Comprehensive News Analysis – 28 February 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related:
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

The Hindu

1. Seeing the light

2. NOTA and the Indian voter

3. The IS challenge

BusinessLine

1. For climate-smart farming

PIB

1. Indian Navy Concludes Theatre Level Exercise Tropex 2017

2. Three Forest Research Institutes Develop High-Yielding Varieties of Plant Species

3. India & Ukraine to strengthen bilateral cooperation through Cinema

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
I. Archives

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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs

 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!


B. GS2 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

 
C. GS3 Related
Nothing here for today!!!


D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!
 
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance

Hindu

1. Seeing the light

Category: Indian Economy
Topic: International Trade

Key Points:

  • In the renewable energy sector, India and the U.S. have been filing a number of disputes against each other, challenging the other’s domestic content requirement.

Issue being contested currently

  • India claims that California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and Washington are providing renewable energy subsidies similar to those of the domestic content requirement under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), which, the U.S. claims, violates World Trade Organisation (WTO) law.
  • India alleges that these states have been granting subsidies to local manufacturers in the renewable energy industry along with the requirement that the products be made domestically.
  • As India lost the case filed by the U.S. at the WTO, critics claim that the present case has been filed by India as reciprocation.
  • India seems to be charging the U.S. of the same issues in the same field to leverage a settlement in the case that it lost.

The WTO Ruling

  • JNNSM required that 20 gigawatt (GW) of solar power should be generated from domestically produced modules or solar cells.
  • The WTO found that the mandatory domestic content requirement under JNNSM violated the National Treatment provision of Article III:4 of the WTO agreement.
  • The Indian government has significantly reduced the domestic content requirement after the initiation of proceedings at the WTO.
  • At the beginning of the mission, the domestic content requirement in the auctioned contracts was as much as 50% of the total output generating capacity.
  • This value dropped significantly through the auctions and is currently down to 5%.
  • The U.S. is still unsatisfied with the measures undertaken by the government.

Concluding Remarks

  • Few imagined that India would pursue the dispute and ask the WTO to establish a panel.
  • The decision to not pursue the formation of a WTO dispute resolution panel came after Indian officials met the transition team of U.S. President Donald Trump and were assured that a settlement would be reached.
  • However, with the new Trump administration and its ‘America First’ policy, there is a good chance that the panel will be established and the case argued before the WTO.
  • This would affect relations between the U.S. and India.
  • Both the cases are in fact the same, so it would be in the best interest of both nations to settle it.

2. NOTA and the Indian voter

Category: Polity and Governance
Topic: : Elections

Key Points:

  • The introduction of the ‘None of The Above’ (NOTA) option in the Indian electoral system has seen three years, one Lok Sabha election and four rounds of Assembly elections pass.
  • The 2016 Assembly elections also saw some active canvassing for NOTA.

Patterns Involving NOTA

  • NOTA polling figures are still small.
  • On an average, the maximum NOTA vote share has not crossed 2.02% of the total votes polled in any election cycle.

        A Brief History of NOTA

  • NOTA was introduced in India following the 2013 Supreme Court directive in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India judgment.
  • Thus, India became the 14th country to institute negative voting.
  • However, NOTA in India does not provide for a ‘right to reject’.
  • The candidate with the maximum votes wins the election irrespective of the number of NOTA votes polled.

Important Observations Regarding NOTA

  • Reserved constituencies have seen a relatively larger number of NOTA votes, which points to the continued social prejudice against political reservation for SC/STs.
  • Constituencies affected by left-wing extremism have also recorded higher NOTA performance and here probably it served as an instrument of protest against the State itself.
  • Overall, Indian voters seem to be using NOTA not just to show their disapproval of the candidates in the fray but to express their protest against many things they perceive wrong in the political system.

Concluding Remarks

  • The early trends of NOTA need to be explored further with more elaborate statistical and ethnographic analysis.
  • So far, a small number of Indian voters have come to see NOTA as an instrument of protest.
  • This electoral option will become a meaningful means of negative voting only if it becomes a ‘right to reject’ rather than being a symbolic instrument to express resentment as it is now.
  • A PIL has already been filed in Madras High Court seeking the full right to reject in place of NOTA.

3. The IS challenge
 
Category: Internal Security
Topic: : Challenges to Internal Security

Key Points:

  • Recently, two suspected Islamic State associates from Gujarat were arrested.
  • This development once again raises the question whether the terrorist group is finding support in India.
  • In recent months, anti-terror officials have arrested young people from different parts of the country — in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal and Rajasthan.

What does the IS thrive on?

  • The IS thrives on support from foreign jihadists, largely the young. Ever since the organisation declared a ‘Caliphate’ in 2014, it has attracted tens of thousands of fighters from around the world.
  • It used two tactics — urging sympathisers either to travel to Iraq or Syria, its strongholds, and join the war, or carry out terror attacks in their own countries after declaring allegiance to the ‘Caliph’, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Indian Context

  • The IS thrives on support from foreign jihadists, largely the young. Ever since the organisation declared a ‘Caliphate’ in 2014, it has attracted tens of thousands of fighters from around the world.

India has remained largely insulated from this trend. The number of Indians to have joined the ranks of the IS is very small.

  • The IS’s puritanical, one-size-fits-all brand of Islam hasn’t found much resonance in India. Given the syncretic nature of Indian Islam, it is extremely difficult for groups such as the IS to become popular among Muslims, as it did in parts of Iraq and Syria.

Method adopted by IS

  • The IS’s medium is the Internet. It reaches out through online propaganda.

The Way Forward

  • To prevent the group from gaining a foothold on its territory, India needs high-level intelligence and counter-terror operations to continue.
  • Equally important is better coordination between the state and Muslim religious leaders in countering radicalisation and having in place specific de-radicalisation programmes, as western governments do.
  • It is important to not let these isolated arrests be blown out of proportion to target the larger Muslim population, which right-wing elements often try to do. Bigotry cannot be checked with bigotry.

 

BusinessLine

1. For climate-smart farming

Category: Geography
Topic: : Agriculture, Monsoons

Key Points:

Causes for Concern

  • Reports of a residual El Nino effect from last year impacting the subcontinent in the latter half of 2017 should be cause for concern for farm economy managers.
  • What the southern states, particularly Karnataka and Kerala, already in the midst of a prolonged spell of dry weather, can scarcely afford is another indifferent crop year.

Factors Affecting Rainfall

  • Erratic trends in the spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall arguably have a more significant effect on crop output than rising temperatures (both being features of climate change), with half of India’s cropped area being rainfed.
  • Researchers point out that while temperature raises pest activity, over 50 per cent of the year-on-year variation in crop output can be attributed to annual variations in rainfall.

IOD Activity

  • The forecast for this calendar year suggests a warming activity in the Indian Ocean as well (El Nino pertains to warming of the Pacific), called Indian Ocean Dipole in Met parlance.
  • This tends to negate malignant effects of El Nino.
  • IOD activity is believed to have a stronger influence on rainfall patterns in India, but it tends to favour central India and the west coast.
  • However, Japanese national forecaster Jamstec has identified the central region as a candidate for weak rainfall this year.
  • The Met Department’s first long-range forecast is due in April, by which time more information is likely to be available on the interplay of IOD and El Nino.
  • It is only to be expected that floods and droughts can break out in different (or even the same) regions in a particular year, or that there can be pockets of crop failure in an otherwise successful agriculture year.

The Way Forward

  • The Met Department, ICAR and agriculture universities should work towards a more precise, micro-level understanding of rainfall, temperature, crop choice and inputs, particularly in rainfed areas.
  • The focus of farm research should shift towards mapping climate patterns at the taluk level over long periods — perhaps decades — to arrive at better surmises on the monsoon.
  • For example, The Kerala government has initiated an effort along these lines.
  • Research focus on the effects of input-intensive farming in irrigated regions has led to the neglect of more traditional areas such as managing rain variability.
  • Climate intelligence must form a more integral part of agriculture policy and extension services.
  • Finally, there must be a concerted shift towards integrated, sustainable farming, with agro-forestry practices.
  • Farmers need credit and support to manage this transition.

 

PIB

1. Indian Navy Concludes Theatre Level Exercise Tropex 2017

Category: Internal Security
Topic: : Defense, Coastal Security

Key Points:

  • The Indian Navy’s Annual Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX 17) was conducted on the Western Seaboard from 24 Jan 17 till 23 Feb 17
  • The month long exercise saw participation of over 45 ships from both the Western and Eastern Naval Commands of the Indian Navy, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, 05 submarines including the nuclear powered Chakra, 50 Naval aircraft, 11 ships from the Coast Guard, troops from the Army and 20 aircraft from the Air Force including Su 30s, Jaguars and AWACS.

Significance

  • TROPEX 2017 assumes great significance in the backdrop of current security scenario.
  • The exercise provided an apt-opportunity to test the combat capability of the Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard, and strengthened inter-operability and joint operations in complex conflict situation.

2. Three Forest Research Institutes Develop High-Yielding Varieties of Plant Species

Category: Environment and Ecology
Topic: : Conservation

Key Points:

  • Three institutes of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun, have developed 20 high-yielding varieties of plant species.
  • The Variety Releasing Committee (VRC) of ICFRE, granted approval for the release of these varieties of plant species.
  • Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, has worked, for more than a decade, on ten improved varieties of Melia dubia and three clones of Eucalyptus tereticornis, the timber of which is in high demand in the industry.
  • The released cultivars of Melia, popularly known as Dreake, or Malabar Neem, not only have a high productivity per unit area, with an average of 34.57 cubic metre per hectare per annum, but also have an excellent bole form, which is a desirable characteristic for plywood industry.

A brief note on ICFRE

  • Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun established as an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, carries out the holistic research on forestry species.
  • The nine Institutes under ICFRE are actively engaged in improvement of plantation tree species to improve yield, quality and productivity to meet the demand for domestic consumption by industries.

3. India & Ukraine to strengthen bilateral cooperation through Cinema

Category: International Relations
Topic: : Bilateral Relations

Key Points:

  • India and Ukraine have agreed to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries through the medium of Cinema.
  • The cooperation would be worked out through a policy and institutional framework to showcase films through the medium of Film Festivals and utilizing the Film Facilitation Office platform established by India.
  • The screening of films with subtitles was also discussed in order to reach out to people.
  • During the discussions, Shri Naidu said that Ministry of Information & Broadcasting would extend all possible support to promote exchange programs between public broadcasters of the two countries, content creation, screening and distribution of films.
  • The possibility of translating programs and content and providing subtitles in respective languages of both the countries was also discussed with respect to the Public Broadcasters of both the countries.
 
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
  • Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE)
  • El Nino
 
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
 
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements:

1] Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun established as an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, carries out the holistic research on forestry species.
2] Recently, three institutes of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun, have developed 20 high-yielding varieties of plant species.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 Only 
b) 2 Only 
c) Both 1 and 2 
d) Neither 1 nor 2

 
Question 2: Consider the following statements:

1] NOTA was introduced in India following the 2013 Supreme Court directive in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India judgment.
2] India became the 14th country to institute negative voting.
3] Significantly, NOTA in India does not provide for a ‘right to reject’.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 and 2 Only
b) 2 and 3 Only
c) 1 and 3 Only
d) All 1, 2 and 3
 
Question 3: “INS Vikramaditya” was recently in the news. What is it?

a) Aircraft Carrier
b) A nuclear submarine
c) A Frigate
d) An offshore patrol vessel

 
Question 4: Consider the following statements:

1] Ukraine is bordered by the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
2] Ukraine borders with seven countries: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Belarus.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 Only
b) 2 Only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

 
Question 5: Which of the following organizations bring out the report 
known as ‘World Happiness Report’?

(a) Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
(b) The United Nations Development Programme
(c) The World Economic Forum
(d) The World Bank

 

Check Your Answers

 

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