Comprehensive News Analysis - 05 May 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Meditate on this: Yoga Day to get bigger, grander, longer

2. Centre may appoint independent regulators for professional services

3. Collegium picks 4 for SC, recommends Uttarakhand Chief Justice’s transfer

4. Nepal: Maoists withdraw support from govt, KP Oli on his way out

C. GS3 Related:

1. Bangladesh approves Reliance Power proposal to set up 750 MW gas-based power project

2. Cabinet Approves Flexible Domestic Coal Use Policy

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

The Hindu:

1. Bitter medicine for the Centre

2. NOTA on my ballot

3. Do not ignore the Taliban


1. PIB update

i) Atomic Material and Radiation sterilization

ii). Measures to ensure complete rehabilitation of militants

iii). Reforms in Oil and Gas Exploration

iv). CAIPEEX Experiment to understand the Rain Formation in Clouds and the impact of Randomized Cloud Seeding

v). India’s Share in Foreign Tourist Arrivals

vi). Focus on infrastructural development of sports

2. The Financial Express:Unshackling the power sector

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



Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today folks!

B. GS2 Related

1. Meditate on this: Yoga Day to get bigger, grander, longer

Topic: Governance Category: Mental Health Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • International Yoga Day recognized by the UNGA to be celebrated for the second time on June 21

Tags:  International Yoga Day, the UNGA Note: Relate Yoga and Mental health in India


2. Centre may appoint independent regulators for professional services

Topic: Governance Category: Regulation of services Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • The government is planning to appoint independent regulators for services such as medicine, law, chartered accountancy, cost accountancy and company secretaryship.

(The bodies being referred to by the commerce ministry include Medical Council of India (MCI), Bar Council of India (BCI), Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Institute of Cost Accountants of India and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). All these are statutory bodies under an Act of Parliament)

  • The independent regulators will maintain distance from the professional bodies similar to the situation in developed countries. According to sources in the commerce ministry, the existing structure of a regulator-cum-professional body for these services has resulted in several alleged instances of conflict of interest
  • This hurt the credibility and reputation of these bodies and hampered India’s attempts to secure Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other countries to enable easier temporary movement of skilled workers and professionals across borders, the sources said



3. Collegium picks 4 for SC, recommends Uttarakhand Chief Justice’s transfer

Topic: Polity Category: Judiciary Location: The Indian Express Key points:

  • The Supreme Court collegium has recommended elevation of three High Court Chief Justices and a senior lawyer to the apex court, the first such recommendation in over a year (It also recommended transfer of Chief justice of Uttarakhand High Court )
  •  The apex court’s current strength of judges is 25, against the sanctioned strength of 31
  • While making the recommendations, the collegium seems to have overlooked seniority and also missed an opportunity to give proper representation to high courts

(While there are no fixed criteria for elevating high court chief justices to the apex court, the endeavor so far has been to give adequate representation to different high courts and ensure representation of different sections of society, including women. Currently, there is only one lady Judge in the Supreme Court) Tags: SC, Collegium System   Tags: SC Collegium


4. Nepal: Maoists withdraw support from govt, KP Oli on his way out 

Topic: India’s Neighbourhood Category: Nepal Location: The Indian Express Key points:

  • Nepal’s seven-month-old government headed by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli (of Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) )faces an imminent exit as a new alliance, that has emerged suddenly with clear majority in the House, has served it a quit notice
  • the Nepali Congress, the main opposition and the biggest party in the House, has decided to extend its support to the Prachanda led Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)-the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) was the second-largest constituent in the coalition government of Oli
  • Prachanda also won the support of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) that had launched a protest movement against the Oli government for five months after the promulgation of the Constitution on September 20 last year

Note: How would a possible leadership change in Nepal affect India- Nepal relations?


C. GS3 Related

1. Bangladesh approves Reliance Power proposal to set up 750 MW gas-based power project

Topic: Economic Relations Category: India-Bangladesh Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • Reliance Power has received in-principle approval from the Bangladesh government for the first phase of a 3,000 megawatt gas-based power plant, paving the way for the largest Foreign Direct Investment in the neighbouring country with a potential investment of over Rs 8,700 crore ($1.3 billion)



2. Cabinet Approves Flexible Domestic Coal Use Policy

Topic: Economy Category: Energy sector Location: The Indian Express Key points:

  • The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal to relax norms for utilisation of domestic coal aimed at bringing down cost of power generation(Earlier, the government has allowed swapping of coal mines by users so that transportation cost can be reduced for generation of power)
  • The proposal is also aimed at improving the consumption of domestic coal by the industry, mainly the power sector, against the backdrop of cheaper imports and high production of the dry fuel in the country

Tags: Union Cabinet


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

The Hindu

1. Bitter medicine for the Centre

Topic: Governance Category: Health Key points:

  • The SC using its extra-ordinary powers has set up a three-member committee headed by former CJI to perform the statutory functions of the Medical Council of India
  • The government now has a year to restructure the MCI, the regulatory body for medical education and professional practice
  • the Dr. Ranjit Roy Chaudhury expert committee and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in the Rajya Sabha had both recommended structural change to MCI through amendments to the Indian Medical Council Act
  • What is most pressing is the need to reduce the cost of medical education and increase access in different parts of the country
  • This must be done to improve the doctor-to-population ratio, which is one for every 1,674 persons, as per the parliamentary panel report, against the WHO-recommended one to 1,000
  • Only people in bigger cities and towns have reasonable access to doctors and hospitals
  • Removing bottlenecks to starting collegeswill considerably rectify the imbalance, especially in under-served States. The primary criterion to set up a college should only be the availability of suitable facilities to impart quality medical education.
  • The development of health facilities has long been affected by a sharp asymmetry between undergraduate and postgraduate seats in medicine. There are only about 25,000 PG seats, against a capacity of 55,000 graduate seats
  • A reform agenda for the MCI must include an admission procedure that eliminates multiplicity of entrance examinations and addresses issues such as the urban-rural divide and language barriers
  • The single most important issue that the new committee (Lodha committee) would have to address is corruption in medical education, in which the MCI is mired. Appointing prominent persons from various fields to a restructured council can help improve transparency
  • Tags: MCI,the Indian Medical Council Act, Lodha Committee,Dr. Ranjit Roy Chaudhury expert committee ,the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in the Rajya Sabha

Note: The problems in the health system in India can be traced back to corrupt and inaccessible medical education in India. Comment


2. NOTA on my ballot

Topic: Polity Category: Elections Key points:

  • The last option on the electronic voting machine now carries a symbol denoting “none of the above”, or NOTA
  • In its landmark judgment in September 2013 ordering the inclusion of the NOTA option, the Supreme Court had clarified that a high NOTA count would not invalidate an election and the highest-polling candidate would be declared elected
  • The voter essentially got a method to register discontent, a protest that became unavailable to her with the shift to EVMs. Earlier, voters could deface the ballot paper or leave it unmarked to cast an invalid vote. With EVMs, a vote is deemed to have been taken place only when a button is pressed. Voters can still fill a form under Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules to invalidate votes, but the process is not anonymous.
  • Unlike invalid paper ballot votes, there is nothing ambiguous about choosing the NOTA button. There was no way to determine if a paper ballot had been rendered invalid unwittingly or by design
  • But average NOTA votes tend to be just over 1 per cent of total votes cast, suggesting that cynical attitude towards politicians are not exactly prevalent
  • Voter turnouts in Indian elections continue to be staggeringly high, and the voter clearly does not go through the trouble of getting to a polling booth just to reject everybody
  • But there are cases where spikes in the NOTA tally may be indicating coercion (whereby a voter forced to cast her ballot beats the effort by invalidating it) or relatively higher alienation.
  • Also NOTA votes are disproportionately higher in reserved constituencies, at the Lok Sabha and Assembly levels, revealing an undercurrent of social prejudice
  • For most candidates, however, it will remain an exercise in getting every potential NOTA vote — so that like Kannur’s(Kerala) runner-up in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, they are not hit by a margin of defeat that is less than the NOTA count

Tags: NOTA, EVM, the Conduct of Election Rules


3. Do not ignore the Taliban

Topic: International Relations Category: Indo- Afghan Relations Key points:

  • No one is fully committed to Afghanistan’s dysfunctional government. Beijing is unwilling to use its leverage over Pakistan, Washington is distracted, while Moscow and Tehran are hedging their bets
  • The idea of a regional concert of powers to resolve the conflict seems unrealistic.
  • If Pakistan is the taproot of the insurgency, it would also have to be the locus of diplomacy-Afghan administration realizes this(The existence of  two types of Taliban — Pakistani proxies and nationalist jihadists — were indirectly acknowledged by both Pakistani and Afghan administration)
  • Pakistan has failed to arrange talks with their proxy jihadists and Afghanistan
  • So Afghan administration wants to go ahead with talks with home grown jihadists till Pakistani administration cooperates
  • In the long-term, the Afghan government’s bargaining position vis-à-vis Pakistan and the Taliban will depend on two factors above all
  • First, how committed is the U.S( a Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) of the U.S., China, Pakistan and Afghanistan was convened in January 2016)
  • Second factor: whether Afghanistan can put in place a legitimate government soon enough( a unity govt. is in place now)
  • New Delhi has an opportunity to build onNovember’s historic agreement to transfer attack helicopters to Kabul. It should seize it. But this can’t change the fundamentals
  • The Afghan government cannot endure — economically, politically, or militarily — with the war at its current pitch, the economy in its present shape, and Afghan politics in such dysfunction
  • A regional consensus is needed more than ever. Another Taliban takeover cannot be allowed

Tags:Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) Note: It’s time for India to scale up the policy of passive assistance to Afghanistan. Comment



1.PIB update:

i) Atomic Material and Radiation sterilization

  • Radiation Sterilisation is a cold process that uses gamma radiation for sterilisation of Healthcare Products.
  • Controlled gamma energy which is released by radioisotope such as Cobalt-60 is used for sterilisation.
  • Cobalt-60 is most preferred radioisotope as it is readily available from single nuclear reaction in reactor and also cost effective.
  • Gamma radiation is characterised by deep penetration and kills microorganism by destroying DNA structure.
  • The process is suitable for Industrial scale sterilisation.
  • Radiation dose of 25 kGy (2.5 Mrad) is officially accepted dose for sterilisation of healthcare products.
  • Delivery of dose to the products is measured by dosimeter. Radiation sterilised products are acceptable by Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

  Please click here to read more on the benefits of Radiation sterilization from BEST of PIB section.


ii) Measures to ensure complete rehabilitation of militants 

  • The Government of India is implementing a Scheme for Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation of Militants in the North-East.
  • The objective of the Scheme is to wean away the misguided youth who have strayed into the fold of militancy and bring them to the mainstream.
  • Surrenderedpersons are paid monthly stipend uptoRs. 4000/- for a period of 36 months and an immediate grant uptoRs. 2.5 lakhs is kept in a bank in the name of each surrenderedpersons as fixed deposit for a period of 3 years.
  • Persons eligible under the scheme are initially lodged in a Rehabilitation camp where they are trained in a trade/ vocation of their liking or befitting their aptitude.


iii) Reforms in Oil and Gas Exploration 

  • Government has taken various policy and administrative initiatives to facilitate hydrocarbon exploration in the country.
  • Some of the policy decisions taken in recent years to enhance exploration and production activities are as under: Government has approved Hydrocarbon and Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) .Please refer to our Issues in News section to read more on HELP policy.Please click here
  • Marketing and Pricing freedom for new gas production from Deepwater, Ultra Deepwater and High Pressure-High Temperature areas.
  • Discovered Small Fields Policy– 67 oil & gas fields which have been held by ONGC and OIL for many years, but have not been exploited, has been approved for bidding under this policy.• Policy Framework for relaxation, extensions and clarifications at the development and production stage under PSC (Production Sharing Contract) regime for early monetization of hydrocarbon discoveries is provided by the New Domestic Natural Gas price Guidelines, 2014: Under these guidelines, gas price has been linked to the market/ important hub prices.


iv) CAIPEEX Experiment to understand the Rain Formation in Clouds and the impact of Randomized Cloud Seeding 

  • The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) is putting its effort in understanding the rain formation in clouds through a research program called Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX).
  • Under this experiment, air borne observations are taken through randomized cloud seeding and the impact is recorded.
  • The CAIPEEX program uses a combination of radar, other ground based instruments and airborne platforms along with modeling to plan and conduct the seeding experiment.
  • The area for cloud seeding is determined based on convective potential.
  • As of now, artificial rain making techniques involving cloud seeding cannot be used for bringing rain clouds to rainfall deficit/drought areas.
  • These techniques can only induce potential pre-existing clouds with adequate cloud droplets, to produce enhanced quantum of rain.


v) India’s Share in Foreign Tourist Arrivals 

  • Share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals in India in the International Tourist Arrivals around the world during 2015 were 0.68%.

( note:  Aspirants must have a rough idea about our share which is  less than 1percent)

  • Ministry of Tourism has taken various initiatives in the recent past for development and promotion of tourism and it include
  • E – Tourist Visa (e-TV) – for the citizens of 150 countries
  • Publicity and Promotion: campaigns in the international markets under the Incredible India brand-line to showcase various tourism destinations and products including its cultural heritage.
  • Promotion of North East-One to one meetings between tourism service providers from North Eastern regions and tour operators from other parts of India and ASEAN countries were also organised.
  • National Medical and Wellness Tourism Promotion Board

The Board chaired by the Union Tourism Minister will give guidance to the Government to position India as a competent and credible medical and wellness tourism destination.


vi) Focus on infrastructural development of sports 

  • Sports is a state subject and it is primarily the responsibility of States to develop sports and sports infrastructure in the country.
  • The Central Government supplements/complements the efforts of the states in this regard.
  • For this purpose, the Ministry was implementing Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan Scheme (RGKA) and Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS) which have since been merged along with National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) into a new umbrella Central Sector Scheme known as Khelo India
  • Khelo India – National Programme for Development of Sports” to be implemented during 2016-17.
  • The Khelo India Scheme has three major components, namely, annual competitions, sports infrastructure and talent search.


2. The Financial Express: Unshackling the power sector

Topic: Governance Category: internet Key Points:

  • Barring Russia, China and Iran, most of the world has warmed up to multi-stakeholderism in internet governance.India is a recent advocate of this system.
  • Recently, India reasserted its commitment to the model at ICANN55 and the minister for communications and IT reiterated that the country values the internet to be “open, plural and inclusive”
  •  To be able to make meaningful contributions to the governance process and benefit from its pluralistic nature, multi-stakeholder practices need to adopted in domestic policy-making as well, especially for internet and communications policy
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been leading on this front; in developing policy recommendations, TRAI follows a multi-stakeholder consultation process which is open to the public for participation
  •  Before making its recommendations to the government, TRAI addresses all the comments and questions that arise in the consultation process in a transparent manner. The existence of such a formal mechanism to address those suggestions which are excluded from the eventual policy is perhaps the litmus test for multi-stakeholderism
  • Recently, other government bodies (like Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion) have been adopting a consultative approach to policy-making. Even as these are steps in the right direction, India lacks a comprehensive mechanism for domestic internet policy formulation that is consistent with its global commitments
  •  The spirit of multilateralism has been central to how policy formulation is viewed in India and shedding it is not going to be easy
  • India will soon account for a substantial part of the world’s online population
  •  Even as there is extensive evidence of the economic and social benefits of internet connectivity for India, the link between economic benefits of the internet and the global system of governance is not immediately clear
  •  However, as internet penetration increases and commerce becomes predominantly electronically-driven, the overlap between issues of internet governance and those of governance generally will grow larger, and India will have greater ability to shape the international discourse on governance. Economic size and opportunity deserve to be translated to meaningful gains globally.
  • The convergence of issues in communications governance was foreseen when the Communications Convergence Bill was conceived in 2000. Revisiting the legislation, and strengthening multi-stakeholderism may be ideas worth considering

Tags:Communications Convergence Bill, ICANN55


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • International Yoga Day
  • Collegium system of the Indian Judiciary
  • Hydrocarbon and Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP)
  • Dr. Ranjit Roy Chaudhury expert committee
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN ) ?
  1. ICANN manages the Internet Protocol address spaces for IPv4 and IPv6
  2. ICANN is a not for profit organization helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 2: Which of the following statements is/are true?
  • The Collegium prescribing the appointment of judges consistsof a panel of five senior most judges of the Supreme Court and high courts
  • The collegium has the power to confirm appointments despite resistance, if any, from the government

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 3: Which of the following statement(s) is/are true about the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)?
  1. It proposes to provide uniform license for exploration and production of all forms of hydrocarbons
  2. A mechanism to determine the ceiling price limitbased on the landed cost of the alternate fuels has been imposed

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 4: Which of the following statement(s) is/are true about the NOTA option in EVMs?
    1. A vote cast for NOTA becomes invalid
    2. A higher NOTA count than others could invalidate an election

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 5:Which of the following countries were included in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group on the Afghan Peace and Reconciliation process?
  1. China
  2. Pakistan
  3. India
  4. The U S A

a) 1 and 3 b) 2 ,3 and 4 c) 1, 2 and 4 d) All the Above

Check Your Answers

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