Comprehensive News Analysis - 24 February 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. India, Israel to develop missile for Army

C. GS3 Related:

1. ‘Legally vetted’ pact on services tabled at WTO

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

The Hindu

1. Life elsewhere

2. Should triple talaq be outlawed?


1. Ground zero


1. President of India inaugurates international conference on ‘Bharat Bodh’

2. Entrepreneurship Education to get a big boost: 15 lakh youth to get online and experiential learning on Entrepreneurship Education

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
I. Archives


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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

1. India, Israel to develop missile for Army

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

Key Points:

  • Ahead of the likely visit of Prime Minister Naendra Modi to Israel in June, India has approved a deal to jointly develop a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) system for the Army in a Rs. 17,000-crore deal.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Mr. Modi, gave the go-ahead for the deal to be executed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).
  • The deal is for 200 missiles for five regiments, each getting 40 units. The missile has a range of 50-70 km.
C. GS3 Related

1. ‘Legally vetted’ pact on services tabled at WTO

Category: Indian Economy
Topic: International Trade

Key Points:

  • India recently said it has submitted to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) a legally vetted proposal on a global services pact that among other things, aims to ease norms for movement of skilled workers across borders for short-term work.
  • The proposal for a Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement will be taken up by an expert committee at the WTO headquarters in Geneva during March 14-17.

Aims of the Proposed Pact

  • The proposed pact also aims to ensure portability of social security contributions, a single window mechanism for foreign investment approvals and cross-border insurance coverage to boost medical tourism.
D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance


1. Life elsewhere

Category: Geography; Science and Technology
Topic: Space

Key Points:

  • With the discovery of seven Earth-size extra-solar planets, the quest to find life outside the solar system got a big boost.
  • These exoplanets are orbiting a dwarf star about 40 light years away.

Features of these exoplanets

  • Unlike earlier discoveries of exoplanets, all seven planets could possibly have liquid water — which is a key to life as we know it on Earth.
  • This is by far the largest collection of Earth-like planets in the habitable ‘Goldilocks’ zone of a star.

What is a ‘Goldilocks’ zone?

  • The Goldilocks Zone refers to the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is just right – not too hot and not too cold – for liquid water to exist on a planet.

Other Noteworthy Points

  • Only Earth has liquid water in the solar system.
  • Since the dwarf star is much cooler than the Sun, the dimming of light each time a planet passes or transits before the star could be easily recorded from Earth unlike in cases when planets transit a Sun-like bright star.

What is the exoplanet system called and Why?

  • The exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1
  • Since the initial discovery of three planets was made using the Chile-based Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope, the exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1.

Differences between the exoplanet system and our solar system

  • 1) Unlike in the case of our solar system, the planets have apparently formed far away from the star and gradually migrated towards it
  • 2) They share a similar formation history with the Galilean moons, which migrated towards Jupiter after formation.
  • 3) Another major difference in comparison with the solar system is the tight packing of the seven planets around the star.
  • 4) The closest planet in the TRAPPIST-1 system takes just 1.5 days to complete an orbit and the farthest one takes 20 days; the orbital period of the planets is also similar to the Galilean moons.

Significance of the find

  • With a fair possibility of liquid water being present on at least three planets, the focus is now on deciphering the climate and chemical composition of their atmosphere. As a first measure, scientists are keen to know if the planets are Earth-like, by ruling out the presence of hydrogen gas enveloping them.
  • If there is life on these planets, we would know this in about 10 years. The search for extraterrestrial life has just become more focused.

2. Should triple talaq be outlawed?

Category: Polity and Governance
Topic: Social Justice

Key Points:

  • Certain experts have shared their views on the issue of triple talaq. For aspirants, it is important to note each perspective and take a balanced stand on this issue, touching upon different perspectives.

Left of Center Perspective

  • It is the constitutional obligation of the government to enable Muslim women to obtain a level playing field. Triple talaq continues to be the most common method of divorce.
  • In particular, the question we need to ask ourselves is:
      How can we accept that a man can simply utter the word talaq thrice or communicate it through phone with no witness deemed necessary and where the burden is on the wife to legally contest it? There is no law binding the man, he can just act on his whim. This is absolutely unfair and must be stopped.
  • The left of center exponents believe that the Supreme Court should lay down the procedure for talaq based on the talaq-e-ehsan method.
  • They believe that the personal law being practised by the Muslim community in India is not based on Koranic injunctions. Rather triple talaq is a violation of the tenets of justice and fairness.
  • Gender justice is a central tenet of the Koran and gender inequality and triple talaq are in violation of the Koranic principles.
  • In fact, in the Koran, the very conception of humankind is based on an equal footing between man and woman.

Right of Center Perspective:

  • Right of center proponents believe that triple talaq is very much a Koranic injunction.
  • They assert that Nikah imposes conditions, prescribes equality of women, maintenance of children and so on.
  • They maintain that talaq has been described as one of the worst options to be exercised only under extenuating circumstances.
  • They assert that the talaq-e-ehsan, one form of divorce, is over a period of three months and it is only after the completion of the third month that you are no longer man and wife.
  • The talaq-e-bidat or triple talaq at one go allows the man to exhaust all the options at once. Again, if the nikahnama has proscribed it, then the man cannot take recourse to this divorce.
  • Divorce is one of the worst things in the institution of marriage and allowed only in extreme situations.
  • They assert that women too have the option of khula.
  • She will have to approach the qazi if her husband is absconding, of bad character and so on.

Centrist Perspective:

  • They assert that the whole point of talaq is to find a dignified way of getting out of a marriage that has irrevocably broken down.
  • Triple talaq must be pronounced over three months. One per month. During the months, mediation is essential with both parties being represented during the negotiation. This is a Koranic injunction and it is only after following these conditions that talaq is granted and once granted is irrevocable.
  • They assert that one cannot say that one uttered the word in a drunken stupor; neither can one pronounce it over the phone or send it on email or fax it or send a text message.
  • The concept of four wives is simply not possible if you follow the letter and spirit of Koran. It specifies that in case there is more than one marriage, it is essential that identical treatment is given to each wife. But since this is not possible given human nature, it is best to have only one wife.


1. Ground zero

Category: Indian Economy
Topic: : Industry- IT

Key Points:

  • Recently, software industry body Nasscom broke a 25-year tradition of issuing guidance for the ensuing financial year.
  • It would be stating the obvious to say that the Trump administration’s antipathy towards outsourcing has created quite a flutter.
  • Over 60 per cent of the revenues of Infosys comes from North American markets, as does over 50 per cent of the revenues of TCS and Wipro.

Change in U.S. Administration- Impact?

  • However, it would be wrong to lay the entire blame on the new regime in the US.
  • The very global delivery model (one service being delivered using resources at multiple sites) which made these players what they are is getting obsolete.

A look at Indian IT sector:

  • Process and systems automation is taking the place of labour-intensive jobs (and not core competency jobs) executed by Indian IT.
  • India has been losing its cost advantage as smaller countries in the time zone such as the Philippines are competitive in BPOs.
  • Currently, around 70 per cent of the revenues of software companies come from providing solutions to the banking, financial services and insurance sector in the US.
  • This pie is stagnant or shrinking, for a variety of factors such as service satisfaction levels, besides intense competition from new age tech companies.
  • Indian IT has fallen behind in skill upgradation, being left out in new areas such as artificial intelligence, design skills and cloud computing. Indian IT should focus more on cloud, IoT, virtualisation, data analytics and cyber security. It needs to develop the requisite skills by upgrading its workforce.

The Way Forward

  • Digital India offers opportunities but there is little clarity on the underlying potential for corporates — such as outlook on software applications for payment apps, educational tools, healthcare solutions. The companies should seek more information.
  • Greater deployment of IT in public services would be useful in bringing down corruption in government and widen the access of citizens.
  • The US federal and State governments have also been clients of the Indian IT and ITeS companies for the past two decades. Many of the learnings and experiences in the US market can be offered by these companies in India — to the Union and State governments as well as the private sector.



1. President of India inaugurates international conference on ‘Bharat Bodh’

Category: Polity and Governance
Topic: Government Interventions

Key Points:

  • The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated an international conference on ‘Bharat Bodh’ (Idea of Bharat) organized by the Indira Gandhi National Open University and Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal in New Delhi.
  • He also hoped that deep insights would be gained into the idea of statecraft, governance, individual-society relations, structures, purposes and methodology of education, organic relationships with nature, and correlation between spiritual and material life.
  • The President said that Bharat has always been recognized as the storehouse of knowledge and discovery – knowledge which liberates, and discovery which fathoms the deepest thoughts of humanity and co-existence.
  • As the origin and repository of philosophical and spiritual values, rivers of wisdom flow through the collective consciousness of our great people.
  • He quoted American author Mark Twain and said “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only”.
  • The President said that this was indeed true. India is a land of great traditions, history and discoveries. Its people have lived in this great civilization giving rise to a unique trait of oneness overcoming the apparent contradictions, thriving on a composite culture and yet alive to the identities of its sub-parts. The President said that India is a land of huge diversity. Yet all its people are living under one system, one flag and one Constitution. All of us are proud to be Indians and we celebrate this diversity. He hoped that the deliberations at the Conference would enrich our perceptions regarding our country.
  • The President said that the idea of Bharat flows from the eternal wisdom of our rich intellectual traditions. Constant churning and refinement has been the secret of the continuity of the Bharatiya thought through times and turbulences.
  • Our core civilizational values which are equally relevant today and which speak of love for the motherland, performance of duty, compassion for all, tolerance for pluralism, respect for women, honesty in life, self-restraint in conduct, responsibility in action, and discipline – form the Bharatiya world view.
  • The Bharatiya conceptualization of the world encompasses philosophy, knowledge systems, principles of statecraft and legality, literature, architecture, art and music and all other important spheres of life.
  • The diverse strands of the Bharatiya thought find unity in their objectives similar to the diversity and oneness of the universe. They remain instilled with the same essential spirit residing in every being and non-being. This is manifested in the unique ways of celebrating our diversity and confluence, and change with continuity.
  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (SDE) and Wadhwani Operating Foundation (WOF) signed two Agreements for effectuating an earlier understanding of jointly developing and implementing Entrepreneurship and Skill Development initiatives in the country with the Pradhan Mantri YUVA Scheme being the first joint effort in this regard.
  • Pradhan Mantri YUVA Scheme launched by the Ministry during November, 2016 aims at providing on line Entrepreneurship Education to about 15 lakh students across the country through 3050 Project Institutes consisting of Institutions of Higher Learning; Schools; ITIs and Entrepreneurship Development Centres, both Government and Private.
  • The on-line Entrepreneurship Modules will be duly supplemented by the class room based experiential learning activities and practicums which will be facilitated by specially trained Faculty of the educational institutions.
  • The Ministry would also provide financial assistance to these institutions for different activities under the Scheme. The total scheme outlay is Rs.450 crores.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
  • Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS)
  • Pradhan Mantri YUVA Scheme
Bills/Acts/Schemes/Organisations In News Links to Refer
Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana Official
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements:

1] The Goldilocks Zone refers to the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is just right – not too hot and not too cold – for liquid water to exist on a planet.

2] Generally, Goldilocks zones are found between two black holes.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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, regarding the newly 
discovered exoplanet system:

1] Unlike in the case of our solar system, the planets have apparently formed far away from its star and gradually migrated towards it.

2] Since the initial discovery of three planets was made using the Chile-based Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope, the exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1.

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 3: Which of the following organizations bring out the report 
known as ‘The World Trade Report’?

(a) WTO (World Trade Organization)
(b) The United Nations Development Programme
(c) The World Economic Forum
(d) The World Bank

Question 4: Consider the following statements, regarding MUDRA Bank:

1] This Bank would be responsible for regulating and refinancing all Micro-finance Institutions (MFI) which are in the business of lending to micro/small business entities engaged in manufacturing, trading and services activities..

2] The Bank would partner with state level/regional level co-ordinators to provide finance to Last Mile Financer of small/micro business enterprises.

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 5: Which of the following organizations bring out the report 
known as ‘World Social Protection Report’? 

(a) ILO (International Labour Organization)
(b) The United Nations Development Programme
(c) The World Economic Forum
(d) The World Bank


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