Comprehensive News Analysis – 09 December 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. NGO slams Centre for cancelling FCRA licence

2. India, U.S. talk defence partnership

3. ‘U.K. must remain India’s gateway to EU’

C. GS3 Related:

1. Vardah hits A&N islands, tourists remain stranded

2. Rural India hit most by cash crunch

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

The Hindu

1. A reform at risk

2. Accounting for natural capital

PIB

1. Successfully Launches RESOURCESAT-2A Remote Sensing Satellite

2. India International Science Festival (IISF-2016) inaugurated in New Delhi

3. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Vietnam on Cooperation In the field of Information Technology (IT)

4. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Thailand on Cooperation in controlling narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

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. NGO slams Centre for cancelling FCRA licence

Category: International Relations, Polity and Governance    

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

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), is the law that regulates NGOs’ receipt of foreign funds into the country.
  • Lawyers Collective, which is a legal aid NGO, has criticised the Home Ministry’s decision to cancel its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence.
  • A statement issued by the NGO read, “The cancellation order is on the grounds that the NGO allegedly violated the terms and conditions of its registration certificate, provisions of the FCRA, and most importanty, acted against ‘public interest’”.
  • Aspirants are advised to read this issue along with the issue concerning ‘Compassion International (CI)’ which is an American Christian charity NGO that has worked in India since 1968.

 Issue concerning Compassion International (CI)

  • Compassion International (CI) has often been accused of being engaged in religious conversions in India.
  • It is believed that Government of India’s action against Christian and climate change NGOs has been a thorn in India-U.S. relations for over six years. 
  • Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had also voiced concerns over the treatment of Compassion International.


  1. India, U.S. talk defence partnership

Category: International Relations  

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

Key Points:

  • India and the U.S. on 8th Dec, 2016 finalised the specifications for designating India a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the U.S.
  • This status puts India on a par with the closest allies and partners of the U.S.. The agreement was reached between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and U.S. Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in Delhi.
  • India was accorded this status during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June.
  • Both India and the U.S. reviewed the progress in defence ties in recent years, and welcomed the “tremendous progress” achieved under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
  • The Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) is intended to promote opportunities for co-production and co-development of weapon systems and platforms.
  • The DTTI will strengthen India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.


  1. ‘U.K. must remain India’s gateway to EU’

Category: International Relations  

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

Key Points:

  • Recently, Wales First Minister, Carwyn Jones, remarked that the U.K. must maintain “free and unfettered access” to the European market to ensure it continues to be a gateway for Indian businesses to the EU.
  • Carwyn Jones, who is the head of the Welsh Government, was also critical of the U.K.’s immigration policy.
  • He warned that history has shown the detrimental impact that closing off a country from the rest of the world could have on its economy.
  • He made the following important observations:
  1. a) He believes that it is important that Wales and the U.K. are seen as an important gateway to the EU market for Indian businesses. b) He observed that the U.K. is just 60 million, the EU is 440 million and that there are many companies that use the U.K. as their base for accessing the single market- and if that advantage were to be lost, then other countries would profit from it.

Steel Sector

  • Significantly, in the steel sector, it is important to note that much of Tata Steel’s U.K. operations are centred in Wales — it currently employs 6,800 in Wales, including 4,000 at its integrated site at Port Talbot.
  • Jones welcomed the news that Tata Steel has reached an agreement with unions over the future of the Port Talbot facility.


C. GS3 Related
  1. Vardah hits A&N islands, tourists remain stranded

Category: Disaster Management   

Topic: Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Key Points:

  • Cyclone Vardah played havoc in many remote Islands of the Andaman and Nicobar, bringing normal life to a standstill.
  • In the north and middle Andaman region, various islands like Diglipur, Rangat and Billyground witnessed a flood-like situation because of very heavy rainfall.
  • MV Rani Lakshmiand MV Kamorta, were sent to Havelock island to evacuate nearly 1,100 tourists, but both the vessels had to return to Port Blair because of high waves in the sea.
  • Vessels of the Indian Navy, which had been sent to Havelock on Wednesday, were called back considering their safety at sea in the high waves.
  • Further, the administration has suspended helicopter and shipping services.
  • Some flights had landed at Port Blair while many others were cancelled. 


  1. Rural India hit most by cash crunch

Category: Indian Economy    

Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

  • In the wake of the recent demonetization initiative, it is important to note that rural India has been severely hit by the lack of cash in circulation since the government’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes.
  • To further illustrate this, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) with 25 crore accounts across the country received just about Rs.8,000 crore of fresh currency from November 10 to November 30.
  • As a consequence to this, the RBI had recently advised banks to ensure adequate cash supply for all RRBs, rural branches of commercial banks and branches located in Agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) to enable smooth procurement.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. A reform at risk

Category: Indian Economy    

Topic: Government Policy  

Key Points:

  • The GST Council would meet again on December 11-12.
  • The meeting would aim at reaching a consensus on three pieces of legislation that need to be cleared by Parliament in this session for a rollout in April. 
  • It is important to note that in its previous three meetings, the Council had failed to resolve an impasse between the States and the Centre on who would have administrative control over taxpayers in the new tax regime.

What did the Finance Ministry Propose? 

Position held by the States

  • But states such as West Bengal, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh are keen to retain control over all goods and services providers with an annual turnover of less than Rs.1.5 crore.
  • Further, at the last meeting, the States hardened their position by flagging the loss of revenue on account of the demonetisation of high value currency notes.

 

  1. Accounting for natural capital

Category: Environment and Ecology  

Topic: Sustainable Development   

Key Points:

  • In a recent ‘Mann Ki Baat’ broadcast, PM Narendra Modi made his environmental concerns clear.
  • He had asked people to use Ganesha and Durga idols made of clay instead of plaster of Paris. 
  • It is important to note that biodiversity is a unique and a critical asset which is under pressure due to anthropogenic reasons.

Note to Aspirants: The points expressed in this article are very helpful for Mains level answers, and are useful in the Essay paper as well.

What is Biodiversity?

  • Biodiversity refers to the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems.
  • This diversity includes variability within species (genetic diversity) as well as between species (species diversity) and ecosystems (ecosystem diversity).
  • It is important to note that biodiversity helps mitigate unpredictable global changes and natural disasters.
  • A rich biodiversity is the basis for good health, food security, economic growth, livelihood security and moderation of climatic conditions. The annual contribution of biodiversity to the world is put at $33 trillion.

The Indian Context

  • It is important to note that India is one of the 17 mega-diverse countries.
  • India is rich in biodiversity and its associated traditional knowledge systems which have been gathered from times immemorial.
  • Due to India’s sheer size, range of topography, altitude and climate, India exhibits a rich variety of ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs.
  • This rich variety of ecosystems, provide basic needs such as food, fibre, medicine, fodder, fuel wood and timber.
  • The following statistic is noteworthy: Around 1.2 billion people coexist with 8 per cent of recorded species, which includes over 45,000 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals.
  • Further, it is important to note that India’s tribal population is also dependent on forests and natural resources to a significant extent.

Mainstreaming of biodiversity

  • It is important to note that our developmental activities are adversely affecting biodiversity. For example, natural resources such as water, forests, fisheries and marine resources are being overexploited, which in turn affects their renewability. 
  • Mainstreaming or inclusion means integrating/including actions related to conservation and promoting the sustainable use of biodiversity in strategies relating to production sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism, and mining.
  • Mainstreaming also refers to including biodiversity considerations in poverty reduction and national sustainable development plans.
  • The advantage of Mainstreaming, lie in the fact that it helps to reduce the negative impacts on biodiversity.
  • For example, in agriculture, strategies to minimise the use of and optimise the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, reduce negative impacts on soil, groundwater, surrounding habitats and wildlife.

 

PIB

  1. Successfully Launches RESOURCESAT-2A Remote Sensing Satellite

Category: Science and Technology    

Topic: Developments, Space

Key Points:

  • ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched the 1,235 kg RESOURCESAT-2A Satellite on the morning of December 07, 2016 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
  • This is the thirty seventh consecutively successful mission of PSLV.
  • Like its predecessors RESOURCESAT-1 and 2, RESOURCESAT-2A has a unique 3-Tier imaging system with Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS), Linear Imaging Self Scanner-3 (LISS-3) and Linear Imaging Self Scanner-4 (LISS-4) cameras.
  • It is important to note that with this launch, the PSLV has yet again demonstrated its reliability.
  • The total number of satellites launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV including today’s RESOURCESAT-2A has now reached 122, of which 43 are Indian and the remaining 79 are from abroad.


  1. India International Science Festival (IISF-2016) inaugurated in New Delhi 

Category: Science and Technology   

Topic: Developments, Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • The India International Science Festival (IISF-2016) is the largest festival of science in India, with its focus on “Science for the Masses”. 
  • IISF-2016 is being held at CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Campus, New Delhi during 7-11 December, 2016.
  • The success of first IISF in 2015 gave the impetus to launch IISF-2016 with expanded scope, mandate and operation. 
  • It is important to note that India has achieved a pre-eminent position in the field of Science & Technology, Space, Atomic Energy, Information Technology and newly emerging technologies such as Nano Technology and Bio Technology.
  • IISF-2016 aims to encourage and develop scientific temper and attitude, promote exchange of knowledge and ideas among young minds including showcasing of recent developments and contributions of India in science and technology involving all our scientific departments.

 

  1. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Vietnam on Cooperation In the field of Information Technology (IT)

Category: International Relations   

Topic: Agreements involving India 

Key Points:

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the PM Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and Vietnam on Cooperation in the field of IT.
  • The MoU aims to develop a long-term and sustainable cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual interest in the areas of IT in line with each country’s laws and regulations.
  • Implementation of the MoU will result in significant mutual benefits in the IT sector, through institutional and capacity-building in the field of IT and Human Resource Development.
  • The MoU will remain in force for a period of five years and will be renewable by mutual written consent between India and Vietnam.
  • It will be implemented by establishing a Joint Working Group on IT with representatives from both the countries.

 

  1. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Thailand on Cooperation in controlling narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances 

Category: International Relations   

Topic: Agreements involving India 

Key Points:

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the PM Modi has given its approval to the MoU between India and Thailand.
  • This MoU is focused on controlling narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors and chemicals and drug abuse.
  • The MoU will facilitate effective institutional interaction between India and Thailand.
  • The MoU, once in force, would help in curbing transnational narcotics trafficking.

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)
  • Andaman Nicobar Tri-Service Command
  • India International Science Festival (IISF-2016)
  • RESOURCESAT-2A
  • Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)


G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)


H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. The India International Science Festival (IISF-2016) is the largest festival of science in India.
  2. The focus of the IISF-2016 is on the theme “Science for the Masses”.
  3. IISF-2016 aims to encourage and develop scientific temper and attitude, promote exchange of knowledge and ideas among young minds including showcasing of recent developments and contributions of India in science and technology involving all our scientific departments.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only

b) 2 and 3 Only

c) All, 1, 2 and 3

d) 1 and 3 Only


Question 2: Consider the following statements, 
  1. Biodiversity refers to the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems.
  2. A rich biodiversity is the basis for good health, food security, economic growth, livelihood security and moderation of climatic conditions. The annual contribution of biodiversity to the world is put at $33 trillion.
  3. India is one of the 17 mega-diverse countries.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only

b) 2 and 3 Only

c) All, 1, 2 and 3

d) 1 and 3 Only


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. RESOURCESAT-2A has a unique 3-Tier imaging system with Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS), Linear Imaging Self Scanner-3 (LISS-3) and Linear Imaging Self Scanner-4 (LISS-4) cameras.
  2. The total number of satellites launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV including today’s RESOURCESAT-2A has now reached 122, of which 43 are Indian and the remaining 79 are from abroad.

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. The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan has been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India to provide fixed-day, assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month.
  2. One of the critical components of the Abhiyan is identification and follow-up of high risk pregnancies.

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. As per World Bank Disaster Management and Climate Change Unit Report, “India – Diagnostic Assessment of Select Environmental Challenges”, the cost of serious health consequences from Particulate Matter pollution is estimated to be around 3 per cent of India’s GDP.
  2. The total damage because of environmental degradation amounts to Rs. 3.75 trillion equivalent to 5.7 percent of India’s GDP.

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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