Comprehensive News Analysis – 10 May 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

1. Suicide leading cause of death among India’s young, says Lancet report

B. GS2 Related:

1. 26/11 planners ‘our people’, says former ISI chief

2. Advantage Rawat as SC bars Congress rebels from voting

3. SC notice to govt., CBI on plea to probe Panama Papers

4. Anti-Hijacking Bill Passed: Death penalty clause, NeerjaBhanot dominate debate

C. GS3 Related:

1. Annual core sector growth at decade low as steel drags

2. For loans over Rs 5 cr: RBI may share defaulter details if probe agencies want the info

3. Rs 94,000 crore is capital expenditure, said Railways, a quarter of it only on paper

4. RBI to conduct OMO buys worth Rs 10K crore today

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

The Hindu

1. The crisis in Nepal

2. All up in smoke?

3. Alicence to kill innovation

Indian Express:

1. Explained:Farm distress: Simply put: Why the proposed Bankruptcy Code is needed, how it’ll tackle bad debts

Others:

1. PIB update

a) 3rd Advance Production Estimates of Major Crops during 2015-16

b) NRRI, Cuttack have developed CR paddy 310 for the first time in the world which contains 11% protein

c) Environment Minister launches Web-Based Application on Integrated Waste Management System

d) Ranking of Higher Education Institutions

e) Mineral concession rules 2016

f) Conservation of natural resources and the National Mineral Policy (NMP), 2008

g) Raising Ganga Task Force

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

1. Suicide leading cause of death among India’s young, says Lancet report

Topic: Society

Category: Mental Health

Location: The Indian express

Key points:

  • Suicide was the leading cause of death among youngsters aged 10-24 in India, with 62,960 such deaths reported in 2013, according to the findings of the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well-being that is being launched in London
  • For the youngest group (10-14), intestinal infectious diseases claimed most lives (11,668), followed by diarrhoeal diseases (7,375). Lower respiratory infections, drowning, malaria, TB, encephalitis and ‘animal contact’ were the other top killers in this age group. The fact that suicides were a leading cause of death even in this age group suggests that mental health is a growing epidemic across age groups
  • Road accidents (41,168 deaths) and tuberculosis (32,171) were the other big killers, together claiming 73,359 young lives in 2013, said the report

 

B. GS2 Related

1. 26/11 planners ‘our people’, says former ISI chief

Topic: International Relations

Category: Indo-Pak Relations

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • Former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani has made a startling revelation, which appears in a forthcoming book on India-Pakistan relations(India vs Pakistan: Why Can’t We Just Be Friends?)
  • In the book he recounts the visit by the then ISI chief, General Pasha to Washington hardly a month after the Mumbai terror attacks during which he admitted that the planners of the 26/11 attacks were “our people” but it wasn’t “our operation”
  • Haqqani said Gen. Pasha had also told Gen. Hayden(CIA chief) that “retired military officers and retired intelligence officers” had been involved in the planning of the attacks

 

2. Advantage Rawat as SC bars Congress rebels from voting

Topic: Polity

Category: Federal Relations

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • The Uttarakhand High Court and the Supreme Court on Monday, refused any relief to the nine disqualified Congress MLAs of Uttarakhand
  • However, the SC Bench admitted the case of the nine MLAs, agreeing to hear it on July 12
  • the Principal Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, Uttarakhand, has been appointed to conduct the trust vote in an objective and neutral manner

 

3. SC notice to govt., CBI on plea to probe Panama Papers

Topic: Governance

Category: Executive

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • The SC issued notices to Centre and the CBI on the petition filed by a Supreme Court advocate seeking an apex court-monitored probe against the Indian offshore account holders and stock market regulators.
  • The petition sought direction to the CBI to lodge FIRs and conduct investigation for alleged offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act(PMLA)
  • A Multi Agency Group (MAG) of various investigative agencies has been formed by the government to look into the disclosures made in the list, which includes about 500 Indian entities

 

4. Anti-Hijacking Bill Passed: Death penalty clause, NeerjaBhanot dominate debate

Topic: Polity

Category: Legislature

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2016, that broadens the definition of hijacking to include technological interventions and intimidation and introduces the provision of death penalty for perpetrators
  • The Bill got the Rajya Sabha nod last week

 

C. GS3 Related

1. Annual core sector growth at decade low as steel drags

Topic: Economy

Category: Industry

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • India’s annual core sector growth slowed to a decade low of 7 per cent in 2015-16, slower than the 4.5 per cent pace in the previous financial year, according to government statistics
  • The growth was pulled down by steel and crude oil, both of which saw output contracting by 1.4 per cent and natural gas that dropped 4.2 per cent
  • This contrasts with the data showing robust core sector growth in March, when the infrastructure sectors expanded 6.4 per cent, the fastest pace in 16 months.
  • the eight core industries which include crude oil, fertilizers, steel, cement and electricity account for 38 per cent of India’s industrial output
  • The index for industrial production has grown at 2.7 per cent in the first 11 months of 2015-16, lower than the 2.8 per cent recorded in the previous year

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2. For loans over Rs 5 cr: RBI may share defaulter details if probe agencies want the info

Topic: Economy

Category: Banking

Location: The Indian Express

Key points:

  • The RBI has indicated its willingness to share details regarding borrowers who have taken large loans of over Rs 5 crore with the government if such information were to be sought by vigilance and investigative agencies, or for court cases
  • A database of loans of over Rs 5 crore is currently maintained by the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), which was set up the RBI last year
  • The repository has been set up to improve assessment of credit risk by the banks, early detection of non-performing assets (NPAs), and to improve recovery of loans

 

3. Rs 94,000 crore is capital expenditure, said Railways, a quarter of it only on paper

Topic: Economy

Category: Railways

Location: The Indian Express

Key points:

  • The Indian Railways may have shown its highest ever capital expenditure of about Rs 94,000 crore in 2015-16, but around a quarter of that includes money extended to implementing agencies for works to be done in the future, equity infusion into rail PSUs, and even spending by others(i.e there is no visible output to show for the money spent)
  • The Railway budget had set a capex target of over Rs 1 lakh crore for the financial year

 

4. RBI to conduct OMO buys worth Rs 10K crore today

Topic: Economy

Category: Monetary Policy

Location: The Indian Express

Key points:

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will conduct open market operations (OMO) purchase of government securities worth R10,000 crore
  • OMO purchases are undertaken to ease liquidity in the system while OMO sales are done to remove excess liquidity.

 

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

The Hindu

1. The crisis in Nepal

Topic: India’s Neighbourhood

Category: Nepal

Key points:

  • The Nepal government under PM Oli finds itself embattled so early in its tenure may be the result of failing to deliver on three important promises
  • The first is that of a more equitable Constitution and polity, that accommodates the sensitivities of Madhesis, Janjatis and other marginalised groups
  • The second is that of reversing the estrangement with India
  • It is on the third, and possibly most pressing, responsibility that Nepal’s government has failed its people entirely: speeding up reconstruction after last year’s earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people
  • NGOs estimate that only about one per cent of the 7,70,000 destroyed houses have been properly reconstructed; millions are living in damaged, unsafe homes or in temporary shanties. At this rate, another winter may well come and go without children returning to proper schools, and without hospitals acquiring the facilities to serve Nepal’s most wanting
  • It is a mystery why the government has been so lethargic in drawing up a comprehensive plan to spend the billions of dollars committed by the world community.
  • India too must share some responsibility for the political crisis in Nepal.New Delhi has criticized Nepal’s Constitution at the UN Human Rights Council
  • There is visible discomfort in India with Nepal’s leanings towards China
  • In fact, it is widely believed in Kathmandu that India is meddling with Nepal politics, even if this has no basis in fact
  • Regardless, this is enough reason for New Delhi to quickly adopt a more open and more energetic outreach, one that is aimed at nothing more than the overall progress of the Himalayan republic

 

2. All up in smoke?

Topic: Governance

Category: Health

Key points:

  • Expectedly, tobacco companies are resisting a new regulation that the mandatory pictorial warnings on cigarette packages be made larger
  • The legal challenge to the new rule is likely to be finally settled in the weeks ahead, but till then, as per the Supreme Court’s directives, the larger warnings must be printed( 85 per cent of the packet should be devoted to graphic messaging)
  • Having lost the argument on the health effects of cigarette consumption, as well as passive smoking, cigarette-makers are pleading that tobacco-growers will be adversely affected
  • Experience in other countries suggests that they are fighting a losing battle. Australia has become something of a shining example for the rest of the world to follow in clamping down on suggestive branding
  • In 2012, it pioneered a move to have cigarettes sold in logo-free plain cartons to deter smokers
  • This month, the European Court of Justice backed a measure to cover two-thirds of a cigarette packet with health cautions in the 28 member-states of the European Union. Earlier, the ECJ had prohibited the use of descriptive terms such as “light” and “mild” to differentiate among cigarettes. This was in addition to the mandatory disclosure on cigarette packs of the ingredients
  • The smoking habit is often picked up by suggestive nudges — through advertising, peer pressure, and cultural signals that associate smoking with hipness, attitude, stress-busting, and so on
  • Indeed, Australia’s post-implementation report shows that there has been a statistically significant drop in the prevalence of smoking since packages have gone logo-less.
  • In tandem with the latest restrictions on how cigarettes are packaged, the EU and the U.S. have clamped down on the sale of electronic cigarettes. In the S., e-cigarettes cannot be sold to people under 18 years of age This is the result of a growing consensus that far from being a harm-free alternative as claimed by industry lobbies, e-cigarettes could sooner or later lure consumers to take up the real thing
  • The tobacco giants continue to pin their hopes on a challenge at the WTO, which they are fighting together with countries that have strong interests in the tobacco crop That ruling may still be some time away
  • But the public health campaign must continue apace with the enforcement of extensive curbs on smoking in public spaces. This is an effective way to help break the smoking habit, besides of course protecting bystanders from second-hand smoke
  • Countries such as India have enforced rules that warnings be affixed in films when someone lights up on screen. There is still some way to go in the business of cracking down on surrogate advertising
  • Having temporarily won its battle in the Supreme Court on packaging, it is time New Delhi did more to discourage smoking

 

3. Alicence to kill innovation

  Topic: Governance

Category: legislation

 Key points:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs recently posted the draft of a bill aimed at regulating the acquisition and use of geospatial information pertaining to India
  • The provisions of the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, make it illegal to acquire and even maintain previously acquired Indian geospatial data without applying for and receiving a license from an authority that is to be created for this purpose
  • The remit of this authority, as per the draft, is, first, to conduct “sensitivity checks” on the geospatial information being used, and, second, to “screen” the “credentials” of both end users and end applications
  • What happens if the data need an update? The draft bill’s definition of geospatial information has a wide remit. It covers information that we think of as relatively stable but also talks about “graphical or digital data depicting… man-made physical features”. Geospatial information, especially when so widely defined, keeps changing
  • Changing the name of a restaurant in the data would amount to tampering with watermarked data. Not propagating updates till security clearance is released may affect the business model of businesses premised on providing up-to-date information
  • The bill promises a three-month turnaround on all clearances. This might not be quick enough, even if it was feasible, which leads us to the next question.
  • Do we have the bandwidth to handle all applications for this usage inside and outside India? It is hard to estimate how many different non-governmental services inside and outside India are currently using Indian geospatial data, but we can safely say that there are a large number with significant impact. A government regulator that is yet to be set up will need hundreds of experts who can “vet” terabytes of data from each applicant.
  • The logistics of getting these data across to the vetting authority alone boggles the mind; forget about the logistics of hiring and training these hundreds of experts. Unless this bill, on becoming an act, manages to single-handedly kill the innovation ecosystem that depends on geospatial data, the number of requests will keep going up
  • An alternative modality that can serve national security purposes would involve switching to a simple registration-based system that doesn’t make the acquisition of a license a precondition to using data. However, such a registration-based system is also fraught with danger in a framework that insists on scrutinizing the credentials of every end user
  • The vetting authority can go through the data and raise an objection if it finds anything objectionable, and it can do this in its own time. In the meantime the data can be used by end users and updated by the publisher as required. In other words, the onus has to be on the vetting authority to regularly check that the data are in order, rather than on the service
  • By shifting the onus onto the service we run the risk of creating a significant roadblock for a major part of the innovation ecosystem. This is undesirable.

 

The Indian Express

1. Explained:Farm distress: Simply put: Why the proposed Bankruptcy Code is needed, how it’ll tackle bad debts

Topic: Governance

Category: Banking

Key points:

  • laws that deal with insolvency for companies
  • the Sick Industrial Companies Act,
  • the Recovery of Debt Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, and
  • Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI)
  • DRTs are dealing with a backlog of Rs 4 trillion worth of cases. For the last three financial years, less than 20% of cases taken up by various channels such as DRTs(Debt Recovery Tribunal), LokAdalats and SARFAESI courts have been successfully resolved
  • What exactly will the new law do that is different? For one, the new Bill seeks to consolidate all existing laws. Secondly, it specifies a timeframe — 180 days after the process is initiated, plus a 90-day extension — for resolving insolvency
  • It proposes to do this by creating a host of new institutions These would include: Insolvency Professionals, who will conduct the insolvency resolution process, take over the management of a company, assist creditors in the collection of relevant information, and manage the liquidation process,
  • Insolvency Professional Agencies, who will examine and certify these professionals
  • Information Utilities, which will collect, collate and disseminate financial information related to debtors, and
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, a regulator that will oversee these new entities
  • Under the new law, what are the various stages through which the ‘resolution’ process must pass from the time a company files for bankruptcy? There are five stagesin all
  • One, when a loan default occurs, and either the borrower or the lender approaches the NCLT(National Company Law Tribunal) or DRT for initiating the resolution process
  • Two, the creditors appoint an interim Insolvency Professional (IP) to take control of the debtor’s assets and company’s operations, collect financial information of the debtor from information utilities, and constitute the creditors’ committee
  • Three, the committee has to then take decisions regarding insolvency resolution by a 75% majority
  • Four, once a resolution is passed; the committee has to decide on the restructuring process that could either be a revised repayment plan for the company, or liquidation of the assets of the company.If no decision is made during the resolution process, the debtor’s assets will be liquidated to repay the debt
  • Five, the resolution plan will be sent to the tribunal for final approval, and implemented once approved.
  • Setting up the necessary institutional infrastructure could take some time

bank

To Read: As Harish Rawat faces Uttarakhand floor test today, recalling use, misuse of Art 356 (Source: The Indian Express)

 

Others:

1. Pib update

 

a) 3rd Advance Production Estimates of Major Crops during 2015-16 

  • The 3rdAdvance Estimates of production of major crops for 2015-16 have been released by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare
  • The estimated production of major crops during 2015-16 is as under:
    • Foodgrains –  252.23 million tonnes
      • Rice  –  103.36 million tonnes
      • Wheat – 94.04 million tonnes
      • Coarse Cereals  –  37.78 million tonnes
      • Maize  –  21.02 million tonnes
      • Pulses  –  17.06 million tonnes
      • Tur  –  2.60 million tonnes
      • Gram  –  7.48 million tonnes
    • Oilseeds –  9 million tonnes
      • Soyabean –  92 million tonnes
      • Groundnut –  89 million tonnes
      • Rapeseed & Mustard – 6.85 million tonnes
    • Cotton –  52 million bales (of 170 kg each)
    • Sugarcane – 346.72 million tonnes

(Note:  Aspirants need not remember these data with accuracy, but should have a rough idea)

 

b) NRRI, Cuttack have developed CR paddy 310 for the first time in the world which contains 11% protein

  • Initiatives taken by the Central Government for the welfare of farmers have started showing positive results- Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister.
  • Minister said that the scientists of NRRI, Cuttack have developed CR Paddy 310 for the first time in the world which contains 11% protein while other species of rice generally contain protein only 6-7%.
  • NRRI is carrying out researches on Doubled Haploid. He said that they are developing a technique which after having been successful will lead the farmers not to purchase the seed of hybrid rice species from the market.
  • Through this technique the properties of hybrid rice will be transferred to other rice species.
  • Minister said thatafter having formed the Government in May, 2014, a number of programmes had been launched for the welfare of the farmers which resulted in positive changes in the lives of farmers.

Please click here to know more on the schemes from BEST of PIB section.

 

c) Environment Minister launches Web-Based Application on Integrated Waste Management System

  • The Government has launched a web-based application on Integrated Waste Management System (IWMS) for better management of waste.
  • It will provide an opportunity to all the industries dealing in hazardous waste, to apply online.
  • The user-friendly application can also track the movement of hazardous waste and will also help in ensuring its proper management.
  • There are an estimated 43000 industries dealing in hazardous waste, of which about 30000 industries have been mapped through this application.
  • The objective of the web-based application is to enhance transparency in the working of the Ministry and other Centre/State level regulatory bodies and also to reduce the time taken for processing applications.

 

Please click here to read more the details of this application from BEST of PIB section.

 

d) Ranking of Higher Education Institutions 

  • The Ministry of HRD has ranked top Universities, Engineering, Management and Pharmacy colleges in the country based on National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).
  • The details of these are available at NIRF website
  • The criteria adopted for finalizing the performance of various institutions are as follows
    • Teaching, Learning and Resources
    • Research and Professional Practices
    • Graduation Outcomes
    • Outreach and Inclusivity
    • Perception

 

e)  Mineral concession rules 2016

  • The Minerals (Other than Atomic and Hydro Carbons Energy Minerals) Concession Rules, 2016 prescribe the procedures for regulating the grant of mineral concessions and for purposes connected therewith.
  • The provisions of these rules cover
    • Rights of existing holders of mineral concessions,
    • Mineral concessions granted through auction
    • Terms and conditions of mineral concessions
    • Preparation of the mining plan and system of certification
    • Expiry of a mining lease, lapse, surrender or termination
    • Procedure for obtaining a prospecting licence or mining lease in respect of land in which the minerals vest in a person other than the government
    • Associated minerals, minerals valuation, payments, compensation, Penaltyetc.

Note:

  • As per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, no person shall undertake any reconnaissance, prospecting or mining operations in any area, except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a reconnaissance permit or of a prospecting license or, as the case may be, a mining lease, granted under the Act and the rules made thereunder.
  • In view of the above, mining without a mining lease is illegal.The MMDR Amendment Act, 2015 has done away with the concept of renewal of a mining lease.

 

f)  Conservation of natural resources and the National Mineral Policy (NMP), 2008

  • NMP 2008 states that:
    • Conservation of minerals shall be construed not in the restrictive sense of abstinence from consumption, or preservation for use in the distant future.
    • Conservation is a positive concept leading to augmentation of reserve base through improvement in mining methods, beneficiation and utilisation of low grade ore and rejects and recovery of associated minerals.
    • All mining shall be undertaken within the parameters of a comprehensive
    • Sustainable Development Framework
    • which includes guiding principles for a miner to leave the mining area in a better ecological condition after mining
    • It aims for optimum utilization of the country’s natural mineral resources.

To read more on the conservation of natural resources, please click here to go to BEST of PIB section.

 

g)  Raising Ganga Task Force

      • Ganga Task Force has been approved by the Cabinet under the Public Participation component of the NamamiGangeProgramme.
      • Ministry of Defenceagreed in principle for raising of 4 Battalions of Composite Eco Task Force (CETF) named as Ganga Task Force.
      • This Ministry has conveyed its in-principle approval to the MoD for raising of one battalion (ex-servicemen) for National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
      • The raising of one Composite Ecological Task Force Battalion  will be completed soon
      • Ganga Task Force will be trained for 
        • Plantation of trees on the banks of river Ganga
        • Strengthening of pollution monitoring mechanism on ground
        • Management of public awareness and participation programmes and
        • Monitoring of Ghats for the ongoing works

They will participate in various consultative /discussion meetings, participation in awareness and plantation activities at selected towns etc.,

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy code
  • Open Market Operations
  • PMLA
  • Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2016
  • Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016
  • CRILIC
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
  1. Open Market Operations refer to the purchase and sale of the Government securities by RBI from or to the market
  2. OMOs are used to increase or decrease liquidity in the economy

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 2: Which of the following statement(s) is/are true?
  • Insolvency denotes a legal status of a person or entity that cannot repay the debts it owes to creditors
  • Bankruptcy is imposed by a court order and is often initiated by the debtor

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 3: 3	Which of the following statement(s) is/are true?
  1. The Ministry of Defencewould raise 4 Battalions of Composite Eco Task Force (CETF) named as Ganga Task Force
  2. The proposed Ganga Task Force is to be included under Public Participation component of the NamamiGangeProgramme

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 4: Which of the following is/are included in the criteria for ranking educational institutions under the National  Institutional Ranking Framework?
  1. Teaching and Learning levels
  2. Research and Professional Practices
  3. Outreach and Inclusivity
  4. Economic viability

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 1,2 and 3

c) 1,2 and 4

d) All the Above

Question 5: Which among of the following diseases cause the maximum number of deaths of under five children in India?

a) pneumonia

b) diarrhea

c) asphyxia

d) low birth weight

Check Your Answers

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