Comprehensive News Analysis - 18 November 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. India hopes Bhutan will ratify vehicles pact

2. India, U.S. review military projects

C. GS3 Related:

1. Israel seeks FTA with India to boost trade

2. India is ‘non-committal’ on market economy tag for China

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

The Hindu

1. After the storm

2. A chance to recalibrate ties

3. Time to move towards a new litigation policy

4. Reaching the new normal

The Indian Express

1. Here comes the sun

Business Line

1. Time to consolidate ties with Nepal

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. India hopes Bhutan will ratify vehicles pact

Category: International Relations   

Topic: India and the Neighbourhood

Key Points:

  • Bhutan’s National Council (NC) had disallowed the sub-SAARC motor vehicle zone among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN).
  • Despite this, India hopes Bhutan will join the grouping “at an early date”.
  • It is important to note that India, Bangladesh and Nepal have already ratified the MVA.

Why did Bhutan’s National Council (NC) disapprove it?

  • There have been protests from the Opposition, mainly over environmental concerns of vehicular pollution.
  • In the 25-member National Council, the government faced sharp questions on the number of vehicles that would be allowed into the country via the Southern trading point of Phuentsholing and road capacities.

India’s Position

  • It is important to note that there have been excellent relations between the two countries.
  • Also, India has been wary of leaning too heavily on the Bhutanese government to speed up the BBIN ratification. This is because, it could offend the sensitivities of Bhutan which is a smaller neighbour.

 

  1. India, U.S. review military projects

Category: International Relations

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

Key Points:

  • Recently, India and the U.S. reviewed the entire gamut of projects under the Foreign Military Sales route.
  • This development takes place as both sides look at closing key projects, including the purchase of M777 howitzers.
  • It is important to note that this is the first deal for artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s.
  • Further, defence sources have maintained that the deal for 145 American Ultra-Light Howitzers had been cleared recently by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
  • A number of key projects, including the one for 22 Predator Guardian drones, were discussed recently.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Israel seeks FTA with India to boost trade

Category: Economy

Topic: International Trade

Key Points:

  • Recently, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin pitched for a bilateral free trade agreement with India and Israel.
  • He also wished to partner in India’s ‘Clean Ganga’ project and solar energy sector.
  • The Israeli President also said that India was today the top trade partner for Israel and exhorted business leaders to work closely together to create a stronger market in both countries.

How India can benefit from Israel?

  • It is important to note that Israel is a rain-deficit country.
  • Israel has evolved technology solutions to meeting its water needs- its waste water management know-how could be of immense use for India.
  • There is a great scope for bilateral cooperation in water treatment projects, optics, metals, aviation, diamonds and textiles.
  • There are several opportunities in agriculture, irrigation and pharmaceuticals for India and Israel to boost bilateral trade.
  • Currently, the bilateral trade between India and Israel is about $5 billion.

 

2. India is ‘non-committal’ on market economy tag for China

Category: Economy

Topic: International Trade

Key Points:

  • India has maintained that it is not inclined to automatically grant the ‘Market Economy Status’ (MES) to China this December under World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms.

 

How will this affect India?

  • Granting ‘Market Economy Status’ (MES) to China will severely curb the ability of nations including India to impose anti-dumping duties on “unfairly priced” Chinese imports.
  • By refusing China the ‘MES’, India has taken sides with the U.S. and European Union.
  • India, U.S. and the European Union believe that unlike in ‘market economies’ where prices of items are market determined (based on demand & supply conditions), there is still a significant government influence in the Chinese market.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. After the storm

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Govt. Policies

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that when 86 per cent of currency notes in a country of 1.3 billion people are rendered illegal tender in a matter of hours, there is bound to be a short-term disruption in daily lives.
  • This is particularly observed in India where much of India’s economic activity still takes place in the informal sector with no cheque payments.
  • This results not just in widespread direct and indirect tax evasion, but also in an inability to assess the true state of the economy.
  • For example, while farmers’ income is not taxed, most of them now have a Kisan Credit Card, and no-frills bank accounts. Yet,the agricultural economy is still controlled by middlemen and traders.
  • The middlemen and traders only make cash payments to farmers while reaping a profit from the difference in prices from farm-gate to fork.
  • It is important to note that the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax will make it tougher for such intermediaries to remain below the tax radar, though foodgrains will be zero-rated under the tax regime.

 

  1. A chance to recalibrate ties

Category: International Relations

Topic: India and the Neighbourhood

Key Points:

  • There has been a daily exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani soldiers.
  • The DGMO channel has failed to quell exchanges that include artillery and mortar fire. There are also no bilateral talks today at any level.
  • Further, Pakistan is yet to condemn the Uri attack in which 19 soldiers were killed, while India has not put out a statement on the spate of terror attacks in Balochistan.
  • There are also fears about the LoC firing spiralling out of control.
  • This worry has increased in Pakistan because of the impending decision on who will be the next army chief, and owing to tensions between Army Headquarters and the Nawaz Sharif government.
  • India is concerned about a terrorist build-up across the LoC, with 18 infiltration attempts reported in the past week.
  • It is against this backdrop, that Sartaj Aziz, who is the Foreign Affairs Advisor to the Pakistan Prime Minister, has indicated that he will visit India for the Heart of Asia donor conference on Afghanistan in early December.
  • This presents a window of opportunity to take the current tensions firmly in hand, and assure regional leaders gathered at the conference that India and Pakistan can sort out the concerns bilaterally.

 

  1. Time to move towards a new litigation policy

Category: Polity and Governance   

Topic: Judiciary

Key Points:

  • The Prime Minister, on the occasion of the Delhi High Court’s golden jubilee in October this year, raised the problem of excessive government litigation.
  • It is important to note that besides being a constraint on the public exchequer, government litigation has contributed to judicial backlog, thus affecting justice delivery in India.
  • Further, Government litigation reportedly constitutes nearly half of all litigation in the Indian judiciary.
  • In the recent past, efforts in this direction were made when The Law Minister in the United Progressive Alliance government had launched a “National Litigation Policy” (NLP) in 2010 to transform the government into a “responsible and efficient” litigant.

 

Failures of the NLP

  • The NLP appears to have been drafted on anecdotal notions of the problem, instead of being an analytical policy document attempting to address the causes of excessive government litigation.
  • The NLP 2010 fails to provide a yardstick for determining responsibility and efficiency.
  • The NLP 2010 also creates “Empowered Committees” at the national and regional levels, apparently to regulate the implementation of the policy. But there is ambiguity about their role and powers.
  • The NLP 2010 also lacks any form of impact assessment to evaluate actual impact on reducing government litigation.

 

The Way Forward

The ongoing revision of the NLP needs to ensure certain critical features are not missed out: These critical features include: a) it must have clear objectives that can be assessed b) the role of different functionaries must be enumerated c) the minimum standards for pursuing litigation must be listed out d) fair accountability mechanisms must be established e) the consequences for violation of the policy must be provided f) a periodic impact assessment programme must be factored in.

  1. Reaching the new normal

Category: International Relations

Topic: India and the neighbourhood

Key Points: 

Background of troubled events

  • From the beginning, it was clear that the Madhesis were unhappy with the new constitution.
  • The then Prime Minister K.P.S. Oli, blamed India for imposing an economic ‘blockade’ to pressure the government to accede to Madhesi demands.
  • Eventually, both sides pulled back but the damage was done.

India’s Contribution to Nepal

  • India has substantial welfare schemes in Nepal covering solar electrification and drinking water supply to ex-servicemen’s villages, medical care and provision of ambulances to their associations, and education and scholarships for their children.
  • Mukherjee’s successful visit, comes after Mr. Prachanda’s official visit to India in September. This visit has helped stabilise India-Nepal relations.

 

The Indian Express

  1. Here comes the sun

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Govt. Initiatives

Key Points:

  • More than 20 countries came together to sign a framework agreement on the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • From an Indian perspective, the ISA is significant.
  • India plans to generate 100 gigawatt (GW) of energy by 2022, which is an extremely ambitious target considering that India’s installed solar energy capacity is less than 6 GW and the world’s total installed solar power capacity is less than 200 GW.
  • It is important to note that India receives more than 300 days of sunshine every year.
  • There are certain limitations to solar power- for example, it cannot be created during night time, or when inclement weather or air pollution obscure the sun.  
  • The ISA aims to develop cost-efficient solar technologies and applications.
  • It is also expected to mobilise $1 trillion for funding solar energy projects by 2030.

 

Business Line

  1. Time to consolidate ties with Nepal

Category: International Relations  

Topic: India and the Neighbourhood

Key Points:

  • President Pranab Mukherjee paid a State visit to Nepal earlier this month.

India’s Contribution to Nepal

  • India has contributed extensively to economic development in Nepal and to opening its higher educational institutions to Nepalese students.
  • Bhutan, has emerged as the most prosperous country in South Asia, because of the sale of electricity from hydroelectric projects constructed with Indian cooperation. But, Nepal has chosen to tie itself in knots thanks to a very slow progress in hydel projects with India.

Challenges

  • The real challenge India faces is from China.
  • China is ready to use its diplomatic and financial muscle to erode Indian influence.
  • China also seeks to ensure that disaffected Tibetans are not allowed shelter in Nepal, or given space to enter India from Nepal.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Market Economy Status (MES)
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA)
  • BBIN


G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

International Solar Alliance (ISA)


H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. India plans to generate 100 gigawatt (GW) of energy by 2022
  2. There are certain limitations to solar power- for example, it cannot be created during night time, or when inclement weather or air pollution obscure the sun.
  3. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) aims to develop cost-efficient solar technologies and applications.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only

b) 2 and 3 Only

c) All 1, 2 and 3

d) 2 Only


Question 2: Consider the following statements, regarding ‘India- Israel’ bilateral relationship,
  1. Israel has evolved technology solutions to meeting its water needs. Israel’s waste water management know-how could be of immense use for India.
  2. There is a great scope for bilateral cooperation in water treatment projects, optics, metals, aviation, diamonds and textiles.
  3. Currently, the bilateral trade between India and Israel is about $5 billion.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only

b) 2 and 3 Only

c) All 1, 2 and 3

d) 2 Only


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. India has maintained that it is not inclined to automatically grant the ‘Market Economy Status’ (MES) to China.
  2. Granting ‘Market Economy Status’ (MES) to China will severely curb the ability of nations including India to impose anti-dumping duties on unfairly priced Chinese imports.

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: Consider the following statements,
  1. The five Indian states that share a land border with Nepal are Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim.
  2. The Tropic of Cancer does not pass through Nepal.

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 5: Consider the following statements regarding the motor vehicle zone among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN),
  1. Bhutan has not ratified the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA).
  2. India, Bangladesh and Nepal have already ratified the MVA.

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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