Comprehensive News Analysis – 18 December 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Packaged food labels may soon carry details of salt

2. Tajikistan, India step up security ties

3. China seeks to defuse tensions with U.S.

4. J&K has no sovereignty: SC

C. GS3 Related:

1. Remonetisation will not take a long time: Arun Jaitley

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

The Hindu

1. Wake-up call on superbugs

PIB

1. Press Statement by Prime Minister during the State visit of President of Tajikistan to India

2. Clarification of Status of Political Parties under Income Tax Act, 1961

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. Packaged food labels may soon carry details of salt

Category: Polity and Governance   

Topic: Government Interventions, Government Policy

Key Points:

  • As part of a proposed revision of food labelling laws, food and beverage companies may have to compulsorily disclose additional information on the sugar, salt and sodium content of their packaged products.

What is the situation currently?

  • It is important to note that currently, packaged food companies — including those who make instant noodles, biscuits, snacks and breakfast cereal — need to specify only the energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat content on their covers.
  • Information on other constituents such as sodium, salt, vitamins need not be disclosed unless companies claim it as part of their advertising pitch.
  • For example, details on fibre content in biscuits or the percentage of trans unsaturated fatty acids (trans fats) need not be specified unless a company promotes them as “high fibre” or “zero trans-fat.”

International Convention

  • In many countries, companies are required to specify the proportion of the daily recommended sodium, salt and fats that will be consumed in a packet or serving of processed food.

 

  1. Tajikistan, India step up security ties

Category: International Relations 

Topic: Agreements involving India

Key Points:

  • Tajikistan and India signed an agreement on 17th Dec, 2016, against terror financing and money laundering.
  • Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, said his government would continue to work to stabilise Afghanistan.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said both countries would deepen their engagement to deal with the threat of terrorism in the neighbourhood.
  • Rahmon said, “We support India’s candidature for Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India’s bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.”
  • Both sides also signed agreements on bilateral investment and avoidance of double taxation.
  • Tajikistan has also invited India to invest in four free economic zones that have come up in the country.

 

  1. China seeks to defuse tensions with U.S.

Category: International Relations 

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

Key Points:

  • China on 17th December, 2016 sought to de-escalate tensions arising out of its seizure of an underwater drone belonging to the United States.
  • It is important to note that there has been a rise in friction between China and the U.S. following President-elect Donald Trump’s statement questioning Washington’s unqualified support for Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan.

 

  1. J&K has no sovereignty: SC

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Center-State Relations, Judiciary

Key Points:

  • The Supreme Court has held that Jammu and Kashmir has “no vestige” of sovereignty outside the Indian Constitution, and citizens of the State are “first and foremost” citizens of India.
  • It must be noted that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had arrived at a conclusion that the State has “absolute sovereign power” to legislate laws touching the rights of its permanent residents regarding their immovable properties. The Supreme Court described this as “wholly incorrect”.
  • A Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman said, that “The State of Jammu & Kashmir has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India and its own Constitution, which is subordinate to the Constitution of India,”.
  • The Supreme Court said this while holding that provisions of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002, are within the legislative competence of Parliament and can be enforced in J&K.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Remonetisation will not take a long time: Arun Jaitley

Category: Indian Economy 

Topic: Government Policy    

Key Points:

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently remarked that the government had taken a “somewhat courageous step” by withdrawing high value banknotes and going in for a large scale currency swap.
  • He further added that the remonetisation of the economy with fresh currency notes was not going to take “a very long time.”
  • He went on to add that the whole process of remonetisation is not going to take a very long time. He believes that the RBI, by injecting currency daily into the banking and postal system would be able to complete it.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. Wake-up call on superbugs

Category: Science and Technology  

Topic: Health

Key Points:

  • We must note that before the discovery of antimicrobials, infections with serious disease-causing organisms were often a death sentence.
  • Further, the earliest antimicrobials were made of heavy metals such as gold or antimony compounds, which also had a lot of side effects.
  • But, they were found to be effective against infections such as syphilis and leishmaniasis. 

Present Context:

  • Unfortunately, in the present day, we have reached a situation where more than 50 per cent of some groups of bacteria are resistant to almost all the antibiotics we have.
  • This reality is especially true for hospital-acquired infections, where bacteria are resistant to the latest and most advanced antibiotics.
  • This makes infections virtually untreatable, taking us back to the pre-antibiotic era.

Economic Costs:

  • It is approximated that the world loses a trillion dollars due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
  • In India, surveillance conducted by government agencies such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) shows that many tertiary hospitals have very high rates of antibiotic resistance. 

Reasons for development of AMR:

  • Among the major reasons are indiscriminate and improper use of antibiotics by patients and unnecessary prescription by physicians.
  • Even  contamination of water and soil with antibiotics from drug factory effluents and improper disposal by hospitals and nursing homes leads to bacteria in these settings acquiring resistance. 
  • It is important to note that the animal and poultry industry as well, have traditionally used antibiotics in feed as growth promoters. Some of this finds its way into the environment as well.

The Way Forward:

  • Addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will require involvement of the agriculture, veterinary, poultry and fisheries sectors, environment agencies, drug regulators, doctors and pharmacists as well as common citizens. 
  • Decisive action is needed to prevent further spread of drug resistance and to preserve the antibiotics we have for future generations.

 

PIB

  1. Press Statement by Prime Minister during the State visit of President of Tajikistan to India

Category: International Relations   

Topic: Agreements involving India

Key Points:

  • PM Modi observed that India’s strategic partnership with Tajikistan is built on a foundation of mutual respect, trust and shared interests in regional security and development.
  • He went on to observe that our countries and societies also enjoy a natural affinity anchored in deep-rooted shared history and heritage. Our cultural, religious and linguistic inter-mingling from the past has carried into the warmth and friendship that characterizes our people-to-people linkages today. 
  • The PM observed that India’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be a valuable platform to work closely on regional security and counter-terrorism efforts with Tajikistan.
  • India and Tajikistan will work to build trade and transit links through Chahbahar port in Iran. India is also engaged in facilitating the International North South Transport Corridor with other members, including Tajikistan.
  • The planned accession to the Ashgabat Agreement will further help in linking India to Tajikistan and Central Asia.
  • India and Tajikistan enjoy a rewarding partnership in capacity and institution-building, including under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation training programme.

 

  1. Clarification of Status of Political Parties under Income Tax Act, 1961

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

There have been some newspaper reports which seem to wrongly suggest that there cannot be any scrutiny of Income-tax returns of political parties registered with the Election Commission in the context of deposits of old currency notes.  This inference seems to have been drawn because of the fact that the income of the political parties is exempt from Income – Tax under Section 13A. 

 

In this context, the following clarifications need to be kept in mind :

 

  1. The exemption from Income-Tax is given to only registered  political parties subject to certain conditions, which are mentioned in Section 13A, which includes keeping and maintaining books of accounts and other documents as would enable the Assessing Officer to deduce its income therefrom;
  2. In respect of each voluntary contribution in excess of Rs. 20000, the political party will have to maintain a record of such contributions along with the name and address of such person who has made such contribution;
  3. The accounts of each such political party is to be audited  by a Chartered Accountant; and
  4. The political party has to submit a report to the Election Commission about the donations received within a timeframe prescribed.

There are enough provisions in the Income Tax Act to scrutinise the accounts of the political parties and these political parties are also subject to other provisions of Income-Tax, including filing of return.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • The Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014
  • Shanghai Cooperation Organization
  • International North South Transport Corridor


G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

The Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 


H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. Currently, packaged food companies — including those who make instant noodles, biscuits, snacks and breakfast cereal — need to specify only the energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat content on their covers.
  2. Information on other constituents such as sodium, salt, vitamins need not be disclosed unless companies claim it as part of their advertising pitch.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 2: Consider the following statements, 
  1. The Ashgabat Agreement is an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between East Asia and the Persian Gulf.
  2. Accession to the Agreement enables India to utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a proposed multimodal transportation system connecting the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Islamic Republic of Iran, from where it connects St. Petersburg and North Europe.
  2. It is expected that cargo by this route would reach Russia in about 25-30 days as against the present route through Suez which takes about 45-60 days.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 4: The region of ‘Subic Bay’ is part of which of the following?
a) South China Sea

b) Red Sea

c) Black Sea

d) North Sea


Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. Tajikistan is bordered by Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, and Afghanistan.
  2. Tajikistan ‘s extensive mountain system spawns many rivers, with the most significant being the Syr Darya, Amu Darya.

Which of the following 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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