Comprehensive News Analysis – 17 March 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Parliament passes Aadhaar Bill amid acrimonious debates

2. Govt. admits sedition definition is wide

3. Caste atrocities and political abdication

4. Govt’s special audit for telcos surprises CAG

5. Thousands of Indian workers to be hit by new U.K. immigration rules

C. GS3 Related:

1. Canada, U.S. keen on partnering India

2. New civil aviation policy soon

3. More wayside amenities along National Highways

4. Making India GI brand conscious

D. GS4 Related:

1. Speaker refers bribe charges against TMC MPs to ethics panel.

E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance

The New Indian Express

1. Call for Balkanisation, Not Freedom of Expression

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
G. Practice Questions
H. Archive

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

— Nothing here today, folks! —

B. GS2 Related

1. Parliament passes Aadhaar Bill amid acrimonious debates

Topic: Polity

Category: Schemes/programmes

Location: The Hindu, Page 1and Page 12

Parliament passes Aadhaar Bill

Key points:

  • Parliament passed the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016.
  • The Bill will facilitate good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services.
  • Earlier when the bill was referred to RajyaSabha, it suggested amendments but it was not accepted by LokSabha in toto.
  • Main controversial clause-disclosure of  biometric or demographic information in the interests of  national security
  • It was suggested that “national security” be replaced with “public emergency or in the interests of “public safety.”
  • Other amendments are related to
  1. Inclusion of the Central Vigilance Commissioner or the Comptroller and Auditor-General in the Oversight Committee.
  2. Deletion of a clause that allows the Aadhaar number to be used for purposes other than those provided in the Bill.
  • The Opposition wanted the legislation to have safeguards to avoid sensitive private information of citizens being accessed “on the whim of the executive”.
  • Other controversy: Money Bill or Not?

Union Finance Minister :If the principal purpose is money spent out of the Consolidated Fund of India in a particular manner and a machinery is created for spending that money, it is a Money Bill,

(However Opposition expressed objection to the legislation being framed as a Money Bill)

 

2. Govt. admits sedition definition is wide

Topic: Polity

Category: Important aspects of governance

Location: The Hindu, Page 1.

Govt. admits sedition definition is wide

Key points:

  • The government said in the RajyaSabhathat the definition of sedition under the law was “very wide” and agreed to an all-party meeting to discuss the issue after the Law Commission submits its report on the issue.
  • Leader of Opposition expressed concern that given the wide definition of the sedition law half of the parties will be anti-national if there is a ban on speaking against the government.
  • Other concern is related to whether those engaged in “communal divide” will also be brought within the ambit of sedition law.( this aspect is to be seen in the light of JNU case)

 

3. Caste atrocities and political abdication

Topic: Polity

Category: Issues relating to development:social sector

Location: The Hindu, page 10

(Note: students should make a note of the honour killings mentioned in the article)

Key points:

  • The murder of Dalit man at Udumalpet- Tamilnadu brings in to light the social realities in India today.
  • The belief in the notion of caste purity and pollution and resurgence of caste pride is against the basic values of human rights and the ethos of our Constitution.
  • These are characterised as ‘honour killings’ because their motivation arises from the idea that a woman marrying outside her community brings dishonour to the family, such murders in India normally involve family members rendering brutal ‘justice’ to the ‘transgressor’ within.
  • In majority of such murders, the victims are often Dalit’s, for daring to transgress social mores to marry someone deemed to be above their station in life.
  • What is important to note?
    1. Caste groups have become powerful political lobbies,political leadership is giving credence and credibility to caste icons.
    2. Major political parties tend to condemn such murders only in general terms, and avoid any mention of the role of dominant castes
    3. Political parties seldom confront the arrogance of some castes that enjoy political patronage and operate as enforcers of norms in some regions.

 

4. Govt’s special audit for telcos surprises CAG

Topic: Transparency & accountability

Category:Governance-Polity

Location: The Hindu, Page 12

Key points:

  • The Supreme Court-sanctioned CAG audit has reported a significant loss of revenue share to the exchequer because of underreporting by some telecom companies.
  • CAG report indicated a loss of Rs. 12,489 crore to the exchequer because six telecom operators, including Airtel, Idea and Vodafone, understated their revenues by a whopping Rs. 46,045.75 crore in the 2006-10 period.
  • Government ordered a special audit of telecom companies for the period 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11.
  • Former CAG VinodRai views:

The total revenue understated by telecom companies could be over a lakh crore rupees, and together they would have to pay the government over Rs. 30,000 crore without fines, if the audit covers the entire period between 1999 and 2016”

 

5. Thousands of Indian workers to be hit by new U.K. immigration rules

Topic: Effect of policies of developed countries on Indian diaspora.

Category:International Relations

Location: The Hindu, Page 14

Key points:

  • Under a new immigration rule (that will take effect from April 6’ 2016) skilled workers from non-EU countries who come into the country on Tier-2 visas will face deportation after five years unless they can show minimum annual earnings of £35,000.
  • Previously, after five years on a Tier-2 work visa, the individual could apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (or ILR) in the U.K. The income threshold used to be £20,800 – around £5,000 less than the average UK salary.
  • Around 40,000 skilled workers — teachers, business and IT professionals, health sector workers and charity workers, a majority of them from India and South Asia will be affected by the new rule
C. GS3 Related

1. Canada, U.S. keen on partnering India

Topic: PPP

Category: Infrastructure: Airports

Location: The Hindu, page 8

Key points:

  • During the ongoingIndia Aviation 2016, the representatives of Canadian and United States Government expressed keen interest in becoming India’s civil aviation partners.
  • Canadian High Commissioner to India said: “If India looks to expand its aviation eco-system, Canada is uniquely placed to share our experiences like low cost research and development.”
  • Union Aviation Minister Ashok said: the sector should actually complement and contribute to growth, not become a bottleneck for economic activity.

 

2. New civil aviation policy soon

Topic: Government Policies/schemes

Category: Infrastructure: Airports

Location: The Hindu, page 8

Key points:

  • Government is planning to bring in new aviation policy ( which is under Cabinet consideration)  to increase the regional air travel connectivity
  • Itwill have several measures to boost the aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) business.
  • Government is planning to simplify the process and procedures to improve the turnaround time in MROs
  • Also fiscal concession would be given on customs duty, VAT and service tax.
  • The Centre would like to add 50 such airports every year for the next three to four years.

 

3. More wayside amenities along National Highways

Topic: Investment models-PPP

Category: Infrastructure:  Roads

Location: The Hindu, page 9

More wayside amenities along National Highways

Key points:

  • To ensure safe and convenient journey for long-distance travellers,the corridors managed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will soon have basic wayside amenities every 25 km and larger wayside amenities every 50 km.
  • In development, operations and maintenance of wayside amenities in PPP mode, the long-term concession the private party will get will be 29 years with the concessionaire having the first right of refusal for another term of up to 29 years at an yearly concessional fee of Re.1
  • NHAI will take up the development in EPC mode where the response from the private sector is poor for developing, operating and maintaining the wayside amenities.
  • Another model may be incentivising the petrol and diesel retail outlet owners on NH stretches for enhancing the quality of basic toilet-cum-drinking water facilities.

 

4. Making India GI brand conscious

Topic:  Intellectual Property Rights

Category: Technology and Development

Location: The Hindu, page 11

Making India GI brand conscious

Key points:

  • One of the objectives of the “Make in India” programme is to improve and protect the Indian intellectual property (IP) regime.
  • What should be done?
    1. Increase posts in IP offices,
    2. Enhance e-filing facilities
    3. Reduce fee Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises,
    4. Conduct more awareness programmes
  • Present legal framework for geographical indications in India needs to be strengthened to address quality control and consumer expectations.
  • GIs indicate goods as originating in a specific geographical region, the characteristics, qualities or reputation thereof essentially attributable to such region.
  • GIs support and protect local production, generate local employment and are mostly untouched by industrialisation, originating in villages or small towns.
  • India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) and has set up a registry in Chennai to register such names.
  • GI’s Cover agricultural goods, manufactured and natural goods, textiles, handicrafts and foodstuffs.
  • Some well-known examples of GI’s include Basmati rice, Darjeeling tea and Pashmina shawls.
  • Why more needs to be done to promote GI?
  1. Despite the gradual rise in GI registrations, the role and scope of GIs in the Make in India programme remains unnoticed in discussions.
  2. GI-branded goods can be made 100 per cent in India without the need for any foreign direct investment (FDI).
  3. GI’s also promote socio-economic development of the respective regions (like their European counterparts)
  4. GIs are perhaps the most ideal IP rights to foster and realise a programme like Make in India.
  • India’s GI Act does not lay much emphasis on inspection and monitoring mechanisms for GI protection. Can we have European law as model to ensure quality in GI’s at India?
  • European law mandates:
    • Effective verification and controls at multiple levels in the supply chain, ensuring compliance with product specification before placing it in the market and
    • Market monitoring of the use of the names to ensure legal compliance.

 

D. GS4 Related

1. Speaker refers bribe charges against TMC MPs to ethics panel.

Topic: Ethics in Public administration

Category: Laws, rules for ethical guidance: Accountability

Location: The Hindu, page 12

Key points:

  • Certain acts of alleged unethical conduct on the part of certain members of the House have been reported in the press and the matter was also raised by members in Parliament.
  • These allegations are very serious in nature and seek to impact upon the very credibility of parliamentarians and Parliament as an institution and therefore need to be examined,” the LokSabhaSpeaker said.
  • Taking cognisance of this, the Speaker referred the matter pertaining to bribery charges against Trinamool Congress (TMC) members to the Ethics Committee for an examination.

 

E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

The New Indian Express

1. Call for Balkanisation, Not Freedom of Expression

Topic: Freedom of speech/Fundamental Rights

Category:Governance-Polity

Key Points:

  • The recent issues of RohithVemula’s suicide and Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest has led some members from the media, intellectuals, professors and to raise two points on anti-national sloganeering.
  1. The first is that the government has been trying to harass or slap charges of sedition on those who have been raising their voices, and is trying to suppress dissent.
  2. The second is that there should be no limit to freedom of expression and that in a free society, there are neither sacred cows nor any bar on anything, however detrimental it may be to the nation.
  • RohitVemula case and the Hyderabad episode started when the Ambedkar Students’ Union staged a protest on the hanging of YakubMemon terming it judicial murder. When an ABVP student union leader objected to it, by terming them anti-nationals, he was allegedly attacked.
  •  In the case of JNU, some students of the university organised a protest on the hanging of Afzal Guru, again terming it judicial murder, with slogans that called for the disintegration of India. The arrest of some students on charges of sedition followed thereon.
  • The issue raised by liberals is that the government is picking out these students and slapping them with sedition charges, when all they did was to express their opinion on some issues.
  • In a democratic country like ours, criticising any government organ, even the army or judiciary does not amount to sedition or anti-nationalism and no one is accused of sedition when then have been doing the same — expressing their disappointment over the system which failed to deliver
  • With respect to the second point about freedom of expression -It is said that speech alone cannot amount to sedition, unless it is followed by action.Moreover, any condoning of fissiparous speech in the name of freedom of expression has no place in the democratic setup.
  • There is no bar on anyone in India to change the public discourse by presenting their ideology before people and coming to power and changing the course of governance and policy, all within the larger ambit of our Constitution.
  • However the larger issue is that these liberals should not support slogans calling for the balkanisation of India on the pretext of freedom of speech.

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:

I. Money Bill

II. National Highway Authority of India

III. PPP-EPC model

IV. Geographical Indicators

V. CAG- role and duties

VI. Ethics committee ofLokSabha

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which one of the following is/are correct with regard to Money bill in India?
  1. No Money Bill can be introduced except on the recommendation of the President.
  2. The Speaker decides whether a bill is a money bill or not.
  3. Money Bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha.

a) 1 and 2

b) 2 and 3

c) 1 and 3

d) 1, 2 and 3

Question 2: Consider the following statements?

1. World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is a global forum for intellectual property services, policy information and cooperation.

2. Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international agreement administered by WIPO.

Which of the above statements is/are correct with regard to intellectual property rights?

a) 1only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 or 2

Question 3: Which of the following statements is/are correct with respect to CAG in India? 
  1.  CAG Reports on the execution of projects or programmes by the ministries are discussed by the Public Accounts Committee.
  2. The tenure of the office of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is 5 years or age of 65, whichever is lower.
  3.  President appoints the CAG.

a) 1 and 2

b) 2 and 3

c) 1 and 3

d) 1, 2 and 3

Question 4:Consider the following statements
  1. Brent is the leading global price benchmark for crude oils.
  2. Brent crude oil is classified as sweet crude oil and is sourced from Middle East

Which of the above is/are correct with regard to global crude oil bench marks.

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 5: Taas yuriakh oil fields, which is in news is realted to which country?

a) Iran

b) Iraq

c) Russia

d) Nigeria

Check Your Answers

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