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9 PM Daily Brief – 3 March 2016

Brief of newspaper articles for the day bearing
relevance to Civil Services preparation

What is 9 PM brief?

Note: Todays’ Newspaper has articles on Union Budget 2016 – 17. They have not been covered in 9 PM brief. They will be available as standalone issue article: Analysis & Excerpts – Union Budget – 2016 – 17 by the end of the week.


GS PAPER 1


[1]. The loss of hope

The Hindu

Context: Suicide of three young women students in a medical college in Tamil Nadu citing the appalling conditions in their institution

Similar Incidents:

  • Suicide attempts by four female athletes in a sports facility in Kerala
  • 29 suicides of youth preparing for national entrance exams in coaching institutions in Kota
  • suicide of Rohit Vemula in Hyderabad
  • suicide of Saira Sirohi, a national level swimmer in Ghaziabad

Figures: According to the National Crime Records Bureau as well as independent investigations of mortality, suicide is the leading cause of death in young people.

Latest govt data suggests about 60,000 deaths of youth each year out of which a third is due to suicides.

A body of research has shown that the epicenter of youth suicides is in the most developed states in India like in the south of the country.

Main Cause:

  • According to the author, the main cause of such suicides is the loss of hope or hopelessness in themselves or in the system. As no one attempts to end their lives unless they have lost hope for their future.
  • Youth is a vulnerable period of suicide because of their impulsive behavior associated with dramatic changes in one’s self image and aspirations and when some of the most important decisions regarding education and relationships are made.
  • Another reason could be a long period of social problems leading to clinical depression.
  • A key reason could be the growing gap between the aspirations of educated youth like to freely choose one’s life partner or live a life free of social prejudices and the reality of a harsh, inflexible and uncertain society where they feel lost.
  • No coordinated effort to address suicide as a public health issue in India.

Remedy/ Prevention:

  • An open dialogue to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health
  • Building of life skills in schools to strengthen emotional regulation and resilience
  • Parenting interventions to reduce the pressure on young people to perform academically and choose their partner
  • Ensuring freedom from violence, gender discrimination and social exclusion of youth
  • A campaign to ensure safe storage of pesticides, the most commonly used method for suicides
  • Easy access to trained personnel to deliver psychological treatments in educational institutions and health care facilities

Conclusion: The spate of suicides in youth is the collective responsibility of society. A life saved today is just as important as the many we seek to save in the future.

[2]. Dalit movement has to see itself as part of class – wide movement

The Hindu

Context:  Suicide of Rohit Vemula, a Dalit student who was an alleged victim of low caste discrimination sparked a nationwide mobilization of Dalits many of whom were already engaged in local struggles.

View:

  • Dalit agitations have been taking place mostly in cities around issues like reservations and discrimination in colleges but these affect only a small proportion of the Dalit population – as the overwhelming majority of Dalits are wage labourers either in rural areas or in the informal sector in urban areas.
  • For Dalits to make progress therefore requires that they take up issues around wage labour and economic justice.
  • The struggles around identity and movements of the oppressed like the Dalit struggle can be sustained and strengthened only if they take up issues of economic justice.
  • Unless a movement for justice for Dalits is fundamentally based on class and economic justice, it will not address the needs of the vast majority of this section.

GS PAPER 2


[1]. An agenda for humanity

The Indian Express 

The Plan

First ever World Humanitarian Summit in May in Istanbul.

According to Ban ki moon UN secretary, world is facing worst humanitarian crisis since WW II.

Largest funding crisis on united nation to meet the crisis.

Reasons that are affecting the lives of millions of men, women and children and are destabilising entire regions

  • Climate change
  • Brutal and seemingly intractable conflicts
  • Violent extremism
  • Transnational crime
  • Growing inequality

Around the world, more than 125 million people need humanitarian assistance. A sense of shared humanity must shape politics and financial decisions of every single country.

Five core responsibilities

  1. Leaders must intensify efforts to find political solutions to prevent and end conflicts. World must move from managing crises to preventing them.
  2. Countries must uphold the norms that safeguard humanity,complying with international humanitarian and human rights law. It also means committing to national and international justice and ending impunity.
  3. Transforming the lives of the most vulnerable, including those living in conflict and in chronic poverty, and those living with the risk of natural hazards and rising sea levels. Reduce forced displacement, provide more regular and lawful opportunities for migration, empower women and girls and ensure quality education for all.
  4. moving from delivering aid to ending need
  5. finding smart and innovative ways of mobilising funds

End result

Sustainable human progress and a life of dignity and security for all.


GS PAPER 3


[1]. SEZ may not see investor interest

The Hindu

Concern: Financial liberalization in SEZ

What is SEZ?

In these zones business and trades laws differ from the rest of the country. Broadly, SEZs are located within a country’s national borders.

The aims of the zones: increase trade, increase investment, job creation and effective administration.

To increase investor in (SEZ) Special economic zones, Government should decrease or give away Minimum alternate tax.

SEZ is experiencing a slowdown in terms of exports, investment and employment generation after introduction of (MAT) Minimum Alternate Tax and (DDT) Dividend distribution tax by UPA government in FY12 Budget.

What is MAT?

MAT was introduced to tax companies making high profit and declare dividends to shareholders but have no significant taxable income because of exemptions, deductions, incentives.

What is DDT?

DDT is the tax levied by the Indian government on companies according to the dividend paid to a company’s investors.

Consequences of MAT and DDT introduction

  • Reduced number of SEZ notifications.
  • Slower operationalisation of SEZs.
  • Increased number of applications for de-notification of approved SEZs.
  • Also dented the investor-friendly image of SEZs.
  • Created uncertainty in the minds of foreign and domestic investors.

Solution

MAT should be totally withdrawn or reduced to its original rate of 7.5 per cent

[2]. Government nod for Uday bonds

The Hindu

Which states to get approval to issue UDAY bonds by finance ministry?

  • Uttar pradesh
  • Rajasthan
  • Jharkhand
  • Chhattisgarh

How many states have joined the UDAY scheme?

Number goes to 16 after Manipur and Tripura agreed to join it.

How many states signed for UDAY contract so far?

So far 6 states signed the contract.

How these bonds will help?

State governments can take over 75 per cent of discom debt and pay back lenders by issuing bonds. The scheme provides for the remaining 25 per cent of the debt to be paid back through discom-issued bonds. Total discom debt in the country amounts to Rs.4.3 lakh crore.

[3]. Three red flags from IMF that should worry Indian firms

The Livemint

Concern: Exposure to potential shocks increased

The IMF conducted stress tests on corporate balance sheets and found that Indian firms’ exposure to potential shocks continued to increase.

Leverage of Indian firms is among the weakest in emerging markets

Till late 90s investment demands of firms primarily funded by bank credits

After the global financial crisis, they relied increasingly on foreign borrowings; that also makes them vulnerable to external shocks.At the end of the last financial year,most leveraged firms had a debt-equity ratio of 149%, the highest among big emerging markets.

Returns for Indian companies have declined sharply

Reasons for diminishing profitability:

  • Delay in project approvals
  • land acquisition problems
  • fuel scarcity
  • two years of droughts
  • weak domestic and export demand
  • high interest rates etc.

The median return on assets (RoA) for Indian firms in fiscal 2015 was 4.6%, the lowest in a decade.

Stress tests show that vulnerability to shocks is high

Capacity of firms to repay debt has fallen alarmingly. Corporate debt-at-risk increased to 10.8% in fiscal 2015.

Under extreme adverse shocks—such as an increase of 50 basis points (bps) in domestic interest rates; a 400 bps increase in foreign interest rates; and 29% depreciation—corporate debt-at-risk could rise up to as high as 42%.

Heavy foreign borrowings have also increased corporate vulnerability.

Conclusion:

Corporate sector risks continue to be considerably higher than in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis.

[4]. Why the WTO is right in the solar panel dispute

Please find a detailed updated article on the issue. Click Here 


Prelims Facts


[1]. Kondane cave art depicts myth and daily life

Where: Raigarh District, Maharashtra

Timeline: Late historical period probably second B.C. onwards

Findings:

a. Paintings – 40 rock paintings (found in both natural as well as man made caves)

b. Buddhist architecture in the man made caves.

  1. An unfinished Buddhist chaitya and a vihara were found in two man-made caves in the group.
  2. A chaitya is a Buddhist prayer hall with a stupa at one end while a vihara is a monastery.
  3. The Buddhist rock-cut architecture found in these caves belongs to the Hinayana phase of Buddhism.]

Importance of the Findings: 

Important discovery because there were no evidence of  existence of rock art images in the western region of Maharashtra where the Kondane caves are located.


By: ForumIAS Editorial Team 


 

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  • Milan Ghosh

    What if GOI reduces the exemptions in Income tax calculation and remove the MAT? Why they are reducing here and charging there?

  • Milan Ghosh

    Do the companies need to pay MAT and Income tax both? Which are the current sectors that need not to pay MAT? And Do FII and FDI investors need to pay MAT?

  • Introvert

    what does ‘Raising the threshold for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS)’ mean?