Comprehensive News Analysis - 25 April 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

1. ‘Pulakeshin’s victory over Harsha was in 618 AD’

B.GS2 Related:

1. CJI Thakur’s emotional appeal to Modi to protect judiciary

2. What to expect from this Parliament Session

3. India’s nuclear power agency clears insurance for reactors

C. GS3 Related:

1. Ministry asks RBI to examine Workers’ Bank proposal

2. Reusable space launcher model to be tested soon

3. New protein injection reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice in just one week

4. This smartphone-sized device can diagnose cancer in 20 minutes

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

The Hindu:

1. Building on the Paris Agreement

Indian Express:

Others:

1. The Economic Times:India must build intellectual property

2. The Business line: Chained to debt in life and death

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

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

 

B. GS2 Related

1. CJI Thakur’s emotional appeal to Modi to protect judiciary

Topic: Polity Category: Judiciary Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • The CJI blamed the Centre for stalling appointment of judges to the High Courts and of doing nothing to increase the number of courts and judges in the country
  • Due to the year-long litigation in the Supreme Court over the government’s attempt to replace the Supreme Court Collegium with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), judges’ appointment were stalled
  • Ratio of no. of judges to the population grossly inadequate in India compared to the 1987 Law Commission recommendation of at least 50 judges per 10 lakh population

Tags: Collegium system, NJAC, Law Commission

 

2. What to expect from this Parliament Session

Topic: Polity Category: Legislature Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • the second part of the Budget session set to commence
  • Bills in focus- the GST bill, the Bankruptcy bill and amendments to the Factories Act
  • Other bills on the agenda:The Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016(to amend the 1925 act),The Electricity Amendment Bill, 2014(to amend the 2003 act-it seeks to segregate the distribution network business and the electricity supply business, and introduce multiple supply licensees in the market),Regional Centre for Bio-technology Bill, 2016

Tags: GST bill, the Bankruptcy bill and amendments to the Factories Act

 

3.India’s nuclear power agency clears insurance for reactors

Topic: Governance Category: energy sector Location: The Hindustan Times Key points:

  • NPCIL has cleared a long-delayed insurance policy for all 21 reactors, marking a significant leap in the country’s ambitious plans to become one of the world’s top nuclear power generators (A 2010 law giving the state-run NPCIL the right to seek damages from suppliers in the event of an accident had been putting off suppliers till now.The CSC on Nuclear Damage requires signatories to channel liability to the operator and offers access to relief funds)
  • the India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP), set up in June 2015 addresses liability issues for both operators and suppliers(GIC Re is the lead manager of the Insurance Pool)
  • India plans to build around 60 nuclear reactors with an aim to produce 63,000 megawatts (MW) of power by 2032, from 5,780 MW at present

Tag:NPCIL, CSC(Convention on Supplementary Compensation), GIC Re(General Insurance Corporation of india-Reinsurance)

 

C. GS3 Related

1. Ministry asks RBI to examine Workers’ Bank proposal

Topic: Economy Category: Personal Finance Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • The Labour Ministry has asked the RBI to form a panel headed by a former Deputy Governor to look into a proposal of creating a Workers’ Bank using Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF)
  • A specialized institution to manage funds could improve the earnings of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) by investing its corpus in various instruments
  • The idea ismodelled on similar experiences in countries like Canada, Netherland, Switzerland and South Africa where a collective pension fund system invests worker’s savings in equities of domestic and global markets

Tags: Labour Ministry, RBI,EPFO, Workers’ Bank

 

2. Reusable space launcher model to be tested soon

Topic: S & T Category: space Location: The Hindu Key points:

  • Two futuristic space technologies that will impact cost and human space travel are due to be tested shortly – ISRO
  • A small, plane-like prototype of a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) is planned be flown first.The technology demonstrator is about a sixth of the size of an eventual RLV. It will travel up to 70-80 km in space and return
  • A crew escape or pad abort system will follow it later

Tags: ISRO, RLV, pad abort system

 

3. New protein injection reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice in just one week

Topic: S & T Category: Bio technology Location: Science alert Key points:

  • Researchers have discovered that an injection of a protein called IL-33 can reverse Alzheimer’s-like symptoms and cognitive decline in mice, restoring their memory and cognitive function to the same levels as healthy mice in the space of one week
  • IL-33 is a protein produced by various cell types in the body and is particularly abundant in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
  • The relevance of this finding to human Alzheimer’s is at present unclear. But there are encouraging hints-for instance,the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease contains less IL-33 than the brain from non-Alzheimer’s patients

Tags:Alzheimer’s disease, IL-33 protein

 

4. This smartphone-sized device can diagnose cancer in 20 minutes

Topic: S & T Category: Bio technology Location: the Guardian 763 Key points:

  • Q-Poc, billed as a “handheld lab” is an e analyzer can accurately diagnose everything from cancers to infectious diseases in a matter of minutes
  • The handheld apparatus, which runs on a solar-powered battery, is designed to read biological samples submitted via a credit card-size cartridge
  • Q-Poc differs from most conventional point-of-care diagnostic tools in that it analyses the DNA of pathogens rather than the proteins within the sample.Clinical trials of the Q-Poc are planned for later this year in South Africa

Tags: DNA, pathogens Note:The device depends on microfluidic technology , which essentially allows fluids to pass through different microscopic channels of different diameters. A chemical process then breaks down the sample into a molecular soup , which is then forced through a nanoscale-based filter system. The filter is coated with a negatively charged polymer, which repels the DNA as other molecules are held back, thereby isolating the DNA for analysis

 

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

The Hindu

1. Building on the Paris Agreement

Topic: Environment Category: Climate Change Key points:

  • The 174 countries and the European Union that signed up to the Paris Climate Change Agreement
  • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change accepts differentiated responsibility for developing nations-they were not responsible for a major share of carbon emissions in the last century
  • But what makes carbon emissions particularly problematic is that polluting local flows have a global effect over relatively short periods, and far-flung countries, such as small island nations, suffer the impact
  • India’s estimate of its share of global greenhouse gas emissions submitted to the UN for the Paris treaty is 10 per cent, but it faces a double jeopardy: of having to emit large volumes of carbon dioxide to achieve growth, while preparing to adapt to the destructive effects of intense weather events, such as droughts and floods, linked to climate change
  • India has pledged to sharply cut emissions intensity of GDP by 2020
  • But how?
    1. Energy sector reforms:doubling of the cess on coal in the Budget, and the general policy to keep fuel prices high using taxation are to translate into funding for green alternatives;It should be possible, to unlock middle class investments in renewable energy with an effective grid-connected rooftop solar subsidy Programme
  1. Infrastructure Reforms:New buildings should also be required to conform to energy efficiency codes in all States
  2. Transport Reforms: The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan aims to put about seven million electric or hybrid vehicles on the road by 2020, but for this to happen, the creation of charging infrastructure and introduction of consumer incentives are vital; greening public transport bus fleets will give the Mission a face
  3. Funding:funding for such initiatives should come from the wealthy countries, which are required to raise at least $100 billion a year under the agreement
  4. Technology:open-source green technologies by developed nations can help

  Tags: The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change , Paris Agreement, Climate Change,The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan

 

Indian Express:

Others:

1. The Economic Times:India must build intellectual property

Topic: Governance Category: Intellectual Property Key Points

  • April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day
  • India’s patent law’s Section 3(d), requiring a novel form of a patent-protected molecule to show improved therapeutic efficacy for it to secure a separate patent, is a model for the rest of the world
  • But the emerging problem area is electronics, particularly telecom
  •  Indian companies disregard the need to license technologies, leading to legal disputes with patent holders
  • The larger problem is consistent failure by Indian firms to carry our research and development (R&D) that would create intellectual property
  •  Trade, tariff and tax policies that discourage genuine domestic value addition and incentivise parading trade as manufacture, are to blame as well.
  • For Make in India to be something more substantive than simple assembly of complex parts produced elsewhere, India has to focus on domestic R&D and creation of intellectual property
  •  Overhaul of university funding and focus, legal clarity on and protection of intellectual property and rational trade and tariff policy — action is called for on multiple fronts

Tags: the patents act, 1970, Intellectual property, Make In India

2. The Business line: Chained to debt in life and death

Topic: Economy Category: agriculture Key points:

  • According to the 47th annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau, about 11,772 farmer suicides were reported across India during 2013 alone, with Maharashtra recording nearly 27 per cent of them
  • The Radhakrishna Committee on Agricultural Indebtedness (2007) appointed by the Government has clearly underlined in its report that agricultural indebtedness is the prime reason for these deaths
  • The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) survey report of 2014 underlines that about 52 per cent of agricultural households in the country are estimated to be in debt, especially in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu
  • The survey reports that the average debt per agricultural household is Rs70,580, whereas the yearly income from cultivation per household is only Rs77,112
  • The Radhakrishna Committee had  pointed out that indebtedness and other related problems occur mainly due to poor returns from cultivation, as has the National Commission on Farmers (2006). Increased cost of cultivation seems to be one of the main reasons for poor remuneration.
  • Recent studies, including that by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), have emphatically stated that the cost of cultivation in most of the crops escalated almost four times higher during the first half of the current decade alone
  • The inaccessibility to markets due to bad roads also escalates transportation and marketing costs, eating up as much as 15 per cent of farmers’ gross revenue.
  • In order to meet the expenses, farmers prefer rural moneylenders over banks as the latter charge numerous fees, the cost of which often cancels whatever benefit they get on account of interest subsidy-The report of the Rangarajan Committee on Financial Inclusion (2008) has also highlighted this fact
  • At a time when government employees stand to benefit from the 7th Pay Commission, the financial position of farmers remains the same as it was a decade back
  • Their income and consumption expenditure are almost the same. This is reiterated by the latest NSSO survey report which shows that the average monthly income per agricultural household was Rs6,426, whereas the average monthly consumption expenditure was Rs6,223.
  • Some 10 years back, farmers received approximately Rs5 for selling a kilogram of onion or tomato or potato. Farmers today get almost the same price for these commodities
  • Policymakers have been advocating that an improvement in crop productivity will solve farmers’ woes.
  • However, improved crop productivity cannot take place in the absence of better remuneration
  •  Farmers can get better remuneration only when efforts are taken to bridge the gap between ever-increasing costs of farm inputs and lower price for their produce
  • The serious physical limitation to the delivery of agriculture credit needs to be tackled at the earliest
  • The market intervention scheme has to be implemented to protect farmers from making distress sales
  • Policymakers must also understand that without making concrete arrangements to augment farm income, farmers will continue to live in debt and die in debt

Tags:Radhakrishna Committee on Agricultural Indebtedness (2007), the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the Rangarajan Committee on Financial Inclusion (2008) Further Reading: Business Standard-Making skills self-healing

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Intellectual Property
  • the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • NPCIL
  • Collegium System
G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1:Which of the following statements is/are true?
  1. The collegium system finds reference in the constitution
  2. Seniority is the general criterion for choosing judges in the collegium system

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 2: Which of the following is/are true?
  1. The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act gives the operator the Right to Recourse and allow it to sue the suppliers in case of any accident
  2. India has joined the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 3:Which of the following statements are true?
  1. NASA’s Space Shuttle was the world’s first reusable spacecraft launched in 1981
  2. Reusable Launch Vehicle—Technology Demonstration Programme or RLV–TD is a series of technology demonstration missions conceived by ISRO as a first step towards developing a re-usable launch vehicle

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 4:What is true about the the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP)?
  1. CACP is mandated to recommend minimum support prices (MSPs) to incentivize the cultivators
  2. the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) of the Union government takes a final decision on the level of MSPs

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 5:Which of the following statements is/are true?
  1. WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation
  2. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is administered by WIPO

a) 1 only b) 2 only c) Both 1 and 2 d) Neither 1 nor 2

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