Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related
Useful News Articles
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here today folks!
B. GS2 Related
Category: International Relations
- Two state visits from Myanmar in less than two months — by President Htin Kyaw in August and State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi in October — have strengthened India-Myanmar relations
- Suu Kyi’s participation in the BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach summit in Goa highlighted Myanmar’s pivotal importance as the land where South Asia, Southeast Asia and China intersect
- These developments necessitate a holistic look at Myanmar
- Invitation to participate in a conference in Yangon last week on “India-Myanmar Relations: Federalism at Work” is another step
Long road to reconciliation
- The decisive victory of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in November 2015 and Ms. Suu Kyi’s emergence as the de facto leader of the government in April 2016 represent a historic transformation
- The NLD-Army relationship has become stable
- Happily, political liberties, including “freedom from fear”, are a reality now
- Securing national peace and reconciliation is the government’s top priority
The Chinese embrace
- Suu Kyi quickly discovered that high-profile foreign policy engagements yield rich political dividends
- She readily chose the role to be Myanmar’s chief diplomat
- Myanmar’s most-talked-about foreign relationship is with China
- But the China connection is stamped with growing unpopularity
- Many Myanmarese recognise that a substantial relationship with China, moulded by potent factors, is inevitable, but also believe democratic Myanmar has “other options” that it must leverage fully
- This explains why the Suu Kyi government has adopted the Thein Sein line of a balanced and “non-aligned” foreign policy
In Context with India
- After a slow start, bilateral interaction with democratic Myanmar gathered momentum from June onwards, culminating in two state visits
- “Close coordination” in countering anti-India insurgent activity from Myanmarese soil would need more proactive cooperation of the Myanmar Army
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi aptly urged Myanmar to show “sensitivity” to India’s strategic interests on a reciprocal basis
- The next logical step should be for the two governments to establish a “strategic partnership
- India is losing friends because of widespread discontent over continuing delay in completion of our flagship projects — Kaladan (that will connect Kolkata with Sittwe port in Myanmar) and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. Conceived over a decade back, they are scheduled to be completed by 2019
- Officials need to develop an effective communication strategy, and a new management mechanism that fast-tracks the flagship projects
- Also, despite mutual consensus on the value of people-to-people exchanges, actual progress is negligible due to the absence of an enabling instrument
- The setting up of an “India-Myanmar Foundation” merits consideration
- Until people’s limitless energy is unleashed, India-Myanmar relations may not scale new heights
- As Ms. Suu Kyi once stated: “… Governments come and governments go. But the peoples of the countries, they remain.”
Topic: Electoral Reforms
- A change in ‘The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961’ now empowers a returning officer in any constituency to send postal ballots to an eligible voter “by electronic means as specified by the Election Commission.”
- The change will go a long way in easing logistical issues involved in ensuring that the ballot paper of the constituency, where a voter is eligible to vote, is sent in time
- With the new rule, the returning officer can send it through a web portal with a ‘One Time Password’ to voters
- The voter needs to download the ballot for voting
- However, the “process of physically returning the ballot through post remains unchanged”, another official in the EC explained
- In India, postal ballots have played a critical role in extending the electoral process to voters unable to exercise their franchise— due to either the nature of their job or geographical location of their posting
- The armed forces best illustrate the point
C. GS3 Related
- Moving to just two rates or a single GST rate, instead of the four rates in the range proposed by the finance ministry to the GST council, could trigger inflation in some products and services
- The cess on GST would help the centre compensate states for revenue
D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
Category: Social Justice
- Several subtypes and strains of avian influenza viruses are now found around the world, some of them capable of causing death among humans and others inflicting serious losses on poultry farmers
- Early detection and identification of the virus subtypes helps in launching containment measures. As a major agricultural nation with a large poultry industry, India has implemented an action plan formulated by the Centre’s Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries to deal with avian influenza
- The outbreaks in Kerala and Karnataka over the past two years have tested the efficacy of the intervention strategy
- It came as a relief when on September 5 India declared itself free of the H5N1 virus, identified by the World Health Organisation as the animal influenza virus of greatest concern for human health
- Considering that the virus is endemic in parts of Asia and mutates quickly, the need for vigilant monitoring against its reintroduction and spread cannot be overstated
- The Delhi government’s finding that the virus associated with the bird deaths in the capital is the H5N8 type hints at the possible role of migratory water fowl, which are known to carry this virus to wintering
- A more recent cause for concern has been the virus strain H7N9 that caused serious illness in people mostly in China, but not in birds
- On the positive side, the national plan to combat avian influenza relies on a broad-based periodic testing system for farmed birds and wet markets, and upgrading of apex scientific institutions such as the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases
- Border regions that trade in live poultry have a particularly important responsibility to look out for sick birds
- Public health messaging, with advice on poultry consumption during a suspected outbreak, is essential to quell any rumours.
Topic: Money and Banking
- Recently, there was a data breach at 19 Indian banks that has led to more than 32 lakh debit cards being blocked or recalled. This development is a wake-up call for the banking industry.
- The Reserve Bank of India and its top officials had been urging bankers for quite some time to accord urgent priority to cyber security.
- According to reports, it is believed that data criminals may have infiltrated using malware at ATMs operated by a third-party payment services vendor.
- The National Payments Corporation of India has been coordinating investigations into the incident, where a forensic audit is expected to reveal preliminary findings soon.
- It is important to note that in today’s world, banks can ill-afford to be complacent and approach incidents such as this latest debit card data breach with band-aid solutions.
- Also, Top managements at lenders should reappraise their cyber culture, heed warnings and alerts promptly, and address shortcomings.
- The Tata group — a $103-billion conglomerate that operates in more than a hundred countries, employs 7,00,000 people and has a total market capitalisation of over $125 billion (about 7.5 per cent of BSE’s total) has replaced Chairman Cyrus Mistry.
- The Tata group faces the prospect of a legal challenge from Mistry.
- It is important to note that Cyrus Mistry remains a director and his family owns a little over 18 per cent of Tata Sons shares.
- The Tata group will have to deal with the critical issue of finding a successor.
- The economic report of the President in the US had sounded warning bells early this year, by highlighting the threat from automation to lesser skilled occupations in manufacturing and services.
- The bugle has now been sounded by the latest World Development Report published by the World Bank.
- The report warns that up to 69 per cent of existing jobs in India are under threat of automation.
- In fact, the threat from automation puts to test the Asian developmental model.
A quick look at the Asian Developmental Model
- This model rested on state-supported industrialization.
- It focused on export orientation using lower production costs as a competitive edge.
- Lower production costs were largely on account of lower labour costs in the early stages, and later increases in labour productivity.
- Variations of this model have been successful across East Asia.
How will India get affected?
- With increasing automation, the terms of trade would again shift in favour of owners of intellectual capital and technology.
- Also, this would diminish the returns to labour.
- This would be a great disadvantage to countries in Asia with large, young working populations, such as India.
- India obviously needs an updated policy, Industrial Policy 4.0, to deal with this new paradigm of industrialisation.
- It is important to note that capturing a larger share of the ‘industrial revolution 4.0’ would require investment in high-quality skills related to applied science and technology, engineering, quantitative and social analysis, design and product development.
- The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, agreed to by 197 countries , is a milestone agreement.
- It will avoid global warming by up to 0.5°C by phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a category of greenhouse gases with extremely high global warming potential (GWP).
- It is important to note that this amendment is the product of seven years of negotiations.
- The Kigali Amendment settled on two baselines and freeze dates for developing countries: The first group (China, African, Latin American and Asian countries) have an early baseline (2020-22) and freeze (2024) while the second group (India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Gulf countries) have a later baseline (2024-26) and freeze (2028).
- The Kigali amendment has been described as an equitable agreement for India and other developing countries.
- The amendment also allows developing countries to choose between the two baselines, in light of their circumstances.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
- World Development Report
- Kigali Amendment
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following institutions, releases the ‘World Development Report’?
a) World Bank
c) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
d) International Finance Corporation
Question 2: In which of the following countries is the port of Sittwe located?
d) Sri Lanka
Question 3: Consider the following statements regarding BIMSTEC,
- It constitutes of seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.
- The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.7 trillion economy.
Which among the above statements are correct?
a) Only 1
b) Only 2
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
Question 4: Consider the following statements regarding BRICS?
- The Eighth BRICS Summit, was held at Goa, under the theme “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions.”
- BRICS brings together five major emerging economies, comprising 43% of the world population, having 30% of the world GDP and 17% share in the world trade.
a) Only 1
b) Only 2
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
Question 5: Which of the following is true?
- H5N1 is a highly pathogenic avian (bird) flu virus that has caused serious outbreaks in domestic poultry in parts of Asia and the Middle East.
- Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person.
a) Only 1
b) Only 2
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
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