Comprehensive News Analysis - 20 February 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Oli arrives on 6-day visit

2. Modi to attend summit of EU, India in Brussels

3. U.S imposes new unilateral sanctions on North Korea

C. GS3 Related:

1. Low solar tariffs susceptible to cost risks

2. Egyptian firms set to tap Indian market

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

1. Apple stands up to surveillance

2. Labour in the twenty-first century

others

Indian Express:

1. Farm Solutions

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
G. Practice Questions
H. Archive

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Useful News Articles:

A. GS1 Related

— Nothing here today, folks! —

B. GS2 Related

1. Oli arrives on 6-day visit

Topic: International Relations

Category: Indo-Nepal

Location: The Hindu, Page 15

Oli arrives on 6-day visit

Key Points:

  • It is the first bilateral visit by Nepal Prime Minister to India after the trip by the then Premier Baburam Bhattarai in October 2011
  • Focus will be on amending the bilateral ties hit by issues relating to the Himalayan nation’s new constitution
  • Both sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to step up cooperation in several key sectors

 

2. Modi to attend summit of EU, India in Brussels

Topic: International Relations

Category: Regional and Global groupings

Location: The Hindu, Page 15

Key Points:

  • EU-India summit is being held after a long gap of four years that have also seen the suspension of talks on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)
  • Officials say they hope that the visit by Mr. Modi, who will stop in Brussels on his way to the U.S. will also see an announcement on the resumption of talks on the BTIA, as the free trade agreement (FTA) is known.
  • There are some obstacles preventing the resumption of the India-EU FTA talks that were suspended in 2013 after 16 rounds of negotiation.
  • To begin with, the EU is learnt to have asked India to substantially bring down the “high” duties on automobiles as a pre-condition for resumption of the FTA negotiations.

 

3. U.S imposes new unilateral sanctions on North Korea

Topic: International Relations

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

Location: The Hindu, Page 16

Key Points:

  • U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law a piece of legislation passed by Congress imposing new sanctions against North Korea for testing a nuclear device and launching a satellite using ballistic missile technology in 2016.
  • China has opposed the unilateral sanctions announced by the U.S.

What the law implies?

  • The new sanctions regime will require the President to mandatorily investigate and designate persons and entities for violations.
  • The law will also give more tools to the administration to enforce secondary sanctions

             Restrictions on a third country from doing business with the North.

  • The law also provides for $50 million to support humanitarian programmes and transmit radio broadcasts into the North.

Implications :

  • U.S.’ unilateral push could further add to the tensions with China, heightened in recent days over disputes in South China Sea.

 

C. GS3 Related

1. Low solar tariffs susceptible to cost risks

Topic: Environment

Category: Renewable resources

Location: The Hindu, Page 18

Key Points:

The Challenge :

  • The rooftop solar has been viable only for industrial consumers whose power tariffs are on the higher side.
  • It is not viable for residential users at the moment whose tariffs are lower.
  • When commercial and industrial users install rooftop solar, this displaces the electricity they are buying from the discoms.
  • Because they buy less, the discoms are earning less from their highest-paying consumers

Way Ahead :

  • The key to boosting rooftop solar adoption is to make the power distribution companies (discoms) more financially secure

Current Situation :

  • At the moment, the country has 34 GW of operating wind capacity and 4 GW of operating solar capacity.

 

2. Egyptian firms set to tap Indian market

Topic: Economic Development (Also read with International Relations)

Category: Industrial growth

Location: The Hindu, Page 18

Key Points:

  • While other Egyptian companies were either planning or already investing in manufacturing facilities to tap the potential of the Indian market, companies in the country, too, were increasing their presence in the North African nation
  • About 52 Indian companies are now present in Egypt with an investment of around $3 billion
  • Direct flight connectivity was an issue and now efforts were being taken to introduce flights from New Delhi. The two countries were now working for trilateral ventures in Africa

 

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

1. Apple stands up to surveillance

Topic: Security

Category: Cyber Security, Internal Security

Location: The Hindu, Page 12

  • The world today faces in simultaneously pursuing two well-meaning goals: digital security and national security. The problem is, it seems that one cannot be pursued without jeopardising the other
  • According to Mr. Cook, the FBI has asked Apple to produce a new version of the iPhone operating system (OS) that would circumvent critical security features
  • Apple considers the iPhone hack programme “too dangerous to create” as it would inevitably produce backdoor access to all iPhones.
  • the FBI proposes to enforce via the 227-year-old All Writs Act, could bring in a flood of such requests from around the globe

2. Labour in the twenty-first century

Topic: Security

Category: Cyber Security, Internal Security

Location: The Hindu, Page 12

Labour in the twenty-first century

Key Points:

  • There are eight core ILO Conventions against forced labour (also known, in less euphemistic times, as slavery). India refuses to ratify four of those
  • These refusals in themselves present a succinct picture of the status of, as well as the state’s attitude to, labour welfare in India.
  • The Annual Global Rights Index, published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), rates 141 countries on 97 indicators derived from ILO standards.
  • The rating is on a scale of 1 to 5-plus, based on the degree of respect accorded to workers’ rights.
  • In 2015, India had a rating of 5, the second-worst category.
  • It denotes “no guarantee of rights”.
  • Despite being a constitutional democracy, on the matter of worker rights, India is in the same club as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, all dictatorships
  • According to the ILO, “labour market flexibility is as high as 93 per cent in India”.
  • This means that 93 per cent of India’s workforce anyway do not enjoy the protection of India’s 144 labour laws.

Others:

Indian Express

1. Farm Solutions

Topic: Economic Development (Also read with Social Justice)

Category: e-technology in the aid of farmers

Key Points:

Challenges :

  • Farm distress due to poor monsoon and falling price realisation

Initiatives:

  • A new crop insurance scheme – Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
  • Very low premium
  • Removes artificial capping of the sums insured to the farmers
  • National Agriculture Market – it is a digital platform for farmers to sell their produce to buyers anywhere in India
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:

i.  Cyber Security

ii.  Labour Laws

iii. Indo – Nepal

iv.  Indo-EU

v.  North Korea and the international politics

vi. Solar energy

vii. Indo-Africa

viii. Farm Distress

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
To be Updated

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