Comprehensive News Analysis – 06 December 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Tamil Nadu plunges into mourning

2. Centre not to make singing of National Anthem compulsory in government schools

3. Horse racing not animal cruelty: SC

4. India to train Vietnam’s Sukhoi fighter pilots

5. “Nepal must recognise Hindi as national language”

6. Rajapaksa slams draft proposals for Constitution

C. GS3 Related:

1. Two dead, 14 injured after Navy frigate keels over

2. Doctors warn of worsening asthma, allergies in winter

3. GST will raise energy efficiency: PM

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

The Hindu

1. The heart of the problem

2. The nowhere people

The Indian Express

1. Case for consensus

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. Tamil Nadu plunges into mourning

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Developments, Govt. Schemes

Key Points:

Development:

  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is no more. She had suffered a cardiac arrest and did not respond to emergency life support treatment. Her death plunged the State and the party into grief.
  • It is important to note that during her many tenures as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, several initiatives and schemes were launched. Some of these schemes have set themselves as an example to follow in other states of the country as well. Thus, it is important for civil services aspirants to be aware of these schemes.

Welfare Schemes initiated:

  • ‘Cradle Baby’ scheme: This scheme was launched in 1992 in Salem district, during her first term, to combat the low sex ratio and to curb the menace of female infanticide.
  • In addition, Jayalalithaa instituted the ‘Girl Child Protection Scheme’, which provides financial incentives to impoverished parents to tide over educational and marriage expenses of their daughters.
  • All Women Police Stations: To specifically cater to the complaints and grievances of women, the first All Women Police Station was set up in 1992 by her government. At present in Tamil Nadu, 200 such police stations are functioning, with one in each sub-division. It is significant to note that about 40% of the All Women Police Stations in the country are located in Tamil Nadu. In addition, every police station has been ordered to have one Woman Sub-Inspector.
  • Rainwater harvesting (RWH): This was started as a movement by the government in 2001. She made RWH compulsory in all buildings to replenish the groundwater tables, which were rapidly falling. Amendments were made to the Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act.
  • New Veeranam scheme: This scheme envisaged bringing water from Veeranam tank in Cuddalore district to Chennai. This scheme was implemented by the AIADMK regime led by her in 2004. Since 2004, the Veeranam tank, located at the tail-end of the Cauvery river system, has been one of the major water sources for Chennai.
  • Tsunami relief and rehabilitation: In the aftermath of the tsunami on December 26, 2004, she ensured that the entire official machinery was focussed on relief efforts.
  • Free houses, goats and grinders: One of her flagship schemes was the Solar Powered Green House Scheme. This scheme was launched in 2011-2012. This scheme aimed at providing a proper home for families living below the poverty line, along with the solar powered home illumination.
  • Also, milch animals were distributed in villages. This was another big hit among the rural folk.
  • Free laptop scheme: Jayalalithaa unveiled a free laptop scheme for students of government and government-aided schools and colleges. The objective was to empower students and enhance their skills and ability, and was especially targeted at those in rural areas.
  • Amma canteens: This scheme was launched primarily to provide food to the urban poor at a low cost. This scheme is now being replicated in many other states.
  • Amma baby care kits: The scheme was aimed at improving the hygiene of post-natal mothers and newborn babies, and inculcating hygienic practices among the mothers. The kits contain, among other things, a towel, dress, bed, protective net, napkin, oil, baby soap, shampoo, soap box, liquid hand wash, nail cutter, baby rattle, toy, and ‘sowbagya sundi lehiyam’ (a medicinal preparation to improve mother’s health).

 

  1. Centre not to make singing of National Anthem compulsory in government schools

Category: Polity and Governance 

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • The Centre recently declared that it does not propose to make singing of the National Anthem mandatory in all government and government-aided schools.
  • The Centre remarked that it is up to the States to take necessary action for observance of provisions of the RTE Act and Constitution concerning the same.
  • Citing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Mr.  Upendra Kushwaha,  said that the act provides for free and compulsory education to every child of age 6 to 14 in a neighbourhood school till the completion of elementary education in all States and UTs except Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Specifics of the Act

  • It is important to note that section 29(2)(a) of the RTE Act provides that the academic authority, while laying down the curriculum and the evaluation procedure under sub-section (1), shall take into consideration conformity with the values enshrined in the Constitution.
  • Further, it is also important to note that Article 51-A (a) of the Constitution of India mentions that it shall be the duty of the every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and the national anthem.

 

  1. Horse racing not animal cruelty: SC

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Judiciary

Key Points:

  • The Supreme Court recently remarked that Horse racing per seis not cruelty.
  • The Supreme Court is however against tonga races on metal roads.

 

  1. India to train Vietnam’s Sukhoi fighter pilots

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Agreements involving India

Key Points:

  • India has agreed to train Vietnam’s Sukhoi-30 fighter pilots.
  • Both India and Vietnam operate Russian Su-30 jets, but the two countries’ models differ slightly in their configuration.
  • It is important to note that India and Vietnam have been steadily stepping up their cooperation, especially in the defence sector, against the backdrop of the growing assertiveness of China in the region.
  • Bilateral ties were recently given a boost when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Vietnam in September.
  • In the area of naval cooperation, India already trains Vietnamese sailors in operating Kilo class submarines.

 

  1. “Nepal must recognise Hindi as national language”

Category: International Relations  

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

Key Points:

  • Nepal’s latest attempt for a constitutional amendment has been rejected by the Madhesi agitators.
  • Leaders of Madhesi Morcha have remarked that they will not accept the proposed amendments as they did not address the issues of identity and language of the Madhesi population of the Nepali plains.
  • It is important to note that the disagreement over language and territorial demarcation has cast a shadow over the amendment process.

 

  1. Rajapaksa slams draft proposals for Constitution

Category: International Relations  

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

Key Points:

  • Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is against the draft proposals made for Sri Lanka’s new Constitution.
  • Rajapaksa has instead, cited the Indian model to make a case for limited sharing of powers between the centre and the provinces.
  • Rajapaksa has remarked that Sri Lanka’s system of devolution is modelled on that of India, and that the Governors of the Indian States have exactly the same powers as the provincial Governors in Sri Lanka.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Two dead, 14 injured after Navy frigate keels over

Category: Science and Technology   

Topic: Developments  

Key Points:

  • INS Betwa, a guided missile frigate, suffered a mishap at the Naval dockyard in Mumbai while it was at the dry dock.
  • Unfortunately, two crew members were killed and 14 were injured in the incident.
  • It is important to note that docking and undocking are very precise and complex processes.
  • INS Betwa is a 4000 tonne frigate of the Brahmaputra class built by Garden Reach Ship Builders of Kolkata and entered service in July 2004.

 

  1. Doctors warn of worsening asthma, allergies in winter

Category: Environment and Ecology   

Topic: Conservation, Air Quality  

Key Points:

  • With the sudden change in weather, the threat of infections and allergies also arise.
  • Especially at risk are those with pre-existing conditions like asthma.
  • It is important to note that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is home to an estimated 20 million asthma patients.
  • All of these 20 million asthma patients suffer from moderate to severe asthma.
  • It is important to note that winter is officially the cold and flu season.
  • There are cases of common cold, cough disorders and flu which tend to increase during these months.
  • Moreover, aerosol from cough can easily spread through moisture in the atmosphere and lead to frequent infections.
  • 80% of infections spread through direct and indirect contact.
  • During the winter season, a majority of people are hospitalised with flu and several others bear the brunt of cough, congestion, sore throat and other symptoms of cold.

 

  1. GST will raise energy efficiency: PM

Category: Indian Economy    

Topic: Taxation

Key Points:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has said that the Goods and Services Tax can help improve India’s energy efficiency by enabling easier long-haul transport across the country.
  • PM Modi went on to add that by removing physical barriers at State boundaries, the GST will accelerate long-haul transport and further increase efficiency.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. The heart of the problem

Category: International Relations    

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

Key Points:

  • There are good reasons as to why the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference is named so. One of the obvious reasons is geographical.
  • As Afghanistan lies at the junction of Central, South and East Asia, and is also at the junction of the ancient trading routes from China and India to Europe.
  • In fact, today, Afghanistan is also a focal point for the region’s biggest challenge- that of terrorism.
  • It was thus necessary and timely for India to put terror at the centre stage at the Heart of Asia declaration in Amritsar.
  • If we factor developments over the past year, the cornering of Pakistan by its South Asian neighbours has only yielded deeper ties for Islamabad with Beijing and Moscow, pushed Kabul closer to Central Asia, and moved New Delhi towards multilateral groupings to the east and south. 
  • It is significant to note that the ‘Heart of Asia’ process remains critical to forging cooperation to realise Afghanistan’s potential to be a vibrant Asian “hub”.

 

  1. The nowhere people

Category: International Relations   

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

Key Points:

  • Globally, an increasing number of people are facing displacement due to droughts, famines, rising sea levels and other natural disasters caused by climate change.
  • In popular literature, this class of migrants has been labelled as ‘environmental refugees’.
  • It is important to note that the UN Refugee Convention (1951) grants certain rights to people fleeing persecution because of race, religion, nationality, affiliation to a particular social group, or political opinion. 
  • Due to this convention, the refugees are entitled to follow principles of non-discrimination, non-penalisation, and non-refoulement. 
  • Unfortunately, people migrating due to environmental disasters have no such recognition of their ‘refugee’ status in international law.
  • This leaves them without any basic rights of rehabilitation and compensation.

The Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement presented a unique opportunity to address the challenge of increasing environmental refugees. 
  • It is important to note that before the negotiations commenced, there were numerous demands that were made to incorporate ways to tackle climate migration in the final agreement.
  • These demands included: a) recognising the threat posed by climate change to livelihoods and human safety, and environmental refugees or migrants affected by climate change; b) providing technical and capacity building support to national and local initiatives tackling such displacement; c) and developing suitable policies to manage loss and damage by addressing climate change-induced displacement.
  • Unfortunately, the Paris Agreement fell considerably short of these expectations.

The Way Forward

  • The draft of the Paris Agreement discussed before COP 21 provided for a Climate Change Displacement Coordination Facility.
  • Unfortunately, this coordination facility did not make it to the final text of the agreement, but it may be worthwhile to reconsider its establishment.

 

 The Indian Express

  1. Case for consensus

Category: Indian Economy

 Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

  • The recent meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council turned out to be inconclusive.
  • Some of the states debated with the Centre over issues such as dual control or sharing of administrative powers for overseeing the new taxation regime.
  • States, especially those ruled by non-BJP parties, are seeking a discussion on demonetisation in the GST Council.
  • It is important to note that in the wake of the demonetization initiative, there has been a huge impact on consumption and state revenue collections.
  • It is suggested that the Centre should show some flexibility on compensating states for revenue losses suffered because of demonetisation in the current fiscal, apart from allowing them greater leeway to borrow in what is undoubtedly an exceptional economic situation. 


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • UN Refugee Convention (1951)
  • Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act


H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. Article 51-A (a) of the Constitution of India mentions that it shall be the duty of the every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and the national anthem.
  2. Education is in the concurrent list.

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: Consider the following statements, regarding ‘INS Betwa’,

a) INS Betwa is a guided missile frigate.

b) INS Betwa is an offshore patrol vessel.

c) INS Betwa is an aircraft carrier.

d) INS Betwa is a naval submarine.


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. Fog is a visible mass consisting of cloud water droplets suspended in the air or near the Earth’s surface.
  2. The objectives of the Winter Fog Experiment (WIFEX) are to develop better now-casting (next 6 hours) and forecasting of winter fog on various time and spatial scales, and help reduce its adverse impact on aviation, transportation and economy, and loss of human life due to accidents.

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 4: Consider the following statements,
  1. Lauding the contribution of Dr. B R Ambedkar in water resources management of the country Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti has recently announced that his birth day 14th April will be celebrated as “Water Day”.
  2. The Dr. Mihir Shah report pertains to restructuring of Central Water Commission and Central Ground Water Board.

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: Consider the following statements,
  1. In order to provide social security benefits to the workers in the unorganised sector including sanitation workers, the Government has enacted the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.
  2. This Act stipulates formulation of suitable welfare schemes for unorganised workers on matters relating to: (i) life and disability cover, (ii) health and maternity benefits, (iii) old age protection and (iv) any other benefit as may be determined by the Central Government through the National Social Security Board.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Check Your Answers

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