufficient to help citizens identify the anthem with something larger than their daily concerns. 

What the critics have argued

  • Critics have argued that the singing of the national anthem on special occasions, especially in schools and colleges, is sufficient to help citizens identify the anthem with something larger than their daily concerns.
  • They also observe that there are clear rules on when the anthem should be played.
  • Further, they point out that, any misuse of the anthem or any wilful insult to it is legally prohibited, and that those aggrieved by any such incident can take recourse to the law.
  • They further maintain that in a mature democracy such as India, there really is no need to make the playing or the singing of the anthem mandatory through a judicial order.

 

  1. HIV: The self-test option

Category: Science and Technology

 Topic: Health    

Key Points:

  • Recently, the World Health Organisation released guidelines on HIV self-testing. With this development, a major obstacle in improving access to diagnosis has been cleared. 
  • In India, much progress has been achieved in making HIV testing accessible and free of cost.
  • But unfortunately, many infected persons remain unaware of their status.

Important Statistics

  • Globally, nearly 40 per cent of people with HIV are unaware of their infection and run the risk of unknowingly transmitting it. 
  • There has been a 66 per cent drop in incidence in 2015 in India compared with 2000. But, unfortunately, the number of new HIV infections last year was 86,000; children below 15 years of age alone account for 12 per cent of this number. 

A look at OraQuick HIV self-testing

  • The WHO-approved OraQuick HIV self-testing is based on HIV antibodies present in oral and blood samples.
  • The test can detect antibodies developed within three months of getting infected.
  • It is a screening test, and a positive result should be reconfirmed though a blood-based test.

 

  1. The message from Amritsar

Category: International Relations

Topic: Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Key Points:

  • India hosts the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference this week in Amritsar.
  • The Heart of Asia (HoA) conference is aimed at speeding up reconstruction in war-torn Afghanistan and bringing peace and normalcy to the country.
  • The Heart of Asia (HoA) conference will see participation from 14 states: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The HoA process, originated under the aegis of the Istanbul Conference in November 2011.
  • It is important to note that this conference comes at a time when India is looking to isolate Pakistan regionally and globally. 
  • Afghanistan too has been reviewing its policy towards Pakistan. 
  • Indian interests, including its Embassy and consulates, are repeatedly targeted in Afghanistan.

India’s Outreach Initiatives

  • PM Modi visited Afghanistan to inaugurate the new parliament building in 2015. India gifted Mi-24 attack helicopters to Afghan forces.
  • India also signed the TAPI pipeline agreement to showcase its continuing commitment to Afghanistan’s economic viability.
  • The Government of India has so far shown a willingness to move beyond the binary of economic cooperation and military engagement and evolve a comprehensive policy which involves all dimensions of power.
  • This has enhanced Indian credibility in Afghanistan.

 

The Indian Express

  1. Broken Promises

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Education

Key Points:

  • It was in  January 2007, at the East Asia Summit, that the government of India shared its plan to establish an international, multi-disciplinary university at Nalanda in Bihar.
  • George Yeo, Nalanda University’s second chancellor recently resigned from the University.
  • Yeo, a former foreign minister of Singapore, has said that he was not even informed when the entire governing board of the university, which included Sen, Sugata Bose and Meghnad Desai, was replaced. 
  • It is important to note that MEA spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, has claimed that the government acted according to the rules established by the Nalanda University Act (2010).
  • Unfortunately, the impression is that the government is actively undermining the autonomy of the university.

A missed opportunity

  • The Nalanda University was promised by India at the East Asia Summit, as an intellectual resource for the entire continent. 
  • This University could have provided a template for other ailing institutions in the country.

 

Business Line

  1. Carrot and stick

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: Government Policy  

Key Points:

  • The tabling of the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill marks an intensified phase in the crackdown on black money.
  • This initiative by the Government,stems from the realisation that black money hoarders (in cash) could use loopholes in the Income Tax Act to negate the demonetisation exercise.
  • The Bill offers an amnesty scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.

Highlights of PMGKY

  • The declarant under this regime shall be required to pay tax @ 30% of the undisclosed income, and penalty @10% of the undisclosed income.
  • Further, a surcharge to be called ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Cess’ @33% of tax is also proposed to be levied.
  • In addition to tax, surcharge and penalty (totaling to approximately 50%), the declarant shall have to deposit 25% of undisclosed income in a Deposit Scheme to be notified by the RBI under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme, 2016’.
  • This amount is proposed to be utilised for the schemes of irrigation, housing, toilets, infrastructure, primary education, primary health, livelihood, etc., so that there is justice and equality.

This scheme is essentially an extension of the recent Income Disclosure Scheme that cleaned up about Rs.65,000 crore of undeclared income by levying 45 per cent tax.

Concluding Remarks

  • It is important to note that in the effort to rid the economy of black money, the Centre should not lose sight of its original promise of doing away with ‘tax terrorism’.
  • It should devise a standard operating procedure for the tax authorities to rule out harassment. 
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016
  • Heart of Asia (HoA) conference
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016

H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. The WHO-approved OraQuick HIV self-testing is based on HIV antibodies present in oral and blood samples.
  2. The test can detect antibodies developed within three months of getting infected. 
  3. It is a screening test, and a positive result should be reconfirmed though a blood-based test.

Which of the following statements is/are correct? a) 1 and 2 Only b) 2 and 3 Only c) All 1, 2 and 3 d) 3 Only

Question 2: Consider the following statements, regarding,
  1. The Heart of Asia (HoA) conference is aimed at speeding up reconstruction in war-torn Afghanistan and bringing peace and normalcy to the country.
  2. The Heart of Asia (HoA) conference will see participation from 14 states: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.
  3. The HoA process, originated under the aegis of the Istanbul Conference in November 2011.

Which of the following statements is/are correct? a) 1 and 2 Only b) 2 and 3 Only c) All 1, 2 and 3 d) 3 Only

Question 3: The new liberalized visa policy of the Government of India is expected to?
  1. Stimulate  economic growth
  2. Increase earnings from export of services like tourism, medical value travel and travel on account of business 
  3. Make Skill India, Digital India, Make in India and other such flagship initiatives of the government successful.

Which of the following statements is/are correct? a) 1 and 2 Only b) 2 and 3 Only c) All 1, 2 and 3 d) 3 Only

Question 4: Consider the following statements, regarding ‘TeamIndus’, which appeared in the news recently,
  1. TeamIndus is one among four international teams, and the only one from India which is in the running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million (approx. Rs. 200 crore) competition, to encourage private companies to launch space missions.
  2. TeamIndus has high-profile investors. These high-profile investors include Ratan Tata of the Tata Group; Sachin and Binny Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart and Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd.
  3. TeamIndus is composed of a 100-member team of engineers, space enthusiasts, former Air Force pilots and former ISRO employees.

Which of the following statements is/are correct? a) 1 and 2 Only b) 2 and 3 Only c) All 1, 2 and 3 d) 3 Only

Question 5: Where is the ‘Kamchatka Peninsula’ located?
a) Russia b) China c) Japan d) Korea

Check Your Answers

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