Comprehensive News Analysis - 24 February 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

1. Call for ‘Rohith Act’ to end campus casteism; HC denies protection against arrest to JNU students

B. GS2 Related:

1. Students to take digital literacy to the masses

2. Indian delegation to visit Colombo

3. Assad regime agrees to Syria peace deal

C. GS3 Related:

1. Internet by light promises to leave Wi-Fi in the shade

2. Fiscal metrics remain weak: Moody’s

3. Government to unveil IPR policy in a fortnight

4. FII cap in state-run banks may increase to 49 per cent

5. No access for Pakistan SIT: Parrikar

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

1. Clean air agenda for the cities

2. Budget 2016: Unveil a mega divestment plan

3. Who’s afraid of negative interest rates?

4. Demarcating a safe threshold

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

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

1. Call for ‘Rohith Act’ to end campus casteism; HC denies protection against arrest to JNU students

caste issues, rights issues

Topic: Society

Category: caste issues, rights issues

Location: The Hindu, Page 1

Key Points:

  • left-leaning and centrist political forces of the country  demanded a new legislation named “Rohith Act” to prevent caste-based prejudice in educational institutions
  • Meanwhile, the Delhi HC refused to grant interim protection against arrest for a day to JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban, facing charges of sedition, and asked them to follow due procedure of law

 

B. GS2 Related

1. Students to take digital literacy to the masses

Topic: polity

Category: governance

Location: The Hindu, Page 11

Key Points:

  • As part of the Digital India initiative, the Statewide Digital Empowerment Campaign, which seeks to bridge the digital divide  is to be rolled out this 27th in Kerala
  • Student police cadets from as many as 280 schools in all 14 districts will be enlisted for the campaign, which is expected to help 3 million people in the State
  • Equipped with tablets preloaded with special software, the students will train at least one member in each family in the catchment area of a school extending up to a radius of 3 km
  • The Kerala State IT Mission (KSITM), the nodal agency for the project, is readying as many as 5600 tablets to be distributed to the cadets.
  • One can monitor the training process on real time basis using the software. A programme monitoring unit will also be set up at KSITM.

 

2. Indian delegation to visit Colombo

Topic: Polity

Category: Bilateral relations

Location: The Hindu, Page 16

Key points:

  • A delegation of officials from India will visit Colombo on March 4 to hold talks with Sri Lankan officials regarding the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA)
  • Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the 2 countries was aborted earlier
  • The new pact would cover areas such as financial services, promotion of trade and investment, e-commerce and tourism

 

3. Assad regime agrees to Syria peace deal

Topic: International Relations

Category: global issues

Location: The Hindu, Page 16

Key points:

  • Syria’s regime agreed on the ceasefire announced by US and Russia
  • The agreement does not apply to IS and al-Nusra front and the syrian regime would continue to fight them
  • Rebels on the ground doubt the regime’s goodwill

 

C. GS3 Related

1. Internet by light promises to leave Wi-Fi in the shade

Topic: Technology

Category: S&T applications in daily life

Location: The Hindu, Page 24

Key points:

  • Li-Fi (light fidelity) features internet access 100 times faster than Wi-Fi
  • French start-up Oledcomm demonstrated the technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
  • Theoretical speed possible: ~200Gbps
  • The technology uses the frequencies generated by LED bulbs to beam information through the air
  • Radio waves used by Wi-Fi are in short supply now as more and more devices are being connected via Wi-Fi, Li-Fi offers a viable alternative
  • Li-Fi has its drawbacks – the device has to be placed directly in the light to stay connected

 

2. Fiscal metrics remain weak: Moody’s

    FISCAL DEFICITS HAVE BEEN DECLINING

fiscal deficits

Topic: Economic Development

Category: State of Indian Economy

Location: The Hindu, Page 17

Key points:

  • Subdued rural demand and weak corporate profitability will contribute to hampering of fiscal consolidation in the upcoming Budget, Moody’s Investors Service said
  • India’s fiscal metrics will remain weaker  because of the relatively high level of India’s state and central government deficits and debt
  • Low per-capita incomes limit the tax base and raise pressure for subsidies and development spending, while high debt levels (63.8 per cent of GDP in 2015-16) restrict fiscal flexibility
  • The rating agency did highlight one silver lining for India compared to its peers – lower reliance on foreign currency debt

 

3. Government to unveil IPR policy in a fortnight

Topic: Economy

Category: State of Indian Economy

Location: The Hindu, Page 17

  • The government is likely to announce its National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy within a fortnight
  • The policy will be entirely compliant with the World Trade Organization’s agreement on Trade Related aspects of IPRs (TRIPS)
  • special thrust will be on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives
  • the policy will not suggest any changes in the existing Indian IPR laws or other related policies on the patent-disabling Compulsory Licencing (CL)
  • This comes even as the European Union and the US have been pressing India to make changes in this regard to “boost innovation, research and development (R&D) and foreign investment in India

 

4. FII cap in state-run banks may increase to 49 per cent

Topic: Economic Development

Category: State of Indian Economy

Location: The Hindu, Page 17

Key Points:

  • The government is considering a proposal to increase the cap on foreign institutional investment in public sector banks to 49 per cent from 20 per cent
  • One of the biggest hurdle to increase the foreign shareholding cap in public sector banks was Reserve Bank of India, which was not in favour of higher limit due to concerns over stability

 

5. No access for Pakistan SIT: Parrikar

No access for Pakistan SIT

Topic: Security

Category: terrorism

Location: The Hindu, Page 15

Key Points:

  • Military officers oppose throwing open strategic forward base at Pathankot to probe team
  • A section in the Indian establishment and several Pakistani media reports have been saying that the six-member Pakistani team  may be given access to the airbase
  • However, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “No one can enter them [defence installations] without the permission of the Defence Ministry”

 

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

1. Clean air agenda for the cities

Location: The Hindu, Page 12

Key points:

  • Air quality has a strong bearing on India’s ability to sustain high economic growth, but national policy has treated the issue with scant importance
  • the Centre has to act to enforce control mechanisms that will make the air safe to breathe
  • to begin with a more comprehensive system of real-time data collection in all agglomerations with a significant population and economic activity has to be set up
  • Greater transparency in data dissemination and public awareness hold the key to change
  • Technological solutions to contain construction dust are equally critical, as is the low-cost solution of covering all urban surfaces with either greenery or paving
  • Widespread burning of biomass for cooking can be avoided if the government encourages innovation in solar cookers. Cheap, clean-burning stoves can have a dramatic effect as well
  • The transformation of cities through good public transport and incentives for the use of cycles and electric vehicles can also help a lot
  • There is little doubt that the worsening air quality in Indian cities is already affecting the lives of the very young and the elderly, and reducing labour productivity
  • India needs a time-bound action plan

 

2. Budget 2016: Unveil a mega divestment plan

Location: The Economic Times, Page 18

Key points:

  • Disinvestment needs a big push in the coming Budget to finance investment that the economy needs badly
  • The government can privatise profit-making state-owned companies that are no longer strategic
  • The government must encourage retail participation for the reason that wealth created by taxpayer money should be shared with the public at large
  • The winding up of loss-making enterprises should be swift
  • The government must also move into new sectors — advanced manufacturing in microelectronics, aerospace, telecom or even new-generation drugs — that will give the economy the needed capability that is outside the scope of the private sector
  • The money  raised by the shuffling of assets must be put to best possible use, ideally in developing the infrastructure India desperately needs

 

3. Who’s afraid of negative interest rates?

  • Two years ago, negative interest rates started as an unconventional step that only a few countries considered
  • Today, it has become the policy of some of the most powerful central banks such as ECB and BoJ.
  • negative interest rates — in which depositors pay to hold money in bank accounts—is  an “unorthodox choice that has distorted financial markets and triggered warnings that the strategy could backfire” according to many experts
  • But low interest rate is bound to spur growth and it is advisable to rely on interest rate policy rather than exchange rate mechanism to spur growth in the economy.

 

4. Demarcating a safe threshold

Location: The Indian Express, Page 15

Key points:

  • Internet shutdowns have become a disturbingly commonplace occurrence
  • Last week, mobile internet was banned in Rohtak amid the violence of the Jat quota stir
  • Internet services were suspended six times in Gujarat in August-October 2015, when there was also one shutdown in Rajasthan and one in Manipur
  • Suspension of services in Kashmir takes place with regularity and impunity, and is barely noticed
  • A petition before the SC asked that the government be compelled to confine itself to a single mechanism, outlined in the Indian Telegraph Act and the Information Technology Act (IT Act), for suspension of communication
  • It was also argued that the government should develop guidelines for when and how internet services may be suspended
  • Section 144 of the CrPC is being used by govts now to initiate such shutdowns
  • As the Digital India programme is rolled out, our reliance on internet-based communication for essential services will increase, making it even more problematic every time a state decides to suspend mobile internet services
  • The SC is yet to give the matter substantive consideration, since it refused to admit the petition.

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:

i.   IPR

ii.  CEPA

iii. Monetary policy

iv.  Digital India Initiative

v.  TRIPs

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
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