Comprehensive News Analysis – 20 December 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

1. Kashmir braces for ‘Chillai Kalan’

B. GS2 Related:

1. Russian envoy shot dead in Ankara

C. GS3 Related:

1. Pak. involvement obvious in Pathankot attack, says NIA

2. I-T Act change to help small firms move to e-payment

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

The Hindu

1. Grappling with water disputes

2. Risks of Trump’s China policy

3. States need to buck up

The Economic Times

1. The primary task of Election Commission is to monitor political expenditure

The Indian Express

1. On the brink

PIB

1. Dr Jitendra Singh discusses Northeast tourism, trade promotion with top Industry leaders

2. Indian Railways Plan of Action To Promote SHGs

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
  1. Kashmir braces for ‘Chillai Kalan’

Category: Geography   

Topic: India- Climate   

Key Points:

  • Kashmir braces for the ‘Chillai Kalan’.
  • This is the harshest 40-day spell of winter.
  • Unfortunately, the fast dipping sub-zero temperature has slowed down the pace of daily life.
  • Chillai Kalan usually brings with it several spells of snowfall.

 

B. GS2 Related
  1. Russian envoy shot dead in Ankara

Category: International Relations   

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

Key Points:

  • The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot in the back and killed while giving a speech at an art gallery on 19th Dec, 2016.
  • The gunman shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo”, and was an off-duty police officer.
  • This development marks one of the most serious spill-overs of the Syria conflict. Turkey has been a staunch opponent of President Bashar al-Assad, while Russia has deployed troops and its air force in support of the Syrian leader. It is important to note that, Turkey has struggled with a string of attacks by Islamist and Kurdish militants but the killing of a Russian envoy could have resonance throughout the region.
  • Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in televised comments, “We qualify what happened as a terrorist act,”
  • She further went on to add that the issue would be raised at the UN Security Council.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Pak. involvement obvious in Pathankot attack, says NIA

Category: Internal Security   

Topic: Challenges to Internal Security

Key Points:

  • The chief of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on 19th Dec, 2016 that the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists, including Masood Azhar, “could not have acted in isolation” while planning and executing the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase and that the “complicity of Pakistan” was obvious.

 

  1. I-T Act change to help small firms move to e-payment

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

  • To reduce the rate of deemed profit from 8 to 6 per cent for small firms with a turnover of less than Rs.2 crore who receive their payments electronically, the Centre will amend the Income Tax Act in Budget 2017.
  • The Finance Ministry announced this plan 19th December, 2016 in a move which will promote digital payments.
  • While it is hoped that this should encourage the adoption of electronic payments, it could lead to some operational difficulties for companies that conduct their business both electronically and in cash.
  • The government mentioned that the legislative amendment to make the required changes to the Income Tax Act will be carried out through the Finance Bill 2017.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. Grappling with water disputes

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Center-State Relations

Key Points:

  • It is believed that a permanent tribunal to adjudicate river water disputes between States will undoubtedly be a vast improvement over the present system of setting up ad hoc
  • The Union Cabinet’s recent proposal to have a permanent tribunal that will subsume existing tribunalsis expected to provide for speedier adjudication. 
  • Yet, even with this development, it is doubtful whether this will resolve the problem of protracted proceedings.

What the critics of the permanent tribunal say?

  • Critics have argued that given the number of ongoing inter-State disputes and those likely to arise in the future, it may be difficult for a single institution with a former Supreme Court judge as its chairperson to give its ruling within three years.
  • Secondly, its interlocutory orders as well as final award are likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court.
  • Further, a confusing aspect is that benches of the permanent tribunal are going to be created to look into disputes as and when they arise- and it is not clear in what way these temporary benches would be different from the present tribunals. 

It is important to note that, the Supreme Court, in a recent landmark verdict, said it had unfettered power to hear an appeal arising from a river water dispute tribunal under Article 136 of the Constitution.

Positives points raised

  • It is important to observe a positive feature of the proposed changes- that there will be an expert agency to collect data on rainfall, irrigation and surface water flows.
  • This acquires importance because party-States have a tendency to fiercely question data provided by the other side.
  • It is believed that a permanent forum having reliable data in its hands sounds like an ideal mechanism to apportion water. 

In conclusion, it is important to note that water disputes have humanitarian dimensions, including agrarian problems. Thus, what is at stake is not merely a set of competing claims over riparian rights.  Institutional mechanisms must be backed by the political will to make them work.

 

  1. Risks of Trump’s China policy

Category: International Relations   

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

Key Points:

  • The recent seizure of an American underwater drone in the international waters of the South China Sea by the Chinese Navy marks the latest flashpoint in bilateral relations between China and the U.S.
  • At this point of time, it is not clear if the capture of the drone, was a junior-level act by sailors or a strategic move directed by Beijing.

Recent developments involving Trump:

  • This incident comes days after Donald Trump broke diplomatic protocol and accepted a congratulatory call from the Taiwanese President. In fact, this move invited an angry response from China, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province. 
  • Trump has recently escalated matters by questioning the One- China policy
  • In fact, throughout the election campaign Mr. Trump had maintained that he would renegotiate the terms of America’s engagement with China.
  • Trump had also accused Beijing of currency manipulation

China has reiterated that the One-China policy is non-negotiable.  China has also installed anti-aircraft weapons and other arms on all seven artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea.

  • It is important to note that China is a caged naval power which has access to both South and East China Seas. One reason as to why China is so sensitive about Taiwan is its geopolitical vulnerability.

 

  1. States need to buck up

Category: Polity and Governance   

Topic: Government Initiatives  

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that as we transition from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are taking policy centre stage in most emerging and developing countries.
  • Now, it is important to note that WASH sectors are concurrent subjects- thus, policies have been formulated by the Central government and respective State governments. 
  • Studies have shown that WASH policies formulated by State governments have low robustness as compared to that of national policies.
  • The capacity for policymaking of State governments thus needs to be further strengthened. 

Some important statistics

  • Worldwide, there are 663 million people who lack access to safe water and 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation.
  • In India, 128 million lack safe water services and about 840 million people don’t have sanitation services.

The Way Forward

  • Identification of the beneficiary segments is a key component of policy.
  • The needs and barriers for segments of the population differ and consequently the strategies also need to be customised for the different segments.
  • Thus, policymakers have gradually moved away from a “one size fits all” approach to a more beneficiary-centric approach.
  • A traditional approach has been to segment the beneficiaries on the basis of geographical and social context (GSS). 
  • Of late, segmenting the beneficiaries on the basis of the human life cycle (LCS) is gaining traction. 
  • But, the Indian policy engine seems to be more attuned to the GSS framework.
  • It is important to note that to be able to achieve our WASH targets, it is imperative that our policies straddle both the LCS and GSS approaches.

 

The Economic Times

  1. The primary task of Election Commission is to monitor political expenditure

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • It is suggested that the Election Commission’s (EC) reported proposal to ban all anonymous political donations in excess of Rs 2,000 is, no doubt, well-intended but is ill-conceived.
  • Parties routinely report a tiny fraction of their actual income and expenditure.
  • It is suggested that every party should declare every month how much money it spent at the level of the polling booth, the panchayat, the municipal ward, the district, the state and the nation.
  • This amount should include money spent by activists and well-wishers as well.
  • Improved corporate governance and a culture of companies funding their new investments using the bond market rather than through bank loans will help.
  • A handful of bankers alone need to be persuaded to sanction a loan and defend that decision. A bond market has very many analysts, brokers and rating agencies pronouncing on the merits of the project undertaken and how much it should actually cost. This would reduce the scope for project overinvoicing, a routine method of generating unaccounted funds with which to finance parties. The EC must think through its options.

 

The Indian Express

  1. On the brink

Category: Polity and Governance   

Topic: Center-State Relations 

Key Points:

  • In Manipur, the United Naga Council (UNC) has deemed the government’s move to upgrade Sadar Hills and Jiribam to full-fledged districts as an attempt to take “traditional Naga land” and imposed an economic blockade from November 2 onwards.
  • Meanwhile, angry Meitei mobs have been breaking the curfew and attacking vehicles heading to tribal areas in the state.
  • The government’s justification for the formation of the new districts is administrative convenience, but given the recent context of conflict and resentment between communities, the move was bound to cause a flare-up.
  • The resentment against the new administrative units is just the latest in a series of issues that have caused strife.
  • The demand that the Inner Line Permit (ILP) be implemented in Manipur has gained traction over the last few years amid fears that increasing tourism and migration would alter the demographic profile of the state.
  • Unfortunately, the government did not make the process or the decision on the new administrative divisions a consultative one.
  • The Hill Area Committees, meant to represent and safeguard tribal interests, have claimed they were not part of the decision.
  • Whether for political considerations or administrative convenience, the redrawing of boundaries is a sensitive issue in the complex social fabric of Manipur and has immediate and real consequences for the law and order situation in the state.
  • The government and other political actors must come to a broad agreement before the situation deteriorates further.

 

PIB

  1. Dr Jitendra Singh discusses Northeast tourism, trade promotion with top Industry leaders

Category: Indian Economy    

Topic: Tourism  

Key Points:

  • Dr Jitendra Singh said that Northeast has lot much to offer, but the attributes remain unexplored because people outside are either not aware of it or do not find it convenient to venture.
  • He said, it is a strange contradiction that large number of tourists from Mumbai, Maharashtra and Gujarat are inclined to travel to foreign destinations in the immediate neighborhood like Bangkok and Kathmandu, but they are not motivated to travel to Shillong or Gangtok which have much more to offer at a much lesser budget.
  • The irony is, he said, that a highly scenic destination like Shillong attracts more number of European and foreign tourists compared to domestic or Indian tourists because of lack of awareness in other parts of the country.
  • While dwelling on a vast potential to develop exclusive circuits for industrial, tourism and religious tourism between Western parts of India and Northeast, Dr Jitendra Singh also proposed the idea of Medical Tourism for which a place like Mumbai is certainly far more equipped to attract healthcare seekers and patients, most of whom from Northeast are presently travelling to distant destinations like Vellore in Tamil Nadu because of lack of projection of other options. He also suggested that the country’s leading corporate hospitals could set up referral clinics in different States of the region.
  • Dr Jitendra Singh also flagged the idea of combining tourism with “Start up India” programme which could simultaneously help in engaging youth and generating employability.

 

  1. Indian Railways Plan of Action To Promote SHGs

Category: Indian Economy   

Topic: Railways

Key Points:

Plan of Action to promote SHGs:

  • Indian Railways will provide support and access to IRCTC’s website.
  • NABARD will ensure extensive e-marketing.
  • NABARD will develop a website.
  • All information of SHG’s and their products can be seen on this Website.
  • Customer can order any of the articles/products on the same website.
  • IRCTC to provide link to this website at all of its various existing service websites.
  • IRCTC is tendering for installation and operation of Water Vending machines on platforms.
  • D and E class stations are being earmarked for Self Help Groups.
  • This will help in boosting morale by providing alternative source of earning to Self Help Groups.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • NABARD
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP)
  • One-China policy


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. The states that border Manipur are Nagaland, Mizoram, and Assam.
  2. Manipur shares a border with Myanmar.

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. Red book contains data of endangered,extinct and threatened species
  2. Red data book is prepared by UNDP with the involvement of NGOs and concerned states

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both

d) None


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sectors are concurrent subjects.
  2. A recent study has shown that WASH policies formulated by State governments have low robustness as compared to that of national policies.

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. According to Article 136 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court may, in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India.
  2. Directive Principles of State Policy are justiciable in nature.

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 5: Consider the following statements with reference to the changes which the ‘Indian Independence Act of 1947’ made to the position of the Constituent Assembly.
  1. The assembly was made a fully sovereign body, which could frame any Constitution it pleased.
  2. The assembly also became a legislative body.

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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