Comprehensive News Analysis - 18 April 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

1. Death toll rises to 262 in Ecuador earthquake

B. GS2 Related:

1. A ‘much-needed message’ to India’s neighbours

2. Parrikar’s arrival signals acceleration in India-China security dialogue

3. Iran is India’s reliable partner, says Rouhani

C. GS3 Related:

1. WB’s green norms must not compromise on development: Jaitley

2. Stick to fiscal consolidation, IMF tells India

3. World worried over China’s economic slowdown

4. Government revives talks to revamp Factories Act

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

The Hindu:

1. Country without a pause

Indian Express:

1. How not to recall an icon


1. Business Standard:Rains alone won’t help; India needs reforms

2. Economic Times: State finances both improve, deteriorate

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



Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

1. Death toll rises to 262 in Ecuador earthquake

Topic: Geography Category: Earthquakes Location: The Hindu download Equador The location of the Earthquake The location of the Earthquake Key points:

  • A powerful, 7.8-magnitude earthquake has shaken Ecuador’s northwest Pacific coast, killing at least 233 people and spreading panic.
  • The US Geological Survey said the shallow quake, the strongest in decades to hit Ecuador, was centred 27km south-southeast of Muisne, a sparsely populated area of fishing ports that’s popular with tourists

Tags:earthquake, pacific coast


B. GS2 Related

1. A ‘much-needed message’ to India’s neighbours

Topic: India’s Neighbourhood Category: Indo-US Relations Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • Highlight of US Defence Secretary’s visit to India: “in-principle” understanding on concludingthe Logistical Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA)
  • The LEMOA, a modified logistics support agreement would allow militaries of two nations to share facilities for refuelling, supplies and spares
  • It could act as a deterrent to China



2. Parrikar’s arrival signals acceleration in India-China security dialogue

Topic: International Relations Category: India-China Relations Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • Defence Minister of India has commenced his visit to China as part of an accelerated security dialogue between New Delhi and Beijing
  • Apart from the boundary issue, India is expected to air its security concerns regarding the improvement of infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK), an expected fallout of the development of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
  • India is also concerned about China’s involvement in developing Pakistan’s Gwadar port.

Tags: PoK,CPEC, Gwadar Port


3. Iran is India’s reliable partner, says Rouhani

Topic: International Relations Category: Indo-Iran Relations Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • Iran President assured India’s External Affairs Minister that his country could be a “reliable partner” for India’s energy needs, particularly in the oil and gas sectors
  • India has already lined up $20 billion as investment in the oil and gas and petrochemical and fertilizer sectors there.
  • India is keen on increasing oil imports from Iran from the current 3,50,000 barrels a day
  • The Iranian president cited the Chabahar port which India is to develop as a “defining partnership which has the potential of connecting the entire region,”

Tags:Chabahar port


C. GS3 Related

1. WB’s green norms must not compromise on development: Jaitley

Topic: Economy Category: International Organisations Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • The Finance Minister expressed concern over the ongoing revision of environmental and social standards required under the financing conditions of the World Bank
  • He said the revision must not “compromise the primacy of the development objective
  • The largest recipient of World Bank loans, India has so far received $ 52.7 billion in commercial loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and $ 49.4 billion from the International Development Association (IDA) which is the Bank’s assistance programme for developing countries

Tags: World Bank


2. Stick to fiscal consolidation, IMF tells India

Topic: Economy Category: monetary policy Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned in its latest edition of the World Economic Outlook (WEO) warned India that there are several factors that could drive inflation up again
  • The government must continue on its fiscal consolidation path and focus on reforms, especially in the labour and infrastructure sectors, the WEO report said
  • The IMF has however retained its GDP growth forecast for India, adding that the main driver of this growth will be private consumption and investment



3. World worried over China’s economic slowdown

Topic: Economy Category: World Economy Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • China after witnessing nearly three decades of double-digit growth has been showing signs of slowness and India has now replaced China as the fastest growing major economy of the
  • the Chinese economic model, traditionally based on manufacturing, investments and exports, is currently transitioning towards a model focused on domestic consumption, services and innovation
  • This is going to affect China’s economic partners. World leaders expressed their worry in the annual Spring meeting of International Monetary Fund

Tags: IMF, Chinese economy

4. Government revives talks to revamp Factories Act

Topic: Economy Category: Legislation Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • The government is reviving talks on revamping the Factories Act of 1948 and has called a meeting of all state governments, central ministries, trade unions and industry representatives to discuss a new legislation
  • The Factories Act is a legislation that deals with safety, health and welfare of workers. The proposed law will apply to all factories that employ at least 40 workers.
  • The present Factories Act is applicable on factories (with electricity connection) with 20 workers and factories, without electricity, with 10 workers
  • In a bid to promote start-ups, the government wants to speed up the process of setting up a factory
  • Registration of factories will be made online and entrepreneurs will only have to submit a self-certified declaration on the safety, health and welfare standards of the factory to get approvals for setting up a factory.
  • The trade unions said this would allow more factories to stay out of the ambit of the Factories Act

  Tags: Factories Act


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

The Hindu

1. Country without a pause

Topic: Legislature Category:Elections Key points:

  • Discussions are on between the government and the Election Commission to evolve a method of holding Assembly and LokSabha elections simultaneously
  • The reasons cited are to check election expenditure and to impart stability to State governments
  • simultaneity of elections would check election expenditure, free the Central government from populism that is forced on it by a constantly ticking election cycle, and end the repeated pause on decision-making because of the model code of conduct
  • But how do fixed-term legislatures square up with other constitutional and democratic processes, such as the requirement that the government command the confidence of the Lower House?
  • In the event of a government losing its majority and no other party being able to mop up the numbers, it would be untenable to hold off elections for too long
  • It would also not allow the govt. to seek fresh mandate
  • In fixed-term legislatures, as in the U.S., there is a clear separation between the legislature and the head of government
  • But India follows the Cabinet system of government that comprises a constitutional head and the exercise of power through a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister
  • The solution to excessive campaign expenditure is better found in persuading political leaderships to develop self-discipline and to explain to the people the need for unpopular, but necessary decisions

Tags: Election Commission, election cycle


Indian Express:

1. How not to recall an icon

Topic: History Category: National Leaders Key Points:

  • Babasaheb was instrumental in forming a constitutional order that could uplift the class of dalits
  • We have now a system of reservations, a civil rights act, an atrocities act, and an abolition of manual scavenging act as late as 2013, and many other statutory agencies and administrative devices
  • But as late as end of March 2014, the Supreme Court pointed out the unconstitutional plight of increasing numbers of manual scavengers and required the states to take appropriate statutory measures
  • The SafaiKaramchariAndolan has documented 1,268 reported instances of death in sewer cleaning between March 2014 and March 2016
  • He said, “In politics we will be recognising the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny [this principle] “
  • This difference sadly continues



1. Business Standard:Rains alone won’t help; India needs reforms

Topic: Governance Category: agriculture Key Points

  • It is necessary  to bear in mind that though ample rainfall enhances chances of a good harvest, it does not automatically assure higher farm incomes
  • Key farm inputs like seeds and fertilisers, for instance, still suffer from needless controls and official interventions
  • Recent capping of the sale price of Bt-cotton seeds and the continued government control over the most consumed fertiliser, urea, are cases in point
  • the price caps on hybrid seeds and indecisiveness on the fate of genetically modified seeds tend to deter private research on seed improvement
  • the failure to liberalise the urea sector takes away the likely gains from the nutrient-based subsidy policy
  • the irrigation sector which is vital to impart drought resilience to agriculture, has not seen any worthwhile reform- free power to farms is not a viable solution
  • In the pesticides sector, circulation of spurious chemicals is rampant. They damage the crops and cause heavy losses to farmers
  • Agricultural marketing as many states are yet to amend their agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) Acts
  • The newly launched electronic platform for agricultural trading will take years to show results
  • Unless such vital aspects are suitably addressed and the farm sector is adequately reformed, gains from good monsoons may not be realised in full measure in the near future


2. Economic Times: State finances both improve, deteriorate

Topic: Economy Category: state finances Key points:

  • RBI report on state finances reveals fiscal consolidation accompanied by modestly improved quality of budgeted expenditure
  • good news : the ratio of development expenditure to gross state domestic productin the low-income states
  • bad news : as per the 2015-16 state budgets, there has been a decline (over the previous year) in projected revenue expenditure under such important heads as housing, water supply and sanitation, rural development, irrigation and flood control, etc. Capital expenditure is budgeted to decelerate as well
  • When the states’ share of tax devolution increased from 32% to 42% of the divisible pool, on the recommendation of the Fourteenth Finance Commission , the central transfers (share in central taxes plus grants-in-aid) declined by 0.3% of GDP in 2015-16, due to discontinuance of many centrally sponsored schemes
  • While many such schemes on state subjects have been delinked from central support, those representing national priorities like poverty alleviation, and those backed by cess, do continue
  • The report adds that the states need to provide greater fiscal space for development expenditure on health and education by revenue generation through reasonable user charges, boosting performance of state public sector units and, in particular, by improving realisations from state power distribution utilities
  • aggregate technical and commercial losses in power distribution have come down from 26.4% in 2010-11 to 22.7% in 2013-14, but provides no update
  • Without thoroughly improved power utility finances, which need to be published on a quarterly basis, state finances are bound to deteriorate.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • 14th Finance Commission
  • World Bank
  • IMF
  • Earthquakes
  • Chabahar port
  • Gwadar Port
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1:Which of the following statements is/are true?
  1. India allows 49% FDI in Defence through automatic route
  2. Industrial licensing is compulsory for the manufacture of Defenceequipment in India

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 2: Which of the following statements is/are true about seismic waves?
  1. Primary waves can travel through all solids and fluids
  2. Secondary waves can travel only through solids
  3. The properties of seismic waves have helped in understanding the composition of earth

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a) 1 and 2 b) 2 and 3 c) 1 and 3 d) All the Above


Question 3:Which of the following international organization brings out World Development Report??
  1. ‘ROTAVAC’ is India’s first indigenous rotavirus vaccine.
  2. It has been developed as a result of a public-private partnership.
  3. The vaccine is aimed at helping reduce mortality due to severe diarrhoeal diseases in children caused by rotavirus.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a)IMF b)WB c)UNDP d)OECD


Question 4:Which of the following statement(s) is/are true?
  1. Finance Commission is a constitutional body
  2. The 14th Finance Commission has recommended an increase in the share of states in the centre’s tax revenue from 32 per cent to 42 per cent

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


Question 5:Which of the following parties were founded by Dr. B.R Ambedkar?
  1. Independent Labour Party
  2. Scheduled Castes Federation

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

Check Your Answers

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