Comprehensive News Analysis – 19 December 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. SC wants woman pilot to get permanent wings

2. Keep drone, says Trump as China offers return

C. GS3 Related:

1. Malampuzha has some rare visitors

2. Rs.10,000-crore fund planned for infra finance

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

The Hindu

1. Questions from a washout

2. Bridging the learning deficit

The Economic Times

1. Passage of the Disabilities Act was only redeeming feature of this parliament session

The Indian Express

1. New channel

Businee Line

1. Uber, taxis and transformations

PIB

1. Environment Minister Exhorts Forest Officers to be sincere and committed towards Forestry Sector

2. CNS Visit to Japan

3. World and Region Faces Growing Threat of Terrorism, President Mukherjee tells Tajik President

4. Prime Minister to lay foundation of first ever Indian Institute of Skills in India at Kanpur

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. SC wants woman pilot to get permanent wings

Category: Polity and Governance, Social Justice   

Topic: Government Interventions, Women Empowerment  

Key Points:

  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur offered relief to Air Force woman pilot Sandeep Kaur in her fight against the rules of the “Establishment,” under which her time as a pilot was over.
  • “Let her fly… let her be airborne all the time,” the Supreme Court told the government.
  • It is important to note that the outcome of Ms. Sandhu’s case brings cheer to several women officers waging a battle in the Supreme Court for equal opportunity.

 

  1. Keep drone, says Trump as China offers return

Category: International Relations 

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

Key Points:

  • United States President-elect Donald Trump on 18th Dec 2016 said that America should let the Communist giant keep the Navy’s unmanned underwater drone.
  • This statement was made after Beijing agreed to return in an “appropriate manner” the device it had seized in the disputed South China Sea (SCS).
  • It is important to note that this incident is among the most serious military confrontations between the two powers for decades.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Malampuzha has some rare visitors

Category: Environment and Ecology  

Topic: Conservation

Key Points:

  • Amur falcons, are small birds of prey that undertake one of the longest migrations.
  • These birds breed in south-eastern Siberia and North-eastern China.
  • It is important to note that ornithologists say Nagaland was their home in India.
  • Every year, they travel 22,000 km from Nagaland to South Africa then onto Mongolia and back to Nagaland. The bird has one of the longest and most fascinating migratory paths in the avian kingdom.

Why the name Amur?

  • Since these falcons normally breed in south-eastern Siberia and North-eastern China where the Amur river divides the Russian Far East and China, they are named as Amur falcons.

Features of the Bird

  • Weighing hardly 150 g, the Amur falcon or Falco amurensis is a small bird.
  • Male falcons are mostly grey in colour, and the female has dark-streaked cream or orange underparts.
  • It is important to note that in some parts of Nagaland, tribal people consider the falcons as messengers of God, their arrival indicating a good year and a bountiful harvest.
  • The birds eat winged termites and other insects that destroy crops.

 

  1. Rs.10,000-crore fund planned for infra finance

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: Infrastructure, Government Policy

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that India’s infrastructure sector, requiring investments of more than $1.5 trillion in the coming ten years.
  • The infrastructure sector is now set to get a boost with a dedicated fund of Rs.10,000 crore to provide credit enhancement for commercially viable projects.
  • The dedicated fund will be in the form of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and will be categorised an NBFC-Infrastructure Finance Company.
  • The promoters are likely to include Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), General Insurance Corporation of India, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Power Finance Corporation, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL).
  • It is important to note that the government is keen on roping in international financial institutions such as Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, New Development Bank (formerly BRICS Development Bank), International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group).

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. Questions from a washout

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Union Legislature

Key Points:

  • During much of the winter session of Parliament, opposition parties mustered all their disruptive tactics to stall the functioning of both Houses of Parliament.
  • It is important to note that given what was at stake in the session, the abandonment of the spirit of give-and-take that keeps the legislative schedule humming was surprising.
  • The government staked much political capital on key financial reforms that needed cooperation across the aisles. But unfortunately, it lost the chance to pass bills critical to the April 1, 2017, deadline for the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax.
  • The government also failed to end the session on a note of federal cooperation to set up the shift to Budget day to February 1 from next year. 

 

  1. Bridging the learning deficit

Category: Polity and Governance 

Topic: Government Initiatives 

Key Points:

  • After almost five decades after India first formulated its National Education Policy, the Ministry for Human Resource Development appears to be gearing up for another revision to this policy document.
  • It is important to note that the state of education, particularly in the critical primary and pre-primary years, is far from satisfactory.  
  • Unfortunately, there are gaping holes that remain in the system. The barriers to high-quality, equitably-distributed primary education include: a) high dropout rates, especially for girls; b) teacher absenteeism and low teaching quality; c) outmoded pedagogies and d) insufficient resources to implement contemporary teaching methods.
  • Further, the problem of poor learning outcomes is of concern. The problem of poor learning outcomes is a structural issue pertaining to the design of curricula and ingrained rote learning methods.
  • Unfortunately, these have been the backbone of India’s teaching tradition for over half a century. 
  • Thus, it is important to note that while efforts of the present and previous government to boost the quality of learning in higher and vocational education must be appreciated, policymakers ought not to ignore early childhood education and primary schooling, the phases during which the most important cognitive development milestones are attained.

 

The Economic Times

  1. Passage of the Disabilities Act was only redeeming feature of this parliament session

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • In an otherwise dismal parliamentary session, the passage of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 is a bright spot.

Some important statistics:

  • As per the Census 2011, only 2.2% of the population has disabilities. Further, there is a general agreement that a more realistic number is 4-5% of the population. Of those with disabilities, 64% are unemployed.
  • In a nod to this double disability, the quota for persons with disability has been hiked to 4% both in educational institutions and government jobs.
  • The new law, which amends an earlier law of 1995, seeks to address the discrimination that people with disabilities face in in employment, at the workplace, and in access to public spaces.
  • It provides timelines for the building blocks that will deliver the promise of the prime minister’s Accessible India Campaign.
  • The legislation most clearly puts the onus on the appropriate authorities to take measures that will allow persons with disabilities to exercise their constitutional rights.
  • Further, it makes the connection between efforts to improve the lives of those with disability and actual results on the ground.
  • ‘Implementation’ is the Achilles heel of India’s policy on persons with disability.
  • With a new law in place that is in sync with global standards, the focus must now shift on delivering on the ground.

 

The Indian Express

  1. New channel

Category: Polity and Governance   

Topic: Government Initiatives, Center-State Relations 

Key Points:

  • On December 15, the Union cabinet announced wide-ranging amendments to the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  • It has proposed an agency to collect and maintain water data including those pertaining to rainfall, irrigation and inter-basin flows.
  • For a country beset with numerous water conflicts, the salience of this move cannot be overstated. Collection of data is the first step towards resolving water disputes.
  • The country has lacked a specialised agency for the purpose. The new agency will ensure that water data is regularly updated and this will obviate the haste to collect data every time there is a water dispute.
  • The cabinet has also decided to constitute a permanent tribunal to adjudicate on all inter-state water disputes over river waters. This will mean doing away with the current practice of having a separate tribunal for every inter-state river dispute.
  • In recent times, the practice of creating a tribunal every time an inter-state water dispute crops up, has been subject to criticism. These tribunals take inordinate amount of time and do not resolve the problem satisfactorily. The Cauvery Tribunal, for example, took 17 years to give its final award and the dispute is by no means resolved. The cabinet’s decision to constitute a permanent tribunal is in consonance with the National Water Policy 2012, which had pointed out that a multiplicity of tribunals militates against the early resolution of water conflicts and tribunals often work at cross purposes.
  • There is, however, an even more serious shortcoming of these ad hoc tribunals. That stems from their Constitutional status. The Constitution attaches a special status to inter-state water disputes, whereby they neither fall under the Supreme Court’s nor any other court’s jurisdiction. The courts can, at best, interpret a tribunal’s award. The award is binding, but legal anomalies have meant that a tribunal’s decision is not enforceable — one reason inter-state river disputes have become virtually irresolvable. Non-compliance of tribunal awards by states remains a weak link in dispute resolution. That might persist even when there is a permanent tribunal.

 

Businee Line

  1. Uber, taxis and transformations

Category: Polity and Governance, Indian Economy   

Topic: Government Initiatives, Transport, Infrastructure 

Key Points:

  • Enterprises such as Uber, Lyft, Didi-Chuxing, Grab and Ola, are disrupting a service —that of traditional taxis — which can trace their formal origins to 1654.
  • It is important to note that over the centuries, taxis have evolved to a predictable pattern across the world.
  • Usually the services and their tariffs are regulated. The drivers usually are organised in some form of labour union and are in turn subject to screening for health, proficiency and often criminal record. Vehicles are often required to meet environmental, safety and user access regulations in response to societal concerns and priorities.
  • By creating an app-based mobility-as-a-service platform, these new enterprises aspire to render car ownership as well as several forms of public transit obsolete within a few decades. 
  • In the modern idiom, they harness a distributed enterprise leveraging dispersed capital. This renders their balance sheets asset light — a factor that their investors love.
  • A blend of affordable fares, low capital demands, and flexible, user-friendly service has caused these services to appeal not only to commuters but also to municipalities and local administrations that are under pressure around the world, to reduce the losses in their unprofitable local transit services.


PIB

  1. Environment Minister Exhorts Forest Officers to be sincere and committed towards Forestry Sector

Category: Polity and Governance, Environment and Ecology    

Topic: Government Initiatives, Conservation

Key Points:

  • Urging young forest officers to be sincere and committed towards the cause of the forestry sector, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madav Dave emphasized that in order to make the systems corruption free, the financial transactions should also be cashless, or less cash should be used to the extent possible.
  • The Minister said that focus should be on research, through which livelihood and economic status of the people living around the forest area is enhanced and people get motivated to grow more trees outside forests to increase the C-mitigation potential of the area. 

 

  1. CNS Visit to Japan

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Agreements involving India

Key Points:

  • The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, is on an official visit to Japan.
  • The visit aims to consolidate existing Maritime Cooperation initiatives as well as explore new avenues. 

Historical Context:

  • The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilisational ties.
  • India’s earliest documented direct contact with Japan was with the Todaiji Temple in Nara, where the consecration or eye-opening of the towering statue of Lord Buddha was performed by an Indian monk, Bodhisena, in 752 AD.
  • In contemporary times, among prominent Indians associated with Japan were Swami Vivekananda, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, JRD Tata, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Judge Radha Binod Pal. The Japan-India Association was set up in 1903, and is today the oldest international friendship body in Japan. 

Defence cooperation:

  • Defence cooperation between India and Japan is robust and is primarily focused towards Maritime Cooperation. Our defence cooperation was institutionalised with commencement of the India-Japan Comprehensive Security Dialogue which was initiated in 2001. 
  • Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) has participated in the MALABAR exercise in 2007, 2009, 2014 prior being included as a regular member in the exercise since 2015. JMSDF participated in MALABAR 15 and 16 held in the Bay of Bengal and Western Pacific respectively. 
  • In 2014, Japan has also been included as an observer in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a Maritime Cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by Indian Navy in 2008. 

Points of Convergence:

  • India and Japan share similar maritime challenges such as long coastline, extensive EEZ, coastal security, large coastal shipping and fishing fleet, wherein both navies have opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences.
  • In addition common ground exists for cooperation on a number of issues common to both navies. 

 

3.World and Region Faces Growing Threat of Terrorism, President Mukherjee tells Tajik President 

Category: International Relations 

Topic: Agreements involving India

Key Points:

  • Welcoming the President of Tajikistan to India, the President said his visit to India is on the eve of the 25th anniversary of India-Tajikistan diplomatic relations. It bears testimony to the abiding friendship between the two nations and the value that we attach to our bilateral relations. India was among first countries to recognise emergence of Tajikistan on dissolution of the former Soviet Union.

The President said India recognizes President Rahmon’s role in ensuring peace and stability in Tajikistan which has a similar salutary effect in the region. 

  • Subsequently, President Pranab Mukherjee said India appreciates the close co-operation that we have in the United Nations and other international organizations. India is grateful for Tajikistan’s support for her rightful claim to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and its membership of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation. 
  • The President said as neighbours with a shared vision of peace and stability in our region, we both desire to strengthen our defence and security co-operation in order to effectively address our concerns.
  • The world – and particularly our region, is, today, faced by the growing threat of terrorism. Both India and Tajikistan are opposed to this menace in all its forms and manifestations. Our peoples, as secular and pluralistic societies, desire to live in peace. For us, development and progress of our nations is of utmost importance. We are also committed to assist our mutual friend and neighbour, Afghanistan, to realise the goals and aspirations of its people – through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. 

 

  1. Prime Minister to lay foundation of first ever Indian Institute of Skills in India at Kanpur

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • In line with his vision of making India the Skill Capital of the World by empowering its youth to be more employable and self-sustainable, Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of the first ever “Indian Institute of Skills” in the country at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Institute has been conceptualized by Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education.
  • Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore has decided to open an institute first ever of its kind in the country, the institute is inspired by the Singapore model of training and would adopt various best practices from the country. 


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Amur Falcons
  • Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF)
  • MALABAR exercise
  • 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, regarding ‘Amur Falcons’?
  1. Since these falcons normally breed in south-eastern Siberia and North-eastern China where the Amur river divides the Russian Far East and China, they are named as ‘Amur falcons.’
  2. Amur falcons, are small birds of prey that undertake one of the longest migrations. In some parts of Nagaland, tribal people consider the falcons as messengers of God, their arrival indicating a good year and a bountiful harvest.

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. Article 262 of the Indian Constitution refers to election of the President of India.
  2. The Constitution attaches a special status to inter-state water disputes, whereby they neither fall under the Supreme Court’s nor any other court’s jurisdiction. The courts can, at best, interpret a tribunal’s award.

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 Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) has participated in the MALABAR exercise as a regular member since 2015.
  2. In 2014, Japan has also been included as an observer in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a Maritime Cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by Indian Navy in 2008.

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: ‘Mischief Reef’ is located in which of the following?
a) South China Sea

b) Red Sea

c) Black Sea

d) North Sea


Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. India was among first countries to recognise emergence of Tajikistan on dissolution of the former Soviet Union.
  2. 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.

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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