Comprehensive News Analysis - 11 February 2017

The Hindu

Economic Times

PIB

I. Archives

************************************************************************************************************

.

************************************************************************************************************

Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for Today!!!

B. GS2 Related
1. China buoyant after Trump’s U-turn

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

Key Points:

• Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed the one-China policy during a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
• This development has cleared the air for a substantive dialogue between Washington and Beijing.
• It is important to note that China had been angered by earlier remarks by Mr. Trump, questioning Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan under the one-China principle.

What is the ‘One China’ policy?

• It is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government.
• Under the policy, the US recognises and has formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan.
2. Judiciary keeps U.S. President on a tight leash

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

Key Points:

• While asserting the judicial power to review decisions made by the executive on national security matters, a U.S. appeals court upheld a nation-wide stay on the travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
• Mr. Trump tweeted in full capitals, in response to the order: “See you in court.”

Background:

• Trump’s original order, which he called a national security measure, barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days, except refugees from Syria, who were banned indefinitely.
• The abrupt implementation of the order plunged the immigration system into chaos.
• It also sparked a wave of criticism from targeted countries, Western allies and some of America’s leading corporations, especially technology firms.
3. India in talks with U.S. on H-1B issue, says Prasad

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

Key Points:

• In an important development, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said the government is in talks with the Trump administration on the H-1B visa issue and is hopeful of finding a solution soon.

Indian Context

• India’s information technology sector is valued at \$150 billion.
• This sector is led by Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd, who use the H-1B visas to fly engineers and developers to service clients in the US, their biggest market, but opponents say they are using the visas to replace US workers.

C. GS3 Related
1. A shot in the arm for defence acquisition

Category: Indian Economy
Topic: Defence

Key Points:

• The government plans to set up a Defence Procurement Organisation (DPO).
• This effort by the government is seen as an initiative to integrate and streamline the long and arduous process of defence acquisitions.
• It has been suggested that the aim of this initiative is not to create another bureaucracy.
• The DPO will be a vertical under the Defence Ministry and the philosophy is to integrate the processes.

Increased Financial Powers:

• In an effort to shorten the procurement cycle, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by the Prime Minister, has recently increased the financial powers of the Defence Minister.
• In the past, the Defence Minister was entitled to clear deals up to Rs. 500 crore, which has now gone up to Rs. 2,000 crore.
• Jointly, the Finance Minister, the Defence Minister can approve projects up to Rs. 3,000 crore, up from the earlier Rs. 1,000 crore.
• The Defence Secretary too has now been given financial powers upto Rs. 500 crore to clear deals.

Impact of this decision

• This ensures that a major chunk of the procurements are approved within the Ministries.
• About 70% of the deals by number are below Rs. 3,000 crore.
• Jointly, the Finance Minister, the Defence Minister can approve projects up to Rs. 3,000 crore, up from the earlier Rs. 1,000 crore.
• So now only deals of Rs. 3,000 crore and above would go to the CCS for approval.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
1. Israel’s continuing land grab

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

Key Points:

• Recently, Israel has passed the controversial “Regularization Law”, which will allow the forced and retroactive expropriation of Palestinian private lands in the West Bank on which Jewish settlements were established.
• It has been alleged that this legislation flies in the face of international law and norms.
• The legislation allows the Israeli government to expropriate private Palestinian land if the land-owners are unknown. If known, they will be compensated in cash or kind.

Role of Judiciary

• This legislation can be overturned by the judiciary.
• Israel’s Attorney-General has said he wouldn’t defend the bill in the high court as it is “unconstitutional and violates international law”.
• However, this is unlikely to stop the ideology-driven settler movement and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from taking more Palestinian land.
• Despite frequent international criticism, successive governments have thrown their weight behind the settlement lobby.

Concluding Remarks

• Although, Israel still says it is committed to the two-state solution, how will the two-state solution stay relevant if it continues to grab Palestinian land where an independent Palestinian state is supposed to come up?

Economic Times

1. Food revolution: Indian packaged food has a global potential

Category: Indian Economy
Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

• India’s traditional snacks, are making huge inroads and even poised to overtake western ones, in the country’s packaged foods market.

The Market Context

• Ready-to-cook foods are gaining ground in urban India, as double-income families look for quality and convenience.
• The likes of ITC and Amul have the muscle and the entrepreneurial energy to brand them and market them around the world, even as a large number of smaller companies cater to the demand from the desi diaspora.
• Indian food remains relatively untapped terrain for startups. Globally present Indian food would not just add to India’s soft power but also enrich the Indian farmer and grow a vast food-processing industry.

Concluding Remarks

• India’s diverse agro-climatic conditions permit diverse crops, to each of which considerable value can be added, with a step-up in technology, as compared to traditional method of processing.
• With support from the food regulator to ensure quality and traceability, continuous power supply to run cold storages and food processing plants in rural areas, and good roads for transporting rural produce fast to urban markets and ports for exports, there is no reason why India’s food processing industry should not produce a global champion.

PIB

1. Harnessing Solar Energy is crucial, says President

Category: Environment and Ecology
Topic: Renewable Energy

Key Points:

• Depletion of energy resources poses a serious challenge particularly for future generations.
• He stated that India has signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement and has committed that by 2030, at least 40% of its electricity will be generated from non-fossil sources.
• He said that harnessing solar energy is crucial in this context.
• India has a target of reaching upto 100 GW of solar power generation by the year 2022.
• Thus, enhancing the capacity of solar power generation in the country becomes even more important to fulfill this commitment. He was happy that the President’s Secretariat has taken efforts in this direction.
The Hindu
2. Israel’s continuing land grab

Category: Science and Technology
Topic: Developments

Key Points:

• The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the Special Edition of “Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)” in English Braille in New Delhi. This Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of Science & Technology.
• The Minister expressed happiness at the production of these Atlases. He said these atlases will be distributed to various schools across the country for educating the students with visual challenges.
• Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that all departments of Government will work to implement this. Efforts are being made to make these atlases more cost effective than the current price of Rs.600/- per atlas with 20 maps now. Silk screen printing used to prepare these atlases is unique to India, he added.
• In the Braille Atlas, maps are raised and embossed with simple lines and point symbols to facilitate its users to realize the location and area coverage easily distinguishable in terms of shapes and textures. The legend and reference is placed on the map in Braille script to navigate the map. About 20 maps on different themes of physical, socio-economic and cultural aspects such as river system, natural vegetation, Metropolitan cities, Roads and Railways, Food crops and cash crops have been incorporated in the atlas with write-ups on every map as ready reference. This Atlas has been bestowed with National award for S&T intervention in empowering the physically challenged by the Prime Minister on 3rd January, 2017 in Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati.
• NATMO has recently walked ahead to prepare Braille atlases for visually impaired persons. NATMO’s long effort from metallic tactile maps to silk-screen printing technology to prepare a full volume of atlas is perhaps unique in the World. NATMO’s aim is to transmit scientific information in the form of maps and atlases in a cost-effective manner, as more than 50 lakh visually challenged citizens of our country are mainly from low-income group. Till date their knowledge is constrained within books and literatures. Enriched with this experience, they will be able to understand the Indian geographical contours and will be empowered with wealth of knowledge.
• National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) is the premier agency of applied Geo-Spatial technology and pioneer in Thematic Mapping and Atlas Cartography under Department of Science & Technology(Ministry of Science & Technology) engaged in preparing different thematic maps and atlases and other documents on national, state, district, block level and many other monograms. The contribution made by NATMO in developing the thematic maps/ data is being regularly used by the decision makers in the entire country at districts and sub-divisions levels for implementing the developmental schemes as well as by the researchers, students and common people.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
• National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO)
• Regularization Law
• Defence Procurement Organisation (DPO)
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements regarding ‘Braille Atlas’
which was recently in the news.
1. Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of Science & Technology.
2. In the Braille Atlas, maps are raised and embossed with simple lines and point symbols to facilitate its users to realize the location and area coverage easily distinguishable in terms of shapes and textures.

Which of the above 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
1. 1] National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) is the premier agency of applied Geo-Spatial technology and pioneer in Thematic Mapping and Atlas Cartography under Department of Science & Technology(Ministry of Science & Technology)
2. 2] This organization is engaged in preparing different thematic maps and atlases and other documents on national, state, district, block level and many other monograms.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a) 1 Only b) 2 Only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 3: Consider the following statements:
1. Taiwan sits on the most volcanically active part of the world, the Rim of Fire, so earthquakes occur frequently.
2. Taiwan is surrounded by the East China Sea to the north, the Pacific Ocean (Philippine Sea) to the east, South China Sea to the south and the Taiwan Strait to the west.

Which of the above statements is/are incorrect? a) 1 Only b) 2 Only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 4: ‘Gaza Strip’ occurs frequently in the news. Where is this place
located?
a) Middle East b) South-East Asia c) Central Asia d) Western Europe 2
Question 5: Consider the following statements:

1] The ‘Fairy Queen’, is the oldest surviving functional steam engine in the world.

2] The first commercial passenger train in India was from Bombay to Thane.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a) 1 Only b) 2 Only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2