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9 PM Daily Brief – 22 March 2016

 

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

What is 9 PM brief?


GS PAPER 1


[1].Honour killings are a separate horror

The Hindu

What is honour killing?

The killing of a relative, especially a girl or woman, who is perceived to have brought dishonour on the family.

Why in news?

  1. Shankar (22), a dalit youth was hacked to death in a suspected honour killing.

What  BR Ambedkar said about this kind of oppression?

Political tyranny is nothing compared to social tyranny and a reformer, who defies society, is a much more courageous man than a politician who defies government.

Is it denied by the state?

According to Supreme Court honor killing is brutal and barbaric.

Yet successive govt have shown negligence in their approach to these crimes because there is:-

  1. No definition of the crime
  2. No protection legally afforded to couples
  3. No measures to prevent such crime.

Thus, since there is nolegal recognition there is no statistics available in NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau) about this crime

During the Vajpayee regime, Indian representative at the UN’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee discussing the Special Rapporteur’s report on violence against women contested the mention of honour killings in India.

 For the first time there was a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the issue of honour crimes in 2009.

Law ministry view on this

Came up with a set of recommendations in 2010 called “The Indian Penal Code and Certain Other Laws Amendment Bill 2010”.

It deals only with crime of honour-related murders and not other torture faced by young couples.

Women’s organization approach

In 2010, the legal cell of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) in consultation with many women’s organisations and individuals, drafted a comprehensive law entitled “The Prevention of Crimes in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill” and gave it to the government.

The bill define honour crimes in relation to a violation of the rights of the couple. It reiterated that every person has a right to choose his/her partner. It suggested preventive measures.

It was supported by National Commission for Women.

In 2012 law commission brought its own version of the bill. But it was narrow and conservative in its approach. Entitled “Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Bill, 2011”, the Bill dealt primarily with the “unlawful assemblies” called by caste panchayats to prevent a self-choice marriage.


GS PAPER 2


[1]. No move to review policy on quotas, says Prime Minister

The Hindu

Event

PM Modi laid the foundation stone for a memorial for B.R. Ambedkar at Alipur in New Delhi, where he lived towards the end of his life.

What was said by the PM?

  • The  government has no plans to revisit the reservation policy for Dalits and other communities.
  • If Dr.  Ambedkar were alive today, even he cannot snatch this right.
  • He compared Dr. Ambedkar to American civil rights icon Martin Luther King and said it would be an injustice to keep his personality limited to the cause of Dalits.
  • Dr. Ambedkar backed the Hindu Code Bill, which was a progressive move to codify and reform Hindu personal law in India.
  • It is because of Dr. Ambedkar that many women got rights under the Constitution.

 

[2]. Castro renews call to lift U.S. embargo in historic talks

The Hindu

Event

Historic talks between U.S. President Barack Obama  and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro at Havana’s Palace of the Revolution.It is the first U.S. President visit in Cuba since 1928.

 

Havana’s Palace of the Revolution

It is the main government building since the 1959 revolution that turned Cuba into a communist state.

 

Statements made by Castro

  • He praised Mr. Obama’s recent steps to relax controls on Cuba as “positive,” but deemed them insufficient.
  • He called anew for the U.S. to return its naval base at Guantanamo Bay to Cuba and to lift the U.S. trade embargo.
  • In our view, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are indivisible, interdependent and universal.

 

Statements made by Obama

  • He  raised “very serious differences” the U.S. has with Cuba on democracy and human rights, but portrayed those difficult conversations as a prerequisite to closer relations.
  • U.S. will continue to speak up about democracy, including the right of the Cuban people to decide their own future.
  • The future of Cuba will be decided by Cubans not by anybody else.

[3] Nepal seals pact on transit through China + Bridge to China

The Hindu                                                                                                     Indian Express

What is the news?

  • Nepal got transit right through China.(Beijing Agreement)
  • It will also include building of multiple train routes connecting Nepal with China’s key production centres.
  • Beijing has agreed to assist Nepal in the exploration of hydrocarbon resources and expand the use of solar energy.
  • agreement that will allow Nepal to use Chinese ports to import goods from third countries.
  • Nepal also agreed to join the grand project called “One Belt, One Road”

 

Future of the Agreement will depend on Economic viability of transit facilities and train connectivity projects.

 

India and Nepal relationship was not so good, now Nepal China relations are moving ahead. India should consider nepal as sovereign country.

 

India nepal transit

  • India-Nepal ties could not be compared or curtailed by Nepal’s agreements with China.
  • India at present has two rail lines under construction and three more are being planned to increase Nepal’s trade ties.
  • During the February visit of Prime Minister Oli to New Delhi, India agreed on giving dedicated access to Nepal to the port of Vizag.

 

Aim of nepal to visit china

  • Its focus is on reducing the current dependence on India by strengthening ties with China.

               Justified on grounds of Madhesi protest on fuel and other essential supplies from India.

 

Future Request

  • Nepal asked China to extend its Tibet railway into Nepal
  • build an intercity railway system within Nepal

[4] New medicine for drug-resistant TB launched

The Ħindu

21st march

  • World Tuberculosis Day

Health Ministry launched

  • New drug for Drug Resistant TB

What is tuberculosis?

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.

What is drug resistant TB?

  • Multi-drugresistant tuberculosis (MDRTB, also known as Vank’s Disease) is defined as a form of TB infection caused by bacteria that are resistant to treatment with at least two of the most powerful first-line anti-TB drugs, isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RMP).

What is the New Drug?

  • Bedaquiline
  • It belongs to Diarylquinoline class, it targets the Mycobacterial ATP Synthase which give energy to the different Mycobacteria.

Introduction

  • It is introduced at six tertiary centres pan india.

Which patients it will target

  • multi-drug resistant TB patients with resistance to either all fluoroquinolone and/or all second line injectables and extensive drug resistant TB

It also include 500 Cartridge-Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines

  • It is a molecular test which detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance
  • It is fully automatic
  • It will give result in just two hours
  • It can be used in remote and rural areas without sophisticated infrastructure or specialised training.

Future ahead

  • Need for new tools for diagnosis
  • R and D

[5] Ten more states to come under food security scheme

The Hindu

National Food Security Act (NFSA)

  • It is an Act of the Parliament which aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
  • It was signed into law on 12 September 2013,retroactive to 5 July 2013
  • It converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Government of India.
  • It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System.
  • The Midday Meal Scheme and the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population.
  • Beneficiaries of the Public Distribution System are entitled to 5 kilograms per person per month of cereals at very nominal prices: Rice at ₹3 Wheat at ₹2 per kg Coarse grains at 1 per kg.
  • Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free meals.

10 New States are set to implement National Food Security Act (NFSA) from April 1

  • Number will reach to 21 states

Centre and the States are working together for

  • digitization
  • linking ration cards with Aadhaar
  • computerization of PDS shops and supply chain network

So that act will be implemented nationally.

Some facts

  • 99 % of the ration cards are digitized
  • 48% are linked with Aadhaar cards

[6] Forging unity by force of crisis

The Hindu

What is this all about?

It is about a deal between EU and Turkey regarding the present refugee crisis there.

What is there in the deal?

As part of an agreement to stem the influx of refugees from the Middle East, the European Union endorsed Turkey as a “safe” country for asylum seekers—a necessary precondition for sending migrants back there under international law. 

 In return, EU countries will take some Syrian refugees−not more than 72,000 this year−directly from Turkey and pay €6 billion ($6.79 billion) for food vouchers, schools and other projects aimed at improving the lives of 2.7 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey.

And as well plans for visa-free travel to the Schengen (area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control) area for Turkish citizens.

Why is it controversial?

Europe prides itself in being a continent where people fleeing from war can find shelter. But the core of the deal is Europe’s desire to keep the refugee problem at its periphery, using two defensive rings: The first, aims to keep everyone in Turkey, and the second, tries to confine those who have reached Greece by closing borders in countries north of Greece to cut off the main migrant trail to Germany.

[7] Commonwealth is a great global good

The Hindu

What is commonwealth?

Literally it means politically community founded for common good.

Based on this idea of common good an intergovernmental organization of 53 nations had been formed known as Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth). These nations were mostly territories of formerly Britsh Empire. For example India, Pakistan, etc.

Why in news?

The term of Kamlesh Sharma, present secretary General of commonwealth is about to end.

Any great work done by him as secretary general?

With a Charter crafted under him, the organization has become an incubator of big ideas such as Multilateral Debt swap for climate action.

What is multilateral debt swap for climate action?

This proposal involves an agreement between participating climate finance providers and debtor countries, to reduce their public debt in exchange for a commitment to use debt repayments to finance local climate change projects.

Is commonwealth nation relevant today?

Because of its composition and size if it agrees on something it would be a global idea.

What is commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)?

Commonwealth’s core principles and values, detailing the Commonwealth’s membership criteria, and redefining and reinforcing its purpose were made in Harare Declaration in 1991.

For upholding this declaration a group of representative of the member of commonwealth nation had been formed known as CMAG.

What is in its Charter?

The 16 point charter makes member countries:-

  1. To hold free and fair election
  2. Separation of power between legislature, executive and Judiciary.
  3. Ensure independence of judiciary

 

Some of the ideas developed within commonwealth

  • Concept of resilience and vulnerability of economies.

Economic vulnerability is defined as the exposure of an economy to exogenous shocks, arising out of economic openness, while economic resilience is defined as the policy-induced ability of an economy to withstand or recover from the effects of such shocks. For example in this interdependent world a shock like high fuel and food price, natural disaster, etc can put several years back a middle income country.

Programmes to cover financial risk faced by small nation in trading like multilateral debt swap and climate finance action hub is there in this organization.

  • Commonwealth connects.

By digitalization the slogan “round the clock and round the world” possible through this programme.

Common health

Dedicated web platform to advance public health.

Criticism of the Commonwealth?

Recently its role was criticized in CHOGM(Commonwealth Head of govt meeting) 2013 in sri lanka. It was accused of soft pedaling the Human Rights abuse during Rajapaksa regime.


GS PAPER 3


[1]. Tax panel wants 6 – 8 % levy on most digital services

The Hindu

Issue

A Committee on Taxation of E-Commerce, set up by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has recommended a 6-8 per cent tax the {equalisation levy (EQL)} on several online services  provided by a company not resident in India.

What kind of online services?

  • Online advertising
  • Cloud computing
  • Website-hosting
  • Digital platforms for sale of goods and services
  • Download of software and applications.

Who will be cover under this?

  • Currently, it is  restricted to B2B transactions.
  • Almost all B2C (business to consumer) transactions as well as a very large number of B2B (business to business) transactions will be outside its scope.

Issue with e-commerce

The problem is that the services are often provided by companies that have no office space in the country where the service is rendered and so are not subject to tax, providing them an advantage over domestic players.

Objectives of this move

  • This levy is India’s attempt to tax the digital economy in a non-adversarial manner.
  • And at the same time demonstrate its commitment to the global BEPS project  
  • To raise more revenues for the country.

What is BEPS?

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)  refers to those instances where  gaps between different tax rules leads to tax avoidance causing harm to the government. It refers to all those artificial arrangements where:

  • Due to gaps in application of the bilateral tax treaties, cross border activities may go untaxed in any of the two countries.
  • No or low tax is paid by shifting profits to low tax jurisdictions and shifting losses and high expenditures to high tax jurisdictions.

Equalisation Levy

The equalisation levy follows the (BEPS) report, endorsed by the G20 and OECD, which sought to put forth a global standard for taxing e-commerce.

[2]. An ‘A’ for ambition

Indian Express

Issue

This budget is being touted as one of the most ambitious budget.

How to double farm income in five years

  • By building  more than 1 lakh water harvesting structures.
  • By  building 5 lakh ponds in rural areas through MGNREGA .
  • By  expansion of agro-processing
  • Use of GM seeds
  • By better connectivity through rural roads
  • By increasing allocation for irrigation projects

How to tackle Illiteracy and other menaces related with it

  • By setting up 62 Navodaya Vidyalayas, which have been successful in promoting quality education to rural children.
  • A new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural India.
  • Proposal to make 10 public and 10 private institutions as world-class centres for research.
  • Devolution of Rs 80 lakh to each panchayat which will improve rural development.

Environment friendly

  • Proposal to provide LPG to all
  • Increase in tax on coal from Rs 200 to Rs 400 per tonne. This amount is to be spent for promoting renewable energy.

Better Targeting

  • Aadhaar can help avoid duplication and ghost cards, but it does not identify the poor.
  • But rich can be identified. Metrics such as income tax payers, employees of the public and private sector drawing salaries above a certain level, those owning a motorised vehicle, etc. can be used for this purpose.

Conclusion

The budget proposes many good initiatives, which if successfully implemented can have a deep impact on people’s welfare.

[3] India’s water crisis is set to worsen

Livemint

News

Latur in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region

  • collector has invoked Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code relating to unlawful assembly.
  • Last year, people were supplied municipal water once in 15 days; this was lowered to once a month.

In Punjab

  • State Assembly has defied the Supreme Court to resolve that the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal (SYL) will not be built
  • Which will deny water to haryana
  • Half of the haryana state is receiving canal water for 8 days after every 32 days

 

Maharashtra Sugar belt and punjab water-intensive rice crops needs water and both cases shows two common inefficiencies—political and agricultural.

From Last 50 years per capita availability of water in India declined from 3000 to 1000 where global average is 6000 cubic metres.

There are two source of fresh water

  • Surface water             45%
  • Ground water             55%

Groundwater takes up 80% of India’s water usage.

Concern

  • According to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration: India’s water tables are dropping at the rate of 0.3 metre a year.
  • If water levels are decreasing, it sets up a vicious cycle, increasing the importance and political value of surface water
  • It is boosting dependence on—and depletion of—groundwater
  • Unpredictable monsoon is making it worse

According to the Central Water Commission’s latest numbers, water levels in India’s most important reservoirs now stand at a mere 29% of total capacity.

[4] India’s stealth rate cut could have an outsized effect

Livemint

Issue

Effects of decrease in interest rate of Small Savings Schemes on Banking Sector.

Response from different Quarters

  • Middle class and salaried class is upset.
  • But  investors in the country’s bad loan-addled banks are happy with this move.

How banks will gain from this move?

  1.  Small savings schemes have become less attractive because now they offer, almost the same interest rates as the banks do.
  • So, it is quite likely that at least some of their customers will gravitate toward the banking system.
  1. Banks can use the extra deposits coming their way to bulk up their bond portfolios.
  2. And another rate cut by RBI would create requisite conditions which will generate economic activity.
  • And specially it would help lower borrowing costs for highly leveraged infrastructure and metals companies, which are considered the backbone of the economy.

[5] Budget: tectonic shift in objectives

Livemint

Context

The Budget if implemented in spirit may result in a tectonic shift in India’s economic policy which will mark the beginning of the transition towards India becoming a healthier, cleaner and more prosperous country.

Enabling capital investment over capital allocation

  1. It will bring down its cost of capital as its demand and liability will reduce.
  2. It will enable institutions to raise resources from outside the budgetary allocations and such institutions will then become accountable to their capital providers.
  3.  And any risk of failure would be borne by their investors rather than by taxpayers.

Balance between Consumption and Investment

  • As we are a consumption driven economy, so, savings and investments should be encouraged and over-spending must be discouraged.That is exactly we have done in our new budget.
  • Saving over spending:-By taxing services (most of them are on consumption) and raising taxes on liquid fuels, and diverting such money into infrastructure,
  • These savings will translate into investments, and thus, lower the reliance of the economy on foreign savings (or imports).

Realistic budget rather than a Populist Budget

  1. Tax dividends on the wealthy.
  2. Increased taxes on cars.

Environment Friendly Budget

  • Fossil fuels has always been under taxed. By raising taxes on fossil fuels and spending more on renewable energy, the government has made a rational choice.
  • Provide 15 million households LPG connections.It will improve citizens’ health, save health care costs, cut pollution, and preserve local ecology.

Surplus over Deficit

We will increase the size of future obligations by using deficits to fund growth. It will mortgage the future earnings of our children.

We should go for fiscal surplus, instead of ‘containing’ fiscal deficit.This can be done by following means:-

  1. By creating an atmosphere where all economic services, including railways,  fend for themselves.
  2. All available government assets in the form of natural resources or corporate entities need to be monetised and the funds generated be used to retire public debt.
  3.  All bureaucratic efforts should be solely directed towards improving economic growth because the correlation of government revenues to economic growth is higher than its expenses.
  4. Ease of doing business also vastly improves ‘capital efficiency’, thereby requiring lesser capital per unit of economic growth.

BY: ForumIAS Editorial Team 

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  • abhi

    Thanks

  • Satyajeet Panchal

    Keep it up. Very helpful.

  • Amit

    great work sir….thanks a lottt…..

  • learn

    thanks sir

  • Good articles with better insights and details. It will be better if u provide original articles links from respective websites at the bottom of each summary.

  • Pyarelal

    Admirable efforts.