Comprehensive News Analysis - 02 March 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Casual workers too covered by ESI

2. U.S., Iraq plan battle for Mosul

3. India kicks off Raisina Dialogue

4. Multitudes attend funeral of Salman Taseer assassin Mumtaz Qadri

5. Calais ‘jungle’ camp razed

6. Myanmar vote: hopes fade for Suu Kyi

7. Pakistan team may arrive soon to probe Pathankot attack

C. GS3 Related:

1. EPF tax: Government in damage control mode

2. Hopes on habitat revive after vultures feed at ‘restaurant’

3. RBI unlocks Rs.40,000 crore additional capital for banks

4. Farmers’ e-market platform could be a game changer

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

1. Looking beyond economic quick-fixes

2. The health net should cover all

3. How to recapitalise state-owned banks

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
G. Practice Questions
H. Archive

.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

— Nothing here today, folks! —

 

B. GS2 Related

1. Casual workers too covered by ESI

Topic: Polity Category: rights issues , governance Location: The Hindu, Page 11 Key points:

  • In a decision giving a wide interpretation to the term ‘employee’, the SC held that welfare schemes for social security and health insurance assured under the Employees State Insurance Act were available even to casual workers
  • the Bench dismissed the horse racing club, Royal Western India Turf Club Ltd ’s contention that its temporary staff engaged on race days for issue of tickets would not come under the definition of the term ‘employee’ under Section 2(9) of the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
  • It described the employees’ work as sporadic
  • Disagreeing with this, the apex court observed that the 1948 Act was a welfare legislation with a “very wide” and inclusive definition for the term “employee”
  • The Act is a welfare legislation and is required to be interpreted so as to ensure extension of benefits to the employees and not to deprive them of the same , the SC held

 

2. U.S., Iraq plan battle for Mosul

Topic: International Relations Category: global issues Location: The Hindu, Page 16 Key Points:

  • The US and Iraqi forces are working together to capture Mosul from IS
  • S.-backed forces had begun laying the groundwork for the fight by moving to isolate Mosul from the IS’s de facto headquarters in Raqqa, Syria
  • Kurdish and Arab forces retook the town of Shaddadi in eastern Syria last week, cutting off  the last major artery between Raqqa and Mosul
  • In addition to the advances in eastern Syria, cyber-attacks on IS communications between Raqqa and Mosul, meant to disrupt the militant group’s ability to use social media to recruit fighters are also being carried out

 

3. India kicks off Raisina Dialogue

Topic: International Relations Category: multilateral dialogues Location: The Hindu, Page 15 Key Points

  • The Raisina Dialogue, attended by speakers from 40 countries has been kicked off in India
  • It is seen as the government’s attempt to rival conferences around the world that attract global players such as the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, and the Munich Conference on national security
  • Swaraj didn’t mention India’s relationship with China during her speech on Asian connectivity, other leaders on the panel made a point of speaking about China’s role
  • Tensions between India and Pakistan have held back South Asian integration, said former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga
  • Swaraj and her Bangladesh counterpart Mahboob Ali spoke of the importance of building road and rail connectivity through the “BBIN” grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal

4. Multitudes attend funeral of Salman Taseer assassin Mumtaz Qadri

Topic: global issues Category: India’s neighborhood Location: The Hindu, Page 16 Key Points:

  • Tens of thousands of Pakistanis attended the funeral of police officer Mumtaz Qadri executed for assassinating Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab province in 2011
  • Taseer had sparked a row by his campaign to win  pardon for Asia Bibi, a poor Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws
  • Pakistan’s blasphemy laws allow for anyone convicted of insulting Islam or the Prophet Muhammad to be sentenced to death
  • Pakistani authorities warned local media covering the funeral that they would have to shut down if their reporting “glorifies extremism.”

 

5. Calais ‘jungle’ camp razed

Topic: global issues Category: international crises Location: The Hindu, Page 16 Key Points:

  • northern French port city of Calais, had become a magnet for refugees hoping to reach Britain
  • French authorities razed parts of the “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais for a second day
  • Clashes erupted on Monday between riot police and protesting migrants who do not want to be moved to better accommodation
  • they claim it will take them farther from their goal of reaching Britain
  • In another incident, thousands of refugees were blocked in Greece
  • over 131,000 migrants had entered Europe via the Mediterranean in 2016 so far

 

6. Myanmar vote: hopes fade for Suu Kyi

  • Myanmar’s Parliament will bring forward a vote for the next President to March 10
  • Now there is little time for Aung San Suu Kyi to strike a deal to let her take the top office
  • She is currently banned from becoming President under the junta-era Constitution.
  • Suu Kyi had held several rounds of closed-door talks with the powerful military since her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won crushing victory at elections in November

 

7. Pakistan team may arrive soon to probe Pathankot attack

Topic: Security Category: terrorism Location: The Hindu, Page 15 pak_2758634f Key Points:

  • the decks were cleared for the visit of Pakistani investigators to India to probe the attack on the Pathankot airbase
  • Now India will ask Pak about the “composition of the team” and the “contents of the evidence required by them ”
  • The Pakistani team will come here with a letter rogatory (LR) issued by a court there
  • An LR is required to probe the case on foreign soil.
  • India has accused the Pakistan-based outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) of planning and executing the attack

 

C. GS3 Related

1. EPF tax: Government in damage control mode

Topic: Economy Category: Budget Location: Key points:

  • Employees drawing basic salary of Rs. 15000 have to compulsory contribute to the Provident fund and employees drawing above Rs. 15001 have  option to contribute or not to contribute
  • The Employee contributes 12% of his /her Basic Salary & the same amount is contributed by the Employer
  • Before the budget announcement EPF was EEE(exempt-exempt-exempt i.e contributions, return on them and withdrawal of the accumulated corpus not taxable)
  • There was also no limit on employee contribution
  • now 1.5 lakh a year is the limit
  • Also now 60 per cent of EPF savings at the time of withdrawal or retirement is taxed (EET)
  • The changes have come under severe criticism
  • The revenue secretary explains:
  • People unnecessarily misuse the EPF route for tax avoidance, out of the 3.70 crore active EPF accounts, around 3 crore belong to those who earn less than Rs.15,000 a month
  • 70 lakh high-income people who were allowed to join EPF on a voluntary basis contributing even Rs. 12 lakh a month into their EPF accounts get complete tax exemption
  • the revenue secretary had again clarified that the tax would only be applicable on interest income paid on EPF savings
  • if an employee chose to buy an annuity(fixed yearly sum paid for the rest of life) with 60 per cent of his EPF account balance at retirement, it would be tax-free
  • Now the FM is considering amending the finance bill to address the concerns

 

2. Hopes on habitat revive after vultures feed at ‘restaurant’

Topic: Environment Category: conservation Location: The Hindu, Page 10 images Key points:

  • Bejjur vultures whose numbers were dwindling due to habitat destruction are picking up now
  • Forest officials and personnel had put up a ‘restaurant’ on top of Pala Rapu cliff offering carcasses to the vultures in Bejjur forest range(Adilabad-Telangana)
  • The numbers were dwindling because cattle carcasses were no longer available as farmers in nearby villages were selling off cattle

 

3. RBI unlocks Rs.40,000 crore additional capital for banks

Topic: Economy Category: policies Location: The Hindu, Page 17 TH02_BU_LOGO_2758450f Key Points:

  • The RBI unlocked Rs 35,000 crore capital for public sector banks and Rs 5,000 crore for private sector banks by making  some amendments to the treatment of certain balance sheet items for the purposes of determining banks’ regulatory capital
  • Regulatory capital  is the amount of capital a bank or other financial institution has to hold as required by its financial regulator
  • This is usually expressed as a capital adequacy ratio of equity that must be held as a percentage of risk-weighted assets(loans)
  • The move comes at a time when public sector banks are facing pressure on their profitability due to a sharp rise in non-performing assets, which is eroding their capital base

 

4. Farmers’ e-market platform could be a game changer

Topic: Economy Category: policies Location: The Hindu, Page 18 AVN_WHOLESALE_795275f Key points:

  • a Unified Agricultural Marketing e-platform will be dedicated to the nation on April 14
  • amendments to the APMC Act is a prerequisite to joining this platform
  • 12 states have already amended this Act
  • APMC Act empowers state governments to notify commodities, and designate markets and market areas where the regulated wholesale trade takes place(it would have to be foregone for creating a national market)
  • The government’s decision to create a common e-market platform for farmers will remove inter-state barriers in moving farm produce and could be a game changer, according to analysts
  • In addition it requires physical logistic support which is crucial to enable the farmer to move his crop
  • If implemented well the initiative could benefit farmers and consumers alike by ensuring fair prices.

 

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

1. Looking beyond economic quick-fixes

Location: The Hindu, Page 12

  • finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 countries are meeting in Shanghai
  • the complexities of formulating a collective response to the persisting global slowdown in growth was visible in the discussions
  • Different countries had different responses to the slowdown
  • US opined China ought to increase domestic consumption and Germany adopt fiscal stimulus
  • Germany  ruled out  a fiscal stimulus and instead continued to insist on structural reforms as the remedy
  • Despite the strong divergence of perceptions, the promise in Shanghai to refrain from a competitive devaluation of currencies to promote exports could go some way to soothe investor sentiment
  • Currency volatilities could continue to pose concerns as emerging economies experienced a slowdown in 2015 — most notably Brazil and China
  • The political engagement from the G-20 in the wake of the 2008 global meltdown was immense
  • That resulted in the fiscal stimulus, the stabilisation of the banking sector and the injection of capital into international financial institutions
  • It is about time the rich and emerging economies summon the resolve and the will to promote a more equitable international order

 

2. The health net should cover all

Location: The Hindu, page 18

  • When it comes to public health expenditure, India is behind many developing countries
  • there is much to learn from the experience of countries such as Thailand and Japan
  • a study conducted by the World Bank and the Japanese government revealed many aspects which India can emulate
  • the use of general tax money to augment payroll taxes(money withheld from employees  for social security provisions eg.PF)
  • the firm limiting of care costs through standardised benefits and standardised payments
  • Both aspects — viable funding to universalized access and tightly regulated costs to guard against profiteering — combined with a guarantee of quality care are important to India
  • A nominal increase in the annual health budget, pegged at 9.5 per cent over 2015-16, and a growing role for profit- oriented care systems and private insurance can only retard India’s progress towards universal health coverage (UHC)
  • The answer clearly lies in moving towards UHC under a time-bound programme that covers everyone, using a combination of subscriber payments and tax funds, and strong controls over cost of care

 

3.How to recapitalise state-owned banks

Location:The Economic Times

  • recapitalising PSBs(25000 cr in current budget) might only be a necessary, not sufficient, condition to revive the core of Indian banking
  • The most important is the necessity of rewriting India’s outdated corporate bankruptcy rules
  • there is little that lenders can do  about the bad assets
  • Banks cannot liquidate them or turn them over to new managements that might turn them around
  • the government must also find ways to allow PSBs to issue more equity to private investors, which will dilute the Centre’s own holdings
  • it should create conditions for PSBs to sell off their bad debt to asset reconstruction companies (ARCs), at a reasonable discount
  • New Delhi must clean up political funding so that bank loans are not inflated to fund politicians

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:

i.  CAR

ii.  RBI

iii.  Myanmar elections

iv.  G20

v.  NPA

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
To be Updated

Check Your Answers

.

 
To be Updated

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *