Comprehensive News Analysis – 10 January 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. UAE’s Crown Prince to get a royal welcome

C. GS3 Related:

1. Second Scorpene submarine ready

2. Start-ups may soon be able to access insurance, pension funds

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

The Hindu

1. Oiling cashless wheels

2. The world at a crossroads

3. A rights bill gone wrong

Economic Times

1. Diaspora: Beyond blood and treasure

PIB

1. PM delighted over 10 million downloads of BHIM App in 10 days

2. India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians

3. Prime Minister to Meet Nobel Laureates Tomorrow at Ahmedabad with an Objective of Development of India in Mind

4. India’s partnership with Japan in Energy Sector critical for a Sustainable Energy Future for both Nations: Shri Piyush Goyal

5. Bilateral Meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister and H.E. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan

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. UAE’s Crown Prince to get a royal welcome

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Bilateral Relations

Key Points:

  • On January 20th, 2017, officials will meet for the first India-UAE Strategic Dialogue.
  • Sources say that preliminary talks on defence, security and investment will be held.
  • Officials say the talks will be led by Union Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar.
  • Specifically, a $75-billion infrastructure fund set up by the UAE for India and India’s hopes for closer counter-terror cooperation will be discussed.
  • The UAE Army is expected to march with Indian soldiers down Rajpath on January 26.

 

C. GS3 Related

1. Second Scorpene submarine ready

Category: Science and Technology

Topic: Developments  

Key Points:

  • Khanderi, which is the second Scorpene submarine under Project-75 being built at Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL) in Mumbai is all set to be launched into water later this week.
  • Further, the first submarine Kalvari is close to completing sea trials and likely to be inducted into the Navy by the middle of this year.
  • It is important to note that there are six Scorpene submarines which are being built with assistance and technology transfer from DCNS and others of France and under a $3.75-billion deal signed in October 2005.

 

  1. Start-ups may soon be able to access insurance, pension funds

Category: Indian Economy 

Topic: Government Policy  

Key Points:

  • The Centre, it is believed to soon hold discussions with insurance and pension regulators on a proposal to enable pension funds, and insurance companies such as LIC to invest in start-ups.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) was also in talks with the Health Ministry on issuing a clarification under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to boost the e-pharmacy business.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
1. Oiling cashless wheels

Category: Indian Economy    

Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

  • Petroleum retailers had threatened to stop accepting credit and debit card payments.
  • This development had led to a late-night intervention on 8th January, 2017 by the Centre, with Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum, declaring that the protest action had been put off till January 13.
  • Certain banks had decided to levy the merchant discount rate (MDR) of up to one per cent on card payments.
  • In response to this fuel dealers raised a red flag.
  • It is important to note that after the demonetisation exercise began, the government had waived the service tax on the MDR surcharge from December 8 for card-based payments up to ₹2,000 and got banks to waive the MDR charges on debit cards till December 31, 2016. 
  • Since November 8, public sector banks have been advised by the Centre to charge a maximum of ₹100 a month as PoS device rentals from small merchants, and the move has benefited 6.5 lakh of the 15 lakh PoS devices. 

Significance of Petroleum outlets

  • It is important to note that Petroleum outlets are particularly important for a cash-lite economy push as they handle nearly ₹2 lakh crore of cash a year. 
  • Queues at banks have eased, but the weekly withdrawal limits haven’t been lifted.

Conclusion

  • In conclusion, to build confidence in a less-cash economy, people nudged into a new way of life need clarity and consistency in policy along with a visible road map to secure their confidence.

 

2. The world at a crossroads

Category: International Relations

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

Key Points:

  • It has been reported that the policy outlook for 2017 appears not too promising.

Reasons Attributed:

  • For example, Digital disruption and cyberthreats are poised to grow.
  • The global economy caught in a low-growth trap.
  • It is also believed that widening inequality and increasing unemployment will worsen this situation.

It is also believed that history and nationalism will continue to dictate the course of events. Further, the year may well see a return to the era of insular policies, and strengthening of the anti-outsider syndrome. 

Analysts believe that President Trump will roll back quite a few of the climate change initiatives agreed to by President Barack Obama.

It is believed that in the geopolitical arena, the competition for influence in Asia between the U.S. and China will continue in 2017.

However, it is possible to envisage both the U.S. and China taking steps to prevent a total breakdown of relations, and of being able to find common ground to accommodate mutual concerns in the South and the East China Seas. 

It is important to note that terrorism will continue to remain a grave threat during 2017.

2015 and 2016 were two of the worst years in terms of fatalities across Asia, Africa and Western Europe — the highest in almost five decades.

The Asian region will see heightened tensions between China and India, China and Japan, and India and Pakistan in 2017. 

For India, it is believed that, a deepening of the China-Pakistan military entente in 2017 will add a further dimension to the overall threat from Pakistan. 

India’s position in Afghanistan in 2017 may well see a downturn, with new equations emerging in the region.

 

3. A rights bill gone wrong

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

Historical Background:

  • In April 2014, the Supreme Court of India delivered the landmark judgmentof NALSA v. Union of India, which affirmed the fundamental rights of transgender persons.
  • The court gave a series of directives to the government to institute welfare measures for transgender persons, including affirmative action.
  • The court also directed that the Expert Committee Report prepared by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) be implemented.
  • The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015was largely based on the 2014 Bill, but it did away with provisions on Transgender Rights Courts and the National and State Commissions.
  • The Ministry had also consulted civil society and activists. 

Criticisms of the bill

  • The Bill is completely silent on how its content will impact the operation of existing laws.
  • Most laws, including of marriage, adoption and succession, continue to be based on the binary of male and female. 
  • The cisnormative (the assumption that everyone has a gender identity that matches the sex the person was assigned at birth) foundation of the law remains a significant barrier to access to legal justice for transgender persons.
  • Further, none of the Bills have addressed the issue of Section 377, which is frequently used to harass transgender persons.

Concluding Remarks

  • It is important to note that recognising trans-rights means recognising that there are more than the “opposite” genders of male and female.

 

Economic Times

1. Diaspora: Beyond blood and treasure

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Indian Diaspora  

Key Points:

  • It is important to not dismiss the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as a three-day jamboree or a side show for Indians living abroad and people of Indian origin. Instead, it is an opportunity for engagement.
  • Nearly 16 million people born in India now live elsewhere, according the United Nations’ International Migration Report.
  • The World Bank estimated that remittance flow to India in 2015 was to the tune of $72 billion.
  • Further, the ‘pravasi’ Indian is an important resource, and occasions like the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas should yield partnerships to aid the social and economic transformation of the country.
  • Across the world today, Indians — NRIs and persons of Indian origin — are in leadership positions in businesses, academia and policymaking. The overseas Indian should be seen as more than a potential investor.

The Way Forward

  • Governments and institutions need to make provisions that will allow for such partnerships to be more than good intentions.
  • The Government needs to augment its outreach services for expats, especially as the Gulf countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and several African states have emerged as important destinations for emigrating Indians, besides the US, UK and Canada.
  • The Indian diaspora provides an important entry point for India to work with countries across the world big and small.

 

PIB

  1. PM delighted over 10 million downloads of BHIM App in 10 days

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Money and Banking

Key Points:

  • The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has expressed delight over 10 million downloads of BHIM App in a span of 10 days.
  • “Delighted to know that in a span of 10 days there have been over 10 million downloads of the BHIM App. BHIM App has made transactions faster & easier, thus making it popular among the youth.
  • The App is also beneficial for traders.
  • The BHIM App is a fine example of Make in India & how technology is being effectively used to end the menace of corruption & black money”, the Prime Minister said.

 

  1. India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Indian Diaspora

Key Points:

  • India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI) is a not-for-profit Trust set-up by the Government of India to facilitate philanthropic contributions by Overseas Indians to social and development projects in India.
  • Presently, IDF-OI is promoting flagship programmes of Government of India- Swachh Bharat Mission and National Mission for Clean Ganga; and projects identified by the State Govts, for funding by Overseas Indians.
  • Working with State Governments in areas such as sanitation; education; drinking water; women’s empowerment et/c, IDF-OI is offering projects for funding by Overseas Indians.
  • Overseas Indians can contribute as an individual, or a group of individuals or even through their respective Indian Associations.

 

  1. Prime Minister to Meet Nobel Laureates Tomorrow at Ahmedabad with an Objective of Development of India in Mind

Category: Polity and Governance   

Topic: Government Initiatives  

Key Points:

  • Science impacts life. The Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi wants to make Science & Technology driving engine for a rapid progress of the country. Over the last one week he reiterated this commitment through various pronouncements and acts. On 3rd January 2017, he addressed the Indian Science Congress at the holy city of Tirupathi and called upon scientists to work for progress of the country through science- http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=156086
  • The Prime Minister will meet several Nobel laureates and have discussions with them with development of country in his mind through Science & Technology.
  • This meeting is to be held at the Science City in Ahmedabad where the Nobel Media is holding the first Nobel Prize Series in India in conjunction with the biennial summit of Vibrant Gujarat being held by the Government of Gujarat from tomorrow.

 

  1. India’s partnership with Japan in Energy Sector critical for a Sustainable Energy Future for both Nations: Shri Piyush Goyal

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Energy

Key Points:

  • Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal presided over a bilateral meeting with the Japanese delegation led by H.E. Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Government of Japan.
  • Speaking on the scope of India-Japan cooperation, Shri Goyal said that this forum is a platform to engage with Japan for mutual benefit in the energy sector by working towards bringing Japanese strengths in cutting edge engineering and technology to India.
  • This would help India in enhancing Grid stability, bringing Electric Mobility at affordable prices to the country etc., which the Government is vigorously pursuing, he added.
  • The Minister also informed that during the bilateral meet with his Japanese counterpart, it was put across that India’s power demand is going to expand four fold in the next 15 years to become one of the largest energy markets globally and it would open immense business opportunities for Japan in the sector in India, hence making this bilateral engagement mutually beneficial for both countries.
  • Shri Goyal also said that India and Japan should cooperate on long term contracts for LNG with a defined cost of energy which would provide a stabilizing factor for the Renewable Energy thrust that India is currently giving. India being a price sensitive market cannot afford costly power and hence needs Japanese cooperation in maintaining a balance between renewable energy and conventional coal based power.
  • Further, Shri Goyal said that since large number of items in the Renewable energy sector come from abroad, we are working to create a sustainable framework for encouraging the manufacturing of solar equipments in India at less costs so as to make 24×7 Affordable and Quality power available to each citizen in India. This will also give a fillip to the Make in India mission by scaling up manufacturing sector in India with the help of cutting edge Japanese technologies in the power sector. India should leap frog the learning curve with the help of contemporary next generation technologies and should not miss out on the opportunities to provide sustainable energy future to every citizen, based on their needs, he added.

 

  1. Bilateral Meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister and H.E. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Energy

Key Points:

  • Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed the Japanese delegation led by H.E.  Hiroshige Seko, Minister, Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI), Japan and recalled that the recent visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to Japan in November, 2016 was very successful in further strengthening the partnership between the two countries.
  • She hoped to look forward for a meaningful discussion with the Japanese delegation in the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Summit. She stated that the pace of implementation of India- Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has been rather steady and needed to be enhanced with faster pace to tap the huge potential of India- Japan bilateral trade. 
  • E. Hiroshige Seko, Minister, Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, Japan,while welcoming various steps taken by the Govt. of India for Make in India and other initiatives for India’s Growth, said that there is a huge potential for Indo- Japanese Cooperation. He mentioned that 25 Japanese companies are participating in Vibrant Gujarat Summit with great enthusiasm.
  • The Japanese side requested that the issue of Transfer Pricing assessment and other ones as raised by Japan Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India (JCCII) from time to time need to be resolved for attracting greater Japanese Investments in India. The Japanese business delegates briefed about their business presence in India and intimated that they wanted to diversify their business in India in Sectors such as Agriculture, Power, Electronics, Railways, Logistics Sectors, manufacturing of ATMs etc. and wanted to contribute to the development of India.
  • The Japanese side expressed interest in enhancing co-operation in the area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) between India and Japan and intended to train Indian IPR examiners in Japan. They expressed the need for a high level meeting between India and Japan on IPR cooperation. Minister of METI, Japan also extended an invitation to 100 IPR Examiners for training in Japan.
  • Sitharaman requested the Japanese side to take steps to increase Indian Exports to Japan in Sesame seeds, Surimi fish and Indian generic drugs. She said that the Japanese Industrial Townships (JITs) in India would be transformational and will bring in significant Japanese investments and further strengthen India- Japan Economic Cooperation. On the Logistics front she  mentioned that India plans to build Logistics University wherein the cooperation from Japan would be needed.
  • Both sides thanked each other and hoped that the partnership between the two countries would further be elevated to new levels with sustained engagement.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • India- Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)
  • United Nations’ International Migration Report.



H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: The first Scorpene class submarine which is all set to be inducted into the Indian Navy has been named as?

A) INS Mhadei

B) INS Sukanya

C) INS Sunayna

D) INS Kalvari

Question 2: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Transgender Persons (protection of rights) bill, 2016 prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in areas such as education, employment,
    and healthcare.
  2. The Bill directs the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes in these areas.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

A) 1 only

B) 2 Only

C) Both 1 & 2

D) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 3: Which of the following rights are included under the ambit of Article 21?
  1. Right to decent environment
  2. Right against delayed execution
  3. Right to free legal aid

A) 1 only

B) 3 only

C) 1, 2 & 3

D) None

Question 4: Section 377 which criminalises homosexual activities is a part of which code?

A) Indian Penal Code

B) Criminial Procedure Code

C) Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013

D) None

Question 5: BHIM App has been developed by?

A) RBI

B) NPCI

C) Ministry of Finance

D) None

Check Your Answers

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