Comprehensive News Analysis - 26 March 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:

1. India to appeal WTO verdict in solar case filed by the U.S.

2. India may capture a third of medical value travel market

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

1. A modest beginning at The Hague

2. A lesson in hidden agendas

Others:

1. The Hindu Business Line: ‘Housing for all’

2. The Indian Express: ‘Privacy after Aadhaar’

3. Economic Times: ‘Cold War Ends in Tropical Havana’

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

NO RELATED NEWS TODAY!!

 

B. GS2 Related

NO RELATED NEWS TODAY!!

 

C. GS3 Related

1. India to appeal WTO verdict in solar case filed by the U.S.


Topic: Indian Economy

Category: International Trade

Location: The Hindu, Page 15

Key Points:

  • The government said India will appeal against the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) verdict over its policy relating to solar power equipment.
  • India had, as part of its National Solar Mission, imposed a stipulation that solar cells and solar modules be locally sourced.
  • The U.S. had filed a case against India at the WTO demanding a level-playing field for Indian and foreign solar component manufacturers. The world body ruled in favour of the U.S.

India’s position

  • India’s capacity to produce solar components and solar cells comprises only a portion of the demand in India.
  • This means that the foreign component makers would still have a substantial market to cater to.

2. India may capture a third of medical value travel market

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: International Trade

Location: The Hindu, Page 15

Key Points:

  • India is gradually becoming a destination of choice for medical value travel (MVT) due to high quality healthcare offered to patients by world-class hospitals and facilities that have come up across the country.
  • Globally, MVT is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17.9 per cent to $32.5 billion by 2019.
  • However, MVT in India will grow at a CAGR of 30 per cent to $10.6 billion in 2019 from $2.8 billion in 2014, according to a KPMG report.

A shifting trend

  • An emerging trend within India is a shift from traditional medical destinations— Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai — to non-metro cities.
  • An example of this is Kerala which is re-positioning itself from just a ‘wellness tourism’ destination offering Ayurveda to a more inclusive concept of ‘medical value tourism’ which also includes surgeries and treatment.
  • As a fertile ground for medical education, medical facilities, improving infrastructure and the natural environs that make for tranquil recuperation, the state is an attractive option for medical tourists.

Conclusion

  • In India, MVT is popular because there are a number of choices available at international standards without any waiting period in comparison to U.S or U.K where patient has to wait it out.
  • India is a free market economy where patients are spoilt for choice here and the financial burden is low as well.
  • India caters to super specialist surgeries so branching out is convenient with communication and interpreters and Indian hospitals are glad to take care of these facilities with their hands-on marketing departments.
D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today folks!

E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

1 .A modest beginning at The Hague

Topic: International Relations

Category: Important International institutions
Location: The Hindu, Page 10
Key points:

  • Radovan Karadzic has been convicted by a United Nations tribunal in The Hague.
  • This conviction follows after a lengthy trial, for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity
  • This is an important milestone in holding the guilty to account for the atrocities in the Balkans in the 1990s and sending a larger message about the efficacy of international mechanisms to punish excesses.
  • The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) restores hope, that political leaders who perpetrate the most brutal atrocities will not go unpunished.
  • With regards to the permanent global mechanism to try war crimes and crimes against humanity, the influence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been severely limited from the start.
  • Washington, Beijing, Moscow and New Delhi, among others, have refused to be brought under its jurisdiction.
  • Moreover, the few investigations The Hague court has so far initiated have predictably drawn flak, as reflecting a bias against African countries.
  • Clearly, the lesson from the conviction of Karadžic is that the search for justice may be painful and endless, but it is a price worth paying to bring perpetrators to book and prevent the violation of human rights.

2 .A lesson in hidden agendas

Topic: Governance
Category: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
Location: The Hindu, Page 10
Key points:

  • The public education system (PES) has been under criticism for quite a while.
  • It is being painted as non-functioning, wasteful and un-improvable.
  • The Right to Education Act (RTE) was designed to improve this system. Therefore, it is natural that the RTE will also come under fire from the same quarters that have been attacking the PES.
  • The PES and RTE do have problems, and they need to be fixed. It is important that a way is found to make the system deliver in terms of better learning outcomes.

Is private schools the answer?

  • There are some studies that claim that private schools outperform public schools; while others claim that after adjusting for family and socio-economic background of the children, the difference is not statistically significant.
  • An argument raised is that even if the ‘learning outcomes’ of private schools are not better than the public schools, the cost of running private schools is much lower.
  • But this argument is completely spurious and shows very little understanding of education.
  • The costs quoted for private schools, one, have no reliable source of data and, two, they discount two kinds of hidden costs — to the family and to the nation.
  • Often the cost of education in private schools is equated with the fee per child. This is obviously wrong as the cost of school uniform, books and stationery, and transport, which all are under the monopoly of the school, are not included.
  • Occasionally private schools want additional money for special occasions like festivals, picnics, excursions and projects. And they often recommend tuition for the children. None of this is counted in this cost calculation. However, the family bears this burden and these items add significantly to the revenue of private schools.
  • Second, the low-cost private schools often run in grossly inadequate infrastructure. The teachers are paid less than minimum unskilled labour wages legislated by various State governments.
  • Therefore, the nation pays in terms of lowered teacher status and professional knowledge, abandoning a section of its citizens to exploitation, and possibly unhealthy attitudes in its future citizens.

The RTE Impact

  • There is also a new falsehood is being spread: that the low-cost private schools are closing due to implementation of the RTE.
  • The RTE norms of infrastructure, children per teacher, teacher qualifications and teacher remunerations, all are just minimum to run a decent school.
  • Stipulation of a room for every class, toilets and a boundary wall for safety can hardly be called unnecessary demands.
  • Further, the claim that private schools are being closed down due to RTE is false. Recently the Azim Premji Foundation conducted a study in 69 districts across seven States and one Union Territory and found that across these districts only five schools were closed due to non-compliance of the RTE and notices for compliance had been served to 7,156 schools. It seems the data being used to propagate this canard of closure are unreliable, or worse.

Conclusion

  • The RTE is not being implemented either efficiently or fairly, efforts are half-hearted at best.
  • The issue of quality of education can be easily fixed in the RTE.
  • It was assumed that since the States are responsible for curriculum details beyond the National Curriculum Framework, and administration and financing of education is under their purview, they would be better placed to make guidelines on these issues. They failed to meet the challenge. Therefore, perhaps there is a case to introduce some clauses on ensuring learning standards.

Others:

1 .The Hindu Business Line: ‘Housing for all’

Topic: Indian Polity, Governance
Category: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
Location: The Hindu Business Line
Key points:

  • The Union Cabinet has cleared a Rs. 81,975-crore plan to build one crore houses in rural areas over the next three years under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)-Rural,
  • With this, the Narendra Modi government has given concrete backing to its promise of achieving universal coverage in housing by 2022.
  • While providing housing for all has been the dream of virtually every government since Independence, achievement has remained far short of the target.
  • A study by Shamsher Singh and others for the Indian Statistical Institute, which projected sample survey findings on Census 2011 data, puts the actual shortage at thrice the official estimate, while consultancy KPMG estimates housing demand to rise to 11 crore units by 2022.

The Way Forward

  • Given the scale of the task on hand, the current plan, of constructing one crore houses in rural areas, appears relatively modest.
  • The biggest challenge — meeting the Centre’s additional financial requirement of Rs. 21,975 crore — is to be met by borrowing through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), which will be amortised through budgetary allocations after 2022.
  • However, 40 per cent of the funding will have to come from State Budgets, which casts a question mark over funding. Other weaknesses in previous schemes, like identifying beneficiaries, are proposed to be addressed by using the Census 2011’s socio-economic and caste survey data.
  • Both the urban and rural arms of the PMAY continue to focus on only one solution — of providing ownership housing.
  • Finding adequate land for this becomes a huge problem, particularly in rural areas, where public land stock for housing presents many challenges.
  • In cities, housing without access to livelihoods has found few takers, even among the very poor. Unless we have a holistic housing policy which addresses the full spectrum of requirement, ranging from ownership to rental accommodation and shared housing, and adequately incentivises public private partnerships, universal housing will remain a distant dream.

2 .The Indian Express: ‘Privacy after Aadhaar’

Topic: Governance
Category: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
Location: The Indian Express

Key points:

  • Aadhaar is a potentially useful instrument for delivering benefits and reducing fraud. But there are two pressing issues which run against the values of Constitutional propriety and privacy.
  • But there has been disquiet at the fact that the bill was treated as a money bill.
  • If this bill with far-reaching implications for rights, accountability and the powers of the state is a money bill, then practically any legislation can be converted into a money bill.
  • Article 110(3) says that the speaker is the final authority on what constitutes a money bill. But it was always assumed that the speaker would make this determination in light of the definition of money bills laid down in the article. To arbitrarily declare something a money bill is to subvert the spirit of the Constitution.
  • The second value is privacy, a key concern. In an age of technology, this is a tricky issue, with complicated risks and tradeoffs. It is precisely for this reason that this should not have been a money bill.
  • The real issue with Aadhaar is not only going to be the privacy of the information with the UIDAI itself. If lots of different agencies link their information to Aadhaar numbers, what will be the protocols governing the sharing of that information?
  • What will be the norms governing data mining? Will we have agency-specific protocols on what information can be shared with whom and under what conditions?

Conclusion

  • Even though the bill has been passed, it is important to keep up the pressure so that we can frame better regulations and seek judicial protection.

3 .Economic Times: ‘Cold War Ends in Tropical Havana’

Topic: International Relations
Category: Geopolitics
Location: Economic Times
Key points:

  • US President Barack Obama’s visit to Havana, capital of Cuba was historic.
  • It was the first time in 88 years that an American president visited the city .
  • His trip ¬ and the predicted end of economic sanctions and other hostilities that America inflicted on Cuba for 57 years ¬ is historic for several reasons.

Significance of the visit

  • At the twilight of his presidential term, Obama is willing to make bold foreign policy moves: the lifting of sanctions on Iran, the engagement with Cuba .
  • Finally, Obama’s visit opens the doors of Cuba’s economy , stagnant for nearly 30 years after the collapse of its main ally the Soviet Union, to global capital.
  • Citizens of Cuba and its Havana elite will now have to cope with the windfalls and whims of global capital. This will not be easy for president Raul Castro, brother of the iconic Fidel who led the revolution that brought the regime to power.
  • Cuba might come to adopt a Chinastyle model: a relatively free economy with one-party monopoly on governance.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  1. UIDAI
  2. Article 110(3)
  3. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)
  4. International Criminal Court (ICC)
  5. Right to Education Act (RTE)

Tags

Tags: National Solar Mission,

Medical Value Travel (MVT),

International Criminal Court (ICC),

Right to Education Act (RTE), public education system (PES),

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)-Rural,

Article 110(3), UIDAI,

Cuba, sanctions

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Q1. Which of the following statement is true?

a) The World Trade Organization was formed in 1995 out of Uruguay Round of negotiations

b) It is a forum for trade negotiations and handling trade disputes

c) The Doha Development Agenda is a part of WTO negotiations

d) All of the above

Q2. Consider the following statements regarding National Action Plan on Climate Change?
  1. The National Action Plan comprises of eight national missions
  2. National Solar Mission, National Water Mission and National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan System are among these eight missions

Which of theabove statement/s is/are true?

a) Only 1

b) Only 2

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q3. Which of the following statements is/are true regarding the International Criminal Court?

a) It is governed by the Rome Statute

b) The ICC is an independent international organization, and is not part of the United Nations system

c) The Court is composed of four organs. These are the Presidency, the judicial Divisions, the Office of the Prosecutor and the Registry

d) All of the above

Q4. Consider the following statements.
  1. The Constitution(Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right
  2. It means that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards

Which of the statement/s is/are above are true?

a) Only 1

b) Only 2

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q5. Which of the following statement if not correct?

a) The term Biometric is usually associated with the use of unique physiological characteristics to identify an individual

b) A biometric system can only be a ‘verification’ (authentication) system but not an ‘identification’ system

c) The Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity for every Indian individual, including children and infants

d) Aadhaar establishes uniqueness of every individual on the basis of demographic and biometric information

Check Your Answers

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