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industry b) Some like Lawrence Summers have argued that men outperform due to biological differences c) Even many democratic countries are not witnessing equal participation d) In India, the female to male ratio has been improving but women are grossly underrepresented in most scientific establishment in public sector and upper echelons of science administration and management ● Islamic terrorism in Africa: a) As Al Qaeda comes under pressure in border areas of Afghanist and Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia, it looks for other areas to seek new refuge b) Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia and Kenya c) Arc of instability: Somalia and Sudan in the east to Chad and Mali in the West d) Mali: ▪ Arms dropped for Libyan rebels flooded across the border into Mali across porous borders ▪ In Mali the nomadic Tuareg in the northern half of the country have been long marginalised ▪ The jihadist latched onto an ethnic revolt, promptly sweept its leaders aside e) Nigeria: Boko Hram recruits ill educated, jobless and angry muslim youngsters to wage a campaign of violence and murder f) Ethiopia and Kenya, the jihadis have been able to widen the age long rift between Muslims and Christans g) Algeria: The attackers came from Tunisia, Mali and Niger h) The North African islamists look for inspiration if not direction to global jihadists like Al Qaeda. Some get money from sponsers in Saudi and other sources in rich Gulf countries i) Why foreign intervention in North Africa in a global issue: ▪ Oil rich region ▪ Piracy is the driect result of law lessness in Somalia 7th February China-North Korea: China has voted in UNSC for tightening sanctions on North Korea which many feel as a step for appearing flexible as it cannot do so in cases of Senkaku islands and South China Sea issues 12th February, 2013 ● Business of diplomacy Indian industry works closely with Indian diplomats Outward FDI= $ 18.5b in 200-09 MEA lays overall guidelines for commercial relations with any country, setting out bilateral investment protection agreements, double taxation avoidance, sectoral agreements, economic partnership agreements, free trade agreements, transport connectiveness among others Rising overseas aid and lines of credit by Indian government also help Indian companies in the host countries Indian mission in foreign countries help Industry through Sharing information on tenders, connecting businesses and providing business services Industry help government missions through funding of cultural programmes, visits of
dignitaries, participating in task forces and working groups Example: ASEAN-India Car Rally State of Indian Economy: Foreign investors are not investing due to global factors, GAAR issue, policy paralysis and overall bad picture of the economy India's domestic savings is not adequate due to inflation and high interest rates Government cannot borrow due to high fiscal deficit Due to unmet disinvestment targets High subsidy Huge CAD due to lower exports and inelastic imports of petroleum and gold to rein in this, we need foreign investors who need to be assured that in the long run India is a good investment AFSPA: FM P Chidambaram has said that while govt. Wants to dilute AFSPA, the Army has been refusing to review the act No army personnel has been prosecuted in 50 years in areas where this act has been enforced Verma committee has asked to review the act as far has sexual crimes are concerned The states in NE are peaceful now for instance no soldier has died in any combat in Nagaland in the last 5 years Pathology called hurt sentiment (sociological view) Our modernity is characterised by a peculiar relationship with the past. When public commentators are urged not to hurt public sentiments, it is an implicit plea to allow past practices and beliefs to dictate contemporary life Preventation of sentimental hurt among home populations presents a situation where we want material advancement but not social and cultural change. Instead to trying to accept the changing behaviour of young people, particularly young women, the society prefers to view it as a decline of moral values Higher education: India's spending on higher education as a percentage of GDP (3=1.2 govt and 1.8 private) is quite high compared to many developed countries Even salaries of teachers by accounting for purchasing power comes close to many countries of similar developent The Gross enrolment rate is also highest (18) among the countries of similar development Problems: Little coordination between states and centre Many of India's colleges are too small to be viable (understaffed and ill-equipped) Rigid bureaucracy of the affiliating system Some universities are too big resulting in too much centralisation Most of the graduates are unemployable Teachers do not have adequate autonomy and are mired in rigid bureaucracy Solutions: Decentralisation: Apart from core courses, colleges should be given autonomy to restructure the curriculum Clustering and merging of colleges which are small The work of academics and college teachers need to be objectively evaluated
13th February, 2013 Third nuclear test by North Korea ● Traditional approach towards North Korea are failing
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Pyongyang's defiance of the international community China also warned North Korea Nuclear test was the response against sanctions imposed by UNSC in the aftermath of rocket launch in December Miniaturised and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previous tests The situation in East Asia Maritime territorial disputes among China, Japan and South Korea Surging nationalist passions in East Asia Change of military equation between Washington and China Instead of treating North Korea as deviant state, US must recognize its status as a nuclear state Efforts must be directed at ensuring that DPRK abides by global non-proliferation norms rather than trying to force it to surrender weapons US must also have to address concerns of the two countries that are most affected – South Korea and Japan. It will have to Dilemma for US: It can not start negotiations because then it may appear that nuclear test was used as a ways of forcing US which will be bad precedent Sanctions cannot be used either because they have apparently failed Impact of test for North Korea: It has gained a lot of bargaining power Pyongyang will be able to finance its construction activities and other economic needs either through sale of technology, components or by getting more out of America
Russia-US nuke deal ● China says that it will start reducing its nuke stocks only when US and Russia cute them drastically, veritably and irreversibly Obama announced that US will be limiting nuclear arsenal to about 1000 weapons Under New Start signed in 2010 the two countries agreed to limit their arsenal to 1550 each by 2018 But the countries will have to sort out differences regarding missile defence which Russia has objected to Fiscal pressures may also be a reason for the American step This cut may be the cause of concerns among many East Asian allies of US like Japan and South Korea which share a constrained relation with China. These countries chose not to develop their own nukes in the confidence of being safe in the 'nuclear umbrella' of US ● India on the other hand has every reason to welcome the negotiation for deeper cuts ● It should play a greater role for meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons for build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons Agriculture 3 reasons for growth and 3 threats to food security ● 3 Reasons for growth: 1. Infrastructure growth after independence. Dams, machinery, canals, fertilizer factories, electricity, irrigation projects, research institutes and marketing facilities. IADP was launched in 1960-61. Later, hybrid seeds were to usher an era of green revolution. Semi dwarf variety of wheat from Dr. Orville Vogel of the US and Dr. Norman Borlaug of Mexico and Semi dwarf variety of rice from Taiwan and International Rice Research Institute, Philippines 2. Procurement of food grains at a fixed procurement price and announcement of
minimum support price before the farming season 3. Synergy between scientific know how, political do how and farmers' toil referred to as green revolution ● 3 threats to food security 1. Diversion of farm land to other purposes like real estate, industry etc. This includes provision for bio-fuel 2. Global warming 3. Proposal for replacing food distribution system with cash transfer. This may lead to loss of incentive for farmers to produce Dilution of Forest Rights Act: (Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 ● August 2009, government issued orders that it was mandatory to obtain consent from gram sabha for projects seeking diversion of forest land for non forest purposes ● February 2013, government diluted this order by allowing linear projects like transmission lines, roads, canals to be proceeded without the consent of gram sabha ● Consequences: Linear projects can also result in environmental damages like habitat loss, fragmentation, spread of invasive alien species, fires, disruption of animal corridors, increased developmental and hunting pressures These can also result in social damages like land grabbing, changes in local workforce due to migration, tourism etc. Undemocratic. Instead of entirely nullifying the provision, there could have been some percentage of gram sabha which if agreed would have been sufficient th 14 February, 2013 ● Food Security Bill In earlier draft, the centre proposed to distribute food for 75% of rural population with at-least 46% as priority and upto 50 % of urban population with at-least 28% as priority. It suggested monthly entitlement of 7 kg a person Standing committee recommended coverage of 67% total population with 75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas as a single category with uniform entitlement of 5 kg a person Objections: ✗ Identification of beneficiaries is not clear. The Socio-economic caste census is still not complete ✗ Proposed cut in individual entitlement ✗ Sustained availability of grains may not be guaranteed ✗ Additional expenses may be borne by some states ✗ Share of many states would decline under the new scheme ● TB vaccine failed in trial stage: ◦ MVA85A ◦ Efficacy of 17.3% during trials in infants of 4-6 months ◦ There is still hope for the vaccine to be successful for HIV positive adults ◦ This is the first vaccine to be tried after BCG ◦ BCG cannot be administered to HIV positive patients because it used live attenuated microbes. Since, immune system of these patients is suppressed, they will not be able to kill these microbes ◦ We still do not know which antigens will stimulate protective immune response for TB. Protection in case of TB does not lie in neutralising antibody rather it is cell mediated immunity that is important ◦ 9 million more people will acquire TB in 1 year and 1.5 million will die ◦ Drug resistant strains are making treatment even more complex
Foreign Investment in Insurance Sector: (Pro FDI view) ● Life insurance penetration is only 4.4% of GDP in terms of total premium underwritten in a year ● 26 % FDI allowed in 2000 ● Insurance sector is a growing sector for infrastructure projects ● Entry of foreign companies has resulted into better functioning of public sector companies ● Many foreign companies have invested heavily in India with an expectation that subsequently the limit will be enhanced to 49%. In this expectation they have sustained huge losses. The private sector is said to have lost $4 billion since 2000 ● But the delay has put a question mark over the viability of many joint venture companies and overall stability of insurance sector ● Now, it is being proposed to allow 23% foreign investment through FII ✗ FIIs have very limited role to play in insurance company since they can invest in only those companies which are listed on secondary market ✗ Several small companies are not listed on secondary markets ✗ Many companies are not willing to dilute their ownership by issuing IPO ✗ Since many companies are in loss or not at the prime of their business, going to IPO would result in low valuation ✗ Existing investors would not be allowed to invest further ✗ IRDA has warned publicly against entry of FIIs in insurance sector ● The decision of FII or FDI should be left to the shareholders of the company
● Two decades of political romance has produced one of the most productive bilateral relationships for Delhi ● Two of the large transformative projects are: ✔ Six large nuclear reactors in Jaitapur, Maharashtra. France is committed to full civil nuclear partnership. New Delhi expects French cooperation in building commercial uranium enrichment facilities that would fuel the new power station. Further India would like to provide nuclear services to other Asian countries ✔ 126 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft ● France, in these two sectors, is different from other countries on the ground that it is willing to transfer technology. ● Apart from these sector, India should look forward for a greater maritime cooperation with France: ✔ US though likely to remain a major player in Indian Ocean, its priorities are shifting toward Pacific ✔ US's dependence on Middle East oil is decreasing which reduces the reasons for its greater engagement in Indian Ocean ✔ US has major fiscal issues and Asian pivot will cumulatively discourage US from Indian Ocean ✔ France has control over Reunion and Mayotte islands in Western Indian Ocean ✔ France has base in Djibouti which sits at the mouth of Red Sea ✔ Recently, France has also acquired a military base in Abu Dhabi, right inside volatile Persian Gulf ✔ These four comprise a French Quadrilateral ✔ France depends on Gulf oil and has big political stakes in Africa ● France already contributes to Navy as partner in the construction of Scorpene submarine in India ● SARAL (Satellite for ocean mapping) jointly developed by India and France will be
launched this month ● Naval intelligence, providing access to each other's facilities in the Indian ocean, helping smaller countries especially critical island states, providing mutual logistical support, mounting joint scientific expeditions, developing submersible vehicles that can operate in the deep, and pursuing cooperative naval missions in the Indian Ocean 14th February, 2013 Facing the acid test ● These attacks are ugly proofs of a violent, patriarchal culture that valorises the right of a man to stalk, possess and ultimately even disfigure the woman he desires ● Section 326A ● Section 326B ● Stringent law may not be deterrent ● There should be check on the availability of acid for general public ● Supreme Court has directed Central government to meet and discuss provision with the state government regarding regulation of sale of acid, rehabilitation and compensation of victims, treatment and care of victims Railways: ● The number of passenger trains have been increasing without adequate increase in line and terminal capacity leading to overstrained system ● Even a minor accident has cascading effect ● Punctuality at intermediate stations is almost non-existent ● Indian railways in inherently financially unbalanced which leads to requirement of huge budgetary support from the government: Long gestation period of projects Capital intensive projects Long duration between investment and revenue ● No fare increase (independent Railway Tariff Regulatory Authority recommended in budget 2012) ● Railway simultaneously manages its own full fledged medical, security and manufacturing establishment. Pay commission recommends pay increase every 10 years ● Implications: This bureaucratic monolithic set up cannot be expected to provide quality service to the customers as it is stability oriented, precedent-driven, risk averse and focused on vertical functional silos The gross budgetary support given to railways can be used for other purposed like education, health, etc Fourteen Finance Commission ● Chairman: Y.V. Reddy ● Period: April 2015 to March 2020 ● Submit its report by October 2014 ● Core tasks: Sharing of union taxes principles governing grants in aid transfer of resources to state ● Additional tasks: Raise tax to GDP ratio of both centre and states tackle challenged of ecology, environment and climate change Need for making public sector enterprises competitive, divestment, and listing Calculating level of subsidies needed
figuring out how to insulate the pricing public utilities from policy fluctuations ● widening inequality of growth among states ● the uniform fiscal deficit responsibility targets that states have agreed under FRBM may have resulted in compressed development expenditure
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