Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related
Useful News Articles
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here today folks!
B. GS2 Related
Category: International Organizations
- In an indicator that India is going ahead with its SAARC commitment ahead of the summit in Islamabad, on September 22, 2016 the chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) will address the representatives of anti-terror forces of other member-countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
This will only be the second time in four years that the High Level Group of Eminent Experts to Strengthen the SAARC Anti-Terrorism Mechanism will meet. Last time, India had hosted the meeting in Delhi in 2012 and the then IB chief Nehchal Sandhu had led the Indian side.
- India would push to make the SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk (STOMD) operational – STOMD was established in Colombo in 1995 with an aim to collate, analyse and disseminate information on terrorist offences, tactics, strategies and methods in the SAARC region. The terrorism desk would come in handy to share real-time information on terror-related offences among the eight SAARC nations.
Topic: Judicial reforms
- 21st Law Commission Chairman and former Supreme Court judge Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan said working judges, and not increasing sanctioned strength of judges, may be a solution to modern-day demands of judicial workload caused by the heightened legal awareness among the public about their liberties and the courts are bound by the public’s faith in the judiciary. It is a perspective very different from the highest judiciary’s call for more judges to trim pendency.
- Justice Chauhan’s view comes at a time when the Supreme Court has directed the Law Commission to file a report within a year on whether it is permissible to rid the apex court of routine appeals crowding the court, to help it focus on cases of national and public interest. It also comes at a time when Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur has called for over 70,000 more judges to be appointed to courts all over the country to clear the backlog.
- Current state of affairs Indian Judiciary: It is to be noted that the present vacancies in the High Court’s number over 480 when the sanctioned strength is 1079. The Supreme Court has itself three vacancies in a total sanctioned strength of 31 judges.
- Justice Chauhan on NJAC: Asked whether an amended Bill of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) may be a way out of the current impasse perceived between the highest judiciary and the government over the drafting of the Memorandum of Procedure of appointment of judges, he said there is every possibility it may be challenged and lead to another year’s delay in judicial appointments. He further said Democracy is a collective opinion. Nobody has primacy. There should be a collective opinion, a collective effort. You cannot say Judiciary is the most important. The October 16, 2015 judgment, which revived the Collegium, was based on ‘primacy of judiciary’ in judicial appointments.
- On Uniform civil code: On the government’s recent reference to examine and report on the Uniform Civil Code, he said the matter of uniform personal laws is a social issue. The decision cannot be made in a hurry. There is a need to collect material and hold talks with all the stakeholders.
- On Advocate misconduct: On the Supreme Court’s reference in July 2016 to review provisions of the Advocates Act to curb misconduct among lawyers, he said the judiciary wants more teeth to control lawyers’ misconduct. He said the message is don’t malign the courts.
- Background: The Chief Justice had made an emotional appeal in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the work burden of judges was becoming humanly unbearable.
Category: International Organizations
Topic: Human rights
- Lashing out at the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein for his criticism of action by Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir, India said Terrorism is the grossest violation of human rights.
- Zeid Al Hussein, at the Human Rights Council in Geneva’s annual session, 2016 called for an independent, impartial and international mission into reports claiming the Indian authorities had used force excessively against the civilian population under its administration. He also said that while Pakistan had responded to the HRC’s request to send the team, agreeing to its visit to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in tandem with a mission to Jammu and Kashmir, India had yet to respond formally. Mr. Hussein’s reference at the HRC in Geneva is significant as it sought to put India in the same bracket as Syria, Ethiopia and Venezuela, calling them part of an emerging pattern of UN member states who deny the UN body access.
- Responding to the reference to India’s commitment as a member of the Human Rights Council, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the HRC should acknowledge that Terrorism is the grossest violation of human rights, and that there was no comparison between PoK and Jammu and Kashmir. The MEA further said the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of a pluralistic and secular democracy, where freedoms are guaranteed by an independent judiciary, an active media and a vibrant civil society. In contrast, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is administered by a deep state and has become a hub for the global export of terror.
- Background: Pakistan has escalated the diplomatic war over Kashmir since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani sparked a series of protests and violence in the valley, that has left more than 76 dead and hundreds injured. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who held a meeting to discuss his speech at the UNGA vowed to focus on the issue, even as Pakistan sent 22 special envoys to various countries to push for action against India.
Pakistan called UNHRC for an enquiry into Burhan Wani’s killing and the allegations of human rights violations under the UN charter, as well as an end to the use of pellet guns in Kashmir. However, India said the demand for an external mission had been dismissed by the all-party conference that sent a delegation to Jammu and Kashmir.
- As turbulence continues unabated in the Kashmir Valley, the army has quietly moved an entire brigade into South Kashmir as part of operation ‘Calm Down’ to clear it of militants and protesters. Amid intelligence reports of a virtual ‘Jungle Raj’ prevailing in the area, with militants and their sympathisers calling the shots, holding protests and blocking arterial roads, nearly 4,000 additional troops have been pressed into service to restore normalcy, but with clear instructions to use minimum force.
- The troops, mobilised from reserves have fanned out in all the four districts of South Kashmir – Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam. These districts have borne the brunt of the current spiral of violence in the Valley triggered by the encounter killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
- The army troops assisted by CRPF and the state police are combing the areas minutely and clearing the road blocks put by the protesters by felling trees, electric poles and placing huge boulders and burnt vehicles, to facilitate movement of people.
C. GS3 Related
Category: Science and Technology
Topic: Defense – Navy
- India and Russia will undertake advanced discussions on the leasing of a second nuclear attack submarine. Russia has already leased an Akula class nuclear attack submarine to India for 10 years as a package deal along with aircraft carrier Vikramaditya which was commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra in While Russia has offered another Akula SSN on lease, India is interested in a different and a newer class of boat.
- Submarines are considered the most potent offensive military platforms. While conventional diesel-electric submarines have limited range and endurance, nuclear powered submarines are free of such limitations. Powered by a nuclear reactor which gives virtually unlimited range and endurance, the submarines can silently traverse oceans hunting for enemy vessels. Nuclear submarines are of two types – nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) and ballistic nuclear submarines (SSBN).
- SSBNs are specifically meant to carry missiles armed with nuclear warheads and assure a nation’s second strike capability if attacked first by nuclear weapons. India’s first SSBN Arihant powered by a 83 MW ncuelar reactor has been under sea-trials since 2009 and is all set for commissioning. At least two more boats of the same class are in various stages of construction.
- Indigenous SSNs – In February, 2016 the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has approved the design and construction of six SSNs By the approval, the government had converted part of the ambitious 30-year, 24 submarine building plan from conventional to nuclear.
The plan is to design and build an indigenous SSN based on the experience gained from Arihant and they will be built at the same Submarine Building Complex in Vizag. The programme is on track and the design phase is progressing as per schedule, officials said without elaborating further. Indian Navy currently operates thirteen conventional submarines and one nuclear attack submarine leased from Russia. In contrast, China operates five SSNs, four SSBNs and over 50 conventional submarines.
Topic: Thermal power
- A plan by NTPC to build a power plant in Trincomalee in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, has been scrapped by the Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Power and Energy following serious concerns raised by the environmentalists and the country’s decision to switch from coal to renewable energy sources. Sri Lanka has decided to look at options such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), solar and wind power.
- The decision is a virtual blow to the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) first international joint venture, in which it holds 50:50 stake with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). The Sampur Coal Power Plant was proposed as a joint venture following a 2006 agreement among the Government of Sri Lanka, CEB and the NTPC.
Note: Sri Lanka’s total installed power generation capacity is currently about 4,050 MW. This includes 900 MW of coal power, 1,335 MW of oil burning thermal power, 1,375 MW of hydro power and nearly 450 MW of non-conventional renewable energy sources. The country aims to increase its capacity to 6,400 MW in another decade to meet its growing demands.
- The Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said big retail chains and food brands from the U.K., Italy and Brazil are eyeing an entry in the Indian market after the government opened up foreign investments (FDI) up to 100 per cent in processing, marketing and retailing of food made in India.
- India’s food economy is growing at a faster rate than the economy and our food and grocery market is the sixth largest in the world. The average Indian spends about 40% of their wallet on food. This implies Indian consumer is now ready for global retailers.
The minister further said “our retail sector is largely in the unorganised sector, only 2 per cent in the organised sector. The retail sector in India that is largely dominated by mom-and-pop stores now needs these multi-brand retail chains to come in the food sector to ensure our consumers get what is available worldwide. I think the Indian shopper is absolutely ready for that”
- The Food processing ministry has decided to hold a World Food Summit in January 2017 on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat summit, where big food retailers, processors, logistics, packaging companies as well as farmer producer organisations would be invited.
- GST exemption – The Food Processing Ministry is arguing for keeping processed food products in the exempt category of goods under the proposed Goods and Services Tax regime to replace the present indirect tax levies. The ministry is pursuing the idea that food products should either be exempt from GST or be taxed at the lowest rate possible. The decision will now be taken at the GST Council and should be in the lines of what’s best for the country.
D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
Category: Inter-state water disputes
Topic: Cauvery sharing issue
Emotions often trump reason. The Cauvery water dispute is turning out to be less about water and irrigation and more about linguistic chauvinism and regional identity. Nothing else can explain the mindless violence in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the Supreme Court order asking the former to release water to the latter, keeping in view the distress situation in both States in a season of deficit rainfall. Many of the acts of violence have been perpetuated in the two States by chauvinistic, fringe organisations that have little to do with the farming community or its interests. It is clear that there is insufficient water in Karnataka’s reservoirs to meet the full irrigation needs of both States. The point of the Supreme Court order was to make the States share their distress and not to magically fulfil the needs of farmers on both sides. But political parties and some media houses, especially regional language television channels, have sought to portray the issue as one that pits the people of one State against that of the other. Indeed, the two major national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, have taken different stands in the two States on this issue. No party or State government appears to believe it can afford to be seen as taking even so much as a conciliatory step toward defusing the crisis. On some previous occasions when Karnataka released water in a distress year the State government did so quietly so as to not give chauvinistic elements any opportunity to inflame passions.
Cauvery is an inter-State dispute, but this is no reason to turn the issue into a raging controversy that draws the peoples of the two States into confrontation. That Tamil-speaking people settled in Karnataka for generations are made to feel insecure, and business establishments run by entrepreneurs tracing their familial ties to Karnataka are targeted in Tamil Nadu are indications of how the water dispute goes beyond the interests of the people and becomes mixed up with the emotive issue of linguistic identity. Ideally, as stipulated by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, the technicalities of water-sharing should be left to the Cauvery Management Board, which is to monitor the water flows with the help of the Cauvery Regulation Committee and the respective State authorities. If Cauvery is not to be made a plaything in the hands of chauvinists, the governments of the two States as well as at the Centre need to send out a strong signal to the marauding mobsters that violence, in whatever name, will be put down strongly by the security forces. As laid down by the CWDT, the issue of water-sharing should be left in the hands of technical experts, and not politicians who are hostage to the emotions of a parochial fringe.
The agreement reached between Russia and the United States in Geneva on a ceasefire in Syria is perhaps the best opportunity for a solution to the five-and-a-half-year old civil war. Under it, Russia will prevent the regime of President Bashar al-Assad from bombing rebel-held areas, while the U.S. will join hands with Russia in the fight against jihadist groups, including the Islamic State. The broad framework of the deal is the Putin Plan, made public a year ago while announcing Russia’s intervention in Syria. Vladimir Putin wanted Syrian statehood to be restored and the major powers to come together in the fight against the jihadists. When Russia made the proposal at the UN General Assembly, not many had expected that Moscow and Washington would come together on Syria. The U.S.’s initial response to the Russian intervention was sceptical, with reservations about Russia attacking non-IS rebel groups. There were fears about the conflict escalating into a full-blown war. Instead, the Putin Plan seems to have worked, albeit with a heavy human cost. The intervention has bolstered the Syrian regime, changing the balance of the conflict. Mr. Assad’s regime was on the verge of collapse a year ago; it is now stable at least in its strongholds. The rebels’ influence has shrunk, though they appear to be unbeatable in many of the small towns they control. This stalemate and the fear of more bloodshed may have prompted both the U.S. and Russia to play down their differences.
This time, the prospects for peace are brighter given the investment the two military powers have made. Both the rebels and the regime have welcomed the deal. There are positive changes at the regional level as well. Turkey, a staunch supporter of the rebels, had recently said Mr. Assad could play a transitional role in Syria. Two big challenges remain. First, can Russia halt Mr. Assad’s fighter jets? Though Moscow wields strong influence over Damascus, it has in the past expressed uneasiness over the stubbornness of the regime. The regime is now making gains in the battlefield. Even if Mr. Assad agrees to suspend the bombing, it is not clear if he will be prepared to make any meaningful compromises in the peace talks. Second, the rebels fighting the regime are not a unified force. Russia wants Fateh al-Sham, a former affiliate of al-Qaeda, to be singled out and attacked. The U.S. has agreed to this suggestion in principle, but its practicality is uncertain. However, the odds should not overshadow the significance of the agreement. If the ceasefire is clearly established, that itself would be quite an achievement given the horrors of the war.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
- FDI in food processing
- Law commission of India
- Inter-state water disputes: Legal & Constitutional provisions
- Nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) and ballistic nuclear submarines (SSBN).
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
H. Fun with Practice Questions
Question 1: Which is the 1st indigenously built nuclear powered submarine of India?
c) INS Jalaswa
d) INS Chakra
Question 2: The Foreign direct investment (FDI) policy of India is framed by –
c) Make in India
d) None of these
Question 3: The 1st Cultural summit of SAARC nations was held in 2015-16 at –
a) Bamiyan, Afghanistan
b) Dhaka, Bangladesh
c) Mahastanagarh, Bangladesh
d) New Delhi, India
Question 4: The Union ministry of food processing launched the Mega food park scheme to promote food processing industry. The 1st food park was inaugurated at –
c) Warangal, Telangana
d) Nagpur, Maharashtra
Question 5: Which of the following statements are correct –
- Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India.
- The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice.
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
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