Comprehensive News Analysis - 14 April 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

1. Water Starved India looks west to revive its rivers

B. GS2 Related:

1. Court calls for steps to protect inter-caste couples

2. China responds cautiously to Indo-U.S. logistics pact

C. GS3 Related:

1. World output faces risk of 3.9 % drop by 2021 IMF says policy measures are needed to secure financial stability

2. Ground handling firms mull legal battle over aviation rules Oppose plan to allow airlines to handle their own services at airports

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

The Hindu:

1.Green shoots? Maybe, but they need watering

2. A firm handshake, not an embrace

3. The art of leapfrogging

The Indian Express

1. Ambedkar against nationalism

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



Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

Water Starved India looks west to revive its rivers

Topic: Geography

Category: River systems

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • Due to water shortage and pollution in key rivers, the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) is entering into a slew of agreements with Germany, Israel and the United Kingdom .
  • India will borrow technology to manage drought and used sparse water better,along with river cleaning techniques·
  • The MoWR signed an agreement with the German International Cooperation (GIZ) of Germany to help with cleaning the Ganga.
  • The ‘Namami Ganga’ is a flagship Rs. 30,000-crore programme of the union govt to clean the Ganga and restore its flows by 2020.
  • To do this govt is exhorting public sector undertakings to develop 52 sewage treatment and effluent treatment plants (STPs) and cleaning up a number of ghats.
  • They will also use skimmers at 11 places to take muck out of the river stream.
  • Germany, that will contribute Rs. 22.2 crore to the endeavour, will provide technical consultancy to deal with industrial effluents in Uttarakhand, before they empty out into the river.
  • In the case of Israel, the Ministry said, technologies for water purification and filtration were likely to be shared.
  • Indian companies already use desalination technologies sourced.


B. GS2 Related

1. Court calls for steps to protect inter-caste couples

Topic: Governance

Category: Role of government in maintaining public order

Location: The Hindu pg

Key points:

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to implement measures to protect inter-caste couples.

The court has given following directives.

  • Establish a special cell in each district to receive complaints of threat from couples who opt for inter caste marriage.
  • The cells, which must be set up in three months, should comprise the Superintendent of Police, the District Social Welfare Officer and the District Adi Dravidar Welfare Officer.
    A fund to protect those fleeing from the threat of murder.
  • This fund can be utilised by the special cells for providing temporary shelters to the couples and for rehabilitating them.
  • Create of a 24-hour helpline to receive and register complaints and to provide assistance/advice as well as protection to the couple.
  • Station House Officer of the police station within whose limits the couple move about will provide protection to them.
  • Special cell should ensure that the complaint received through helpline or otherwise is forwarded immediately to the  station.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had passed a similar order to curb honour killings last year


2. China responds cautiously to Indo-U.S. logistics pact

Topic : World Affairs

Category: Indo-US

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • China has taken in its stride India’s decision to sign a logistics support agreement with the U.S., saying New Delhi “will make up its diplomatic policies based on its own interests”.
  • Meanwhile, the cancellation of visit to Beijing by mr. Carter, the US defence secretary has been downplayed by the Chinese foreign policy elite. The Chinese policy analysts have commented that it is a tactic to put pressure on China by the USA.
  • These comments are a reaction to US policy elites commenting that Mr. Carter’s cancellation of visit to Beijing is due to tensions between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea issue..


C. GS3 Related

1. World output faces risk of 3.9 % drop by 2021 IMF says policy measures are needed to secure financial stability

Topic: Economy

Category: Bretton woods and Economic Development

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • The decline in oil prices has helped countries such as India improve their external positions, but low commodity prices have kept risks elevated in emerging market economies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest Global Financial Stability
  • The spill-over effects of the growing uncertainty about China’s economy and setbacks to growth and confidence in advanced economies are other factors undermining global financial stability.
  • These developments tightened financial conditions, reduced risk appetite, raised credit risks and stymied balance sheet repair.
  • The report warns that global output could decline 3.9 per cent by 2021 if action isn’t taken to address the risks faced by the financial system.
  • However, if timely measures are taken, world output could expand by 1.7 percent, relative to the baseline, by 2018.
  • The main message of this report is that additional measures are needed to deliver a more balanced and potent policy mix for improving the growth and inflation outlook .
  • There is a “Triad of global challenges,” namely, the legacy issues in advanced economies, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and greater systemic market liquidity risks.
  • IMF suggests that in advanced economies, banks must deal with bad assets and other legacy issues.
  • The report observed that in the U.S. mortgage markets continue to benefit from significant government support and the measures must be taken to reduce the dominance of institutions such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Given the increasing role of China in the global financial system, “clear and timely communication of its policy decisions and transparency” is crtitical for global financial stability


2. Ground handling firms mull legal battle over aviation rules Oppose plan to allow airlines to handle their own services at airports

Topic: Economy

Category: Labour

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

The Ground Handlers’ Association of India (GHAI)is planning to drag the government to court over the policy uncertainties plaguing the sector for the past nine years.

What is the issue?

  • GHAI represents eight domestic ground handling firms.
  • Ground-handling services include aircraft cleaning and servicing, loading and unloading of food and beverages, besides cargo and luggage handling at the airports.
  • Airlines prefer self-handling to reduce the cost of operations and for better efficiency.
  • While older domestic airlines prefer self-handling at most airports, GHAI takes care of ground-handling for foreign carriers.

So what is the problem?

  • The Draft civil aviation policy 2015 allows carriers to go for self handling.
  • According to the proposal, there will be at least three ground-handling agencies at any airport, with no upper limits, and airlines and chartered planes will be allowed to do self-handling.
  • They are allowed to use contarct labour
  • Therefore, GHAI has flagged safety issues at the airports as contract labour would mean allowing third party handlers inside the airport.
  • Further, GHAI has all its staff on permanent pay rolls, hence, claim to be more secure as the employee data being recorded.
  • Third party ground-handlers especially with foreign ownership of unknown origin are themselves a serious security risk.


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

The Hindu

1.Green shoots? Maybe, but they need watering

Topic: Economy

Category: Economic Growth

Key points:

  • Three data points suggest that the economy might do well. Nevertheless, it has to be viewed with caution.
  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has registered a 2 per cent growth in February after three consecutive months of decline.
  • Industrial activity is returning to the expansionary mode.
  • However, the cumulative growth rate of 2.6 per cent in the first eleven months of this fiscal is not something to cheer about.
  • This is lower than last year’s 2.8 per cent and also well below the 6 per cent expansion in output the country has averaged in the last ten years.
  • Decrease in consumer price inflation to 4.8 per cent in March from over 5 per cent, particularly in the food component of the index, is good news as it puts more disposable income in the hands of consumers.
  • Low inflation rates can also have negative consequences.
  • By hurting nominal GDP growth and corporate revenues, very low inflation can adversely impact job prospects and income growth.
  • A third trigger to growth is expected from the Reserve Bank of India’s positive policy stance on both interest rates and liquidity.
  • It is perhaps this, combined with the Centre’s concerted push on promoting infrastructure and encouraging start-ups,that makes thinkers feel India is poised for a ‘leap in production’.
  • The IMD’s forecast that there is a 64 per cent probability of the South West monsoon bringing in above-normal or excess rain is indeed good news after two consecutive seasons of drought-like conditions.
  • In 2015-16, industry and services were estimated to grow at 7.3 and 9.2 per cent, respectively, while agriculture at 1.1 per cent.
  • Though the farm economy contributes just 17 per cent of India’s GDP, this segment of population forms a sizeable chunk for consumption and hence are important for demand creation in the economy.


2. A firm handshake, not an embrace

Topic: International Relations

Category: Indo-US

Key points:

 New agreement between India-US

  • The three-day visit of U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.
  • There appears to be a new security paradigm that is unfurling.
  • The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), has been signed by India· India has sent out a clear signal that it has no inhibitions about being bound in strategic engagements with the U.S. 
  • Once concluded, the agreement would give American aircraft and warships access to Indian military bases for logistical purposes, including refuelling and repair. In turn, India’s military will enjoy similar access to U.S. bases.

What are the Advantages?

  • Qualitatively transform India’s relations with the U.S.
  • Enhance technological co-operation.
  • The strategic alliance is crucial for India in the Asian 21st century, where, China is the leading giant in world comity of nations.

What about the Joint Patrolling in South China sea?·

  • Joint statement refers to ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea,
  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has been careful to avoid the U.S.’s repeated references to ‘joint patrols’. ·
  • Even the agreement on sharing data on commercial shipping traffic that Mr. Carter had expected to conclude during his visit will be the subject of another round of talks.

How do experts view this agreement and India’s Stance?·

  • The foreign policy analysts feel this wait and watch approach is a good step·
  • New Delhi must take a considered view of the repercussions that such a strategic alliance may have for India’s relations with other countries. ·
  • Moreover, the U.S. administration will change in the year ahead, and it would be wise to wait for the next. ·
  • India’s concerns about continued American military funding and defence transfers to Pakistan still remain unaddressed. ·
  • Meanwhile, expanded collaboration is expected under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative, infuse greater complexity in their military engagements and maritime exercises.
  • They will also commence discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare, and initiate a bilateral maritime security dialogue that would include diplomats and the defence establishments.


3. The art of leapfrogging

Topic: Economy

Category: sustainable Development

Key points:

  • In this paradigm of development, growth takes place in two stages. ·
  • In the first stage, there is growth, but its effects are unsustainable. When these ill-effects are realized, we move to the second phase of the growth, which is associated with mitigation of the ill-effects of the first ( Eg: Biodiverse virgin forests felled for timber cause erosion; monocropping is then done in these areas.)·
  • Destroy and then make amends has become the world’s creed.
  • So, the question before us is, in this two-stage model can we safely avoid the first? We can, if we try hard.
  • Several countries have tried and tested different models of development: some have been discarded,and some have been more successful than others.
  • Developing countries can learn from and take advantages of the lessons learnt in other countries and directly frame and implement  policies, delivery mechanisms, or institutional frameworks that have succeeded in those countries.
  • It is no one’s argument that we should not try out new things fearing failure or mistakes. The message is that instead of blindly following others, we could learn from their experiences and avoid repeating their mistakes.

Leapfrogging backward ·

  • Leapfrogging backward is similar, except that we simply need to go back to where we started from. (Eg: Decades back, the Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul, South Korea, was covered up with concrete at great cost to create a freeway. It virtually became an underground sewer. In 2003, the concrete was actually torn down to restore the stream, again at great cost, and today it is both a successful urban renewal project and a top tourist attraction. In other words, the city chose to leapfrog backwards.)
  • We are seeing beneficial leapfrogging in agriculture (the organic movement), health (prevention, instead of just treatment), Solid Waste Management (‘recycle, reuse, reduce’ instead of ‘dump’) education, food, energy, infrastructure, transportation, and so on.
  • we in India need to learn lessons and leapfrog quickly. The direction does not matter at this moment.


The Indian Express

1. Ambedkar against nationalism


Category: Personalities

Key points:

Was B.R. Ambedkar anti-national?

Some experts feel the answer is in the affirmative

This is due to several reasons:

  • His attitude towards the freedom movement, beyond his antagonistic relationship with Mahatma Gandhi.
  • During the first session of the All-India Depressed Classes Congress (AIDCC), on August 8, 1930, at Nagpur, he opposed the project of India’s independence, which the Congress had promoted a few months before, in December 1929, during its Karachi session, under pressure from Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • The AIDCC argued that “The depressed classes welcomed the British as their deliverers from age-long tyranny and oppression by the orthodox Hindus”.
  • Ambedkar felt strengthened in these views after the Congress won the 1937 elections and started to rule eight out of 11 provinces, and passed conservative bills, including the Industrial Dispute Bill that made strike illegal under certain conditions in the Bombay Presidency.
  • In 1939, Ambedkar made his stand clear in the legislative council of this province: “Whenever there is any conflict of interest between the country and the untouchables, so far as I am concerned, the untouchables’ interests will take precedence over the interests of the country”.

However, just by saying this, Ambedkar cannot be called as not anti-national.

We need to analyse things in perspective

Ambedkar’s Ideology in brief:

  • First, he did not think that India was a nation: “How can people divided into several thousands of castes be a nation?” he asked.
  • For him, the national movement was dominated by an elite, of which the masses were the first victims
  • For Ambedkar, there was an “ism” above nationalism: Humanism, with its values of equality and liberty. Hence his collaboration with the British to promote the cause of the Indian plebe and to fight the Axis powers — hence also his conversion to Buddh-ism.
  • While he considered that religion was “absolutely essential for the development of mankind”, his vision of religion was overdetermined by social considerations.

Important Contributions of Dr. Ambedkar

  • Chairman-Drafting Committee of The Constitution of India
  • During World War II, Ambedkar continued to collaborate with the colonial power in exchange for concessions to Dalits and the working class at large.
  • In July 1941, he joined the Defence Advisory Committee that had been set up by the viceroy to involve Indian leaders in the war effort and to give to this forced participation of India in the conflict a greater legitimacy.
  • In 1942, he entered the executive council of the viceroy as labour member. In this capacity, he worked relentlessly to develop social legislation.
  • One of the most significant bills that he managed to have passed was the Indian Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill, making compulsory the recognition of a trade union in every enterprise under certain conditions.
  • He also introduced the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill and numerous Factories (Amendment) Bills — which were all passed.
  • He also obtained a larger recruitment of Dalits in the army and, in particular, the reinstatement of the Mahar battalion.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and his contributions
  • IMF and World Bank
  • Sustainable Development
  • River regimes of India
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following journals were edited/started by 
Dr.B R Ambedkar?
  1. The Annihilation of caste
    2. Who were the shudras?

3. Buddha and his dhamma

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 2

c) 2 and 3

d) All the above

Question 2:Which of the following is not the publication of World Bank?

a)Global Financial Stability

b)World Development Report

c)Global Financial Development

d)Global Competitiveness report

Question 3:Which of the following is west flowing rivers in India?

a. Krishna

b. Tapi

c. Godavari

d. Cauvery


Question 4: The 5/20 rule is related with which ministry or department in India?

a.Ministry of  civil Aviation

b. Ministry of Telecom

c. Ministry of Agriculture

d. None of the above


Question 5:Which of the following correctly denotes sustainable development?

1. Use of LED lights in various places

2. Using recylced water for maintaining gardens and tourist attractions

3 Using fresh water for Cricket matches and golf parks

4 Using diesel generators for generating power in construction activity

a. 1 and 4

b. 1 , 2 and 4

c. 1, 2 and 3

d. 2, 3 and 4

Check Your Answers

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