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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – April 11 2017



Front Page / NATIONAL [The Hindu]


[1]. Aadhaar must for access to Survey of India (SoI) maps

[2]. Govt. to get tough on traffic offences

[3]. Only Parliament can allow additions to OBC list

[4]. SC asks how children end up in J&K mobs

[5]. Australian uranium to arrive soon


Editorial/OPINION [The Hindu]


[1]. Transformative visit

[2]. Till the next port of call 

[3]. A short history of a big deal

[4]. Mind the treatment gap


Economy [The Hindu]


[1]. Healthcare needs innovative funding

[2]. Hasina invites Indian companies to Bangladesh, promises SEZs


Indian Express


[1]. Judicial prohibition

[2]. Australia in the Bay of Bengal


Live Mint



Front Page / NATIONAL


[1] Aadhaar must for access to Survey of India (SoI) maps

 

The Hindu

 

Context

It is to ensure that only Indians reach the portal

 

What has happened?

  • The Survey of India, the country’s oldest scientific organisation and official maker of maps, has set up a web portal called Nakshe that allows 3,000 of its 7,000 maps to be downloaded for free
  • One would require an Aadhaar number for such access

 

Why?

  • Oganisations and people who want specific maps need to fill forms and sometimes visit the SoI
  • Several times, Ministries themselves have to pay to get certain maps
  • All Indians should be able to get these maps for free because the government has already paid to get them made

 

Backdrop

250th anniversary of the SoI’s founding

 

New model

  • SoI is developing a Geoid model of the country
  • This would make measurements of topography by satellite compatible with the traditional ground-based measures

 

[2] Govt. to get tough on traffic offences

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Lok Sabha approves motor vehicle law amendments

 

What has happened?

The Lok Sabha cleared amendments to the motor vehicles law that will substantially increase the penalty for traffic violations, allow learner’s driving licences to be issued online and penalise contractors for faulty road designs

 

Key Points

  • Driving without a licence: may soon lead to a minimum fine of Rs. 5,000 as against Rs. 500 at present
  • For over-speeding: The penalty may go up to Rs. 1,000-2,000 from Rs. 400
  • Not wearing seatbelts: Would result in a minimum penalty of Rs. 1,000 against Rs. 100 at present
  • Traffic violation penalties increase: By 10% each year once the Bill becomes a law
  • The proposed law will also allow citizens to apply or renew a driving licence from any road transport office in the State. At present, citizens can only apply at the closest RTO
  • Plans to make submission of Aadhaar number mandatory for applying for a driving licence and vehicle registration by making an enabling provision in the Bill

 

[3]. Only Parliament can allow additions to OBC list

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Backward Classes Commission gets constitutional status(Constitution 102nd Amendment Bill)

 

What has happened?

  • The Lok Sabha cleared The Constitution 102nd Amendment Bill, that grants constitutional status to the Backward Classes Commission, now called the National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes
  • The Bill also enjoins that any addition to the Central list of communities under the Other Backward Classes will have to be cleared through Parliament

 

Why?

According to the Minister for Social Justice and empowerment Bill would ensure the rights of the Other Backward Classes, and give the National Commission for Backward Classes the constitutional safeguards enjoyed by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes

 

[4]. SC asks how children end up in J&K mobs

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Reacting to arguments by the J&K High Court Bar Association, which filed a public interest litigation petition for a ban on pellet guns

 

What has happened?

When told that security forces’ indiscriminate use of pellet guns against mobs in Jammu and Kashmir is creating a “nation of blind people”, the Supreme Court retorted by questioning the sense of humanity of the very people who form the mob and use children as cover while engaging security forces in pitched street battles

 

Advice to Bar

The Supreme Court advised the Bar Association against taking sides

 

[5]. Australian uranium to arrive soon

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Australia and India bilateral talks

 

What has happened?

  • Australia’s promise on uranium was announced even as both countries signed six agreements, including one on countering terrorism
  • Australiaworking closely with India to meet its fuel requirements for civil nuclear programme

 

Backdrop

  • Civil Nuclear Transfers to India Act in the Australian Parliament passed opening up opportunities for Australia to support Indian energy generation
  • Australia has about 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves and exports nearly 7,000 tonnes of yellow cake annually

 

Key Points

  • Both sides agreed to extend bilateral engagement to the Asia- Pacific region
  • Australia and India to hold a bilateral maritime exercise named AUSINDEX in the Bay of Bengal in 2018 and a joint exercise of the Special Forces in later 2017

 

Chinese presence

As part of the emerging Asia-Pacific focus of India-Australia ties, the joint statement took a firm position against China’s growing presence in the South China Sea region


Editorial/OPINION


[1]. Trans-formative visit

 

The Hindu

 

Context

India assures Bangladesh on Teesta water sharing, as the two countries broadbase ties

 

Issue: Recent bilateral visit of Bangladeshi PM to India

 

Resolution of the dispute

Author lauds the assurance given by Indian PM to Bangladesh of an early resolution of Teesta water agreement

 

Read More: Teesta Water Dispute

 

Agreements

  • 22 agreements were signed in the area of defence, nuclear energy, cyber security and media
  • 4 pacts were signed on the judicial sector, a $4.5 billion development assistance line of credit, on outer space and on passenger and cruise services
  • In addition, India has offered a new $500 million line of credit specifically for defence purchases
  • Transport links: 3 new transport links from West Bengal to Bangladesh were launched

 

[2]. Till the next port of call 

 

The Hindu

 

Context

France and India must do more together in the Indian Ocean, given our shared interests of maritime security

 

What does port of call mean?

Port of call means an intermediate stop for a ship on its scheduled journey for unloading and loading of cargo or taking on supplies or fuel.

 

Read More: Port of Call

 

What has happened?

  • Mission Jeanne d’Arc, made up of the amphibious assault ship/landing platform dock (LPD), Mistral, and the frigate, Courbet, called at the Mumbai port between March 29 and April 3, having set sail from the French military base in Djibouti before heading for Vietnam.
  • It is for the third consecutive year that France has deployed this important mission in the Indian Ocean, the China Seas and the Pacific region.
  • On each occasion, France has chosen to call at an Indian port: Visakhapatnam in 2015 and Kochi in 2016
  • These port calls always give rise to enriching interactions between navies.

 

Growing Indo-French co-operation

Author, an ambassador of France to India, states that maritime security has become a priority of Indo-French defence and security cooperation. He, then goes on to cite examples of the co-operation on this front,

  • Varuna: A bilateral exercise between India and France held in 2015
  • High-level bilateral dialogues: India and France have held two high-level bilateral dialogues on maritime security in the Indian Ocean and signed their first White Shipping Agreement on January 18, 2017

 

French interest

Author states that France has significant interest in Indian Ocean due to,

  • Reunion Island, which is home to over a million French citizens

 

[3]. A short history of a big deal

The Hindu

 

Context

The Teesta treaty continues to dominate relationsbetween India and Bangladesh

 

Issue: The Teesta water dispute

 

Some facts

  • Bangladesh shares 54 of its 57 transboundary rivers with India
  • 4th Largest river: After the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Meghna (GBM) river system, Teesta is the fourth largest river shared between the two countries

 

Why, the resolution of Teesta dispute is essential?

  • The Teesta river’s floodplain covers an area of 2,750 sq km in Bangladesh, supporting roughly 10 million people
  • An estimated one lakh hectares of land across five districts of Bangladesh are severely impacted and face acute shortages during dry seasons
  • Effect on agriculture: Apart from livelihood directly obtained from the river, agriculture is also affected as 14% crop production is dependent on the flow of the river

 

Therefore, there are millions of people of Bangladesh who depend on the river for their survival.

 

Allocation

In 1983, an ad hoc water-sharing agreement allocated 39% of the water flow to India and 36% to Bangladesh and remaining 25% was left unallocated for a later decision

 

Major hindrance

The main hindrance to a solution to Teesta issue is the West Bengal’s opposition. It is opposed to sharing Teesta waters with Bangladesh

 

Read More: Why MamataBannerjee is against sharing of Teesta waters with Bangladesh?

 

[4]Mind the treatment gap

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act will require a restructuring of health-care services

 

The Mental Healthcare Bill 2016

  • Every person will have the right to access mental health care operated or funded by the government
  • Good quality and affordable health care
  • Equality of treatment and protection from inhuman practices
  • Access to legal services
  • Right to complain against coercion and cruelty
  • The Bill also empowers a mentally ill person to choose a treatment and her/his nominated representative, decriminalises attempted suicide, prohibits the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to mentally ill adults without the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia, and contains provisions for care, treatment and rehabilitation for those who have experienced severe stress and attempted suicide

 

Overambitiousor Overkill ?

The objectives address major concerns of mental health care, but there have been some critiques drawing attention to the lack of funds, trained personnel, and insufficient emphasis on community care

 

  • Poor infrastructure, low funds
    • There are only 43 government-run mental hospitals across all of India to provide services to more than 70 million people living with mental disorders
    • There are 0.30 psychiatrists, 0.17 nurses, and 0.05 psychologists per 1,00,000 mentally ill patients in the country
    • At the macro level, the proposed health expenditure of 1.2% of GDP in the Budget for 2017-18 is among the lowest in the world
    • In real terms, public health expenditure has consistently declined since 2013-14
    • Of the total health budget, a mere 1-2% is spent on mental health

 

  • Social Stigma: Those with mental illnesses are pathological or even criminal; hence they do not deserve the type of rehabilitation given to those with physical ailments
  • Treatment gap: (the difference between those suffering from mental illnesses and those seeking medical/psychiatric care) is widened because of the social stigma attached to such illnesses
  • Beliefs: Others argue that it is not so much stigma but ignorance and lack of knowledge, myths, and supernatural beliefs that impede treatment
  • Women at more risk:Women typically face larger treatment gaps as they are vulnerable to violence, sexual abuse and inhuman treatment
  • Ethnographic evidence from the Human Rights Watch Report 2014 relating to women inpatients is gruesome
    • Abandoned by Families:Unable to cope with mentally ill relatives, families often abandon them in mental hospitals and elsewhere
    • Some women were not even informed that ECT was being administered
    • Abuse: Women and girls with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities in institutions are often subject to not just physical and verbal abuse but also sexual violence
    • No Admission: Government hospitals refuse to admit “mentally ill” persons in the ICU on the grounds that this facility could be put to better use

 

Shift to community-based care

An emphatic case could be made for shifting from institutional care to community-based care for people suffering from mental disorders

The Lancet Psychiatry , 2017 study

  • Offers corroborative evidence from VISHRAM (the Vidharbha Stress and Health Programme), which is a community-based mental health initiative
  • The reduction in the treatment gap was due to increased supply of mental health services through front-line workers and their collaborative linkage with the physicians and psychiatrists in the facilities, as well as increased demand for mental health services due to improved mental health literacy
  • The substantial reduction in the median cost of care resulted from availability of general as well as specialist services in the village itself

 

Conclusion

  • Root causes unaddressed:Whether legislation such as the Mental Healthcare Bill will help overcome supply and demand barriers seems highly unlikely, as the root causes lie in widely spread negative attitudes, massive neglect of mental health care, rampant abuse and unchecked inhuman practices, and weak redressal and enforcement mechanisms
  • Major Step Forward: The Bill seeks to address major lacunae (gaps)in mental health care and is thus an important step forward
  • Implementation is key: Its implementation will require substantially larger public resources and, more importantly, restructuring of mental healthcare services with a key role for the community in their provision, rapid expansion of mental health literacy, effective monitoring and enforcement of the objectives envisioned in it

 

Seems it is an OverKill

With limited awareness of these challenges, and with a slight risk of exaggeration, the Bill is an overkill


Economy


[1]Healthcare needs innovative funding

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Healthcare Federation of India (NATHEALTH)-PwC report

 

What has happened?

Alternatives needed to boost healthcare spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030

Key Points

  • Funding should be mobilised from pension funds and that investments should be routed through public-private partnership and long-term debt
  • Funding through business trust entities such as Real Estate Investment Trusts along with funds sourced through bilateral investment treaties
  • The New Health Policy 2017 too had highlighted that innovative modes of funding were needed to meet the requirements of the healthcare sector.

 

[2] Hasina invites Indian companies to Bangladesh, promises SEZs

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Bangladesh needs $20 billion a year to take advantage of demographic dividend

 

What has happened?

Bangladesh Prime Minister invited Indian companies to invest in the country’s infrastructure sector that requires investments of about $20 billion a year till 2030, promising to exclusively dedicate at least three of the 100 proposed special economic zones in the country for Indian investors

 

Key points

  • Bangaldesh exports to India should cross $1 billion
  • Hope for Indian industrialists to invest about $7 billion into Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal corridor project could boost economic ties but not moving
  • Bangladesh people entry is limited to only one point via visa, this needs to be changed to boost regional co-operation.

Indian Express


[1] Judicial prohibition

 

Indian Express

 

Context

Supreme Court curbs on sale of alcohol call for a clearer demarcation of separation of powers

 

What?

Then

  • A Model Policy formulated by the Union of India in 2005, provided for a ban on retail liquor shops within 100 metres of any religious or educational institution or hospital and 220 metres from the middle of national or state highways
  • The Model Policy made it clear that this ban would not apply to parts of national or state highways that passed through cities and towns that had a population of more than 20,000

Now

  • The Supreme Court completely altered the Model Policy resulting in a ban on sale of alcohol throughout the national or state highways and even in licenced hotels — most of whom, unfortunately, are situated on such highways
  • The distance of 220 metres was also more than doubled to 500 metres

 

Why?

  • To reduce deaths by drunken driving
  • Official statistics of 2015 showed that 16,298 or 3.3 per cent of the total accidents were due to drunken driving
  • There had been advisories from the Union of India to ban liquor shops on national and state highways but these were not implemented by the states

 

Acting as a legislative body

  • To impose prohibition, fully or partially, is the sole prerogative of each state under Entry 8 of List II of Schedule VII of the Constitution and even Parliament cannot direct any state as to when and where liquor can be sold
  • By imposing a nation-wide uniform ban of 500 metres with minor exceptions, the Supreme Court has really substituted all state laws with its own limits and other directions

 

The Fallout

  • Catastrophic fiscal consequences for almost all states, with revenue losses estimated to be in excess of Rs 75,000 crore and a potential loss of one million jobs
  • The collateral damage on domestic and international tourism is yet to be estimated
  • With the cancellation of bar licences, the huge impact on the revenues of hoteliers will result in loan defaults

 

Conclusion

  • Judicial directions, based on PILs, but contrary to the existing laws, introduce a dangerous element of uncertainty and can often be counter-productive as courts do not have the luxury of time to consider the overall consequences of their orders
  • Our Constitution does not have strict separation of powers — the legislature, executive and judiciary sometimes overlap — but there are certain lines that ought not to be crossed
  • Time to reflect on the need to demarcate these lines with greater clarity and certainty

 

[2]Australia in the Bay of Bengal

 

Indian Express

 

Context

Strategic cooperation between India and Australia can contribute to the construction of a stable maritime order in the region.

 

What has happened?

  • Pakistan’s reluctance to embark on even minimal mutually beneficial economic cooperation has made the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) dysfunctional
  • So India has decided to concentrate its diplomatic energies on the eastern Subcontinent
  • In conjunction with India’s growing links with East Asia, the Bay of Bengal has begun to replace South Asia as the primary vehicle for pursuing regional cooperation

 

The Indo-Pacific

As India’s economic footprint and the scope of its maritime interests widen, the idea of the Indo-Pacific has begun to transcend that of the Indian Ocean

  • The term Indo-Pacific allows the recognition of two important changes in the regional structures around us
    • One is the fact that Chinese economic interests and naval presence in the Indian Ocean have grown over the last decade
    • The other is the slow but certain rise in India’s economic and security profile in the Pacific
  • The idea that the Indian and Pacific Oceans are two different worlds has become increasingly unsustainable

 

China

  • The pace and intensity of the integration between the two oceans has been enhanced by President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative that seeks to connect China with the Indian Ocean through overland and maritime corridors
  • China has also acquired its first overseas military base in Djibouti, is building dual use facilities in different parts of the Indian Ocean littoral and cultivating special political relationships

India

  • Trying to consolidate its traditional special relationships in the Indian Ocean while building new partnerships in the Pacific
  • Japan and Australia, which barely figured in India’s post-Independence strategic calculus, have now become central to Delhi’s regional security quest
  • India has stepped up engagement with them, not only in the bilateral framework, but also in the trilateral framework
  • As the two new geopolitical frames of India — the Bay of Bengal and the Indo-Pacific — begin to intersect, Delhi has begun to factor in collaboration with Tokyo in its neighbourhood strategy

 

Increasing Collaboration with Australia

  • During Indian PM’s visit to Australia two sides outlined a broad plan for security cooperation with a special emphasis on maritime issues, including naval exercises, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, peacekeeping and diplomatic coordination in regional maritime forums
  • Agreed to exchange white shipping information

Greater Emphasis Needed

  • In developing the island territories in the Bay of Bengal and the eastern Indian Ocean
  • Due to rising Chinese efforts in the Indo-Pacific, Australia is debating plans to develop two Indian Ocean territories — the Cocos (Keeling) and Christmas Islands — for strategic purposes
  • Delhi, has been doing the same with the Andaman and Nicobar Island But progress has been rather slow

 

 

 

 

 

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