Comprehensive News Analysis – 20 January 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Reopening old wounds

2. U.K. seeks Indian help in resolving Chagos Archipelago dispute

3. All eyes on Washington as Trump set to take oath

C. GS3 Related:

1. Airlines yet to collect cess for regional fund

2. Milestone in cryogenic engine test paves way for GSLV-MkIII

3. No demand from IAF; India goes slow on Hawk variant

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

The Hindu

1. The limits to popular sentiment

Economic Times

1. CBI: Neither caged parrot nor partisan hawk

PIB

1. Cabinet apprised of the MoU between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for cooperation in the field of outer space

2. Union HRD Minister launches ‘ShaGun’ – a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

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
B. GS2 Related
1. Reopening old wounds

Category: International Relations  

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

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that Northeast Asia is a geostrategic hotspot. 
  • An ascendant China is asserting its claims to disputed islands and waters. North Korea is unpredictable, and under a new president, the United States is an untested ally. 
  • It is important to note that tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of women were forced to service the Japanese military’s World War II brothels.
  • These women were known as “comfort women”, and were “recruited” from Korea, China and parts of Southeast Asia. 
  • Although there are only around 40 surviving comfort women in Korea, they are a potent reminder of Japanese wartime atrocities as well as what many consider to be the lack of sincere atonement on the part of Japan.

 

Development and Background

  • Recently, between Japan and South Korea, bilateral relations are being held hostage by a bronze statue of a barefoot teenage girl.
  • The statue in question was erected opposite the Japanese consulate in the South Korean city of Busan in late December and has led to Tokyo recalling its ambassador from Seoul, as well as suspending high-level economic policy discussions with its Korean neighbour.
  • A year before the Busan statue was erected, in December 2015, Tokyo and Seoul had concluded an agreement, supposedly a “final and irreversible” resolution to the comfort women issue.
  • Japan had apologised and agreed to pay ¥1bn (just over $8 million) into a fund to help care for the surviving comfort women.
  • On its part, South Korea agreed to consider the matter resolved.
  • The accord was hailed as historic, opening the possibility of a new era in Japanese-Korean relations.
  • Tokyo sees the erection of the Busan statue as a violation of the agreement. 

 

The Way Forward

  • It has been suggested that the rational priority for Japan and South Korea should be the development of close defence and intelligence cooperation rather than quibbles over statues.
  • But, as is often the case, the emotional politics of humiliation and nationalism are keeping the wounds of history from scabbing over, and preventing the kind of bold and new collaborative initiatives that would be in the interest of both countries and the region.

 

2. U.K. seeks Indian help in resolving Chagos Archipelago dispute

Category: International Relations 

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

Key Points:

  • In an important development, the British Foreign Secretary has sought Indian assistance in resolving current tensions between the U.K., the U.S. and Mauritius over the future of the U.S. military base Diego Garcia, and the Indian Ocean Chagos Archipelago, amid a warning from Mauritius last year that it would push to take the matter to the International Court of Justice.
  • The British — acting on the request of the U.S. — are hopeful that India may be able to exercise its influence with the Mauritian government to help the three sides come to some agreement, to prevent the situation from escalating.
  • The British believe that ensuring the future of Diego Garcia would be in India’s security interest in the region too.
  • The Chagos Islands — referred to by the British as the British Indian Ocean Territory, but which is not recognised as such by Mauritius — is home to the U.S. military base Diego Garcia.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, inhabitants were removed from the islands. Tensions remain, with Mauritius maintaining that the archipelago remains its integral part.

 

3. All eyes on Washington as Trump set to take oath

Category: International Relations 

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

Key Points:

  • Republican Donald Trump will take oath as the 45th President of the country on Friday, 20th January, 2017.
  • More than a million people are expected to arrive in the city, an estimated one fourth of them to protest against the incoming President.
  • The transition team has said Mr. Trump will place his hand on two Bibles while taking oath — one which Abraham Lincoln used for his first oath in 1861, and a second one that Mr. Trump received as a gift from his mother.
  • Though it is not a constitutional requirement, most Presidents till date have taken the oath on a Bible. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court will administer the oath of office to Mr. Trump.

 

C. GS3 Related

1. Airlines yet to collect cess for regional fund

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: Infrastructure

Key Points:

  • The Centre wants to start services under the regional connectivity scheme by March this year.
  • Most of the domestic airlines have refused to charge a levy on air tickets that will finance the regional connectivity fund.
  • Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said on Thursday that the Centre will explore other means to fund the scheme if domestic airlines do not come on board.
  • The airlines will be allowed to charge passengers Rs. 2,500 for an hour’s flight. About 80% of the subsidy will be collected from the airlines that will charge a levy of up to Rs. 8,500 on each departing flight.
  • The balance 20% will come from the respective state governments.

 

2. Milestone in cryogenic engine test paves way for GSLV-MkIII

Category: Science and Technology

Topic: Developments

Key Points:

  • India’s most powerful satellite launcher to date, is the GSLV-Mark III.
  • The engine, technically called CE20, passed the ‘high altitude flight acceptance test’ lasting about 25 seconds at Mahendragiri in mid-December.
  • (ISRO) plans to fly its new launch vehicle powered by this new engine around March, and send the 3,200 kg GSAT-19 communication satellite to space on it.
  • The launch was earlier slated for December 2016. MkIII, when it completes trials and commences functioning in the coming years, will double ISRO’s lifting power for communications satellites to 4,000 kilos.

 

3. No demand from IAF; India goes slow on Hawk variant

Category: Science and Technology

Topic: Developments

Key Points:

  • India is going slow on the development of a combat variant of the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) as there has been no demand for it from the Indian Air Force.
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and BAE Systems have teamed up to develop the combat variant, which will be a slow flying, ground support aircraft.
  • India had contracted 123 Hawk Mk-132 AJT aircraft from BAE Systems of the U.K. for the IAF and the Navy.
  • Another order for 20 aircraft to equip the Surya Kiran aerobatics team is in an advanced stage. HAL is assembling the Hawks in India under a license.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. The limits to popular sentiment

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Judiciary

Key Points:

What is Jallikattu?

  • Jallikattu, is the bull-taming spectacle held during the time of the harvest festival of Pongal.
  • The Supreme Court had ordered a ban on the conduct of this annual ritual. 
  • Recently, tens of thousands of people gathered in public places, most notably on Chennai’s Marina beach, on a day-and-night vigil, seeking the reversal of this ban.
  • This show of solidarity has been peaceful.
  • It is important to note that in 2013, under the watch of the Animal Welfare Board of India, the onus was on the State of Tamil Nadu to ensure that jallikattu did not violate the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. But, the opportunity to ensure a jallikattu that was free of cruelty to the animals and injuries to the participating youth was frittered away. 
  • Currently, efforts are on to nullify the effect of the Supreme Court judgment through the ordinance route.
  • Instead of this route being taken, it has been suggested that the proper course for the Centre and the State government is to persuade the Supreme Court that a jallikattu that does not involve, or at least almost eliminates, cruelty to animals and that guarantees the safety of spectators and participants alike is indeed possible.
  • It is all right if popular sentiment can influence legislation, but it cannot undermine the rule of law.

 

Economic Times

1. CBI: Neither caged parrot nor partisan hawk

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Executive

Key Points:

  • Unfortunately, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has had a long tradition of serving as the political tool of the powers that be.
  • Former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh, have, in the past, directly and indirectly hinted at the use of CBI cases against them to exert political pressure.
  • It must be noted that as India develops as a democracy, integrity of the institutions of the state must strengthen, not weaken.
  • An institutional solution would have three parts, relating to appointment of the organisation’s chief, lines of accountability and professionalism. Ideally, the bureau should have its own, directly recruited, professional cadre.
  • In conclusion, it is suggested that the CBI must report to the executive, as it does. Its chief must testify, on a regular basis, before a multiparty committee of Parliament.
  • It, along with all other police outfits, must also be accountable to the National Human Rights Commission. Multiple lines of accountability would guarantee autonomy.

 

PIB

1. Cabinet apprised of the MoU between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for cooperation in the field of outer space

Category: Science and Technology  

Topic: Space   

Key Points:

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of theMemorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on November 11, 2016 at Tokyo, Japan between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for cooperation in the field of outer space.
  • The purpose of this MoU is to pursue future cooperative activities in the exploration and use of outer space exclusively for peaceful purposes in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable in each country and their international obligations.
  • This MoU provides scope for pursuing cooperation in various areas of space science technology and applications including: earth observation, satellite communication and navigation; exploration and space sciences; Research and development (space systems and space technology); and Space industry promotion.
  • ISRO and JAXA will bear the costs of their respective activities under this Memorandum, unless they decide otherwise in writing. Ability to fulfil their respective roles and activities under this Memorandum and its relevant separate Implementation Arrangement is subject to their respective funding procedures, the availability of appropriated funds and their respective national laws.
  • Framework MoU would lead to joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity. Thus all sections and regions of the country will get benefited.

 

  1. Union HRD Minister launches ‘ShaGun’ – a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • The Union HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan at New Delhi on 18th January, 2017. ‘ShaGun’ aims to capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The Union HRD Minister also unveiled the ‘Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs’, which has been prepared by World Bank in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • ShaGun, which has been coined from the words ‘Shala’ meaning Schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning Quality, has been developed with a twin track approach.
  • First, is the Repository with an engaging interface that focuses on positive stories and developments in the field of School Education. In this repository, best practices will be documented in the form of videos, testimonials, case studies, and images, which will display state-level innovations and success stories that are driving improvements in performance under SSA. This repository has a decentralized management structure that enables State governments to choose, upload and manage their own content.
  • Secondly, it has an online monitoring module to measure state-level performance and progress against key educational indicators. It has been developed to collect and report data which will enable the government and administrators to track the efficiency with which SSA funds are being utilized and the results that this is delivering. SSA is a centrally sponsored scheme providing universal access to education to children in the age group of six to fourteen years of age.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
  • ‘ShaGun’



H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. ‘ShaGun’ aims to capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
  2. ShaGun, has been coined from the words ‘Shala’ meaning Schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning Quality, has been developed with a twin track approach.

Which of the above 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. Diego Garcia is an atoll just south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean, and the largest of 60 small islands comprising the Chagos Archipelago.
  2. The United States has built a large naval and military base on Diego Garcia.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) Both 1 and 2

c) 2 Only

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. AstroSat is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously.
  2. One of the unique features of AstroSat mission is that it enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.

Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?

a) 1 Only

b) Both 1 and 2

c) 2 Only

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 4: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in Asia-Pacific region with nine operational communication satellites placed in Geo-stationary orbit.
  2. The INSAT system with more than 200 transponders in the C, Extended C and Ku-bands provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, satellite newsgathering, societal applications, weather forecasting, disaster warning and Search and Rescue operations.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) Both 1 and 2

c) 2 Only

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 5: The satellite ‘Megha-Tropiques’, occurring frequently in the news is which of the following?

a) An Earth Observation Satellite

b) An Experimental Satellite

c) A Communication Satellite

d) Satellite used to study Space Science

Check Your Answers

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