Comprehensive News Analysis – 28 April 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. President’s rule to continue in Uttarakhand

2. Govt. to set up sex offenders registry

3. Tablets with literacy apps may help kids improve reading

4. ‘Make in India’ not at cost of IPR: U.S.

5. Digital, UID play cuts public distribution system leakage

C. GS3 Related:

1. Infographic on heat stroke

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

The Hindu:

1. The ironies of small States

2. Diffusing the judicial burden

3. More medicine for less

The Financial Express:

1. Unshackling the power sector

2. The Economic Times:For effective tax information sharing

3. The Business line: Creating an Internet of People

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 for today folks!

B. GS2 Related

1. President’s rule to continue in Uttarakhand

Topic: Governance

Category: Transparency

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • State emergency to continue in Uttarakhand
  • The  floor test ordered by the High Court to be held on April 29 would not take place
  • The emergency clouded the authority of the Speaker as well as prevented the holding of the floor test on March 28 said the senior advocate representing the state government

Tags: Speaker, Governor

Note: What are the powers vested in the speaker of a state assembly and governor of a state? Are they conflicting in any way? If so .What changes do you suggest to make them harmonious?

 

2. Govt. to set up sex offenders registry

Topic: Governance

Category: Women’s safety

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • Draft guidelines on the proposal to set up Sex Offenders Registry in India are under preparation in consultation with relevant Ministries/organisations
  • Proposal: the names and details of sexual offenders, both below and above 18 years of age would be put up only after they have been convicted and completed their sentence in jail
  • It will instill fear in the minds of repeat sexual offenders and the public would be benefited from it. It would be a handy tool for the law enforcement agencies as well

Tags: Sex Offenders Registry

 

3. Tablets with literacy apps may help kids improve reading

Topic: Governance

Category: Education sector

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • Tablets loaded with literacy apps may help improve the reading skills of young children living in economically disadvantaged communities, say scientists who have launched new trials of the devices in India.
  • Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, and Georgia State University in the U.S. examined the use of tablet computers loaded with literacy applications in a range of educational environments
  • Trials were conducted in Ethiopia and the U.S.A

Tags:Tablet, MIT

 

4.‘Make in India’ not at cost of IPR: U.S.

Topic: International Relations

Category: Indo- US Relations

Location: The Hindu

Key points:

  • The U.S remains concerned about actions and policies in India that appear to favour local manufacturing or Indian IPR owners
  • The US Trade Representative’s annual Special 301 report said India’s domestic policy goals of increasing investment and stimulating innovation must be “through, not at the expense of, IPR protection and enforcement
  • The USTR report said the U.S continues to monitor India’s application of its compulsory licensing law

Tags:IPR,compulsory licensing law

Note: under a compulsory license, an individual or company seeking to use another’s intellectual property can do so without seeking the rights holder’s consent, and pays the rights holder a set fee for the license. This is an exception to the general rule under intellectual property laws that the intellectual property owner enjoys exclusive rights that it may license – or decline to license – to others

 

5. Digital, UID play cuts public distribution system leakage

Topic: Governance

Category: digital initiatives

Location: The Hindu

digital initiatives

Key points:

cutting pilferage from the public distribution system is becoming far easier with almost all of the 23 crore ration cards in the country being digitised and 53% of these already seeded with unique identification number Aadhaar

 

C. GS3 Related

1. Infographic on heat stroke

Topic: Science

Category: Preventive medicine

Location: The Hindu

WeekendBeing_2826061a

 

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

The Hindu

1. The ironies of small States

Topic: Polity

Category: Federal Relations

Key points:

  • The current political instability in Uttarakhand and the past experience of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand raise questions about the idea of small states
  • Smaller political units supposedly facilitate contact between the government and the governed, and enable local populations to imprint their opinions and interests onto the consciousness of their representatives
  • Also, demands for statehood followed struggles against injustice
  • But have small States managed to meet the demands of their people? Have they learnt from past struggles against injustice?Or have they, once constituted, gone their own way, of amassing power?
  • Chhattisgarh ranks low on Human Development Index rankings, with more malnourished women, underweight children, and illiterate people than the national average. People in the densely populated forests and hills of Dantewada and Bastar, where a majority of the STs live, are the most illiterate. Ironically, Chhattisgarh is a mineral-rich and power-surplus State
  • The same report tells us that Jharkhand, with vast natural resources, accounted for 70 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product of Bihar before 2000. Yet it remains one of the most economically backward States of the country
  • It is not surprising that into the political vacuum created by systemic injustice in both States have stepped the Maoists, with their ideology of a new world geared towards the interests of the poor and the oppressed
  • The interests of the people have been rebuffed by leaders who were once at the forefront of struggles for justice
  • Uttarakhand falls into a different category because it is inhabited by hill people, many of them belonging to the upper castes
  • The region came into the limelight when in the 1970s local communities mobilised against transfer of forest resources to commercial companies
  • But once the states were formed, leaders realised that identity politics is more likely to attract the attention of ruling groups than appeals to justice. With the formation of three small States the two paths — the fight against injustice and the drive to hoard power in the name of identity — have diverged
  • Going beyond defections, attempts to topple governments and establish governments, it is time to ask, what is the relationship between federalism, States, representative democracy and justice? Justice follows only when the wants of people who have elected representatives are addressed, and when these representatives recognise that their own status is derivative
  • The chasm between the needs of the people who struggle for survival, action and inaction by representatives, and lack of remedial justice has compromised representative democracy enormously
  • The issue is not only one of federalism; defections from one party to another indicate renunciation of the basic obligations of representatives, even as their own people starve

Tags: Human Development Index, identity politics, defections,federalism

Note: Is federalism being compromised by identity politics for the sake of power?

How can we make our democracy more representative and accountable?

(More states may mean more representation but that does not necessarily bring in accountability)

 

2. Diffusing the judicial burden

Topic: Polity

Category: Judiciary

Key points:

  • National Court of Appeal – Why
  • The Supreme Court was meant to be a Constitutional Court. However, the sheer weight of its case backlog leaves the court with little time for its primal functions
  • Geographical proximity to the court is definitely an aspect of access to justice. The fact that the Supreme Court sits only in New Delhi limits accessibility to litigants from south India
  • The problem of backlog may be a convenient handle for the other organs of the state to seek drastic curtailment of the court’s powers.An institution which on a daily basis hauls up several other bodies for defects and deficiencies must place itself well above criticism of any nature
  • The 229th report of the Law Commission of India delved into this problem in depth and came up with the suggestion of retaining the New Delhi bench of the Supreme Court as a Constitutional Court and the establishment of Cassation Benches of the Supreme Court in the four regions at New Delhi, Chennai/Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai
  • The 2009 report pointed out that since Article 130 of the Constitution provides that “the Supreme Court shall sit in Delhi or such other place or places as the Chief Justice of India may with the approval of the President, from time to time, appoint”, the creation of Cassation Benches of the Supreme Court would require no constitutional amendment
  • As the saying goes, if we do not do something because it has never been done before, we will go nowhere. The law will stagnate while society advances, which is not good for both

Tags: National Court of Appeal, Law commission,Cassation Benches, Art 130, constitutional amendment

Note: Look at the ways in which our judiciary can be revamped and brought closer to common man

 

3. More medicine for less

Topic: Governance

Category: Health

Key points:

  • The Centre is reported to be in favour of moving a bill requiring doctors to prescribe generic medicines in place of costly, branded ones(recommended by the Planning Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage)
  • bulk procurement of important drugs from quality generics manufacturers through Central and State-level supply logistics corporations and their distribution through Jan Aushadhi outlets was also suggested by the Expert group
  • There is also a lack of awareness on the availability of affordable alternatives to expensive brands
  • A recent assessment of India’s expenditure on health published by The Lancet showed that out-of-pocket spending comprises 58 per cent of the total; two-thirds of this is on drugs
  • It is vital that governments act on multiple fronts — making listed essential medicines available free or nearly free to all in hospitals through higher public spending, widening access to generics through Jan Aushadhi outlets, and closely monitoring professional practice to eliminate prescription of irrational, non-essential drugs that have no curative effect
  • Indian pharmaceutical manufacturing famed for generic drug production has also faced censure over quality
  • the government should proactively help all manufacturers — public and private — to meet the internationally recognised Good Manufacturing Practice standards
  • the target for opening generic drug pharmacies, first announced in 2008, has never been met. Co-opting private pharmacists is one way ahead. Again, one of the persistent problems is non-availability of specific drugs. A transparent supply chain managed by state-run procurement agencies can help overcome such bottlenecks

Tags:the Planning Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage,

Jan Aushadhi outlets, Good Manufacturing Practice standards

Note: How can we make health services more accessible?

 

The Financial Express:

1. Unshackling the power sector

Topic: Governance

Category: Power sector

Key Points:

  • How is electricity administered in india?
  • Power is a concurrent subject in the Indian constitution
  • A single market for electricity over all of India has commenced
  • Many states buy directly from generating companies in other states. An electricity exchange enables daily trading to balance supply with demand
  • Interstate transmission lines are being added to make single market a reality
  • The Electricity Act allows open access, i.e. access to suppliers and customers everywhereThis is subject to state government permission
  • Appointments to run government-owned electricity undertakings, as well as of statutory regulators, are made by the concerned governments, mostly from among retired public servants. There is little professional management in electricity enterprises, especially in distribution and in state-government-owned undertakings
  • Within each state and nationally, balancing electricity supplies with demand every minute is vital, and is done by state load dispatch centres (SLDC). This function must be a neutral one between generators, distribution enterprises and users. It is not, but controlled by the concerned government
  • So, how can the power system be made more transparent and efficient?
  • Electricity enterprises could be registered companies, cooperatives or a departmental enterprise. As corporate enterprises, these power utilities become subject to the company law and its consequences for malfeasance
  • Till then,there should be a public utilities commission (for central and state levels) that searches for and appoints suitable people to such Boards, and also their CEOs. Departments of the government should play no role in this effort
  • The role of government electricity departments at both the Centre and states is confusing and conflicting. The Centre must play an overall policy role, a strong technical advisory role, and a coordinating role. But it must not interfere in management decisions of an enterprise. There could be a National Electricity Commission (with all states in it) that meets regularly and resolves issues.The CEA(Central Electricity Authority) should be its technical advisor. At the state level, the statutory regulator should be the overseer of the sector
  • There must also be a public utilities commission on the lines of the UPSC to select and nominate Board members, CEOs and oversee Board functioning
  • The Electricity Act should be amended and we have to abolish cross-subsidies which cause considerable accounting and financial problems to discoms

Tags:concurrent subject ,The Electricity Act, state load dispatch centres, CEA(Central Electricity Authority)

How can we improve our power sector?

What is cross subsidization?

 

2. The Economic Times:For effective tax information sharing

Topic: Governance

Category: Preventing tax evasion

Key Points

  • a multi-agency team is probing the list of Indian names contained in the over 11million files leaked from Panama based Mossack Fonseca
  • To establish audit trails, the tax department must push for effective sharing of information from tax havens such as British Virgin Islands that have reportedly registered companies and trusts — where the details of ownership don’t have to be filed with the authorities
  • France has placed Panama on the list of uncooperative jurisdictions. India, which does not have a tax information and exchange-sharing agreement with Panama, could follow suit if Panama does not share information on suspected tax evaders. India had earlier blacklisted Cyprus for similar reasons.
  • We must also create a Unique Legal Entity Identifier to make companies identify their real beneficial owners. It would be a step towards global cooperation on tax transparency. Here too, effective sharing of information holds the key to trace beneficial owners
  • India’s tax system also needs an overhaul, to widen the base and lower rates. Intensive training of tax administrators and use of big-data analytics to track evasion cannot suffer any delay

Tags: tax information and exchange-sharing agreement, tax information and exchange-sharing agreement

Note: Please read about TIEAs and DTAAs

 

3. The Business line: Creating an Internet of People

Topic: Governance

Category: IT sector

Key points:

  • The key ingredients to successful adoption of IoT and broadband are network connectivity, cloud, security and infrastructure and India faces huge challenges in each of these areas
  • the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has formulated a comprehensive Roadmap on Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and the Department of IT (DEITy) has put out with a draft IoT Policy
  • These are excellent starting points. We now need to urgently consolidate and progress to the next stage.Urgent particularly because 4G LTE is already taking off in India and, elsewhere, it drives IoT revenues by up to 45 per cent
  • Challenges
  • Security:With IoT comes billions of new terminals, all connected via IP-addresses. Unsecured devices increase organisations’ vulnerability to cyber threats
  • IoT is still growing and there are more than just a few hurdles before businesses can maximise benefits. But the first step to overcome those hurdles is to identify them.
  • Ecosystem: IoT being a platform business, it can only be successful if different parts of the ecosystem inter-work efficiently. This creates another layer of complexity
  • Policymakers need to innovate in order to maximise the considerable promise of IoT for economic growth and social well-being. India needs to determine its own optimum mix of possible approaches and policy so that we achieve an accelerated deployment and adoption of IoT concurrently with the much-needed penetration of the Internet of People

Tags:the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) ,Roadmap on Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications ,  the Department of IT (DEITy) , draft IoT Policy

Note: Are we ready to usher in the technology of  IoT when penetration of the Internet of People is still abysmal? India falls in the class of the least connected countries and suffers from not only very low internet and broadband adoption but is also characterised by very low net speeds.But technology is not going to wait for India to catch up.

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • TIEAs
  • Proposed National Court of Appeal
  • Anti- defection laws
  • Human Development Index

Quick bits

 Economy

  • Jalandhar-based Capital Small Finance Bank Ltd, India’s first small finance bank, has commenced operations
  • The US Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged but signalled confidence in the US economic outlook, leaving the door open to a hike in June
  • House joint committee clears bankruptcy code:Finance Minister ArunJaitley, addressing the second meeting of the consultative committee on non-performing assets (NPAs) on Wednesday, said the bankruptcy and insolvency code was likely to be discussed in the current session of Parliament now that the joint committee has submitted its report

 

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1:Which of the following countries have signed Tax Information Exchange Agreement with India?
  1. Seychelles
  2. Panama
  3. Gibralter
  4. British Virgin Islands

a) 1 and 2

b) 1,2 and 3

c) 2, 3 and 4

d) 1,3 and 4

 

Question 2: Which of the following statements is/are  true?
  1. Schedule X of Indian constitution deals with anti-defection
  2. A member of parliament or state legislature was deemed to have defected if she/he disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 3:Which of the following statements is/are true?
  1. The Human Development Index (HDI) takes account of of life expectancy, education, and income per capita indicators
  2. Mahbub-ul-Haq andAmartyaSen contributed to the development of HDI

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Question 4:Which of the following statements is/are true?
  1. Andhra Pradesh reported largest number of heat stroke deaths in India in 2013 and 2014
  2. Racing heart rate is a symptom of heat stroke

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. Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works
  2. A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor
  3. A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others

a) 1 and 3 only

b) 2 only

c) 1 only

d) All the Above

Check Your Answers

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H. Archives:

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