Comprehensive News Analysis – 15 April 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Japanese agency loan will be released by July, says Amaravati Metro Corp

2. Water levels in 91 major reservoirs alarmingly low

3. New team to handle top-secret files

C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

The Hindu:

1. Reviving a good idea

2. More clarity on Zika’s dangers

3. The tip of the tip of the iceberg

Others:

1. Business Standard : India world’s largest recipient of remittances in 2015: World Bank

2. PTI : Pak, China launch joint air exercise

3. Business Line: Online trading platform for farm goods launched

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

Nothing here for today folks!

B. GS2 Related

1. Japanese agency loan will be released by July, says Amaravati Metro Corp

Topic: Governance

Category: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Location: The Hindu Pg 10

Key points:

  • A four-member Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) team inspected the proposed metro corridors in Vijayawada city.
  • The JICA loan of Rs. 4,200 crore would be released by July this year.
  • The JICA is funding the metro rail project as a bilateral loan with a fixed interest of 0.30 per cent.
  • Seventyseven families are likely to be affected and the cost of resettlement and rehabilitation is expected at Rs.46.73 crore.
  • The AMRC is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)
  • This has been formed to implement the project with help from the consultants Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

2. Water levels in 91 major reservoirs alarmingly low

Topic: Governance

Category: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services

Location: The Hindu Pg 11

13th_KRS_RESERVOIR_1842296f

Key points:

  • Weekly data released by Central Water Commission (CWC) shows that water levels in major reservoirs of the country are alarmingly low.
  • CWC,is a technical organisation under the aegis of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • The CWC monitors live storage status of 91 major reservoirs in the country.

reservoirs_2815132a

  • Live storage capacity of these reservoirs is 157.799 BCM (Billion Cubic Meters), which is 62 per cent of the live storage capacity that is estimated to have been created in India.

What is ‘Live Storage’?

  • ‘Live storage’ is the portion of the reservoir that can be utilised for flood control, power production, navigation and downstream releases.
  • Experts attribute the depleting water levels in reservoirs to two years of poor rainfall in the country.

Tags: Central Water Commission (CWC)

3. New team to handle top-secret files

Topic: Governance

Category: E-governance- applications

Location: The Hindu Pg 14

secret-files_2814747f

Key points:

  • The Union government is drawing up a list of people who will handle “top secret” work and the personnel would be chosen irrespective of their ranks.
  • This decision comes in the wake of the Home Ministry being faced with a growing number of leaks and indiscipline.
  • The decision comes after a file pertaining to a high-profile case went missing last month. The file was traced and disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the official who had “walked away” with the file.
  • The new guidelines mean that the officials handling secret files will have to undergo an extra layer of background check.
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today folks!

E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance

The Hindu

1. Reviving a good idea

Topic: Governance

Category:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services
Key points:

  • The Supreme Court recalled a three-judge Bench’s 2013 order, striking down the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)and agreeing to hold a fresh hearing on a review petition by the Medical Council of India.
  • The Court has thus, revived the idea of holding a national test to ascertain the aptitude and suitability of those seeking to study medicine anywhere in the country.
  • The NEET was introduced in 2010 through amendments to existing regulations relating to medical and dental admissions.

NEET’s laudable objectives:

  • Saving students the trouble of writing multiple entrance examinations to medical courses in State-run and private institutions,
  • Curbing the increasing commercialisation of higher education in medicine, and
  • Ensuring a transparent admission process in private, unaided institutions

 

Opposition faced by the NEET:

  • State governments were upset with the implicit centralisation of medical education in the idea of a national test. They feared that NEET would undermine their reservation policy.
  • Private institutions, especially those established by minorities, were against any interference in their admission process.
  • These private institutions argued that their right to regulate their own admissions had been upheld by an 11-judge Supreme Court Bench inM.A. Pai Foundation (2002).

Conclusion:

  • States which had obtained the interim stay against NEET may believe that they are still entitled to go ahead with the present admission process.
  • The legal position in such States requires clarification.
  • An early disposal of the review petition is needed both to put in place a free and transparent admission process and to eliminate any confusion.

 

2. More clarity on Zika’s dangers

Topic: Governance

Category: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services

 08isbs_El_Nino__08_2575441f

Key points:

  • There is scientific evidence which links microcephaly to Zika virus infection during pregnancy.
  • WHO has stressed that there is scientific consensus that the Zikavirus causes microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • The Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.
  • Moving from a hypothesis to confirming the causal relationship marks a “turning point” in the Zika outbreak. All research efforts can now be directed at understanding the full spectrum of birth defects caused by the infection.
  • A recent study found that Zika virus may be associated with an autoimmune disorder that attacks the brain’s myelin, similar to multiple sclerosis.

Conclusion:

  • Confirming the causal relationship makes it easier to raise awareness both at the clinical and community levels and communicate the risks to women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant soon.
  • This is all the more important as awareness levels are low even in the U.S. where the virus is spreading to more States.
  • Efforts have to be redoubled to develop diagnostic methods and vaccines even as measures to intensify mosquito population are undertaken.
  • With Aedes mosquitoes present in India and the peak mosquito season a few months away, India has much to do to prevent a Zika outbreak.

 

3. The tip of the tip of the iceberg

Topic: Economy

Category: International Trade

TH10-UK-CAMERON_2_2808170f

Key points:

  • TheForeign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), that was in force till 1998, did not allow Indians to take money out of the country or to keep funds outside the country without permission.
  • But after the implementation of new economic policies in 1991, FERA was diluted and easier flow of funds from and to India was allowed.
  • The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) was enacted in 1999 and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in 2005. What was a criminal act under FERA has now become a civil offence.
  • Trade account convertibility was introduced after 1991 and, subsequently, current account convertibility; but not capital account convertibility.
  • Thus, after 1991, a limited amount of proceeds from international transactions could be kept outside.

Why hold funds abroad?

  • People may have earned them from illegal sources, or
  • Want to hide their trail of ownership for business reasons, or
  • If they earn the money abroad, or
  • Purely as a hedge against risk and/or in expectation of higher returns.

The first two involve some illegality. The third may also involve some illegality but the last two may be legitimate activities.

Reasons for concern

  • A large number of the well-off Indians have used the tax havens to shift funds out of India.
  • Politicians and bureaucrats also moved some of their ill-gotten gains abroad.
  • According to our study, the opportunity cost of such funds for the Indian economy amounts to around $2 trillion between 1948 and 2012.
  • Loopholes deliberately created, such as the Mauritius route and Participatory Notes [instruments issued by registered foreign institutional investors to overseas investors who wish to invest in the Indian stock markets without registering themselves with the market regulator] which encourage inflow of capital also encourage more flight of capital.
  • Given the scale of flight of capital from India, what has been revealed now is the tip of the tip of the iceberg.
  • The salient feature that emerges is that funds are routed abroad via tax havens and use the process of ‘layering’ to hide the trail.
  • Indian tax rates are now moderate and hardly a cause for people to take capital out.
  • Inequity rises when the well-offescape taxation and that leads to poor infrastructure and higher indirect taxes.
  • This rising injustice and inequity due to flight of capital has not spurred action because almost all political parties and/or people close to them are involved in this activity.The problem is in India, and not abroad.

Others:

1. Business Standard : India world’s largest recipient of remittances in 2015: World Bank

Topic: Indian Economy

Category : Growth and Development

Key Points:

  • India remained the world’s largest recipient of remittances from abroad in 2015
  • Remittances into India constituted 2.9 times the foreign direct investment
  • Remittances are an important and fairly stable source of income for millions of families and of foreign exchange to many developing countries
  • However, if remittances continue to slow, and dramatically as in the case of Central Asian countries, poor families in many parts of the world would face serious challenges, including nutrition, access to health care and education
  • “In India, following the approval of new payments banks, the Digital India and Start-up India initiatives have the potential to improve the environment for new start-ups and disruptive technologies to reduce remittance costs,” the report  said.

2. PTI :Pak, China launch joint air exercise

Topic: International Relations

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

Key Points:

  • Air forces of Pakistan and China began their fifth joint exercise, signalling increasing military cooperation between the two all-weather allies.
  • Code-named as Shaheen-V, the exercise started at an operational base in Pakistan, which was not disclosed by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF)
  • Their partnership has been strengthened through the USD 46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor linking China with a Pakistani deep seaport through a network of roads, railways and investment parks

3. Business Line: Online trading platform for farm goods launched

Topic: Indian Economy

Category : Agriculture

national agriculture market

Key Points:

  • e-NAM, an online portal for trading in agriculture produce has been launched
  • It promises to liberate farmers from the clutches of middlemen and realise fair market value for their yields
  • The e-NAM marketplace will initially enable farmers in eight States — Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Rajasthan and Haryana — to sell 25 commodities in 21 wholesale mandis .
  • The commodities that will initially be sold online include chana (black gram), castor seed, paddy, wheat, maize, turmeric, onion, mustard, mahua flower, tamarind and shelling pea

How will it be useful?

  • It will provide transparency in pricing by removing the information asymmetry between sellers and buyers and enable farmers to benefit from price discovery
  • It will reduce transaction cost, provide a single licence valid across all markets, help farmers identify the best buyers, enable single-point levy of market fees, and set quality standards
  • It will liberate the farmers from dependence on commission agents, who are the traditional link between them and consumers
  • On the e-platform, farmers can list the items they want to sell on the portal. Traders can then bid for the produce. The farmer will be free to choose to accept the offer made locally or by traders in other States
  • The laboratories to be set up at the mandi s would scientifically classify the quality of the product being sold
  • So far, 14 States have amended their Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act to allow e-trading. Among them are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Sikkim, Goa and Mizoram
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Central Water Commission (CWC)
  • Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA)
  • The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)
  • Participatory Notes
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following statements are true?
  1. The Central water commission is an organisation under the Ministry of water resources
    2. Live Storage is the portion of the reservoir which can be utilised for power generation only

a) 1 only

b) 1 and 2

c) 2 and 3

d) All the above

Question 2:Which of the following statements is not true?

1)Zika virus originated in Brazil

2)The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes

a) 1 only

b)2 only

c)Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 3:Which of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), which was in force till 1990, did not allow Indians to take money out of the country or keep funds outside the country without permission

2. This act of parking funds outside India without authorised permission, which was a civil offence earlier under FERA, is now a criminal offence under FEMA( Foreign Exchange management Act)

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 4: Which of the given below statements is/are true?

a. India has accepted full capital account convertability

b. India follows fixed exchange rate system

c. The remittances from abroad are categorised under captial account of the Balance of payments

d. None of the above

 

Question 5:Guillian Barre Syndrome is
  1. a condition in which immune system attacks the nerves
    2. triggered by an acute bacterial or viral infection.

Which of the above statements is/are true?
a. 1 and 2

b. 1 only

c. 2 only

d. None of the above

Check Your Answers

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