Comprehensive News Analysis - 15 November 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. The breakthrough with Japan

2. Israeli President arrives on 6-day visit

C. GS3 Related:

1. Demonetisation and after

2. The tragedy of the commons

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

Livemint

1. Improving India’s job creation ranking

2. A large accumulation of small defeats

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

Nothing here today folks!

B. GS2 Related
  1. The breakthrough with Japan

Category: International Relations

Topic: India – Japan

Key Points:

  • Prime Minister  Narendra  Modi’s  recent  visit  to  Japan  packed quite  a  punch:   from  supporting  India’s  membership  in  the Nuclear  Suppliers  Group  ( NSG)   and  rationalising  the  Mumbai- Ahmedabad  bullet  train  timeline  to  the  easing  of  Indian student  visas,   training  of  30,000  Indians  in  Japanese- style manufacturing  practices,   and  merging  of  India’s  “ Act  East Policy”   with  Japan’s  “ Free  and  Open  Indo- Pacific  Strategy”
  • Even as  Japanese  business  leaders  and  investors  sought  more “ free  and  open”   investment  climate  and  relaxation  of  land  acquisition policies,Modi  called  for  greater  participation  and  engagement  of  Japanese  industries  in  India

The  nuclear  deal

  • But the  signing  of  the  civil  nuclear  deal  was  the  biggest  item  on  the agenda.   With  this,   Japan  is  making  an  exception  to  its  rule  of  not  conducting nuclear  commerce  with  any  state  that  is  not  a  signatory  to  the  Nuclear  NonProliferation  Treaty  ( NPT)
  • Though this  pact  has  been  the  subject  of  intense  negotiations  between  the  two  countries  for  the  last  six  years,   Modi  and  Japanese  Prime  Minister  Shinzo  Abe’s  personal  ties  managed  to give  it  new  momentum
  • Against the  backdrop  of  China’s  reluctance  to  support  India’s  candidacy  for  the  membership  of  the  NSG,   the  import  of  Indo Japanese  nuclear  cooperation  assumes  great  salience
  • This is  a  remarkable  turnaround  in  many ways
  • After India  tested  nuclear  weapons in  1998,   Japan  suspended  economic  assistance  for  three  years  and  froze  all  political exchanges
  • The former  included  halting aid  for  new  projects,   suspension  of  yen loans  and  imposition  of  strict  control  over technology  transfers
  • Tokyo called  on  the G8  countries  to  condemn  the  Indian  and  Pakistani  nuclear  tests

 

  1. Israeli President arrives on 6-day visit

Category: International Relations

Topic: India-Israel

Key Points:

  • Setting the stage for a prime ministerial visit from India in 2017, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin arrived in India
  • The two nations are expected to sign 15 agreements. Before embarking on the visit, Mr. Rivlin took to Twitter and wrote in Hindi that he would focus on industrial and academic issues during his visit
  • Rivlin is likely to focus on agriculture cooperation between the two sides during the visit
  • He is accompanied by Michael Mirilashvili, chairman of Watergen, one of the most important futuristic companies of Israel that specialises in optimal use of water resource
  • This is a special visit to celebrate our 25 years of diplomatic relations and we are sure that India will fall in love with our loving and compassionate president,” said Anat Bernstein-Reich of India-Israel Chamber of Commerce
  • Rivlin is the second president of Israel to visit India in two decades
  • The first was Ezer Weizman who visited Delhi in 1997
  • Rivlin’s arrival will set in motion bilateral exchanges to mark twenty-five years of formal diplomatic ties which was started in 1992 at the end of the Cold War

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Demonetisation and after

Category: Economy

Topic: Demonetisation

Key Points:

  • The long,   anxious,   and  frustrating  wait  by people  outside  banks  and  ATMs  across the  country  over  the  last  five  days  is  an  inevitable  consequence  of  the  decision  to demonetise  notes  of   500  and  Rs. 1,000
  • The new   500  notes  that  hit  the  market  on Monday  could  have  been  released  immediately after  the  announcement  last  week.   Putting  out  new Rs. 500  notes  along  the  Rs. 2,000  notes  would  have placed  much  less  strain  on  those  of  the  Rs. 100  denomination,   which  are  anyway  in  short  supply
  • Second, it  appears  that  officials  woke  up  a  little  late to  the  issue  of  recalibrating     At  least  a  day,   if not  more,   was  lost  as  banks  realised  the  ATMs would  not  be  able  to  dispense  the  new  notes
  • The communication with  the  public,   who  were  in  a  state of  panic,   could  have  been  better,   too
  • Thankfully, the Centre  has  woken  up  to  ease  the  pressure  on  the system  by  increasing  withdrawal  limits,   allowing for  petroleum  outlets  and  hospitals  to  accept  the old  series  of  notes  until  November  24  and  pushing more  cash  through  post  offices
  • The worst- affected are  people  in  rural  areas  and  villages  where  cash  is king  and  the  banking  system’s  penetration  is  poor
  • The decision  to  relax  cash- holding  limits  for  banking  correspondents,   the  crucial  link  between  banks and  villages,   to   50,000  and  allowing  them  to  replenish  multiple  times  a  day  should  help  in  faster distribution.   This  ought  to  have  been  done  much earlier
  • The cash  crunch  of  the  last  few  days  is  certain  to  have  an  adverse  impact  on  consumption spending,   especially  in  the  rural  areas,   with  the  resultant  effect  on  the  economy  in  the  third  quarter

 

  1. The tragedy of the commons

Category: Environment

Topic: Pollution

Key Points:

  • Residents in  the  already  polluted  Capital  experienced  something  of  a  turning point  on  Diwali
  • The belaboured,   particulate- loaded  air  was  further  bombed with     Some  described  the scene  as  a  war  zone  with  active  shelling
  • The act of  burdening  common  air  further was  almost  like  an  act  of  violence
  • While pollution  and  other  environmental  degradation  have  physical  impacts  on  people,   their  emotional  and psychological  costs  are  often  overlooked
  • In Delhi,   for  instance,   the  anxiety  of  knowing  that  the  air  is  deadly  is adding  to  the  physical  challenges  of  living  there
  • The time  to  consider  psychological  impacts  of  environmental degradation  surely  is  now

Inaction  costs  us

  • The environment  is  our  habitat,   and we  make  interventions  in  it  for  habitation  —   air  conditioning,   heating,   sunshades,   and  now,   air  purifiers  and  air pollution     Dangers  in  the  environment,   such  as  pollution,   are  usually looked  at  as  medical  cases
  • Sometimes, compensation is  meted  out  for  long term  environmental  damage  or  spills
  • But the  very  idea  of  compensation  following  damage  is  transactional  —   it suggests  something  broken  can  be healed
  • However, in  the  case  of  environmental  damage  the  issue  is  more  problematic
  • It is  difficult  to  compute  the  extent  of  environmental  damage  to  both people  as  well  as  ecosystems
  • It has  also proved  difficult  to  understand  the  costs society  is  likely  to  have  in  the  future
  • This has  given  rise  to  the  idea  of  Precautionary  Principle,   which  suggests  not carrying  out  an  activity  that  is  likely  to seriously  harm  the  environment
  • Moving from  a  traditional  view  of  paying  for environmental  damage  after  it  has  occurred,   new  approaches  are  trying  to suggest  what  scenarios  would  occur  if pollution  or  damage  is  caused  ( before  it occurs),   and  subsequently,   understanding  the  costs  of  inaction  on  the  environmental  front
  • A 2013 World  Bank  report  said  environmental  degradation  cost  India  7 per  cent  of  its  GDP  in  2009
  • The report concluded  that  environmental  degradation  is  actively  harming  the  economy
  • In terms of  prevention,   it  made  another equally  important  observation:   after  a certain  point  of  environmental  degradation,   clean- up  becomes  cripplingly expensive,   as  we  are  witnessing  in rivers  Yamuna  and  Ganga  today

Collective  responsibility

  • Much of  the  Swachh  Bharat  ( Clean India)   campaign  focusses  on  not  just governance  and  municipal  responsibility,   but  also  personal  habits
  • People are extolled  not  to  litter,   spit  or  destroy  the environment
  • To a  limited  extent,   the  issue  of  tackling  air  pollution  is  also  about individual  habits
  • Getting pollution checks  on  personal  vehicles,   not  causing  garbage  fires  and  not  burning  firecrackers  are  some  of  the  most  common ways  individuals  combat  air  pollution
  • The only  option  out  for  public  policy for  environmental  damage  is  to  place strong  emphasis  on  individual  and  social  cost  of  inaction
  • Further, the  psychological  costs  of  inaction  have  to  be better  explained
  • This could  be  through public  announcements,   popular  outreach  and  education

 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here today folks!

E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
Livemint
  1. Improving India’s job creation ranking

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Employment

Key Points:

  • This is the season of rankings
  • In the past few months, several reputed international organizations have assessed, compared and ranked the performance of countries on different indicators on issues like competitiveness, ease of doing business, hunger, youth development, gender gap, press freedom and consumer confidence
  • There is none specifically onjob creation
  • India has exceeded expectations on some, and has performed not so well on others
  • For instance, theWorld Economic Forum (WEF) ranked India at the 39th position on the Global Competitiveness Index, an impressive jump of 16 places in a year
  • Despite such a jump, WEF cautions that India’s performance is low by global standards, and huge challenges lie ahead on the path to prosperity
  • This is reflected in the high average tariff that India is maintaining on its imports, low level of factor accumulation, and relatively high incremental capital-output ratio
  • Among other factors, this is also due to a less than optimal domestic regulatory environment and near absence of regulatory harmonization
  • This is one of the reasons why India moved up by only one notch on the World Bank’s recent ease of doing business ranking
  • However, the bank has recognized the government’s efforts towards a better business growth environment
  • Also, India’s performance on social, education and health-related indices has been abysmal. The WEF report on global gender gap reveals that on the indicator of women’s health, India is third last
  • Similarly, on the global hunger index, India lies among the bottom group of countries, even below neighbours like Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh

Job creation

  • The number of jobs created in 2015 is much less than what it was a few years ago
  • As mechanization of agriculture and manufacturing is moving at a faster pace and the services sector is becoming more skill-oriented, fewer jobs are being created which can match the existing skill level of the vast majority
  • Consequently, it is not difficult to surmise that while India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is growing, such growth is increasingly becoming exclusionary.
  • India’s poor have traditionally been dependent on agriculture and manufacturing, which have ceased to offer large-scaleemployment opportunities
  • Lack of quality and affordable healthcare and education robs the poor of opportunity to compete with their well-off counterparts in the job market
  • As a result, the poor get stuck in unproductive agricultural activities and are under-employed in the informal sector
  • All these challenges have resulted in India remaining a low middle-income country over the last couple of decades
  • In order to improve its status to first become a high middle-income and then a high-income country, it has to overcome the challenges of the middle-income trap
  • The two most important components on which theIndian economy should focus to create jobs over the next few years are productive agriculture and mass manufacturing

 

  1. A large accumulation of small defeats

Category: Environment

Topic: Pollution

Key Points:

  • The toxic haze that enveloped Delhi for two weeks after Diwali has diminished
  • But it would be foolhardy to think the moment has passed
  • How do we go on from here, knowing that next year, too, farmers will burn crop stubble, people will burn garbage and burst Diwali firecrackers, diesel generators will remain in use, environmentally harmful industry practices will prevail and private vehicles will still be the preferred means of transport?
  • India produces about 62 million tonnes of solid waste annually, of which 75-80% is collected, and only 22-28% is treated
  • The rest lands up in open dumpyards and landfills or is burnt
  • According to a 2016 study by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, on Delhi’s air quality, the burning of municipal solid waste accounts for 7-8% of particulate matter pollution
  • Landfills, on the other hand, release noxious methane fumes into the air and leachates into the groundwater, presenting a permanent challenge to tackling pollution in cities
  • Yet landfills continue to be overlooked by flagship policies
  • The Swachh Bharat (Urban) scheme focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene, with scant attention being paid to the solid waste coagulating unchecked in landfills
  • The National Urban Sanitation Policy 2008 was concerned with access to sanitation facilities for the urban poor, but landfills remained outside that conversation
  • Landfills were limited to the ambit of the erstwhile Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling Rules), 2000
  • We need to move towards environmentally sound policymaking, and away from the formulaic inter-governmental squabble that seems to pass for crisis management
  • Without this, a city, as Jeet Thayil describes in Narcopolis, isn’t much more than “a large accumulation of small defeats”

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  1. Air Pollution
  2. Black Money
  3. Demonetisation
  4. India-Israel
  5. India – Japan

 

G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016

 

H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1.Which of the following is/are true?
  1. The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, has set up “Japan Plus”
  2. It is a special management team to facilitate and fast track investment proposals from Japan

a) Only 1 b) Only 2 c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 2.Which of the following is/are not correctly matched ?
  1. Environmental pollution consists of five basic types of pollution, namely, air, water, soil, noise and light
  2. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), released from refrigerators, air-conditioners, deodorants and insect repellents cause severe damage to the Earth’s environment which has also slowly damaged the atmosphere and depleted the ozone layer leading to global warming

a) Only 1 b) Only 2 c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 3.Which of the following is true?
  1. The “Marrakesh Agreement” has no expiration date
  2. Only 12 WTO members are parties to the Marrakesh Agreement

a) Only 1 b) Only 2 c) Neither 1 nor 2 d) Both 1 and 2

Question 4.Which of the following best explains the concept of ‘Demonetisation’?
  1. Demonetization is the act of stripping a currency unit of its status as legal tender
  2. Demonetization reduces the chances of hoarding of money, increase in parallel economy and offers new ventures for producing fake currency in the economy

a) Only 1 b) Only 2 c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 5.Which of the following countries does not border Israel?
a) Jordan b) Egypt c) Lebanon d) Iraq

Check Your Answers

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