Comprehensive News Analysis – 07 February 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. SC clears plan to verify mobile phone users through Aadhaar

2. Favouritism in selection bid: Dronacharya awardee

3. Tech giants at the forefront of legal resistance

4. China’s new ballistic missile has India in range

5. Rohingya refugees to be relocated on remote island

C. GS3 Related:

1. Late night quake jolts North India

2. Not a drop of the Ganga has been cleaned: NGT

3. Implement WTO’s Nairobi Ministerial decisions: India

4. Ministries, sectoral regulators to screen FDI proposals

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

The Hindu

1. Perilous U-turn on Iran

2. Rewiring the WTO

PIB

1. India and Austria Sign a Protocol amending the India-Austria Double Taxation Avoidance Convention

2. 50 lacs Universal Account Number (UAN) allotted to Construction Workers

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 for Today!!!

 
B. GS2 Related
1. SC clears plan to verify mobile phone users through Aadhaar

Category: Governance
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Key Points:

  • The Supreme Court on Monday approved the government‘s plan to record the identification details of mobile subscribers through an e-KYC (Know Your Customer) mechanism linked to Aadhaar in a bid to enhance national security and prevent fake users.
  • The court was considering a petition by NGO Lokniti Foundation, which had contended that fake SIM cards were a major threat to national security.
  • The mechanism would cover at least 100 crore mobile phone subscribers, 90% of whom use pre-paid cards.

Aadhar:

  • Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number which will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.
  • Aadhaar-platform is aimed at providing social security benefits / subsidies based on eligibility through direct benefit transfer.
 
2. Favouritism in selection bid: Dronacharya awardee

Category: Awards
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key Points:

  • The Delhi High Court on Monday called for the documents pertaining to the grant of a cricket coaching contract at NDMC’s Talkatora cricket ground, over allegations of favouritism in granting the bid to a firm, promoted by an Indian cricketer.

DRONACHARYA AWARDS: The Dronacharya Award, instituted in 1985, honours eminent Coaches who have successfully trained sportspersons or teams and enabled them to achieve outstanding results in international competitions.

 
3. Tech giants at the forefront of legal resistance

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

Key Points:

  • Ninety-seven technology companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Google have joined the legal battle against the Donald Trump administration’s ban on travellers and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
  • Thousands of people from these countries with valid U.S. visas are trying to reach the country even as the the suspension of the travel ban is in effect
  • These companies submitted that the American innovation and economic growth are intimately tied to immigration and the executive order harms the competitiveness of U.S. companies.
  • Mr. Trump on Sunday accused the Washington judge of opening the country to terrorists, mounting a public campaign against the judiciary.
  • The travel ban imposed on the seven muslim nations has polarised the American electorate and at least 2,50,000 Muslims are estimated to be working in the Silicon Valley tech and many of them are from the seven countries directly affected by the travel ban.
 
4. China’s new ballistic missile has India in range

Category: International Relations
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Key Points:

China’s newly-formed Rocket Force has conducted an exercise with advanced DF-16 medium-range ballistic missile that has a range of over 1,000 km and could target a number countries in the neighbourhood, including India.

Ballistic Missiles

  • They are launched from land or sea.
  • The missile follows a trajectory with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target and are only guided during relatively brief periods of flight, and most of its trajectory is unpowered and governed by gravity
  • They are further classified into-
         a. Long range intercontinental ballistic missiles
         b. Shorter range ballistic missiles
  • Examples of ballistic missiles include Agni Missiles, Prithvi Missiles, etc
 
5. Rohingya refugees to be relocated on remote island

Category: International Relations
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Key Points:

  • Bangladeshi authorities have decided to relocate thousands of Myanmar refugees to a thinly populated island in the Bay of Bengal to avoid adverse socioeconomic impacts in the mainland.
  • Rohingyas are currently living in different camps spread across the country.
  • Several Western diplomats have reportedly suggested that the refugees should not be moved against their will and that the place chosen for relocation was uninhabitable and prone to floods.
  • The government however has claimed that the relocation would be a “temporary arrangement” and has requested the international community to take meaningful measures for repatriation of the refugee population in Myanmar

 

C. GS3 Related
1. Late night quake jolts North India

Category: Disaster management
Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

Key Points:

  • North India was jolted late on Monday night following an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale with its epicentre at Baron Basti in Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand.

Epicentre:The epicenter is the point on the surface of the Earth directly above the hypocenter of an earthquake.

Hypocenter:The hypocenter is the place where the rupture of the plate boundary that led to the earthquake first happened.

 
2. Not a drop of the Ganga has been cleaned: NGT

Category: Environment and Ecology

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution

Key Points:

  • A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked government agencies to work together for the cause.
  • The tribunal also asked the government agencies about how they were executing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Namami Gange project’, adding that it did not want the “drama” regarding complaints between the Centre and Uttar Pradesh to go on.

Namami Gange Programme:

  • Namami Gange programme was launched to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
 
3. Implement WTO’s Nairobi Ministerial decisions: India

Category: Food Security
Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System

Key Points:

  • Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said she would soon take up the outstanding issues with World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevedo
  • Outstanding issues include the one on food security — of the WTO’s Doha Round negotiations
  • The reluctance of developed countries to agree to continue the Doha Development Agenda post-Nairobi, India negotiated and secured a re-affirmative Ministerial Decision on public stockholding for food security purposes
  • The Minister also said India was very clear on its stand that ‘new issues’ including e-commerce and investment cannot be brought into the formal agenda of the WTO-level negotiations
 
4. Ministries, sectoral regulators to screen FDI proposals

Category: Indian Economy
Topic: Mobilization of resources

Background:

  • The Centre had proposed to abolish the FIPB in its Budget for 2017-18
  • The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), housed in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, is an inter-ministerial body, responsible for processing of FDI proposals and making recommendations for Government approval.

Key Points:

  • The applications — on foreign direct investment (FDI) in India in sectors under the approval route will soon be taken up by the concerned ministries and sectoral regulators.
  • More than 92% of the FDI inflows were through the automatic route. For the rest of the FDI (about 8% of the total FDI inflows), every department concerned has a framework or a regulator for it.
  • The decision is seen in line with the government’s policy of maximum governance and minimum government as now that majority of the investments coming in are through the automatic route, a superfluous or an additional layer in the form of FIPB is not any longer required.
  • On the proposal by tech giant Apple for establishing a manufacturing unit in India for products, including iPhones and iPads, the Centre said it had so far not taken the final call. It said whenever a policy decision is taken on the matter it will be applicable to the entire sector and not just one company.

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing Here for today!!!

 
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
1. Perilous U-turn on Iran

Category: International Relations
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Background:

  • Bilateral relations were particularly hostile during the presidency of George W. Bush, who had threatened military action over Iran’s nuclear programme.
  • Barack Obama took a different line based on political realism
  • The U.S. and other world powers took years to find a common ground with Iran, which prevented the country from acquiring nuclear weapons in return for removal of international sanctions.
  • The deal,opposed by Israel, allowed Iran to mend ties with European countries, boost its oil production and trade with other countries.

Concerns over the new US adminstration:

  • A set of new sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States over a missile test
  • The U.S. and Iran cooperated on the battleground in Iraq against the Islamic State. This progress stands threatened by President Donald Trump’s hostility towards Iran.
  • Trump may not repeal the nuclear deal as it is a multilateral agreement.
  • By putting immigration curbs on Iranian citizens, imposing new sanctions on Iran and branding the country as the greatest state sponsor of terrorism, the Trump administration has clearly announced that the deal is dead

Way forward:

  • Any meaningful effort to stabilize West Asia calls for Iran’s cooperation, not hostility Mr. Trump appears determined to pursue the agenda of restoring the bipolar balance between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the U.S.’s strongest allies in West Asia
  • The world, including the U.S., needs Iran’s cooperation to fight the Islamic State, particularly in Iraq, where Iranian-controlled Shia militias played a key role in liberating cities. If Mr. Trump ignores these realities, he runs the risk of making West Asia even more chaotic than it is.
 

2. Rewiring the WTO

Category: International Relations
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Background:

  • The visit of Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to India, from February 8, comes at a juncture when the framework of global trade rules is undergoing a shake-up.
  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been dealt a death blow by the Trump presidency
  • United States orchestrated the move to make the WTO virtually irrelevant during the 10th Ministerial Conference of the organisation, in Nairobi in 2015 which ended without a decision on the most important area of work of WTO members — the Doha Round negotiations.

Concerns over the current structure of WTO:

  • The developing world has largely been questioning the relevance of the WTO ,when the richer nations gained the upper hand in setting the priorities for the organisation
  • Efforts of the developing countries to amend several important agreements and to make them more responsive to their development needs have been seriously undermined.
  • The least developed countries, especially their inability to increase their presence in the global markets, have also been put on the backburner.
  • The skewed rules in the areas of agriculture and intellectual property rights
  • In agriculture, WTO rules have been loaded in favour of the developed countries, while the interests of small farmers have almost been completely ignored and India flagged the important issue of food security and its subsidised Public Distribution System(PDS)
  • An understanding was reached where even if India breached agricultural subsidies’ disciplines to meet its food security needs, no penal action would be taken against it through what is commonly called a “peace clause”, but with no permanent solution to the issue.
  • Trade facilitation was not exactly an area that excited the developing countries for their shares in global trade are at very low levels.
  • the major economies are preparing the ground for another exercise at cherry picking the issues of their interest at Buenos Aires namely, electronic commerce and investment.
  • The issue of including investment in the WTO has been a deeply divisive, almost right since the inception of the organisation.

Way Forward:

  • The inclusion of e-commerce and investment in the WTO would further drive the wedge between the rich and the poor nations.
  • The growing disenchantment with the existing model of globalisation has provided a historic opportunity to frame new rules that give equal opportunities to all countries and their citizens in the global marketplace

 

PIB

1. India and Austria Sign a Protocol amending the India-Austria Double Taxation Avoidance Convention

Category: Agreements
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Key Points:

The Protocol will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance between the two countries and will also enable mutual assistance in collection of taxes.

A DTAA, also referred to as a Tax Treaty, is a bilateral economic agreement between two nations that aims to avoid or eliminate double taxation of the same income in two countries.

 
2. 50 lacs Universal Account Number (UAN) allotted to Construction Workers

Category: mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Key Points:

The Government has enacted the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and the Building and other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996 to regulate the employment and conditions of service of building and other construction workers and to provide for their safety, health and welfare measures.

The State Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Boards of the respective states have formulated welfare schemes to provide benefits to building and other construction workers as mandated under Section 22 of the Act. Section 22 of the Act stipulates following benefits:

    1. provide immediate assistance to a beneficiary in case of accident
    2. make payment of pension to the beneficiaries who have completed the age of sixty years
    3. sanction loans and advances to a beneficiary for construction of a house not exceeding such amount and on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed
    4. pay such amount in connection with premia for Group Insurance Scheme of the beneficiaries as it may deem fit
    5. give such financial assistance for the education of children of the beneficiaries as may be prescribed
    6. meet such medical expenses for treatment of major ailments of a beneficiary or, such dependent, as may be prescribed
    7. make payment of maternity benefit to the female beneficiaries
    8. make provisions and improvement of such other welfare measures and facilities as may be prescribed.

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

Namami Gange Programme

National Green Tribunal

WTO Doha Round Negotiations

 
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS Links to Refer
The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/the-aadhaar-targeted-delivery-of-financial-and-other-subsidies-benefits-and-services-bill-2016-4202/
 
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following are the tributaries of river Ganga?
  1. Alaknanda 2. Gomti 3. Son 4. Yamuna
  1. 3 and 4 Only
  2. 4 Only
  3. 1,2 and 4 only
  4. All of the above
Question 2: The World Trade Organisation[WTO] is headqaurtered in?
  1. Paris, France
  2. Geneva, Switzerland
  3. Doha ,Qatar
  4. Bali, Indonesia
Question 3:  Which of the following are the objectives of PDS? 

To protect the low income groups by guaranteeing the supply of certain minimum quantities of food grains at affordable price.

Ensuring equitable distribution.

Controlling the price rise of Essential Commodities in the open market.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a) 1 Only b) 1 and 2 Only c) 1 and 3 Only d) All of the above

Question 4: Which of the following countries do not border the Mediterranean 
sea?

a) Turkey b) Egypt c) Bulgaria d) Greece

Question 5: The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, 
Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 allows individual information to revealed in 
which of the following scenarios?
  1. In the interest of national security, a Joint Secretary in the central government may issue a direction for revealing
  2. On the directions of Governor of a state
  3. On the order of a court
    1. 1 and 2 only
    2. 1 and 3 only
    3. 2 and 3 only
    4. All of the above

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