Comprehensive News Analysis - 05 September 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Willing to work with India, says Xi

2. Ecologist bags Heritage Heroes Award of IUCN

3. Indian team witnesses history at the Vatican

4. G20 needs to be an action team: Xi

C. GS3 Related:

1. Mobile access scheme for remote areas soon

2. GST may shut down local intellectual property firms

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

Hindu

1. From dissent to disapproval

2. Merely a logistics pact?

3. The gap between rich and poor States

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


B. GS2 Related


  1. Willing to work with India, says Xi

Category: International Relations

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

1

Key Points:

  • PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, met on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
  • This meeting was an effort to reboot the troubled ties between India and China.
  • India raised several concerns, including “terrorism emerging” from the area covered by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a $46 billion connectivity project that India has objected to.
  • Highly placed sources maintain that, at the newly formed dialogue mechanism between the Foreign Secretary and the Vice-Foreign Minister from China, contentious issues  including the NSG, China’s reservations in sanctioning Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and India’s concerns over the CPEC, will now be discussed “openly and frankly”.
  • President Xi also mentioned that India and China can jointly contribute more to world economic growth and better global governance within the G20 framework.

 

2. Ecologist bags Heritage Heroes Award of IUCN

Category: International Relations

Topic: Awards

Key Points:

  • Bibhuti Lahkar, who is an Assam-based ecologist and conservation activist become the first Asian to be awarded the prestigious Heritage Heroes Award by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Mr Lahkar has been working to save the grasslands, and the flora and fauna of Manas National Park area for the past two decades.

What is the Heritage Heroes Award?

  • The Heritage Heroes Award, is an award aimed at recognising the “outstanding efforts” made across the world in making a difference in the conservation of World Heritage sites in challenging situations.


3. Indian team witnesses history at the Vatican

Category: International Relations

Topic: Indians in the news, Important Developments

2

Key Points:

  • India was represented by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the canonisation of Mother Teresa at a mass in St. Peter’s Square.
  • The ceremony was presided over by Pope Francis in the presence of over 1,00,000 pilgrims.

 

4. G20 needs to be an action team: Xi

Category: International Relations

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

3

Key Points:

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening of a two-day summit of leaders from G20 nations said that the global economy is being threatened by rising protectionism and risks from highly leveraged financial markets.
  • He went on to add that the global economy has arrived “at a crucial juncture”, in the face of sluggish demand, volatile financial markets and feeble trade and investment.
  • Xi called on G20 countries to match their words with actions, by declaring, “We should turn the G20 group into an action team, instead of a talk shop”.
  • Obama urged Beijing to uphold its legal obligations in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, and stressed U.S. commitments to its regional allies.
  • Xi said that China would continue to safeguard its sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea.

 

C. GS3 Related


  1. Mobile access scheme for remote areas soon

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Infrastructure

4

Key Points:

  • Government of India will soon unveil a new scheme to provide mobile phone access to over 55,000 villages- particularly those in border states and in the Himalayan region, to push forward its flagship Digital India programme.
  • The scheme will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
  • The USOF, is a fund which is maintained by the government.
  • This fund was formed to help fund projects to boost connectivity in rural areas.
  • The money for this fund comes through a ‘Universal Access Levy,’ charged from the telecom operators as a percentage of various licenses fees being paid by them.
    The Central Government is also in middle of executing the Bharat Net project which aims to connect all of India’s households, particularly in rural areas, through broadband by 2017.

 

  1. GST may shut down local intellectual property firms

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Taxation

Key Points:

  • One aspect that has evaded the discussion around the GST is the area of Intellectual Property.
  • It is important to note that GST should help foster the minuscule IP ecosystem in the country.
  • India has to produce world- class commercial and strategic IP. In the absence of such IP, India becomes just a market and a cheap-labour destination.
  • India is dependent on foreign technology for excellence in sectors that are strategic, including in defence, security, atomic energy, space programme, etc.
  • With the target date of April 2017 being set for the roll out of GST across the country, it is important that provisions are made for IP-generating entities.
  • The following considerations can fit well into this mandate:

– Exemption of GST on both purchase of tools or computers as well as on sale of IP by indigenous entities.

– Equipment or license purchased by a company recognised by the Department of Science and Industrial Research (DSIR) as a research company as per the Income Tax Act Section 80-IB (8A) and which are designed for use, and are used exclusively in research, education, instruction or investigation, and repair to be exempted from GST.

– Technology transfer or licensing of technology from universities, institutes and DSIR-recognised pure research firms, needs exemption.

  • Lastly, most countries that have GST have retained full exemption for IP-generating entities as in the case of Malaysia or have kept GST very low e.g. 6% in certain cases.

 

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


The Hindu


  1. From dissent to disapproval

Category: Polity and Governance 

Topic:  Judiciary  

Key Points:

  • Justice J. Chelameswar disagreed with the majority on a Constitution Bench which struck down the law enacted to establish a National Judicial Appointments Commission.
  • Justice J. Chelameswar had submitted a letter  to the Chief Justice, in which he is understood to have  raised the issue of lack of transparency in the collegium’s functioning.
  • Justice J. Chelameswar had articulated his view that the executive cannot be shut out of judicial appointments, and that the idea of according primacy to the judiciary in the matter of appointments is not the only way to preserve its independence.
  • This recent development has brought the focus again on the manner in which the judiciary functions on its administrative side.

 

  1. Merely a logistics pact?

Category: International Relations  

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

5

Key Points:

  • A Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), was signed on August 29th 2016, between  Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.
  • It is important to note that this agreement does not mention the setting up of “permanent bases” in either country.
  • LEMOA, it is learnt, only facilitates establishing “mutual basing facilities”.
  • LEMOA is intended to help speed up humanitarian relief operations as also emergency evacuation from conflict-prone regions. In certain circumstances, LEMOA could also help smoothen operational logistics between the navies of India and the US.
  • Some strategic experts believe that LEMOA is a critical link in the U.S.’s plans for a larger pivot towards Asia.
  • It is important to note that, with India’s economic profile and growth rates steadily going up, India has become a particularly attractive target for the U.S. — and the West.

 

Tracing the build-up

  • The strategic build-up between the US and India had commenced during the first term of former US President, George Bush. Energy and strategic issues greatly benefitted from the relationship during his second term.  The India- US relationship derived its strength from a mutual desire to strengthen cooperation between the world’s two largest democracies.
  • In PM Modi’s recent address to the U.S. Congress, a key statement that was made was that “India had moved beyond the hesitations of history”.
  • It is important to note that,  As India is moving closer to the U.S., Russia is seen to be coming closer to China. At one level, Russia is strengthening its links with China economically and strategically, and coordinating more closely with China on the issue of the South China Sea.
  • The main players in the Asian region today are the U.S., Russia and China. The current effort of nations such as China and Russia is to restrict, if not exclude, U.S. influence from the region, and labelling the US as a non-Asian power.


  1. The gap between rich and poor States

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development

Key Points:

  • In the year 1960, an average person in West Bengal earned Rs.390 per annum; the average person in Tamil Nadu earned Rs.330. But in 2014, the average Bengali earned Rs.80,000 while the average Tamilian earned Rs.1,36,000.
  • The southern States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have climbed up rapidly while West Bengal and Rajasthan have dropped down the order of the richest large States. Most of these States started at roughly the same levels of per capita GDP in 1960. In five decades, some have outperformed the rest, leading to a dramatic reshuffle of their ranking.
  • In 1960, the top three States were 1.7 times richer than the bottom three. But, by 2014, this gap had almost doubled, with the top three States being 3 times richer than the bottom three.
  • Today, India is the only large country in the world that is experiencing an economic divergence among its States and not a convergence.
  • India’s cultural and political diversity is a well-acknowledged, but it is now time to accept its economic diversity too.
  • In actual fact, cultural diversity hinders free labour mobility across States. While average incomes in Tamil Nadu may be four times higher than in Bihar, it is still not easy for a Hindi-speaking, roti-eating Bihari to move to Tamil-speaking, rice-eating Tamil Nadu in search of employment.
  • Amid such economic disparity among States with varying future needs and priorities, a Delhi-based one-size-fits-all policy regime for all of India isn’t well advised.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
  • LEMOA
  • Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
  • Heritage Heroes Award


G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) http://www.usof.gov.in/usof-cms/home.jsp
IUCN https://www.iucn.org/


H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. Bibhuti Lahkar, who is an Assam-based ecologist and conservation activist become the first Asian to be awarded the prestigious Heritage Heroes Award by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  2. The Heritage Heroes Award, is an award aimed at recognising the “outstanding efforts” made across the world in making a difference in the conservation of World Heritage sites in challenging situations.

a) Only 1

b) Only 2

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 2: In which of the following geographical locations across the world, would you find the 'Scarborough Shoal'?

a) South China Sea

b) Sea of Japan

c) Yellow Sea

d) East China Sea


Question 3: Consider the following statements,


  1. Government of India will soon unveil a new scheme to provide mobile phone access to over 55,000 villages- particularly those in border states and in the Himalayan region, to push forward its flagship Digital India programme.
  2. The scheme will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
  3. The USOF, is a fund which is maintained by the government and was formed to help fund projects to boost connectivity in rural areas.

a) Only 1 and 2

b) Only 2 and 3

c) All, 1, 2 and 3

d) Neither 1 nor 2 nor 3


Question 4: Consider the following statements,

  1. Manas National Park is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site.
  2. The name of the park is originated from the Manas River.
  3. The Manas river is a major tributary of Brahmaputra River, which passes through the heart of the national park.

a) Only 1 and 2

b) Only 2 and 3

c) All, 1, 2 and 3

d) Neither 1 nor 2 nor 3


Question 5: In which of the following geographical locations across the world, would you find the 'The Paracel Islands'?

a) South China Sea

b) Black Sea

c) Java Sea

d) Irish Sea

 

Check Your Answers

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