Comprehensive News Analysis – 22 November 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Pak. risks isolation in South Asia: Jaishankar

2. India treating soldiers from Mosul

3. India and China reiterate call for border peace

C. GS3 Related:

1. Borrowers get additional 60 days to repay loans

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

The Hindu

1. Lessons from a disaster

2. Through the prism of air power

3. Quick fixes for deep-rooted issues

4. The buck stops with the States

Business Line

1. Make railways safer

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. Pak. risks isolation in South Asia: Jaishankar

Category: International Relations

Topic: India and the Neighbourhood

Key Points:

  • Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar declared that South Asian nations will begin to look at other “alternatives” if Pakistan continues to “block” SAARC initiatives.
  • Jaishankar went on to add that Pakistan risks relations with other SAARC countries if it doesn’t follow “basic standards of regional cooperation.”
  • As an alternative, he said that SAARC countries could opt for “sub-regional initiatives and will look at other initiatives like BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation)”.

 

Significance of the Comments

  • They come after Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz announced in Islamabad that he will visit India to attend the ‘Heart of Asia’ regional conference.
  • The conference is due to be held in Amritsar on December 3 and 4.

 

2. India treating soldiers from Mosul

Category: International Relations

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

Key Points:

  • The Iraqi ambassador to India mentioned that Iraq’s Defence Ministry has been sending injured soldiers and volunteers of National Mobilisation from the battlefield to India for treatment.
  • The Iraqi ambassador also disclosed that Iraq has flown Indian doctors to Baghdad and Karbala to handle patients who needed emergency treatment.
  • The ambassador said that ties with India have been ramped up after the Iraqi forces launched the offensive against the IS.

 

3. India and China reiterate call for border peace

Category: International Relations

Topic:  India and the Neighbourhood

Key Points:

  • Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir Singh recently visited China and met its top military officials.
  • The two sides reiterated their desire to keep up the momentum of defence exchanges and the need to keep the borders tranquil and peaceful.
  • Both sides welcomed the on-going 6th India-China Joint Training Exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ 2016, in India.
  • They also agreed to further expand defence exchanges between the two Armies.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Borrowers get additional 60 days to repay loans

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

  • In the wake of the demonetization initiative of the Government and the consequent cash crunch being faced by borrowers, the Reserve Bank has provided an additional 60 days for the repayment of housing, car, farm and other loans worth up to Rs. 1 crore.
  • This relaxation is available to entities running working capital accounts with any bank with the sanctioned limit of Rs. 1 crore or less.

 

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

Category: Economy

Topic: Infrastructure: Railways, Govt. Policy

Key Points:

  • The Indian railway network is posed with extraordinary management challenges as it caters to about seven billion passenger trips a year.
  • The recent derailment of the Indore-Patna Express in Kanpur Dehat, is a stark reminder that India’s strained railway system can be unpredictably risky. 
  • The Railways Ministry needs to engage in a sustained effort to win back public confidence.

The Way Forward

  • Firstly, it is important to note that there are several elements to safety- of which the integrity of the tracks, signalling, engines and coaches need to be rigorously audited.
  • Internal investigations have found human error to be responsible for 70 per cent of serious rail accidents.
  • This statistic underscores the importance of training and adherence to strict operational discipline.
  • From a policy level, specialist committees headed by Anil Kakodkar on safety and Bibek Debroy on restructuring have recommended major reforms.
  • These reforms include, the creation of a statutory safety authority, speedy replacement of ageing coaches with modern LHB design, and revamped management that keeps its focus on core train operations.
  • It is important to note that after an accident, it is the quality of medical facilities that determines a victim’s chances of survival.
  • Many terrible mishaps occur in rural areas that have no hospital facilities, no trauma specialists or intensive care.
  • Thus, upgrading district hospitals should be a priority. 

 

  1. Through the prism of air power

Category: Internal Security

Topic: Defence, Govt. Policy   

Key Points:

  • There have been momentous changes in the nature of warfare over the last couple of decades such as— a) hybrid warfare, b) sub-conventional warfare and c) proxy war.
  • Armed forces across the world have struggled to keep pace with these changes.
  • India has “live and active borders and seas” on multiple fronts.
  • It is important to note that all three arms of its armed forces have adapted to these changes in different ways by building diverse capabilities at the lower end of the spectrum of conflict while retaining adequate conventional capability. 

Role of the IAF

There are 4 common myths about air power that have unfortunately crept into the public discourse. These are:

  1. that air power is only associated with offensive air action
  2. that it is always escalatory
  3. that it is most effective only in conventional warfare
  4. that it seeks to influence the environment on its own and operate in isolation

These myths are untrue. Reasons are as under:

  1. Calibrated use of offensive air power in recent decades, has often had a de-escalatory impact.  A case in point is the Kargil war of 1999 where air power acted as a critical de-escalatory and conflict termination tool.
  2. From an Indian perspective, it is important to note that the IAF has transformed itself in recent years as a vital cog in joint operations.
  3. The IAF has the capability to influence, enable, and support multispectral operations on land, in the air, at sea and increasingly, even in space. 
  4. It is this flexibility that has made the IAF among the few air forces that has the ability to act as a critical tool and enabler of statecraft.

 

  1. Quick fixes for deep-rooted issues

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Government Policy

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that Black Money in India is most likely to lie in assets such as real estate and gold.
  • The idea of cashless economies has been around for many years now. For example, Sweden, is the leader in cashless transactions. Sweden started its cashless journey in the 1960s.
  • According to a 2015 report of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), banknotes and coins account for only 2.12 per cent of the GDP in Sweden.
  • Across other countries, the figures are as below:

a) In the U.K. it is 3.64 per cent,

b) 3.8 per cent in Canada, and

c) 4.01 per cent in Brazil.

  • Yet, in spite of a growing trend among countries to go “cashless”, cash is still favoured as a means of payment for a significant proportion of the global population.
  1. The BIS study reports that banknotes and coins as a share of the GDP are 20.04 per cent in Japan, 15.67 per cent in Hong Kong, etc.
  2. In India, the share is 11.55 per cent.

 Reasons why cash remains the dominant form of payment

  1. Cash is empowering for millions of unbanked families.
  2. It is an intuitive method of exchange and acts as a store of value.
  3. It doesn’t come with the transaction fees of electronic payment methods.
  4. Cash provides a degree of privacy that more modern forms of payments are unable to guarantee.

The Way Forward

  • A long-term strategic approach with safeguards for millions of poor and vulnerable people and flexibility for course correction is needed.  

 

  1. The buck stops with the States

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Government Policy, Land Acquisition

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that there have been arguments offered in the recent past that have claimed a dilution of the land acquisition law through misuse of constitutional provisions. 

What does the Constitution say?

  • The Constitution allows for a State law to override the Central law in case of the Concurrent List, if the State law gets presidential assent. 

Issues to be considered

  • One can make the argument that due to the differences in growth and development in various States in India such as, say, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, it seems natural that both states would need to have a different law with respect to land acquisition.
  • It is important to note that in the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013, the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) requirement and the Consent Clause in the Act have been diluted by various State laws.
  • The politics of presidential assent have also played a role. It is important to note that Presidential assent is not to be a formality as far as State laws under Article 254(2) are concerned.
  • Based on a Supreme Court ruling, it is important to note that the President would need to engage in “active application of mind” before giving assent.

 

Business Line

  1. Make railways safer

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • The unfortunate incident regarding the derailment of the Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur costed over a hundred lives.
  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there have been about 30,000 railway accidents a year in recent times and over 25,000 lives have been lost in such accidents.
  • The reality is that many of these accidents could have been averted had the Railways paid enough attention to upgrading its infrastructure.
  • This infrastructure includes tracks and signalling and inducting technologies that help prevent accidents.
  • It is unfortunate that for many years now, successive Railway ministers have succumbed to populism and have given priority to announcing new projects and new trains, thus spreading resources thin.
  • The resultant being that projects announced remained uncompleted.

The Way Forward

  • The Railways is in the process of setting up a non-lapsable fund namedRashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh with a corpus of ₹1,19,183 crore earmarked for safety improvement.
  • A bulk of that money is proposed to be invested in track renewals and safety works at level crossings. This needs to be prioritised,
  • It is also important to find the ideal solution for its safety challenges.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh
  • Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013
  • Social Impact Assessment (SIA)
  • ‘Hand-in-Hand’ 2016


G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014


H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: The Joint Training Exercise 'Hand-in-Hand' 2016, recently in the news was between which two countries?
a) India-Bangladesh

b) India- Sri Lanka

c) India- Bhutan

d) India- China


Question 2: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Constitution allows for a State law to override the Central law in case of the Concurrent List, if the State law gets presidential assent.
  2. Presidential assent is not to be a formality as far as State laws under Article 254(2) are concerned.

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 Railways is in the process of setting up a non-lapsable fund named Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh with a corpus of ₹1,19,183 crore earmarked for safety improvement.
  2. A bulk of that money is proposed to be invested in track renewals and safety works at level crossings.

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: Which of the following is used for the measurement of distribution of income?
a) Laffer Curve

b) Engel’s Law

c) Gini-Lorenz Curve

d) Philip Curve


Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. The members of BIMSTEC include, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
  2. The member’s of SAARC include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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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