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Newspaper Must Read Articles of The Day – 24 August 2015

Newspaper analysis from The Hindu bearing
relevance 
to Civil Services preparation

Front Page/National

  • Setback to anti-terror agenda: With the cancellation of NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan, India’s attempts to force Pakistan to move on three separate terrorism issues have been nipped in the bud. India had intended to hand over a list of fugitives hiding in Pakistan, hand over a dossier proving the residence of Dawood Ibrahim (responsible for 1992 Mumbai riots) in Pakistan, and highlight the slow pace of the 26/11 investigations (including the voice sample of prime accused Lakhvi that has never been handed over).
  • Ranil hopeful of political solution to Tamil question: Upon assuming office (after a narrow victory in the Sri Lankan general elections), the new Prime Minister has hoped for a quick political consensus on a new Constitution for Sri Lanka, and also to resolve the issue of ethnic Tamilians residing in Sri Lanka by working closely with the Tamil National Alliance.
  • Tiger reserve in limbo: The Kawal tiger reserve in Telangana is still not functioning as a tiger reserve even after three years of it being made a tiger reserve. Conservationists are alleging that local forest officials are creating the most hurdles by stalling orders that seek to enforce the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
  • Helping fishermen know the behaviour of the sea, fishing zones: The India National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is going to augment its network of buoys and tidal gauges that generate real-time information on waves, tides, ocean currents, temperature and even movement of fish shoals.
  • Man-made slopes led to Darjeeling landslips, says GSI: The Geological Survey of India has identified that man-made slopes intended for construction of houses and pathways as one of the key reasons for the landslips in the Darjeeling area a couple of months ago. Since they are built without proper support, the soil becomes loose and huge chunks are prone to get washed away by rains.

Opinion/Editorial

  • No alternative to talks: The cancellation of the NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan is an indicator of the relation between the two countries in the foreseeable future. Because the issues are such that nothing apart from talks can succeed, it should be ensured that at least a a discreet back channel is opened.
  • A reductive reading of Santhara: Santhara is a centuries-old Jain practice of voluntarily starving to death, that the Rajasthan High Court has ruled to be a form of suicide, thus making it illegal. The writer here tries to separate it from suicide, because Santhara is a religious act of purification, done in consultation with a guru, and follows the most detailed of procedures. It is not an impulsive act or an egoistic one. It bears the imprimatur of theology and the approval of society. (The court had asked whether Santhara is an essential tenet of Jainism, and had given its verdict after concluding that it is not).
    (The flawed reasoning in the Santhara ban is the second article in today’s Editorial section about Santhara).
  • The Korean conundrum: The ultimatum given by North Korea to South Korea to stop its propaganda broadcasts across the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between the two countries or face war has raised tensions to a very high level. The ultimatum could be a ploy by the North Korean govt to deflect attention of its citizens from domestic issues, but the South (which will be defended by the US in any war) should display restraint and try for a diplomatic solution, especially because North Korea is also a nuclear state.

International/World Affairs

  • Britain, Iran reopen embassies: Terrorism, regional stability and the spread of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq are among the challenges Britain and Iran should be prepared to work together, after they have reopened their embassies in each other’s countries.

Economy/Business

  • Exchange rate to determine corporate profitability: The fall in the value of the rupee, which is nearing 66 a dollar, is likely to impact corporate earnings in India because our domestic economy is more integrated with the global economy and also more sensitive to external shocks. We cannot really escape from repercussions of the Chinese stock market fiasco. (Indeed, our Sensex has opened 900 points lower this morning).
  • Corporate tax sops to be phased out, says Arun Jaitley: There are so many loopholes and exemptions in the Indian tax structure that many corporations pay hilariously lower taxes than they actually should. The Union Finance Minister has stated that the govt will start the process of gradually reducing corporate tax rates from 30% to 25% from next budget. And, this will be offset by removal of some exemptions which companies have been using to avoid paying the full taxes.
  • SEBI board to discuss commodity market norms: As part of the process while merging the commodity trading regulator FMC (Forward Markets Commission) with itself, the Securities and Exchange Board of India will discuss on Monday a new set of norms and finer details for the regulation of the commodities derivatives market.
  • Big-bang? Hardly: On the eve of Independence Day, the Finance Minister had unveiled a seven point agenda for public sector banks called “Indradhanush”. However, most of the points aren’t new and there are many challenges for them, that have been outlined by the writer in this article.
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