Comprehensive News Analysis – 04 December 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

1. Pre-historic camping site found in Ladakh

B. GS2 Related:

1. MATERNAL HEALTH – Choosing hospital over home

2. India keen on investments in Qatar, says Modi

3. ‘Heart of Asia’ meet to target Pak. on terror

4. Trump’s ‘Taiwan talk’ angers China

5. India, Afghanistan plan air cargo link

C. GS3 Related:

1. Don’t touch money in Jan Dhan accounts: PM

2. Set up State Food Commissions at the earliest: SC

3. GST Council fails to reach consensus on key issues

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance
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
1. Pre-historic camping site found in Ladakh

Category: Ancient History

Topic: Pre-Historic sites

Key Points:

  • In what is considered “a new opening in Indian archaeology”, an ancient camping site used by pre-historic man and datable to circa 8500 BCE, has been found at an altitude of about 4,200 metres near Saser La in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh. Saser La leads to the Karakoram Pass.
  • A camping site is a place where hunter-gatherers stayed temporarily before they moved on to another place. ASI found the camping site during an exploration there in 2015-16.
  • Charcoal pieces from hearth activity and remains of bones associated with it were found at the site. The charcoal pieces sent for dating to Beta Analytic, Florida, U.S., revealed that the site belonged to circa 8500 BCE.
  • ASI, called it “the earliest camping site in Ladakh”. Such an early antiquity on the basis of a scientific date is the very first for that region. This date has generated a lot of in-house discussion and excitement in the ASI.


B. GS2 Related
1. MATERNAL HEALTH – Choosing hospital over home

Category: Social Welfare    

Topic: Health

Key Points:

  • Over the last decade, a government programme – Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) aimed at increasing institutional deliveries has changed the health-seeking behavior of Indian women.
  • JSY led to a 22 per cent increase in women delivering in government hospitals between 2004 and 2014. The scheme also is attributed for increasing the probability of a woman being hospitalized by 1.3 per cent, resulting in a 2 per cent increase in overall hospitalization of women in India.
  • The increase, however marginal, is a cause of celebration as women in rural India are known to delay seeking health interventions.
  • Launched in 2005, JSY, the world’s biggest conditional cash-transfer scheme, aimed to promote institutional delivery — instead of delivering babies at home — to improve India’s infant and maternal mortality rates.
  • Under JSY, pregnant women choosing to deliver at the hospital and the health worker who motivated her to take the decision get cash incentives — 1,400 for the woman and Rs. 600 for the Accredited Social Health Activist in rural areas and Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 200 respectively in urban areas.
  • The researchers have found a causal link between JSY and increase in hospitalisation, even for non-childbirth-related ailments. The study found that while fertility rates in Indian women have steadily declined.
  • JSY impacted overall hospitalisation of women. JSY led to 15 per cent increase in institutional childbirth with a commensurate decline in deliveries at home. The data also shows that there is a tremendous increase of over 22 per cent in deliveries in government hospitals.
  • This increase is fueled by an 8 per cent decline in childbirth at private hospitals and a 16 per cent declined in childbirth at home. Our analysis shows that the JSY hypothesis holds true and the programme led to a significant increase of 2 percent in overall public hospitalization of women in India, states the Brookings India report.
  • The scheme’s focus was only to reduce maternal and infant mortality. But now we see that women are going for childbirth and are also coming in for other ailments. The overall increase is a windfall gain. However, there are concerns about the quality of care with increasing number of caesarean sections and hospital-acquired infections
  • the percentage of women reporting sick has also increased and it could be a result of other health insurance schemes like Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. The fact that these many women are being hospitalized also reflects the induced demand with hospitals performing unnecessary procedures.

 

2. India keen on investments in Qatar, says Modi

Category: International Relations

Topic: India – Qatar  

Key Points:

  • PM Modi expressed India’s keenness to invest in hydrocarbon projects in Qatar, during talks with his counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, on issues of energy, trade and security.
  • Modi and the Qatari Prime Minister discussed enhancing cooperation in defence and security, in particular in cybersecurity and agreed on joint action to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • After the talks, the two sides inked five pacts, including in the field of visas, cyberspace and investments. The two leaders acknowledged that the current level of trade and investment was below potential.
  • On energy cooperation, Mr. Modi said, “We should go beyond the buyer-seller relationship to include Joint Ventures, Joint Research and Development and Joint Exploration. “Indian companies were ready to invest in both upstream and downstream projects.”

 

3. ‘Heart of Asia’ meet to target Pak. on terror

Category: International Relations   

Topic: India and its neighbourhood

Key Points:

  • India and Afghanistan are once again expected to try to pin down Pakistan on terrorism at the Heart of Asia conference beginning at Amritsar. The two countries are expected to try for a draft declaration in stringent language against “cross-border terrorism” and “sanctuaries for terror groups”.
  • Ghani and Mr. Modi will hold a bilateral meeting, their fourth this year. The two leaders are expected to discuss enhancing India’s military assistance to Afghanistan, the development of Iran’s Chabahar port for trade and an “air cargo” agreement to work around obstacles posed by Pakistan to transit trade.
  • India and Afghanistan’s counter-terror proposals to corner Pakistan may face some pushback from close allies of Pakistan such as China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey

 

4. Trump’s ‘Taiwan talk’ angers China

Category: International Relations  

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

Key Points:

  • S President-elect Donald Trump signalled a potential rupture in the country’s China policy by holding a telephone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday. He is the first American President or President-elect to talk to a Taiwanese President since 1979, when the U.S. cut off diplomatic ties with the island while getting closer to China.
  • Recognising Taiwan as a part of China is a fundamental principle of the U.S.-China relations and Mr. Trump’s engagement with the Taiwanese leader drew strong reactions from Beijing.
  • China urged the U.S. to “handle issues related to Taiwan” carefully. The ‘One China’ principle is the political foundation of China-U.S. relations. China has urged the relevant side in the U.S. to adhere to the ‘One China’ policy, abide by the pledges in the three joint China-U.S. communiques, and handle issues related to Taiwan carefully and properly to avoid causing unnecessary interference to the overall China-U.S. relationship.

 

5. India, Afghanistan plan air cargo link

Category: International Relations  

Topic: India and its neighbourhood

Key Points:

  • India and Afghanistan are likely to announce an air cargo service on Saturday to help increase trade that both say is stymied because of their tense political relations with Pakistan that lies between them.
  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were meeting in the northern Indian city of Amritsar, a short distance from the Pakistan border, for the Heart of Asia conference aimed at stabilising Afghanistan.
  • The focus of the air cargo service is to improve landlocked Afghanistan’s connectivity to key markets abroad and boost the growth prospects of its fruit and carpet industries while it battles a deadly Taliban insurgency.
  • Afghanistan depends on the Pakistani port of Karachi for its foreign trade. It is allowed to send a limited amount of goods overland through Pakistan into India, but imports from India are not allowed along this route.

 

C. GS3 Related
1. Don’t touch money in Jan Dhan accounts: PM

Category: Indian Economy   

Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked poor people not to withdraw money from their Jan Dhan accounts.
  • Modi was referring to reports of millions of rupees being deposited in Jan Dhan accounts allegedly by black money holders. Mr. Modi said the money should go to the poor people and the black money holders should go to jail.
  • Talking about the role of big States in eradicating poverty, Mr. Modi said: “If one has to eradicate poverty from the country, it is essential to develop big States like UP, Bihar and Maharashtra.

 

2. Set up State Food Commissions at the earliest: SC

Category: Economy

Topic: Food distribution

Key Points:

  • The Supreme Court has criticized the Centre and the State governments for the lackluster implementation of the National Food Security Act of 2013.
  • It deplored the rather casual approach to the mandatory setting up of the State Food Commissions meant to monitor the implementation of the statute.
  • The SC learnt from the Centre that many States have other existing bodies that double up as the Food Commission.
  • The court found that the situation has come into existence owing to the “flexibility” provided by the Act to States to designate “some existing Commission to act as the State Food Commission”.
  • The SC Bench felt such arrangements could negatively impact the implementation of the 2013 Act.


3. GST Council fails to reach consensus on key issues

Category: Economy

Topic: Taxation

Key Points:

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council failed to reach a consensus on critical issues, including the laws that need to be passed in the winter session in order to stick to the April 1, 2017 rollout date set by the Centre.
  • With the pending legislations, including the draft model GST law, as well as the contentious issue of dual administrative control over assessees between the Centre remaining unresolved, the GST Council would now meet on December 11 and 12.
  • States also expressed their concerns on the impact of demonetization and suggested an increase in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management targets while others called for a relaxation of the ways and means limits.


D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Heart of Asia conference
  • GST Council
  • Janani Suraksha Yojana


G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

Janani Suraksha Yojana

H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. Janani Suraksha Yojana is the world’s biggest conditional cash-transfer scheme, aimed to promote institutional delivery.
  2. The scheme’s focus is only to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 2: Which of the following are the objectives of the FRBM Act?
  1. to introduce transparent fiscal management systems in the country
  2. to introduce a more equitable and manageable distribution of the country’s debts over the years
  3. to aim for fiscal stability for India in the long run

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) 1, 2 and 3


Question 3: The ‘Heart of Asia conference ’ is also called as -

a) Istanbul Process

b) Kabul Process

c) Islamabad Process

d) Tehran Process


Question 4: Consider the following statements,
  1. The National Food Security Act adopts a human life cycle approach
  2. The Act provides for coverage of up to 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized food grains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 5: The GST Council has been set up according to the provisions of which article?
a) Article 279A

b) Article 272

c) Article 268

d) Article 278


Check Your Answers

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