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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – April 21 2017



Front Page / NATIONAL [The Hindu]


[1]India makes fresh bid to get Headley, Rana

[2]States to be consulted on BC panel Bill

[3]China’s Arunachal move ‘illegal’

[4]Logistics pact with U.S. ‘almost done

[5]India, EU likely to resume talks

 


Editorial/OPINION [The Hindu]


[1]Trading away our digital rights

[2]Closer to Brussels


Economy [The Hindu]


[1]Auctions may help private coal miners tap 100 million tonnes

[2]MPC warns of upside risks to inflation


Indian Express


[1]Circumspection, My Lords


Live Mint



The Hindu


Front Page / NATIONAL


[1]India makes fresh bid to get Headley, Rana

 

The Hindu

 

Context

NIA raises the issue with FBI deputy chief Andrew McCabe

 

Backdrop

Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), visited India earlier this month and met senior officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA)

 

What has happened?

India has made a fresh request to the U.S. for the extradition of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana, wanted for their roles in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks

 

NIA

Not been tried in India

Though Rana was convicted by a U.S. court of the charge of providing material support to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which was behind the attacks, he had not been tried for offences, registered in India, of forgery and criminal breach of trust

 

Renewed Attempts

India renewed its attempt at Rana’s custody on the ground that he was involved in the planning of an attack on the National Defence College (NDC) in Delhi and Chabad Houses (Jewish religious centres) in several cities

 

Biggest Roadblock

The ‘double jeopardy’ clause in the U.S. law prohibits punishment for the same crime twice

 

History

  • Headley has been sentenced to 35 years in prison by a U.S court
  • Rana, a school friend of Headley from Pakistan, was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 14 years in prison for providing material support to Pakistan based LeT, the terrorist group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks

 

 

[2]States to be consulted on BC panel Bill

 

The Hindu

Context

Concern over erosion of rights

 

What has happened?

A select committee of the Rajya Sabha looking into a Bill according constitutional status to the Backward Classes Commission will be inviting all State governments to depose before it, and hold meetings till the logjam over the Bill is resolved

 

Members briefed

In a meeting, officials from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment briefed the members of the select committee, headed by BJP MP Bhupendra Yadav, on the Bill

 

Concerns

  • Rights of State governments to get names of communities added to the Centre’s OBC list
  • Under the new Bill, any addition to the Central list of OBCs will need to be cleared by Parliament

 

[3]China’s Arunachal move ‘illegal’

 

The Hindu

 

Context

 

 

What has happened?

India rejects neighbour’s attempt to rename six towns in the border State in its official record

 

Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs

Announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs that said it would “standardise” the names of towns in Arunachal, which China refers to as ‘South Tibet’, as Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, QoidêngarboRi, Mainquka, Bümo La and NamkapubRi respectively, on its version of the map that India contests

 

India Dismisses claim

The government dismissed China’s claim clearly

 

Escalation of tensions

Beijing’s move is being seen as an escalation of tensions by China that has been angered by the government’s decision to allow the Dalai Lama to visit the Tawang monastery this month

 

Next round of talks

  • The next round of boundary talks between Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and National Security Advisor (NSA) AjitDoval is expected to take place later this year in Delhi, and Mr. Doval is expected to attend the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group’s NSA-level meeting to be held in Beijing in July

 

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend the BRICS ministerial meeting before that in June

 

 

 

[4]Logistics pact with U.S. ‘almost done

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) gives mutual access to designated military facilities for refuelling and enables joint exercises

 

What has happened?

In just about two days, India is expected to notify the operationalising of the LEMOA with the U.S

 

LEMOA

LEMOA gives access to both countries to designated military facilities on either side for refuelling and replenishment in primarily four areas — port calls, joint exercises, training and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief

 

Delayed work

However, its implementation has been delayed, as India was unable to streamline administrative procedures to enable its operationalisation

 

Other Agreements

The other foundational agreements:

COMCASA: Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)

BECA: Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Information and Services Cooperation (BECA)

 

Ratification the next step

After the notification, the U.S. is expected to formally ratify the agreement which will then operationalise the pact, the official stated.

[5]India, EU likely to resume talks

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Mogherini may discuss stalled trade pact; visit likely to open up ties with Italy

 

 

What has happened?

The talks between India and the EU that were stalled in the backdrop of the Italian marines crisis are likely to kick-start during the April 21-23 visit of the High Representative of EU, Federica Mogherini of the European Union

 

Agenda

  • Discussion with External Affairs Minister
  • Preparation for 14th EU-India summit, to be held in New Delhi this year
  • Likely to open up Ind-Italy ties

 

Joint economic commission meeting

A high-level Indian delegation will be in Italy on May 10-12

 

Joint working groups

  • Both sides have also revived joint working groups on defence, and science and technology
  • The joint working group on terrorism also met in January this year

 

Market access

The main issues are over duties and market access but additional points of disagreement have reportedly emerged over new clauses that would not allow international companies to rush to international arbitration without completing cases in Indian legal system

 

History

Following the cooling down of the marines issue, India had sent Ms. Swaraj to Rome last year where she had met her counterpart Paolo Gentiloni in the first high-level outreach since the marines crisis began in 2012

 


Editorial/OPINION


[1]Trading away our digital rights

 

The Hindu

 

Context

India must first secure its digital sovereignty before it can begin global trade talks

 

Global Trade Treaties

Global trade negotiations are now eyeing the digital area in an attempt to pre-emptively colonise it

 

Big Data

Collected from Developing Countries and converted, or manufactured, into digital intelligence in developed countries, mostly the U.S

 

Control Various Sectors

This digital data forms a kind of “social brain” that begins to control different sectors and extract monopoly rents

 

Questions raised

It is important to frame who owns data and digital intelligence, and how their value should be socially distributed

  • Should governments buy data?: Would the society or government then buy data and intelligence even for crucial public purposes from these digital companies, when the data actually come from our various social and personal interactions over digital platforms?
  • Ownership of our data?:Does the ownership of the platform give corporations economic ownership of all the data so produced? Is ownership of data of sensitive sectors to be treated differently?

 

Demands of the developed countries at Digital Trade talks

  • Free and unhindered access to the “network” running throughout our society to mine social and personal data from every nook and corner
  • Ensuring completely free flow of data across borders, with no requirement of local storing, even for sensitive sectors like governance, banking, health, etc
  • Exclusion from future regulation of all services other than those already committed to a negative list, which will of course include e-versions of every sector

 

Conclusion

India should avoid entering into such agreements

India must resist any digital trade negotiations at this time. It has little to gain from them, and much to lose. It must first build its digital sovereignty — and digital rights — before it can begin negotiating a part of it in global trade talks

 

[2]Closer to Brussels

 

The Hindu

 

Context

Recent developments show that there is room for optimism in India-EU ties

 

Backdrop

Visit of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini

 

Ind-EU

  • Share similar world views but the relationship has faced roadblocks in the years
  • Stalled negotiations over the Free Trade Agreement, mutual recriminations on combating climate change, and divergent positions on Russia’s role during the Crimean crisis

 

Optimism

  • Prime Minister’s visit to Brussels and the resumption of the EU-India summit in 2016, after a break of four years
  • Adoption of a joint declaration on counterterrorism in the summit

 

Areas for Co-operation

Dealing with challenges in their shared extended neighbourhood, which stretches from Istanbul to Islamabad and from Moscow to Mauritius

 

Afghanistan

Political coordination through an EU-India-Afghanistan trilateral, with regular security consultations to exchange assessments, could be the first step in this direction

 

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean region offers another potential area for cooperation

 

Counter China

Delhi is keen to counter China’s European offensive, including €50 billion worth of investments since 2000, a dialogue with the EU on the Belt and Road initiative, and the ‘16+1’ mechanism in eastern Europe

 


Economy


[1]Auctions may help private coal miners tap 100 million tonnes

 

The Hindu

 

Context

  • CIL gears up to compete with private competition for the first time since 1973
  • Private players will be able to bid for mines with about 100 million tonnes of coal reserves in the initial phase of auctions for commercial mining rights

 

Positive disruption

  • Allowing competition in the commercial mining space will create a positive disruption in the market, like the BSE, State Bank of India and MTNL that once dominated the market but now compete with large new players in their respective sectors

 

  • Coal India is closing 37 unviable mines this year, they will close several more and in the next two years,will have no unviable coal mining in Coal India

 

[2]MPC warns of upside risks to inflation

 

The Hindu

 

Context

While all the six members of the monetary policy committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), that sets interest rates, voted in favour of a status quo, one member discussed the possibility of increasing the rate to achieve the 4% retail inflation target over the medium-term

 

In the first bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2017-18, the RBI decided to keep the policy interest rate unchanged at 6.25%


Indian Express


[1]Circumspection, My Lords

 

Indian Express

 

Context

Freewheeling use of Article 142 is raising questions about judicial diktats inattentive to consequences

 

Positives

SC constructively intervened affecting a positive change in many areas such as:

  1. CNG issue
  2. Child Labour
  3. Violations of labour laws
  4. Sexual harassment at workplace
  5. Harassment in police custody

 

Judicial Overreach

  • Prohibiting the sale of liquor in establishments, restaurants, vends, etc., within 500 metres of national and state highways
  • The location of hotels, restaurants or vends, selling liquor is a pure policy decision, best left to governments to take
  • Subject matter of liquor is within the exclusive domain of state legislatures

 

Consequences Ignored by SC

  • That hotels would lose their five-star ranking is one such consequence
  • That millions associated with the liquor business would lose their jobs is another consequence
  • That the state will lose a vital source of revenue, which would become part of the Consolidated Fund of the state for multifarious state programmes

 

Public Interest?

If public interest becomes the raison-d’être (Ultimate Purpose)of decision-making, the judiciary might then be persuaded to deal with every ill that confronts this country

 

Freewheeling use of Article 142 has effects

  • Personal liberty is at stake and the rule of law in jeopardy
  • Has  economic consequences that tend to destabilise the economy

 

Some negative decisions

  • Cancellation of all Telecom Licenses
  • Cancellation of all allocations of coal mines have adversely impacted the balance-sheets of public sector banks
    • Effects: defaults on bank loans
  • Ban the sale of diesel cars with an engine capacity of 2000 cc and above
    • Effect: jeopardised possible foreign investment

 

Conclusion

  • Courts affected by social media, news etc.
  • Courts Should not take cover of Article 142 when statutory remedies are available
  • Its time for the Courts to be more circumspect (carefu)

Live Mint



 

 

 

 

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