Comprehensive News Analysis – 11 January 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Effects of Endosulfan devastating: SC

2. China deepens military ties with Malaysia

C. GS3 Related:

1. Sky is the limit for investors in India: PM

2. Modi’s initiatives get big applause

3. India opposed to inclusion of ‘new issues’ in WTO

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

The Hindu

1. Appointments as spoils of office

2. Mind the gender gap

3. Reaching out to Africa

Economic Times

1. Kiran Bedi should back off gracefully

PIB

1. National Youth Festival with the theme Youth for Digital India to be held at Rhotak from 12th to 16th January 2017

2. Sagarmala – Sailing towards a Vibrant Gujarat

3. Plans for ‘24×7 Power For All’ in true spirit of Cooperative Federalism-Piyush Goyal

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. Effects of Endosulfan devastating: SC

Category: Polity and Governance   

Topic: Judiciary

Key Points:

  • Endosulfan is a highly controversial but cheap agrochemical.
  • The Supreme Court described the effects of Endosulfan as “devastating,” 
  • The Supreme Court on 10th January, 2017, directed the Kerala government to release the entire compensation to over 5,000 victims, mostly newborns, and their families in three months.
  • In the ruling, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar said the State of Kerala can initiate legal proceedings to recover the compensation money from pesticide companies responsible for the production and sale of Endosulfan. the highly controversial but cheap agrochemical. 
  • It is important to note that the state of Kerala has earmarked over ₹ 180 crore for the payment of compensation to victims, some of whom are terminally ill from the effects of the pesticide which was aerially sprayed on cashew plantations adjoining habitats where the victims are located.

 

  1. China deepens military ties with Malaysia

Category: International Relations   

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

Key Points:

  • In a recent development, for the first time, a Chinese submarine has docked at a port in Malaysia.
  • This signals a deepening of military ties between the two countries, which are already partners in the development of the Beijing-led Maritime Silk Road.
  • The four-day stopover of the submarine from January 3 at the port of Kota Kinabalu is being seen as a trigger for elevated tensions in the South China Sea (SCS). The Malaysian port has a naval base facing the SCS.

 

C. GS3 Related
1. Sky is the limit for investors in India: PM

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Industry, Investment

Key Points:

  • Prime Minister Modi recently said that India was on the threshold of becoming the world’s largest digitised economy, offering immense opportunities to global investors.
  • Significantly, Modi went on to add that for investment, sky is the limit and our policies are very progressive. India is going to emerge as one of the world’s largest construction markets. All this offers unprecedented opportunities for the investment community.
  • “India’s strength lies in 3Ds — Demography, Democracy and Demand. Ours is a nation of vibrant youth; the disciplined, dedicated and talented youth of India offers globally unmatched workforce while our middle class offers huge market.” he said.
  • He also went on to add that India had become the “sixth largest manufacturing nation, up from 9th”

 

  1. Modi’s initiatives get big applause

Category: Polity and Governance   

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • Ambani recently announced that Reliance Jio would connect all schools, colleges, hospitals and medical institutes with high speed bandwidth in the State.
  • He called Gujarat as a “sacred land” for him and said the Reliance group has roots in Gujarat.
  • Significantly, Tata group’s interim chairman Ratan Tata, who is locked in a bitter legal fight with sacked chairman Cyrus Mistry, said his decision to shift the Nano car factory from West Bengal to Gujarat, led to the State becoming an auto hub with carmakers like Suzuki, Honda and Ford setting up their factories here. 

 

3. India opposed to inclusion of ‘new issues’ in WTO

Category: Indian Economy 

Topic: International Trade

Key Points:

  • India has recently opposed attempts by some developed nations to introduce ‘new issues’ including e-commerce and investment into the formal agenda of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)-level negotiations on liberalisation of global trade.
  • This development takes place ahead of a special meeting of trade ministers on the sidelines of the forthcoming World Economic Forum at Davos.
  • It is important to note that India had on earlier occasions too rejected the attempts of the developed world to make such ‘new issues’ part of the ongoing Doha Round talks saying it will ‘dilute’ the ‘development agenda’ of the negotiations. 


D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
1. Appointments as spoils of office

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Judiciary

Key Points:

  • Last year, the Supreme Court passed observations on the quality of appointments made to the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission.
  • These observations exposed the gross disrespect shown by the State government to the institutional integrity of the constitutional body.
  • The Supreme court has directed the State government to make a fresh selection of TNPSC members after a “meaningful and deliberative process”.
  • In the case of the TNPSC, the high court of Tamil Nadu had noted that there was absolutely no process which had preceded the appointments.
  • The unfortunate aspect of the appointment process, is that, it has become a “spoils system” based on political patronage.
  • Going by the recent round of appointments, the Tamil Nadu government does not have a process.

Conclusion

  • The Tamil Nadu government needs to evolve a process for appointments to the TNPSC that will make integrity and calibre the principal qualifications, while also drawing upon a wider pool of talent than what the ruling party’s limited list of favourites has to offer.

 

2. Mind the gender gap

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Social Justice

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that during the 2014 national and State elections, for the first time women’s safety and empowerment were topics of debate.
  • This marked a significant shift in how gender concerns are viewed by the political class as well as by voters in India.
  • It is significant to note that in 2015, 194 member states, including India, adopted the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Further, Gender equality is one of the 17 goals to “transform our world”.
  • This year, India ratified the Paris Agreement. 
  • It has been reported that one of the reasons attributed to the sluggish progress in furthering the gender agenda, is the lack of targeted resources.
  • It is important to note that last year, the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report ranked India 87 in terms of gender equality in economy, education, health, and political representation.
  • It is significant to note that India formally adopted Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in 2005.
  • The rationale behind GRB is that policy outcomes are not as gender-neutral as commonly believed, and can reinforce or exacerbate exiting hierarchies.

The Way Forward

  • Despite the successes, better implementation and planning are needed to ensure that policies percolate right down to the last woman in the most remote parts of the country. 
  • It has been pointed out that Budget 2016-17 was widely considered to be a mixed bag for women.
  • For example, while the Ministry of Women and Child Development and National Commission for Women saw nominal increases, the scheme meant for implementing the Domestic Violence Act did not receive any allocation.
  • Further, there was a decline in the number of ministries and departments that fall under GRB. 
  • Finally, in conclusion, it is important to note that gender budgeting alone is not sufficient to tackle deep-rooted gender disparities. 
  • Policies can be more effective if budgeting takes a broader, gendered approach.


3. Reaching out to Africa

Category: International Relations

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

Key Points:

  • One of India’s most important African partners, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, has participated in the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit as a special guest and will hold discussions with leaders in Delhi beginning January 11.


India- Kenya Bilateral Relationship

  • Bilateral trade, which was valued at $4.23 billion in 2014-15, has the potential for rapid growth if Indian companies are willing to be active in a competitive market.
  • Diverse sectors in Kenya, such as energy, pharmaceuticals, textiles, agriculture and financial services, will welcome greater involvement of India Inc.
  • It is important to note that some major Indian corporates, including the Tatas, Reliance, Essar, Kirloskars and Dr. Reddy’s, are flourishing in Kenya.

Future of East African Community

  • The East African Community (EAC), comprising Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, has emerged as one of the most successful of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities. 
  • Intra-EAC trade increased from $1.85 billion in 2005 to $5.63 billion in 2014, while the flow of foreign direct investment declined from $7.8 billion in 2006 to $3.8 billion in 2012. 

The Way Forward for India

  • The Indian government and India Inc. need to devise a trade and industrial cooperation strategy to upgrade existing links with the EAC. 
  • But India has to tread with caution as the traditional rivalry between Kenya, the regional economic powerhouse, and Tanzania, the largest member-state, has been renewed.
  • It has been suggested that it imperative for India to take a keener interest in Africa if it is serious about playing a global role.
  • In conclusion, it is important to state that India’s Africa policy is broadly in line with Agenda 2063, promoted by the African Union.
  • India must concentrate on actions that strengthen its economic cooperation with select African countries.

 

Economic Times

1. Kiran Bedi should back off gracefully

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Center- State Relations  

  • In Puducherry, there appears to be a simmering discord between Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy.

Background of events

  • The Lt. Governor of Puducherry had initiated WhatsApp groups earlier to pass on instructions to officials.
  • A Pondicherry Civil Services cadre official reportedly posted a lewd video on one of the WhatsApp groups.
  • The Lt. Governor then suspended the Pondicherry Civil Services cadre official.
  • The official was detained by police and later summoned to Raj Nivas for an explanation.
  • The Lt. Governor then subsequently suspended the official and also directed police to book a case under Section 67-A of the IT Act.
  • The bureaucracy then decided to exit the Lt. Governor’s WhatsApp groups after a delegation of officials failed to convince Ms. Bedi to withdraw the suspension.
  • The state government then came out with a circular dated January 2, 2017, prohibiting officials from using social media for “interaction with seniors bypassing the administrative hierarchy and routine official channel”.
  • Though the circular cited security risks, it was a virtual no-brainer that the move was intended as a rebuff to the Lt. Governor.
  • Further, the Election Commission of India stayed the Lt. Governor’s suspension order as the official happened to be serving as an Electoral Registration Officer.
  • The ECI categorically stated that the official, in his capacity as an electoral officer, is subject to “control, superintendence and discipline of the Commission under Section 13CC of the Representation of People Act, 1950”.
  • It went on to add that the Lt. Governor should have taken the Commission into confidence before placing the official under suspension, particularly when the publication of the final electoral rolls was imminent.
  • In response to this, the Lt. Governor cancelled the government circular prohibiting the use of social media as it “has been issued in contravention of guidelines, rules, and policies, etc., in force”.

Recent Development

  • In Kiran Bedi’s latest remark, she said that she will have final say over proposals in the state budget, irrespective of what the state cabinet decides. This has created a confrontation with chief minister V Narayanasamy.
  • It is important to note that Bedi, whose role is to act as New Delhi’s eyes and ears, should stick to her remit and stop meddling in governance.

Brief History on Puducherry

  • Puducherry was merged into India in 1962, after its French colonisers left.
  • One year later, the government passed legislation creating Union territories (UTs), which were directly under central rule.
  • There were originally 18 UTs, whose number has steadily come down to seven, today. Of these, Puducherry and the National Capital Region, centred on Delhi, have elected governments.
  • Puducherry has had elected governments since 1963.

 

PIB

  1. National Youth Festival with the theme Youth for Digital India to be held at Rhotak from 12th to 16th January 2017

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • Department of Youth Affairs of Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, organizes every year the National Youth Festival on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the greatest Youth Icon from 12th to 16th January.
  • Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Vijay Goel, in a statement said that this year the 21st National Youth Festival is being organised in Rohtak, Haryana from 12th to 16th January, 2017.  He further informed that Prime Minister will address the participants of the Festival through video conference on the occasion of opening ceremony. Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh will grace the occasion as Chief Guest in the august presence of Shri Mahohar Lal, Chief Minister, Haryana.
  • Shri Goel  further informed that this year the theme of the Festival ‘Youth for Digital India’ has been decided keeping in view the most critical and crucial importance of the thrust accorded to the area of Digitalisation and Skill Development by Government of India and realise the proclaimed national goal for ‘Make in India Campaign’ and the PM’s vision of ‘Youth Led Development’. 
  • India being one of the youngest nations in the world with about 65% of its population under the age of 35, Shri Goel expects that this demographic dividend’ offers a great opportunity for the country to revolutionize itself and achieve the vision of a clean India, a skilled India and most importantly an incredible India . He urges the Youth of the Nation to strive and work endlessly in the process of nation building following the paths shown by Swami Vivekanada.

 

  1. Sagarmala – Sailing towards a Vibrant Gujarat

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Industry, Energy 

Key Points:

  • Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State, Shipping, Road Transport & Highways,inaugurated the state- of -the -art exhibition display of Sagarmala, Ministry of Shipping at Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit, 2017, on 10th January, 2017. 
  • The central focus of the 8thedition of the Global Summit organized by Government of Gujarat is “Sustainable Economic and Social Development”.

Gujarat has been at the forefront of the maritime development in India. Under the Sagarmala Programme, More than 40 projects with estimated cost of approximately INR 85,000 Crore have been identified across the four pillars of Port Modernization & New Port Development, Port Connectivity Enhancement, Port-led-Industrial Development and Coastal Community Development.

  1. Port modernization: Projects have been identified for capacity augmentation at existing ports especially Kandla to meet the future growth in cargo volumes.

These include mechanization of cargo handling process, development of multi-purpose berth and setting up of barge and coastal jetty to name a few. 

  1. Port connectivity: For enhancing port-connectivity to hinterland and creating optimal mode of evacuation to/from ports connectivity projects have been identified.

 

  1. Plans for ‘24×7 Power For All’ in true spirit of Cooperative Federalism-Piyush Goyal

Category: Indian Economy   

Topic: Energy    

Key Points:

  • The Ministry of Power, Government of India signed the MoU for Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) with Tamil Nadu in New Delhi, on 9th January, 2017. Also, with the signing of the ‘24×7 Power For All (PFA)’ roadmap document with the State, the roadmap for all the 28 States, except one, and all the 7 Union Territories in the country have now been finalized and is under implementation. It is the most significant milestone in this initiative founded on the principles of cooperative federalism.
  • Providing access to reliable and quality power supply to all citizens/ establishments by 2019 is at the core of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi’s vision for the nation and the Ministry of Power’s 24×7 PFA program is aimed at delivering on it. It is important to note that UJALA has emerged as the world’s largest and most successful LED bulbs program.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • UJALA
  • Sagarmala Programme



H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: The ‘Global Gender Gap Report’, is released by which of the following institutions?

A) World Economic Forum

B) International Monetary Fund

C) World Bank

D) WTO

Question 2: Consider the following statements,
  1. It is significant to note that India formally adopted Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in 2006.
  2. The rationale behind GRB is that policy outcomes are not as gender-neutral as commonly believed, and can reinforce or exacerbate exiting hierarchies.

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: Consider the following statements,
  1. Puducherry was merged into India in 1962
  2. Puducherry has had elected governments since 1963.

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 4: The Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) has proposed a new horizontal formula for the distribution of the states’ share in divisible pool among the states. Which of the following variables is/are used by FFC to determine the states’ share?
  1. 2011 census population
  2. Fiscal capacity
  3. Forest cover
  4. Fiscal Discipline

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A) 1 and 2 only

B) 1, 2 and 4 only

C) 1, 2 and 3 only

D) All the above

Question 5: Consider the following statements regarding ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Account’.
  1. Account can be opened in the name of the girl child from the birth of girl child till she attains age of ten years.
  2. The account can be opened with an initial deposit of one thousand rupees.
  3. A guardian can open only one account in the name of one girl child and maximum two accounts in the name of two different Girl children.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

A) 1 only

B) 1 and 2 only

C) 2 and 3 only

D) All the above

Check Your Answers

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