Comprehensive News Analysis – 29 November 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. NGT tells Centre to frame an incentive policy

2. Harassment and worse in the air

3. Trump threatens to discard Cuba deal

C. GS3 Related:

1. Hundreds barge into core tiger reserve area during temple festival

2. ‘Bitcoin adoption in India sees surge’

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

The Hindu

1. Lessons from another jailbreak

2. Lifelines that can sound death knells

The Indian Express

1. Trump, artificial intelligence and India

Business Line

1. Chabahar, a geo-political plus for India

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

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here today folks!

B. GS2 Related
  1. NGT tells Centre to frame an incentive policy

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Government Policies, Judiciary   

Key Points:

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) rapped the Centre for its delay in introducing a new scrapping policy.
  • This new scrapping policy aims to provide incentives to people to surrender their old polluting vehicles. The NGT has asked the Centre to expeditiously frame a scheme in this regard.
  • The NGT declared that more than a year has passed since it had directed the Centre to formulate a “scrapping policy”, which would provide incentives to scrap old cars and buy new ones.
  • The NGT has been critical of the Ministry of Heavy Industries, who had earlier assured that it was in the process of providing methodology and incentives to those scrapping their vehicles.
  • These developments take shape in the wake of the deteriorating air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR), which have only recently seen an improvement.
  • Levels of harmful particulate matter came down to ‘moderate’ for the first time since Diwali.


2. Harassment and worse in the air

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Government Initiatives, Social Justice  

Key Points:

  • Airline staff  around the world have had incidents of harassment by passengers.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has had 58 investigations into sexual assault on airplanes in 2016 alone, compared with 40 for all of 2015.
  • Unfortunately, in India there is no information on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s site on the number of such cases that have been reported and/or are under investigation. 
  • It is encouraging to note that recently several airlines have taken positive action regarding colleague-to-colleague abuse. 
  • Unfortunately, in the civil aviation sector, even with the passing of theSexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 the situation hasn’t changed much. But the act has forced airlines to implement a sexual harassment policy and constitute internal complaints committees to investigate reported incidents.
  • Unfortunately, colleagues continue to harass colleagues and rarely do people make an official report.
  • It is unfortunate to note that even when passengers sexually harass crew members, it takes courage to make the report as the process to deal with the police is tedious and there is an unwritten threat of the airline not being supportive enough.


  1. Trump threatens to discard Cuba deal

Category: International Relations

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Key Points:

  • U.S. President-elect Donald Trump  threatened to discard the recent US-Cuba rapprochement, unless Havana makes key concessions.
  • It is important to note that Mr. Trump’s fellow Republicans have long criticised  the US-Cuba rapprochement as they believe that the U.S. has ceded too much to Havana without significant gains in return.

 

C. GS3 Related
  1. Hundreds barge into core tiger reserve area during temple festival

Category: Environment and Ecology   

Topic: Conservation

Key Points:

  • Egged on by local elected representatives, hundreds of people, allegedly are having a free rein in the core area of Bandipur National Park. This is taking place during the annual jathra mahotsava of the Beladakuppe Mahadeshwara temple.
  • The temple festival is a bone of contention between the local community and conservationists. 
  • The Forest Department had convinced the villagers of the necessity of crowd regulation and had banned the entry of private vehicles. 
  • According to local forest officials, nearly 2,000 two-wheelers entered the core area.
  • Activists have also planned to bring the incident to the notice of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and higher authorities in the government.

 

  1. ‘Bitcoin adoption in India sees surge’

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Developments, Money and Banking

Key Points:

  • Unocoin, an Indian bitcoin start-up, has unveiled a new app which aims to allow consumers to buy, sell, send, receive and store bitcoins, all in one place, from any remote device.
  • Unocoin has said that the implementation is timely because bitcoin adoption is rapidly ascending in India.

 

What is a bitcoin?

  • Bitcoin is a digital currency. This currency is not supported by any country’s government or central bank.
  • Bitcoin is also known as crypto-currency. 
  • It can be traded for services or goods with sellers who accept bitcoins as payment.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. Lessons from another jailbreak

Category: Internal Security

Topic: Challenges to Internal Security

Key Points:

  • The recent jailbreak of six prisoners from the Nabha Jail in Punjab is another wake-up call for the security establishment.
  • This is the second major jailbreakin the country in the space of weeks.
  • The incident in Nabha was aided by a group of armed men from outside wearing police uniforms. This is in contrast to the other jailbreak by members of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) from the Bhopal Central Prison last month. This one was planned inside and executed largely by the prisoners on their own.
  • Unfortunately, it is evident that the so-called high security prisons are hardly fool-proof.
  • What is also troubling is that jailbreak incidents have started taking political overtones.

The Way Forward

  • The real issue is that there are too many shortcomings in the security arrangements in our jails.
  • It is imperative to introduce a new security regimen that will plug all loopholes.
  • This ought to be a national priority.

 

  1. Lifelines that can sound death knells

Category: Environment and Ecology  

Topic: Conservation

Key Points:

  • It is important to note that Rail lines, roadways, canals and electricity cable networks occupy pride of place in India’s rapidly growing infrastructure.

Recent Proposals

  • There are proposals for a railway line and for the widening of NH-44, both within the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka, and for a 65km road connecting Chikkamagaluru and Dakshina Kannada that will require 30,000 trees to be felled.

Impact on Biodiversity

  • Flamingoes and bustards have been electrocuted by high tension power lines in Gujarat.
  • Highways have destroyed some of the most important wildlife corridors in eastern Maharashtra.
  • Elephant deaths have been occurring in railway accidents across the country.

Effects of linear intrusion

  • Each linear intrusion project has a significant ecological impact. 
  • Animal behaviour is affected.
  • Plant diversity is reduced.
  • Wildlife habitat is fragmented and eventually lost.
  • All this is in addition to the hundreds of animals killed everyday in road and train accidents, or by electrocution.
  • It is important to note that a recent report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on road infrastructure underlines the collective impact.
  • This report for instance, notes that the infrastructure boom being seen currently in Asia is likely to lead to the construction of nearly 11,000km of new transport projects.
  • These projects would carve up the habitats of flagship species such as the tiger and would prevent them from moving across the large ranges that they require.

 

The Way Forward

  • The first step forward would be to recognise and accept the huge impact of linear infrastructure on wildlife and wildlife habitat.
  • It is important that civil engineers, spatial planners, conservationists and ecologists work together with policymakers, bureaucrats and politicians to develop the common framework needed to negotiate this challenge.  

 

The Indian Express

  1. Trump, artificial intelligence and India

Category: International Relations

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Key Points:

  • There were two themes of Donald Trump’s deeply disruptive presidential campaign which resonated with the American people. These were:

a) to put America to work again by bringing jobs back and

b) to make the US military the most powerful and feared in the world again

  • But, it is important to note that both these initiatives would involve dealing with new technologies like big data, artificial intelligence, robotics and bioengineering.
  • These elements have often described as constituting the “fourth industrial revolution”.
  • The fusion of the cyber world and the physical world is indeed transforming the economic and security landscape in the world.
  • It is important that India as well pays attention to these developments.

What Trump intends to do

  • Trump has promised to limit the in-sourcing of labour and outsourcing of work to cheaper locations like Mexico, China and India. 
  • Trump has threatened to walk away from free trade agreements and raise tariff barriers. 
  • He also wants to launch massive infrastructure spending to create jobs. 

“Third Offset Strategy”

  • But, the problem for Trump is that the jobs that America lost in the era of globalisation are not easy to bring back.
  • It is significant to note that for some time now, the US defence establishment has focused on what it called the “Third Offset Strategy”.
  • The “Third Offset Strategy” is an idea to leverage American competence in emerging technologies. These emerging technologies include machine intelligence to counter the advantages of mass and geography that China has in Asia.

 

Business Line

  1. Chabahar, a geo-political plus for India

Category: International Relations

Topic: India and the Neighbourhood

Key Points:

  • Journalists and members of the strategic community in Tehran believe that Chabahar is the city where India is building a port.
  • This generous description of India’s investment, should suggest a paradigmatic shift in ties between the two countries.
  • The Iranian government is keen that India fast-tracks its commitment to build the three jetties allotted to it.
  • During the forthcoming “Heart of Asia” meet to be held in Amritsar on December 4, foreign minister of Iran, Muhammad Javad Zarif Khonsari, would position Chabahar project as an economic panacea for Afghanistan.
  • After the Iran-Iraq war ended, the Iran government began to see in the development of Chabahar an opportunity to build the eastern part of the country.
  • It is important to note that the development of the Gwadar port, which is entirely funded by the Chinese, and the coming up of the $46 billion, 2,400 kilometre long China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Kashgar in Xinjiang province, blocked India’s ambitions to revive its traditional routes to Central Asia.
  • It is believed that India decided to invest in Chabahar, to neutralise these happenings and give meaning to its policy in Afghanistan.
  • Crucially, it is important to note that although the India-Iran-Afghanistan agreement lays down specific time lines for the completion of the project, there are fears in Iran that the Indian government may go slow in fulfilling these targets as it would like to know the mind of the new US administration about the Iran nuclear deal.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • China
  • Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
  • “Third Offset Strategy”
  • Trilateral Chabahar Agreement


G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

Finalisation of Trilateral Chabahar Agreement


H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. The “Third Offset Strategy” is an idea to leverage American competence in emerging technologies. These emerging technologies include machine intelligence to counter the advantages of mass and geography that China has in Asia.
  2. New technologies like big data, artificial intelligence, robotics and bioengineering are often described as constituting the “fourth industrial revolution”.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 Only

b) 2 Only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


Question 2: What are the effects of ‘linear intrusion’?
  1. Animal behaviour is affected.
  2. Plant diversity is reduced.
  3. Wildlife habitat is fragmented and eventually lost.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only

b) 2 and 3 Only

c) All 1, 2 and 3

d) 3 Only


Question 3: ‘Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary’ is located in which among the following states?

a) Karnataka

b) Rajasthan

c) Maharashtra

d) Punjab


Question 4: What is a ‘bitcoin’?
  1. Bitcoin is a digital currency. This currency is not supported by any country’s government or central bank.
  2. Bitcoin is also known as crypto-currency.
  3. It can be traded for services or goods with sellers who accept bitcoins as payment.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 Only

b) 2 and 3 Only

c) All 1, 2 and 3

d) 3 Only


Question 5: ‘Bandipur National Park’  is located in which among the following states?
a) Karnataka

b) Tamil Nadu

c) Telangana

d) Kerala


Check Your Answers

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