Comprehensive News Analysis – 25 August 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. Govt. may soon allow Wi-Fi use on flights

2. Surrogacy bill gets the Cabinet nod

C. GS3 Related:

1. Cabinet clears revised India-Cyprus DTAA

2. Cabinet nod for Rs.27,000 cr. roads and railways projects

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

The Hindu

1. New engagement with an old neighbour

2. Protecting Good Samaritans

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

Nothing here today folks!


B. GS2 Related


  1. Govt. may soon allow Wi-Fi use on flights

Category: Polity and Governance 

Topic:  Government Interventions

Key Points:

  • Air passengers might soon be able to use Wi-Fi on flights in the Indian airspace.
  • This facility would be available to both Indian carriers and foreign carriers, which may be flying over Indian airspace
  • Under present regulations, passengers are not allowed to use mobile phones and Internet when they are in Indian airspace.

 

  1. Surrogacy bill gets the Cabinet nod

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic:  Government Interventions

Key Points:

  • The Union Cabinet cleared the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016,
  • This bill bans commercial surrogacy in India.

 

Background:      

  • The debate on surrogacy started in India in 2008, and was centered around a two-week old baby, named Manji Yamada, who was left stateless.
  • The court had granted custody to the baby’s grandmother after a long legal battle.
  • The 228th report of the Law Commission of India recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy.
  • This report allowed ethical altruistic surrogacy by enacting a suitable legislation.

 

Salient Features of the Bill

  • Childless, straight Indian couples married for a minimum of five years are eligible for surrogacy.
  • Foreigners, homosexual couples, people in live-in relationships and single individuals are not eligible.
  • Eligible couples will have to turn to close relatives, not necessarily related by blood for altruistic surrogacy — where no money exchanges hands between the commissioning couple and the surrogate mother.
  • It aims to prevent exploitation of women- especially those in rural and tribal areas.
  • A woman would be allowed to become a surrogate mother for altruistic purposes only and under no circumstances would money be paid to her, except for medical expenses.
  • A surrogacy regulation board will be set-up at Central and State-level.
  • The Bill will apply to the whole of India, except Jammu and Kashmir.

 

C. GS3 Related


1. Cabinet clears revised India-Cyprus DTAA

Category: Economy

Topic:  Taxation

Key Points:

  • The Cabinet has approved the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Cyprus.
  • This recent move by the Government of India gives India the right to tax capital gains on investments routed through Cyprus prospectively from April 1, 2017.
  • Cyprus, is widely considered a haven for money laundering, round-tripping, and profit-shifting.
  • Money laundering can happen from anywhere, and low-tax jurisdictions (such as Cyprus) help in money laundering.
  • The Cyprus DTAA includes a provision for assistance in collection of taxes.
  • The Cyprus DTAA also has a revised provision for the exchange of information that would enable the use of information exchanged for other purposes.


2. Cabinet nod for Rs.27,000 cr. roads and railways projects

Category: Economy 

Topic:  Infrastructure- Railways, Roads, etc.

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Key Points:

  • The Centre has given its green signal for investments worth more than Rs.27,000 crore in new highways and railway lines across the country.
  • This is aimed at boosting economic growth.
  • The decision was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
  • The Railway Ministry has said that the Golden Quadrilateral, which is “fully saturated”, would get a “big boost” helping in transportation of coal, minerals, steel and other commodities. This decision would also enable transportation of more passengers along these routes.
  • At present, the number of passengers and goods trains in the Golden Quadrilateral section is far more than its capacity. This results in heavy detention. The new projects being planned are thus essentially required for removing capacity constraints, reducing detention and for traffic growth.


D. GS4 Related


E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance

 

The Hindu




1. New engagement with an old neighbour

Category: India and the world

Topic:  Indo-myanmar

The issue:

  • Recently, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj visited Myanmar in a first exchange of diplomatic elites between the two countries.
  • Myanmar is in a transitionary phase since the National League for Democracy, won a historic landslide election last year, finally ending five decades of military rule
  • Though, Ms. Suu kyi is not eligible under the constitution, to hold the office of the President, she has considerable influence in the government. It is in this context, that Ms. Swaraj’s visit gains significance.
  • Swaraj’s visit also came after Indian troops reportedly crossed into Myanmar territory to target a National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Khaplang) military camp, underlining close cooperation between the two states in tackling insurgency along the shared border.

 

Some developments post the visit:

  • Myanmar has reassured India, that it will not allow its territory to be used against India, and in return, India has offered every possible help to Myanmar in strengthening its democratic institutions.

 

Possible challenges for the future:

  • The Indian diplomatic elite, now has enough competition from all major powers in wooing Myanmar.
  • China has surged ahead and forged close ties with Myanmar and enhanced trade.
  • After initial reservations about the $3.6-billion Myitsone Dam project, Ms.Suu Kyi has assured China of a timely resolution of the issue.
  • Chinese support is vital for Myanmar to resolve the issue of Myanmar’s ethnic minority armed groups operating along the northern borders of China.
  • USA, despite being skeptical of the military influence over the new government, it has eased three decades of sanctions against Myanmar. Further, the US foreign policy elite also claim credit for Myanmar’s smooth transition to democracy.
  • India was a strong critic of the Myanmar junta and Indian elites have long admired the freedom struggle led by Ms. Suu Kyi.
  • However, it muted its criticism of the junta and reduced vocal support for Ms. Suu Kyi from the mid-1990s in order to pursue its “Look East” policy.

 

 Democracy versus Strategic interests

  • As a consequence of India’s ideological obsession with democracy was that Myanmar drifted towards China.
  • India soon realized that China’s trade, energy, and defence ties with Myanmar had surged, and it was selling everything from weapons to food grain to the country.
  • Chinese firms were given preferential treatment in the award of gas blocks, apparently in recognition of the country’s steady opposition to the U.S.’s moves against Myanmar’s junta in the UN.
  • India also realized that it would find it difficult to project power in the Indian Ocean if Chinese naval presence continued to increase in Myanmar.
  • Therefore, India had to reverse its decade-old policy of isolating Myanmar’s junta and engage substantively with it instead. However, India’s strategic interests demanded that it only gently nudge Myanmar’s junta on the issue of democracy.
  • India’s relief efforts following the Nargis cyclone in Myanmar in 2008 helped it gain trust at the highest echelons of Myanmar’s ruling elite.
  • It was not surprising, therefore, that India remained opposed to western sanctions on the country.

 

Some Positives for the future:

  • After several years of discussions, India agreed to the building of the Sittwe port in 2008, providing an alternative route to connect with Southeast Asia, without transiting through Bangladesh.
  • India also extended a $20-million credit for renovation of the Thanlyin Refinery.
  • Apart from the 160-km India-Myanmar friendship road built by India’s Border Roads Organisation in 2001, India has been working on a second road project and investing in a deep-sea project (Sagar Samridhi) to explore oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal and at the Shwe gas pipeline project in western Myanmar.
  • The junta in turn has cooperated with India in cracking down on Naga insurgents. Transition to a civilian government in Myanmar has given India greater strategic space to manoeuvre.


2. Protecting Good Samaritans

  • One of the fundamental reasons for astonishingly high rate of road accidents is inability to get timely medical treatment for victims.
  • According to official data, the number of deaths due to road accidents in 2015 is around 1,46,000.
  • It is nobody’s case that if medical emergency would have reached on time, several deaths could have been avoided.
  • According to a Law Commission report in 2006, 50 per cent of accident victims would have survived had they got medical attention within an hour.
  • A major impediment to victims obtaining timely help is the fear among bystanders of the legal complications that they could be subjected to.
  • It is in this context, that we envisage a ‘Good Samaritan’ legal protection.
  • Parliament has not enacted such a law, but due to a Supreme Court judgement and a campaign by voluntary organizations, the Centre notified guidelines last year for the protection of those who help accident victims.
  • In January 2016, a Standard Operating Procedure to make these guidelines work was introduced. Now, the Union Road Transport Ministry has added a significant clause under which a Good Samaritan’s affidavit will have the legal force of a statement. If a statement is required, it should be recorded in a single examination.
  • According to the guidelines, this is applicable only to those who want to be witnesses on voluntary basis and the police should not compel them to disclose their particulars or to be witnesses.
  • Since many accidents take place along highways, access to the nearest medical facility is not always easy. Bystanders fear complications at the time of admitting into hospital, or legal issues and so on.
  • A year ago, the Union Health Ministry directed hospitals that they should not detain those who bring accident victims for admission.
  • They should not be required to pay for admission or registration, or asked intrusive questions beyond basic particulars such as names and addresses.
  • So far, only a few State governments have adopted the Good Samaritan guidelines. All States must get actively involved in their implementation.
  • State Governments must become proactive stakeholders, because the other multiple stakeholders like police, doctors, transport officials and magistrates belong to that State or neighbouring local regions.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
  • Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)
  • Myitsone Dam project
  • Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
  • Sagar Samridhi
  • Golden Quadrilateral
  • Altruistic Surrogacy

 

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements regarding the 'Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016',
  1. Childless, straight Indian couples married for a minimum of five years are eligible for surrogacy.
  2. Foreigners, homosexual couples, people in live-in relationships and single individuals are not eligible.
  3. Eligible couples will have to turn to close relatives, not necessarily related by blood for altruistic surrogacy — where no money exchanges hands between the commissioning couple and the surrogate mother.

a) 1 Only

b) 2 and 3 Only

c) All 1, 2 and 3

d) 3 Only


Question 2: The 'Myitsone dam project', recently in the news, directly concerns which two countries? 
a) China-Myanmar

b) India-Nepal

c) Bhutan-India

d) India-Bangladesh


Question 3: Consider the following statements,
  1. A DTAA is a bilateral economic agreement between two nations that aims to avoid or eliminate double taxation of the same income in two countries.
  2. Recently, the Government of India has approved the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Cyprus.

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 4: Which of the following paramilitary forces guards the Indo-Myanmar border?
  1. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur share the border with Myanmar.
  2. Tropic of Cancer does not pass through Myanmar.

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Golden Quadrilateral is a highway network connecting many of the major industrial, agricultural and cultural centres of India.
  2. A quadrilateral of sorts is formed by connecting Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai, and hence its name.

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

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