Categories
9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 17, 2017


Front Page / NATIONAL


[1]‘Safeguard rights of online users’

[2]Palestine, Israel must coexist


Editorial/OPINION


[1]New base, new basket

[2]Held at ransom


Economy


[1]‘National Employment Policy this year’

[2]‘Tough to solve jobs issue’

[3]‘Foreign food retailers can sell non-foods too’


Live Mint


[1]The belt and road to China’s hegemony in Asia


Front Page / NATIONAL


The Hindu

[1]‘Safeguard rights of online users’

The Hindu

 Context

It’s duty of state, SC tells government

 What has happened?

The state has a duty to ensure that subscribers of online service providers are not “entrapped” by them, the Supreme Court advised the government

The government responded that it was in the process of building a regulatory regime of a binding nature to protect user data

 Backdrop

Hearing on petitions contesting the constitutionality of the contract entered into between WhatsApp and Facebook on data sharing

[2]Palestine, Israel must coexist

The Hindu

 Context

Abbas reiterates demand for return to pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as capital

 What has happened?

Pitching for peace in West Asia, India urged that a future state of Palestine should coexist peacefully with Israel

 Backdrop

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visit to India

Dialoguethe way

The challenges in West Asia can be dealt with, sustained by political dialogue and peaceful means

Mr. Abbas went on to thank India for contributing to capacity-building in the field of information technology in Palestinian territories

 India key to talks

Palestinian President Wants India to be involved, besides Arab countries, EU, Russia and other members of BRICS

Indian PM will visit Israel in July which will be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the country since establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992


 Editorial/OPINION


[1]New base, new basket

 The Hindu

 Context

The revised IIP shows India may have been overstating the industrial slowdown in its economy

In the past few years, the month-on-month IIP has shown excessively low, and even negative growth, which subsequently turned out to be out of sync with the actual manufacturing output growth measured through the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI). The survey for a financial year comes with a lag of about 24 months

it was measuring industrial output using baskets of production items and producing entities that had remained unchanged since 2004-05

 Dynamic IIP

To overcome the weaknesses, the IIP is being made more dynamic:

  • First, the Central Statistics Office has updated its base year to 2011-12
    • New products have been included in the items basket, and those that have lost their relevance deleted
  • Second, instead of the periodic baskets revisions, a permanent standing arrangement is being put in place to make sure that the IIP remains representative

Righting the numbers

The updated IIP offers new insights, the most important being that India may have been overstating the industrial slowdown in its economy

The bad news is that the output growth of the infrastructure and construction sector has slowed down from 5.7% in 2013-14 to 3.8% in 2016-17

The updated IIP also shows a modest recovery in the capital goods sector, a barometer of the investment sentiment. From -3.6% in 2013-14, output growth in the sector improved to 1.9% in 2016-17

The main driver of growth in the economy remains consumption. Consumer durables grew 6.2% and non-durables 9% in 2016-17

The IIP’s coverage by design is limited to the organised sector. The disruption in the unorganised sector is expected to get measured in the ASI

 Conclusion

The base years of all the major macroeconomic indicators, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Wholesale Price Index, are now aligned — 2011-12. The revised IIP will be plugged into the GDP series. The revised GDP estimates are scheduled to be released on May 31.

[2]Held at ransom

 The Hindu

 Context

The malware attack this weekend must hasten moves towards global rules on cyber threats

The menacing spread, of the malicious software WannaCry, which has since infected thousands of computer systems in 150 countries, is a frightening reminder of the vulnerabilities of a connected world

Cyber risk modelling firm Cyence estimates the economic damage to be $4 billion, a figure that may not seem daunting for a global-scale disruption such as this one. But its spread has exposed the lack of preparedness among government and private institutions

The list of unsuspecting users who fell prey to the malware includes the U.K.’s National Health Service, German transport company Deutsche Bahn, courier delivery services company FedEx and carmaker Renault

While the state of preparedness is a cause for worry, the likely origin of WannaCry forces stakeholders to revisit a long-standing and uneasy question regarding the actions of governments

 Cyber Vulnerabilities need to be reported not hoarded

WannaCry has its origins in a tool developed by the National Security Agency in the U.S. that was dumped online by a group called the Shadow Brokers

Report vulnerabilities to vendors rather than exploit them

Vulnerabilities Equities Process

The U.S. assesses the balance between cybersecurity and national interest through what is called the Vulnerabilities Equities Process, wherein a review board makes a final decision on whether a ‘vulnerability’ needs to be reported or retained.


 Economy


[1]‘National Employment Policy this year’

The Hindu

 Context

It will ensure shift from informal to formal jobs takes place in the country

 What has happened?

The Centre will frame a new sector-wise National Employment Policy in this financial year even as it grapples with low employment generation

Policy’s thrust would be to ensure a transition from informal to formal jobs takes place in the country

Quarterly survey of industries

The pace of job creation fell to a six-year low in 2015 with 1.35 lakh new jobs being created compared with 4.21 lakh new jobs in 2014 and 4.19 lakh in 2013, according to a quarterly survey of industries conducted by Labour Bureau, under the Ministry of Labour and Employment

Fifth Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey

Another survey of households conducted by Labour Bureau showed unemployment rate rising to a five-year high of 5% in 2015-16 compared with 4.9% in 2013-14 and 4.7% in 2012-13.

[2]‘Tough to solve jobs issue

The Hindu

 Context

India needs to clock 8-10% growth for greater job creation

 What has happened?

India’s current employment challenge is particularly difficult as sectors that did well in generating jobs in the country’s previous economic boom years — information technology (IT), construction and agriculture – are in trouble now

[3]‘Foreign food retailers can sell non-foods too’

The Hindu

 Context

PMO has assured FDI norms will be tweaked

 What has happened?

Centre is expected to pave the way for multibrand foreign retailers to tap the Indian market, by allowing overseas investors in the food retail segment to offer ‘Made in India’ non-food items as well

FDI norms would be tweaked as a ‘sweetener’ for foreign investors likely to attend a mega World Food Forum being held in the national capital this November

India had opened up 100% FDI in multibrand food retail and food processing sectors in early 2016

India’s $600 billion retail sector, with 70% of it comprising food, is a ‘mind boggling’ proposition for foreign retailers grappling with stagnating growth in the developed world

Employment generation, huge Investment


Indian Express



Live Mint


[1]The belt and road to China’s hegemony in Asia

Live Mint

 Context

As an advocate of a multipolar Asia, India cannot afford to play ball with China’s imperial designs

BRI compared to the Marshall Plan,the post-World War II American initiative to rebuild the war-ravaged economies of Europe

Europe was the center of power but now Asia is the new leader

Trump administration sent a high-profile delegation to the BRF in return for China promising increased market access for American firms in a few sectors

India boycotted the BRI forum meet

India’s apprehensions:

  • Debt burden for communities
  • Balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards
  • Transparent assessment of project costs
  • Skill and technology transfer

Historical proof

The previous Chinese investments in the continent of Africa as well as in India’s neighbourhood in Sri Lanka and Myanmar have faced strong local backlash for several reasons

  • Many of the projects have proved economically unviable, thus impeding the ability of recipient countries to service the loans
  • A debt to equity swap leaves them with the undesirable option of China owning strategic assets in their countries which can likely be used for military purposes
  • The tempting loans come with many riders and the recipient countries have to source much of their material from China
  • Often, a Chinese state-owned enterprise leads the project and large numbers of labourers, including low-skilled ones, are imported from China itself
  • All kinds of charges, ranging from environmental degradation to labour exploitation, have been levelled against Chinese companies

 A Rough Start

  • Pakistan hesitant to accept the tariffs for power produced by projects under Cpec
  • The refinery built by a Chinese state-owned company in Kyrgyzstan has found it difficult to source crude oil
  • Political and social discontent in the Central Asian country is already growing
  • Entire national election campaigns were held on an anti-China plank in countries like Zambia and Sri Lanka

Even the Chineseagainst it

Many of the BRI projects, even the Chinese admit will end up bleeding money

Hidden Objectives

That Beijing is still willing to go ahead suggests that it is eyeing bigger political and strategic gains

Not Marshall Plan

But it is more like the Japan’s pre-World War II imperial concept of ‘Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere’

Measures India can take

  • Infrastructure boost
  • A wait-and-watch strategy on the BRI does no harm for the moment but New Delhi should simultaneously step up its infrastructure building in India and the neighbourhood
  • Partnership with Japan
  • It should look to pool its resources with the Japanese Partnership for Quality Infrastructure (PQI). Even if India and Japan cannot match the scale and ambitions of BRI, they will gradually begin to attract partners which will likely be alienated as the true costs and motives of Chinese investments begin to show

Conclusion

As an advocate of a multipolar Asia, India has done well to sit out the BRF

Print Friendly