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INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013

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INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS
NOVEMBER - 2013

TEAM INSIGHTS
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

NATIONAL

IMPORTANT ARTICLES

CBI ISSUES ::
Gauhati High Courts verdict on CBI formation & CBIs Identity Crisis
An opportunity to strengthen CBI & make it functionally autonomous body
Union Govt. rejects CBIs demands
CBI urges Supreme Court to free the agency from being a caged parrot
GST ISSUES ::
GST Panel rejects proposal to include GST in Union List
INDIAs FOREIGN POLICY ::
Indias Foreign policy compromised by domestic political interests:
Commonwealth games: Is India a soft-power?
Tuberculosis (TB) ISSUE ::
Stark-reality about Prevalence of TB cases in India
Trouble in TOURISM paradise (Goa) ::
Complexities in POLICY-MAKING ::
ANTI-POVERTY schemes ineffective: study
SOCIAL MEDIA/NET GOVERNANCE, an instrument of Good Governance

SUPREME COURTs RECENT DECISIONS/ORDERS
In major reform, SC orders fixed tenure for bureaucrats
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Supreme Court warns on quo warranto PIL on public appointments
Supreme Court gets internal complaints committee
Grid integration set to boost power supply in South
STATES NEWS
Fresh trouble in Meghalaya
Northeast a major hub for trafficking in gecko
World Bank, ADB offer Odisha $313m aid
Autonomous Council for Tawang, West Kameng sought
No compromise on Arunachal territory, says students union
GoM in a bind over status of Hyderabad
Assam media bodies condemn draft anti-bandh law
Article 371(D) under focus

HEALTH
Open Defecation & its consequences
HIV infection numbers stagnant in the past five years: UN report
Insurance regulator asked to extend cover to those with HIV
India accounts for highest pneumonia, diarrhoea deaths: Report
India declares itself bird flu-free
Ministries consulted on Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) Bill
Video recording of consent for clinical trials mandatory
India on alert against polio import
Re-engineer healthcare to tackle antibiotic resistance
A step towards improving access to institutional deliveries

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EDUCATION
Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry forms over-arching body
RUSA, a way to fund more institutions

SUPPLEMENTARTY NEWS
Rule 49-O
Its for Centre to decide on opinion polls: Election Commission
Jailed persons can contest polls
Union Cabinet clears climate negotiation strategy for the global climate pact, 2015
Centre Govt. plans fresh headcount of Jats for job quota
Gadgil report not mandatory for projects in Western Ghats: NGT
Kasturirangans report comes under sharp criticism
Ageing dams not being decommissioned
National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive to Assam government to protect Kaziranga Sanctuary
Waqf Act amendments in force
Low Investment in Science & Technology criticized by BharathRatna nominee
Tiger census from November 17
UNESCO could declare Darjeeling toy train endangered, fears MoS

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
An initiative for a better India
TRAI finalises tariff for mobile banking services
Vodafone India stake sellers liable to pay capital gains tax
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Rupee to trade in 62-63 range without RBI measures: Assocham
Oil imports from Iran drop sharply
Finance Ministry seeks 30 % dividend from oil PSUs
Article on Patient rights and Doctors Accountability
Higher base price for spectrum sale mooted
Oil Ministry move to change contract terms to woo global players
RBI pact with central bank of Australia
S&P warns India of fresh rating downgrade
Efforts on to resolve price row in KG D6 field with Reliance Industries
More ultra mega solar plants on anvil
SEBI tightens disclosure norms for corporate
Liquidity support to MSEs
Priority sector lending
ICICI launches RegS bonds
OECD projects modest India GDP growth
U.S. regulators see value in bitcoin
BharatiyaMahila Bank (BMB) bank to offer universal banking services
Tea growers explore bitcoin option to expand global biz
Bitcoin advantages:
The two sides of Bitcoin
No to Retrospective amendment to raise revenue
Banks asset quality remains a major concern, says RBI
Features of Government Securities
Government securities (G-Sec) market
What are G-secs?
EPFO to pay at least 8.5% interest on PF deposits
A new deal for foreign banks
No tax on foreign banks converting to WoS
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ULIPs (unit-linked insurance plan)
CPI-indexed bonds
BSE to offer currency derivative platform
Unique identity numbers to hospital
Ban on takeover of critical drug plants by foreign firms mooted
What are Currency Derivatives?
What are Currency Futures?
RBI eases group limit for NBFCs in insurance Joint Ventures (JVs)
Cabinet rejects proposal to change FDI policy in pharma
SEBI issues draft norms to regulate research analysts
Terms set for banks entry into insurance business
Reserve Bank to recognise SRO
What is a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC)?
New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP)
Restore investor trust, EU tells India
Biocon gets DCGI nod for breast cancer drug

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
300-day Mars expedition begins today (5th November, 2103)
India starts historic mission to Mars
Agni-1 test-fired successfully
Seismic monitoring gets a boost

ECOLOGY
Migratory birds flock avian paradise Hokersar
Disaster Management: Bioremediation
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More about the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Bar coding of tree species in Western and Eastern Ghats
MISCELLANEOUS
AWARDS
Merkel chosen for Indira Gandhi Prize
Global summit on illegal wildlife trade
Goa International Film Festival to kick off on Nov. 20th, 2013

PERSONALITIES
LakshminathBezbaruah
TarlaDalal dead
INTERNATIONAL
A crucial milestone on the issue of Global Warming
CLIMATE CHANGE
Loss and Damage key issue at Warsaw climate talks
Developing worlds firm no to market-based mechanism
LMDC (Like-Minded Developing Countries) against voluntary emission cuts
India scores a win in Warsaw on emission cuts affecting farmers
More about G77
Developing countries call for easing IPR costs of clean technologies
What is Green Climate Fund (GCF)?
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What are intellectual property rights?
Ambiguity over the jurisdiction of HFC gases- Montreal Protocol or UNFCCC
G77+China group walks out of Loss and Damage talks
U.S. backtracking throws climate finance into disarray
NGOs walk out of Warsaw talks
Developed countries try to bring down the differentiation firewall
A weak Warsaw mechanism on Loss and damage almost final
INDIAS CONCERNS AT WTO
For a deal in Bali, India wants permissible levels of MSPs updated
India, France to lead study on monsoon
Indias position at WTO not in conflict with food security Act
India rejects WTO Peace Clause proposal
India hopes for positive outcome at Bali meet
REGIONAL BLOCKS
India to shift ASEM focus to tangible cooperation
Focus on result-oriented initiatives at Asia-Europe Meeting
More about ASEM
INDIA & ITS NEIGHBOURS
INDIA CHINA
China opens new highway near Arunachal border
China shows a measured approach towards Arunachal Pradesh
India, China begin joint drills with focus on terror
China: Tiananmen terror attack
More about the Xinjiang province & the cause for unrest
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China defends air defence zone; slams U.S., Japan for irresponsible statements
Tiananmen attack a jihadi operation: Islamist group
Aircraft from Japan, South Korea defy Chinas new air defence zone
Relevance of Commonwealth goes much beyond Lankan rights violations
INDIA SRILANKA
Sri Lanka to set up National Inquiry on Torture
Mauritius Prime Minister to skip CHOGM
Maldives on CMAG agenda
India offers to train Sri Lankan Navy officers
China reiterates support to Sri Lanka on human rights
INDIA- PAKISTAN
Indias plan for gas export to Pakistan runs into price issue wall
The Drone attacks & Pakistans reaction
Integrated Check post (ICP)
AFGHANISTAN
America, Afghanistan on collision course
INDIA-BANGLADESH
First integrated check post along Bangladesh border
U.S. Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) pact
NEPAL
Nepals hardline Maoists urged to let people vote
Karzai defies loyajirga, puts off security pact with U.S.
Nepal to focus on federalism, structure of government
Nepali Congress all set to form government
Maoist walkout raises fears for Nepals election legitimacy
MALDIVES
Maldives presidential vote likely
Maldives re-vote put off to Nov. 16
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Abdulla Yaameen sworn in as Maldivian President
ASEAN COUNTRIES
INDIA-VIETNAM
India and Vietnam ink pacts
Indias Oil exploration to take place in undisputed areas in South China Sea
U.N. court rules on Cambodia-Thailand row
India, Vietnam sign prisoner exchange treaty
Vietnam to share know-how on breeding pangasius
More about International Court of Justice (ICJ)
MAYNMAR
U.N. calls for immediate end to new Kachin clashes
INDONESIA
Indonesia, a new hub for global cyber crime
Do you know what Bots & Botnet are?
What is Phishing?
India-U.S.-Japan trilateral relationship
INDIA-THAILAND
Thailand royals mark cultural connection with Assam
INDIA-JAPAN
Japan goes back on emission targets
OTHER COUNTRIES AND MIDDLE EAST
TAJIKISTAN
Tajikistans Presidential election and Geo-politics
SYRIA
Israel strike on Syria complicates peace efforts
Syria destroys equipment used to make chemical weapons raising disarmament hopes
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Syria polio outbreak traced to Pakistan
Geneva-2 on Syria on January 22, 2014
No rebel backing, no talks: Syria opposition
IRAN
Geneva talks could be inching towards a breakthrough
Baggage of mistrust weighs down Iran talks
Iran in mind, Israel drops record settlement plan
Many forces at play as nuclear talks with Iran begin
Iran to allow IAEA to visit Arak reactor, Gachin uranium mine
Iran signs landmark nuclear deal with West
Geneva: six-month window to negotiate permanent deal
Geneva success impacts Saudi-Iran ties
Deal consistent with our stand, says India
India, Iran agree to keep prudent Saudi Arabia engaged
IAEA inspectors invited to visit Arak plant
EU may ease Iran sanctions in December, 2013
India-Iran talks create new atmosphere for Peace Pipeline via Pakistan
Iran, Pakistan to fast track gas pipeline
Kuwait Declaration: Agenda & Proposals of the Summit
INDIA- KUWAIT
India, Kuwait to take relationship beyond buyer-seller partnership
UKRAINE
Tymoshenkos release bills scuttled in Ukraine
ISRAEL
India starts issuing visas from Ramallah
AFRICA
Arab-African economic cooperation stressed
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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
U.S. envoy calls for semi-permanent solution on DRC
IRAQ-TURKEY (MIDDLE EAST)
Iraq, Turkey pledge to end tensions
EGYPT
Morsy dismisses trial as a farce
M23 fighters in eastern Congo end rebellion
M23 leader surrenders
NIGERIA
U.S. labels Boko Haram as terrorist group
MALI
Malis return to democracy to be complete with parliamentary polls
EUROPE
EU hits out at Russias third country veto
ENGLAND
England PM, David Camerons Indian visit to focus on trade
EU move could cut plastic use
SOUTH AMERICA
INDIA -CUBA
India, Cuba ink MoU
ARGENTINA
Argentina warns British oil firms against drilling off Falklands
Background regarding the Falkland islands dispute
INDIA AUSTRALIA
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India, Australia inching towards civil nuclear agreement
OTHER COUNTRIES
BRAZIL
Brazil calls for web governance meet
Difference between CECA and CEPA
NSA spying outrageous, says Google chief

KOREA
S. Korean President talks of regional trust-building
Central Investigation Agencys (CIA) role in counterterrorism spying stirs-up hornets nest
Womens rights resolution passed at UN
Global meet for making farming profitable
CIA spied on money transfers too

INSIGHTS SECURE 2014 QUESTIONS
Collection of all questions posted in November 2013

INSIGHTS TEST SERIES 2014

VISIT: insightsonindia.com














Source of all news items: The Hindu
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NATIONAL
IMPORTANT ARTICLES


CBI ISSUES ::
Gauhati High Courts verdict on CBI formation &
CBIs Identity Crisis
Just recently, had the Gauhati High Court quashed
the Union Home Ministrys resolution by which
the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was
constituted in 1963. Following which, the Central
Government is going for an appeal to Supreme
Court (SC).
The High Court had held that the CBI was neither
an organ nor part of the Delhi Special Police
Establishment (DSPE); therefore it could not be
treated as a police force constituted under the
DSPE Act.
This has led to CBIs identity crisis- which has
called for a law empowering the CBI rather than
let it function on the basis of a dubious piece of
legislation whose basic legality is open to question.
CBI now needs an independent standing in law
i.e., it should be either made a constitutional or a
statutory body. (Hitherto, it was just a body
formed by the resolution of the Union
Government).
However, critics and eminent lawyers have argued
that, the judgment has overlooked the fact that
DSPE is synonymous with the CBI and nowhere
has it been claimed that it applies to any
investigating body other than the CBI. The agency
(CBI) has also never invoked its existence under
any other law but DSPE, a pre-constitutional
statute like several other substantive and
procedural statutes including the Indian Penal
Code (IPC) and the Evidence Act. Hence the
verdict has rendered the whole statute redundant.
Impact of this verdict/judgement:
Gauhati High Courts judgement holding the
setting up of the investigating agency
unconstitutional would be likely misused.
Following cases holds testimony to this:
Citing Gauhati HC judgment former Telecom
Minister, A. Raja, and other accused in the 2G
scam case, have asked for a stay on the
proceedings in a Delhi court. But the Special Judge
has rejected their plea.
In another case, Congress leader Sajjan Kumar
also sought to declare illegal the probe and
charge sheets filed by the CBI in a 1984 anti-Sikh
riots case against him.
All you need to know about CBI:
A brief history of CBI
During the period of World War II, a Special
Police Establishment (SPE) was constituted in
1941 in the Department of War of the British India
to enquire into allegations of bribery and
corruption in the war related procurements.
Later on it was formalized as an agency of the
Government of India to investigate into allegations
of corruption in various wings of the Government
of India by enacting the Delhi Special Police
Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.
In 1963, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
was established by the Government of India with a
view to investigate serious crimes related to
Defence of India, corruption in high places,
serious fraud, cheating and embezzlement and
social crime, particularly of hoarding, black-
marketing and profiteering in essential
commodities, having all-India and inter-state
ramifications.
CBI derives its legal powers to investigate crime
from the DSPE Act, 1946.
Who exercises supervision over CBI?
The superintendence of CBI related to
investigation of offences under the Prevention of
Corruption Act, 1988 lies with the Central
Vigilance Commission (CVC) and in other matters
with the Department of Personnel & Training
(DOPT) in the Ministry of Personnel, Pension &
Grievances of the Government of India.
What types of Crime CBI investigate?
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CBI has grown into a multidisciplinary
investigation agency over a period of time. Today
it has the following three divisions for
investigation of crime:-
(i) Anti-Corruption Division for investigation of
cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act,
1988 against Public officials and the employees of
Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings,
Corporations or Bodies owned or controlled by the
Government of India it is the largest division
having presence almost in all the States of India.
(ii) Economic Offences Division for investigation
of major financial scams and serious economic
frauds, including crimes relating to Fake Indian
Currency Notes, Bank Frauds and Cyber Crime.
(iii) Special Crimes Division for investigation of
serious, sensational and organized crime under the
Indian Penal Code and other laws on the requests
of State Governments or on the orders of the
Supreme Court and High Courts.
The laws under which CBI can investigate Crime
are notified by the Central Government under the
DSPE Act.
P.S: CBI has suo-moto powers only in the Union
Territories. Taking up investigation by CBI in the
boundaries of a State requires prior consent of that
State as per Section 6 of the DSPE Act. The Central
Government can authorize CBI to investigate such
a crime in a State but only with the consent of the
concerned State Government. The Supreme Court
and High Courts, however, can order CBI to
investigate such a crime anywhere in the country
without the consent of the State.
Courtesy http://www.cbi.nic.in
An opportunity to strengthen CBI & make it
functionally autonomous body
CBIs working has come under constant criticism
from the State Govt. the High court, Supreme
Court, political leaders criticizing it for being an
affiliate of the Government in power and having a
biased approach.
Earlier in 2013, the Supreme Court described the
CBI as a caged parrot. More recently the CBI was
in news, as the Gauhati High Court had questioned
CBIs legal validity and seeked its termination.
According to the High Court CBIs existence was
based on a mere executive instruction with no
sanction from the Cabinet or assent from the
President.
CBI was constituted by a resolution of the Union
Home Ministry in 1963. And since its setup it has
taken over the responsibilities and functions of the
Special Police Establishment (SPE), formed in
1941 under the War Department to curb
corruption. SPE had got statutory status under the
Delhi SPE Act, 1946.
Lack of clarity on CBIs legal status:
The absence of a clear legal link between the
establishment of the CBI and the Delhi Special
Police Establishment Act, 1946, the law under
which the agency has been functioning for half a
century, is indeed an irresistible point of law that
was bound to be raised.
On these lines, there could be some merit in the
contention that the CBIs legal basis was not clear.
The High Court could have highlighted any legal
infirmity it found and sought the governments
views on how this issue could be solved. Instead it
has outrightly rejected CBIs very existence.
Way forward:
Now, the onus is on the Supreme Court to decide
whether to accept the CBIs legality as a fact
established by five decades of existence and
functioning with judicial recognition, and how any
infirmity, if it exists can be solved.
It has been generally assumed that the CBI is
synonymous with the SPE. The constitutional
basis for the CBIs formation is traceable to Entry
8 in the Union List, Central Bureau of
Investigation and Intelligence.
This should be seen as an opportunity to provide a
firmer statutory framework for the CBI, one that
grants it the functional autonomy that the
Supreme Court mandated in the VineetNarain
case in 1997.
The Lokpal Bill, which is stalled due to political
disagreement despite being passed in the
LokSabha, also provides for measures to insulate
graft investigation from interference and envisages
an independent role for the CBI under the Lokpals
supervision. Strengthening this bill and ensuring
its early adoption would be the right course to
grant functional autonomy to CBI and
safeguarding its existence.
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Union Govt. rejects CBIs demands
The Centre has rejected the CBIs demand for
complete functional autonomy and vesting its
Director with the powers of a government
Secretary.
CBIs demands:
The CBI had said its Director should report
directly to the Minister concerned as the agency
faced hurdles at every stage of its administrative
functioning.
The Director should also have the powers to
appoint special counsel/retainer for the agency.
Union Govts argument:
But according to the Centre the non-statutory
changes in the administrative arrangement sought
by the CBI would be detrimental to the criminal
justice system.
On the CBIs argument that the changes would
ensure functional efficacy and insulate
investigation from outside interference, the Centre
has said that, these objectives could be achieved
without disturbing the present statutory scheme of
government, with necessary checks and balances
established at several levels.
If the CBI Director reports directly to the Minister,
the superintendence of the Minister would stand
compromised and an independent layer of
scrutiny would no longer be available. This would
go against not only the legislative intent of the
Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DPSE) but
also the democratic constitutional principle that
the police or investigating agencies function under
the administrative supervision of the executive.
According to the Centre, while considering the
demands of a subordinate office like the CBI, the
issue of parity with similarly placed organizations
also needs to be considered as this would set a bad
precedent.
Though the three police officers the Secretary,
RAW; the Secretary, Intelligence Services, and the
Secretary, Security were all vested with the powers
of a government Secretary, the Centre has said
that, the functional requirements of these agencies
could not be compared with those of the CBI.
However, the files of these Secretaries were routed
only through the Cabinet Secretary and not
directly to the Minister concerned.
One of the consequences of vesting the CBI
Director with the ex-officio powers of a Secretary
would be that he/she would be in a position to put
up candidates for public prosecutors/assistant
public prosecutors, and this would mean dilution
of the principle of separation between the
prosecuting and investigating agencies. This would
seriously jeopardise the scheme of checks and
balances envisaged in governance and have a
detrimental to the criminal justice system.
CBI urges Supreme Court to free the agency from
being a caged parrot
In response to the Centres affidavit rejecting
demand for greater autonomy and vesting the CBI
Director with a Secretary-level status, the CBI
urged the Supreme Court (SC) to free the agency
from being a caged parrot.
CBI has said that it was merely asking for the
administrative and financial powers of the
Secretary, Government of India, and not seeking
any enhancement of legal powers, nor is it an
effort at self-aggrandizement (an act undertaken
to increase your own power and influence or to
draw attention to your own importance) for the
Director.
During the hearing in the coal block allocation
cases, the SC in May, 2013 had observed that the
CBI was acting like a caged parrot and asked the
government if it intended brining in any law to
provide the agency functional autonomy to
insulate its investigation from outside
interference. The Centre in its response had
rejected the idea.
CBIs contention:
The CBI said its proposal of the Director directly
reporting to the Minister for the Department of
Personnel and Training is appropriate. For, it
would remove the present anomaly of the CBI,
though not a DoPT wing, still being controlled by
the Department, with its Secretary as the
Reporting Authority for the CBI Director.
According to CBI, it does not want and has never
desired an autonomy that would put it outside the
government purview. All its submissions are
directed towards the objective of greater
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operational autonomy. Even if the Director is
granted powers of a Secretary, superintendence
will continue to vest with the Central Government,
as the final deciding authority will still be the
Minister, and the Director would be merely
assisting him.
The CBI has said that, There is no dispute that the
police or investigating agencies must function
under the administrative supervision of the
executive. The only difference with the averment
made by the DoPT is over the understanding that
the CBI considers the Minister to be the Central
Government whereas the DoPT considers it to be
the Secretary, DoPT, or the Minister only through
the Secretary, DoPT.
The agency reiterated that the sole purpose of its
seeking powers beyond what had been granted
now was to make the Director more empowered to
enforce and ensure a more professional, efficient,
expeditious and impartial conduct of CBI
investigations in sync with its motto Industry,
Impartiality, Integrity and also to ensure the
highest level of disciplinary and ethical conduct by
CBI personnel.
An instance where CBIs lack of autonomy has
caused problems to its functioning- With regard
to proposals sent to the DoPT for obtaining
expenditure sanction for making payment to the
State governments for setting up of special courts
in Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Nagpur and Guwahati
the response is still awaited, despite a lapse of
more than one and a half years.
(For more information on this issue & Govts
opposition refer our INSIGHTS
CURRENT EVENTS Magazine (October 2013))


GST ISSUES ::
GST Panel rejects proposal to include GST in
Union List
The Empowered Committee of State Finance
Ministers on Goods and Services Tax (GST) has
recommended substantial changes in the
Constitutional Amendment Bill proposed by the
government.
Changes recommended:
The panel wants a mechanism for compensation to
the States that will lose out on revenue due to the
introduction of GST to be finalised and made part
of the Constitutional Bill itself.
In addition to this provision in the Constitution,
the States have recommended that an independent
mechanism be created for the purpose.
The committee, headed by Jammu and Kashmir
Finance Minister A.R. Rather, has rejected the
Centres proposal to include alcohol and
petroleum in the GST. It has also rejected the
governments proposal on powers to the Centre to
notify declared goods. A provision on declared
goods would have empowered the Centre to lower
GST rates on any item without consulting States.
It has also recommended that the special status
enjoyed by J&K under Article 370 be maintained
even in the case of GST, so the proposed
Constitutional amendment should not be applied
to it.
The committee has unanimously rejected the
Centres proposal to enter GST in the Union List in
the Constitution. The Constitutional Amendment
Bill already proposes a clause, 246A, empowering
both the States and the Centre to levy the GST.
Rational or Apprehensions behind rejection of the
proposal:
The States feel that when 246A is there, then the
Centre should not have to incorporate GST into
the Union List.
Clause 246A proposes additional powers to the
Centre to tax sale of goods and for the States (to
tax services). At present, the Centre can tax
services but not sale and distribution of goods. The
States can now tax sale and distribution of goods
but not services.
Including GST in the Union List will imply that in
case of any disagreement between the Centre and
the States, Parliaments decisions will be
overriding and binding on the States.
All you need to Know about GST (and its issues):
Goods and Services Tax GST is a
comprehensive tax levy on manufacture, sale and
consumption of goods and services at a national
level.
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Through a tax credit mechanism, this tax is
collected on value-added goods and services at
each stage of sale or purchase in the supply chain.
The system allows the set-off of GST paid on the
procurement of goods and services against the
GST which is payable on the supply of goods or
services. However, the end consumer bears this
tax as he is the last person in the supply chain.
Experts say that GST is likely to improve tax
collections and boost Indias economic
development by breaking tax barriers between
States and integrating India through a uniform tax
rate.
What are the benefits of GST?
Under GST, the taxation burden will be divided
equitably between manufacturing and services,
through a lower tax rate by increasing the tax base
and minimizing exemptions.
It is expected to help build a transparent and
corruption-free tax administration. GST will be is
levied only at the destination point, and not at
various points (from manufacturing to retail
outlets).
Currently, a manufacturer needs to pay tax when a
finished product moves out from a factory, and it
is again taxed at the retail outlet when sold.
How will it benefit the Centre and the States?
It is estimated that India will gain $15 billion a
year by implementing the Goods and Services Tax
as it would promote exports, raise employment
and boost growth. It will divide the tax burden
equitably between manufacturing and services.
What are the benefits of GST for individuals and
companies?
In the GST system, both Central and State taxes
will be collected at the point of sale. Both
components (the Central and State GST) will be
charged on the manufacturing cost. This will
benefit individuals as prices are likely to come
down. Lower prices will lead to more
consumption, thereby helping companies.
Why are some States against GST; will they lose
money?
The governments of Madhya Pradesh,
Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu say that the
information technology systems and the
administrative infrastructure will not be ready by
April 2010 to implement GST. States have sought
assurances that their existing revenues will be
protected.
The central government has offered to compensate
States in case of a loss in revenues.
Some States fear that if the uniform tax rate is
lower than their existing rates, it will hit their tax
kitty. The government believes that dual GST will
lead to better revenue collection for States.
However, backward and less-developed States
could see a fall in tax collections. GST could see
better revenue collection for some States as the
consumption of goods and services will rise.
Courtesy- http://gstindia.com/
If you still want more insights on this issue refer
the below link-
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/20
13-08-13/news/41374977_1_services-tax-state-
gst-goods-and-services
http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-all-
you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-gst-1265576

INDIAs FOREIGN POLICY ::
Indias Foreign policy compromised by domestic
political interests:
Once again, Indias foreign policy has been
compromised for narrow regional view and
political expediency The PM Manmohan Singhs
decision of not attending the Commonwealth
Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was
taken following the pressure by Tamil Nadu
political parties, including a resolution by the State
Assembly.
For India, the two main objectives in its dealings
with Sri Lanka are to ensure a just deal for that
nations Tamil minority, and to protect its own
interests in a region of strategic importance.
But if the primary reason for staying away is to
express displeasure at Sri Lankas reluctance to
address alleged atrocities against Tamil civilians
during the final battles against the LTTE, it is
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doubtful if the decision will yield a different, more
positive outcome.
Rather this might further erode Indias influence
on the Sri Lankan island and this can also be an
opportunity for Sri Lanka to build a stronger
relationship with China and look out for other
allies in the region. This would further strain the
relationship between the two countries.
The recent election (for the 1st time) in Tamil-
dominated Sri Lankan Northern province where
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won by a huge
margin signifies an important milestone in ethnic
reconciliation. It was due to Indias constant
persuasion the elections were held.
Instead of projecting this as an example of
constructive diplomacy, the Indian govt. has
allowed itself to be intimidated by its present and
potential allies in the State.
A decision by the PM to go to CHOGM and include
a visit to Jaffna would have been a powerful
reaffirmation of Indias stakes and interests in the
region. India would now deal with the
consequences of its decision to stay away, both on
the Tamil question and on its own larger interests.
It would be difficult to manage this huge strategic
and diplomatic fallout.
In Sri Lanka, this might affect the reconciliation
process including Indias efforts to ensure the 13th
Amendment is not diluted or done away with
entirely.
Hopefully both countries will guard against any
adverse consequences on people-to-people links.
Commonwealth games: Is India a soft-power?
The Commonwealth Charter contains an
unequivocal recommitment to human rights,
democracy, good governance, rule of law and
freedom of expression among others as the core
values and principles that the member nations
must abide.
It is thus not strange that CHOGM 2013 in Sri
Lanka (SL) should have been upstaged almost
entirely by allegations of grave human rights
violations committed by the Sri Lankan military
against Tamil civilians in 2009 during the last
battles against the LTTE.
Though the final communiqu of the meet
contained no adverse mention of Sri Lanka, as it
focused on fostering sustainable, inclusive and
equitable development in Commonwealth nations,
the summit did not help in restoring SLs
international credibility. Infact, there was harsher
spotlight on the countrys rights record; new
allegations were levelled even while older ones
remained.
Some heads of the government, including Indias
PM Manmohan Singh could not attend due to
their domestic compulsions.
This decision has once shown Indias inadequacies
in dealing with an important neighbour, hostage
as Sri Lanka policy has become to the short-
sighted vision of Tamil Nadus political parties. It
has brought no political or diplomatic advantage.
By comparison, British Prime Minister David
Cameron showed far more wisdom. Not only did
he silence political opposition to his participation
by using the occasion to publicly criticise Sri
Lankas rights record, but also demanded
President Rajapaksa to institute by March a
credible inquiry into allegations of rights
violations.
The usefulness of such demands/conditions as a
diplomatic strategy is questionable going by the
Sri Lankan leaders defiant stance, but the British
PM has achieved his stated aim of focusing the
eyes of the world on Sri Lanka. The British PM
also visited Jaffna, connecting with the Tamil
people and their problems first-hand.
India has faulted on these lines; India will face its
next Sri Lanka test in March 2014 at the U.N.
Human Rights Council, but its timing right before
the elections means it may blunder through again.


Tuberculosis (TB) ISSUE ::
Stark-reality about Prevalence of TB cases in
India
The article is about prevalence of TB disease
across the globe and particularly in India and
specially w.r.t the vulnerable section of the society
i.e., the children
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According to WHOs global tuberculosis report
2013 released recently, the incidence rate has been
falling, and the mortality rate since 1990 has been
reduced by 45%.
However, the reduction in prevalence of TB is far
below the half-way target of 2015 Millennium
Development Goals. India might be responsible for
this slow reduction.
India accounts for 26% of the global TB cases but
the main issue is with the number of cases that has
gone unreported. On this line, in 2012 India has
made TB a notifiable disease so that every TB
case detected would be reported and the actual
estimate of cases would be known. However there
is no mechanism to ensure that the private sector
complies with the requirement.
Another major worry is the prevalence of TB in
children below 15 years. According to WHOs
2006 guidance on TB management in children, it
has been estimated that TB incidence among
children is about one million across the globe. This
is a dangerous trend!
Though children can contract TB at any age, those
under five are especially vulnerable, particularly
those from households where an adult has been
recently diagnosed with active pulmonary TB.
Young children are more susceptible to getting
infected and face an increased risk to the disease.
The children may also acquire the more severe
forms of the disease. It is for these reasons that
WHO had recommended contact tracing.
Though Indias Revised National TB Control
Programme (RNTCP) has also approved contact
tracing of young children from such families, its
implementation is sub-standard. Thus, while
RNTCP estimates children with TB to be 10.2% of
the total TB cases, only 7% of the cases were
registered in 2011.


Trouble in TOURISM paradise (Goa) ::
The murder of Nigerian national ObodoUzoma
Simon at a village in Goa, which was followed by a
street protest by the small community from the
African nation, and the knee-jerk reaction of the
authorities in beginning an eviction drive against
Nigerians have brought under focus racial
overtones, nexus between drug dealers and the
authorities and mismanagement of administration
of the State government.
The crime is viewed as a turf war between local
and international gangs in the narcotics trade.
The drive to evict Nigerians, has made the African
country to seek a reassurance that its nationals are
not unfairly treated and has also demanded that
the culprits involved in the murder be arrested.
But the Goa Chief Minister has held his ground
saying that, the drive was against all foreign
nationals staying on without valid documents and
was not confined to Nigerians alone.
If India does not pay heed to this issue, it might
have possible ramifications on the bilateral
relationship between the two countries. India
imports oil in considerable quantity from Nigeria,
which is one of its major trading partners. There is
also a sizeable Indian community in Nigeria.
Though there is local resentment against the
activities of some foreign nationals, care must be
taken that foreign nationals are not targeted
indiscriminately.
Prejudices and perceptions often come together to
put communities to disadvantage, especially in the
backdrop of nasty incidents like these. Perceptions
that various nationalities operate with impunity
does not hold water, since the Crime statistics has
revealed that, there is no unusual spike in recent
years in the number of foreign nationals arrested
for such offences.
Goas reputation as fun-loving tourist place needs
to be safeguarded and it is the onus of the State
Government to crack-down the organised
crimewithout targeting any specific nationality.


Complexities in POLICY-MAKING ::
In the era of LPG (liberalization, Privatisation,
Globalisation) there are bound to exist
complexities in policy making.
Recently, the remarks made by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister P.
Chidambaram at a conference has brought in the
question that- whether treating an administrative
decision that goes wrong, as criminal misconduct
would lead to policy paralysis?
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On these lines, the political leaders have cautioned
authorities like CBI, CAG not to exceed their limits
From this, one can understand that, the
government is clearly uneasy with recent
developments: the CBI had demanded for an
independent status and also it wanted to scrutinize
decisions such as those relating to allocation of
coal blocks (a policy decision). Also there has been
greater public and judicial support for granting it
functional autonomy.
If all that the government wants is errors of
judgment during decision-making, not be
misconstrued by an investigating officer as a
crime, then CBIs operational freedom should be
distinguished from the need for accountability and
executive oversight. This would solve the problem.
Moreover, there are safeguard mechanisms
available within the administration to protect
honest policy decisions and honest officials against
annoying enquiries, which the government itself
administers. For example, a prior sanction is
needed before prosecution is launched against an
official of rank Joint Secretary and above.
However, there are instances where corrupt deals
have taken place in the name of honest
administrative decisions; while policies and norms
apparently serving the public interest are on many
occasions framed in such a way as to suit vested
interests
Hence, great caution is required while seeking
amendments to provisions that currently
criminalise actions that procure monetary
advantage to any person without any public
interest. The requirement would be to find a
balance between- protecting honest civil servant
who makes risky judgment calls and on the other
punishing the dishonest taking decisions in the
name of policy-making.


ANTI-POVERTY schemes ineffective: study
An analysis done in the Planning Commission
reveals that the anti-poverty programmes are
leaky and inefficient, unable to lift Indians out of
poverty. It shows India can close the poverty gap
by spending just a fraction of its annual anti-
poverty budget. The cost of pushing all households
above the poverty line would have been Rs. 55,744
crore during 2011-12 if cash transfers were used
instead of anti-poverty schemes.
In 2011-12, the year for which the latest NSSO
Consumption Expenditure Survey data is
available, the government had spent Rs. 72,822.07
crore on food subsidy. The expenditure in the
same year on the governments seven flagship
schemes was Rs. 1,09,379crore.
The analysis shows that our anti-poverty
programmes are so leaky and inefficient that even
after spending crores year after year, millions of
Indians remain below the poverty line. Instead the
government can lift everybody above the poverty
line by simply giving them cash.
Poverty gap is the amount of cash given to a
household to lift it above the poverty line. It is the
difference in the level of consumption of the
households below the poverty line and those on
the line.
The analysis uses the Tendulkar Poverty Line,
according to which a household of five people
subsists with a monthly consumption of Rs.
874.50. This poverty line is very close to the World
Bank Poverty Line of an income of $1.25 a day (on
Purchasing Power Parity basis).
Households with lower consumption levels are
said to be below the poverty line or living on less
than the bare minimum required to subsist. The
government has on an average spent close to Rs. 1
lakh crore per year since 2004 on anti-poverty
schemes.
India does not use household income levels for
defining the poverty line for lack of official payroll
data.
Tendulkar Committee on poverty estimation:
Tendulkars committee had computed poverty
lines for 2004-05 at a level that was equivalent, in
purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, to one U.S.
dollar per person per day, which was the
internationally accepted poverty line at that time.
Unlike the old method of estimating poverty by
calorie consumption, the Tendulkar committee
had suggested a broader definition, one that
included spending on food, education, health and
clothing.
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Using the Tendulkar methodology, the number of
people living below the poverty line had increased.
According to its calculations, these people rose
from 28.3 per cent of the population in rural areas
in 2004-05 to 41.8 per cent.
The number of people below the poverty line in
urban areas remained unchanged at 25.7%. At the
national level, the number of people below the
poverty line rose from 27.5 per cent to 37.2 per
cent in 2004-05, based on the new methodology.
Courtesy- http://www.business-
standard.com/article/economy-policy/tendulkar-
method-abandoned-new-panel-to-review-poverty-
data-112032300100_1.html)
Since several representations were made
suggesting that the Tendulkar Poverty Line was
too low, the Planning Commission, in June 2012,
constituted an Expert Group under the
Chairmanship of Dr. C. Rangarajan to once again
review the methodology for the measurement of
poverty
The Rangarajan Committee is deliberating on this
issue and is expected to submit its report by
middle of 2014. Since the data from the NSS 68th
round (2011-12) of Household Consumer
Expenditure Survey is now available, and the
Rangarajan Committee recommendation will only
be available a year later, the Planning Commission
has updated the poverty estimates for the year
2011-12 as per the methodology recommended by
Tendulkar Committee.
Courtesy
http://planningcommission.nic.in/news/pre_pov
2307.pdf

SOCIAL MEDIA/NET GOVERNANCE, an
instrument of Good Governance
Communications and IT Minister KapilSibal has
recently launched his website. He has now joined a
small but growing list of high profile politicians
who have decided to engage with their
constituencies in cyberspace.
The website would be used to engage with
stakeholders. On one hand regarding questions
w.r.t working of the IT Ministry and on the other
on political constituencies and his (Ministers)
voters
There is need for an increased engagement with
multi-stakeholder groups including the private
sector, civil society, the academia and technical
communities in the decision-making process on
various issues related to Internet governance, both
within India and at an international level.
The National Telecom Policy released in 2012, and
the Cyber Security Policy released earlier in 2013
were products of online consultation launched by
the Communications Ministry.
Inter-governmental solutions for Internet
governance or regulating the Net cant work given
the lack of agreement and difference in ideologies
between governments themselves.
Since Stakeholders like the private sector play a far
more important role than the government in
cyberspace, and a vast majority of the
infrastructure and services, including government
services, are provided, or will be provided, via the
private sector. The multi-stakeholder model of
Internet governance in the 21st century is
exceptionally important.
If the governments objective is to empower
people, then in Decision making process the
government must not just recognise the
significance of the private sector, but also take into
account its input as a part of a multi-stakeholder
process.


SUPREME COURTs
RECENT
DECISIONS/ORDERS
In major reform, SC orders fixed tenure for
bureaucrats
The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and
the State Governments to set up a Civil Services
Board (CSB) for the management of transfers,
postings, inquiries, process of promotion, reward,
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punishment and disciplinary matters.

Officials were also told not to act on oral orders
from political executive
The CSB, headed by the Cabinet Secretary at the
Centre and Chief Secretary at the State level, to
guide and advise the State government on all
service matters, especially on transfers, postings
and disciplinary action, etc; though their views
also could be overruled, by the political executive,
reasons should be recorded.
The Bench (SC) has asked Parliament to enact a
Civil Services Act under Article 309 of the
Constitution to setup CSB. It has directed the
Centre, State governments and the Union
Territories to constitute such Boards within three
months, if not already constituted, till the
Parliament brings in a proper Legislation in
setting up CSB.
Courtesy Hindu newspaper
Why such a move?
At present, there were instances where transfers
and postings were made frequently, at the whims
and fancies of the political executive and other
considerations and not in public interest. The
necessity of minimum tenure has been endorsed
and implemented by the Union Government.
Impact of this move:
The ruling would check arbitrary transfers and
suspensions.
This will insulate the bureaucracy from political
interference and put an end to frequent transfers
of civil servants by political class.
Fixed tenure would not only enable the civil
servants to achieve their professional targets,
increase ones efficiency but also help them to
function as effective instruments of public policy.
This would ensure good governance, transparency
and accountability in governmental functions.
Challenges:
However, the former Border Security Force (BSF)
Director-General, Prakash Singh, whose public
interest litigation (PIL) petition led to the
Supreme Courts landmark judgment on police
reforms in 2006, doubted the willingness of
political parties to implement the sweeping
reforms.
Despite the courts clear order on police reforms,
no State has implemented it in letter and in spirit.
Recent instances wherein tenures of IAS officers
Ashok Khemka and Durga Shakti Nagpal have
been mired in transfer controversies, stands
testimony to this.
Article 309
This Article empowers the Parliament or the State
Legislature to make laws to regulate the
recruitment and conditions of service of persons
appointed to public services and posts in
connection with the affairs of the Union or the
State, as the case may be. It also authorizes the
President or the Governor to make rules for the
above purposes until provision in that behalf is
made by or under an Act of Parliament or the State
Legislature.
Supreme Court warns on quo warranto PIL on
public appointments
Consideration of suitability or eligibility of a
candidate for a post is within the domain of the
appointing authority and the only thing that court
can scrutinise is whether the appointment is
contrary to statutory provisions/rules.
If the person holding the public office had the
qualifications and fulfilled the requirements of the
post, quo warranto should not be entertained by
High Courts on public interest writ petitions(PILs)
PIL was initially evolved as a tool to take care of
the fundamental rights under Article 21 of the
Constitution of the marginalised sections, who
because of poverty and illiteracy could not
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approach the court. It was evolved to benefit the
have-nots and the handicapped for protection of
their basic human rights and to see that
authorities carry out their constitutional
obligations towards the marginalised sections.
However, some cases wherein, persons who
describe themselves- as working for public good ,
have approached the court challenging grant of
promotion, fixation of seniority, etc. in respect of
third parties.
The SC has warned that, PIL petitions should not
be used to settle personal scores.
For instance, in a recent case the Central
Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) of Odisha and
Bijaya Chandra Jena were aggrieved over an
Orissa High Court order quashing his appointment
as CEO of CESU. The High Court also ordered
recovery of his salary.
Allowing their appeal and setting aside the order,
the Bench said: Judgment can be erroneous but
when there is a direction for recovery of the
honorarium, it indubitably creates a dent in the
honour of a person. While exercising the power for
issue of a writ of quo warranto , the court only
makes a declaration that the person holding the
public office is a usurper and not eligible to hold
the post and after the declaration is made he
ceases to hold the office. But until the declaration
is made, the incumbent renders service and cannot
be deprived of his salary.
Recovery of salary would amount to deprivation of
payment while the incumbent was holding the post
and Denial of pay to incumbent holding office was
akin to forced labour.
What is Public-Interest Litigation (PIL)?
PIL is litigation for the protection of the public
interest. Article 32 of the Indian constitution
contains a tool which directly joints the public
with judiciary. A PIL may be introduced in a court
of law by the court itself (suomotu), rather than
the aggrieved party or another third party.
For the exercise of the courts jurisdiction, it is not
necessary for the victim of the violation of his or
her rights to personally approach the court. In a
PIL, the right to file suit is given to a member of
the public by the courts through judicial activism.
The member of the public may be a non-
governmental organization (NGO), an institution
or an individual.
Courtesy Wikipedia
What is quo warranto?
It is a writ calling upon a person to show by what
authority one claims to an office, franchise or
liberty. It is regarded as an appropriate and
adequate remedy to determine rights or title to a
public office and to oust one who has unlawfully
usurped or intruded into such office.
The writ affords a judicial inquiry into such
matters. However, quo warranto cannot be
claimed as a matter of right in the sense that the
court is not bound to grant the relief prayed for,
but if the validity of an appointment or a claim to
an office by a person is challenged by a applicant
for a writ and the court is satisfied that the writ
has been presented by bona fide, is without
improper delay, it has the right to investigate the
matter and decide on the validity of the
appointment.
Courtesy http://mmksuntharam.hubpages.com
(Read about other Writs Habeas Corpus,
Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition)
Supreme Court gets internal complaints
committee
Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam has
constituted Gender Sensitisation and Internal
Complaints Committee (GSICC) in the Supreme
Court to receive and decide complaints against
sexual harassment. It will be headed by Justice
Ms.Ranjana Desai.
A complaint has to be inquired into and the report
acted upon by the committee within 45 days.
If found guilty, an advocate would be barred from
entering the court premises for a period that can
extend up to a year, and also might face criminal
charges depending upon the nature of offence
Sixteen years ago, the Supreme Court, in the
Visakha judgment, had laid down the definition of
sexual harassment, preventive measures and
redress mechanisms.
Its guidelines mandated the setting up of
committees in every organisation and institution.
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Visakha judgment:
On August 1997, the Supreme Court of India
issued a judgment against sexual harassment at
the workplace, which has come to be known as the
Vishaka judgment.
It laid down the definition of sexual harassment,
preventive measures and redress mechanisms. It
stipulated a mandatory complaint committee on
sexual harassment at all workplaces and
institutions.
This case was the first time that the law recognised
sexual harassment as a human rights violation and
it did so keeping Indias obligations under
international instruments.
The most inspiring outcome of Vishaka is that,
for the first time, the need to alter systemic
violence against women at work received judicial
recognition by an implied focus on the need to
change attitudes. That approach led the court to
develop broad-based guidelines, which are
applicable at the workplace as well as other
institutions. It finds reference not just in the work
of womens groups but also among various
sections of society trade unions, workers,
students.
The judgment reaffirmed that the law was of
sufficient amplitude to encompass all the acts of
gender equality including prevention of sexual
harassment or abuse
(Vishaka is actually the name of an organisation
which, along with other organisations, rallied for
special measures to deal with sexual harassment
inflicted in the course of employment.)
Courtesy-
http://www.indianexpress.com/oldStory/24081/
)
http://infochangeindia.org/women/features/imp
act-of-the-vishaka-judgment.html)


STATES NEWS
Fresh trouble in Meghalaya
With Meghalaya keen on implementing the
Tenancy Act, 14 pro-Inner Line Permit (ILP)
groups in Meghalaya have announced fresh night
road blockades to demand implementation of the
ILP to check illegal influx into the State.
The blockade, which was also enforced for several
days during the two-month long agitation had
affected the movement of vehicles through
National Highways 40 and 44, considered the
lifelines for landlocked Mizoram, Tripura and
parts of Manipur and Barak Valley in Assam.
What is ILP all about?
Inner Line Permit is an official travel document
issued by the government of India to allow inward
travel of an Indian citizen into a
protected/restricted area for a limited period. It is
obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those
States to obtain permit for entering into the
protected State.
The document is an effort by the government to
regulate movement to certain areas located near
the international border of India. This is a security
measure and it is applicable for Arunachal
Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland
Cause for Protest
The protest was due to the failure of the Centre
government to implement the Eastern Bengal
Frontier Regulation Act 1873 or Inner Line Permit
(ILP) which was recommended by the High Level
Committee on Influx constituted by the
government in 2012.
Courtesy Wikipedia
Grid integration set to boost power supply in
South
South India is likely to get a boost in electricity
supply as the integration of the southern grid to
the national grid, scheduled for January, 2014, will
allow the region to tap into the other grids.
Work is apace on the 800-kV circuit between
Raichur in Karnataka and Sholapur in
Maharashtra. At present, the inter-region transfer
capacity between the western and southern
regions is 1,500 MW.
Significance of this integration (southern grid to
the national grid):
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The new transmission lines between Karnataka
and Maharashtra would push it up to 5,500 MW,
boosting the power-starved southern region, the
only grid that remains isolated from the rest of the
nation.
In the recent times, there have been instances of
the northern grid or the western region having had
surplus power that, however, could not be
transferred to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and
Karnataka because the southern region was not
plugged into the national grid. But the situation
would change as the integration work gets
completed by early next year (2014).
At present, all regional grids, except the southern
region, are synchronously interconnected and run
at one frequency.
However, the southern region is linked
asynchronously to the northern, eastern, north-
eastern and western region grids through the high-
voltage, direct current transmission system, which
has a different frequency.
The synchronisation gained pace after large parts
of the country suffered blackouts for almost three
days from 31st July to 2nd August, 2012. The
southern grid is being connected by two 765-kV
lines, linking Sholapur of the western region to
Raichur of the southern region.


Northeast a major hub for trafficking in gecko
The northeast has emerged as a major hub for
trafficking in gecko in the last one year. This came
to light following the recent arrest of several
persons, including a former militant leader.
Rhinos, tigers and elephants have been the usual
target of wildlife traffickers but during the last few
months, the arrest of more than 10 persons,
including DimaHalamDaoga chief DilipNunisa in
Assam has brought to fore an international
network trafficking in gecko.
Nunisas interrogation brought to light the value of
the lizard in the international market with each
animal being traded for an amount ranging from
Rs.25 lakh to nearly a crore.
It is believed that local tribals are usually involved
in trapping and catching the gecko and they
usually manage to catch the younger ones. The
middlemen who buy the geckos from the catchers
take the reptiles to the border town of Moreh in
Manipur, from where another chain of traffickers
smuggle them to Myanmar for an international
destination.
The northeastern States of Assam, Manipur,
Mizoram and Nagaland have become a major hub
of gecko poaching during the past one year
following the near extinct status of the animal in
neighbouring Myanmar, which is the major transit
route for smuggling these animals to Southeastern
countries (China, Indonesia, Philippines and
others)
Why is there such a huge demand for Geckos?
Geckos are being caught and trafficked from
northeastern Indian states to Southeast Asian
countries, where many people believe that
medicines made from gecko meat can cure
diseases such as cancer, AIDS and even
impotency.
Besides, it also serves as a drug, which if applied in
a mild dose can lead to a high.
Conservationists have demanded stricter laws and
its enforcement to ensure that the geckos do not
vanish from the region.
World Bank, ADB offer Odisha $313m aid
International funding agencies, the World Bank
and the Asian Development Bank, have assured
financial assistance of $313 million to the Odisha
government for restoration and rehabilitation
activities in cyclone Phailin-hit areas.
More about ADB:
ADB was conceived amid the postwar
rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of the
early 1960s. The vision was of a financial
institution that would be Asian in character and
foster economic growth and cooperation in the
region then one of the poorest in the world.
AIM:
ADB aims for an Asia and Pacific free from
poverty. While it has achieved a significant
reduction in extreme poverty, the region remains
home to about two-thirds of the worlds extremely
poor.
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What does ADB do?
ADB helps developing member countries tackle
poverty by providing loans, technical assistance
and grants for a broad range of development
activities.
ADB focuses on five core areas of operations:
infrastructure; the environment, including climate
change; regional cooperation and integration;
finance sector development; and education.
How does ADB differ from commercial banks?
ADB is a multilateral development finance
institution that engages in mostly public sector
lending for development purposes. ADBs clients
are its member governments, who are also its
shareholders. It also provides direct assistance to
private enterprises of developing member
countries through equity investments and loans.
Key Facts
President and
Chairperson of
the Board of
Directors:
Takehiko Nakao
Members: 67; 48 regional members; 19
nonregional members
Offices: Headquarters in Manila,
Philippines, with 28 resident
missions and 3 representative
offices in Tokyo, Frankfurt, and
Washington, DC
Founded: 1966
Courtesy http://www.adb.org (ADB website)
No compromise on Arunachal territory, says
students union
The All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union
(AAPSU), while welcoming the local boundary
commission led by retired Justice
TarunChatterjee, which is currently studying the
interstate boundary issue between Arunachal and
Assam, has said it would not compromise on an
inch of land in Arunachal.
The AAPSU is opposed to the notification issued in
1951, without the knowledge of the people of
Arunachal Pradesh, on the basis of the one-sided
Bordoloi Commission report.
It urged the commission to genuinely consider the
case of Arunachal Pradesh so that the people of the
two States may coexist peacefully and also the
commission should take into consideration the
traditional rights of communities with due
emphasis on the landholding pattern of the
individual owners as per their ancestral
belongings.
AAPSU has also sought a review of the Reserved
Forest Notification for the boundary areas, saying
it was executed arbitrarily, without taking into
consideration the ownership rights, and that the
eviction drives initiated by the forest departments
of the two States have been the driving force
behind the boundary conflicts.
Autonomous Council for Tawang, West Kameng
sought
A rally was held on Monday in Tawang district
bordering China demanding grant of an
autonomous council under the Sixth Schedule for
the twin districts of Tawang and West Kameng to
preserve and promote the regions unique and
diverse culture and religion.
Sixth Schedule:
The Sixth Schedule provides for administration of
certain tribal areas as autonomous entities. The
administration of an autonomous district is to be
vested in a District Council and of an autonomous
region, in a Regional Council.
These Councils are endowed with legislative,
judicial, executive and financial powers. Most
Council consists of up to 30 members including
few nominated members. (The newest Bodoland
Territorial Council is an exception; it can have up
to 46 members). These constitutionally mandated
Councils
oversee the traditional bodies of the local tribes
such as the Syiemships and Dorbars of the Khasi
hills of Meghalaya.
There is a significant degree of variation in the
functions devolved to various Autonomous
Councils. For instance, the Bodoland Territorial
Council has more power compared to the NC Hills
Autonomous District Council though the latter has
been in existence for decades before the former.
This resulted in other areas also demanding
further powers and greater autonomy.
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Administrative Structure in the Sixth Schedule
Areas:
The Sixth Schedule areas are governed through
autonomous District Councils which have wide
ranging legislative and executive powers. As a
result, they almost work like a mini Parliaments.
They have complete freedom to allow village level
bodies to run according to customary laws.
The verdicts of district and lower level courts can
only be challenged in the high court.
At present, 6th Schedule Areas exist only in four
North Eastern States: 1) Assam, 2) Meghalaya, 3)
Mizoram, and 4) Tripura.
These Areas are administered through
Autonomous Districts / Regional Councils. Except
Meghalaya, other three states have only certain
selected areas covered under the 6th Schedule.
Good article on 6th Schedule
Courtesy -
http://socialissuesindia.files.wordpress.com/201
2/10/sixthschedule.pdf
Assam media bodies condemn draft anti-bandh
law
Media bodies in Assam have sharply reacted to a
provision in the draft law Assam Prevention of
Unconstitutional Bandh Act, 2013 that allegedly
curbs media freedom in the name of putting an
end to the bandh culture.
The draft bill is nothing but gagging of media
freedom and denying the fundamental right of
freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution
of India. It is as draconian as the Bihar Press Bill
and Tamil Nadu Press Control Bill.
Bandhs affect everybody and if the government
wants to control the menace they can do that. So
the media group does not have any reservations
regarding this matter. However, censoring the
media or curbing the freedom of expression in the
name of controlling the bandh culture would affect
the democratic structure of society.
Provisions of the Draft Bill:
The draft states that any unauthorised, private,
oral, print or electronic media publicity to, and/or
observation of bandh will be unconstitutional and
illegal.
According to the provision of the draft law, a
bandh is unconstitutional and an offence as no
individual or organisation has the right to paralyse
the educational, economic and industrial systems.
The State government may, by order in writing,
prohibit either absolutely or for a specified period,
the bringing into, or sale or distribution or
circulation within the state of any newspaper,
periodical, book, leaflet or other document
specified in the order, if it is satisfied that such
action is necessary for preventing an
unconstitutional bandh and/or any activity which
undermines the security of/or tends to overthrow
the State or any part of it.
GoM in a bind over status of Hyderabad
The Group of Ministers (GoM) have found it
difficult to find a solution to the contentious issue
of Hyderabad citys status as the process of
division of Andhra Pradesh gathered momentum
ahead of the Union Cabinet meeting on November
28, 2013.
What are the demands of the two regions?
Hyderabad remains the bone of contention
between the two regions with Seemandhra leaders
demanding Union Territory status for the joint
capital, for some period of time while Ministers
from Telangana say they will have none of it.
They want Telangana with ten districts, including
Hyderabad, with no strings attached beyond
Hyderabad serving as the joint capital for ten years
to enable the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh to
build its own capital.
Telangana leaders do not want the jurisdiction of
the capital to extend beyond the GHMC (Greater
Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) limits and are
not averse to vesting key subjects like law and
order with the Centre to create a sense of
confidence among the Seemandhra people.
Representatives of Seemandhra region said they
had no objection to creation of Telangana but they
would oppose the States Reorganisation Bill in
Parliament if Hyderabad was not made a Union
Territory.
Article 371(D) under focus
Apart from addressing the status of Hyderabad,
there is another major issue Article 371(D)
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that needs to be resolved if the Centre is
determined to proceed with the bifurcation of
Andhra Pradesh (AP).
It divided the State into six zones, ensuring that
the residents of each zone got certain benefits,
privileges and safeguards.
But post-bifurcation, residents cannot be deprived
of these benefits without suitably amending Article
371 (D).
Article 371 (D):
Article 371 (D) is a special provision for the State
of AP, and its primary purpose was to promote
speedy development of backward areas, balanced
development and to provide equitable
opportunities and facilities to people of all regions
in the fields of education and public employment.


HEALTH
Open Defecation & its consequences
The World Health Organisation(WHO) and the
United Nations Childrens Fund has estimated that
there were more than 620 million people i.e., over
50% of the population practising open defecation
in the country. (19th November was marked as
World Toilet Day)
Moreover, the latest Census data reveals that the
percentage of households having access to TV and
telephones in rural India exceeds the percentage of
households with toilet facilities.
Impact of Open defecation:
According to the Water and Sanitation
Programme, the economic impact of inadequate
sanitation is about Rs. 2.4 trillion ($38.4 million),
or 6.4% of Indias GDP.
According to a World Bank report, Open
defecation is one of the vital contributors to
malnutrition. Access to improved sanitation can
increase cognition among children
According to UNICEF, hand washing with soap
particularly after contact with excreta can reduce
diarrhoeal diseases by over 40% and respiratory
infections by 30%.
Diarrhoea and respiratory infections are the
number one cause for child deaths in India.
With over 50% people defecating in the open and
44% mothers disposing of their childrens faeces in
the open, there is a very high risk of microbial
contamination (bacteria, viruses, amoeba) of water
which causes diarrhoea in children.
Children weakened by frequent diarrhoea episodes
are more vulnerable to malnutrition and
opportunistic infections such as pneumonia.
Indias initiatives in this regard:
Indias Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) or Nirmal
Bharat Abhiyan (NBA), a national programme
encourages local governments to build and
promote use of inexpensive pit latrines.
More about Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA)
Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) or Nirmal Bharat
Abhiyan (NBA) is a Community-led total
sanitation program initiated by Government of
India in 1999.
It is a demand-driven and people-centered
sanitation program. It evolved from the limited
achievements of the first structured programme
for rural sanitation in India, the Central Rural
Sanitation Programme, which had minimal
community participation.
The main goal of Total Sanitation Campaign is to
eradicate the practice of open defecation by 2017.
Community-led total sanitation is not focused on
building infrastructure, but on changing cultural
norms to prevent open defecation.
In Maharashtra where the program started more
than 2000 Gram Panchayats have achieved open
defecation free status. Villages that achieve this
status receive monetary rewards and high
publicity under a program called Nirmal Gram
Puraskar.
Courtesy wikipedia
HIV infection numbers stagnant in the past five
years: UN report
According to a UN report, significant progress has
been seen in a number of countries in Asia and the
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Pacific in reducing new HIV infections by over
50% since 2001, but the impact appears to be
slowing down with overall numbers across the
region remaining largely unchanged in the past
five years. It has also warned of emerging
epidemics in some countries, including Pakistan,
Indonesia and the Philippines.
Though more people had access to HIV services
across the region, inadequate focus on key
populations at higher risk of HIV infection and
geographical areas with higher HIV burden meant
that most countries in the region were not
progressing fast enough to reach global targets on
HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
The report warns of emerging epidemics in some
countries. It is estimated that 4.9 million (3.7 to
6.3 million) people were living with HIV in Asia
and the Pacific in 2012. Twelve countries account
for more than 90 per cent of people living with
HIV and of new HIV infections in the region,
including India.
The number of people accessing antiretroviral
treatment in the region has increased to 1.25
million people at the end of 2012. Numbers of
AIDS-related deaths have declined by 18 per cent
since 2005 to 2,70,000 in 2012 largely due to
increased access to treatment.
According to the report, new HIV infections in the
region remain concentrated among key
populations: people who buy and sell sex, injecting
drug users, men who have sex with men, and
transgender people. The fastest growing epidemics
in the region are among men who have sex with
men.
Insurance regulator asked to extend cover to those
with HIV
The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry
has asked the Insurance Regulatory and
Development Authority (IRDA), the national
insurance regulator, to remove, from its draft
circular, provisions that exclude people living with
HIV (PLHIV) from purchasing health insurance
products.
The IRDA circular asks all insurers to provide life-
insurance cover to HIV/AIDS patients. It is not
an either-or-situation for HIV/AIDS patients.
They should be able to buy both life and health
insurance if their CD4 count (a measure of
sickness) is above a particular cut-off. HIV/AIDS
should be treated as any other chronic diseases
like cancer or diabetes.
The technical working group to work out the
means of including PLHIV under insurance
products had recommended that there should be
at least one health insurance product offered by
each insurance company where HIV/AIDS is
removed from the exclusions. PLHIV shall not be
excluded from the group health insurance plans,
which are generally offered by insurance
companies to employers and must be included in
the government-funded mass health insurance
schemes targeted at the poor and other vulnerable
sections of society.
Rational behind the extension:
There are approximately 21 lakh people living with
HIV in the country who are denied health and life
insurance for other diseases if they test HIV-
positive.
The insurance products of both group and
individual type should also be available for widows
and children and they should be able to purchase
it without getting excluded. Since widows and
children are more vulnerable, special efforts
should be made so that they are not excluded.
India accounts for highest pneumonia, diarrhoea
deaths: Report
According to the Pneumonia and Diarrhoea
Progress Report (PDPR) 2013, India loses four
lakh children to pneumonia, diarrhoea before they
turn five. Many Indian children do not have access
to life-saving treatment and prevention measures.
In the Pneumonia Progress Report 2012, India
topped the list of countries with the most child
deaths. In this regard efforts have been made
through the upcoming national scale-up of
pentavalent vaccine and the assurance of an
indigenous rotavirus vaccine, yet the coverage
remains below targeted levels.
Pneumonia and Diarrhoea continue to be the
leading killers of children under 5 worldwide.
According to the latest estimates by the United
Nations Childrens Fund, pneumonia and
diarrhoea together claimed the lives of more than
1.7 million children below five years in 2012 alone.
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In 2013, WHO and UNICEF have developed the
Integrated Global Action Plan for Prevention and
Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD),
outlining key universal interventions, with the goal
of ending mortality in children by 2025.
Accordingly, GAPPD set forth coverage targets of
90% for vaccinations, and for access to pneumonia
and diarrhoea treatment, and 50% for exclusive
breastfeeding of children during their first six
months.
The PDPR 2013 report evaluates 15 countries with
the highest absolute number of child deaths from
pneumonia and diarrhoea. India and Nigeria, with
the largest disease burdens, continue to have low
coverage levels for prevention and treatment
interventions.
Simple, low-cost solutions such as washing hands
with soap, controlling indoor air pollution,
encouraging exclusive breast feeding, oral
rehydration solution and zinc supplementation;
administering vaccines and increasing access to
treatment can go a long way in saving childrens
lives.
India declares itself bird flu-free
India has declared itself free from H5N1 Avian
Influenza (bird flu) as there has been no
occurrence of the disease in the last three months.
As is the global norm, India has notified its bird
flu-free status to the World Organisation for
Animal Health headquartered in Paris.
To control spread of the disease, the following
measures were taken:
the entire poultry population and its eggs, feed,
litter and other infected material were stamped
out within a radius of one km. Restrictions on the
movement of poultry was imposed, the affected
area was cleaned up and disinfected.
Consequently, a post-operation surveillance plan
was adopted as per international norms.
Even though India is free from bird flu, regular
surveillance will be maintained, especially in
vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and
in areas visited by migratory birds.
Ministries consulted on Assisted Reproduction
Technology (ART) Bill
The government is making modifications to the
draft Assisted Reproductive Technology
(Regulation) Bill, 2013, to accommodate
suggestions made by different Ministries and
departments.
Home Ministry lays down conditions for grant of
visa to foreign couples commissioning surrogacy
in India
The Ministry would not give tourist visas to
foreigner nationals coming to India for
commissioning surrogacy, since tourist visa is not
the appropriate visa category (for commissioning
surrogacy) and such foreigners would be liable for
action for violation of visa conditions. Rather the
appropriate visa category would be a medical visa.
In order to ensure that the surrogate mothers
interests are protected, such a visa may only be
granted if certain conditions are fulfilled the
foreign man and woman must be duly married for
at least two years.
The Ministry will also insist that the Indian
embassy or Foreign Ministry of the country
concerned enclose an acknowledgement, along
with the visa application, that the country
recognises surrogacy and that the child/children to
be born to the commissioning couple through the
Indian surrogate mother will be permitted entry
into their country as a biological child/children of
the couple.
Besides, the couple should produce a duly
notarised agreement between the applicant couple
and the prospective Indian surrogate mother. If
any of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the
visa application shall be rejected. The Ministry
has informed the Indian missions abroad that the
commissioning couple needs to be told that they
must obtainexit permission from the Foreign
Regional Registration Offices before leaving India
for their return journey.
Purpose of Assisted reproductive technology
(ART):
Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are
methods used to achieve pregnancy by artificial or
partially artificial means. It is reproductive
technology used primarily for infertility
treatments, and is also known as fertility
treatment.
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Some forms of ART are also used with regard to
fertile Couples for genetic reasons (pre-
implantation genetic diagnosis). ART is also used
for couples who are discordant for certain
communicable diseases; for example, AIDS to
reduce the risk of infection when a pregnancy is
desired.
Examples of ART include in vitro fertilization,
intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI),
cryopreservation and intra-uterine insemination
(IUI). There is yet no strict definition of the term
ART; its usage mainly belongs to the field of
reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Courtesy Wikipedia
To know more about the Assisted Reproduction
Technology (ART) Bill, refer the below article
(Times of India)
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012
-07-13/india/32663156_1_clinics-infertility-
medical-technologies
Video recording of consent for clinical trials
mandatory
The Union Health Ministry has made mandatory
audio-visual recording of the informed consent
each subject in a clinical trial. This is in addition to
obtaining his/her written consent.
This decision comes in the wake of the Supreme
Court pulling up the Ministry for lack of
transparency in clinical trials.
What are Clinical Trials? What is the purpose of
such trials?
Clinical trials are research studies that explore
whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is
safe and effective for humans. These studies also
may show which medical approaches work best for
certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials
produce the best data available for health care
decision making.
The purpose of clinical trials is research, so the
studies follow strict scientific standards. These
standards protect patients and help produce
reliable study results.
Clinical trials are one of the final stages of a long
and careful research process. The process often
begins in a laboratory (lab), where scientists first
develop and test new ideas.
If an approach seems promising, the next step may
involve animal testing. This shows how the
approach affects a living body and whether its
harmful. However, an approach that works well in
the lab or animals doesnt always work well in
people. Thus, research in humans is needed.
For safety purposes, clinical trials start with small
groups of patients to find out whether a new
approach causes any harm. In later phases of
clinical trials, researchers learn more about the
new approachs risks and benefits.
A clinical trial may find that a new strategy,
treatment, or device:
Improves patient outcomes
Offers no benefit
Causes unexpected harm
All of these results are important because they
advance medical knowledge and help improve
patient care.
Courtesy
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-
topics/topics/clinicaltrials/
India on alert against polio import
In the wake of Polio outbreak in Syria, all States
with international borders have been put on alert
to reduce the risk of spread of poliovirus from
neighbouring countries
As many as 102 vaccination posts have been set up
along the international borders Pakistan, Nepal,
Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan borders.
Meanwhile, the WHO and the United Nations
Childrens Fund (UNICEF) have begun the largest-
ever, consolidated emergency immunisation
response in the Middle East, aiming to vaccinate
over 20 million children in seven countries and
territories repeatedly. They are Egypt, Iraq,
Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Syria
and Turkey.
Preliminary evidence indicates that the poliovirus
is of Pakistani origin and is similar to the strain
detected in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
Strip.
With the threat looming large, India has taken all
possible measures are being taken to maintain
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immunity of children. The entire network is now
geared to strengthening Routine Immunisation,
which is the key to ensuring a polio-free India
until the risk of the infectious viral disease is
eliminated from the world.
How is the disease transmitted and its impact on
children?
Polio anywhere is a threat to unprotected children
everywhere. The polio virus usually infects
children in unsanitary conditions through faecal-
oral transmission associated with close person-to-
person contact and consumption of food and drink
contaminated with faeces.
It attacks the nerves and can kill or paralyse,
spreading widely and unnoticed before it starts
crippling children. For every one case of polio, 200
children can be infected. There is no cure for polio
it can only be prevented through immunization.
(To know more about Polio virus refer our
October Insights Current Event Analysis
magazine -2013)
Re-engineer healthcare to tackle antibiotic
resistance
The entire structure of healthcare delivery for
effective antibiotics from research and
development, to distribution and rational use
needs to be re-engineered to address the looming
global threat of antibiotic resistance.
The report (published in The Lancet Infectious
Diseases) presents a comprehensive global
overview of the growing problem of antibiotic
resistance, its major causes and consequences,
and identifies key areas in which action is urgently
needed.
What is Antibiotic resistance? What are the
reasons for the spread?
Antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria evolve
mechanisms to withstand the drugs which are
used to fight infection. Recent decades have seen
vast increases in the use of antibiotics across
medicine and agriculture, and in the absence of
adequate regulatory controls, treatment
guidelines, and patient awareness, this has led to a
huge global surge in antibiotic resistance. The
problem is compounded by a desperate shortage of
new drugs to treat multi-drug resistant bacterial
infections.
According to a professor, the causes of antibiotic
resistance are complex and include human
behaviour at many levels of society; the
consequences affect everybody in the world.
Within just a few years, we might be faced with
unimaginable setbacks, medically, socially, and
economically, unless real and unprecedented
global coordinated actions to improve surveillance
and transform the way antibiotics are regulated
and developed are taken immediately.
Investment in new drugs is based on expectations
of large volume sales. In the case of antibiotics,
this can lead to aggressive marketing and sales
activity, which in turn results in over-prescription.
In many countries, financial incentives for doctors
and health care systems means that over-
prescription of antibiotics makes sound financial
sense. Hence, non-prescription sales of antibiotics
must be banned to reduce overuse.
Way forward:
Addressing these problems will require nothing
less than a fundamental shift in how antibiotics
are developed, financed, and prescribed.
Rebuilding the infrastructure of academia and
industry to face the threat of antibiotic resistance
will not only require national and international
political commitment and investment, but also
new ways of financing drug development.
The academic research institutes and small and
medium enterprises across the world need to play
a greater role in antibiotic discovery to address the
inadequate infrastructure and innovative capacity.
A step towards improving access to institutional
deliveries
The Ministry of Health and Welfare has planned to
set up birth waiting homes close to healthcare
centres to enable pregnant women in remote areas
to gain access to prenatal care as their due date
nears.
Palanquins or carts are to be used to transport
pregnant women across difficult terrain in the bid
to improve institutional deliveries. The palanquins
would be hired under the National Rural Health
Mission (NRHM). The pregnant woman would be
provided all support and incentives to move into
these facilities at least a week before her delivery
date.
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National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and
National Health Mission (NHM)
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was
launched in 2005, to provide accessible, affordable
and quality health care to the rural population,
especially the vulnerable groups.
The thrust of the mission is on establishing a fully
functional, community owned, decentralized
health delivery system with inter-sectoral
convergence at all levels, to ensure simultaneous
action on a wide range of determinants of health
such as water, sanitation, education, nutrition,
social and gender equality. Institutional
integration within the fragmented health sector
was expected to provide a focus on outcomes,
measured against Indian Public Health Standards
for all health facilities.
As per the 12th Plan document of the Planning
Commission, the flagship programme of NRHM
will be strengthened under the umbrella of
National Health Mission which will have universal
coverage. The focus on covering rural areas and
rural population will continue along with up
scaling of NRHM to include non-communicable
diseases and expanding health coverage to urban
areas
May 2013 has approved the launch of National
Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as a Sub-mission
of an over-arching National Health Mission
(NHM), with National Rural Health Mission
(NRHM) being the other Sub-mission of National
Health Mission.
Courtesy Wikipedia
To know more about the initiatives of National
health mission, refer the below links-
http://nrhm.gov.in/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rural_
Health_Mission

EDUCATION
Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry
forms over-arching body
The HRD Ministry has now set up an over-arching
body though an administrative order, following
lack of consensus to create a single regulator
through an Act of Parliament for all streams of
higher education.
The mandate of the Higher Education Apex
Coordination Committee (HEACC) would be to
resolve issues arising out of varying and
sometimes conflicting regulatory provisions
mandated by regulatory bodies and professional
councils that have been set up to maintain
standards in specialised areas.
The HEACC will not be similar to the National
Council for Higher Education and Research
(NCHER), which was envisaged as a super-
regulator by dismantling the University Grants
Commission (UGC) or the All-India Council for
Technical Education (AICTE) or the National
Council for Teacher Education (NCTE). It will not
impinge on the authority or functioning of
statutory regulatory bodies or professional
councils.
The six-member body will be headed by the HRD
Minister and will include the UGC and the AICTE
chairpersons, besides the president of the Council
of Architecture. It will be serviced by the UGC and
will meet once every three months.
Background:
From the above mandate it can be seen that the
HEACC is a diluted version of the NCHER, it
borrows heavily from the Statement of Objects and
Reasons of The Higher Education and Research
Bill, 2011. The Bill was introduced in Parliament
and referred to the Parliamentary Standing
Committee, which raised questions about some of
its provisions, especially the States concerns at
their autonomy and jurisdiction in higher
education and the practicality of an over-
centralised body.
The Health Ministry had opposed the HRD
Ministrys bid to extend its mandate to health
education and the Bar Council of India was
concerned, as NCHER would have encroached on
its control over legal education. Hence, the
attempt to set up the super-regulator was given up
earlier this year (2013).
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Since then, the HRD Ministry had been working
on a coordination mechanism for the regulators
within its purview.
RUSA, a way to fund more institutions
RashtriyaUchchatarShikshaAbhiyan (RUSA), the
national higher education mission, is a way to
provide funding to larger number of institutions.
The funding will be based on performance
indicators relevant to students, faculty, and
research.
This would benefit those institutions which did not
fall within the mandate for funding by the
University Grants Commission (UGC).
Out of the Rs. 50,000 crore that was allotted for
higher education, UGC would get Rs. 25,000 crore
and RUSA would get the other half. RUSA would
be spread over two plan periods the XII and XIII
and is seen as a new approach to bring into its fold
many institutions for funding purposes.
Enumerating the other reforms in higher
education, 200 community colleges had been
identified to promote skill based courses. To give
an impetus to skill training, the UGC was
introducing the Bachelor of Vocational Studies
course in colleges.
There was also a call for a trans-disciplinary
approach in higher education rather than an inter-
disciplinary one.
Aimed at extending value-addition to the technical
knowledge that students were receiving in their
respective degree programmes, the courses at the
centre would be designed to equip students to
make them industry-ready.
What do you mean by Trans-disciplinary
approach?
In this approach it involves active participation of
individuals from other institutions, civil society
groups, business communities in solving complex
problems that a society faces.
This would give more practical approach to studies
and life and has more relevance to the society
rather than purely academic, by bringing in
different perspectives from the other institutions,
community and the corporate world.
All you need to know about RUSA
(RashtriyaUchchatarShikshaAbhiyan)
The objectives of RUSA would be to achieve the
target of GER of 32% by the end of XIII Plan,
which the central Government has set for itself.
Government of India aims to improve the quality
of State Universities and colleges and enhance
their existing capacities so that they become
dynamic, demand-driven, quality conscious,
efficient and forward looking and responsive to
rapid economic and technological developments
occurring at the local, state, national and
international levels.
The objectives of the scheme can be enumerated as
follows:
Improve the overall quality of existing state
institutions by ensuring that all institutions
conform to prescribed norms and standards and
adopt accreditation as a mandatory quality
assurance framework. Usher transformative
reforms in the state higher education system by
creating a facilitating institutional structure for
planning and monitoring at the state level,
promoting autonomy in State Universities and
improving governance in institutions.
Ensure academic and examination reforms in the
higher educational institutions.
Enable conversion of some of the universities into
research universities at par with the best in the
world.
Create opportunities for states to undertake
reforms in the affiliation system in order to ensure
that the reforms and resource requirements of
affiliated colleges are adequately met.
Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in
all higher educational institutions and ensure
capacity building at all levels of employment.
Create an enabling atmosphere in the higher
educational institutions to devote themselves to
research and innovations.
Expand the institutional base by creating
additional capacity in existing institutions and
establishing new institutions, in order to achieve
enrolment targets.
Correct regional imbalances in access to higher
education by facilitating access to high quality
institutions in urban & semi-urban areas, creating
opportunities for students from rural areas to get
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access to better quality institutions and setting up
institutions in un-served & underserved areas.
Improve equity in higher education by providing
adequate opportunities of higher education to
SC/STs and socially and educationally backward
classes; promote inclusion of women, minorities,
and differently abled persons.
Courtesy
http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files
/RUSA_final090913.pdf

SUPPLEMENTARTY
NEWS
Rule 49-O
Rule 49-O is a rule in The Conduct of Elections
Rules, 1961 of India, which governs elections in the
country. It describes the procedure to be followed
when a valid voter decides not to cast his vote, and
decides to record this fact.
The apparent purpose of this section is to prevent
the election fraud or the misuse of votes.
Rule 49-O reads Elector deciding not to vote If
an elector, after his electoral roll number has been
duly entered in the register of voters in Form 17A
and has put his signature or thumb impression
thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L,
decides not to record his vote, a remark to this
effect shall be made against the said entry in Form
17A by the presiding officer and the signature or
thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained
against such remark.
Implications of 49-O:
Since the ballot paper or electronic voting machine
(EVM) shows only the list of candidates, a voter
cannot record his vote under Section 49-O
directly, but must inform the presiding officer at
the election booth. This violates the secrecy of the
ballot. However, with paper ballot one can waste
ones vote by stamping on multiple candidates;
this was the standard method of giving null votes
without violating secrecy before the advent of the
EVM.
At present, in an election, a winner will be
declared irrespective of the number of non-votes.
However, a note of every non-vote will be made
with the Election Officer, and the total number of
non-voters will, presumably, be available under
the Right to Information Act.
Courtesy Wikipedia and
http://www.voteindia.in
Its for Centre to decide on opinion polls: Election
Commission
The Election Commission (EC) has deferred the
matter regarding ban on opinion polls and has
instead asked the Centre Govt. to take a call on this
matter.
At present, the ban on displaying election
material, including election survey results under
Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the
People Act, 1951 applies only to the electronic
media, cinematograph or other similar
apparatuses and not to the print media. Similarly,
the ban on conducting or publicizing an exit poll is
valid from the commencement of poll hours for
the first phase till the end of poll for the last phase.
The proposal to defer the matter to the
government is part of a list of electoral reforms the
EC has sent to the government.
Earlier in 2004 at the all-party meeting:
The EC had recommended placing some
restriction on the publication of results of
Opinion/Exit Polls. Such a restriction would only
be in the wider interests of free and fair elections.
Opposing the argument that dissemination of
survey results was linked to right to information,
the EC has opined that election results have, in the
past, differed from the predictions made on the
basis of exit polls: Thus, the information claimed
to be disseminated turned out to be
disinformation in many cases.
The EC recommended that there should be a
restriction on publishing the results of such poll
surveys for a specified period during the election
process, as prevailed in many western
democracies.
The all-party meeting was convened in April 2004
after the Supreme Court struck down the ECs
1998 order issuing guidelines on regulating
opinion and exit polls. The Supreme Court had
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then observed that the EC did not have the power
to enforce the guidelines. Later, the guidelines
were withdrawn.
It was decided by all members at the 2004 meeting
that conducting of opinion polls and publishing of
their results should be proscribed from the day of
issue of notifications till the completion of the
polls.
Criticism:
Critics have opposed the ban, since Prohibition of
publication of opinion/exit polls would be a breach
of Article 19(a) of the Constitution of India.
However, some political parties are pro- banning
of opinion polls- as this would influence the minds
of the voters and such polls does not reflect the
correct opinion as they are usually conducted by
different agencies and restricted to limited voters.
Article 19:
The Constitution of India provides the right to
freedom, given in articles 19, 20, 21 and 22, with
the view of guaranteeing individual rights.
The right to freedom in Article 19(a) guarantees
the Freedom of speech and expression, as one of
following six freedoms 19 (b)- Right to assembly;
19(c)-association; 19(d)-movement; 19(e)-
residence; 19(f)- profession.
Jailed persons can contest polls
July 10th Judgement had upheld a 2004 Patna
High Court ruling when a person in custody was
disqualified to vote he/she was also disqualified
from contesting the elections. But in the recent
decision, Supreme Court has taken note of the
amendment made to the Representation of the
People Act (RPA) treating persons in lawful
custody in a criminal case as a voter and has
allowed them to vote.
Section 62 (5) of the RP Act says, No person shall
vote at any election if he/she is confined in a
prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment
or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful
custody of the police: Provided that nothing in this
sub- section shall apply to a person subjected to
preventive detention under any law for the time
being in force.
Subsequent to the July 10 judgment, Parliament
amended the RP Act and introduced a clause to
Section 62 (5) in the RP (Amendment and
Validation) Act, 2013, which says by reasons of
the prohibition to vote under this sub-section, a
person whose name has been entered in the
electoral roll shall not cease to be an elector.
The notification said notwithstanding anything
contained in any judgment, decree or order of any
court, tribunal or other authority, the provisions of
the RP Act, 1951, as amended by this Act, shall
have and shall be deemed always to have effect for
all purposes as if the provisions of this Act had
been in force at all material times.
Centre Govt. plans fresh headcount of Jats for job
quota
The Centre would undertake a fresh survey to
identify Jats in six States, taking into account
variants in their surnames, for taking a call on
including the community in the list of other
backward classes (OBC) and bringing them within
the ambit of reservation for Central jobs.
While the Centre is under pressure to announce
Central reservation for the Jats ahead of the 2014
general elections, there has been opposition from
the National Commission for Backward Classes
(NCBC) due to absence of any official survey on
the communitys backward status.
The panel deems that Jats are members of a
relatively well-off community and do not deserve
inclusion in the job quota.
As a prelude to the Socio Economic Caste Census
(SECC), the fresh headcount would identify the
communitys exact numbers and ascertain
communitys socio-economic status in Haryana,
Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh,
Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Simultaneously,
the Indian Council for Social Science Research
(ICSSR) will, on the NCBCs directions, conduct a
study on the socio-economic status of Jats in these
States.
During consultations over the issue of reservation
for the community, it was revealed that, owing to
the different spellings of common Jat surnames
and the use of gotras, there have been ambiguity
on the numbers.
This new survey will address all these issues that
have led to confusion in identifying the community
members.
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Union Cabinet clears climate negotiation strategy
for the global climate pact, 2015
The Union Cabinet has cleared the climate
negotiation strategy, to reassert the importance of
historical emissions in the new climate agreement,
which is to be discussed at Warsaw beginning from
11th November, 2013.
The Cabinet cleared the non-negotiable lines,
deciding that India would ensure that in a pledge-
based top-down agreement the onus to take
emission cuts for meeting the 2 degree Celsius
target lies strongly on the developed countries.
At the ongoing U.N. Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks, the 195-member
countries have all but come around to having what
is called a bottoms-up approach under the new
global climate compact to be signed in 2015.
In this format (bottom-up approach) each country
volunteers targets for emission reduction based on
its capability instead of a top-down approach
where targets are set down through the
negotiations for each country.
Some countries have suggested that the
volunteered targets can then be assessed to see if
they add up to meet the requirement of keeping
the global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius.
The U.S. has disagreed and demanded that
increasing the volunteered targets should be left to
the respective country to decide and there should
not be a formal mechanism forcing the nations to
do so.
Indias Stand:
In the Cabinet decision taken, the government has
decided that the global agreement should be along
the bottoms-up approach but any gap between
volunteered cuts of all countries and the
cumulative global agreement should be met by the
developed countries which have a historical
obligation to fight climate change.
The government is open to make a voluntary
commitment under the 2015 agreement to reduce
the growth of emissions. But India would not agree
to processes outside the UNFCCC set up to fight
climate change become mandatory. The Cabinet
also decided that sector-specific targets or targets
for administrative entities lower than the Union
government, such as city and town councils, would
not be agreed to.
The 2015 agreement would have to be under the
existing U.N. convention and not in breach of any
of its elements and principles for India to be part
of it. For instance, any phase out of the gases is
done under the principles of common but
differentiated responsibility and equity.
India will not permit private investments in green
technologies from developed countries to be sold
as a replacement for inter-country transfers.
India has also reasserted on the controversial issue
of HFCs refrigerant gases that harm the climate,
which had recently found support from China and
selected G20 countries besides others.
Ms.JayanthiNatarajan (Minister of Environment &
Forest) will lead the Ministerial round of the two-
week negotiations and has been empowered to
work with the BASIC and the Like-Minded
Developing Countries to ensure that the rich
countries put a clear timeline to how and when
they shall provide the promised U.S. $100 billion
by 2020.
Gadgil report not mandatory for projects in
Western Ghats: NGT
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said that
it was no longer mandatory for the Ministry of
Environment & Forest (MoEF) to refer to Gadgil
panels report while deciding applications for
clearance for projects in permissible areas of the
Western Ghats.
The MoEF could now consider either K.
Kasturirangan panel report or Gadgil report, while
deciding the applications for clearance.
However the Kerala government has argued that
the plea to put into effect the Gadgil committees
report was inappropriate.
While Kerala contended that the present petition
was inappropriate, it is argued that the findings of
the report had been accepted only in-principle and
thus the reliefs sought in the plea still existed.
Some of Kasturirangan panel (also known as the
High Level Working Groups (HLWG))
recommendations which have been accepted in-
principle by MoEF are-
Definition of the extent of the Western Ghats
demarcated by the panel, the ecologically sensitive
area (ESA) identified and delineated by it,
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complete ban on mining, quarrying, sand-mining,
thermal power plants and red category industries
in ESA.
According to the panel approximately 37% (about
60,000 square kilometres) of the Western Ghats
are ecologically sensitive.
The hydro and wind energy projects are allowed in
the Western Ghats subject to stringent and
applicable conditions and that projects already
under consideration of the respective State
Environment Impact Assessment Authorities and
MoEF on the date of issue of draft notification will
be considered under the then existing regulations.
(The Gadgil Committee (or the Western Ghats
Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP)), had designated
the entire Western Ghats as an ecologically
sensitive area.)
Kasturirangans report comes under sharp
criticism
MadhavGadgil, chairman of the Western Ghats
Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), has criticized
Kasturirangan report &Environment Ministrys
memorandum saying that there was no role of the
gram sabha in categorizing areas as ecologically
sensitive. The local population has no say in the
decision making and this is unconstitutional.
This was against the spirit of the 73rd and 74th
Amendments to the Constitution, which envisages
local bodies to perform effectively as vibrant
democratic units of self-government and
empowers the people at the grassroots to decide
on the developmental and conservation activities
in their own areas.
Also Article 243A of the 73rd Amendment
prescribes that, a gramasabha may
exercise such powers and perform such functions
at the village level as the Legislature of a State
may, by law, provide.
According to the Ministrys memorandum, all
other major recommendations made by the High
Level Working Group, particularly with respect to
financial arrangements to incentivise green growth
in the Western Ghats, participation of and
involvement of local communities in decision-
making, data monitoring systems especially the
establishment of Decision Support and Monitoring
Centre for Western Ghats, is accepted. This is
merely a sweeping statement made by the
Ministry.
On the other hand, WGEEP report was completely
democratic, as it allowed the people to decide the
ecologically sensitive zone in their area.
(For more Information on the Gadgil Committee
& Kasturiranganpanels report, refer our October
Insights Current Event Analysis magazine -2013)
National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive to Assam
government to protect Kaziranga Sanctuary
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed
the Assam government to suggest ways to protect
the environment in the Kaziranga sanctuary,
which is being adversely hit due to traffic
movement on NH 37.
NGT was primarily concerned with the
environmental impact of the traffic on this
National Highway (NH) on sanctuary relating to
air and other pollutions and most importantly on
the environmental dynamics therein.
The NGT was hearing a plea filed by RTI activist
RohitChoudhury opposing expansion of the NH 37
stretch running through the national park,
claiming that continued unregulated use of NH 37
is leading to death of wild animals and reptiles in
large numbers in road accidents.
Measures like ensuring that no overloaded
vehicles moved on that road; prohibition of use of
horns and sirens in that area; and installation of
cameras and speedo-meters should also be looked
into.
Ageing dams not being decommissioned
A report by International Rivers, an NGO
campaigning against destructive dam projects
worldwide, has highlighted the absence of policies
regarding decommissioning of old dams in India.
Ageing dams are a serious concern in India.
What does the report says?
The report reviews the lifecycle of dams and its
relation to the safety of the riverine system and
downstream areas. These concerns should be
introduced in mainstream policy debates.
Decommissioning of old dams is crucial for
restoration of damaged ecology. Dams have a
lifespan, in USA, it is said to be between 30 and 50
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years. After completing their lifespan, dams have
to be evaluated to check whether they need to be
decommissioned.
India with more than 5,100 large dams is the
worlds third largest dam builder. Dam
decommissioning for the Mullaperiyar dam in
Kerala and the Dumbur dam in Tripura has
garnered much attention.
According to the Estimates, India has around 100
large dams and are more than 100 years old and it
has more than 400 large dams between 50 and
100 years.
While at the international level, dam
decommissioning is already a part of the dam
construction scenario for revival of riverine
ecology and farming, it remains to be an
unexplored arena in India
According to the report, The Central Water
Commission(CWC) and the Central Electricity
Authority (CEA) are of the opinion that a dam is a
permanent structure that does not need to be
decommissioned, even though many old dams
have developed leaks and fissures.
Waqf Act amendments in force
With the amendments to the Waqf Act, passed by
Parliament recently, coming into force on 1
st

November, 2013 the encroachment of Waqf
property, believed to be a rampant phenomenon
across Karnataka, has been made a cognisable and
a non-bailable offence.
The amended Act had enlarged the definition of
encroachers to include any person or institution,
public or private occupying Waqf property, in
whole or part and includes a person whose
tenancy, lease or license has expired or has been
terminated by the mutawalli (trustee) or the
Board.
This would enable the Board to evict unauthorised
occupants.
What do you mean by Waqf?
When Muslim person/s who is/are working for
charitable purpose under religious faith and
sentiments and for the benefit &upliftment of the
Society, has/have donate his/their
property/properties in the name of Allah is called
Waqf.
It is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic
law, typically donating a building or plot of land or
even cash for Muslim religious or charitable
purposes. The donated assets are held by a
charitable trust.
Courtesy- www.mpwaqf.tripod.com& Wikipedia
Tiger census from November 17
The synchronised phase one data collection for
tiger census would begin simultaneously in the
four Southern States Tamil Nadu, Andhra
Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka on November 17,
2013.
The census would occur in 3 phases:
In the 1
st
Phase: Information on prey-base
encounter rate, dung or pellet abundance,
carnivore sign survey, habitat quality assessment
and evaluation of anthropogenic pressure. This
would be sent to the Wildlife Institute of India
(WII).
In the 2
nd
Phase: The institute would analyse the
data collected by the Forest department in the first
phase by integrating it with modern technological
tools, such as geographical information system
and remote sensing data, such as forest cover,
forest connectivity, human and livestock density.
In the 3
rd
phase: Actual density estimation of the
tigers prey base and population estimation of
tigers by using mark-recapture technique.
The data of the tiger census would be released by
December 2014.
The population of tigers in the country increased
from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010.
Low Investment in Science & Technology criticized
by BharathRatna nominee
The head of the Prime Ministers Scientific
Advisory Committee, C.N.R Rao, who is named for
the Bharat Ratna, has criticised the government
for marginal and subcritical investment in
science.
He also reiterated that investments should be
proportionate to requirements of research.
India stands 66th in innovation among 140
countries and had no rank for science
publications.
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Who is C.N.R Rao?
ChintamaniNagesaRamachandraRao FRS, also
known as C.N.R. Rao (born 30 June 1934), is an
Indian chemist who has worked mainly in solid-
state and structural chemistry.
He currently serves as the Head of the Scientific
Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.
Dr.Rao has Honorary Doctorates from 60
Universities worldwide.
He has authored around 1,500 research papers
and 45 scientific books. On 16 November 2013,
The Government of India decided to confer upon
him Bharat Rant, the highest civilian award in
India making him the third Scientist after
C.V.Raman and A P J Abdul Kalam to get the
award.
Courtesy Wikipedia
UNESCO could declare Darjeeling toy train
endangered, fears MoS
Fearing that the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways
(DHR) declared a world heritage site by the
UNESCO in 1999 may lose the status unless
renovation of the damaged railway tracks is
undertaken, Minister of State for Railways has
urged the West Bengal government to begin work
immediately.
>
{P.S: Go through the Interview with
JayanthiNatarajan , Union Environment and
Forests Minister, it will provide more insights
into Climate change negotiations between the
developed and developing countries that is set to
begin from 11th November, 2013.
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-
national/india-is-not-a-naysayer-on-climate-
change/article5323992.ece}


ECONOMICS
An initiative for a better India
After four years of extensive work, India@75 (a
grassroots Peoples movement), was launched with
an objective to make the country a far better place
to live in by 2022 when India completes 75 years
of independence. Among many other objectives,
there is a comprehensive plan to create skilled
workforce of 500 million through a participatory
initiative spanning all parts of the country.
Distinguished Indian personalities from various
sectors have come forward and pledged to work
together for achieving the desired objective of
having an inclusive, sustainable and developed
India by 2022. The vision of India@75 has evolved
through collaborative public reasoning processes
that involved Indians from all strata of society to
shape the new world order through economic
strength, technological vitality and moral
leadership.
A campaign called Count Me In has been
launched seeking maximum participation from
citizens.
India@75 is a peoples movement. It is by the
people, for the people. It is a forward looking
action movement inspiring Indians to shape the
future of their country. This initiative has been
hailed as a wonderful way to bind the nations
citizens in a common cause. (The initiative is
backed by the Confederation of Indian Industry
(CII)).
The idea of India@75 was first mooted by late C.
K. Prahalad in 2007, when he was giving a speech
in the U.S. on the occasion of Indias 60th year of
independence.
Read the below article- This would help you in
Essay writing (related to women)
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-
international/women-more-affected-by-conflict-
natural-disasters/article5353705.ece
TRAI finalises tariff for mobile banking services
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
(TRAI) has recently released the tariff structure
and guidelines for mobile banking services.
This would help rural customers who do not have
access to banks and financial services.
The TRAI has prescribed a ceiling tariff for an
outgoing Unstructured supplementary service data
(USSD)-based mobile banking service at Rs.1.50
per USSD session.
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A framework has been provided to help bank
agents to interface with service providers for the
use of SMS, USSD and IVR (interactive voice
response) channels to provide mobile banking
services. The authority wants to utilise the benefits
of mobile banking for financial inclusion.
The Mobile Banking (Quality of Service)
(Amendment) Regulations, 2013 have come into
immediate effect, and the Telecommunication
Tariff (56th Amendment) Order, 2013 shall come
into force on January 1, 2014.
USSD technology is used by telecom operators to
send alerts to their users. It can be used for pre-
paid call-back service, location-based content
services, and menu-based information services.
According to TRAI telecom service providers
should collect charges from their subscribers for
providing the USSD to deliver mobile banking
services. All service providers should facilitate not
only the banks, but also the agents of banks to use
SMS, USSD and IVR to provide banking services
to bank customers.
As of September 2013, there were about 87 crore
mobile subscribers in the country of which about
35 crore were in the rural areas. The fact that a
large number of mobile subscribers in rural areas
do not have access to banking facilities presents an
opportunity for leveraging the mobile telephone to
achieve the goal of financial inclusion.
What do you mean by financial inclusion?
Financial inclusion or inclusive financing is the
delivery of financial services(encompasses a broad
range of organizations that manage money,
including credit unions, banks, credit card
companies, insurance companies, accountancy
companies, consumer finance companies, stock
brokerages, investment funds and some
government sponsored enterprises) at affordable
costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income
segments of society, in contrast to financial
exclusion where those services are not available or
affordable.
The United Nations defines the goals of financial
inclusion as follows:
access at a reasonable cost for all households to a
full range of financial services, including savings
or deposit services, payment and transfer services,
credit and insurance;
sound and safe institutions governed by clear
regulation and industry performance standards;
financial and institutional sustainability, to ensure
continuity and certainty of investment; and
competition to ensure choice and affordability for
clients.
What is Unstructured Supplementary Service Data
(USSD)?
USSD is a protocol used by GSM cellular
telephones to communicate with the service
providers computers.
Applications:
USSD can be used for WAP browsing, prepaid
callback service, mobile-money services, location-
based content services, menu-based information
services, and as part of configuring the phone on
the network
Unlike Short Message Service (SMS) messages,
USSD messages create a real-time connection
during a USSD session. The connection remains
open, allowing a two-way exchange of a sequence
of data. This makes USSD more responsive than
services that use SMS.[
USSD can be used to provide independent calling
services such as a callback service (e.g., cheaper
phone charges while roaming), enhance mobile
marketing capabilities, or interactive data service.
USSD is commonly used by prepaid GSM cellular
phones to query the available balance.
Courtesy Wikipedia
Six major central banks make currency swap pacts
permanent
Six major central banks(The Bank of Japan, the
U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank,
the Bank of England and the central banks of
Canada and Switzerland), have decided to make
their web of currency swap arrangements
permanent.
The central banks will convert their temporary
bilateral liquidity swap arrangements into
standing arrangements that will remain in place
until further notice.
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The existing temporary swap arrangements have
helped to ease strains in financial markets and
mitigate their effects on economic conditions. The
standing arrangements will continue to serve as a
prudent liquidity backstop in case of future global
financial strains.
The arrangements were next due for review in
February, 2014.
Background:
Currency swap lines were first introduced nearly
six years ago in response to a global credit crunch
that starved banks of liquidity and threatened to
distort the entire financial system.
They were an important part of the policy response
to the 2007-09 financial crisis, keeping a lid on
funding costs, which had spiralled due to fear over
counter-party risk.
(For more information on Currency Swap- refer
to our previous current events)
Norms relaxed for manufacturing units in special
economic zones
The government, has allowed manufacturing units
in special economic zones (SEZs) to sub-contract
production or any production process by large
manufacturing SEZ units to DTA (domestic tariff
area) units for up to three years, instead of just one
year at present.
The decision was taken following representations
received from large manufacturing units, which
have stated that the move would help facilitate
manufacturing processes and augment exports.
Conditions to be met:
However, the Commerce Ministry has made it
clear that the relaxation would apply only to those
manufacturing units that have substantial exports
with average annual shipments of Rs.1,000crore
or more in at least two out of four years.
The units should have an annual average export of
not less than 51% of its total turnover in the block
of five years. The units should have a flawless track
record, and no penalties against the unit for any
violations should have been imposed.
The new norms also stated that the DTA unit (unit
outside SEZ) to which the sub-contract is to be
awarded should be registered with the Central
Excise Department.
SEZs which emerged as major export hubs and
investment destinations started loosing sheen
after the global economic crisis and imposition of
minimum alternate tax (MAT). Exports from these
zones declined by 4.1 % during the first quarter of
the current fiscal which has impacted job creation
in these zones.
The government has been in the recent months
have taken steps to revive interest of SEZ
investors. Recently, it had unveiled a package of
reforms, including easing of land norms, to revive
investments in SEZs.
SEZ in India
India was one of the first in Asia to recognize the
effectiveness of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ)
model in promoting exports, with Asias first EPZ
set up in Kandla in 1965. With a view to overcome
the shortcomings experienced on account of the
multiplicity of controls and clearances; absence of
world-class infrastructure, and an unstable fiscal
regime and with a view to attract larger foreign
investments in India, the Special Economic Zones
(SEZs) Policy was announced in April 2000.
The Special Economic Zones Act was passed in
2005 and came into effect in 2006.
The main objectives of the SEZ Act are:
(a) generation of additional economic activity
(b) promotion of exports of goods and services;
(c) promotion of investment from domestic and
foreign sources;
(d) creation of employment opportunities;
(e) development of infrastructure facilities;
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Courtesy sezindia.nic.in

Core sector grows 8 % in September
Crude oil, steel and electricity sectors perform well
(This was added since in 2012 Prelims, there was
a question on Core Industries)

Vodafone India stake sellers liable to pay capital
gains tax
On the issue of tax implications of Vodafone Plcs
plan to buy out the minority shareholders in its
Indian telecom venture (Vodafone India), it would
now have to pay 20% capital gains tax after selling
their stake to the U.K.-based parent company.
The tax on gains made from financial transactions
is levied at 20%.
Background:
Earlier, Vodafone Plc had applied to the Foreign
Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for approval
to increase its stake in Vodafone India to 100%
from the present combined direct and indirect
holding of 84.5 %.
Vodafone entered India in 2007 by buying
Hutchison Whampoa in Hutchison-Essar in a $11
billion deal.
The company faces a tax liability of over
Rs.11,200crore, along with interest, for the
acquisition and is in discussions with the
government to resolve the issue.
Vodafone had offered to settle the dispute through
conciliation and the government has agreed, but
there were differences over the rules under which
it would take place. While Vodafone wants to
resolve the dispute under the United Nations
Commission on International Trade Law, the
government insists on applying the Indian
Arbitration and Conciliation Act.
More about Capital gain Tax?
A type of tax levied on capital gains incurred by
individuals and corporations. Capital gains are the
profits that an investor realizes when he or she
sells the capital asset for a price that is higher than
the purchase price.
Capital gains taxes are only triggered when an
asset is realized, not while it is held by an investor.
An investor can own shares that appreciate every
year, but the investor does not incur a capital gains
tax on the shares until they are sold.
The most common capital gains are realized from
the sale of property, stocks, bonds, precious
metals/paintings or any asset
(movable/immovable) worth its value.
If the assets are sold after three years of purchase,
the resultant gains known as Long-term gains
are taxable at a fixed rate of 20% or if the time
period is below 3 years then its known as Short-
term gain Capital tax based on Income tax slab.
Not all countries implement a capital gains tax and
most have different rates of taxation for
individuals and corporations.
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It is important to note that it is net capital gains
that are subject to tax because if an investor sells
two stocks during the year, one for a profit and an
equal one for a loss, the amount of the capital loss
incurred on the losing investment will counteract
the capital gains from the winning investment.
Courtesy http://www.investopedia.com&
Wikipedia
(A question on Capital gain tax was asked in 2012
Prelims)
Rupee to trade in 62-63 range without RBI
measures: Assocham
According to a paper released by the Associated
Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India
(Assocham), the rupee is unlikely to fall below 63
to a dollar even if RBI withdraws temporary
measures such as direct sale of dollars to oil
importing companies and the foreign currency
non-resident (FCNR) swap facility put in place to
support the currency, as speculative activity
around it has mostly declined in the foreign
exchange market,
Besides, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have
turned buyers in the capital market and exports
have made an impressive rebound the
developments that would lend support to the
rupee, which will trade in the range of 62-63.
CAD for the current fiscal would not be more than
$60 billion.
All these positives have now set a stage for the
RBI, for a possible withdrawal of these measures.
The FCNR deposit swap facility, which has already
brought in more than $13 billion to the countrys
forex reserves, is likely to bring in $20 billion
directly to the sovereign treasury when the facility
ends by 30th November, 2013.
Finance Ministry seeks 30 % dividend from oil
PSUs
The Finance Ministry has asked all profit-making
oil pubic sector undertakings (PSUs) to pay a
minimum 30 % dividend in the current financial
year (2013-14).
At present, all profit-making PSUs are required to
declare a minimum dividend on equity of 20% or a
minimum dividend payout of 20% of post-tax
profit, whichever is higher, subject to availability
of disposable profits.
However, for the 14 PSUs in the oil sector,
including Oil & Natural Gas Corp, Indian Oil Corp
and GAIL India, the Ministry has sought a 30%
dividend.
According to the Finance Ministry, dividend from
PSUs is a return on investment made by the
government, and it should be commensurate with
profits A lower than reasonable level of dividend
would be considered as an implicit subsidy, which
the government can ill afford, given the level of its
commitments, especially in the social sector, and
its obligations to meet the fiscal targets.
Oil imports from Iran drop sharply
Crude oil imports from Tehran have dropped by
over 40% this year (2013).
With declining imports from Iran and no
resolution to the rupee mechanism issue, the
Centre government has already worked on a plan
to substitute its imports from Iran by increasing its
crude oil purchase basket from countries such as
Iraq, Venezuela and Oman.
Earlier, Iran had opposed the 100% rupee
payment mechanism, and had refused to ship oil
deliveries under this mechanism. It was going
back to the 45% rupee mechanism payment
system, and the balance had to be paid either in
euro, yen or rouble.
India and Iran had opened negotiations in
October, 2013 to arrive at some settlement on the
issue, but are yet to resolve the issue.
Similarly, the failure to make the oil insurance
pool fund operational had badly impacted imports
as major refiners in public and private sectors have
been unable to source their crude imports from
Iran due to lack of proper insurance coverage. The
Rs.2,000-crore fund was to be financed through
the contribution of Rs.1,000 crore by the
Petroleum Ministry and a similar amount by state
insurers, led by GIC.
But, the Petroleum Ministry is yet to release its
first installment (Rs.500 crore) to make the fund
operational, which is hampering imports.
Recently, it was said that India was targeting 13
million tonnes of oil import from Iran in 2013-14.
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Till October, 2013 India had imported around two
million tones and the remaining 11 million tonnes
would be realized during the remaining time
period.
Background:
India has been, since July, 2011, paying in euro to
clear 55% of its purchases of Iranian oil through
Ankara-based Halkbank. The remaining amount
due was remitted in rupee form in the accounts of
Iranian National Oil Company in Kolkata-based
UCO Bank. Payments in euro through Turkey
ceased from February 6th, 2013 but the rupee
payments for 45% of the purchases continued
through UCO Bank. Iran later agreed to take all of
the payments in rupees.
(Rupee payment helps save foreign exchange
outgo, thereby reducing Current Account Deficit
(CAD))
Article on Patient rights and Doctors
Accountability
The issue is regarding patients rights &
protection of the doctors incase of medical
negligence. In some cases, medical negligence has
even led to permanent life-impairment of the
patient by over-dosage of anesthesia or when the
treatment gone wrong.
On this lines, the recent Supreme Courts verdict
for a record compensation of Rs.5.9 crore (which is
almost 3 times the amount of compensation
originally determined by the National Consumer
Disputes Redressal Commission) in a case of
medical negligence strikes the right balance
between the irreversibility of the loss of a precious
human life and holding the medical fraternity to
account for dereliction of duty.
Incase of criminal culpability of medical
practitioners- the police is not allowed to proceed
against doctors for negligence, unless authorised
by expert medical opinion. This has also
guaranteed legal protection to doctors to facilitate
instantaneous and cashless treatment of victims of
road accidents.
This was upheld by the SC in its 2009 verdict
for negligence to amount to an offence, criminal
intent on the part of medical practitioners would
have to be established. The Calcutta High Court
had earlier acquitted two doctors, though it affixed
civil responsibility.
The High Level Expert Group on Universal Health
Coverage of the Planning Commission in its report
had recommended that:
There was a need for mandatory accreditation of
all medical facilities in the public and private
sectors and an independent evaluation of their
performance, as the health care system in India
(both public and private) functions under sub-
optimal conditions.
And a health regulatory authority to develop legal,
financial and regulatory norms to regulate the
health sector so that main focus would be
patients well-being and not profit-making.
According to World Health Organisations (WHO)
standards- there should be 1 doctor per 1000
people. But Indias doctor-to-population ratio is
well below the stipulated standards this needs to
be given due consideration.
While fixing accountability is important, a holistic
approach and effort is needed to realise the
mission/aim of the medical professionals i.e., to
heal the sick and to create a disease-free
environment for healthy living.
(The medical professionals operate within the
purview of the Consumer Protection Act)
Higher base price for spectrum sale mooted
On Spectrum pricing:
Telecom Commission, the highest decision-
making body of the Department of
Telecommunications (DoT) has recommended
raising reserve price for auction of pan-India 1800
MHz mobile phone spectrum by 15% over the one
suggested by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of
India (TRAI), and the base price for 900 MHz be
fixed at 25 % higher than what the TRAI had
recommended.
The new base price per mega hertz (MHz) in 1800
band for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata is 25% higher
than the base price recommended by TRAI.
The rates recommended by the Telecom
Commission were still lower than the reserve
prices fixed for previous auction.
The spectrum pricing will now be decided by
EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers).
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The DoT is likely to conduct the third round of
spectrum auction by January, 2014 and is
expected to garner a minimum revenue of about
Rs.11,000crore this fiscal (2013-14).
The commission has also decided to conduct the
auction on 800 MHz band.
On Mergers & Acquisition:
The Telecom Commission has also approved the
M&A (Mergers &Acquisition) policy, allowing
mergers with a combined market share of up to
50%. This would replace the present cap of 35%
market share of the combined entity.
The acquiring company has to pay for spectrum
which has come embedded with the licence to the
acquired company.
The companies will also be allowed to retain two
blocks of 3G spectrum in respective areas as a
result of the merger.
Oil Ministry move to change contract terms to woo
global players
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has
decided to move the Union Cabinet for
undertaking major changes in the production
sharing contract (PSC) terms and conditions, a
move seen to woo global oil and gas players.
What is the Proposal?
The Ministry has called for inter-Ministerial
consultations to put in place an Empowered Group
and vest it with powers to grant extensions in the
timelines prescribed in the PSC pertaining to
appraisal, submission of commerciality, field
development plan (FDP) submission and other
issues.
The proposed changes would be applicable to all
the discoveries in existing PSCs and future
contracts except where the cancellationof the block
has been done.
Under the proposed changes, in case of extension
of time period for submission of the Declaration of
Commerciality (DOC) in respect of hydrocarbon
discovery, it is proposed to empower the
management committee (MC) to grant extension
of appraisal period by six months for onland
blocks and by 12 months for offshore blocks
whenever MC is satisfied with the reasons cited by
the operator for such extension. Accordingly, FDP
submission date will also get extended.
In case of reduction of minimum works
programme (MWP) of blocks overlapping with
SEZ, reserve forest, naval exercise areas, DRDO
danger zones, national parks, urban areas, firing
ranges of police and armed forces where delays
take place in execution of the mining lease due to
various reasons including denial of permission to
work from security point of view, it is proposed to
permit the contractor to exit the contract without
payment of cost of unfinished work programme.
They would also be allowed proportional reduction
in MWP in 2D, 3D work programme. If the delay
due to lack of clearances is beyond two years in
any of the blocks, then the operator will be given a
choice to choose the option to exit the project or
have proportional reduction in MWP.
To make things smoother for exploration, it is
proposed to allow swapping of 2D and 3D MWP
with each other in case of technical or logistical
reasons.
Why such a move?
The move will not only end rigidity in decision
making pertaining to exploration and production
(E&P) of oil and gas blocks but also help in
optimising the hydrocarbon potential in the
country.
This will also attract global players in oil & gas
exploration in India and bring in better technology
for the exploration.
RBI pact with central bank of Australia
The RBI has signed cooperation agreement with
central banks of Australia and New Zealand for
exchange of information. The MoUs provide a
formal, yet legally non-binding, channel for
information exchange between the supervisors.
With this, the Reserve Bank has signed such MoUs
with 18 supervisors.
S&P warns India of fresh rating downgrade
Standard & Poors (S&P), the global rating agency
has warned India that its sovereign rating would
be lowered from the current outlook of negative
within a year if the policy drift continued.
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The outlook on the long-term rating remains
negative.
S & P has warned that, the negative outlook
would be lowered to speculative grade in the
coming year, if the government is not capable of
reversing Indias low economic growth. In April,
2012 S&P had downgraded Indias rating to
negative.
However, if India can restore its lost growth
potential, consolidate its fiscal accounts, and
deploys an effective monetary policy, then S&P
would revise the outlook to stable.
S&Ps Rating based on-
The rating agencys affirmation of the current
rating is based on several key strengths of India,
including a robust participatory democracy of
more than 1 billion people and a free press; low
external debt and ample foreign exchange
reserves; and an increasingly credible monetary
policy with a largely freely floating exchange rate.
Indias Weakness:
However, these strengths were counter-balanced
by significant weaknesses, which included an
heavy burden from its public finance, lack of
progress on structural reforms, and shortfalls in
basic services and Indias subsidy policy.
Especially, the Food Security Act, could almost
double the size of the governments food subsidy
in future budgets to about 1.5% of GDP.
Indias CAD widened significantly in 2013 to about
5% of GDP, the highest in more than a decade,
which had seen deficits more in the range of 1-2%
of GDP.
The deterioration of the current account and
changing perceptions about global liquidity
conditions weakened confidence in the rupee,
leading to a 22 per cent fall in its value against the
dollar between May and August in 2013.
In the general elections slated in 2014, the new
government would face the difficult task of placing
its fiscal accounts on a firmer footing: phasing out
of diesel subsidies, financing the expansion of food
subsidies, addressing other subsidies such as those
for fertilizer, and introducing the nationwide
rollout of a common goods and services tax.
What are the consequences of S&Ps downgrade
of India sovereign rating ?
What is an IPO?
An initial public offering (IPO) or stock market
launch is a type of public offering where shares of
stock in a company are sold to the general public,
on a securities exchange, for the first time.
Through this process, a private company
transforms into a public company.
Initial public offerings are used by companies to
raise expansion capital, to possibly monetize the
investments of early private investors, and to
become publicly traded enterprises. A company
selling shares is never required to repay the capital
to its public investors.
Courtesy Wikipedia
Why Go Public?
Going public raises cash, and usually a lot of it.
Being publicly traded also opens many financial
doors: Because of the increased scrutiny, public
companies can usually get better rates when they
issue debt. As long as there is market demand, a
public company can always issue more stock.
Thus, mergers and acquisitions are easier to do
because stock can be issued as part of the deal.
Trading in the open markets means liquidity. This
makes it possible to implement things like
employee stock ownership plans, which help to
attract top talent.
Disadvantages
IPOs can be a risky investment. For the individual
investor, it is tough to predict what the stock will
do on its initial day of trading and in the near
future because there is often little historical data
with which to analyze the company. Also, most
IPOs are of companies going through a transitory
growth period, which are subject to additional
uncertainty regarding their future values.
The costs associated with the process, and the
requirement to disclose certain information could
prove helpful to competitors, or create difficulties
with vendors.
Courtesy http://www.investopedia.com
On Gas exploration & Gas pricing, refer-
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-
business/our-interest-in-gas-is-
reemerging/article5337049.ece
Efforts on to resolve price row in KG D6 field with
Reliance Industries
The Petroleum Ministry is planning to approach
the Union Cabinet to allow Reliance Industries
Ltd. (RIL) to double the price of gas from the KG
D6 fields, provided it gives a bank guarantee,
which can be encashed in case it is proved by
experts later that the company is hoarding gas in
the block.
The Petroleum Ministry had proposed that RIL be
forced to sell gas from D1 and D3 gas fields in the
KG-D6 block at the current rate of $4.2 per
mmBtu (million metric British thermal unit) till it
was proved that the over 80 % fall output was due
to natural reasons, or the company made up for
producing less than the target since 2010-11.
Criticism over this approach:
However, according to legal experts, it would be
difficult for the government to make up for the
difference between the current rate and the new
rate (likely to be around $8 per mmBtu plus for all
domestic gas from April 1, 2014) if at a later date it
was proved that the fall in output was actually due
to geological reasons.
Also verification of RILs claims through
arbitration or appointment of expert panel would
take a long time, and could cast uncertainty over
the whole matter.
Possible Solutions:
Hence it would be better to charge a higher price
for the consumers and pay $4.2 mmbtu to RIL and
keep the balance in an escrow account (collateral
account)till things are cleared.
However, the production sharing contracts (PSC)
have no such provision for escrow accounts.
The other option would be to allow RIL to charge
the increased price provided the company gives a
bank guarantee (the amount to be decided by the
Union Cabinet), which could be encashed if the
charge of hoarding gas is proved.
Background:
The gas output from the D1 and D3 fields has
fallen to 10 million standard cubic metres per day
(mscmd) from the peak of 54 mscmd achieved in
March, 2010. Production has been lower than the
target since the latter half of 2010-11, and it should
have now been 80 mscmd as per the 2006
investment plan. Production from MA oil and gas
field in the same KG-D6 block, too, has fallen by
over 62 %, but the Petroleum Ministry and the
Director General of Hydrocarbons have agreed
with RILs reasoning of geological complexity
being responsible for the same, and has approved
the higher price for the same from April, 2014.
More ultra mega solar plants on anvil
With states like Madhya Pradesh making rapid
strides in solar energy generation, more than four
ultra mega solar power plants could come up.
The objective was to bring down the cost of solar
energy to Rs.5.50 per unit, and this could only be
possible through ultra mega solar power plants.
The first ultra mega solar plant would come up
near Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan, followed by the
second one in Gujarat.Two more such plants
would come up at Kargil and Ladhak with a
capacity of 2,000 MW and 5,000 MW,
respectively.
SEBI tightens disclosure norms for corporate
Concerned over large-scale discrepancies in
mandatory disclosures by listed firms, the
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has
tightened its regulations in this regard, and has
asked bourses to put in place a stronger
mechanism with additional manpower to monitor
adequacy and accuracy of such disclosures.
Issuing detailed guidelines on corporate
disclosures, which are governed by the Listing
Agreement signed by the listed firms with the
stock exchanges, SEBI said the stock exchanges
would take appropriate actions, including levying
of fine on the companies in case of non-
compliance.
The new norms have been put in place for more
effective implementation and compliance at the
end of stock exchanges as well as the companies.
Concerns have been raised that even though listed
companies make disclosures to Stock Exchanges
within the timeframe stipulated under the Listing
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Agreement; the contents of the disclosures made
by such companies are not adequate and accurate.
Therefore, investors are unable to take informed
investment decisions based on such disclosures.
Liquidity support to MSEs
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to
refinance (provide liquidity support) micro and
small enterprises (MSEs) to the tune of Rs.5,000
crore, through the Small Industrial Development
Bank of India (SIDBI), and to include incremental
credit, including export credit to medium
enterprises to qualify as priority sector lending.
MSE sector, which is employment-intensive, and
contributes significantly to exports
The refinance would be available directly to MSEs
by SIDBI or indirectly through selected
intermediaries (like banks, non-banking financial
companies (NBFCs) and State finance
corporations (SFCs)).
The utilisation of funds will be governed by the
policy approved by the board of SIDBI.
The liquidity support comes in the wake of
slowdown in the economy, which has resulted in
liquidity tightness in a large number of MSEs in
the manufacturing and services sector due to
delayed settlement of receivables from large
corporate, public sector and government
departments.
More about Small Industries Development Bank of
India (SIDBI)
Small Industries Development Bank of India
(SIDBI), set up on April 2, 1990 under an Act of
Indian Parliament, is the Principal Financial
Institution for the Promotion, Financing and
Development of the Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprise (MSME) sector and for Co-ordination
of the functions of the institutions engaged in
similar activities.
Mandatory Objectives:
Four basic objectives are set out in the SIDBI
Charter. They are:
Financing
Promotion
Development
Co-ordination
for orderly growth of industry in the small scale
sector.
Mission:
To facilitate and strengthen credit flow to MSMEs
and address both financial and developmental
gaps in the MSME eco-system
Vision:
To emerge as a single window for meeting the
financial and developmental needs of the MSME
sector to make it strong, vibrant and globally
competitive, to position SIDBI Brand as the
preferred and customer friendly institution and
for enhancement of share holder wealth and
highest corporate values through modern
technology platform
http://www.sidbi.in
Priority sector lending
Priority sector refers to those sectors of the
economy which may not get timely and adequate
credit in the absence of this special dispensation.
Typically, these are small value loans to farmers
for agriculture and allied activities, micro and
small enterprises, poor people for housing,
students for education and other low income
groups and weaker sections.
What are the different categories under priority
sector?
Priority Sector includes the following categories:
Agriculture (ii) Micro and Small Enterprises (iii)
Education (iv) Housing (v) Export Credit (vi)
Others
What are the Targets and Sub-targets for banks
under priority sector?
Categories Domestic
commercial banks
/ Foreign banks
with 20 and above
branches
(As percent of
ANBC or Credit
Equivalent of Off-
Balance Sheet
Exposure,
Foreign banks
with less than 20
branches
(As percent of
ANBC or Credit
Equivalent of Off-
Balance Sheet
Exposure,
whichever is
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whichever is
higher)
higher)
Total
Priority
Sector
40 32
Total
agriculture
18 No specific target.
Advances
to Weaker
10 No specific target.








Courtesy http://www.rbi.org.in
ICICI launches RegS bonds
Regulation S bonds or RegS bonds are those
offered to non-US residents and qualified
institutional buyers (under an exception to U.S.
securities laws enacted in 1990), and do not enjoy
the same legal protection as other issues do.
It is issued for raising capital
OECD projects modest India GDP growth
According to Organisation for Economic Co-
operation and Development (OECD), Indian
economy is expected to improve marginally in the
current financial year with its GDP at market price
projected to expand by 3.4% from 3.3% in 2012.
The countrys economic activity is expected to
recover gradually as rupee depreciation supports
exports, infrastructure projects cleared by the
Cabinet Committee on Investment come on stream
and political uncertainty declines after the general
election due in the spring 2014.
According to OECD, rupee depreciation is putting
pressures on inflation, public finances, corporates
and banks with high external debt exposure. Also
supply constraints will continue to restrain
growth, adding to inflationary pressures and the
current account deficit.
Meanwhile, OECD has welcomed Indias new
monetary policy framework that puts more weight
on inflation as a policy anchor.
However, it said that containing inflation
pressures also requires reducing the fiscal deficit
and dealing with supply constraints that limit
growth. For instance, the new Land Acquisition
Law may promote investment, but the new Food
Act will be fiscally costly.
To reduce fiscal deficit Priority should now be
given to cutting energy subsidies, better targeting
household transfers, implementing pending tax
reforms, improving infrastructure and reforming
the labour market.
OECD projects world economy to grow 2.7 % this
year before accelerating to 3.6% in 2014. The
weaker forecast was largely due to worsened
outlook of some emerging economies.
More about Organisation for Economic Co-
operation and Development (OECD)
OECD was established in 1961. HQ: Paris, France;
It consists of 34 member countries.
Mission
The mission of OECD is to promote policies that
will improve the economic and social well-being of
people around the world.
The OECD provides a forum in which
governments can work together to share
experiences and seek solutions to common
problems. We work with governments to
understand what drives economic, social and
environmental change. We measure productivity
and global flows of trade and investment. We
analyse and compare data to predict future trends.
We set international standards on a wide range of
things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of
chemicals.
We look, too, at issues that directly affect the lives
of ordinary people, like how much they pay in
taxes and social security, and how much leisure
time they can take. We compare how different
countries school systems are readying their young
people for modern life, and how different
countries pension systems will look after their
citizens in old age.
Drawing on facts and real-life experience, we
recommend policies designed to make the lives of
ordinary people better. We work with business,
through the Business and Industry Advisory
Committee to the OECD, and with labour, through
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the Trade Union Advisory Committee. We have
active contacts as well with other civil society
organisations. The common thread of our work is
a shared commitment to market economies
backed by democratic institutions and focused on
the wellbeing of all citizens. Along the way, we also
set out to make life harder for the terrorists, tax
dodgers, crooked businessmen and others whose
actions undermine a fair and open society.
Courtesy- http://www.oecd.org
BharatiyaMahila Bank (BMB) bank to offer
universal banking services
The BharatiyaMahila Bank (BMB) would be a
universal bank which would establish branches
across India and offer all banking products that a
regular commercial bank offers.
BMB would design and offer special products
tailor made to the needs of women. It will cater to
everybody from self help groups to lower middle
class women to high net worth individuals. It will
establish branches all over the country and, in
due course, some branches abroad.
According to a survey, 26 % of women in India
have bank accounts and per capita credit for
women is currently 80 % lower than that for men.
There is deep seated bias, at the institutional and
individual levels against women. Since fewer
women have bank accounts, fewer women get
bank loans. Hence, the need for a bank that caters
predominantly to womens needs.
By the end of the financial year, the bank plans to
open at least 25 branches, eyeing a presence in
every state capital. The bank network would be
expanded in subsequent years to reach 770
branches by 2020, covering Tier II and III cities,
rural areas and unbanked areas.
BMB, headquartered in New Delhi, is headed by
UshaAnanthasubramanian
In the Budget 2013-14, the Finance Minister had
announced setting up of all-women bank with an
initial capital of Rs. 1,000 crore.
U.S. regulators see value in bitcoin
The virtual currency, bitcoin, took a big step
toward the mainstream as federal authorities
signalled their willingness to accept it as a
legitimate payment alternative.
But a cautious approach needs to be taken since
new forms of digital money would provide avenues
for money laundering and illegal activity.
Tea growers explore bitcoin option to expand
global biz
Small and specialised tea growers are working
with a U.S-based online tea marketplace to explore
the option of using digital currency bitcoin as a
means of avoiding heavy banking fees and to
expand international business.
Hawaii-based Tealet facilitates tea purchases
between small tea farmers and the beverages
global connoisseurs, a form of online direct selling,
and has signed up a number of independent tea
growers in Assam, West Bengal and Bihar.
While bitcoins are not illegal in India, the RBI is
watching and learning about the developments in
bitcoin even though it has no intention of
regulating it right now. The digital currency also
lets growers avoid heavy transaction fees
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new
payment system and a completely digital money. It
is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment
network that is powered by its users with no
central authority or middlemen.
From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much
like cash for the Internet. Bitcoin can also be seen
as the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping
system in existence.
Courtesy- http://bitcoin.org
Bitcoin advantages:
Easy and Fast Payments
Secure
Offers Some Degree of Anonymity
Low or No Transaction Fees:
anyone can use it; no registration required
no fee when you are sending Bitcoins to somebody
Bitcoin disadvantages:
it is not yet widely accepted currency
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could be used for illegal activities (trading drugs,
weapons)
Payments are Irreversible- when you send Bitcoins
it couldnt be charged back
Its Price is Volatile
Courtesy- http://www.speculatebitcoin.com
http://voices.yahoo.com/advantages-
disadvantages-bitcoin-12385858.html
The two sides of Bitcoin
Bitcoin, often called a virtual currency, its not
legal tender anywhere in the world. Its not an
income-generating asset class suitable for most
investors. Its value, in dollars, fluctuates wildly
from one minute to the next. And while it can be a
cheap way of transferring money, there are too
many glitches in its emerging network for bitcoin
to be entirely reliable.
Analysts have said that, Bitcoins are still an
experimental currency and it should be considered
a high-risk environment for consumers and
investors at the moment. Yet, bitcoin has been
receiving plenty of attention, and not just because
well-publicised speculators have been making
money on it.
High-risk experiment though it may be, bitcoin
represents an elegant and disruptive technology.It
uses file-sharing, the peer-to-peer computer
innovation that spawned early music services such
as Napster, Kazaa and LimeWire.
Bitcoin gives file-sharing a brilliant twist. In
essence, it has created a decentralised virtual
currency that uses a peer-to-peer consensus
system to confirm and verify transactions.
Bitcoinsadvantages as a low-cost means of
transferring money has attracted a number of
corporate clients.
Speculators and money launderers have already
found much to like about the relatively anonymous
digital currency, and that has forced the
government to play catch-up.
To illustrate:Bitcoin allowed the website Silk Road,
which the government shut down in October 2013,
to become the largest illegal drug and contraband
marketplace on the Internet. While it was in
business, customers were required to pay in
bitcoins to enable both the operator of Silk Road
and its sellers to evade detection and launder
hundreds of millions of dollars.
Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate had called it
a reliable e-cash.
To illustrate: The e-cash that enabled one to
transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B
or B knowing A the way in which one can take a
$50 bill and hand it over to another and theres no
record of where it came from. At the end B may get
its due, without knowing who A is.
(To know more about Bitcoins refer our
previous CURRENT EVENTS)
No to Retrospective amendment to raise revenue
Finance Ministers advisor ParthasarathiShome (is
also the chairman of the Tax Administration
Reform Commission (TARC)) has said that, the
government should not use retrospective
amendment of tax laws to raise revenues.(For
instance, Brazil and Sweden have constitutionally
removed retrospective taxation)
Retrospective issue:
Vodafone is facing a tax liability of over
Rs.11,200crore, along with interest, for its 2007
acquisition of Hong Kong-based Hutchison
Whampoas stake in Hutchison Essar, an Indian
telecom company.
A committee was set up under Dr.Shome to
recommend measures to deal with the
retrospective amendment of income tax laws and
suggest ways of treating taxation cases which
involve indirect transfer of Indian assets, of the
likes of the Vodafone-Hutchison deal.
The committee had recommended in 2012 that
either the retrospective tax amendment should be
withdrawn or penalty/ interest, if covered under
taxes should be waived off.
Banks asset quality remains a major concern, says
RBI
The RBI has said that it would focus on the
monitoring of banks asset quality and help
improve the poor debt recovery process,
underlining the central banks growing discomfort
with rising bad loans.
What is the concern?
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Bad debts have surged as economic growth has
slowed to a decade low, while investments have
also stalled.
The focus on asset quality comes as bad debts at
banks have nearly doubled since 2009 to 4.2 % of
total loans at the end of September, 2013, while
debt restructuring is also at a record high.
The non-performing assets (NPA) ratio of all
major sectors weakened during 2012-13. While the
primary driver of the deteriorating asset quality
was the domestic economic slowdown, the
contribution of other factors like delays in
obtaining statutory and other approvals as well as
lax credit appraisal/monitoring by banks was also
significant.
Guidelines from RBI to streamline NPA (Non-
Performing Assets)
The RBI has advised banks to put in place
mechanisms for early detection of signs of distress
and to use early warning signals to avoid non-
performing loan. It has also advised banks to
strengthen information sharing, making it
compulsory to receive and share information on
borrowers before loans are approved.
The central bank also cited an urgent need to
speed up operations at fast-track government
courts for lenders that deal with cases involving
the recovery of debt called debt recovery tribunals
and asset reconstruction companies.
Regarding effectiveness of the recovery system,
RBI has said that there is urgent need for
accelerating the working of Debt Recovery
Tribunals and Asset Reconstruction Companies. It
is also necessary to collect credit data and examine
large common exposures across banks. This will
enable the creation of a central repository on large
credits, which can be shared with the banks.
(Regarding NPA, Basel-III norms, asset quality
refer to ourINSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS
ANALYSIS OCTOBER 2013 MAGAZINE)
Government securities (G-Sec) market
What are G-secs?
The Government securities comprise dated
securities issued by the Government of India and
state governments as also, treasury bills issued by
the Government of India. Reserve Bank of India
manages and services these securities through its
public debt offices located in various places as an
agent of the Government.
They (Government Securities) are mostly interest
bearing dated securities issued by RBI on behalf of
the Government of India. GOI uses these funds to
meet its expenditure commitments. These
securities are generally fixed maturity and fixed
coupon securities carrying semi-annual coupon.
Since the date of maturity is specified in the
securities, these are known as dated Government
Securities.
Why G-secs?
Provident funds, by their very nature, need to
invest in risk free securities that also provide them
a reasonable return. Government securities, also
called the gilt edged securities or G-secs, are not
only free from default risk but also provide
reasonable returns and, therefore, offer the most
suitable investment opportunity to provident
funds.
Treasury Bills
Treasury bills (T-bills) offer short-term investment
opportunities, generally up to one year. They are
thus useful in managing short-term liquidity. At
present, the Government of India issues three
types of treasury bills through auctions, namely,
91-day, 182-day and 364-day. There are no
treasury bills issued by State Governments.
Courtesy http://www.rbi.org.in
Features of Government Securities
Issued at face value.
No default risk as the securities carry sovereign
guarantee.
Ample liquidity as the investor can sell the security
in the secondary market.
Interest payment on a half yearly basis on face
value.
No tax deducted at source.
Can be held in Demat form.
Courtesy http://www.rrfinance.com
EPFO to pay at least 8.5% interest on PF deposits
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Retirement fund body EPFO will pay at least 8.5%
of return on PF deposits for 2013-14 to its over 5
crore subscribers as provided in the previous
fiscal.
What is EMPLOYEES PROVIDENT FUND
ORGANISATION (EPFO)?
EPFO is a Statutory Body under Ministry of
Labour & Employment, Government of India. It is
the largest Social Security Organisation.
It administers a compulsory contributory
Provident Fund Scheme, Pension Scheme and an
Insurance Scheme for the workforce engaged in
the organized sector. It is one of the largest social
security organisations in the India in terms of the
number of covered beneficiaries and the volume of
financial transactions undertaken.
Mission
EPFOs mission is to extend the reach and quality
of publicly managed old-age income security
programs through consistent and ever-improving
standards of compliance and benefit delivery in a
manner that wins the approval and confidence of
members by fairness, honesty and integrity,
thereby contributing to the economic and social
well-being of members.
History (Overview):
The Employees Provident Fund came into
existence with the promulgation of the Employees
Provident Funds Ordinance on the 15th
November, 1951. It was replaced by the
Employees Provident Funds Act, 1952. It is now
referred as the Employees Provident Funds &
Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 which extends
to the whole of Indian except Jammu and
Kashmir.
The Employees Provident Funds Bill was
introduced in the Parliament in 1952 to provide for
the institution of provident funds for employees in
factories and other establishments.
The Act and Schemes framed there under are
administered by a tri-partite Board known as the
Central Board of Trustees (CBT apex decision
making body), Employees Provident Fund,
consisting of representatives of :-
Government (Both Central and State);
Employers, and Employees.
The Board operates three schemes viz. :-
The Employees Provident Funds Scheme 1952
(EPF)
The Employees Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS)
The Employees Deposit Linked Insurance
Scheme 1976 (EDLI)
Courtesy http://www.epfindia.gov.in
A new deal for foreign banks
Even while the issue of granting bank licences to a
few private banks has been opposed from some
quarters, the RBI has released important
guidelines for foreign banks to participate in the
Indian financial sector in a bigger way than what
has been possible so far.
Significance of the move:
The two developments have one common
objective, they are meant to deepen the financial
sector. If all goes well, a few new private sector
banks will come up in early 2014. At the moment,
there are 26 applicants, who have met the stiff
eligibility criteria, and are being reviewed by an
independent committee of experts headed by
former RBI Governor BimalJalan.
Awarding licences to corporates has been the most
contentious issue in the new licensing policy, but
once the decision was made, a few of the Indias
biggest companies have put in their applications.
The framework for foreign banks has one major
theme the formation of wholly-owned
subsidiaries (WOS) for furthering their business in
India. The RBI guidelines make it clear that the
WOS model is what the regulator would prefer the
foreign banks to have. Suitable incentives are
being given to new as well as existing players
operating through their branches in India to adopt
the subsidiary route and incorporate locally.
Background:
Like the new private bank licensing policy, the
framework for foreign banks has passed through
several stages.
The origin of the new policy can be traced to the
year 2004 when the government relaxed the
foreign direct investment (FDI) limits to 74% in
private sector banks. Simultaneously, foreign
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banks were permitted to set up a 100% wholly-
owned subsidiary in India subject to certain
conditions. A detailed roadmap for
operationalising the FDI guidelines, in two stages,
was issued subsequently.
The objective was to encourage foreign banks to
take the WOS route. But in the absence of any
incentives, no bank came forward to set up or
convert their branches into WOS.
If the latest policy is to succeed and attract new
foreign banks in the WOS route, the type of
incentives naturally matter. Great significance is
attached to the clause that a locally incorporated
WOS will be given near-national treatment, which,
for all purposes, will place them on a par with
Indian banks.
For instance, they can open branches anywhere in
the country (except in sensitive areas where RBI
prior approval will be required). It is expected that
foreign banks already operating branches in India
will also see in the national treatment a big
advantage and convert themselves into WOS and
participate in all financial sector activities.
Guidelines for foreign banks:
The WOS will have a minimum paid-up capital of
Rs.500 crore, which is what has been stipulated
for the new private banks.
Corporate guidelines for the WOS include a clause
that not less than 50% of the directors should be
Indian nationals/NRIs/PIOs.
Further, not less than two-thirds of the directors
should be non-executive directors and a minimum
of one-third of the directors should be
independent of the subsidiary.
The fear of foreign banks taking over the Indian
financial sector has been there ever since the FDI
rules were liberalised.
To lessen such apprehensions, restrictions would
be placed on further entry of new WOS of foreign
banks/capital infusion, when the capital and
reserves of foreign banks and their wholly-owned
subsidiaries exceed 20% of the capital and reserves
of the banking system. This stipulation is unlikely
to satisfy either the foreign banks or those who
want the RBI to spell out a more workable system
of restraining them.
The guidelines are considerate, on foreign banks
taking over small private banks. The RBI would
regulate mergers and acquisitions (M & A).
Yet, in terms of volume of business and balance
sheet expansion, even the worlds largest banks
have been sluggish. While in the past they could
blame restrictive policies, they probably have a
more conducive environment now.
ULIPs was mentioned in todays newspaper, but
nothing significant so only information related to
ULIPs has been put
No tax on foreign banks converting to WoS
The RBI has clarified that conversion of existing
foreign bank branches into wholly-owned
subsidiaries(WoS) in India will not attract capital
gains tax or stamp duty.
This clarification comes in the wake of RBI
receiving several queries from foreign banks on
capital gains tax and incidence of stamp duty on
conversion of existing foreign bank branches into
wholly-owned subsidiaries.
Earlier RBI had said that foreign banks with
complex structures and which did not provide
adequate disclosures would have to operate in
India only through wholly-owned subsidiaries
(WoS) in order to regulate and avoid 2008-type
crisis.
While allowing foreign banks to list their
subsidiaries in the local stock exchanges, the RBI
had prescribed that the minimum paid-up equity
capital or net worth for a WoS would be Rs. 500
crore.
However, it gave the foreign banks operating in
India before August 2010 the option to continue
their operations in branch model.
There were 43 foreign banks in India with a
network of 333 branches as of March 2013. At
present, foreign banks have presence in India only
through branches.
ULIPs (unit-linked insurance plan)
A Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) is a product
offered by insurance companies that unlike a pure
insurance policy gives investors the benefits of
both insurance and investment under a single
integrated plan.
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A ULIP is basically a combination of insurance as
well as investment. A part of the premium paid is
utilized to provide insurance cover to the policy
holder while the remaining portion is invested in
various equity and debt schemes.
The money collected by the insurance provider is
utilized to form a pool of fund that is used to invest
in various markets instruments (debt and equity)
in varying proportions just the way it is done for
mutual funds.
Policy holders have the option of selecting the type
of funds (debt or equity) or a mix of both based on
their investment need and appetite.
CPI-indexed bonds
The RBI said it would launch CPI-indexed bonds
aimed at protecting the savings of retail investors
from the impact of price rise by the end of
December, 2013.
Earlier, the RBI had said that, inflation-indexed
securities for retail investors of 10-year tenor
would be linked to the new (combined) consumer
price index. Interest would be compounded half-
yearly and paid cumulatively at redemption.
Inflation-indexed bonds were designed to offer
investors an option to guard their savings against
rising prices.
(To know more about CPI refer our INSIGHTS
CURRENT EVENTS Magazine(October 2013)
Unique identity numbers to hospital
The insurance regulator IRDA has started a
process to provide unique identity numbers to
hospitals, in order to help identify hospitals and
collect information regarding various charges
imposed by them on different medical procedures.
Ban on takeover of critical drug plants by foreign
firms mooted
The Department of Industrial Policy and
Promotion (DIPP) has proposed to ban
complete takeovers by foreign companies of
critical lifesaving drugs production facilities. The
proposal is to lower the cap for FDI from 100% to
49%, subject to approval of the Foreign
Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
The DIPP also wants critical pharma
manufacturing to be declared a strategic sector
just like the U.S did.
(In 2011 the US president had through an
executive order directed the US FDA to take steps
to prevent and reduce current and future
disruptions in the supply of lifesaving medicines
as the last five years data indicated that the use of
sterile injectable cancer treatment has increased
without a corresponding increase in production
capacity.)
The concern in India is that an alarming number
of foreign acquirers of cancer oncology injectables
and APIs manufacturing facilities over the last two
years have post-takeover shut down the
manufacturing units and R&D centres of the
acquired companies.
Even Indias first indigenous manufacturer of the
Hepatitis-B vaccine, Shantha Biotech, was
acquired by the French pharma giant Sanofi-
Aventis, and production there was suspended
post-acquisition. Similarly Pfizer had divested one
of its manufacturing facilities towards real estate.
BSE to offer currency derivative platform
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) will launch its
platform for trading in currency derivatives on 29
th

November, 2013 making it the fourth bourse in the
country to offer such trades.
Other stock exchanges present in the currency
futures segment are: National Stock Exchange,
MCX-SX and United Stock Exchange.
Currency derivative contracts allow investors to
take position on change in the foreign exchange
rates between pairs of two currencies, such as
rupee and dollar.
What are Currency Derivatives?
The term Derivatives indicates it derives its value
from some underlying i.e. it has no independent
value. Underlying can be securities, stock market
index, commodities, bullion, currency or anything
else. From Currency Derivatives market point of
view, underlying would be the Currency Exchange
rate. To put it simply an example of Derivatives is
curd which is derived from Milk.
Derivatives are unique product, which helps in
hedging the portfolio against the future risk. At the
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same time, derivatives are used constructively for
arbitrage and speculation too.
Courtesy
http://www.moneycontrol.com/glossary/currency
/what-is-currency-derivatives_845.html
What are Currency Futures?
A transferable futures contract that specifies the
price at which a currency can be bought or sold at
a future date. Currency future contracts allow
investors to hedge against foreign exchange risk.
Because currency futures contracts are marked-to-
market daily, investors can exit their obligation to
buy or sell the currency prior to the contracts
delivery date. This is done by closing out the
position. With currency futures, the price is
determined when the contract is signed, just as it
is in the forex market, only and the currency pair
is exchanged on the delivery date, which is usually
some time in the distant future.
However, most participants in the futures markets
are speculators who usually close out their
positions before the date of settlement, so most
contracts do not tend to last until the date of
delivery.
Courtesy http://www.investopedia.com
Cabinet rejects proposal to change FDI policy in
pharma
The Cabinet has rejected a proposal from the
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion
(DIPP) to ban complete takeovers by foreign
companies of critical lifesaving drugs production
facilities.
The DIPP had proposed to lower the cap for
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from 100 % to 49
%, subject to approval of the Foreign Investment
Promotion Board (FIPB), as it feels an alarming
number of foreign acquirers of cancer oncology
injectables and APIs manufacturing facilities have,
over the last two years, post-takeover, shut down
the manufacturing units and R&D centres of the
acquired companies. This, the DIPP feels, can
render the country vulnerable in the critical area.
The Cabinet decided that government policies
cannot be revisited every three months and so the
DIPPs proposal on changing the policy on FDI in
pharma was rejected.
RBI eases group limit for NBFCs in insurance
Joint Ventures (JVs)
The RBI has decided to consider a case-to-case
basis relaxation of the 50% group limit norm for
NBFCs (non-banking finance companies) in the
equity of insurance joint venture.
The IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and
Development Authority) requires an insurance
company to expand its capital, taking into account
the stipulations of the Insurance Act and the
solvency requirements of the insurance company.
The current restriction of a group limit of the
NBFC to 50% of the equity of the insurance JV
may act as a constraint for the insurance company
in meeting the requirement of IRDA.
Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme or RGESS
Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme or RGESS is
a new equity tax advantage savings scheme for
equity investors in India, with the stated objective
of encouraging the savings of the small investors
in the domestic capital markets.
It aims to attract first-time small investors into
capital market by offering them tax benefits.
It is exclusively for the first time retail investors
in securities market.
This Scheme would give tax benefits to new
investors who invest up to Rs. 50,000 and whose
annual income is below Rs. 10 lakh.
The Scheme not only encourages the flow of
savings and improves the depth of domestic
capital markets, but also aims to promote an
equity culture in India. This is also expected to
widen the retail investor base in the Indian
securities markets.
The maximum Investment permissible under the
Scheme is Rs. 50,000 and the investor would get
a 50% deduction of the amount invested from the
taxable income for that year.
For more information refer
http://www.bseindia.com/rgess/
SEBI issues draft norms to regulate research
analysts
To ward off market manipulation through
independent reports on stocks and listed
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companies, the Securities and Exchange Board of
India (SEBI), has proposed new norms to regulate
research analysts while clamping down on
research services offered by foreign entities
without getting registered in India.
Those to be regulated through new norms include
independent research analysts, intermediaries that
employ research analysts and issues research
reports, as also research analysts giving
recommendations in the public media such as TV
channels, newspapers and websites.
As per the proposed norms, an entity incorporated
outside India willing to provide research services
in respect of Indian companies will have to set up
a subsidiary in India and make an application for
registration through that subsidiary.
The guidelines have come against the backdrop of
various cases of foreign entities coming out with
research reports on India, resulting in huge fall in
share prices in India.
For instance, Canada-based research firm Veritas
Investment Research had issued reports on DLF,
Reliance and Indiabulls, which had influenced the
share price of these companies.
SEBI had come across instances where bear cartels
have used negative issues raised in these reports to
push down the shares, while positive reports have
been used to push the prices higher.
The latest proposals are based on
recommendations by The International
Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO),
which has also suggested to the SEBI that research
analysts need to be subjected to appropriate
oversight and regulation.
As per the detailed draft guidelines issued by SEBI
for research analysts, no person shall act as a
research analyst or hold itself out as a research
analyst unless he has obtained a certificate of
registration.
Terms set for banks entry into insurance business
The RBI has released draft guidelines for entry of
banks into insurance broking business.
Since insurance broking is a knowledge-intensive
activity requiring professional expertise, this will
be permitted subject to the certain conditions. And
banks would require specific prior approval of
RBI.
The draft guidelines are as follows:
Banks should formulate a comprehensive board-
approved policy on insurance broking. And, the
services offered to customers should be in
accordance with this policy.
Eligibility criteria for banks- The aspiring banks
should have a net worth of not less than Rs.500
crore, and CRAR (capital to risk assets ratio) of not
less than 10%. Further, the draft has stipulated
that the level of net non-performing assets (NPAs)
should not be more than 3 %. Also, the bank
should have made profits for the last three
consecutive years.
To avoid any conflict of interest, banks
undertaking insurance broking business should
not enter into agreements either for corporate
agency or for referral arrangements for insurance,
either departmentally or through
subsidiaries/group companies.
What do you mean by Capital to risk assets ratio
(CRAR)?
Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), also known as
Capital to Risk (Weighted) Assets Ratio (CRAR), is
a ratio of a banks capital to its risk.
Significance:
National regulators track a banks CAR to ensure
that it can absorb a reasonable amount of loss and
complies with statutory Capital requirements.
CRAR determines the banks capacity to meet the
time liabilities and other risks such as credit risk,
operational risk etc.
In the most simple formulation, a banks capital is
the cushion for potential losses, and protects the
banks depositors and other lenders. Banking
regulators in most countries define and monitor
CAR to protect depositors, thereby maintaining
confidence in the banking system.
Courtesy- wikipedia
Reserve Bank to recognise SRO
The RBI has decided to accord recognition to
industry association of Non-banking financial
companies (NBFCs) that are engaged in
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microfinance (NBFC-MFIs), to function as a Self
Regulatory Organisation (SRO), which is having at
least one-third of the NBFC-MFIs registered as its
members, at the time of recognition.
This would help industry associations assuming
greater responsibility in ensuring compliance by
the NBFCs that are engaged in micro-finance
(NBFC-MFIs), to the regulations.
What is a Non-Banking Financial Company
(NBFC)?
Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a
company registered under the Companies Act,
1956 engaged in the business of loans and
advances, acquisition of
shares/stocks/bonds/debentures/securities issued
by Government or local authority or other
marketable securities of a like nature, leasing,
hire-purchase, insurance business, chit business
but does not include any institution whose
principal business is that of agriculture activity,
industrial activity, purchase or sale of any goods
(other than securities) or providing any services
and sale/purchase/construction of immovable
property.
A non-banking institution which is a company and
has principal business of receiving deposits under
any scheme or arrangement in one lump sum or in
installments by way of contributions or in any
other manner, is also a non-banking financial
company (Residuary non-banking company).
What is difference between banks & NBFCs?
NBFCs lend and make investments and hence
their activities are akin to that of banks; however
there are a few differences as given below:
NBFC cannot accept demand deposits;
NBFCs do not form part of the payment and
settlement system and cannot issue cheques
drawn on itself;
Deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance
and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available
to depositors of NBFCs, unlike in case of banks.
Courtesy RBI website (http://www.rbi.org.in)
Restore investor trust, EU tells India
The European Union (EU) has urged India to
regain the confidence of foreign investors as many
companies from the EU are keen to invest in India
despite various problems.
The biggest concern among EU investors was the
uncertainty under which they operated in India.
The uncertainty over the tax regime, licensing, the
delay in the dispute resolution taken by the courts
all act as a deterrent for investment.
However, the trade relationship between India and
EU was on the rise in 2012 bilateral trade was
estimated to be little less than 100 million euros,
slightly less than 2011. But this year there were
signs of improvement.
New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP)
New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was
conceptualised by the Government of India,
during 1997-98 to provide an equal platform to
both Public and Private sector companies in
exploration and production of hydrocarbons with
Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) as a
nodal agency for its implementation. It was
introduced to boost the production of oil and
natural gas and providing level playing field for
both public and private players.
Courtesy Wikipedia
Production Sharing Contract (PSC)
An agreement between Contractor and
Government whereby Contractor bears all
exploration risks, production and development
costs in return for its stipulated share of
production resulting from this effort. These costs
are recoverable in case of commercial discovery.
Following activities are being carried out in PSC:
Review of work Programme and budget of all
exploration blocks and fields under PSCs.
Facilitating of statutory and other clearances.
Management Committee Meetings.
Assignment of Participating Interest.
Extension of phases, relinquishment of acreages,
assignment, appointment of auditor, approval of
auditing account and other PSC related issues as
and when arise.
Courtesy- http://www.dghindia.org/PSC.aspx
Biocon gets DCGI nod for breast cancer drug
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Biotechnology major Biocon has received market
authorisation from the Drug Controller General of
India (DCGI) for its biosimilartrastuzumab
product. The drug, which is being developed
jointly with Mylan, is used for the treatment of Her
2+ metastatic breast cancer.
The approval for biosimilartrastuzumab in India is
an extremely important milestone for Biocon, as it
is the first biosimilar version of Herceptin to be
brought to the market (Trastuzumab is equivalent
of Herceptin, a registered brand of drug major
Roche.)
This is a major milestone as it is the worlds first
biosimilartrastuzumab to be accorded regulatory
approval.
The overall global opportunity for biosimilars is
estimated to be $22 billion by 2020.












SCIENCE &
TECHNOLOGY
300-day Mars expedition begins today (5th
November, 2103)
Indias first interplanetary mission to planet Mars
Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission) will be
setting off on an 11-month-long expedition from
Sriharikota on 5th November, 2013. During the
useful life of the orbiter, meaningful scientific
experiments would be conducted.

This is totally an indigenous mission the rocket
and the five payloads come from various ISRO
centres across the country and this is the PSLVs
silver jubilee launch (25th launch).
The mission to Mars is more complex than Indias
Chandrayaan-1 mission to the moon because of the
distances involved. At its nearest, Mars is 55
million km away and it can be as far as 400 million
km away when it is farthest from the Earth.
Although ISRO has benefited from its experience
with the Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe dispatched
five years back, the technological hurdles that
must be dealt with in an interplanetary mission of
this sort are still very considerable.
The Soviet Union, the U.S., Japan and China failed
to get to Mars on their first attempt but the
European Space Agency succeeded on its first try
with the Mars Express probe that was launched 10
years ago.
One of the five instruments on board the orbiter is
a sensor designed to pick up signs of methane a
possible marker for life, extinct or extant.
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The Indian spacecraft shares some scientific
objectives with Americas Mars Atmosphere and
Volatile Evolution mission (Maven), which will be
launched in two weeks (November, 2013).
Courtesy Hindu Newspaper
Sensors on both spacecraft will examine processes
that have drastically thinned the Martian
atmosphere, which was once thick enough to allow
substantial bodies of liquid water to exist on the
planets surface and both would work on orbit
collecting data.
Once its mission was complete, the spacecraft
would not be allowed to crash on the planet. There
would be enough propellant to take the probe
away from the Martian environment.
India starts historic mission to Mars
The nations prestigious interplanetary mission to
Mars got off to a flying start on 05th November,
2013.
The spacecraft first going into orbit around the
earth signalled the start of its 300-day voyage to
the Red Planet. If everything goes well during its
challenging journey through deep space, it will be
put into the Mars orbit on September 24, 2014.
The Mars orbiter has five scientific payloads, all
built by the ISRO centres A colour camera for
optical imaging of the Earths surface; a methane
sensor; a thermal infrared camera to study
geological activity; a Lyman Alpha Photometer to
study the Martian atmosphere; and a payload to
study the neutral composition of the planets
upper atmosphere.
Mission highlights are:
It was the longest PSLV mission at 44 minutes
the previous missions lasted about 18 minutes.
This was the silver jubilee lift-off of the PSLV. Out
of the 25 launches, 24 had been successful in a
row.
The Mission symbolises Indias assured access to
space.
Debate over space race in China:
However, the launch has promoted a debate over
space race in China, which failed in its bid to put
into orbit a Mars mission just two years (2011)
ago.
China was of the view that the international
community should make joint efforts to ensure
peace and sustainable development of outer
space.
China has itself made great strides in its space
programme, most notably going forward with
ambitious plans to put up its own space station in
2020. Chinas technology is lagging behind only
that of the U.S. and Russia. Earlier in 2013, China
launched its fifth manned space mission and
became only the third country to carry out a
docking exercise in space, between its spacecraft
and an orbiting laboratory module.
Agni-1 test-fired successfully
India has successfully test-fired nuclear weapons-
capable, surface-to-surface Agni-1 missile for its
full range of 700 km from Wheeler Island, off the
Odisha coast.
Agni-1 is a single-stage, solid-fuelled missile. It
was the 11th launch of Agni-1.
Agni-1 was developed by DRDO missile
technologists in a short span of 15 months after the
need for it was perceived by the defence services
following the Kargil conflict.
Seismic monitoring gets a boost
Indias real-time seismic monitoring capabilities
received a boost with the inauguration of a state-
of-the-art permanent digital network of
seismological and geophysical sensors spread
across the country. The Indian Seismic and GNSS
Network (ISGN) Project provides critical services
for disaster management.
There is a need for building a resilient hazard
mitigation system through a combination of
knowledge expertise, organisations response and
community awareness.
Under the ISGN project, 50 standalone seismic
stations, including one located at Siachen, have
been connected as also 40 GPS stations scattered
across the country to receive data in real time.
Data from several regional networks operated by
national institutions such as Indian Meteorological
Department (IMD) and National Geophysical
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Research Institute (NGRI) get integrated into
ISGN using high-speed terrestrial links.


ECOLOGY
Migratory birds flock avian paradise Hokersar
Over five lakh waterfowls have started flocking
Hokersar, signalling their annual tradition of
migration from Siberia, the West Asia Middle East
and the Far East.
Hokersar is a protected bird sanctuary on the
outskirts of Srinagar. It is the only designated
Ramsar site in the valley, and is the safest bird
sanctuary in Jammu and Kashmir. Hokersar is
known as The Queen of the Wetlands.
Advantages of Ramsar site status
The Ramsar designation has led to the
implementation of better management tools in the
last few years. The phenomenal increase in the
number of mallards (or wild duck) is an example
of the impact. Around 1996, the mallard was
almost on the brink of extinction. But now (in
2013), the sanctuary has seen a sizeable
attendance of the mallard.
What is a Wetland?
Wetlands are highly variable and dynamic: they
are water bodies but also include land. They are
freshwater, brackish or saline, inland or coastal,
seasonal or permanent, natural or man-made.
Wetlands include mangroves, (peat) swamps and
marshes, rivers, lakes, floodplains and flooded
forests, rice-fields, and even coral reefs.
Wetlands are one of the worlds most important
environmental assets, containing a
disproportionately high number of plant and
animal species compared to other areas of the
world. Throughout history they have been integral
to human survival and development.
Courtesy http://www.wetlands.org
More about the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The Convention on Wetlands of International
Importance, called the Ramsar Convention, is an
intergovernmental treaty that provides the
framework for national action and international
cooperation for the conservation and wise use of
wetlands and their resources.
The Ramsar Convention is the only global
environmental treaty that deals with a particular
ecosystem. The treaty was adopted in the Iranian
city of Ramsar in 1971 and the Conventions
member countries cover all geographic regions of
the planet.
(The Wise Use concept means conservation and
sustainable use of wetlands and their resources,
for the benefit of humankind.)
The Ramsar mission:
The Conventions mission is the conservation and
wise use of all wetlands through local and national
actions and international cooperation, as a
contribution towards achieving sustainable
development throughout the world.
The Convention uses a broad definition of the
types of wetlands covered in its mission, including
lakes and rivers, swamps and marshes, wet
grasslands and peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas
and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas,
mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites
such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and
salt pans.
Courtesy- http://www.ramsar.org
P.S: 2014 -> is the UN International Year of
Family Farming.
Ramsar Convention has chosen Wetlands &
Agriculture as the World Wetlands Day theme for
2014.
Disaster Management: Bioremediation
This was recently in news, since mangroves along
the eastern coast of Mahul had been destroyed by
a Mumbai port oil leak.
What is Bioremediation Process ?
Bioremediation is the branch of biotechnology
which deals with the methods of solving the
environmental problems. It also plays vital role in
cleaning the environment from pollutants and
contaminants by using the microorganisms and
fungi.
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It is not necessary that all types of contaminants
can be destroyed with bioremediation; heavy
metals like lead and cadmium are not the type of
contaminants which can be decomposed by the
microorganisms.
Special type of contaminants like chlorinated
pesticides can be easily digested by bacteria.
Similarly oil spills can also be cleaned by bacteria.
Technologies can be generally classified as in situ
or ex situ. In situ bioremediation involves treating
the contaminated material at the site, while ex siti
involves the removal of the contaminated material
to be treated elsewhere.
Bioremediation can occur on its own (natural
attenuation or intrinsic bioremediation) or can be
spurred on via the addition of fertilizers to
increase the bioavailability within the medium
(biostimulation).
Recent advancements have also proven successful
via the addition of matched microbe strains to the
medium to enhance the resident microbe
populations ability to break down contaminants.
Microorganisms used to perform the function of
bioremediation are known as bioremediators.
Bacteria are the most important microbes in this
process because they break the dead materials into
organic matter and nutrients.
How does it work?
In bioremediation, the entire affected wetland is
cordoned off. A few inches of affected soil is then
removed. A pit is dug in the vicinity and the soil is
mixed with certain active elements which consume
the oil.
Courtesy www.biotechnologyforums.com&
Wikipedia
Bar coding of tree species in Western and Eastern
Ghats
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) bar coding is a new
tool using a DNA bar code, a very short
standardised DNA sequence in a well-known gene.
(Trees are known as forest genetic resources).
What is the Purpose/Need for Bar-coding?
It provides the way to identify the species to which
a plant, animal or fungus belongs. It uses universal
markers in conserved genomic regions. The bar
coding projects have already generated reference
bar codes for many species, such as animals, birds,
butterflies and fishes. These species have been
selected because they are of special interest to
users, who need the ability to identify scientific,
economic or social importance
The projects would play a significant role in health
management of trees by identifying pests and
making it easier to control them. Bar code libraries
were being constructed for hard wood trees with
an objective to improve the management and
conservation of these natural resources.
->
{
Research in India happens in a few elite
institutions- refer the below link
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-
opinion/research-in-india-happens-in-a-few-elite-
institutions/article5349169.ece
(This is as per the GS (syllabus)- III
Achievements of Indians in Science &
Technology)
}


MISCELLANEOUS
AWARDS
Merkel chosen for Indira Gandhi Prize
Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and
Development for 2013 would be honoured on
German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her
exemplary leadership in Europe and the world
during the financial crisis and her stewardship of
German economic growth.
The prize was being given to the German leader
because of the work done by her for promotion of
global economic stability, her commitment to
universal peace and disarmament and her
leadership role in strengthening productive and
mutually beneficial relations with India and other
developing countries.
Global summit on illegal wildlife trade
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The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, will
host the highest level global summit on combating
the illegal wildlife trade in London.
The summit which will be held in February, 2014
aims to tackle the $19bn-a-year illegal trade in
endangered animals, such as elephants and rhinos,
by delivering an unprecedented political
commitment along with an action plan and the
mobilisation of resources.
This summit holds relevance since there is a
strong link established between wildlife poaching,
international criminal syndicates and terrorism
and threats to national security.
The level of wildlife crime has soared in recent
years, driven by demand form the rapidly
expanding middle classes in Asia who value tiger,
elephant and rhino products as status symbols.
A good article on MDR-TB (refer the below link)
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-
features/tp-sci-tech-and-agri/sentinel-project-
gives-a-fillip-to-managing-mdrtb-in-
children/article5399461.ece

TIT-BITS
Kaziranga National Park (KNP) is famous for one-
horned rhinos. It hosts two-thirds of the worlds
great one-horned rhinos, has the highest density of
tigers among protected areas in the world.
National Park and World Heritage Site in Assam
Manas National Park
(From the prelims point of view Be aware of the
National Parks, their location, rivers near-by &
for which animal or endangered species its
famous for. One such example is given above.
Also you can refer Orient BlackSwan Atlas (pg
no. 35)
Father of Indian poultry industry Banda
VasudevRao
TarlaDalal dead
Noted food writer and celebrity chef TarlaDalal is
dead.
Ms.Dalal has been on the culinary landscape for
the last 40 years and was a famous face on
televised cookery shows. She wrote more than 100
cook-books and was awarded the Padma Shri in
2007.
Goa International Film Festival to kick off on Nov.
20th, 2013
India will host two international film festivals in
November. The Childrens Film Festival will be
held in Hyderabad between 14th and 20th,
followed immediately by the International Film
Festival of India between the 20th and 30th of
November, 2013.
According to Mr.Tewari (Minister of Information
& Broadcasting), getting representatives of US and
Iran together, is a reflection of Indias soft-power.
A new centenary award, to mark 100 years of
Indian cinema, would be instituted and given on
the occasion. Acclaimed actress Michelle Yeoh
would be the chief guest for the closing ceremony
of the event.
PERSONALITIES
LakshminathBezbaruah
A year-long celebration to mark the 150th birth
anniversary of Assamese literature pioneer
LakshminathBezbaruah will kick-start in
December, 2013.
Bezbaruah made pioneering contributions to
almost all forms of Assamese literature poems,
novels, short stories, collection of folk tales,
dramas, biographical works and satirical essays. O
MorAponarDesh, composed by him, is accepted as
the anthem of Assam.
The event will aim to inspire all non-resident
Assamese to get connected to the root and
contribute to developing their mother tongue and
own heritage by recognising Bezbaruah as their
true icon.
It is viewed as an occasion to bring a new sense of
being Assamese.
The event will also flag off projects on learning of
Assamese language, web-based social-cultural
forum for exchange of ideas and web-based history
of Assam.
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INTERNATIONAL
CLIMATE CHANGE
A crucial milestone on the issue of Global
Warming
The 19th Conference of the Parties (CoP 19) to the
U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) has started-off in Poland on November
11th, 2013. This marks a crucial milestone towards
negotiating an effective global warming treaty that
would be signed in Paris in 2015.But there has
been hardly any common agreement drawn
between the developed and the developing
nations.
The developed countries want a significant cut in
global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), while
developing nations are prepared to reduce their
carbon footprint only with financial and technical
assistance from the West.
The 2015 deadline would be difficult to meet since
most countries agree that it would be unrealistic to
have the treaty prescribe the quantum of emission
cuts.
However, there seems to be broad support for the
bottom-up approach, which would involve
countries submitting voluntary commitments
assessed and monitored for compliance by the
treatys guardians.
But the EU wants legally binding commitments to
halve GHG emissions by 2050 in comparison to
1990 levels and the U.S. wants a mix of legally and
non-legally binding commitments. Moreover, the
U.S would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol which
imposes a binding emissions cut on developed
countries.
Whereas the BASIC group, wants negotiation to be
interms of prinicple of equity and to retain the
Kyoto Protocols preferential treatment of
developing countries. The developing countries
including India, seeks assistance from the
developed world in the form of finance,
technology transfer and capacity building
measures.
But recently there has been a slight friction among
the BASIC group South Africa has suggested the
new treaty must include binding carbon cuts for all
parties. With several natural disasters this year,
and the atmospheric concentration of carbon
dioxide having crossed 400 parts per million is
calling for more urgency to negotiations.
The challenge for India at CoP 19 would be to
secure these demands without it being considered
as a hurdle to the treaty. India has already been
criticized, rather unfairly, for its objection to
bringing hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) under the
Montreal Protocol, as opposed to the UNFCCC.
On one hand, Indias climate diplomacy must be
aimed at dispelling the notion that it is reluctant to
tackle global warming and on the other it must
ensure Indian industry affordable access to
western technology to meet the commitments
effectively.
Loss and Damage key issue at Warsaw
climate talks
Before the formal beginning of the U.N. climate
negotiations, that is happening on 11
th
November,
2013, informal talks took place among the
delegates from more than 190 countries. Many
rounds of meetings between different block of
countries and the UNFCCC officials too went on in
parallel with the Polish presidency of the talks
keen to figure out common ground.
The phrase loss and damage became a buzzword
of these talks. Loss and damage refers to the
demand of the poorest countries that they must be
compensated for inevitable losses caused by
existing level of greenhouse gas emissions in the
atmosphere which any amount of adaptation or
reduction of future emissions will not stop.
Demands from the Developing countries:
The two key blocks of countries, Association of
Small Island States (AOSIS) and Least Developed
Countries (LDCs) have been at the forefront
demanding an arrangement under the U.N.
climate convention for the developed countries to
support and compensate for such loss and
damage.
The developing countries have also asked for
clarity on how the rich world will provide the $
100 billion annual funding it has promised to
deliver starting 2020. So far, there has been little
evidence that the developed countries are keen to
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do so and have instead suggested that these
countries should depend upon investments from
private players to secure the money to fight
climate change.
Indias stand:
India, along with other countries in the BASIC
group, has also demanded that the talks bring out
a clear timeline of how the funds would be
increased to reach the target amount by 2020. But
hope on this end is low
India has warned that, Developed countries want
that the funding for loss and damage too should be
provided through the market route. They are
suggesting that the developing countries look at
insurance and other such market avenues. In
contrast the poor countries require a clear public
funded system where the funds are adequate and
predictable.
The Indian government has empowered its
negotiating team in Warsaw to work with the Like-
Minded Developing countries and the BASIC to
ensure a formal mechanism on addressing Loss
and Damage is secured at the Warsaw talks.
Developing worlds firm no to market-
based mechanism
Poland (the hosts for the U.N. Climate talks this
year(2013)), and the EU have come in for some
harsh opposition from many developing countries,
including India, for promoting the idea that the
talks must deliver a new carbon market
mechanism even before countries make their
emission reduction targets.
What is the issue ?
Carbon markets help developed countries take
credit for reduction of emissions carried out by
poor countries by paying for the actions. The costs
of paying the developing countries works out
much lower for the rich nations in comparison
with undertaking such actions in their highly
developed economies.
Since the new emission reduction targets of the
developed countries are not arrived at, and the
current targets being much lower than those
required- the market mechanism proposed is
nothing but another loophole that the developed
countries are vying at.
The Like Minded Developing Countries, of which
India and China are key members,would not
permit such a mechanism to be put in place before
commitments of the developed countries are put
forth and are sufficiently high to show their
seriousness.
Bolivia has criticised Poland for pushing business
interests at the climate talks.
Developing countries are also against involvement
of businesses, industrial lobbies in consultations
that have traditionally been held only between
country representatives. Poland has come under
severe criticism from the environmental lobby in
Europe as well for promoting interests of the coal
industry, the main stay of its (Poland) energy
source.
LMDC (Like-Minded Developing Countries)
against voluntary emission cuts
India, China and other countries in the Like-
Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) group are
of the view that, the new climate agreement must
not force developing countries to review their
voluntary emission reduction targets.
Setting itself up in direct confrontation with
developed countries, the LMDC made it clear that
it was not in favour of doing away with the existing
differentiation between developing and
developed countries when it came to taking
responsibility for climate action.
What is the issue?
The new agreement is to be signed by 2015 and the
on-going talks in Warsaw are expected to draw out
elements of this agreement. A general consensus
has emerged that the new agreement would permit
each country to volunteer its emission reduction
target.
The European Union (EU), backed by other allied
groups, has demanded that there should be a
process of reviewing targets of all countries and
seeing if they collectively add up to the level that
keeps global temperature rise below 2 degree
Celsius. Any gap, the EU suggests, should then be
distributed among all countries, rich or poor,
based on several parameters which are sometimes
called the Equity Reference Framework.
The U.S. wants similar consultations but only peer
pressure, and not compulsion, to convince
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countries to do more in case the global target is
not met.
Both methods break the differentiation between
the developed and developing countries and set up
an agreement where it is best for developed
countries to offer lower targets initially and then
get the responsibility of filling the emission gap
distributed evenly among all nations.
Also the existing Finance-technology link between
the developed and the developing would be
weakened.
The LMDC has officially countered these two
proposals (Finance-technology link & the
reduction in the target from the developed
countries )
Flawed equity- redistributes the burden of fighting
climate change more on the shoulders of the
developing countries. In future, any framework
which seeks more contribution from developing
countries would go against the principle of equity
and common but differentiated responsibilities
based on historical responsibility.
It also rejected the EU and the U.S. proposal that
the emission cut obligations should be based on
existing capabilities of the respective countries.
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) under which the new
agreement is to be signed requires the developed
countries, and not developing countries, to take
the lead in fighting climate change.
India scores a win in Warsaw on emission
cuts affecting farmers
India has ensured that the Climate talks focused
on adapting agricultural practices to climate
change and not on costly emission reduction
measures that would impact farmers directly.
India found wide-ranging support from other
countries, including the entire G77+China bloc
and United States (US).
The developed countries, especially the European
Union (EU), have for several years been keen on
ensuring that climate negotiations focus on
reducing emissions in the agricultural sector.
The developing countries argument:
India, China and a large number of African
countries have countered this by pointing out that
emission reduction efforts in the agricultural
sector would affect farmers, who constitute a large
percentage of the population, and are often the
poorest, in the developing world.
They also argue that the effort to reduce emissions
should be focused on fossil-fuel-based activities
that are the main reason behind increased carbon
dioxide emissions (the greatest contributor to
global warming). As paddy fields and livestock are
some of the biggest causes of emissions, emission
reduction in the sector has major implications for
India and China.
The Indian delegation and other developing
countries were taken by surprise on the first day of
the Warsaw meet when the elected chairs of the
talks announced that there was a plan to have a
formal decision adopted on the agriculture sector
by the end of the two weeks of negotiations.
At the on-going Warsaw meet, it was announced
that a formal decision of reducing emissions in the
agriculture sector would be taken by the end of the
meet, but many countries objected this, as it was
never discussed before nor was it the agenda of the
talks.
Significant Indian intervention supported by many
other countries ensured that the talks remained
focused on adaptation and only a report on this
specific matter is produced for the countries to
discuss in future.
More about G77
The Group of 77 (G-77) was established on 15 June
1964 by seventy-seven developing countries
signatories of the Joint Declaration of the
Seventy-Seven Countries issued at the end of the
first session of the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.
Beginning with the first Ministerial Meeting of
the Group of 77 in Algiers (Algeria) on 10 25
October 1967, which adopted the Charter of
Algiers, a permanent institutional structure
gradually developed which led to the creation of
Chapters of the Group of 77 with Liaison offices in
Geneva (UNCTAD), Nairobi (UNEP), Paris
(UNESCO), Rome (FAO/IFAD), Vienna (UNIDO),
and the Group of 24 (G-24) in Washington, D.C.
(IMF and World Bank). Although the members of
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the G-77 have increased to 133 countries (as on
November,2013) the original name was retained
due to its historic significance.
Aim:
The Group of 77 is the largest intergovernmental
organization of developing countries in the United
Nations, which provides the means for the
countries of the South to articulate and promote
their collective economic interests and enhance
their joint negotiating capacity on all major
international economic issues within the United
Nations system, and promote South-South
cooperation for development.
Fiji holds the Chairmanship for 2013.
Courtesy http://www.g77.org
Developing countries call for easing IPR
costs of clean technologies
At the Warsaw talks, the developing countries,
including India, has called for easing the costs of
intellectual property rights (IPR) on clean
technologies by demanding that a funding
mechanism be set up to buy licenses of clean-but-
costly technologies.
The IPRs has been a hot topic for the developed
countries, in the 2012 climate talks developing
countries had to suspend it in order to build
consensus over this issue.
IPR topic has been again brought to the centre-
stage at Warsaw; the LMDC countries want to use
the financial mechanisms under the Convention to
fund the IPR costs to ensure that climate-friendly
technology is available to developing countries
easily. And for this, a dedicated window under the
Green Climate Fund (GCF) for technology transfer
and IPR issues should be established and also
technology development and transfer should
become an integral part of the 2015 outcome.
The EU delegation has opposed this, claiming that
it saw the protection of IPRs as essential to
dissemination of technologies and not as a barrier.
As the U.N. climate negotiations require
consensus and not majority for decisions to be
taken, the chances of a mechanism to buy out IPRs
remains low and progress on the issue is bound to
be hampered. But the intervention by the group, of
which India and China are important members,
has ensured that it will not get knocked off the
decisions taken in Warsaw drawing elements for
the 2015 agreement.
What are intellectual property rights?
Intellectual property rights are the rights given to
persons over the creations of their minds. They
usually give the creator an exclusive right over the
use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
Under intellectual property law, owners are
granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of
intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and
artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and
words, phrases, symbols, and designs.
Common types of intellectual property rights
include copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial
design rights, trade dress, and in some
jurisdictions trade secrets.
Courtesy http://www.wto.org& Wikipedia
What is Green Climate Fund (GCF)?
The purpose of the Green Climate Fund is to make
a significant and ambitious contribution to the
global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the
international community to combat climate
change.
The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the
ultimate objective of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC). In the context of sustainable
development, the Fund will promote the paradigm
shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient
development pathways by providing support to
developing countries to limit or reduce their
greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the
impacts of climate change, taking into account the
needs of those developing countries particularly
vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
The Fund will provide simplified and improved
access to funding, including direct access, basing
its activities on a country-driven approach and will
encourage the involvement of relevant
stakeholders, including vulnerable groups and
addressing gender aspects.
The Fund is governed and supervised by a Board
that will have full responsibility for funding
decisions and will receive the guidance of the COP.
Courtesy- http://gcfund.net
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Ambiguity over the jurisdiction of HFC
gases- Montreal Protocol or UNFCCC
According to U.S., Hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) a
family of greenhouse gases (GHG) used as
refrigerants come under the jurisdiction of
Montreal Protocol. This issue has come on the
backdrop of India& Chinas firm assertion that
HFCs come under U.N. Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) and not Montreal
protocol.
The U.S. envoy has said that, some countries were
merely delaying, in moving the refrigerant gas
from UNFCCC to the Montreal Protocol (which
deals with ozone depleting substances) citing legal
and other issues. Accordingly, the protocol also
dealt with any substitutes that were used in place
of the ozone depleting substances, such as HFCs.
Developing countries stand:
India and China along with several other G20
countries and other developing countries had
mentioned at the Warsaw talks about the legal
issues on transporting the HFCs to another
convention and also noted that the principles of
differentiation and equity is applicable only under
UNFCCC and not under Montreal Protocol.
These principles ensure that developing countries
can claim full costs for the phase out of the
refrigerant gases and not just incremental costs
that the Montreal Protocol offers. The
refrigeration industry is growing at the highest
rates in India and China and promises to be a
lucrative market for any alternative green
technology which is in the hands of U.S.-based
companies.
But the U.S. envoy has negated the Indian and
Chinese position on the matter saying, Montreal
Protocol has built in differentiation. It is not the
same kind of differentiation like its built in the
UNFCCC but it has got differentiation built in.
Loss and Damage refers to the demand of the
developing countries, especially the small and
most vulnerable ones, to be provided
compensation for the losses they suffer due to
existing emission levels and that any future
emission reduction effort or adaptation to global
warming cannot help.
U.S. backtracking throws climate finance
into disarray
The U.S has back-tracked on the following issues
at the Climate meet:
On its obligation to a $100-billion fund, which
the industrialised nations promised the poor
countries by 2020 to help them cut emissions and
adapt themselves to a changing climate.
Instead, it demanded that the developing countries
also be asked to contribute to it.
This new fundamental idea, which militates
against the decisions taken at previous U.N.
climate negotiations, angered the G77 countries,
which complained that the negotiations were being
conducted in bad faith.
With regard to Private investments the U.S
has said that the developing countries should also
contribute to this fund.
G77+China group walks out of Loss and
Damage talks
The G77+China group of 134 countries walked out
of negotiations on Loss and Damage after the
developed countries refused to budge from their
position that the subject should be discussed only
after 2015.
Reasons behind the walk-out:
This is a rare event in climate talks, which happens
only when there is absolute lack of trust between
countries.
The U.S., Australia and Canada have been the
most vocal against setting up a separate
mechanism on Loss and Damage while the
European Union (EU) has not only been
aggressive but also tried to make sure it did not
materialise at the Warsaw meeting.
While several parallel streams of negotiations are
on at the moment, including on finance for poor
countries and the basic elements of the 2015
agreement, a walkout from even one stream of
talks in the U.N. Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) threatens to bring all
negotiations to a halt.
According to U.S., loss and damage should remain
at worst another stream under the adaptation
mechanisms and not be allowed to be a separate
independent system to pay compensation or
reparation to poor countries.
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While poor countries look upon Loss and Damage
reparation for the damage caused by inevitable
climate change which any amount of adaptation
cannot avoid, the developed countries desire that
the issue be removed from any kind of legal
liability it may impose upon the key countries with
highest historic emissions.
The developing countries wanted to create a new
system to deal with new types of loss and damage
such as sea level rise, loss of territory, biodiversity
and other non-economic losses.
According to the G77 group the draft was shifting
the loss and damage issue out of UNFCCC to the
Rio+20 process, which is not binding.
As a practice in the UN climate negotiations,
contact groups of key parties and groups are
formed on contentious issues to find common
ground and then bring it back to the full set of 190
countries to take a formal decision. This contact
group on loss and damage had been working on
guidelines which could reflect this common
ground.
Indias stand:
India on its part has retaliated that the proposal
was weak and unacceptable and has supported the
G77 walkout at talks on Loss and Damage.
As a short term measure, India has supported
creating a window under the existing Green
Climate Fund to provide quick resources for Loss
and Damage but in the long-run, India too was
with the rest of the G77+ China countries to ask for
a separate mechanism apart from the adaptation
mechanisms under the UN climate convention.
Developed countries try to bring down the
differentiation firewall
A new zone of conflict has emerged between
developed & developing countries as the developed
have proposed for removing any difference in the
responsibility thrust upon them in the ongoing
Warsaw meet.
Even as U.S., Australia and Canada blocked
negotiations on the issue of compensation for loss
and damage caused by climate change in one track
of talks, they pushed hard along with EU on the
other to pull down the firewall of differentiation.
The Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC),
which includes China and India, took a common
stance on the draft decisions pushing that the
existing principles of the Convention should not be
subverted. They demanded that the developed
countries provide U.S. $ 60 billion by 2016 as part
delivery of their promise to ensure U.S. $ 100
billion by 2020.
The developed countries, instead of focusing on
actions within the U.N. climate convention,
demanded that the other bilateral and multilateral
actions outside the convention be acknowledged.
On one issue the refrigerant and greenhouse gas
hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) China and Kuwait
sided with India to demand that it be phased down
under the principles of the climate convention and
not right away under Montreal Protocol where
equity and other principles do not apply.
NGOs walk out of Warsaw talks
In a rare sign of frustration and solidarity, over
800 representatives of NGOs staged a walkout
from the climate negotiations here, citing lack of
commitment from developed countries and take
over by corporate interests.
The environmental NGOs have always been an
integral part of the climate talks and are allowed to
not only sit in and watch the negotiations but also
intervene at times with their demands.
Thousands of activists and NGO representatives of
wide range attend the talks to put pressure on the
countries to act beyond just immediate national
interests to fight climate change.
Climate talks in Warsaw are supposed to create
solutions to deal with increasing typhoons, rising
seas and dying species. Instead of leading at these
talks, rich countries have back-tracked.
The developed countries have collectively blocked
progress on two key issues Loss and Damage
and delivering finance to the poor countries.
On a third track, negotiations have been dragging
with the rich countries trying to break the firewall
between the developed and the developing
countries and hence backtracking on their
commitments to fight climate change.
The unity among the NGOs has been rare as they
too at times get divided along the broad North-
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South divide that underlies the broader framework
of climate negotiations.
Few instances where climate change had an
adverse impact on India People have died due to
cyclones like Phalin and Haiyan and flash floods
which occurred in Uttarakhand.
A weak Warsaw mechanism on Loss and
damage almost final
There is finally a breakthrough over the
contentious issues, though a partial one on
creation of a mechanism to address loss and
damage from climate change at the Warsaw meet.
The part about deciding how this mechanism
would get the funds in future remained the only
unresolved piece of the puzzle.
Placing the mechanism under the Conference of
Parties (CoP) is a compromise for both the US and
the G77+ China group. CoP refers to the highest
and most empowered body of the U.N. convention
where each country is represented.
The COP is empowered to make the most
fundamental and critical decisions that lesser
bodies are not. But housing the mechanism under
the COP leaves the window open of shifting it one
way or the other in next couple of years.
The U.S. wanted that the mechanism should not
become an independent body and be placed under
the existing Adaptation body. This would have
ensured that the idea of compensation, reparation
and guilt of the developed countries for being the
largest emitters of accumulated greenhouse gases
(GHG) is done away with. The G77+ China group
wanted just the opposite.
In the end, the compromise has ensured that while
a channel of funding would be made available to
address loss and damage the wordings that the
U.S. had a problem with compensation has been
dropped entirely.
The issue of finance and building the new
agreement under the existing principles of the
convention remained open. Almost all developed
countries had made clear that there was no hope of
them committing either to a timeline for delivery
of promised funds at Warsaw.
India, France to lead study on monsoon
India and France will spearhead an international,
10-member country project to study the impact of
melting polar ice caps and glaciers on the
monsoon.
The changes in the polar region would affect
circulation and temperature structure in the
oceans, which in turn, impacts the Indian
monsoon.
The other countries in the project include the
United States of America, the United Kingdom,
Japan, South Africa, Brazil and Germany.
India would be joining Arctic Council as an
observer, this holds significance since anything
that happens in Arctic directly affects weather and
climate and India was keen to take up studies in
Iceland, Greenland, Canada and other areas in the
region.


INDIAS CONCERNS AT WTO
For a deal in Bali, India wants permissible
levels of MSPs updated
India has asserted that, the permissible levels of
minimum support prices (MSPs) be either updated
or reinterpreted for the at the World Trade
Organisation(WTO) 9th Ministerial scheduled
from 3rd to 6th December, 2013 in Bali.
Indian negotiators are arguing that a major factor
for the sharp rise in MSPs is the recent spurt in
global food price inflation while the existing caps
and formulas are calibrated to food prices in the
1980s. So India is arguing for either use of more
recent base year for arriving at the caps or use of
an appropriate deflator for removing the impact of
inflation on our administered support prices.
This would be a permanent solution to the
problem of India violating WTO rules and it also
forms part of the G33 proposal of the developing
countries on agriculture that India is leading. The
developed nations are fiercely opposing it and
have not allowed it in to the draft for Bali. The
draft contains their long-standing offer of an
interim peace clause.
The peace clause is proposed be kept in place till
the 11th Ministerial. These conferences are held
every two years. This clause is conditional on
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additional transparency on public stock holdings
of food.
The Bali summit is seen as the last chance to
revive the WTOs Doha Round, launched in 2001
in Qatar, since WTOs rules require proposals to be
passed unanimously and a single country can veto
a deal in Bali.
WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo had
extended the deadline, originally set for 12th
November, 2013 putting together a Bali package as
a last resort to rescue the talks after the two
opposing sides the G33 led by India and the
developed countries held their respective
positions.
Significance of the Proposal:
This proposal is very important from Indias
perspective as it would impact agricultural
subsidies and affect over 60 core Indian farmers.
Since 2004, the government had doubled the
administered MSP for both wheat and rice.
Moreover, the food security law would lead to a
significant increase in Indias domestic support
through the increased procurement of food grains.
Criticism:
Former Union Secretary E.A.S. Sarma has
criticized the Govt. of India saying that, rather
than agreeing to the WTOs peace clause
conditionality for limiting food subsidies to only
four years against the provisions of the
Parliament-enacted National Food Security Act,
India should come out of the negotiations.
His arguments are based on the lines that, the
government has tacitly accepted the contention
that the food subsidy is a market distorting
subsidy. Instead the concept of food security
should be outside WTO protocols on free trade.
India which heads the G-33 group of 46
developing nations is seeking amendments to the
WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) to allow
procurement of food grains from marginal and
subsistence farmers. Grains procured to fight
hunger should not be included under WTO-
restricted subsidies.
The agreement allows market distorting
subsidies to be restricted to 10 per cent of the
total production. India apprehends that its
recently-enacted food subsidy law which provides
for cheap food grains to nearly two-thirds of the
population could push food subsidy beyond the
10% limit.
(For more information on this issue & WTO refer
our INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS
OCTOBER 2013 MAGAZINE)
Indias position at WTO not in conflict with
food security Act
The All-India KisanSabha and Third World
Network (comprising 270 civil society groups)
have urged India not to agree to a peace clause in
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations
on subsidies for public stock holding for food
security.
The Commerce Ministry has said draft ministerial
declaration on the subject (i.e., agreement to limit
food security to four years under a peace clause)
still awaits a decision and is not an agreed position
in the WTO.
India has maintained that its position on the
subject in the WTO is in line with the
governments resolve to offer food security on a
lasting basis to the targeted population. Indias
position does not contradict or conflict with its
commitment under the National Food Security Act
and remains aligned to stated national policy.
Meanwhile, rejecting the interim solution offered
by WTO Director-General Roberto Azvedo to the
G-33 proposal, the KisanSabha called upon the
government to intervene in the negotiations to
protect the livelihoods of millions of farmers and
remain committed to Indias sovereign right to
decide its price support policy as well as the food
security programme.
Background:
The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) allows
subsidy only upto 10% of production cost which
defies logic calculated as it is on a fixed reference
price of 1986-88 when prices were much lower.
This reflects inflated subsidies while remaining
totally ignorant to the present day global
agricultural prices. It also calculates subsidy on the
basis of total production rather than actual
procurement.
A peace clause means that the use of such
subsidies is still illegal but WTO members will not
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go to dispute settlement for this period (i.e. 4 years
according to the clause).
(For more information on this issue refer
our INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS
ANALYSIS OCTOBER 2013 MAGAZINE)
India rejects WTO Peace Clause proposal
It has been decided by the Government of India
that, it would not agree to the Peace Clause for
agriculture subsidies that the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) Director-General Roberto
Azevedo has proposed for Bali.
India would not agree to any deal at Bali until it
was certain that the proposed interim solution
would be available till a permanent solution to the
issue of Indias minimum support prices (MSP)
breaching the WTO norms has been found and
agreed to.
Why did India reject the Peace clause?
The deal breaker for India is the lack of clarity on
when the proposed Peace Clause, an interim
safeguard for MSPs in breach of the WTO caps,
will expire. India also cannot afford to not have
any deal at all at Bali for then there will be no
safeguards against the breaches of the WTO caps.
The Peace Clause will remain in force until the
11th Ministerial Conference (presently, the 11th
Ministerial Conference would be held in
December, 2013) at which time the next workable
plan be arrived at.
The clause can imply that should no solution or
agreement be reached at the eleventh Ministerial
conference, the protection from the Peace Clause
will end and its extension will be have to be
renegotiated an eventuality that India doesnt
want
The Peace Clause is conditional on full disclosures
on the MSPs that are at risk or have breached the
WTO limits and the annual procurements
undertaken for food security purposes for each
public stockholding programme.
There were also apprehensions that excessive
conditionalities imposed on a Peace Clause would
lead to serious concerns that would require a
change in Indias domestic policy.
India hopes for positive outcome at Bali
meet
India is hoping for positive and balanced outcome
from the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
Ministerial Conference at Bali in December 1
st

week, that will be acceptable to the developing and
least developed countries.
India is spearheading the G33s proposal on
agricultural subsidies which seeks from Bali
outcome that will correct the WTO agriculture
subsidy norms that are at present unfairly loaded
in favour of some countries as they contains
inherent imbalances
India has asserted that, it will not agree to a deal at
Bali without a reassurance that, the proposed
Peace Clause, an interim safeguard for Indias
minimum support price (MSP) in breach of the
WTO caps, will expire only when permanent
safeguards are found and agreed to.
This will ensure that the MSPs will not be in
breach. The G33 is arguing that a major factor for
the sharp rise in MSP is the recent spurt in global
food price inflation while the existing caps and
formulas are calibrated to food prices in the 1980s.
So there is a call for using a more recent base year
for arriving at the caps or using an appropriate
deflator for removing the impact of inflation on
our administered support prices. MSPs in India
had risen manifold over the last few years and
could rise further with the implementation of the
recently enacted Food Security Law.
The developing countries are persisting for a
correction of the historical injustices and unfair
outcomes of the Uruguay Round in 1994 where the
developed countries ensured coverage and
protection of very high subsidies for their
agriculture producers.


REGIONAL BLOCKS
India to shift ASEM focus to tangible
cooperation
India is said to try a new approach to reorient the
Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), whose Foreign
Ministers would hold a two-day meeting at
Gurgaon from 11
th
November, 2013.
ASEM has traditionally focused on political
dialogue rather than on the other two pillars of
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economic collaboration and socio-economic
cooperation.
Also, India has been pushing for a fresh approach
that will reorient discussions, from dialogue to
actual tangible cooperation. ASEM, like many
others, has primarily been a forum for political
dialogue where in the past members discussed
topical global issues even when principal
discussions on these were taking place on
specialised fora elsewhere.
This has resulted in mere reiteration of national
positions on many occasions. Indias attempt is to
focus on areas where real progress and actual
deliverables can be achieved. The areas of
cooperation identified by India and other
members are not generic but are relevant to
specific needs and look to build capacity in
member-countries.
ASEMs meet will be the biggest international
gathering hosted by India this year with 36
Foreign Ministers and 12 Deputy Foreign
Ministers confirming participation
As is the case with all multilateral conferences,
ASEM will also see several bilaterals on its ambit.
There would be meeting of Foreign Ministers from
Russia, India and China (RIC) followed by
separate meetings among the External Affairs of
the three countries.
While the RIC interaction would centre around
regional and international developments, the
separate interaction between India and China
would focus on the actionable areas identified
during the Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs visit
to Beijing (that took place in October, 2013). And
with the Pakistan counterpart it would be related
to peace across the Line of Control.
More about ASEM
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was initiated in
1996 when the ASEM leaders met in Bangkok,
Thailand. It is an informal process of dialogue and
cooperation bringing together the 27 European
Union member states, 2 European countries, and
the European Commission with 20 Asian countries
and the ASEAN Secretariat. (At present there are
51 members)
ASEM is an informal trans-regional platform for
dialogue and cooperation between the two regions
and has arisen out of a mutual recognition that the
relationship between Asia and Europe needed to
be strengthened in light of the challenges and
opportunities of the 21st century.
The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic
and cultural issues; all issues of common interest
to Europe and Asia. ASEM has provided a dialogue
platform to address international matters such as
United Nations reforms, weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) issues, terrorism, migration
flows or WTO negotiations. Asia and Europe have
worked together for improving the international
security environment.
Overall, ASEM has become a useful process for
managing globalization and its effects, for
enhancing interregional and international
business frameworks, and promoting the role of
Euro in Asia. ASEM is also about people and
culture.
It has served as a dialogue facilitator and helped
increasing mutual understanding through people-
to-people contacts.
The 10th ASEM Summit of Heads of State and
Government will be hosted by the European Union
in 2014 in Milan, Italy.
Courtesy http://www.aseminfoboard.org
Focus on result-oriented initiatives at
Asia-Europe Meeting
India has sought result-oriented initiatives by
agreeing to work with like-minded ASEM
members in areas with potential for tangible
cooperation. A consensus has been drawn on these
lines bringing about a change in the working
methods of ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting).
According to the External Affairs Minister Salman
Khurshid, the aim should be to take ASEM into
homes and offices of people across Asia and
Europe and allow us to bring in members of civil
society, business, media and Parliaments as our
partners in strengthening it as a bridge between
the two continents.
In this respect, there has been a consensus among
the senior officials in setting up of a Working
Group on Press and Public Awareness Strategy
and another on devising a road map for the 20th
anniversary celebrations of ASEM in 2016.
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According to Vice President Hamid Ansari, ASEM
should act as a forum for dialogue between the
East and the West, should be relevant in
situational terms i.e., relevant to the current
challenges like sluggish economic growth and
more sophisticated non-traditional security
threats.
Dialogue is necessary because as the economic
slowdown continues, emerging economies that
were previously seen as the engines of economic
growth have been compelled to take tough
decisions, given the enormity of their
developmental needs. The increasing
sophistication of non-traditional security threats
needs higher levels of comprehension and
cooperation which can only be accomplished by
dialogue.
Therefore, ASEM should be taken beyond a forum
for political dialogue only; it should reach out to
the people of Member States and create wider
stake-holding amongst economic partners and
civil society and invest its outcomes towards
tangible deliverables .
ASEM has an unparalleled edge in terms of
membership, capacity, economic influence,
intellectual depth, strategic expertise and political
leadership. Concrete steps must be taken to
optimize this.


INDIA & ITS NEIGHBOURS
INDIA - CHINA
China opens new highway near Arunachal
border
China has opened a new highway that links
Medong (a county in China) with the rest of the
country and will now provide all-weather access to
the strategically important region.
Medong is described as Tibets last isolated
county. It is located close to the disputed eastern
section of the border with India (near Arunachal
Pradesh).
Why is it Significant to China?
It has been hailed by China as a technological
breakthrough, since the project was finally
completed after seven failed attempts over the past
fifty years. China first started attempting to build
the highway to Medog, a landlocked county in
Tibets Nyingchi prefecture in the 1960s, in the
aftermath of the 1962 war with India. (Medog was
the only one of Chinas 2,100 counties to remain
isolated from the highway network)
With opening of the road, every county in Tibet is
now linked through the highway network,
underlining the widening infrastructure gulf
across the disputed border, even as India belatedly
pushes forward an upgrading of border roads in
more difficult terrain.
Development Benefits:
Apart from the Strategic benefit, the project would
also have development benefits.
The roads opening will bring down commodity
prices and widen access to healthcare.
The road will provide access to the border county
for nine months of the year. Prior to the opening of
the highway, reaching Medog required traversing
the treacherous Galung La and Doxong La
mountains at an altitude of 4,000 metres. With
frequent landslides, the road was often rendered
impassable.
The opening of the road comes at a time when
there has been renewed attention on infrastructure
projects in border areas in India and China.
(Just recently, had both countries signed Border
Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) which
aimed at expanding confidence-building
measures. The agreement calls for setting up
channels of communication between military
commands, increasing the number of border
personnel meetings, and formalizing rules such as
no tailing of patrols, to built trust and avoid
incidents.
The BDCA will not limit Indias plans to upgrade
infrastructure. It recognises the principle of equal
and mutual security, which allows either side to
pursue its security in its own way. BDCA will still
help regulate activity along the border by opening
up new channels of communication, even as the
border continues to remain a matter of dispute.)
China shows a measured approach towards
Arunachal Pradesh
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Chinas response, to the recent visit by President
Pranab Mukherjee to Arunachal Pradesh (parts of
which China has territorial claims on) was seen as
more measured when compared to its response to
PM Manmohan Singhs visit to Arunachal Pradesh
in 2009.
In 2009, the Chinese govt. had criticized India for
creating problems in the disputed areas and had
demanded that India address Chinas serious
concerns and not trigger a disturbance in their
relations. In the same year, China also attempted
to block a $60 million Asian Development Bank
(ADB) flood management programme for
Arunachal.
China hoped that India will refrain from taking
any action that would complicate the boundary
question instead it called for friendly consultations
to maintain peace and tranquility in the border
areas and create conditions for boundary
negotiations.
India, China begin joint drills with focus on
terror
India and China have begun a 10-day joint military
drill on counterterrorism the first such exercise
between the two sides in five years, in Miaoergang,
a town southwest of Chengdu the provincial
capital of the western Sichuan province
(southwestern China) aimed at boosting trust
between the militaries.
The two contingents will conduct counter-
terrorism drills involving tactical hand signals,
arrest and escort, hostage rescue, joint attacks and
a comprehensive anti-terror combat drill.
Just a week before (Last week of October, 2013)
had both countries signed a Border Defence
Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) to expand
confidence-building measures (CBMs). The drill is
in this direction.
Chengdu is the headquarters of one of the Peoples
Liberation Armys (PLA) seven Military Area
Commands (MACs). The Chengdu MAC holds
responsibility for the entire Tibet Autonomous
Region (TAR), as well as the middle and eastern
sections of the border with India.
The larger objective is to expand confidence and
trust between two militaries, which are often
grappling with tensions along the border.
Background:
This is the third round of the hand-in-hand drills
that the two countries initiated in 2007 in
Kunming, in southwestern Yunnan province. The
second round was held in Belgaum, Karnataka, the
following year.
Defence exchanges were suspended for more than
a year in 2009, after China refused to host the then
head of the Northern Command, citing its
sensitivities on Kashmir. The move had came
amid a disputed over Chinas issuing of stapled
visas to Indian residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Later, India agreed to resume defence ties after
China withdrew the stapled visa policy, following
the former Premier Wen Jiabaos visit to India in
2010.
China: Tiananmen terror attack
The Chinese officials have concluded that the
terrorist outfit East Turkistan Islamic Movement
(ETIM) was behind the recent attack in
Tiananmen Square that killed five.
This has posed a new challenge that would
significantly alter Chinas internal and external
approaches to combating terror.
ETIM has in the past claimed responsibility for
several attacks in Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority
region in Chinas far west. It has also campaigned
for independence for the Uighurs, the Turkic
group native to Xinjiang that is one of Chinas 55
minorities.
Over the years, ETIM had incited, organised and
committed terrorist attacks of various forms and
spread the ideas of violence and terrorism.
The issue has become an irritant in Chinas all-
weather relationship with Pakistan. The Chinese
officials have been complaining about Pakistans
inability to crack down on terror groups even as
China goes ahead with deepening strategic ties in
other areas.

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More about the Xinjiang province & the
cause for unrest
Chinas Xinjiang province is the countrys most
westerly region, bordering on the former Soviet
states of Central Asia, as well as several other
states including Afghanistan, Russia, and
Mongolia.
The largest ethnic group, the Muslim, Turkic-
speaking Uighurs, has lived in Chinas shadow for
centuries. The region has had an intermittent
history of autonomy and occasional independence,
but was finally brought under Chinese control in
the 18th century.
Economic development of the region under
Communist rule has been accompanied by large-
scale immigration of Han Chinese, and Uighur
allegations of discrimination and marginalisation
have been behind more visible anti-Han and
separatist sentiment since the 1990s. This has
flared into violence on occasion.
Communist China established the Autonomous
Region in 1955, and began to encourage Han
Chinese to settle there in new industrial towns and
farming villages run by the quasi-military Xinjiang
Production and Development Corps.
In the 2000 census Han Chinese made up 40 per
cent of the population of Xinjiang, excluding large
numbers of troops stationed in the region and
unknown numbers of unregistered migrants, and
Uighurs accounted for about 45 per cent.
There has been frequent unrest in this region and
China has sought to deal this unrest with a mix of
repression and efforts to stimulate the regions
economy, including through increased investment
by state-owned firms.
Courtesy http://www.bbc.co.uk/news
Tiananmen attack a jihadi operation:
Islamist group
The Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), a terrorist
group known to have links to Pakistan-based
outfits and blamed for recent violence in Chinas
far-western Xinjiang region, has released a video
describing last months attack in Tiananmen
Square as a jihadi operation and threatened to
carry out further attacks on high-profile targets in
the Chinese capital.
The video lends weight to the Chinese authorities
claims that the Tiananmen incident was organised
by the separatist East Turkestan Islamic
Movement (ETIM) (also known as TIP).
(To know more about East Turkestan
Islamic Movement (ETIM) -refer our
previous CURRENT EVENTS)
China defends air defence zone; slams U.S.,
Japan for irresponsible statements
China had planned to establish an air defence zone
to track aircraft over parts of the disputed East
China Sea.
The U.S. and China showed deep concerns over
this move, as Air Defence Identification Zone
(ADIZ) would include the airspace over the
disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in the East
China Sea. Chinese authorities would require
aircraft to notify them of their flight plans, failing
which they could face interception from air
defence forces. However, the zone will not affect
international flights.
The ADIZ overlaps with parts of the zone that
Japan has already put in place. This would raise
the likelihood of confrontations between the two
countries (recently the two countries had issues
over their territorial claims).
Chinas unilateral action and the timing of the
move amid territorial disputes with Japan was
viewed as an attempt to change the status quo in
the East China Sea and this would only increase
tensions in the region and create risks of an
incident.
However, China has retaliated that, many
countries, from the U.S. and India to Japan, have
set up ADIZ areas beyond their frontiers to track
and monitor aircraft that are headed toward their
territorial airspace and it was based on the need
for China to defend its national sovereignty and
security of Chinas territory and airspace.
And with regard to Japanese apprehensions, China
has said that infact both the countries could
enhance communication to jointly maintain
regional peace and security.
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Japan is not the only country in the region that has
voiced concern over the move. South Korea too
had complained that the ADIZ also overlaps with
parts of its zone.
China faces territorial disputes with India in the
west, and also maritime disputes involving at least
10 countries over the South China Sea.
Aircraft from Japan, South Korea defy
Chinas new air defence zone
Aircraft from South Koreas military and Japans
Self-Defence Forces have carried out flights
through Chinas newly established Air Defence
Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the disputed East
China Sea, with both countries indicating they will
defy Chinas plans to bolster its control over the
contested region.
Earlier S.Korea had expressed regret over Chinas
announcement, with the ADIZ overlapping with
parts of the South Korean air defence zone in the
region.
Several countries, such as South Korea and Japan,
have already set up similar zones, which are pre-
defined areas in international airspace within
which a country monitors and tracks aircraft that
are heading towards its territorial airspace.
The U.S. too had defied Chinas demand that all
aircraft notify authorities before entering the
ADIZ, with two B-52 bombers carrying out at a
pre-scheduled training mission and flying through
the zone for two and a half hours without notifying
China.
INDIA - SRILANKA
Sri Lanka to set up National Inquiry on
Torture
A National Inquiry on Torture would be set up
under the aegis of the Sri Lanka National Human
Rights Commission (SLHRC) and it would be
assisted and monitored by the Commonwealth
Secretariat. The inquiry will investigate all
allegations of torture committed by government
agencies or arms of the state from 2009 (the final
stages of the civil war) to the present.
Why is National Inquiry on Torture being
set up?
The Secretariat has come under harsh criticism
from international human rights groups, the
media, and some member-countries who accuse it
of overlooking human rights concerns in respect of
Sri Lanka, which is to become chair of the
Commonwealth for the next two years.
Role of the Commonwealth Secretariat
Following the criticism, the Commonwealth
Secretariat had initiated the process that would
bring the issue of torture and national
reconciliation under Commonwealth scrutiny and
compliance. It would assist Sri Lanka progress
towards national reconciliation. This process
would take nearly 18 months to be completed.
The Secretariat would focus on building
institutional capacity through its own set of best
practices on the conduct of national inquiries in
compliance with international human rights
standards, drawing from the experiences of South
Africa, Namibia and Northern Ireland
And for this to be successful, SLHRC also needs to
be further strengthened and given muscle and
spine to do their work, with an advisory group
from the Commonwealth.
Relevance of Commonwealth goes much
beyond Lankan rights violations
Apart from the Sri Lankan Human rights violation,
the Commonwealths role would have significant
impact on the smaller states (sovereign countries
with a population of 1.5 million or less), which
constitute 31 out of the 53 member states of the
Commonwealth. So participation of these smaller
states would be vital.
The Commonwealth provides assistance to these
nations
on the issue of debt reduction through engagement
and advocacy with the Bretton Woods institutions
(i.e., WB & IMF).
providing funding and expertise to mitigate the
effects of climate change, which is vital for smaller
island nations facing the impact of rising sea-
levels.
Mauritius Prime Minister to skip CHOGM
Mauritius PM Navin Chandra Ramgoolam would
skip the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting (CHOGM). Reason behind the decision
absence of progress in Sri Lanka in respect of
human rights.
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Mauritius will be the host for CHOGM in 2015.
Maldives on CMAG agenda
The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
(CMAG) the disciplinary panel of
Commonwealth has placed the Maldives on its
formal agenda, implying its suspension from the
panel.
In such a situation, the membership is suspended
for as long as a nation remains on the formal
agenda.
CMAG has observed that Ministers had expressed
deep disappointment that the Maldives
presidential election process had not concluded
prior to the expiration of the Presidents term in
office on November 11, 2013.
The Group noted that the breach of the November
11 constitutional deadline to inaugurate a
President followed repeated delays to the electoral
process. Emphasis was on the urgency of ensuring
a swift conclusion to the electoral process and
holding the second round on November 16 as
scheduled, in a credible and peaceful manner.
China reiterates support to Sri Lanka on
human rights
China has reiterated its support to Sri Lanka(SL)
and has called on the international community to
respect the right of the Sri Lankan government
and people to choose their own path of promoting
human rights, amid recent criticism of the
countrys human rights record.
At the recently concluded CHOGM meeting, UK,
Canada and Mauritius had sharply criticised Sri
Lankas human rights record, particularly with
regard to alleged human rights violations and war
crimes by the Sri Lankan armed forces during the
final phase of the islands ethnic conflict that
ended in May 2009.
Backing its decision on supporting Sri Lanka, it
said SL had made big strides in promoting human
rights and realising national reconciliation and
that China supported the Sri Lankan governments
efforts to safeguard independence, sovereignty and
territorial integrity.
China has, in the past, been Sri Lankas strongest
supporter at the United Nations, shielding Lanka
from international criticism over its human rights
record. It also said that the international
community should refrain from complicating the
issue.
India offers to train Sri Lankan Navy
officers
In the backdrop of discussions regarding maritime
issues in the Indian Ocean region, The Indian
Navy has offered to train Sri Lankan Navy officers.
In this regard, the Sri Lankan Navy officers would
be put under a four-year Bachelor of Technology
course, now being offered to Indian Navy officers.
And if India does not offer Sri Lankan officers
training, other countries will step in. This
happened when India pulled out Sri Lankan
military officers from the Defence Staff Service
College, Wellington, in June, 2013 after protests
by Tamil parties.
Sri Lanka did not accept Indias offer to transfer
the officers to an institute outside Tamil Nadu and
opted instead for training in Quetta, Pakistan.
The meeting also discussed ways of combating
piracy in the Indian Ocean.
INDIA- PAKISTAN
Indias plan for gas export to Pakistan runs
into price issue wall
Though India has expressed its willingness to
export gas to Pakistan(through a 110-km pipeline),
there are certain issues raised by Pakistan. It has
asked India to re-consider the high gas price on
offer while India has sought sovereign payment
guarantees.
LNG imports to India are in the range of $13-14
per million British thermal units, and after
including customs or import duty, pipeline
transport charges and local taxes, the delivered
price will be close to $21. LNG would be gasified
by the Indian side as Pakistan does not have an
LNG import facility.
India has sought sovereign payment guarantees
(three months payment and advance termination
commitments) before signing a contract. The
pipeline would start from Jalandhar in Punjab
leading through Attari.
The Drone attacks & Pakistans reaction
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The killing of HakimullahMehsud in a drone
attack and the reaction of Pakistan reminds us
about the similar reactions after the killing of
Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Pakistan has
condemned US, saying that it has violated
Pakistans sovereignty and territorial integrity.
But the irony is the leader of the Tehreek-e-
Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Mehsud was the
mastermind of terrorist attacks that killed
innocent Pakistanis by the hundreds in mosques,
markets, hospitals; the TTP took on the Pakistan
Army, ambushing, kidnapping and beheading
soldiers, acts for which it readily took
responsibility. It was behind the attempted killing
of the teenager MalalaYusufzai for standing up for
girls education. It killed anti-polio workers
suspecting them to be American spies and holding
the immunization programme as a conspiracy
against Islam.
The TTP also played a dark role in the elections
earlier in 2013 with a bloody campaign targeting
candidates of the secular Pakistan Peoples Party
and Awami National Party. Mehsud formed
alliances with other militant groups across
Pakistan, building a country-wide terror network.
Yet, he is being hailed by some of Pakistani
politicians as a Taliban leader who wanted to make
peace with the government. Some have even
described him as a martyr.
Pakistan views the killing as a set-back since
Pakistan Govt. was keen on having a dialogue with
the TTP. But critics view this is surrender by the
govt. rather than a step towards the peace process.
It is true that the war by drones has repeatedly
violated Pakistans sovereignty, but this
opportunity can be used by the Pakistan govt. to
forge a new, more visionary political consensus on
how to deal with the terrorism, extremism and
militancy that has been a bane to the countrys
development all through the years. Moving in this
direction would also help in developing friendly
relationship with all its neighbours, especially
India and for a stable South Asia!
INDIA-BANGLADESH
First integrated check post along
Bangladesh border
Indias second international standard multi-use
Integrated Check Post (ICP) and the first along the
Bangladesh border would be open to people at
Akhaurah in Tripura.
The first such ICP was opened in Attari in Punjab
along the Pakistan border in April, 2012.
Significance of ICP:
The multi-purpose ICPs would boost trade with
neighbouring countries, besides facilitating trans-
border passenger traffic.
Integrated Check post (ICP)
India has recently built an ICP on its border with
Bangladesh. An ICP already works at Atari in
Punjab on the border with Pakistan. The ICP
boasts modern infrastructure to facilitate better
trade and immigration. India plans to open 13
ICPs along the border with Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Nepal and Myanmar.
This will increase people-to-people contact and
cross-border trade with Bangladesh.
AFGHANISTAN
America, Afghanistan on collision course
The U.S. and Afghan governments appeared to be
on a collision course in their struggle to negotiate a
Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), with the
thorny issues of western troops night raids on
Afghan homes and the Afghan demand for an
apology from Washington threatening to
overshadow the prospect of a deal being worked
out.
The failure to halt these raids, which have been a
source of anti-American sentiment, has been a
major obstacle holding up a security agreement
aimed at letting American forces stay in the
country beyond 2014 withdrawal deadline.
Another issue between the two countries was that,
Afghanistan was demanding for an apology for
U.S. actions in Afghanistan that wounded Afghan
sensitivities.
The killings of innocent Afghan civilians, the abuse
of Afghan corpses and the burning of Korans by
U.S. personnel have inflamed tensions in the past.
If these points hinder the completion of the BSA,
the U.S. has warned that it may be compelled to
withdraw all of its troops by the end of 2014 and
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leave Afghan forces to fight alone against a
Taliban-led insurgency.
U.S. Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement
(BSA) pact
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has backed a
proposed security pact-Bilateral Security
Agreement (BSA) with the United States that
would allow up to 15,000 foreign troops stay. It
has been touted as vital to the countrys future
after 2014, when the bulk of NATOs 75,000
troops will pull out.
From the U.S. side, the forces (military) have
assured that it would not enter Afghan homes
except under extraordinary circumstances
involving urgent risk to life and limb of U.S.
nationals.
A similar security deal between the U.S. and Iraq
collapsed in 2011 over the issue of whether
American troops would be answerable to local
courts, leading Washington to pull its forces out.
It is believed that the Afghanistan President Mr.
Karzai had bowed to a U.S. demand that American
troops would not be tried in local courts if they are
accused of crimes an issue that became a major
hurdle in the negotiations.
Karzai defies loyajirga, puts off security
pact with U.S.
A security pact with the U.S., which is critical to
Afghanistans ability to pay its soldiers and hold
off the Taliban, is in a state of uncertanity, after
President Hamid Karzai shrugged off the
recommendations of a national council that had
approved the deal and said that he would continue
talks with U.S.
After a year of negotiations, the loyajirga, or
grand assembly had approved the agreement to
keep U.S. troops in the country after the current
combat mission ends in 2014.
But Mr. Karzai stunned U.S. diplomats and his
own security officials when he told the opening
session of the jirga that the security agreement
should not be signed until after presidential
elections in April, 2014.
Later U.S. had announced that a deal had to be
agreed by the end of the year (2013), but the
Afghan President said that the U.S. had to prove
its good intentions by keeping soldiers out of
Afghan homes, ensuring the vote was transparent
and promoting peace talks with the Taliban.
Implications of the agreement:
The agreement will allow U.S. soldiers to stay on at
nine bases, mentoring the ill-equipped and trained
Afghan forces, and pursuing al-Qaeda.
Without a deal, the U.S. is unlikely to part with the
$4 billion a year needed to pay the Afghan army,
or provide helicopters and other equipment.
NEPAL
Nepals hardline Maoists urged to let
people vote
The United Nations has urged a group of hardline
Maoists who are protesting against Nepals
elections in November, 2013 to respect peoples
right to vote and not to intimidate voters through
violence.
The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), a
splinter group of the mainstream Maoist party that
fought a 10-year civil war against the state, is
boycotting the November 19thelections which is
only the second national election in the country
since a peace process began in 2006.
According to the hardline faction, the election was
unconstitutional and has thus called for a 10-day
shutdown.
Nepal to focus on federalism, structure of
government
Peaceful elections in Nepal would help its political
parties to agree on two vital issues that have
remained unresolved during the five years of its
first Constituent Assembly.
Nepal has been forced into a second round of
elections after the Constituent Assembly elected in
2008 failed to agree on two of the most
fundamental issues the nature of the federal
state of Nepal and the structure of government.
What was the issue?
While the Madhesi parties and the Janajatis want
ethnic identity-based federalism, this is totally
opposed by the Nepali Congress and the
Communist Party (United Marxist Leninist)
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(UML) who feel that no part of Nepal has a
majority of any one community.
Regarding the structure of government, the United
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) led by
Prachanda wants a presidential form of
government, the UML wants a Prime Minister who
is directly elected, and the Nepali Congress are for
a political arrangement similar to the one in India.
Another factor is the breakaway group from
Prachandas party which is critical of the peace
process and has announced a political boycott of
the elections.
Indias role:
India on its part wants the elections to be held on
schedule but does not favour any particular
outcome.
With this aim, it has hosted four important Nepali
leaders holding various political beliefs
Prachanda, Madhav Nepal, SushilKoirala, and
SherBahadurDeuba to reinforce the message
about neutrality. This message was also delivered
by the External Affairs Minister and the Foreign
Secretary when they had visited Kathmandu in
July and September, 2013 respectively.
Ballot papers were printed in India which also
provided security when they were transported to
the India-Nepal border. India has also provided
900 vehicles for accessing remote areas.
Both sides have also activated the standard
operating procedure (SOP) of close coordination
and control of any cross-border criminal activities
which can get heightened to disrupt the elections.
Maoist walkout raises fears for Nepals
election legitimacy
International observers as well as political and
civil society groups in Nepal have called on the
Maoists to reverse their decision to walk out of the
counting of votes polled in the elections for the
second Constituent Assembly, saying it could
erode the legitimacy of democracy.
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
had walked out of the counting centres alleging
that the elections were rigged. However
independent observers had certified the elections
to be free and fair.
The Nepali Congress and the rival Communist
Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist criticised
the Maoist decision, noting that they had accepted
the popular will despite doing badly in the 2008
elections.
Nepali Congress all set to form government
In the recently held elections, the Nepali Congress
(NC) emerged as a front-runner in the second
Constituent Assembly election with the
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-
Leninist) gaining a close second position.
Together, the two parties that had formed
partnership on most issues for the new
constitution in the last assembly moved closer to
attaining a two-thirds majority in the Constituent
Assembly election.
UCPN (Maoist) puts a precondition for
joining the Constituent Assembly
The Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN (UML)
expressed surprise over the precondition that the
UCPN (Maoist) has set for joining the Constituent
Assembly.
The UCPN (Maoist) said they wanted an
amendment to the Interim Constitution of 2007 so
as to reinstate the politics of consensus.
It also demanded an investigation to the
irregularities in the election. Once the election
results trend started surfacing, the Maoists began
to distance itself from the counting process. Its
allegation that ballot boxes were changed during
transportation and that the counting be reviewed
were rejected by the Election Commission.
National and international election observers have
termed the election free and fair.
The two leading parties said they would consider
the Maoist proposal in practice but would not
amend the Constitution.
MALDIVES
Maldives presidential vote likely
After two failed attempts, the Maldives is likely to
hold its presidential election on 9th October, 2013
as the three candidates have agreed on a voters
register.
The Supreme Court had annulled results of a
September 7th, 2013 election because of fake
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names on the voters list. And the October months
attempted vote was stopped by the police, as all
the candidates had not approved the voters
register.
The Maldives must have an elected President by
11th November, 2013 to avoid a possible
constitutional crisis. The leaders must also agree
on who will be in charge of the country if no clear
winner emerges, until a runoff on November 16.
Maldives re-vote put off to Nov. 16
The Maldives Supreme Court has suspended run-
off for the presidential re-vote, prolonging the
political turmoil in the country amid mounting
international concern over a looming
constitutional crisis.
The run-off was to have taken place on 10
th

November, 2013 but the Supreme Court delayed it
until November 16.
In the crucial re-vote(that took place on 9
th

November), Maldivian Democratic Party chief
Mohammed Nasheed had emerged winner but
failed to clinch 50 % of votes to avoid a run-off.
According the courts order, holding the run-off
the very next day of the first round could
undermine the constitutional rights of many
people. It has now ordered all state institutions to
hold the second round on November 16
th
.
Abdulla Yaameen sworn in as Maldivian
President
Maldivian President Abdulla Yaameen was
instated as the new President of Maldives after his
shocking election victory which ended two years of
turmoil (constitutional crisis) in Maldives. The
President has promised to maintain good
neighbourly relations with regional countries and
others.
India had an uneasy relationship with Male after
the toppling of the former President, Mr.Nasheed,
who once took refuge at the Indian High
Commission in Male to avoid arrest.


ASEAN COUNTRIES
INDIA-VIETNAM
India-Vietnam to strengthen Bilateral ties

There would be a wide range of issues that would
be discussed during the upcoming visit of the top
leader of Vietnam- energy, defence and economics.
Economics would be the driving force of bilateral
ties in future with India looking for opportunities
in setting up refineries and the Tatas looking
forward to setting up a 1,320-mw thermal power
project after the failure of its $5 billion plans to set
up a steel plant.
The India-Vietnamese project that has garnered
the most attention was allocation of two oil blocks
in PhuKhanh basin of South China Sea that is
contested by China .This issue would recede as
China has offered Vietnam a joint approach on
economic issues and has taken to discussing the
sovereignty issue with ASEAN as well as bilaterally
with Vietnam.
There were speculations that India was planning
to withdraw from seeking for block 128 on
commercial considerations just like it returned
block 127 about four years back.
With regard to Defence and security India and
Vietnam already have enabling agreements in
place and are looking to build on the strong
defence training programme, frequent exchange of
visits and training of Vietnamese submariners.
Courtesy blogs.voanews.com (Image)
India and Vietnam ink pacts
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Eight pacts were signed after delegation-level talks
that focused on defence, energy and investments.
Defence:
With regard to defence pact, the two countries
have agreed to have greater cooperation in
capacity building, joint projects and training.
An agreement was signed between the two
countries on the protection of information the
enabling clause will lead to the transfer of defence
hardware as well as training of 500 Vietnamese
submariners, a process that has already begun.
India would continue assisting Vietnam in
modernisation and training of its defence and
security forces, including through a $100-million
line of credit for defence purchases.
In a joint statement, both leaders termed defence
cooperation as a significant pillar of strategic
partnership between the two countries. They also
made mention of the increase, in recent years, in
cooperation by way of regular defence dialogue,
training exercises, Navy and Coast Guard ship
visits, capacity-building, exchange of think tanks
and other exchanges between relevant agencies of
both countries.
Energy:
A MoU between Vietnam Oil and ONGC Videsh
Limited that would lead to India getting a new
block after its expected departure from Block 128,
located in Vietnam, on grounds of uneconomic
potential was among the 8 pacts between the two
countries.
Vietnam has offered India seven oil blocks in
South China Sea, including three on an exclusive
basis, and joint prospecting in some Central Asian
countries with which both Vietnam and India have
good political ties.
Earlier, China had not objected to Vietnam
allotting the lucrative Block 6.1 to India during the
Cold War years in Nam Con Son Basin of South
China Sea. But it had objections on India taking up
exploration in blocks 127 and 128 in PhuKanh
Basin. Chinese objections included pressurising
companies not to sell equipment to India and the
alleged buzzing of an Indian warship that had
transited through the disputed portion of South
China Sea.
India had returned block 127 some years ago after
no oil was found and will return 128 in 2014 after a
financially disastrous experience with putting
equipment in place.
Investment:
On the economic front, Vietnam has decided to
award Tata Power a $1.8-billion thermal power
project after the company suffered a failed bid for
a $5-billion steel plant.
Investment and trade is slated for further boost
with the signing of an air services agreement that
will facilitate direct flights between the two
countries.
Indias Oil exploration to take place in
undisputed areas in South China Sea
Vietnam has offered India for exploring gas and oil
blocks in the South China Sea in areas where there
is no dispute over sovereignty.
Vietnams offer for third country exploration
pertains to a block in Uzbekistan a country with
which both India and Vietnam enjoy excellent
political ties.
Measured Chinese response to India-
Vietnam deals
China has responded cautiously to Indias
agreements with Vietnam on oil exploration in the
disputed South China Sea, expressing its hope that
countries would do more things that are
conducive to stability, while at the same time not
directly voicing its opposition to the projects.
China, which in the past strongly opposed
exploration projects in the disputed South China
Sea citing its indisputable sovereignty over its
islands and waters, a claim that is being contested
by at least 10 countries, including Vietnam was
more measured than the warnings directed at
India in 2012 about undertaking projects in the
region.
It had opposed unilateral energy exploration and
called on India to respect its sovereignty and
national interests over exploration of blocks 127
and 128, which according to Chinese was located
in a basin that is currently under Vietnams control
but fell within their claim lines.
China had mounted a far stronger response to
Indias deals on blocks 127 and 128, issuing formal
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protests. India has since returned the first block as
explorations did not yield significant finds, while
the second block has reportedly stalled on account
of financial and technical difficulties.
The issue strained bilateral relations at a time
when China was seen as adopting a more assertive
stand on territorial disputes. In recent months,
however, the new leadership under Xi Jinping,
who took over in March, 2013 as President, has
attempted to tone down regional tensions.
India, Vietnam sign prisoner exchange
treaty
As part of social rehabilitation of prisoners, an
agreement has been signed between India and
Vietnam. This would allow Indian prisoners
imprisoned in Vietnam or vice-versa to be near
their families for serving remaining part of their
sentence.
India has so far signed similar agreements with
United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Cambodia,
Egypt, France, Bangladesh, Korea, Saudi Arabia,
Iran, Sri Lanka, UAE, Maldives, Thailand, Turkey,
Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel and Russia,
while negotiations have been concluded in this
regard with Canada, Hong Kong, Brazil and Spain.
The 7th United Nations Congress on the
Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of
Offenders adopted the Model Agreement on the
Transfer of Foreign Prisoners in 1985 and since
then many countries have arrived at bilateral and
multilateral treaties.
Vietnam to share know-how on breeding
pangasius
Vietnam is now ready to part with know-how for
breeding the pangasius fish (also called basa). This
has been hailed has a major breakthrough.
The consumption of pangasius, primarily found in
Vietnam and some adjoining countries, has been
steadily increasing in India but its captive rearing
in the country had not really taken off. Vietnam
has closely held the breeding techniques and has
now agreed to part with it for a breeding centre
near Chennai.
Vietnam has already emerged as the second largest
supplier of fish after Bangladesh.
U.N. court rules on Cambodia-Thailand
row
The International Court of Justice(ICJ) has ruled
that the area around a flashpoint ancient temple
on the Thai border belongs to Cambodia and that
any Thai security forces should leave.

The U.N.s top court has interpreted a 1962 ruling
saying that Cambodia had sovereignty over the
whole territory of the promontory of PreahVihear.
At least 28 people have been killed in outbreaks of
violence since 2011 over the ownership of the
patch of land next to the 900-year-old
PreahVihear temple.
In 2012, the ICJ had ruled that both countries
should withdraw forces from around the ancient
Khmer temple, which is situated on a clifftop in
Cambodia but is more easily accessed from the
Thai side. Thailand does not dispute Cambodias
ownership of the temple, a Unesco World Heritage
site, but both sides laid claim to an adjacent 4.6-
square-km piece of land.
Courtesy Hindu Newspaper
More about International Court of Justice
(ICJ)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the
principal judicial organ of the United Nations
(UN). It was established in June 1945 by the
Charter of the United Nations and began work in
April 1946.
The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The
Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs
of the United Nations, it is the only one not located
in New York (United States of America).
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The Courts role is to settle, in accordance with
international law, legal disputes submitted to it by
States and to give advisory opinions on legal
questions referred to it by authorized United
Nations organs and specialized agencies.
The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are
elected for terms of office of nine years by the
United Nations General Assembly and the Security
Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its
administrative organ. Its official languages are
English and French.
Courtesy ICJ website
MAYNMAR
U.N. calls for immediate end to new Kachin
clashes
The U.N. has called for an immediate end to
clashes between Myanmar troops and ethnic
Kachin rebels which have trapped hundreds of
people including schoolchildren in a remote area
with limited food and shelter.

Skirmishes have affected at least 2,300 people in
the Bhamo-Mansi area, among them many who
had already been displaced by previous fighting.
The latest battle has also affected internally
displaced persons (IDPs) located around the area
and has called for an immediate cessation of
hostilities to allow humanitarian access.
Background:
Fighting in Kachin, near the northern border with
China, erupted in June 2011 when a 17-year
ceasefire crumbled. It has displaced some 100,000
people.
The Kachin conflict along with religious unrest
elsewhere in the country has overshadowed widely
praised political changes as Myanmar emerges
from decades of military rule.
President TheinSeins reformist government has
reached tentative peace deals with most major
ethnic minority rebel groups in the country, which
has been racked by civil wars since independence
from Britain in 1948.
Despite talks, peace in Kachin has so far remained
elusive, stopping government efforts to cement a
nationwide ceasefire which would brighten its
reform credentials.
Courtesy www.travel-myanmar.net (image)
U.N. cannot force Rohingya citizenship
Myanmar would not allow itself to be pressured by
a U.N. (United Nations) resolution calling on it to
grant citizenship to members of the Muslim ethnic
minority that identify themselves as Rohingya.
The government does not recognise that there is a
group called Rohingya, instead it refers them as
Bengalis.
The U.N. General Assemblys human rights
committee had passed a resolution urging
Myanmar to give the stateless Rohingya minority
equal access to citizenship and to crack down on
Buddhist violence against them and other
Muslims.
But U.N. has been criticized for interfering in
Myanmars internal affairs.
Background:
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Communal violence in the past two years had left
more than 240 people dead and caused another
2,40,000 to flee their homes, most of them
Rohingya. Bengalis living in Rakhine state who are
qualified as citizens under the 1982 citizenship law
would be given citizenship.
The citizenship law recognises eight races and 130
minority groups, but omits the countrys
8,00,000Rohingya. Many Myanmar Buddhists
view the Rohingya as interlopers brought in by
British colonialists from what is now Bangladesh,
but many Rohingya say they have lived in the
country for hundreds of years. The Rohingya speak
a Bengali dialect and resemble Bangladeshis, with
darker skin than most people in Myanmar.
Bangladesh also refuses to accept them as citizens.
INDONESIA
Indonesia, a new hub for global cyber
crime
Diplomatic tensions between Indonesia and
Australia reached the lowest over revelations that
Australia had eavesdropped on President
SusiloBambangYudhoyonos phone conversations
in 2009.
Hacking by nationalistically-driven youth is a
phenomenon more usually associated with China,
but as demonstrated by the Australia attacks,
Indonesia is also emerging as a major source
country for malicious cyber traffic.
In fact, according to a recent report by cloud
computing firm Akmai Indonesia, not China, as
the country that accounts for the largest number of
worldwide hacking incidents. Given that just last
year Indonesia was the originator of less than 1%
of malicious cyber activity, this massive surge has
left experts confused.
Cyber criminals operating outside the
geographical boundaries of Indonesia can hack
into computers via malware or remote-controlled
botnets to utilise their IP addresses, in a bid to
hide their tracks when attacking other targets.
However, even if the majority of malicious cyber
traffic ostensibly emanating from Indonesia
actually originates elsewhere, hacking is
nonetheless a growing problem in Indonesia.
Australia is not the only country to suffer at the
hands of Indonesian hackers. They have also
frequently attacked Malaysias websites.
Similar actions by Indonesian hackers were
launched against websites in Myanmar and in
Egypt. But it is not only the diplomatic fallout of
these incidents that is worrying Indonesia,
Indonesia itself was the victim of 1.2 cyber attacks
every day. And that these appeared to originate
from within the country.
Much of this malicious traffic is directed against
commodity-oriented industries, such as oil and
gas, which remain susceptible to data phishing
attempts. The Indonesian defence forces have also
expressed alarm at the trend, and have announced
their intention to set up a cyber army to wage a
virtual war against future cyber attacks.
Do you know what Bots & Botnet are?
A bot is a type of malware that allows an attacker
to take control over an affected computer. Also
known as Web robots, bots are usually part of a
network of infected machines, known as a
botnet, which is typically made up of victim
machines that stretch across the globe
A botnet is a collection of infected computers
under the control of one or more attackers. These
botnets are used for a variety of criminal purposes,
all of which pose serious risk to the infected user
as well as to the entire Internet community.
Once your computer is under the control of a
botnet, it may be used to spam others, host
phishing sites and other illicit files, infect or attack
others, or have adware and spyware foisted on it
so the attackers can collect from various affiliate
advertising programs.
Even worse, many of todays threats include key
logging capabilities. Of special interest to the
attackers are your personal financial details once
stolen they are used for everything from credit
card fraud to outright identity theft.
In short, its not just your computer at risk its
your wallet J
Courtesy-
http://antivirus.about.com/od/whatisavirus/ss/b
otnets.htm
Courtesy- http://us.norton.com/botnet
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a type of Internet fraud that seeks to
acquire a users credentials by deception. It
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includes theft of passwords, credit card numbers,
bank account details and other confidential
information.
Phishing messages usually take the form of fake
notifications from banks, providers, e-pay systems
and other organizations. The notification will try
to encourage a recipient, for one reason or
another, to urgently enter/update their personal
data. Such excuses usually relate to loss of data,
system breakdown, etc.
Courtesy
https://www.securelist.com/en/threats/spam?cha
pter=85
INDIA-THAILAND
Thailand royals mark cultural connection
with Assam
Shared cultural and historical roots connected
Namphake village (Dibrugarh district, Assam)
with Thailand when Royal Kathina robes were
offered at the Buddhist monastery here on behalf
of the Thai royal family.
The village mainly consists of Tai-Phake
community (whose identities, traditions and
cultures are very much similar to the Thai people).
This community is rooted in Yunan province of
China and Myanmar and is about 650 years old.
Significance of Kathina ceremony:
The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been
organising the Royal Kathina Ceremony in several
countries, including India since 1995. The Kathina
offering ceremony, or Poi Kathin, is an ancient
Buddhist tradition of offering special robes and
other necessities to monks who maintain strict
discipline of retreat during the rainy seasons.
The main purpose of the ceremony is not merely
for religious belief but also to strengthen the
relationship between Thailand and other
countries.
Royal Kathina ceremony is in line with the policies
of both India and Thailand in promoting Assam
and the Northeast India as the gateway to
Southeast Asia and vice versa. The proximity
between the two regions and culture would be the
key factors to strengthen and deepen India-
Thailand relations.

INDIA-JAPAN
India-U.S.-Japan trilateral relationship
The 5th India-U.S.-Japan trilateral would be held
in Tokyo (Japan) on 14th & 15th November, 2013.
India would specially focus on civil nuclear energy,
and projects that will enhance its access to
Myanmar and Afghanistan.
All three countries are deploying their
disarmament and nuclear energy experts in an
attempt to push forward the stalled civil nuclear
energy agreement with the U.S. Japan is a vital
because one of its companies will supply a crucial
component for the American nuclear reactors.
This requires an India-Japan civil nuclear
agreement and Japans nod on the terms of
liability in case of an accident.
The meeting will take up the issue of a route
starting from India and going through upper
Myanmar to eventually touch Vietnam. The
project has also been discussed by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh at the previous two summits
with Association of South East Asian Nations
(ASEAN) in Phnom Penh and Jakarta. Also
proposal for reconstruction of Afghanistan would
be considered.
Japanese assistance to India:
Bilateral issues, including the Dedicated Freight
Corridor and the Delhi Mumbai Industrial
Corridor the two multi-billion-dollar projects
that are taking shape with Japanese assistance.
The two sides also signed a Japanese Overseas
Development Assistance (ODA) whose two main
components are a $130-million loan to Tamil
Nadu for quick implementation of infrastructure
projects such as roads, power, water supply and
sewerage, and $177.3 million for improving the
education and research environment at the Indian
Institute of Technology, Hyderabad. Also Japan
has pledged $150 million for Uttarakhand, which
was badly hit by landslips triggered by heavy rains
in June, 2013.
India plans to export 6,000 tonnes of rare earth
chloride to Toyota Tsusho; marking its entry into
the sector after a seven-year-gap (China has
dominated this market).
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More about ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or
ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in
Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN
Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the
Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia,
Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. (At
present there are 10 members namely, Brunei
Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,Malaysia,
Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand
and Viet Nam)
Aim:
Cooperation in the economic, social, cultural,
technical, educational and other fields.
Promotion of regional peace and stability through
abiding respect for justice and the rule of law and
adherence to the principles of the United Nations
Charter.
The declaration has stipulated that the Association
would be open for participation by all States in the
Southeast Asian region subscribing to its aims,
principles and purposes.
ASEAN represents the collective will of the
nations of Southeast Asia to bind themselves
together in friendship and cooperation and,
through joint efforts and sacrifices, secure for their
peoples and for posterity the blessings of peace,
freedom and prosperity.
Courtesy www.discoveryindochina.com
(image)
ASEAN Motto
The motto of ASEAN is One Vision, One
Identity, One Community.
Courtesy http://www.aseansec.org
Japan goes back on emission targets
In the ongoing climate talks, Japan has stunned
the rest of the countries when it said that it was
forsaking its earlier emission reduction targets of
25% reduction below 1990 levels. Instead, it has
pledged to reduce emissions, by 2020, by 3.8 per
cent from their 2005 level.
The new target represents a 3.1% increase over the
1990 emission levels.
The 1990 levels are accepted as a basic benchmark
against which developed countries have so far
pledge to reduce their targets. The European
Union has planned to and almost achieved a 20%
reduction against the benchmark year by 2020.
Japan has already abandoned the Kyoto Protocol
and with Fukishima disaster, it is expected to be
more heavily dependent on fossil fuels in future.
The decision has come in for all around criticism.
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) requires developed countries to
take the lead in emission reductions and the
earlier agreements had demanded that the rich
countries take emission reduction targets for the
short term period between 2013 and 2020
before the long-term agreement is signed in 2020.
Data shows that instead it is the emerging
economies, along with other poor countries, which
have taken higher emission reduction pledges than
the developed countries.
It is feared that, the lesser targets the developed
countries take between 2013 and 2020 more the
burden would be on the developing countries after
2020.
In comparison with the Japanese decision, the
developed countries are compelled to increase
their emission reduction pledges after a review in
2014.


TAJIKISTAN
Tajikistans Presidential election and Geo-
politics
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Tajikistans President ImomaliRakhmonhas won a
re-election extending his 20-year-long rule by
another seven years.
Several opposition parties, including the popular
Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, boycotted the
election, accusing the government of campaign
violations and intimidation.
Mr.Rakhmon has ruled Tajikistan since 1992 and
is credited with winning a five-year civil war
against Islamic militants relying on Russias
support. Mr.Rakhmons new presidential term
would be his last under the Constitution, which
has been changed twice to enable him to prolong
his stay in power.
Tajikistan is one of the poorest states in the former
Soviet Union, with more than one million Tajiks
earning a living in Russia.
Tajikistan, in the run-up to its Presidential
election has signed an agreement with Russia on a
30-year extension of the Soviet-era 201st military
base, which Russia considers as a bulwark against
Islamist insurgency and drug trafficking from
Afghanistan. The Tajik Parliament ratified the deal
after Russian President Vladimir Putin promised
to support Mr.Rakhmons re-election for another
term. Russia has also allowed Tajik migrant
workers to stay in Russia for three years running,
against one year for the citizens of other former
Soviet states.
India helped Tajikistan refurbish an airbase at
Ayni in the past decade in the hope of securing a
bridgehead in the strategically located region.

MIDDLE EAST
SYRIA
Syria destroys equipment used to make
chemical weapons raising disarmament
hopes
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW) has declared that Syria has
completed the functional destruction of all
critical equipment that it had declared for
manufacturing chemical weapons and
mixing/filling plants
The declaration has raised hopes that, Syria could
well be on its way to complete chemical
disarmament by the middle of 2014.
With the infrastructure to build chemical weapons
now destroyed, a new phase of chemical
disarmament is set to commence, which will focus
on Syrias existing stockpiles of mass destruction
arms. (Earlier in September, 2013 under a deal
brokered by U.S. and Russia, Syria had pledged to
eliminate all its chemical stocks by mid-2014, and
has already declared a road map for their
destruction.
The next milestone for the mission will be
November 15, by which time the Executive Council
must approve a detailed plan of destruction
submitted by Syria to eliminate its chemical
weapons stockpile. Syria has acknowledged that it
has around 1,290 tonnes of chemical weapons, and
1,230 unfilled chemical munitions implying
shells, rockets or mortars.
The OPCW affirmed its findings after its
inspectors visited 21 out of 23 chemical weapon
production sites that Syria had declared, and
witnessed the destruction of equipment on the
spot.
OPCWs confirmation would have a significant
political impact, as it could encourage a
momentum shift towards diplomacy to end the
festering Syrian crisis. This would make U.S. to
show greater flexibility towards expanding
participation in the proposed Geneva-II talks on
Syria.
Israel strike on Syria complicates peace
efforts
Israel has bombed a Syrian base to halt an arms
shipment to Hizbollah, complicating efforts to find
a peaceful solution to the festering crisis in the
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embattled Levantine state (Syria).

Latakia would be the first Israeli strike on Syria
since a U.S.-Russian accord on chemical weapons
averted punitive U.S. military action in October,
2013
Israel had warned Syria in the past that it would
continue to take action to prevent sophisticated
weapons from falling into the hands of Hizbollah
a key Damascus ally and other militant groups.
Syrias compliance with its September pledge to
destroy its chemical weapon stocks and
infrastructure to manufacture them has added
positive momentum to talks to resolve the crisis.
And the U.N.-Arab League envoy LakhdarBrahimi
has begun to mop-up support for the so-called
Geneva II talks to find a diplomatic solution to the
Syrian conflict.
But Syrias opposition has refused to attend unless
President Bashar al-Assads resigns. If the
opposition does not participate chances of Geneva
conference are bleak.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW) has just recently declared that
Syria has completed the functional destruction
of all critical equipment that were used for its
chemical arms production. Syria could well be on
its way to complete chemical disarmament by the
middle of 2014.
The latest strike is apparently the sixth that Israel
has carried out in Syria in 2013.
Courtesy Hindu Newspaper(Image)
No rebel backing, no talks: Syria opposition
Syrias fractious opposition coalition has
announced that it would not attend mooted peace
talks in Geneva unless it received the backing of
rebels on the ground.
It is said that, the opposition and the rebel Free
Syrian Army (FSA) were on the same side and they
were fighting a common enemy. Hence the Syria
opposition wanted the rebel group to be part of the
delegation.
The opposition coalitions gathering was meant to
forge a common position on the Geneva talks,
which world powers want orgnised to find a
negotiated solution to conflict in Syria.
Syria polio outbreak traced to Pakistan
According to the World Health Organisation
(WHO), the recent polio outbreak in Syria has
originated from Pakistan. It is said that 3 cases of
wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) have been
confirmed in the Syrian Arab Republic; WPV1 had
not been detected in the Syrian since 1999.
Genetic sequencing indicated that the isolated
viruses are most closely linked to virus detected in
environmental samples in Egypt in December
2012, which in turn had been linked to wild
poliovirus circulating in Pakistan. Closely related
wild poliovirus strains have also been detected in
environmental samples in Israel, West Bank and
Gaza Strip since February 2013.
According to WHO, Pakistan was responsible for
the international spread in 2011 and the virus from
Pakistan caused an outbreak in western China.
To know more about Polio virus refer our
October Insights Current Event Analysis
magazine -2013)
Geneva-2 on Syria on January 22, 2014
A long-awaited international conference to resolve
the Syrian crisis will be held in Geneva on January
22, 2014 bringing diplomacy into sharper focus as
a means to resolve some of the most difficult
problems surrounding the region.
The Geneva-2 conference will be held within the
framework of the Geneva Communique that was
issued in June 2012. The conference (June 2012),
had then yielded an agreement for the
establishment, based on mutual consent, of a
transitional governing body in Syria that would be
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armed with full executive powers, covering all
government institutions, including the military
and security agencies.
The Geneva-2 conference would be the result of
herculean efforts of Russia, the U.S. and
LakhdarBrahimi, the veteran Algerian diplomat,
who replaced Mr. Annan as the joint special envoy
on Syria.
Persuaded mainly by Russia, the Syrian
government, led by President Bashar al-Assad had
agreed to the talks even earlier. But getting the
opposition on board proved to be a difficult task.
However, there are now signs that a single
delegation would represent the Syrian opposition
under the umbrella of the National Coalition of
Opposition and Revolutionary Forces.
Riding the wave of diplomacy in West Asia, the
Palestinians have also now begun to call for an
international conference to resolve their dispute
with Israel.


IRAN
Geneva talks could be inching towards a
breakthrough
Iran and the six global powers initiated crucial
talks that are likely to focus on a framework of
confidence building measures (CBM) could
culminate in abatement of western fears of
military diversion, and allow Iran sanction-free
access to peaceful nuclear energy.
U.S administration has assured that there could be
some easing of sanctions, if Iran agreed to freeze
its nuclear programme, and showed readiness for
a partial roll back.
Negotiations are likely to focus on Irans 20%
enrichment of uranium, which potentially would
take Iran closer to the bomb that requires
enrichment above a 90% level. For this Iran has to
halt construction of its Arak heavy water reactor,
which could support the development of a
plutonium-based atomic bomb.
The possibility of a breakthrough in the two-day
talks is expected to hinge on reversible steps that
either side can take in the initial stage. For
instance, in return for 20% freeze, the global
powers could allow Iran access to some of the oil
revenues accumulating in countries like Japan,
China and India, which continue to purchase
Iranian crude.
If either side defaults from its commitments
during this phase, return to the status quo will
remain an option.
Irans interlocutors, the five permanent members
of the U.N. Security Council and Germany are also
seeking the definition of an end result that they
wish to achieve, which could become a reference
point to channel confidence building steps.
The Iranians are expressing readiness to be
accommodative, but insist that they would not
relinquish their right to enrich uranium. It
would not give up its 5 % uranium enrichment, as
this would be required to produce fuel for its
civilian atomic power plants in the future.
The incremental process of confidence building is
in line with the Russian step-by-step proposal.
This initiative in 2011, envisaged that sanctions
against Iran should progressively decrease as it
addresses concerns about its nuclear programme.
However, the expectation of a solid outcome at the
Geneva talks has triggered a negative response
from Israel. Israel would strongly oppose a
proposal that world powers are examining
regarding Irans nuclear programme.
Baggage of mistrust weighs down Iran talks
After a promising start, nuclear talks between Iran
and the six global powers failed to achieve a
breakthrough, stumbling over some heavy
historical baggage of mistrust that had
accumulated on account of years of hatred
between Iran and the West.
Despite the setback on peace talks, negotiators
from the two sides will meet again on November
20, 2013 for another round of talks in Geneva. But
the absence of foreign ministers at that meeting,
which will be headed at the level of directors-
general, have dimmed hopes of an imminent
second chance to achieve a breakthrough.
What the reason behind the setback?
It was observed that, the Iran talks were imposing
a heavy strain on the trans-Atlantic alliance and its
partners. Already, the prospect of a deal seemed to
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have chocked the ties between the U.S. and Israel;
fissures had developed between its western
partners and France.
According to the French, the deal had to cover the
dangers of a fully functional heavy water reactor in
Arak (Iran), which could be used to produce
plutonium potential bomb-making material in
the future. The French wanted that curbs on the
Arak reactor should be included in the initial part
of the deal. This perception was supported by
Israel, which has also been demanding that Iran
must halt construction of the reactor.
Israel and the U.S. have made a note that, it would
be hard to militarily attack the Arak plant once
nuclear fuel was loaded into the reactor, as this
would cause an environmental disaster because of
radiation leakages. Israel had raided Iraqs nuclear
reactor in 1981 and more recently in Syria, before
fuel had been loaded.
Criticism of this perception:
However, critics have dismissed this argument as
flawed. The executive director of the Arms Control
Association has said that, the Arak plant could
have become the subject of negotiations in the
future as it would be completed in a year, and
extraction of plutonium that could be used in a
bomb would take even longer.
The Geneva talks had been structured to deliver a
deal that would identify the starting point as well
as the end game of negotiations, and a number of
reciprocal confidence building measures (CBMs)
within.
The negotiators were apparently looking for a six-
month time frame to conclude the two-staged deal.
The Iranians seemed to have agreed at the outset
to halt the expansion of their nuclear programme
and suspend 20% enrichment of uranium, to allay
western fears that Iran was working to make an
atomic bomb, which requires uranium purified at
least to a 90% level.
And in return, Iran wanted easing of the oil and
banking sanctions imposed on it during the first
phase of the deal.
Iran to allow IAEA to visit Arak reactor,
Gachin uranium mine
With the recent Geneva talks being stalled over the
possible military applications of the Arak heavy
water reactor, Iran has now opened a technical
route to build confidence with the global powers.
In this respect, Iran has signed an agreement with
the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
which would, for the first time, allow its inspectors
to visit Arak. Irans transparency is meant to allay
fears that were most publicly raised by France in
Geneva, that the heavy water reactor in Arak could
yield plutonium that can be used by Iran to
manufacture atomic bombs.
To counter suspicions about their military
intentions, the Iranians have also agreed to open
up for inspections the Gachin uranium mine, to
which the IAEA had also sought, but had been
denied access, in the past.
According to Iran, the Arak heavy water reactor
will use natural uranium to produce radio
medicines to treat cancer patients. It is slated to
replace the Tehran Research Reactor, which
currently makes these medicines, using uranium
as fuel that has been enriched to a 20%.
Iran in mind, Israel drops record
settlement plan
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus
decision to scrap plans for a record 20,000 West
Bank settler homes (this would be the biggest ever
batch of settler homes on occupied Palestinian
territory) driven by Israels bid to spoil an Iranian
nuclear deal.
This intervention to halt the settlement plan
came after fierce criticism from the U.S., which
has been pushing for a peace agreement between
Israel and the Palestinians.
Many forces at play as nuclear talks with
Iran begin
Iran and the six global powers have re-commenced
talks in Geneva, which could become a litmus test
for Israels ability to weaken a nuclear deal, which
was well within grasp when the two sides last met
at the same venue earlier in November, 2013.
Israel has vociferously opposed any deal with Iran,
which would allow Iran to enrich uranium, as well
as pursue other activities that could make it
capable of producing atomic bombs.
On the contrary, Iran has made it explicit that it
would not give up its right to enrichment under
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rules defined by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) that it has signed.
Advocates of the nuclear programme say Iran
must be allowed less than 5% enrichment, which is
necessary to fuel its atomic power plants in future.
Israel has been accused of continuing with its
efforts to impede the emergence of an agreement
between Iran and the global powers.
France has argued that Iran must suspend
construction of the heavy water reactor in Arak,
halt uranium enrichment to 20% and reduce its
stockpile of enriched uranium.
Iran signs landmark nuclear deal with
West
Iran has struck a historic agreement with the U.S.
and five other world powers, accepting strict
constraints on its nuclear programme for the first
time in a decade in exchange for partial relief from
sanctions.
This was the most significant agreement between
U.S. and Iran since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
The move is intended as the first step in a six-
month process aimed at a permanent resolution to
the decade-old global impasse over Irans nuclear
programme, and heading off the threat of a new
war in West Asia.
The Geneva deal releases just over $4 billion in
Iranian oil sales revenue from frozen accounts,
and suspends restrictions on the countrys trade in
gold, petrochemicals, and car and plane parts.
In return, Iran undertakes to restrict its
nuclear activities. Over the next six months
it has agreed to:
Stop enriching uranium above 5%, reactor-grade,
and dilute its stock of 20 % enriched uranium or
convert it to oxide, which makes it harder to enrich
further. The medium-enriched uranium, in its
hexafluoride gas form, is relatively easy to turn
into weapons-grade material, so it is a major
proliferation concern.
Not to increase its stockpile of low-enrichment
uranium.
Freeze its enrichment capacity by not installing
any more centrifuges, leaving more than half of its
existing 16,000 centrifuges inoperable.
Not to fuel or to commission the heavy-water
reactor it is building in Arak or build a
reprocessing plant that could produce plutonium
from the spent fuel.
Accept more intrusive nuclear inspections by the
International Atomic Energy Agency, including
daily visits to some facilities.
The bigger task was to go forward and negotiate a
comprehensive deal.
However Israel and France are circumspect
of this deal
France was the country that initially stalled the
first round of talks on November 12
th
, 2013.
French President Francois Hollande had insisted
on four French red lines that included placing all
Iranian nuclear installations under immediate
international supervision, suspension of
enrichment to 20%, reducing current Iranian
uranium stocks and halting construction of the
Arak heavy water plant.
Both Israel and Sunni Gulf States, especially Saudi
Arabia, had come together and pressured the
French to take a hard-line position on Iran. French
policies towards Iran since the late 1970s have
been those of suspicion, affected by Frances
position on Lebanon, Syria and their recent
restoration of harmony with Israel.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have recently
offered huge economic contracts to France,
pushing France into further infexibility towards
Iran. The fact that France is home to the largest
Jewish community in Europe also plays a part in
French calculations in the region.
Geneva: six-month window to negotiate
permanent deal
The nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 (the U.S,
the U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany),
was signed after a diplomatic marathon of three
intensive rounds at Geneva.
Some of the complications involved in coming to a
deal was due to some frictions among the six
powers.
The six-month life of the Geneva deal is intended
to be used to negotiate a comprehensive and
permanent settlement that would allow Iran to
pursue a peaceful programme, including
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enrichment, but under long-term limits and
intrusive monitoring, that would reassure the
world that any parallel secret programme would
be spotted and stopped well before Iran could
make a bomb.
Implications of the agreement:
The agreement would lead to the lifting of the
main sanctions on oil and banking that have all
but crippled the Iranian economy, and the
eventual normalisation of relations between Iran
and the U.S. for the first time since the 1979
Islamic revolution.
The difficulties facing the negotiators in the
coming months would be whether the deal
represented recognition of Irans right to enrich
uranium. According to Iran, it did because it was
based on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT), which guarantees the right to a peaceful
nuclear programme. However, according to U.S.
neither the NPT nor the latest deal specified a
right to enrichment.
From Irans point of view, the deal reduced the
threat of war and eased punishing sanctions.
Deal consistent with our stand, says India
India has said that the two-stage deal Iran struck
with the U.S. and five other world powers on its
nuclear programme was consistent with the
position it had taken with Russia, Brazil, China,
South Africa and other like-minded countries.
The agreement was consistent with Indias stand
that the issue should be resolved diplomatically,
with the recognition of Irans right use nuclear
energy for peaceful purposes and in accordance
with Irans international obligations as a non-
nuclear weapon state.
The two-stage process of the deal: one was the
agreement reached between Iran and P5+1 (the
U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, China and
Germany); and the other was between Iran and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to
verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Irans
nuclear activities.
Anything that improves Irans economy would be
useful. India-Iran ties were sluggish because of the
sanctions. Now with the withdrawal of the
sanctions, it will benefit the ties between the two
sides.
The interim steps agreed upon in Geneva could
build trust between Iran and the international
community and lead to a long-term settlement of
the issue. India hoped that the negotiators would
display the same sense of accommodation as they
did in the run-up to the agreement to clinch a final
settlement over the next two months.
Geneva success impacts Saudi-Iran ties
The success of nuclear talks in Geneva have
triggered the first signs of a possible de-escalation
of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, whose
regional rivalry has acquired a sharp sectarian
edge in recent years.
The recently concluded Geneva agreement has
created an opportunity to improve regional
security this could be an initial step toward
reaching a comprehensive solution to Irans
nuclear programme.
It was also hoped that the agreement would lead to
the removal of weapons of mass destruction,
especially nuclear weapons, from West Asia
(indirect reference to Israel and the Gulf region,
which includes Iran). The cautious welcome
accorded to the Geneva deal marks a significant
shift, at least on paper, from previous positions
adopted by the representatives of Saudi, who had
expressed deep reservations, if not hostility, to a
possible thaw in ties between Iran and the West.
According to some analysts rivalry between Iran
and Saudi Arabia escalated following Irans
growing influence in Iraq and Lebanon, the two
countries with a majority Shia population, as well
as Syria, where the majority is Sunni, but the
leadership is Alawi, a Shia offshoot.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have openly supported the
armed opposition against the government of
President Bashar Al-Assad that is heavily backed
by Iran.
There was also a proposal from the Iranian side to
establish a formal structure, functioning under the
United Nations system that would bring together
eight littoral countries of the Gulf region working
on a common and expanding agenda. Since the
challenges and opportunities that the Gulf
countries face are enormous. They range from
environmental degradation to sectarian tension,
from extremism and terrorism to arms control and
disarmament, and from tourism and economic
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and cultural cooperation to confidence-building
and security-enhancing measures.
Beyond the political, the turn out of Geneva
accord, which includes the partial lifting of
sanctions, has begun to spark some commercial
activity in Iran. The agreement would provide
international and regional financial institutions
more freedom to consider more finance for
projects and trade in Iran.
India, Iran agree to keep prudent Saudi
Arabia engaged
Iran and India have agreed on the need to keep
Saudi Arabia engaged in order to remove its
apprehensions about Irans interim understanding
with the six global powers reached in Vienna
With regard to India-Iran relationship on the
energy front, the impression that things will
immediately begin easing appears to be misplaced.
Most of the key sanctions aimed at oil and
shipping and curbs on banking and financial
transactions will remain in place for a minimum of
six months or could be partially lifted earlier if the
proposed Joint Commission between Iran and the
six nations is set up and makes progress on some
of the aspects agreed upon in the interim
agreement.
India would also be involved in modernisation and
development of the Chah-bahar port.
With Saudi Arabia fearing that Iran might emerge
as the predominant regional power, Iran and India
want friendly powers to allay its fears. Saudi
Arabia has announced its intention not to join the
United Nations Security Council as a temporary
member and there are apprehensions about it
stalling the works the new balance of power
emerging in the region.
EU may ease Iran sanctions in December,
2013
After a potentially history-shaping deal that gave
Iran six months to provide greater access to its
nuclear sites in exchange for keeping the core
components of its uranium program, it is said that
European Union (EU) would ease sanctions
against Iran as soon as December, 2013
A Europe-wide decision is necessary to ease EU
sanctions; hence it would also exceed the time-
line.
The U.S. and the EU have separate sanctions on
Iran. Easing the European restrictions would
affect numerous areas-
trade in petrochemicals, gold and other precious
metals
financial transfers to purchase food and medicine
the ability of third countries to use EU-based firms
to insure shipments of Iranian oil again.
At Geneva, Iran had agreed to the
following:
The recently concluded deal at Geneva would
allow Iran to keep the central elements of its
uranium program while stopping its enrichment at
a level lower than what is needed for nuclear arms.
In addition to a six-month window for Iran to
allow more U.N. access to nuclear sites, sanctions
will be eased notably in the oil, automotive and
aviation industries.
In the end, Iran has finally agreed to cap its
enrichment level at 5%, far below the 90%
threshold needed for a warhead.
Iran also pledged to neutralise its stockpile of
20% enriched uranium, the highest level
acknowledged by Iran.
IAEA inspectors invited to visit Arak plant
Iran has invited U.N. inspectors to visit its Arak
heavy-water plant, in tune with the spirit of the
Geneva agreement signed recently.
After three decades of hostility, this move
promises a better relationship between Iran and
the West.
The Arak facility produces heavy water for the
nearby research reactor that is under construction.
During the Geneva talks, Irans interlocutors -US,
Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany
wanted Iran to halt all work on the facility related
to the production of plutonium that can be used to
develop an atomic bomb.
Consequently, the deal signed in Geneva halts
work on the production of reactor fuel, as well as
the reprocessing unit, which is necessary for
separating plutonium from the spent reactor fuel.
Iran has also agreed not to fuel the reactor, or
transfer fuel and heavy water to the reactor site.
Besides, it would not install any additional reactor
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components at Arak. Construction work at Arak
would continue, but neither new fuel will be
produced nor new equipment be installed.
India-Iran talks create new atmosphere for
Peace Pipeline via Pakistan
Relations with Iran have been held up due to the
U.S. sanctions. The upcoming Foreign Office
consultations between India and Iran have created
a new atmosphere for the Peace Pipeline via
Pakistan
The just-ended Geneva Round and better U.S.-
Iran ties would leverage Iran to play a constructive
role in Afghanistan which will be to Indias
advantage. Both Iran and India are concerned over
the U.S.-Pakistan initiative to hold peace talks
with the Afghan Taliban without preconditions.
Impact on India:

Infrastructure
Modernization and expansion of the Chah-bahar
port will be vital for providing India and the
international community access to Afghanistan
and Central Asia. It will also ensure Indian
presence just 80 km away from the Chinese built
Gwadar port in Pakistan. India has allotted $100
million for the ports development and is sorting
out a trilateral arrangement with Iran and
Afghanistan for a customs and transit agreement.
Irans contiguous free trade zone is crucial for
Afghanistans economic growth and further
negotiations on the North South Corridor that
would use the Bandar Abbas port for connectivity
with Turkmenistan, the Caucasus and beyond. The
port can be connected to Afghanistan and even
beyond to Central Asia by linking it up to the
Iranian border town of Milak on the Afghan
border. An Indian-built road from the
corresponding Afghan border town of Zaranj will
then lead to the Afghan garland highway.
Courtesy peddarowdy.wordpress.com (image)
Trade:
In the first trilateral, India, Iran and Afghanistan
agreed on preferential treatment and tariff
reductions for Indian goods at Chah-bahar. There
is now talk of a rail line from Bamyan in
Afghanistan that will follow this road route down
to Chah-bahar.
Oil Supplies:
Earlier, India was forced to reduce import of crude
oil due to the effects of the U.S. sanctions on
insurance and sending back payments. But after
the recently concluded Geneva-round of talks,
there was a call for stepping-up oil supplies from
Iran. On this line, there was a plan to create a Rs.
2,000-crore fund to provide cover for imports of
Iranian crude.
India will also be looking at resuming talks on a
lucrative gasfield Farzad-B gas on which just two
rounds have been held over the past four years.
Iran, Pakistan to fast track gas pipeline
Iran and Pakistan have decided to fast track
discussions on the long-delayed gas pipeline
project to formulate a road map and a more
realistic time schedule for the implementation of
the project.
The original deadline was December 2014 but
Pakistan has been unable to start construction on
its share of the pipeline owing to lack of funds. It
had asked for $2 billion from Iran for the project
earlier.
It was agreed that comprehensive technical
commercial proposals on the gas pipeline would be
discussed with Iran. This would be followed by
ministerial level discussions.
Both sides emphasised the need to put greater
focus on bilateral economic relations. It was also
agreed to hold the next round of Joint Ministerial
Commission in Iran (in 2014).
Background:
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Conceived in the 1990s as a peace pipeline, the
project initially had India on board and was
scheduled to be completed by December 2014.
Iran had expressed concern over Pakistans delay
in starting work.
The main issues were financing and the
agreement. Pakistan at that time had not done its
homework and why such a deal with high prices
for gas and huge penalty clauses was negotiated
was not clear. Iran had already offered $500
million but Pakistan would need $2 billion to
complete its share of the project.
Iran has already constructed more than 900 km
(out of 1,100 km) of the pipeline on its territory at
a cost of $700 million.
The agreement had come under scrutiny by a
report Sustainable Policy Development
Institutes (SDPI), Rethinking Pakistans Energy
Equation: Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline.
It called for renegotiating the gas purchase
agreement and pricing and the huge penalty
clauses. The agreement would give Pakistan gas at
the price of $13/MMBtu which would increase
periodically depending on the crude prices.
The agreement also stipulated construction of
Pakistans side of the pipeline by December
2014.If Pakistan failed to meet this deadline it
would be liable to pay heavy daily penalties, which
could run into millions of dollars.
Given the acute energy requirements, Pakistan
remains committed to all options for addressing
energy needs, including the pipeline project.
INDIA- KUWAIT
India, Kuwait to take relationship beyond
buyer-seller partnership
Recently, India and Kuwait have held talks on a
wide area of interest ranging from investment,
trade, and security to joint ventures in the energy
sector, to take their relationship beyond the
present buyer-seller partnership.
The two PMs focused on the Kuwaits $350 billion
surplus funds and its Oil imports. India imports
around 10% of its oil requirement from Kuwait.
Five pacts were signed in among the two countries.
Following were the proposals between the
two sides:
The two leaders have discussed the development
of a more strategic partnership in the energy
sector through long-term supply contracts and the
establishment of upstream and downstream joint
ventures in the petroleum and petrochemical
sectors.
Kuwait would explore opportunities for investing
in India as part of the $350 billion fund which is
growing by $25 billion annually.
From the Indian side India has proposed several
specific projects for investments by the Kuwait
Petroleum Corporation.
India has also shown interest in a $100 billion
Kuwaiti infrastructure renewal programme.
On the security front the two leaders discussed
about security cooperation and agreed to
strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism
through institutionalised dialogue and training.
Kuwait Declaration: Agenda & Proposals of
the Summit
The leaders at the Kuwait summit have called for
the creation of a joint Africa-Arab Financing
Mechanism to fund programmes and projects,
under a plan adopted at the last Arab-African
summit in Libya three years ago (2010).
They have also called on the African Union and
Arab League to coordinate with financial
institutions and funds in the two regions to form a
working team to finance the implementation of
projects. But there was no mention of any moves
for an Africa-Arab common market, as
recommended by businessmen.
The Kuwait Declaration strongly condemned
terrorism. It urged member states to enhance
cooperation and coordination to combat terrorism
in all its forms, and to criminalise the payment of
ransoms to terrorists.
Kuwait would coordinate with the World Bank to
enter joint investments in infrastructure projects
in accordance with a plan to be announced soon.
Africa has huge resources of raw materials,
agriculture and energy but lacks investments. It
has 12 % of global oil reserves and 42% of its gold
deposits. The discovery of large quantities of
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natural gas off its east coast has added to the
continents economic potential. According to the
World Bank, the continent needs about $30 billion
a year just to develop its energy sector.
On the other hand, states of the energy-rich Gulf
Cooperation Council have accumulated surpluses
of $2.0 trillion due to persistently high oil prices.
A majority of the assets are invested in the United
States and Europe.
The leaders called for the need to boost
cooperation in the agricultural field to achieve
food security. They also decided to hold the next
summit in 2016 in Africa.
The summit was the third of its kind, and the first
since 2010, when leaders met in Libya prior to the
Arab Spring uprisings that toppled longstanding
dictatorships there and elsewhere in North Africa
and West Asia.
ISRAEL
India starts issuing visas from Ramallah
India has started issuing visas from Ramallah in
Palestine instead of Tel Aviv. This would cut down
on the waiting period as well as costs. With this,
Palestinian nationals will get visas within two-
three working days
India is perhaps the first country from South Asia
to begin issuing visas in Ramallah from
September, 2013.
This move is seen as Indias continuing support to
the Palestinian cause, especially its right to
statehood. India had been in the forefront of the
Palestinian cause and was among the first lot of
countries outside the Arab world to recognise the
Palestine Liberation Organisation as the legitimate
representative of the Arab people in 1974 followed
by full diplomatic relations.
IRAQ-TURKEY
Iraq, Turkey pledge to end tensions
Both Iraq and Turkey have pledged to end the
diplomatic tensions troubling the two neighbours.
Ties between the two countries had strained in
2012 when Iraqs former Sunni vice-president took
refuge in Turkey following accusations by the
Shiite-led government that he was running death
squads. Turkey had rejected Iraqs request to hand
over him.
UKRAINE
Tymoshenkos release bills scuttled in
Ukraine
Ukraines Parliament has failed to pass bills that
would have enabled the release of jailed former
Premier YuliaTymoshenko, dealing a harsh blow
to its chances of integration with the European
Union (EU).
The West calls Ms.Tymoshenkos seven-year
sentence for abuse of office politically motivated
and has refused to sign a landmark association
agreement with Ukraine unless she is freed.
(For more information on Ukraine joining
EU refer to our INSIGHTS CURRENT
EVENTS ANALYSIS OCTOBER 2013
MAGAZINE)


AFRICA
Arab-African economic cooperation
stressed
Arab and African leaders (meeting in Kuwait)
wound up their first summit since the regions
uprisings in 2011 by calling for closer economic
and security cooperation.
The leaders issued the Kuwait Declaration which
underlined the need to accelerate economic
integration in the Arab world, which includes oil-
rich Gulf states, and investment-thirsty African
states.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
U.S. envoy calls for semi-permanent
solution on DRC
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) troops were
in a mopping up operation to rout the remaining
pockets of the M23 rebel movement, after seizing
their last stronghold in a push to finally break the
back of the insurgency.
A U.S. envoy has called for semi-permanent
peace talks, saying that the world needed to do
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more for eastern DR Congo after the end of the
M23 rebellion.
Thousands have fled the fighting between
government troops and the M23 movement, which
was founded by ethnic Tutsi former rebels who
were incorporated into the Congolese army under
a 2009 peace deal but then mutinied in April 2012,
claiming that the pact had never been fully
implemented.
Kinshasa and the United Nations charge that M23
is backed by neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda,
an allegation the two countries strongly refute.
Courtesy Hindu Newspaper
M23 fighters in eastern Congo end
rebellion
M23 (rebel group) in eastern Congo would be
ending its rebellion after more than a year and a
half of fighting as the Congolese military seized the
last two hills held by the fighters.
The group would seek to resolve its grievances
through political means only.
The dramatic developments came after the
Congolese military, backed by the U.N. forces,
stepped up its offensive against the rebels in
October, 2013 as peace talks once again stalled.
Residents of Goma, a city of 1 million people that
the M23 briefly overtook one year ago, expressed
cautious optimism that the end of M23 could
stabilise the area wracked by a myriad of rebel
groups and militias.
However, critics have cautioned that M23 is only
the latest reincarnation of discontent among
ethnic Tutsis in eastern Congo, and warned that
other groups could emerge from its demise. M23 is
said to have received military and financial
support from the government of neighbouring
Rwanda, whose president is also an ethnic Tutsi.
But, Rwanda has denied this (the aid) despite
evidence laid out in a report by a United Nations
group of experts.
M23 leader surrenders
The commander of the M23 insurgent group,
SultaniMakengain eastern Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) has surrendered following M23
renounciation of its 20-month rebellion after a
decisive campaign by the Congolese military
backed by U.N. peacekeepers.
The group would henceforth rely solely on
political means to begin the Peace process.
However, several other armed groups continue to
operate in the conflict-prone, mineral-rich region.
EGYPT
Morsy dismisses trial as a farce
The trial of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed
Morsy has begun. Mr.Morsy is the second
Egyptian head of state, who has been dragged into
the courtroom, following an uprising, which has
transformed into a political contest between
hardened Islamists and a secular military.
Background:
Ironically, this is also the courtroom where the
former President, Hosni Mubarak, who was
toppled by a popular revolt in February 2011, has
been making his appearances.
Mr.Morsy was removed in a military coup in July,
2013 following popular anti-Islamist protests. He
is being tried for inciting the killings of three
protesters; they were part of a larger gathering
outside the presidential palace, which had been
opposing the passage of decree that had
significantly expanded Mr.Morsys powers.
The killings were a result of an escalating spiral of
violence, which began to rise after security forces
failed to stop the rising anti-Morsy protests on
December, 2012. In response, leaders of the
Muslim Brotherhood Mr.Morsys parent
organisation urged their supporters to gather at
the same spot.
Critics also point to the bias being shown by the
interim government, which has so far failed to
charge those who were responsible for killing
Mr.Morsys supporters.
The tussle between the Islamists and secularists
has an important foreign component Americans
have been accused of being soft on the
Brotherhood and its allies.
NIGERIA
U.S. labels Boko Haram as terrorist group
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The U.S. has branded Boko Haram, the
homegrown Islamist insurgent movement in
Nigeria that has ties to al-Qaedas regional affiliate
in North and West Africa, as a foreign terrorist
organisation.
The label would allow the U.S. to freeze assets,
impose travel bans on known members and
affiliates, and prohibit Americans from offering
material support to the organization.
Boko Haram, according to U.S. is responsible for
thousands of deaths in northeast and central
Nigeria over the last several years including
targeted killings of civilians.
On the similar lines Ansaru, a Boko Haram
splinter faction which had kidnapped and
executed seven international construction workers
was also put in the list of terrorist organisation.
Consequences of the move:
The move would help Nigeria combat a growing
menace that also threatened American citizens and
investment in Nigeria.
But many Africa scholars say that branding Boko
Haram a terrorist organisation will only enhance
the groups international stature with jihadis and
help its recruiting efforts.
Why was Boko Haramlabeled a terrorist
organization?
The group had gained spotlight for its attacks
inside Nigeria. Boko Haram has been conducting a
brutal campaign against the Nigerian military and
government as well as civilian targets. In
September, 2013 it had carried out attacks in
Benisheik, a northeasterntown, that killed at least
143 civilians, including women and children.
In its war against the Nigerian state, Boko Haram
has singled out government institutions, especially
schools, for attack. One of its belief is that
Western-style education, not based on the Koran,
is sinful and un-Islamic.
Boko Haram has also conducted attacks against
international targets, including a suicide bombing
of the United Nations building in Abuja in August,
2011, which killed 21 people and injured dozens
more, many of them aid workers.
The Nigerian military has been pressing a
counterinsurgency campaign against the group,
which appeared to have halted its attacks in the
urban centres of northeastern Nigeria this year
(2013). In rural areas like Benisheik, however,
killings appear to be continuing unabated.
It is said that, Boko Haram has also shared tactics,
techniques, training and financing with other al-
Qaida affiliates in Africa, including al-Shabab in
Somalia and East Africa.
MALI
Malis return to democracy to be complete
with parliamentary polls
Ravaged by war, hamstrung by political chaos and
mired in poverty, Mali sets out on the road to
recovery with the first parliamentary polls since
the 2012 military coup.
The election will complete its return to democracy,
finalising a process which started with the election
of its first post-conflict President in September,
2013.
But the vote takes place amid an upsurge in
violence by al-Qaeda-linked rebels who stalk the
vast northern desert, an ever-present danger to
French and African troops tasked with providing
security for the election alongside the Malian
army.
Islamists ousted by French and African troops in
January, 2013 from the northern towns they had
occupied last year (2012) resumed their deadly
insurgency in September. Since then, a dozen
civilians as well as Malian and Chadian soldiers in
the United Nations Multi dimensional Integrated
Stabilisation Mission in Mali (Minusma), a
peacekeeping mission, have been killed.
(To know More about Mali and its issue
refer our INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS
ANALYSIS OCTOBER 2013 MAGAZINE)







INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 105

EUROPE
EU hits out at Russias third country veto

European Union (EU) leaders have strongly
criticized Russia at a summit (held in the
Lithuanian capital), after Ukraine refused to sign a
landmark accord, dealing a blow to EU plans to
draw ex-Soviet states into the Western fold.
The refusal by Ukraine highlighted a worsening
EU-Russia tug-of-war over former Soviet satellites
in eastern Europe.
The summit was held to cement ties between the
European bloc and Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova,
Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile Georgia and Moldova have initiated
political and trade agreements that would come
into effect once it is officially signed.
Courtesy- Hindu Newspaper
EU move could cut plastic use
According to European commission (EC),
European Union (EU) member states could cut
their plastic bag use by 80 % by charging for bags
or even banning them.
Plastic bags are a major cause of seaborne
pollution, which is a serious hazard for marine life
(fish, seabirds, and mammals can all ingest plastic,
which they cannot digest and which can clog up
their guts or cause choking).
Some regions have already moved to cut their use
through charging. Bag use was cut dramatically by
the Republic of Ireland after charges were
introduced, a similar charge has recently come
into force in Northern Ireland, and supermarkets
in Wales reported a drop in use of up to 96 % after
a charging scheme was brought in two years ago.
Scotland is bringing in a 5p charge in 2014.
The EC is proposing a new directive that would
require member states to choose between three
methods of reducing the waste from bags: charges,
national reduction targets, or an outright ban.
One of the key problems with plastic bags is that
they are so light and small that they easily escape
into the environment, making it difficult to recycle
them.
It has been criticized that, targeted reductions are
relatively weak. Since in U.K., major retailers have
pledged for some years to cut their use of bags, but
still the usage remains high.
And the ECs proposals were not stringent enough
to curb the use of plastics, as it allowed member
states too much leeway by allowing them to set
their own targets rather than EU-wide goals or
clear measures that would cut bag use.
ENGLAND
England PM, David Camerons Indian visit
to focus on trade
During the England PMs visit to India, the focus
would be on trade expansion as well as bilateral
and regional concerns. This would be his 3
rd
visit
to India as PM.
Issues that would be discussed:
Vodafone issue Discussions on whether or not
Vodafone owes $2 billion in taxes relating to its
2007 takeover of the Indian operations of
Hutchison Whampoa.
Immigration controls Two recent amendments
to the Immigration Bill would make it even more
difficult for Indian students to study in the UK.The
Conservative governments unfriendly
immigration policies are seen as the main reason
for the fall this year by almost 10,000 overseas
Indian students.
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 106

Courtesy http://www.adb.org (ADB website)
SOUTH AMERICA
INDIA -CUBA
India, Cuba ink MoU
India and Cuba signed a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) for cooperation between
PrasarBharati (PB) and Cuban Radio and
Television Institute (ICRT) as part of
strengthening the friendly relations between the
two countries.
They will also explore co-production opportunities
in broadcasting on issues of mutual interest. PB
and ICRT will exchange programmes in culture,
education, science, entertainment, sports and
news of mutual interest, subject only to
contractual and copyright limitations.
The exchange will be on complementary basis (as
a gratitude), taking into account any existing
commercial agreement.
In case of exchange on commercial basis,
conditions will be determined through mutual
agreement on a case-by-case basis.
However, any change or alteration to the
programmes, including editing, will take place
after discussions. The aim of such discussions
shall be to ensure that no alteration or distortions
to the original meaning of the programmes occur.
It also provides for PB and ICRT informing each
other of significant cultural, economic, political
and social events taking place in their respective
countries. Both organisations will take advantage
of each others expertise through exchange of
personnel and training of technical staff.
ARGENTINA
Argentina warns British oil firms against
drilling off Falklands
The Argentinian government has increased the
pressure on British companies drilling for oil off
the disputed Falkland Islands by passing laws that
could impose 15-year jail sentences on their
executives and companies involved in illegal
exploration and exploitation off the Falklands( or
Malvinas)could be fined 100 million.
The embassy has already sent more than 200
letters to companies directly or indirectly involved
in drilling activities, warning them they are liable
to administrative, civil and criminal actions. The
letters have gone to leaders of the London Stock
Exchange as well as investment banks whose
analysts assess equity values of the oil explorers.
The Argentinian government has objected to
Britains attempts to promote hydrocarbon
exploration off the islands. The Falklands have
been at the centre of a sovereignty dispute between
Britain and Argentina for almost 200 years, with
the two countries going to war in 1982.

The British PM has publicly rejected Argentinas
claims to the territory saying that, he is 100%
behind its inhabitants as long as they choose to
remain British.
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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Background regarding the Falkland islands
dispute
The Falkland Islands (also known as Islas
Malvinas in Argentina) are an archipelago located
in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian
Shelf.
Controversy exists over the Falklands original
discovery and subsequent colonisation by
Europeans. At various times, the islands have had
French, British, Spanish, and Argentine
settlements. Britain re-established its rule in 1833,
though Argentina maintained its claim to the
islands.
In 1965, the UN General Assembly passed
Resolution 2065, which called upon both Britain
and Argentina to peacefully settle the dispute
through bilateral negotiations.
In 1982, following Argentinas invasion of the
islands, the two-month undeclared Falklands War
between both countries resulted in the surrender
of Argentine forces and the return of the islands to
British administration.
The population primarily consists of native
Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent.
Under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands)
Act 1983, Falkland Islanders are legally British
citizens.
UK bases its position on continuous
administration of the islands since 1833 (apart
from 1982) and the islanders having a right to self
determination, including their right to remain
British if that is their wish.
Argentina asserts that it acquired the Falklands
from Spain, upon achieving independence in 1816,
and that the UK illegally occupied them in 1833.
Courtesy wikipedia
Courtesy-www.state.gov (image)
BRAZIL
Brazil calls for web governance meet
There would be a global meet on the governance
of worldwide web on April 23-24 in 2014, hosted
by Brazil which would see Cabinet-level
government officials, top Internet industry
executives and civil society groups from all over
the world
The international conference will focus on Internet
governance, privacy of citizens and protection of
individual and government data.
The new global Internet rules were necessary after
revelations from the U.S. National Security Agency
(NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden that the
U.S., Canada and some European governments
were involved in massive electronic surveillance of
foreign governments, state companies and private
citizens.
The idea is to produce a model of governance that
guarantees users freedom and protects their rights
so that new media can be used to its fullest.


INDIA - AUSTRALIA
India, Australia inching towards civil
nuclear agreement
India moved a step closer to sourcing uranium
from Australia, the worlds biggest exporter of the
radioactive mineral, with the Foreign Ministers of
both countries agreeing to hold the third round of
talks on a bilateral civil nuclear agreement towards
the end of November, 2013.
Both the Ministers have reaffirmed the
commitment of their respective countries to
finalise a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement to
enable the sale of Australian uranium to India.
The two Ministers also discussed energy security
and the possibility of a Comprehensive Economic
Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to strengthen ties.
Both sides have laid stress on the security of sea
lanes as India and Australia have supplemented
their coal-based energy ties with a multibillion
dollar contract for sourcing Australian gas.
The two sides also reiterated their commitment to
work together to address threats such as terrorism
and transnational crime.
Australia would also be holding a major
conference of persons of Indian origin, the
PravasiBharatiya Divas, in the country in
November, 2013.
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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India is now Australias largest source of skilled
migrants and the second largest source of
international students.
Difference between CECA and CEPA
CECA and CEPA are pacts between two countries
for economic cooperation. While CEPA stands for
Comprehensive Economic partnership Agreement,
CECA is the short form of Comprehensive
Economic Cooperation Agreement.
India has signed a CEPA with Japan, South Korea
and CECA with Malaysia, Singapore etc.
The terms are important for bilateral economic
cooperation. The two types of agreements are
almost similar in nature. However, the major
difference lies in the use of words Cooperation and
partnership in the two types of economic pacts.
While in the case of CECA, the emphasis is on
reduction of tariffs or elimination of tariffs in a
gradual manner of all items listed as tariff rate
quota items, in the case of CEPA, it is also about
trade in the fields of services and investments.
Thus it is clear that CEPA has a wider scope than
CECA.
Another difference between CEPA and CECA is
that it is CECA that get signed between two
countries first, and then the two countries move
ahead in the direction of CEPA.
For example: India and Sri Lanka signed off a
treaty of economic cooperation called as Free
Trade Agreement in 1998, which was in essence
CECA. India embarked on gradual removal of
tariffs which was finally achieved in 2003. Sri
Lanka on its part started removing tariffs and
achieved it in 2008. The two countries then
started talks on CEPA which also covers trade in
services and investments.
Courtesy http://www.differencebetween.com

KOREA
S. Korean President talks of regional trust-
building
South Koreas President Park Geun-hye has
highlighted a deep rift with Japan, as the region
struggles to rein in North Koreas growing nuclear
capability.
With regard to North Korea:
Concern over regional security has grown in the
past year, following North Koreas third nuclear
test in February, 2013.
On the trust-building process with the North, Ms
Parks government has reached an early agreement
with Pyongyang (North Korea) to reopen a jointly
run industrial park at Kaesong, but further
agreements including a plan to reunite families
separated by the Korean War have not been
honoured by the North. And as signs of N.Koreas
commitment to its nuclear and missile
programmes continue, there are calls from some
countries to reopen talks.
Over the past three years, North Korea has carried
out a nuclear test; launched a long-range rocket;
restarted a nuclear reactor; and shelled a South
Korean island, killing four persons, including
civilians. It was also blamed by Seoul (South
Korea) for sinking aS.Korean warship with 46
sailors on board.
With regard to Japan:
The President has said that, Japan needs to
address wartime issues like use of military sex
slaves, or comfort women, which has drawn
great public anger in S.Korea, and also w.r.t
Japans claim over the rocky islet of Dokdo (known
as Takeshima in Japan), which lies in the waters
between the two nations.


NSA spying outrageous, says Google chief
Its now Eric Schmidt, Googles Executive
Chairmans turn to condemn the U.S. National
Security Agency (NSA) surveillance activities
describing it as outrageous and possibly illegal.
The documents provided by whistleblower Edward
Snowden revealed covert surveillance of the
companys internal server data.
The NSA had secretly broke into the main
communications links connecting Yahoo and
Google data centres across the world, positioning
itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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user accounts, many of them belonging to
Americans.
Central Investigation Agencys (CIA) role in
counterterrorism spying stirs-up hornets
nest
The CIA was said to have paid $10 million a year
to telecom giant AT&T under a voluntary contract
that required the company to supply telephone
records of calls made abroad and in some cases in
the U.S.
The CIA would provide phone numbers of
overseas terror suspects to AT&T, after which the
company would search its database and supply call
records that might have helped in identifying
foreign associates.
This involvement of the CIA in counterterrorism
spying marks a change from a series of reports
since June,2013 based on exposes provided by
fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden who
gave newspapers confidential information about
global surveillance of Internet and phone
communications conducted by the National
Security Agency (NSA).
Some of these reports noted that the NSA paid
hundreds of millions of dollars a year to U.S.
companies for clandestine access to their
communications networks, filtering vast traffic
flows for foreign targets in a process that also
sweeps in large volumes of American telephone
calls, e-mails and instant messages.
The disclosure of CIAs role and companies
involvement suggest a deeper voluntary
participation by these companies than was initially
suggested.
The CIAs ties to AT&T suggested that many of the
spying programmes deployed were regulated by
an inconsistent patchwork of legal standards,
procedures and oversight.
However, tech companies such as Google and
Yahoo have distanced themselves from these
allegations, saying that they have not
compromised their user privacy.
CIA spied on money transfers too
The CIA has used the post-9/11 Patriot Act not
only to conduct extensive surveillance on Internet
and phone communications but also on
international money transfers. Especially
transactions originating abroad and potentially
financing terror-related operations on U.S. soil,
the Agency has also been monitoring smuggled
cash and credit and debit card use.
(Patriot Act is covered in our INSIGHTS
CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS OCTOBER
2013 MAGAZINE)
Womens rights resolution passed at UN
A U.N. General Assembly committee has agreed a
landmark first resolution on womens rights
defenders, despite a hard fought campaign by an
alliance to weaken the measure.
In order to get it passed by consensus, the
Norwegian-led coalition had to delete the text that
had condemned all forms of violence against
women.
African nations, the Vatican, Iran, Russia, China
and conservative Muslim states had sought to
weaken the resolution, which calls on all states to
publicly condemn violence against women human
rights defenders, amend legislation that hinders
them and give activists free access to U.N. bodies.
The international community had sent a clear
message. Its unacceptable to criminalise,
stigmatise or curtail womens human rights
defenders.
African countries had insisted on highlighting
respect for customs and traditions. Russia, Iran
and China had called for language which insisted
the rights defenders should follow national laws,
diplomats and activists.
In the end, Norway agreed to delete a paragraph
which said states should strongly condemn all
forms of violence against women and women
human rights defenders and refrain from invoking
any customs, traditions or religious consideration
to avoid their obligations.
Global meet for making farming profitable
The 9th World Agricultural Forum (WAF)
congress and Agri-Tech trade fair has focused on
making agriculture a sustainable and profitable
profession. This will bring cheers to the farming
fraternity.
Farming should be made sustainable keeping in
mind the depleting natural resources and
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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increasing scarcity of labour. Also to retain more
people in the farming sector especially the youth,
there was a need to bridge the rapidly growing gap
between farm and non-farm income.


INSIGHTS SECURE-
2014 QUESTIONS
NOVEMBER
Questions from The Hindu, 30/09/2013
Front Page
1) Should India and Pakistan talks be held hostage
to border skirmishes and terrorist attacks?
Comment. (250 Words)
or
Do you agree to the proposal that a neutral
monitoring by a third party such as UN at the
border in Kashmir is required to bring peace to the
region? Substantiate. (250 Words)
Link
Opinion Page
1) There is a need to revisit Indias entire policy
on identification and registration so that the twin
objectives of knowing who a citizen is and
ensuring effective delivery of services are not
undermined. Examine. (250 Words)
Link
2) The apolitical character of our armed forces
and their subordination to the political leadership
were deliberately and carefully nurtured in the
early years of the republic. Comment on the
statement in the light of recent events. (250
Words)
Link
3) Do you agree with the view that the search for
extraterrestrial life is a futile exercise when man
can do so much using the same funds to save the
Earth from his own actions? Substantiate your
answer. (250 Words)
Link
4)In the new land acquisition act, Gram Sabha
and Basti Sabha dont have legal right to decide
the nature of public purpose. Critically examine
the role of Gram Sabha in ensuring fair acquisition
of land by the government.(250 Words)
Link
Link
Link (For reference)
National and International
1) Avahan (50 Words)
Link
2) Frazad B Gasfields (25 Words)
Link
3) RQ- 170 Sentinel (25 Words)
Link
4) Orbital Sciences Cygnus (50 Words)
Link
Business
1) The new Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) that
prescribes a ceiling price on several essential
medicines is boon to patients but pain to
chemists. Comment. (200 Words)

Questions from The Hindu, 01/10/2013
Front Page
1. Crass politicization of institutions of national
importance is going on in India undermining their
integrity and independence, thereby threatening
the smooth functioning of democracy. Critically
analyze the statement in the light of recent events.
(250 Words)
Link
Link (yesterdays link)
The Edge
1. Suggest some measures to tackle the problem of
power theft in India? (150 Words)
Link
2. Dolby Technology(50 Words)
Link
3. It is said that cloud client computing will replace
the outdated computing model of the un-secure,
unreliable, un-green and expensive PC. Explain
how. (250 Words)
Link
Opinion Page
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 111

1. Evaluate how far has AU mission to Somalia
(AMISOM), established under UNSC resolution
and mandated to conduct Peace Support
Operations in Somalia, been successful in its
mission? (250 Words)
Link
2. Do you think there is a need to replace 1960
Indus Water Treaty to suit the present demands
and to address emerging ecological problems?
Analyze. (250 Words)
Link
3. Examine the emerging threats and their
consequences to the cybersecurity systems in the
developing countries. (200 Words)
Link
National
1. Though the supply of the requisite quantity of
food grains for distribution at BPL prices was to
come from the Central Pool, the success of TPDS
in terms of meeting its stated objectives depended
largely on the ability of State Governments in
fulfilling certain requirements on their part.
Examine. (250 Words)
Link
Link - reference
2. Write a short note on the scope and
effectiveness of COTPA 2003. (150 Words)
Link
International
1. What are the main concerns raised by UNHRC
and Tamil political parties in northern Sri Lanka
post 2009 war and what is the response of the Sri
Lankan government so far to these concerns?
Comment. (200 Words)
Link
Questions from The Hindu, 02/10/2013
Front Page
1. Do you think recent judgement by the Supreme
Court removing the immunity for convicted MPs
and MLAs will help clean up politics and
strengthen democracy in India? Comment. (250
Words)
Link
Opinion Page
1. The best hope for better relations between
India and Pakistan lies in the strengthening of
democracy in Pakistan. Analyze. (250 Words)
Link
2. The new index of backwardness recommended
by Raghuram Rajan panel was much needed, but
its implementation needs a strong political will.
Comment (250 Words)
Link
Link
3. Do you concur with the argument that the
recent ordinance seeking to amend the
Representation of the People Act interferes with
the exercise of judicial power? Substantiate. (250
Words)
Link
4. Comment on Mahatma Gandhis views on his
numerous imprisonments and experience in
prisons? (250 Words)
Link
5. Explain why Gandhi insisted that the path of
true non violence required much more courage
than violence? (200 Words)
Link
National
1. Indias whistleblower bill fails to define key
terms like victimization, allowing plenty of room
for interpretation and subsequent misuse of the
proposed law. Comment on the statement in the
light of recent complaints of harassment to
whistleblowers on different occasions. (250
Words)
Link
International
1. Do you think that the deepening mistrust
between USA and South American countries is
making way for other players with global ambition
to make inroads into the region? Examine. (250
Words)
Link
2. Compare and contrast the situation of
government shutdown in USA when the Congress
fails to pass authorization for sufficient funds
for government operations with that of Indias
budgetary process. (250 Words)
Link
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 112

Questions From The Hindu 03/10/2013
Opinion Page
1. Does terror have a religion? Explain it in the
Indian context. (200 Words)
Link
2. For the establishment of full diplomatic
relationship between USA and Iran, apart from
their mutual mistrust, there are other external
forces within the region which are acting as
roadblock. Comment. (200 Words)
Link
3. It is observed that the media and the collective
public sentiment are increasingly influencing the
outcome of court judgements. Is natural justice a
victim here? Does this affect certain class of
society? Critically analyze. (250 Words)
Link
4. Short Notes: a) Bilateral Investment Treaties
(BIT) (50 Words)
b) Investment Treaty Arbitration (ITA) (50
Words)
Link
National
5. Prior sanction from a competent authority is
mandatory for a magistrate to take cognisance of a
private complaint for ordering a probe or taking
cognisance of a charge sheet against a public
servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
What is the justification behind this judgement?
Do you think this will serve its purpose? Analyze.
(250 Words)
Link
6. Short Note: Indias Mars Orbiter Mission
(MOM) (100 Words)
Link
International
7. Short Note: Tom Clancey (50 Words)
Link
8. Short Note: Organisation for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons (100 Words)
Link
Science and Tech
9. Short Note: The Revised National TB Control
Programme (RNTCP) (150 Words)
Link
10. Short Note: Plasma Acceleration (100 Words)
Link
Questions From The Hindu 04/10/2013
Front Page
1. Critically examine the various factors that have
led the creation of new states in last 25 years.
Explain if the creation of new states has met its
objectives. (250 Words)
Link
Opinion Page
2. Explain the recent measures taken by the RBI to
ensure consumer protection, transparency and
accounting integrity in the banking practices in
commercial banks. (200 Words)
Link
3. A relatively modest investment with
appropriate policy changes in the coastal shipping
industry could bring substantial dividends.
Analyze. (200 Words)
Link
4. Check yesterdays question on Iran -USA
relations, here
Link
5. Examine how India without compromising its
independent foreign policy, can utilize
international fora and groupings to secure its
cyber space from external threats. (250 Words)
Link
Business
6. Remittances to developing countries have a
positive impact on the global and their own
economies. Explain. (200 Words)
Link
Questions From The Hindu 05/10/2013
Front Page
1. Why even so called developed states in India
have large number of children suffering from
malnutrition? Examine the plausible factors
behind this anomaly. (150 Words)
Link
Opinion Page
2. Critically examine the main concerns of coastal
Andhra and Rayalseema people against the
formation of Telangana state. (200 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 113

Link
3. What are the main threats to democratic
processes in Maldives? Analyze in the light of last
two years developments in the island nation. (200
Words)
Link
4. Do you think the Commonwealth is an
anachronistic neocolonial institution with no
spine? Comment (200 Words)
Link
National
5. Explain how Eurozone crisis affected the Indian
economy? What are its aftershocks? (200 Words)
Link
International
6. Write a note on the energy relationship between
India and Russia. (200 Words)
Link
7. Is Rajya Sabha relevant today? Do you think it
should be abolished? Critically comment. (250
Words)
Link
8. Constitutional crisis in Nepal is dragging on for
many years now. Briefly chronicle the important
events and factors that have contributed to this
delay. (250 Words)
Link
Questions From The Hindu 08/10/2013
Front Page
1. Maldives is experiencing a series of political
uncertainties in its quest for strong democracy.
Comment.(200 Words)
Link
2. Mukul Mudgal Committee (50 Words)
Link
Opinion Page
3. On one hand Pakistan appears to be stabilizing
because of stable transition of power in political
and military circles, but on the other hand there is
an increase in sectarian and terrorist violence
undermining the democratic processes. Reflect
on the causes for this growing contradiction in
Pakistani society. (250 Words)
Link
4. A strong policy on early childhood care and
education was long overdue because of the poor
performance of ICDS in many states. Critically
examine the key provisions of draft National Early
Childhood Care and Education policy (ECCE) in
the light of the given statement. (200 Words)
Link
5. For meaningful devolution of powers and more
autonomy to Tamil regions in North and East Sri
Lanka, the solution lies in the constitutional
reform and political will from the Sri Lankan
government and not in the 13th amendment
alone. Comment. (200 Words)
Link
National
6. Is privatization the solution to revive sick
industries? Explain in the context of demand for
Air Indias privatization. (150 Words)
Link
7. Has Indias missile program successfully
addressed the nations external security threats?
Write a critical note on the recent developments in
Indias nuclear missile program. (200 Words)
Link
International
8. Explain how a a regional war in Syria was
averted in the last minute? Who were the key
players and what was their role? (250 Words)
Link
9. Ovadia Yosef (50 Words)
Link
Business
10. Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS)
commitments to WTO (100 Words)
Link
11. The Peace Clause in Agreement on Agriculture
(AoA) (100 Words)
Link
Link - Reference
Questions From The Hindu 09/10/2013
Front Page
1. The Supreme Court has categorically laid down
that bandh/hartal is unconstitutional and the
State has the obligation to protect the citizen
against it. Despite SCs framing guidelines in
2009 to recover costs from bandh
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 114

organizers, neither the States nor the Central
government have taken any action to put in place a
legislation, or fast track mechanism consistent
with the guidelines. Comment on the
unconstitutional nature of bandhs and inaction of
governments in implementing court order. (200
Words)
Link
Link - Reference
2. What is judicial overreach? Does the SC order
on Aadhar scheme putting critical restrictions
against the use and distribution of UID numbers
encroaches upon the executive decision making
authority? What is the opinion of SC on the issue
of judicial overreach? Explain. (250 Words)
Link
Link 2 (reference)
Opinion Page
3. Some of the strategies adopted by USA in
combating terrorism might foment further
instability in the affected regions and prove
counterproductive. Analyze (200 Words)
Link
4. Comment how far Medical Termination of
Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1972 has been successful in
preventing non-institutional abortions and explain
the factors responsible for the rise in such non-
institutional abortions. (250 Words)
Link
5. The provision of negative voting would be in
the interests of promoting democracy and is a
giant step forward in push for more electoral
reforms. Critically analyze. (250 Words)
Link
6. Beneath the chaos in Egypt post Arab
Awakening lies a complex power struggle between
generals and Islamists. Analyze. (200 Words)
Link
7. Examine how the US government shutdown can
have negative effect on US and world economy.
(200 Words)
Link
Link-2 (International section)
National
8. Write a note on security ties between India and
Vietnam (150 Words)
Link
9. Keran Operation (50 Words)
Link-1
Link-2
10. Uran coast (50 Words)
Link
International
11. What is nuclear fusion and what are its uses if
used as a technology in nuclear reactors? Bring out
the difference between ITERs and NIFs approach
in harnessing nuclear fusion energy. (200 Words)
Link
Questions From The Hindu 10/10/2013
Front Page
1. Explain what import-containment and export
boosting measures were taken by the government
to reduce Current Account Deficit and stop Rupee
depreciation in recent months? (200 Words)
Link
Opinion Page
2. To protect its food security law, India must aim
to secure an exemption from AMS (Aggregate
Measurement of Support) limits from WTO
members without conceding too much ground to
the West. Critically examine why India should do
so. (200 Words)
Link
3. Explain the strategy or road map expounded by
the WHO in moving towards zero childhood TB
deaths. What should be Indias priority in fighting
TB in children? (200 Words)
Link
4. The concept of Social Prescribing as a response
to mental health issues may work well in a low-
resource setting such as India, where the
ecosystem could often precipitate stressful living
conditions. Analyze how India can adopt and
supplant social prescribing to its existing laws to
address mental health issues. (250 Words)
Link
5. The Higgs-Englert-Brout (HEB) mechanism
(50 Words)
Link
6. What are the important areas of cooperation
between India and Indonesia? Examine the recent
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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developments in these areas of cooperation. (250
Words)
Link
National
7. Explain the importance of providing three
percent reservations to disabled persons in
government job. (150 Words)
Link
International
8. Nuclear cooperation between India and
Australia important issues (150 Words)
Link
Questions From The Hindu 11/10/2013
Front Page
1. In spite of the Supreme Courts ruling that in
murder cases awarding of the death penalty is an
exception and life sentence is the rule, lower
courts are increasingly giving death sentences
owing to some unwarranted external factors.
Critically comment. (200 Words)
Link
2. Do you think the principle of equity and
common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR)
put forward by the BASIC countries in climate
change negotiations is valid considering their
growing contribution to global warming? Critically
examine (200 Words)
Link
Link - reference
3. Write a note on the role of National Disaster
Rapid Action Force (NDRAF) in disaster
management. (100 Words)
Link-2 - reference
4. Explain how tropical cyclones are formed? (200
Words)
Link-1
Link-3 - reference
Opinion Page
5. Not withstanding recent narrowing of Indias
merchandise trade deficit, the external sector still
needs a holistic approach to correct its structural
issues. Analyze (150 Words)
Link
6. Apart from the clich that men should change
their mindset, what measures would you suggest
to bring gender equality in the society, especially
in India? (200 Words)
Link
7. What is the principle behind introducing None
Of The Above (NOTA) in the Electronic Voting
Machines and ballot papers? Is it enough to
radical reforms in the electoral system? Analyze.
(250 Words)
Link
8. Do you agree with the view that pursuing high
environmental standards in the name of
sustainable development is inimical to the
objective of achieving high GDP growth rate?
Comment. (250 Words)
Link
9. Short Note Alice Munro (50 Words)
Link
National
10. What is pentavalent vaccine? Why its
administration was controversial? What were the
committees formed to look into the matter?
Explain. (200 Words)
Link
11. Ali Zeidan (25 Words)
Link
12. Sakharov Prize (50 Words)
Link
13. South China Dispute (200 Words)
Link
Questions From The Hindu 12/10/2013
Front Page
1. What are the different scales of Tropical
cyclones and on what basis are they categorized
into different scales? Give examples of recent
cyclones originating in Bay of Bengal and their
scales. (150 Words)
Link
Link - Reference
2. Explain the role played by OPCW in defusing
the Syria crisis. (150 Words)
Link
Link - Editorial
Link - International
Opinion Page
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 116

3. The recent controversies involving sports
administrative bodies in India calls for integrity
and transparency in their decision making process
and overall functioning. Critically comment. (200
Words)
Link
Link - Front Page
4. Critically examine the impact of Poverty on the
Learning Process of Children. What measurements
by the state can improve the access of quality
education to poor children? Also suggest if any
other measure you think are needed to be done by
the society and teachers. (250 Words)
Link
5. Contribution of Satyendranath Bose to the
world of Physics (100 Words)
Link
6. What are the challenges before India in
fostering long term goodwill relationship with
Myanmar and what should be its strategy to deal
with these challenges? Examine. (250 Words)
Link
International
8. Sam Adams Award (50 Words)
Link
9. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has
transformed itself into a political instrument
targeting Africa and Africans. Critically comment
(150 Words)
Link
10. Roman Statute of ICC (50 Words)
Link
Link - Reference
11. Do you think Malala Yousufzai deserves Nobel
Peace Prize or is it too early for her? Comment.
(150 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 14/10/2013
Opinion Page
1. In India a staggering 30 million cases are said
to be pending in the countrys courts today. And to
tackle this intimidating problem requires
comprehensive judicial reform, more judges of
quality and improvement of the judicial
infrastructure. Critically comment on the need for
judicial reforms in the context of low conviction
rates in serious crimes committed against
vulnerable sections of the society. (250 Words)
Link
Link -Opinion Page
2. Rampant encroachment and the misuse and
usurpation of wakf assets representing Islamic
religious endowments is the reality across India.
Throw light on different measures taken by the
government to bring transparent administration
and to stop illegal encroachments of wakf assets .
(200 Words)
Link
3. It is arguably better to be Hindu in Indonesia,
than Muslim in India. Do you agree with the
view? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Link
4. The American foreign policy transition to
diluted Rebalance to Asia from Pivot to Asia has
helped China to reassert its influence in the Asia-
Pacific region. Comment. (250 Words)
Link
5. Do you think the land pooling model is a viable
and alternative step to rehabilitate slum dwellers
and eradicate slums in our cities? Critically
comment with suitable examples. (250 Words)
Link
National
6. Write a critical note on Chinas visa policy on
Arunachal Pradesh and Indias response to it.
What measure you think India should adopt to
deal with Chinas ambiguous visa policy with
respect to Arunachal Pradesh? (200 Words)
Link
7. Is Indias food security law in violation of WTO
norms? Examine with example from around the
world. (200 Words)
Link
8. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur (50 Words)
Link
Business
9. Indias domestic pharmaceuticals industry must
get its act together particularly in compliance
systems and must invest more in processes.
Comment (200 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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Questions From The Hindu 15/10/2013

1.What is Law of the Sea? Explain provisions of
UNCLOS in relation to recent developments with
respect to India. (200 Words)
Link
Reference
2. What is the difference between headline
inflation and core inflation? Explain why low
inflation is very important for high economic
growth. (250 Words)
Link
Reference 1
Reference 2
3. In spite of recent failures and successes in
managing several man made and natural disasters,
India is yet to learn a lot in terms of preparedness
and post-disaster management. Comment. (200
Words)
Link
4. Will burgeoning demographic dividend ever
transform into political dividend for political
parties? Give your opinion. (200 Words)
Link
5. Index Traded Funds (50 Words)
Link
Reference
Reference
6. Should markets be sensitive to political
developments and sensational news? Give your
views. (150 Words)
Link
7. Common man needs infrastructure, not
freebies. Examine the statement in the light of
increasing tendency of governments to dole out
freebies to woo voters. (200 Words)
Link
8. In India, certain actions of the state and the
society continue to legitimize the caste system
mocking the rule of law. Critically comment.
(250 Words)
Link
9. India should capitalize the goodwill it holds in
Afghanistan to its strategic interest lest its
ambitious neighbors fill the void, especially China
which takes a long-term view of its interests and
pursues them relentlessly. Analyze. (250 Words)
Link
10. What are the major disagreements between the
developed and developing countries in the climate
change negotiations? Explain (200 Words)
Link
Questions From The Hindu 16/10/2013

1. Do you think allowing sustainable economic
activities in the Ecologically Sensitive Areas would
not affect the biodiversity in the region? Comment
in the light of the recent recommendations given
by Mr. Kasturirangan, committee on Western
Ghats. (200 Words)
Link
2. Multilateral Convention on Mutual
Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (50
Words)
Link
3.What are the measures taken by the Indian
government to bring back black money stashed in
foreign countries by its nationals? (200 Words)
Link
4. The principles of non-discrimination and
equality of opportunities should be codified
unambiguously and implemented as part of official
policy, thereby setting an example for the private
sector. Comment on the statement in the light of
recent verdict by the Supreme Court directing the
government to bring uniform reservation for the
disabled in the government services. (200 Words)
Link
5. Instead of becoming escorts to guide MNCs to
set up business in India, Indian companies should
insist on technology transfer to the joint venture
which will result in creation of intellectual capital
within the country. Comment (200 Words)
Link
6. Do you agree with the view that if Iran develops
nuclear bomb, it would bring peace and avert
future wars in the region? Critically comment.
(200 Words)
Link
7. Chempolis (50 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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8. Suppression of Unlawful Activities Against the
Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) (50 Words)
Link
9. Seaman Guard Ohio (25 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 17/10/2013
1. While drafting policies for the people, the
concerns of citizens should be addressed by the
government, not excluded. Critically examine the
statement in the light of West Bengal
governments ban on cycles on certain roads in
Kolkatta. Suggest measures to accommodate slow
moving vehicles on busy Indian roads. (250
Words)
Link
2. Do you observe any fundamental differences in
how elected representatives in India and USA
behave in their respective legislatures? Explain
with any one recent example from each country.
(200 Words)
Link
Link
3. If you were put in charge of rehabilitation
and resettlement of the cyclone-affected
fishermen in an a particular severely affected
coastal region, what would be your priorities?
Explain. (200 Words)
Link
4. What is distress migration? Explain with
examples which factors lead to this type of
migration in India. (200 Words)
Link
5. Habitat destruction is the main reason behind
vanishing wildlife across the globe. Examine with
examples, which regions of India are prone to
habitat destruction and its consequences. (200
Words)
Link
6. IUCN Classification of endangered species. (100
Words)
Link
7. Write a note on the importance of Mangrove
forests. (150 Words)
Link
8. Biological importance of Nitric Oxide (100
Words)
Link
9. Eleanor Catton (25 Words)
Link
Link
10. Commission for Conservation of Antarctic
Marine Living Resources (CCMLR) - (50 Words)
Link
11. Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and India
(100 Words)
Link
12. Write a note on the importance of Monsoon to
Indian agriculture. (150 Words)
Link
13. Sustainable and equitable urban development
is possible only when our cities adequately address
the issue of housing the poor. Critically analyze
the problem of housing for the poor in Indian
cities. (200 Words)
Link
14. Lavabit (50 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu (18 October,
2013)
1. Key to sustaining economic growth and
promoting development is good governance and
quality decision-making. Examine the factors that
affect good governance and ethical decision
making in the higher echelons of government.
(200 Words)
Link
2. Sarojini Varadappan (50 Words)
Link
3. How can India allay the fears of nuclear
suppliers about Indias nuclear liability law
without amending it? (150 Words)
Link
4. Critically comment on the recent assertive and
independent foreign policy stance of Russia in its
sphere of influence. (200 Words)
Link
5. Marange diamond field (50 Words)
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 119

Link
6. What feasible strategies would you suggest for
our cities to reduce air pollution? Examine why
Indian cities have failed to tackle air pollution
effectively. (200 Words)
Link
Link
7. Sein Win (50 Words)
Link
8. Do you think India can afford universal health
coverage system? What are the constraints in its
implementation? Suggest solutions for its effective
implementation. (250 Words)
Link
9. Should Indian press, both print and electronic,
be regulated by the government? Analyze the
merits and demerits of such a measure. Suggest
alternative measures to bring ethics and
objectivity in media coverage of events. (250
Words)
Link
10. As towns grow into cities and cities morph
into metropolises, urban ecology seems to be
losing ground to urgent demands for improved
infrastructure. Critically evaluate in the Indian
context. (250 Words)
Link
11. Write a critical note on the National Green
Tribunal as an effective grievances redressal
forum. (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 19/10/2013
1. Do you think Khap panchayats function within
the ambit of the Constitution? If not, what
measures have states taken to curb their continued
functioning? Critically comment on their
unconstitutional nature. (250 Words)
Link
2. Skull 5 (50 Words)
Link
3. Ravuri Bharadhwaja (50 Words)
Link
4. What are the causes of landslides? What can be
done to prevent them. (150 Words)
Link
5. Write a critical note on the need of bioethics in
biotechnology research in India citing any recent
case study. (200 Words)
Link
6. Write a note on the need for security council
reforms by giving suitable recent examples. (200
Words)
Link
7. Bossi-Fini anti-immigration law (50 Words)
Link
8. Yasukuni Shrine (50 Words)
Link
9. Critically evaluate the success of JNNURM in
improving the conditions of urban poor with
suitable examples. (250 Words)
Link
10. Govind Purushottam Deshpande (50 Words)
Link
11. Scott Carpenter (50 Words)
Link
12. Suggest measures to decouple the world from
Americans internal economic and political
dynamics. (200 Words)
Link
13. A landscape approach to conservation is what
can save Indias critically endangered wildlife.
Critically examine. (200 Words)
Link
14. What is Biopiracy? Explain with examples from
India. (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 21/10/2013
1. Why did India enact a nuclear liability law?
What are the concerns of nuclear suppliers
regarding this law? Do you think this law adversely
affects Indias energy security? Analyze (250
Words)
Link-1
Link-2
2. Bnei Menashe tribe (50 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 120

3. Write a critical note on the origin of cross
border terrorism in India (150 Words)
Link
4. Do you think the Clinical Establishments
(Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 (CEA) is
patient friendly? Examine and suggest how this act
can be implemented for the benefit of the
patients. (200 Words)
Link
5. The crisis in Syria is more the result of external
factors than internal ones. Critically
comment. (200 Words)
Link
6. Do we need stricter internet governance? Do
you thin regulation of World Wide Web restricts
personal freedom? Comment. (200 Words)
Link
7. Poverty is a threat to biodiversity.
Elaborate. (200 Words)
Link
8. Explain with examples how wildfires threaten
biodiversity across the globe. What causes wildfire
and how can it be prevented? (200 Words)
Link
9. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA),
compliance with Environment Clearance (EC)
conditions and the adequacy of the Environmental
Management Plans (EMP) are the tools in our
armoury to ensure that none of our developmental
interventions has unacceptably large or avoidable
negative impacts, that the most desirable
alternatives are selected and the projects managed
efficiently. Do you think these tools are
adequately used to meet the expectation expressed
in the sentence? What are the shortcomings and
what remedial measures would you suggest for
their proper implementation? (250 Words)
Link
10. Evaluate the performance of Indias space
missions vis-a-vis Chinas. (250 Words)
Link
11. The loss to Indias soft power in South Asia by
the alienation of Sri Lanka will neither be
negligible nor ephemeral. Comment. (200
Words)
Link
12. Nothing can make for a more powerful case to
abolish the retributive practice of death sentences
than the reformation of individuals convicted of
heinous crimes. Critically evaluate. (250 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 22/10/2013
1. Is there any alternative to the present policy of
procurement and distribution of food grains to
ensure food security in India? Examine the
negatives of present policy and suggest measures
to overcome them. (250 Words)
Link
2. Do you think the relations between India and
Russia is strategic in its true sense? Critically
examine. (200 Words)
Link
3. Haryana has one of the lowest sex ratio in the
country. What are the factors responsible for this
and what implications does low sex ratio has on
the society? Critically analyze. (200 Words)
Link
Link Reference
Link Reference
4. What is the difference between cultural and
natural landscapes? How does the implementation
of Kasturirangan committees recommendations
affect both landscapes in the Western Ghat?
Examine. (250 Words)
Link
5. What effect climate change has on the
economies of poor and developing countries?
Discuss. (250 Words)
Link
6. Synriam and Plasmodium falciparum (50
Words)
Link
7. What role can India possibly play in diffusing
crises in the Middle East? Comment.(150 Words)
Link
8. Nuclear reactors are more about commerce
and less about energy security. Critically
comment. (200 Words)
Link
9. Tens of millions of elders have become victims,
trapped between governments and families,
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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neither of which have figured out how to protect or
provide for them. Discuss the problems faced by
aged people in India and the measures taken by
the government to protect them. (250 Words)
Link
10. Is there a difference between caretaker
governments of Bangladesh and India? Why there
is a controversy in Bangladesh regarding its future
caretaker government? Explain. (250 Words)
Link
Link Reference
11. Situation Sthlm and iZettle (50 Words)
Link
12. In the long term, Indias food security bill does
more harm than favour to its poor citizens and
farmers. Do you agree with this view? Critically
comment. (250 Words)
Link
13. Without sufficient absorptive capacity,
allocated resources will be misutilised and States
will eventually fail to claim funds contingent on
performance. What do you understand by
absorptive capacity? Do you think that Raghuram
Rajan committees Composite Index of States is
adequate in allocating funds for the States?
Examine. (250 Words)
Link
15. Critically evaluate the performance of higher
education sector in India. (250 Words)
Link
16. Should India be worried at Maldives
constitutional crisis? Explain why. (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 23/10/2013
1. What is the root cause of border dispute
between India and China? Discuss the important
measures taken by both countries so far to
maintain peace at the border. (200 Words)
Link
2. Cheyyur Ultra Mega Power Project
and Udangudi thermal power project (50 Words)
Link
3. Briefly explain the functioning of Voda Voda
Energo Reactor. (150 Words)
Link
4. What measures does government usually take to
tame rising food inflation? Explain (200 Words)
Link
5. Do you agree with the view that giving more
powers to Gram Sabha hinders economic growth
in the tribal regions? Comment. (150 Words)
Link
6. Throw light on Tagores thoughts on
nationalism. (200 Words)
Link
7. What are the advantages and disadvantages of
nuclear power generation? Is the fear of nuclear
disaster post-Fukushima disaster justified?
Comment. (250 Words)
Link
8. Is Russia forging strong relationships with only
Shia majority countries in the Gulf region?
Comment. (200 Words)
Link
9. Why Turkey is keen on joining EU? Explain (150
Words)
Link
10. Write a note on Base Erosion and Profit
Shifting (BEPS) project (100 Words)
Link
11. Introducing species to areas outside their
historical range is a controversial strategy.
Explain why. (150 Words)
Link
12. What are the advantages of converting adult
cells into stem cells, an invented process which
won 2012 Nobel prize for Medicine? (150 Words)
Link
13. The passage of the long-pending Pension
Fund Regulatory and Development Authority
(PFRDA) Bill confers several benefits to the
organised pension sector. Critically examine. (250
Words)
Link
14. The right to life and dignity are the most
important of all human rights and this must be
demonstrated by the state in everything it does,
including the way it punishes criminals. Do you
agree with this view? Comment. (200 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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15. While the response of Brazil, post revelation
of NSA espionage activities on foreign
governments, is vehement and vocal, and that of
India is muted. Comment. (200 Words)
Link
16. Why the search for the presence of methane on
Mars is so important for scientists? What
contribution from Indias Mars exploration
mission, if it succeeds, is expected? (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 24/10/2013
1. The border is asymmetrical, that what is on
their side is different from our side. Each side will
approach its security in its own way. Compare
and contrast how China has approached its
security along Indo-China border with that of
Indias approach. (200 Words)
Link
Link
2. Briefly explain the causes for the demand of
Gorkhaland. Do you think formation of a separate
state would fulfill the demand of the agitating
people? Comment. (200 Words)
Link
Link
3. As elements constituting a multiparty system
which is an inherent part of the basic structure of
the Indian Constitution, political parties cannot
get away from the duty of transparency as easily as
other NGOs. Comment on the statement in the
light of recent order of CIC bringing them under
the purview of RTI. (200 Words)
Link
4. Bringing control of hydrofluorocarbons
(HFCs) from UNFCCC to under the Montreal
Protocol would affect the interests of developing
countries. Comment. (150 Words)
Link
5. The emphasis of Assisted Reproductive
Technologies (ART) Bill should be to ensure that
the benefits of surrogacy are most beneficial to
those who are weakest in the supply chain the
surrogates. Elaborate. (250 Words)
Link
6. What are the terms of reference of an expert
committee set up by the Union Ministry of
Environment and Forests (MoEF) to ascertain the
impact of hydroelectric power projects (HEP) on
environment in Uttarakhand?(150 Words)
Link
7. RV Samudra Ratnakar (100 Words)
Link
8. Should leveraging of private investments be
allowed in climate change mitigation? What are
the benefits to the developing countries if such
leveraging is allowed? Explain. (200 Words)
Link
Reference
9. Write a critical note on the role played by OPCW
and IAEA in international conflict resolutions with
suitable examples. (150 Words)
Link
10. Write a note on recent trends in India-
Bangladesh relations. (200 Words)
Link
11. Discuss the recent trends in international
migrations. Do you think increased migrations are
threat to native cultural identity? Comment. (250
Words)
Link
12. Is Arab Spring a failure? Comment. (250
Words)
Link
13. The fair play of the functioning of Parliament
can be ensured only if the government willingly
subjects itself to legislative scrutiny. Critically
analyze. (250 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 25/20/2013
1. Explain briefly how a drone functions and what
technology is used in its operation. (150 Words)
Link
2. Should state governments be allowed to
influence foreign policy decisions of the union
government? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Link
3. Indigenisation of defence products and their
export to friendly nations by India will lead to mini
arms race in the region. Comment. (150 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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4. Why do you want to become an IAS officer?
(250 Words)
Link
(Seriously, you should write answer to this
question, at least after reading the article. And its
a favourite question in the Personality Test)
5. What are the seven practical principles of
engagement as envisioned by India and
China between them during the recent visit of
Indias PM to China? (100 Words)
Link
6. Analyze how the relationship between Iran,
Israel and Saudi Arabia has influenced the
geopolitics in the Middle East during last 25 years.
(250 Words)
Link
7. The recent internal crises in Arab countries
have made it easy for global terrorist outfits to find
new havens in these countries post 2003 Iraq
war. Analyze. (200 Words)
Link
8. What are the codes of ethics a bureaucrat
should follow in his discharge of duty? (150
Words)
Link
9. Examine how improved trade relationship
between India and Pakistan can help achieve peace
together in their relationship. (200 Words)
Link
10. India-China ties cannot be hostage to the
boundary dispute. Should boundary dispute be
sidelined and cooperation in other areas of mutual
interests be promoted between India and China?
Comment on the importance of border dispute
resolution between the two countries. (250 Words)
Link
11. What measures should be taken by urban
planners, policy makers and the public to reduce
air pollution in our cities? (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 26/10/2013
1. Explain the importance of gender equality in
politics. (150 Words)
Link
2. How many power grids are there in India?
Sometimes they fail. What causes their failure?
(200 Words)
Link
Reference
3. 13th Amendment is like a vessel with a hole
and seems good for nothing, Comment. (150
Words)
Link
4. Write a critical note on the visa controversy
between India and China. (150 Words)
Link
5. Do you think regulation of poll campaign
activities of political parties on internet by the
Election Commission is a right step? Substantiate.
(150 Words)
Link
6. What are the highlights of
Indias Whistleblowers Bill 2011? Analyze its
drawbacks and suggest improvements. (200
Words)
Link
Reference
7. Write a critical note on the recent rise of
religious extremism and terrorism in the African
continent. What is its implication on the African
economy. (200 Words)
Link
Link
8. Hydra Mission (50 Words)
Link
9. What is junk DNA? Explain its significance.
(100 Words)
Link
10. Can freedom of speech be absolute? Comment.
(150 Words)
Link
11. What are rare earth minerals? Throw light on
their importance and distribution pattern across
the world. (200 Words)
Link
12. Industrialization in developing countries was
not the magic of markets that produced the
sudden spurt in industrialization. It came from the
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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foundations that were laid in the preceding
quarter century. Critically analyze. (250 Words)
Link
13. The Constitution (120th Amendment) Bill,
2013 in its present form is a threat to judicial
independence. Critically comment. (250 Words)
Link
Reference
14. Cyberspace is the largest experiment in
anarchy in history the worlds biggest
ungoverned space. Comment (150 Words)
Link
15. Reform of procurement practices and
agricultural marketing is long overdue. What are
the roadblocks in implementing model APMC act?
Throw light on the need for reforms in agricultural
marketing in India. (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, October 28,
2013
1. Why developed countries are reluctant to cut
their carbon emissions substantially as demanded
by the Developing countries? Comment on the
implications of stand taken by Developed
countries on the poor countries. (200 Words)
Link
2. Ive never doubted that apartheid because it
was of itself fundamentally, intrinsically evil was
going to bite the dust eventually. Comment. (150
Words)
Link
3. Write a note on the contribution of Indian
Diaspora in Australia. (150 Words)
Link
4. Is it possible to get early warning of disaster
such as landslides? Give example. (100 Words)
Link
5. Write a note on the composition and mandate of
at least any three Paramilitary forces. (250 Words)
Link
6. What role can culture play in Indias external
relations? Comment. (150 Words)
Link
7. Umbalacherry breed (50 Words)
Link
8. Democracy is fine in theory, but is not actually
improving our lives. If the generals can promise us
a greater degree of security and stability, we prefer
that instead. In the light of recent developments
post-Arab Spring revolution, do you think
democracy as an ideology suffered in the region?
Critically analyze. (250 Words)
Link
9. M23 Rebels (50 Words)
Link
10. What strategic interest America has in Africa?
Comment. (150 Words)
Link
11. Why did agreement on Iran-Pakistan-India gas
pipeline fail? Examine. (150 Words)
Link
12. Write a critical note on the Five Day War of
2008 between Russia and Georgia. (150 Words)
Link
13. Do you think division of Andhra Pradesh by the
Union government without the consent of the
concerned state legislature, would make India a
more unitary state? Examine the implications of
such measure on the federalism. (250 Words)
Link
14. What implications does US withdrawal from
Afghanistan has on India-Pakistan relations?
Critically analyze. (200 Words)
Link
Link
15. What are the norms set by RBI for issuing new
bank licences? Comment on the issues and
controversies surrounding this measure. (200
Words)
Link
16. In the Indian context which factors affect the
profitability of banks? Explain. (150 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 29/10/2013
1. Do you think linking of rivers is a feasible
solution for bringing water security to the water
deficient regions? Suggest alternative methods for
water conservation and utilization in dry regions.
(250 Words)
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 125

Link
2. What are the socio-economic constraints faced
in the preservation of the Sundarbans ecology?
Analyze how the participation of local people is
crucial in protection of the Sunderbans ecology.
(200 Words)
Link
Link (reference)
3. What is the relation between Repo rate and
inflation? (50 Words)
Link
4. Throw light on the importance of border roads
in national security. (150 Words)
Link
5. Examine how money laundering affects the
economic development. (200 Words)
Link
Link Reference
6. Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (100
Words)
Link
7. If the number of voters opting for NOTA option
is more than the number of votes polled by any of
the candidates, will the candidate be disqualified?
Explain (50 Words)
Link
8. Social impact analysis and assessment of
environmental effects should be included at the
very beginning of the total process of development
planning, Comment. (200 Words)
Link
9. Do you think the Right to Fair Compensation
and Transparency in Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 is a step
in right direction in ensuring fair acquisition of
land? Critically examine the important features of
the act. (250 Words)
Link
10. How geothermal energy is produced? How can
it be used for power generation? (150 Words)
Link
11. Cape Melville (50 Words)
Link
12. Indias foreign policy is the prerogative of the
Centre, not the State. Comment. (150 Words)
Link
16. How independent is Indias foreign policy
when it comes to managing its relations with its
neighbors? Critically evaluate. (200 Words)
Link
17. Comment on the impact of new rules under the
new Companies Act 2013 on the companies. Does
new rules adequately protect depositors? Examine.
(200 Words)
Link
18. As the country develops economically, its
double burden of malnutrition and its health
implications will increasingly affect women and
those who are socio-economically weak. Critically
analyze in the Indian context. (250 Words)
Link
19. What are the benefits and risks of throwing
open the financial sector to foreign banks in India?
Explain. (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 30/10/2013
1. Discuss the role of RBI in the management of
Indian foreign exchange market. (150 Words)
Link
Reference
2. Do you think waiving of loans of farmers helps
them and the economy in the long term?
Comment. (200 Words)
Link
Reference
3. How many Ramsar sites are there in India?
What are the main threats to them? (200 Words)
Link
4. Trafficking is a serious threat being faced by
Indian women from poor and disaster affected
regions. What are the steps taken by the
government to protect vulnerable women? Throw
light on the possible reasons for high incidences of
trafficking of women from these regions. (200
Words)
Link
5. Batagur basa (50 Words)
Link
6. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary (50 Words)
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 126

Link
7. Critically comment on the depiction of women
in Indian cinema. (250 Words)
Link
8. DTI Carter Initiative (100 Words)
Link
9. Why does India rank low in the ease of doing
business list? What measures government has
taken to speed up the process? (150 Words)
Link
10. Why is India not a signatory to the NPT? Has it
affected Indias nuclear ambitions? Evaluate. (200
Words)
Link
11. Air Marshal Arup Raha (25 Words)
Link
12. Write a critical note on Libor scandal. (200
Words)
Link
Reference
More Info
13. How does illegal mining in the forest region
threaten biodiversity? Examine. (150 Words)
Link
14. Komsomol (50 Words)
Link
15. Highlight the sociocultural importance of rural
and traditional sports in India. What measures can
government take to protect waning traditional
sports in India? (200 Words)
Link
16. The reason for the substantial drop in the
number of students is because of the changes in
work entitlement rules in the last two years.
Comment on the immigration policy of United
Kingdom and its effect on Indian students. (200
Words)
Link
17. Analyze the ethical issues involved in clinical
trials involving human volunteers. What is the
present status of clinical trial rules in India.
Explain in the light of recent Supreme Court
verdict. (200 Words)
Link
18. What are retail inflation indexed securities?
Why has RBI promised to introduce them in
India? Explain. (200 Words)
Link
Extra Info
Reference
19. Security agencies are not high priests of the
Spanish Inquisition. They are rather a modern-day
cyber-Taliban. Do you agree with this view?
Critically comment. (250 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 31/10/2013
1. What measures would you suggest to ensure
safety of women in workplaces and public spaces?
Explain. (200 Words)
Link
Link
2. Analyze the factors that have led to large scale
migration of people from Kerala to Middle East
countries. (200 Words)
Link
3. The war victims suffer from all fronts, and the
severe wrath is reserved for women and children.
Comment in the light of recent wars across the
world. (200 Words)
Link
4. Would you support the continuation of
government subsidy on fuels such as petrol, diesel,
LPG and kerosene? Why? (200 Words)
Link
5. Highlight the major achievements of India in its
space exploration missions. (150 Words)
Link
6. Explain the importance of GSLV programme for
India. (150 Words)
Link
7. How does Bitcoin work? Are they an alternative
to traditional currencies? Explain (200 Words)
Link
8. How Apartheid in South Africa was ended and
who were the protagonists in anti-Apartheid
movement? Explain. (200 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 127

9. Russias threat of gas war against Ukraine is
more political than economic. Comment. (150
Words)
Link
10. Write a critical note on Israel Palestine
relations. (200 Words)
Link
11. Analyze how encouraging the growth of rental
housing helps in alleviation of urban housing
problems? What measures has government taken
in this regard. (200 Words)
Link
12. I dont understand the importance of India
sending a space mission to Mars when half of its
children are undernourished and half of all Indian
families have no access to sanitation. Do you
agree with this view? Critically comment. (250
Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 01/11/2013
1. Fixed minimum tenure would not only enable
the civil servants to achieve their professional
targets, but also help them to function as effective
instruments of public policy. Critically evaluate.
(200 Words)
Link
Link
2. In severe international conflict scenarios, to
resolve an issue, often the solution can be found
through diplomacy, not by intimidation or war.
Comment. (200 Words)
Link
3. Comment on the prevalence of child marriage
practice in India and its implication on girls,
children and society. Suggest measures to stop
such practice. (250 Words)
Link
4. Highlight the importance of Track-III
Diplomacy in fostering good relations between
countries. (150 Words)
Link
Reference
5. The Supreme Courts 2006 verdict in the
Prakash Singh vs. Union of India case was a
landmark judgement. But political class has failed
it. Critically comment. (200 Words)
Link
6. Explain the areas of interest and cooperation
between India and Cuba. Is Cuba conducive for
Indian investments? Examine. (200 Words)
Link
7. Much of the deterioration of the standards of
probity and accountability with the civil servants is
due to the political influence of persons purporting
to represent those who are in authority. Critically
comment. (200 Words)
Link
8. Safe Savings scheme (100 Words)
Link
9. Supreme Social Happiness Department (50
Words)
Link
10. Agriculture is a powerful instrument for
national integration. Comment. (150 Words)
Link
11. Analyze the factors that led to Green
Revolution in India. (200 Words)
Link
12. Once USA pulls out of Afghanistan, the new
great game in Afghanistan is going to be between
India and Pakistan. Do you agree with this view?
Explain why. (200 Words)
Link
13. Critically evaluate the role of Sardar
Vallabhbhai Patel in post-Independence
consolidation of India. (200 Words)
Link
14. Critically examine the recommendations
of Justice Mukul Mudgal committee set up by the
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to
suggest legislative framework in the wake of series
f bans on movies by the state governments. (150
Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 02/11/2013
1. Examine how Indias fiscal policy has evolved
post 1991-92 liberalization of Indian economy.
(200 Words)
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 128

Link
Reference (Page 14)
2. Do you think Taliban has become existential
threat to Pakistan? Comment on the evolution of
Taliban movement and its threat to world peace.
(200 Words)
Link
3. Write a not on trade relationship between India
and Australia. (150 Words)
Link
4. The multi-stakeholder model of Internet
governance in the 21st century is exceptionally
important. What do you understand by this
statement? Explain in the context of India. (150
Words)
Link
Reference
Reference 2
5. Write a short note on 7th United Nations
Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the
Treatment of Offenders (100 Words)
Link
6. Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) (50 Words)
Link
Reference
7. Explain the importance of minimally invasive
education concept and its application in India.
(200 Words)
Link
8. Do you support regulation of media in India by
the government? Justify your answer and also
suggest alternate measures. (200 Words)
Link
9. Write a note on terrorist threats to China.
Compare and contrast Chinas anti-terrorism
policy with that of Indias. (200 Words)
Link
10. Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic
Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) (50 Words)
Link
11. Do you think the Supreme Courts recent
verdict on insulating officers from political
interference is an act of judicial overreach?
Comment. (150 Words)
Link
12. What are the challenges being faced by Indian
Ocean Rim Association (IORA) countries in
Indian Ocean region? Elucidate. (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 04/11/2013
1. It was a natural corollary that India should turn
its attention to science satellites. What do you
understand by the statement? Elaborate. (150
Words)
Link
2. Most government schemes fail not because
they are inherently defective, but because many a
times on the ground the necessary infrastructure is
non-existent. Comment (150 Words)
Link
3. What were the consequences of UKs proposed
immigration policy of subjecting visitors from six
high-risk Commonwealth countries to a certain
bond plan? Examine. (100 Words)
Link
Link 2
4. Amrit Mahal Kaval grasslands (50 Words)
Link
5. What is the rationale behind Saudi Nitaqat
policy? What is its implication on Indian labour
force working in Saudi Arabia? (150 Words)
Link
6. In India, the functioning of democratic
institutions and the deepening of the democratic
process along with the efforts to implement
constitutional mandates for affirmative action
have induced higher levels of political
mobilization. Do you agree with this view?
Elaborate. (200 Words)
Link
7. What is the significance of local elections held in
Kosovo? Briefly explain the causes of tension
between Serbia and Kosovo. (200 Words)
Link
8. Examine why there is an escalation of tension
between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen in the
Palk Strait. (150 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 129

9. Afghanistan faces war on many fronts, and the
deadliest might be on the narcotics front.
Comment. (200 Words)
Link
10. Is the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and
compressed natural gas (CNG) in vehicles a
completely cleaner option to reduce pollution in
our cities? Substantiate. (100 Words)
Link
11. What factors triggered 1971 Bangladesh war?
What were the consequences of the war? (150
Words)
Link
12. Lorenzos Oil (50 Words)
Link
13. In your opinion, what measures should be
taken by the government to prevent communal
clashes from happening? (200 Words)
Link
14. The two dimensions along which India fares
worst are generation of employment and
protection of the environment while growing its
GDP. Do you agree with the statement? Explain
why. Also shed light on how can India perform
better in this regard. (250 Words)
Link
15. Critically comment on the role of foreign
institutional investment (FII) in Indias economic
growth and development. (150 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 05/11/2013
1. Critically analyze the role of ASHAs as an
interface between the community and the public
health system. Have they been successful in their
mission? Give your views. (200 Words)
Link
2. The single most important objective of Indian
foreign policy has to be to create a global
environment conducive to the well-being of our
great country. How far has India been successful
in its foreign policy as suggested in the above
statement? Critically evaluate. (250 Words)
Link
3. Explain how terrorist activities are funded in
India. What measures has government taken to
stop such funding? (200 Words)
Link
4. What is your opinion on Opinion Polls? Should
they be conducted or not? Substantiate. (150
Words)
Link
Link
5. Amur Falcon (50 Words)
Link
6. Write a note on the role of AIDWA in women
empowerment. (150 Words)
Link
7. Kinect Sign Language Translator (50 Words)
Link
8. In recent years, emerging economies are
encouraging their nationals to acquire large tracts
of land in foreign countries and use them for
farming purpose. What is the rationale behind
such a move? Do you think its a sound policy?
Comment. (200 Words)
Link
9. Critically comment on the outcome of Arab
Spring revolution. (200 Words)
Link
10. What maritime challenges does India face?
Comment on Indias preparedness in facing these
challenges. (200 Words)
Link
11. U.N. International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
and India (100 Words)
Link
12. What is capital gains tax? Why was it in news
recently? (150 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 06/11/2013
1. What is the significance of Methane to Earths
atmosphere? How is it produced on Earth? (150
Words)
Link
2. Significance of 118th amendment to the
Constitution (50 Words)
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 130

Link
3. Do you think India and China could jointly
combat terrorism? Explain how? (150 Words)
Link
4. What is the role and mandate of UNESCO? Do
you think its role should be expanded? Analyze.
(200 Words)
Link
5. Methamphetamine (50 Words)
Link
6. Do you think superstition be allowed to be
practiced as part of culture, even by persons
holding responsible positions? Substantiate. (150
Words)
Link
7. According to World Bank report, clean cooking
solutions can save millions of lives and also reduce
pollution. Explain the risks involved in using
unclean cooking solutions in poor countries and
the remedial measures needed to be adopted. (200
Words)
Link
8. Do you agree with the view that Drone strikes
are unethical and are in violation of human rights?
Substantiate. (150 Words)
Link
Link
9. Obdurodon tharalkooschild (20 Words)
Link
10. Assess the contribution of Maulana Abul
Kalam Azad and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai to post
independence India. (150 Words)
Link
11. Comment on the recommendations of High
Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage
of the Planning Commission. (150 Words)
Link
12. Evaluate the performance of National
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in its
mission. (150 Words)
Link




Questions From The Hindu, 07/11/2013
1. Explain the role of Finance Commission. Do you
think Finance Commissions act as complimentary
to Planning Commission? Explain. (200 Words)
Link
2. Do you think AFSPA is anti-constitutional?
Substantiate. (150 Words)
Link
3. Poi Kathin (50 Words)
Link
4. Analyze the factors that make the Northeast
India as the gateway to Southeast Asia . Asses how
far this region has been tapped as gateway to
South East Asia by the government of India. (200
Words)
Link
5. Banda Vasudev Rao (50 Words)
Link
6. Explain Indias position on various issues
related to climate change negotiations. (250
Words)
Link
Link
7. Comment on Indias fuel subsidy policy. (200
Words)
Link
8. Evaluate the performance of India
Bangladesh security cooperation measures. (150
Words)
Link
Link
9. Highlight the importance of stable democracy in
Maldives to India. (150 Words)
Link
10. Write a critical note on Marine pollution. (150
Words)
Link
11. Critically examine Indias Revised National TB
Control Programme (RNTCP) (200 Words)
Link
12. Ensuring Food safety is as important as Food
Security. Comment in the light of enactment of
recent Food Security bill. (200 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 131

13. What is Indias stand on stem cell therapy? Do
you think ethical issues raised around stem cell
research are harmful to the larger cause of saving
life? Explain. (200 Words)
Link
14. Metformin (50 Words)
Link
15. Southern Annular Mode (SAM) (50 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 08 November
2013
1. Duty Drawback Scheme (50 Words)
Link
Reference
2. Critically analyze the events that led to the
accession of Kashmir to India post-Independence.
(200 Words)
Link
3. The reassertion of the importance of historical
emissions in the new climate agreement by the
developing countries has put into risk the possible
tangible agreement on climate change. Comment.
(200 Words)
Link
4. Write a critical note on Indias Hydrocarbon
Policy. (200 Words)
Link
Referencce
5. Critically examine why a nuclear-free Iran is a
priority for the Western countries. (150 Words)
Link
6. Imomali Rakhmon (50 Words)
Link
7. Analyze the importance of involvement of local
communities in conservation of biodiversity in
India. Give any successful example from around
the world that can act as a model for India to
emulate. (200 Words)
Link
8. Critically evaluate Brazils Bolsa
Familia program in eradicating poverty. Examine
in which schemes this program can be adopted in
India successfully. (200 Words)
Link
9. Bring out the importance of social prescribing in
providing a healthcare solution to patients
suffering from mental health problems. (150
Words)
Link
Reference
10. Highlight the contribution of Maulana Abul
Kalam Azad to Indias freedom struggle. (200
Words)
Link
11) What repercussions does ethnic problems in
Myanmar have on India? Explain. (150 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 09 November
2013
1. Explain the composition and mandate of CBI.
Comment on the recent verdict of Guwahati High
Court questioning the very existence and legality
of CBI. (200 Words)
Link
2. Throw light on recent controversy regarding
allegation of human rights violation by Sri Lankan
army during 2009 war against LTTE. What is the
response and role of International community and
organizations including India on the issue? (200
Words)
Link
3. Briefly explain the constitutional and legislative
procedure involved in formation of a new state.
(150 Words)
Link
4. What are the geopolitical implications
of normalization of ties between Iran and the
West? Analyze. (200 Words)
Link
5. Give an account of Indias nuclear missile
program. Do you think present capabilities are
enough or does India need to develop more missile
capabilities? comment (250 Words)
Link
6. What measures has government taken to protect
Ramsar sites in India? Explain. (200 Words)
Link
7. Write a critical note on the post-1980 economic
reforms of China. (200 Words)
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 132

Link
8. Trans fats and public health (150 Words)
Link
9. Do you think public statues as forms of artistic
expression as seen in Western countries is absent
in India? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Link
10. Chelyabinsk (50 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, November 11,
2013
1. Discuss the importance of India ASEM
cooperation to India. Examine if the present level
of cooperation should be enhanced for tangible
outcome. (200 Words)
Link
2. Critically assess the role of MGNREGA in
empowering rural women in India. (200 Words)
Link
3. Examine the rationale behind Saudi Arabias
Nitaqat policy. How does this policy help Saudi
Arabia? Critically analyze.(200 Words)
Link
4. MERS-CoV (50 Words)
Link
5. Do you think the governments policies so far
have empowered Dalits? If not, explain what more
needs to be done. (200 Words)
Link
6. Vijay Dan Detha (20 Words)
Link
7. Kovvada and Kotapalem (50 Words)
Link
8. Disaster management should not be limited to
rescue and relief operations but preparedness to
handle it. Comment (200 Words)
Link
9. Decommissioning of old dams is crucial for
restoration of damaged ecology. Analyze Indias
policy on old dams in the light of the statement.
(200 Words)
Link
10. Fiscal Cliff (100 Words)
Link
11. Pablo Neruda (50 Words)
Link
12. Explain the importance of HFCs to India? (150
Words)
Link
13. At the U.N. climate talks, Indias commitment
to stringent emission norms must doubtless be
coupled with a legally binding assurance of
technology transfer. Comment. (150 Words)
link
14. Should negative outlook for a country
expressed by the Rating Agencies be considered
seriously by that country? Comment. (150 Words)
Link
15. Evaluate the role of women in private sector
jobs. Do you think women in private sector are
more empowered? Comment. (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 12/11/2013
1. Discuss some successful PPP models adopted for
Urban Development in India. (200 Words)
Link
2. Do you think Water Disputes Tribunals have
successfully resolved inter-state river water
disputes? Analyze with suitable examples. (200
Words)
Link
3. Write a critical note on India Pakistan trade
relations. (200 Words)
Link
4. Explain the composition and mandate of IAEA.
Do you think it has succeeded in its missions?
(200 Words)
Link
5. Gachin uranium mine (20 Words)
Link
6. What is Carbon trading? Do you think Carbon
Trading has helped in mitigation of Climate
Change? Substantiate. (200 Words)
Link
7. Preah Vihear (50 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 133

8. What are the mandates of ICC and ICJ? Explain
(100 Words)
Link
9. Write a note on the threat of space debris? (100
Words)
Link
Reference
10. While exit polls and post-poll survey based
projections have done better than pre-election
polls, all forms of polls have proven to be a better
guide to electoral prospects than any drawing
room or news room gossip. Do you agree with the
statement? Substantiate. (200 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 13/11/2013
1. Explain how NDM manages disasters caused by
earthquakes? Are our major cities ready to face
such disasters? Comment. (200 Words)
Link
2. Do you agree with the view that
Karnatakas Shaadi Bhagya scheme is
unconstitutional? Substantiate. (150 Words)
Link
3. What are the obstacles faced being by
governments in developing tribal areas across the
country? Do you think present schemes
implemented by the Union government for the
welfare of tribal areas are yielding results? Explain
why. (250 Words)
Link
4. Integrated Global Action Plan for Prevention
and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea
(GAPPD) (50 Words)
Link
5. Comment on Indias efforts to protect children
under five from deaths caused by preventable
diseases. (200 Words)
Link
6. Examine the status of implementation of Sachar
committee report. Suggest measures to improve
the status of minorities in India. (200 Words)
Link
7. Comment on the need for amending Narcotic
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
(150 Words)
link
8. Tasmanian tiger (50 Words)
Link
9. Significance of Higgs boson particle to Science
(100 Words)
Link
10. Comment on the geopolitical interests of USA
in the WANA region. (150 Words)
Link
11. International Security Assistance Force (50
Words)
Link
12. The picture in Afghanistan today is bleak:
worsening security, ubiquitous Taliban presence,
poor coordination between donors and the
government, a slowing economy, and increasing
insecurity. Elaborate. (200 Words)
Link
13. Why is Rupee depreciating? What are the main
domestic reasons? Analyze. (200 Words)
Link
14. Throw light on India UK relations in R&D.
(150 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 14/11/2013
1. Examine the plausible Constitutional roadblocks
in the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. (150 Words)
Link
2. For women safety, we need sensible policing
from gender sensitive policemen. Comment. (200
Words)
Link
3. Do you think total autonomy to CBI would hurt
criminal justice system? Comment. (150 Words)
Link
4. How does agriculture contribute to climate
change? Do you think climate change mitigation
process should focus on agriculture? Explain. (200
Words)
Link
5. G2285 Mutation (50 Words)
Link
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 134

6. Explain Indias efforts at eradication of Polio.
What are the problems being faced by India in
total eradication of Polio? Explain. (200 Words)
Link
7. Tropical Depression (50 Words)
Link
8. Considering recent mining scams involving
many private companies, do you think natural
resources of national importance be nationalized?
Substantiate. (200 Worlds)
Link
9. Mylene Paquette (20 Words)
Link
10. The One World Trade Center (50 Words)
link
11. Analyze trade relations between India and UK.
(200 Words)
Link
12. Panthera blytheae (50 Words)
Link
13. Evaluate how Nepal has moved towards
democracy since Peoples Movement of 2006.
(200 Words)
Link
14. Shiraz Naval Minwalla (50 Words)
Link
15. The 34-year-old Iran-U.S. cold war, has
harmed interests of USA and those of its Israeli
and Arab friends. Comment. (200 Words)
Link
16. What is MSP? Explain its importance to Indian
agriculture and to consumers. (250 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 15/11/2013
1. Why does India aspire to become permanent
member of UNSC? Do you think time is ripe for
Indias ascension into permanent member of
UNSC? Comment. (200 Words)
Link
2. Write a note on India-Russia defence
cooperation. (150 Words)
Link
3. Explain major threats and Indias role in
maritime security in the Indian Ocean. (200
Words)
Link
4. Puntius denisonii (50 Words)
Link
5. Explain the role and objectives of The National
Cadet Corps (NCC). Do you think it has succeeded
in its mission? Comment. (200 Words)
Link
6. INS Vikramaditya (50 Words)
Link
7. What are the types of loans provided by World
Bank, IMF and ADB respectively to poor and
developing countries? Does India need aid from
these institutions? Examine. (200 Words)
Link
8. With examples, critically examine the role of
women organizations in empowering women
affected by various violences including natural
disasters and wars. (200 Words)
Link
9. Explain the effect of climate change on worlds
oceans and their ecology. (250 Words)
Link
10. Boko Haram (50 Words)
Link
11. Wild Urbanism (100 Words)
Link
12. Role of G6 in international diplomacy(100
Words)
Link
13. Do you support more government spending on
social sectors schemes? Analyze the benefits or
drawbacks of such spendings taking cue from past
and present performances of many high budget
social sector schemes. (200 Words)
Link
14. Critically examine the working of tribunals in
India. (250 Words)
Link
15. there is a serious disjoint in governance
between the political hierarchy and the
administrative machinery. Comment (200
Words)
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Link
16. It is not easy to implement either Supreme
Courts instructions or recommendations of
various committees on civil service reforms. Why?
Analyze. (250 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu, 16/11/2013
1. Write a note on the nature of communal
tensions in Rakhine state. (150 Words)
Link
2. Write a critical note on the importance of FIR
and its implementation. (200 Words)
link
3. Waste Immobilisation Plant (WIP) (50 Words)
Link
4. The closed fuel cycle technology for nuclear
power generation (100 Words)
Link
5. Bring out the importance of addressing the issue
of IPRs in the climate change negotiations. (150
Words)
Link
6. Like-Minded Developing Countries group ( 50
Words)
Link
7. Do you agree with the view that Turkey is a role
model for other Islamic countries in the
surrounding regions, especially Middle East to
emulate? Substantiate. (200 Words)
Link
8. Examine what implications did One Child
Policy have on Chinese society and economy. (250
Words)
Link
9. What caused recent Eurozone sovereign debt
crisis? What was its effect on Indian economy?
(200 Words)
Link
Link 2
10. Comment on Russias recent efforts at
implanting its strategic footprint in the Middle
East and Mediterranean Sea. (150 Words)
Link
11. Googles Library Project (100 Words)
Link
12.As with new private banks, expectations from
the foreign banks in the evolution of Indias
financial sector and in financial inclusion are
highly exaggerated. Analyze. (200 Words)
link
13. For all its progressive pronouncements
against sexual harassment at the workplace, the
Supreme Court has come up woefully short in
addressing the issue within its fraternity.
Critically comment. (200 Words)
Link
14. How Model is Election Commissions Model
Code of Conduct? Comment. (150 Words)
Link

Questions From The Hindu 18/11/2013
1. Write a note on the contribution of C.N.R. Rao
to the Indian Science and Education. (150 Words)
Link
2. A recent study found that in the case of Tigers in
India, increasing local abundance is an inadequate
conservation strategy for them. In the light of the
said report, examine what should be the strategy
of government to protect dwindling number of
tigers? (150 Words)
Link
3. The entire structure of healthcare delivery for
effective antibiotics from research and
development, to distribution and rational use
needs to be re-engineered to address the looming
global threat of antibiotic resistance. Elaborate.
(200 Words)
Link
4. Write a critical note on the recently passed
Pension Fund Regulatory and Development
Authority Bill, 2011. (200 Words)
Link
Reference 1
Reference 2
5. What is the intention behind declaration of
assets by candidates contesting elections? Has it
made any positive impact? Comment. (150 Words)
Link
Link 2
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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6. France, long critical of the United States role
as the worlds policeman, is emerging as the most
interventionist of Western states. Comment. (200
Words)
Link
7. Abdulla Yaameen (25 Words)
Link
8. Doris Lessing (50 Words)
Link
9. Enemys enemy is a friend: this is best
illustrated in West Asia between Israel and Saudi
Arabia. Elucidate. (150 Words)
Link
10. Viola Organista (25 Words)
Link
11. The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action
(DPA) (100 Words)
link
12. Global carbon budget (100 Words)
Link
Reference
13. Granting bank licences to corporate houses
and for foreign banks by the Reserve Bank of India
(RBI) are meant to deepen the financial sector.
Do you think its a wise step? Comment. (200
Words)
link

1. Write a critical note on India-UAE relations. Is
there a mechanism between two countries to dealt
with the issue of migrants abuse in UAE ?
Explain. (200 Words)
The Hindu
2. What role did India play during Nepals recent
constitutional crisis? Explain. (150 Words)
The Hindu
The Hindu
3. Do you agree with the view that more powers to
Grama Sabha actually scuttle development
process? Comment in the light of the controversy
over implementation of Kasturirangan report on
Western Ghats. (150 Words)
The Hindu
4. Pangasius fish (50 Words)
The Hindu
5. Analyze Indias defence and security
relationship with Vietnam. (150 Words)
The Hindu
6. Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa (50 Words)
The Hindu
7. Do you think the concept of Privy Purses and
special privileges, which were abolished by a
constitutional amendment, were incompatible
with an egalitarian social order ? Comment.
(200 Words)
The Hindu
8. In the case of Pakistan, it is the unique
character of the Pakistan military and its
philosophy of proxy war that presents a problem,
not just at the LoC, but for the entire gamut of
India-Pakistan relations. Critically analyze. (200
Words)
The Hindu
9. Green Box subsidies (100 Words)
The Hindu

Questions From The Hindu 20/11/2013
1. In recent years the Representation of the
People Act has become the victim of tug of war
between the judiciary and executive. Elucidate.
(200 Words)
The Hindu
2. Write a critical note on the Shia Sunni rift in
the Middle East and its implications on the peace
in the region. (250 Words)
The Hindu
3. In your opinion what are the probable reasons
for India having highest number of people in the
world openly defecating ? Explain. (200 Words)
The Hindu
4. Explain the role played by UNAIDS and India in
controlling AIDS. (150 Words)
The Hindu
5. Frauenquote (50 Words)
The Hindu
6. Selfie (20 Words)
The Hindu
7. Illegal transplantation and trade of human
organs is routine in India thanks to the big gap
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 137

between demand and supply of donor organs.
What measures has government taken to deal with
this problem? (200 Words)
The Hindu (question is not directly related)
8. What is New Media? How safe it is for the
users? (150 Words)
The Hindu
Reference Wikipedia
9. Write a critical note on spread of Islamic
radicalism in Africa. (200 Words)
The Hindu
10. What are the benefits India would get if its
made the member of Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC)? Elucidate. (200 Words)
The Hindu (not directly related)
11. Indonesia, as a Muslim-majority country that
has made a successful, if difficult, transition to
democracy it can talk and make suggestions, from
a position of confidence, to everyone. Elaborate
(200 Words)
The Hindu
12. Do you thin APEC is merely - A Perfect Excuse
for a Chat? Comment. (150 Words)
The Hindu
Reference Economist
13. Governance issues and administrative
convenience should also be among the decisive
factors in the creation of new states. Comment.
(200 Words)
The Hindu
14. Explain the importance of stable Bangladesh
from security point of view of the region. (200
Words)
The Hindu

Questions From The Hindu, 21/11/2013
1. What measures can state governments take to
increase solar energy generation and utilization?
(150 Words)
The Hindu
2. Write a critical note on Jawaharlal Nehru
National Solar Mission and its achievements so
far. (200 Words)
The Hindu
The Hindu 2
The Hindu 3
3. Finmeccanica (50 Words)
The Hindu
4. Why did Doha Development round and
subsequent WTO talks fail? Examine. (200 Words)
The Hindu
The Hindu 2
Reference
5. The topic of loss and damage in the context of
climate change is a major focus in the adaptation
discussion under the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate
talks. What is Loss and Damage under climate
talks parlance and why is it important? Explain.
(200 Words)
The Hindu
The Hindu
Reference
6. Why do you think Vietnam is important for
India to pursue its geopolitical interests in the
South East Asian region? Comment. (150 Words)
The Hindu
7. What are the recommendations of the Master
Shafeek Committee constituted by the government
to look into child abuse and steps needed to
prevent it? Explain (200 Words)
The Hindu
8. Sangai Festival (50 Words)
The Hindu
9. Write a note on Myanmars recent efforts at
liberalizing its society and polity. What role can
India probably play in Myanmars transition? (200
Words)
The Hindu
10. Frederick Sanger (50 Words)
The Hindu
11. What is DNA sequencing? How did it
revolutionize genomic research? (200 Words)
The Hindu
Reference
12. Highlight recent Supreme Court judgments
that are related to the conduct of elections and
electoral reforms. (200 Words)
The Hindu
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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13. Analyze Indias achievements in the field of
Space Technology. In your opinion, what role
should successes in space exploration play in
India?(250 Words)
The Hindu
14. The current fighting going on in Darfur region
is not primarily tribal. Comment. (150 Words)
The Hindu
15. Explain the geostrategic importance of Aircraft
carrier Vikramaditya to Indias sea interests. (200
Words)
The Hindu

Questions From The Hindu, 22/11/2013
1. What aspects of centre-state relations are at
conflict in the case of implementation of
recommendations of High-Level Working Group
(HLWG) on Western Ghats (headed by
Kasturirangan) by the state governments? Explain.
(150 Words)
The Hindu
2. Explain the history of Naga insurgency in the
North Eastern region of the country. Do you think
their demands are reasonable? Critically comment.
(200 Words)
The Hindu
3. Write a note on Indias attempts at sourcing
energy resources from Central Asian countries.
(150 Words)
The Hindu
4. What important amendments were made to
different rape related acts through Criminal Law
(Amendment) Bill-2013? Do you think strong laws
deter rapes? Critically examine. (200 Words)
The Hindu
Reference
5. Why has internet governance drawn lot of
attention lately? In your opinion, do you think
countries need a centralized watchdog to look after
the issues concerned with internet governance or it
should be left to individual discretion of the
countries? Comment. (200 Words)
The Hindu
6. Nitin Desai (20 Words)
The Hindu
7. To understand the problem of malnutrition,
one must integrate economic, behavioural,
medical, environmental, and social aspects.
Elaborate. (200 Words)
The Hindu
8. The Indian Seismic and GNSS Network (ISGN)
Project (100 Words)
The Hindu
9. Why is it necessary to properly understand the
mechanism of Monsoon? Explain importance of
Monsoon to Indias economy. (250 Words)
The Hindu
10. NWA 7533 (50 Words)
The Hindu
11. Yulia Tymoshenko (50 Words)
The Hindu
12. Write a note on role of NGOs in climate change
negotiations. (150 Words)
The Hindu
13. What challenges are ahead for the successful
operation of Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) ? How
can it overcome those challenges? Explain (200
Words)
The Hindu

Questions From The Hindu, 23/11/2013
1. Has MGNREGA benefited Indian farmer?
Comment. (150 Words)
The Hindu
2. Tirumayam Fort (50 Words)
The Hindu
3. Write a critical note on the financial relations
between Union government and states in India.
(200 Words)
The Hindu
The Hindu
4. Kalbeli Folk Dance (50 Words)
The Hindu
5. Explain the societal benefits of Mars mission.
Should cost benefit analysis apply to missions
like this? Comment. (200 Words)
The Hindu
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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6. What is assisted reproductive technology?
What are the ethical issues involved in it? (150
Words)
The Hindu
7. Spice Route (50 Words)
The Hindu
8. UNWTO (50 Words)
The Hindu
9. What are the functions of Law Commission?
(150 Words)
The Hindu
10. What are Lok Adalats? Explain the importance
of National Lok Adalats disputes redressal. (150
Words)
The Hindu
11. Why is crop diversity important for a country?
Has India taken any measures to preserve its crop
diversity? (200 Words)
The Hindu
12. Gecko (20 Words)
The Hindu
13. Pernicious behaviours such as smoking, illegal
drug use, excessive drinking, unhealthy eating and
unsafe sex, which harm the health of the country
can be reversed by promoting societal conditions
for better health choices. Comment. (200 Words)
The Hindu

Questions From The Hindu 25/11/2013
1. Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Elections Rules,
1961 (50 Words)
The Hindu
2. Write a note on the implications of recent lifting
of sanctions on Iran by the West on India -Iran
relations. (150 Words)
The Hindu
The Hindu-2
3. Why does Israel and Iran have a strained
relations between them? Examine. (150 Words)
The Hindu
The Hindu 2
4. What are the important schemes undertaken by
the government to improve the socio-economic
condition of the tribal population in India? Do you
think those schemes have made positive impact?
Examine. (250 Words)
The Hindu
5. Explain the significance of Geneva deal between
Iran and p5+1 countries. (150 Words)
The Hindu
The Hindu 2
The Hindu 3
6. Manny Pacquiao (50 Words)
The Hindu
7. Joseph Kony (50 Words)
The Hindu
8. The History weighs heavy on Japan Korea
relations. Comment (200 Words)
The Hindu
9. What are the highlights of the Sexual
Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention,
Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013? (150 Words)
The Hindu
10. cycle 24 (50 Words)
The Hindu
11. What are the negative aspects of Bitcoin? (100
Words)

Questions From the Hindu, November 26,
2013
1. Salinet features of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha
Abhiyan (RUSA) (100 Words)
The Hindu
2. The current tangle in Nagaland must be
handled politically, with sensitivity to the changing
concerns and aspirations in a state once convulsed
by insurgency. Elaborate. (200 Words)
Indian Express
3. Some of the predictable hostility in the Middle
East between Iran and other neighboring countries
is rooted in the demonisation of each other over
many decades. Comment. (200 Words)
Indian Express
4. India has not utilized its waterways to the full
potential for various reasons. What are those
reasons? Assess the importance of national
waterways to the Indian economy. (200 Words)
The Hindu
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5. Parties in Nepal must not be diverted again by
short term issues of power-sharing. Comment on
the statement in the light of Nepals recent failure
to form it constitution on time. (150 Words)
Indian Express
6. Highlight the importance of coastal security to
India. What measures has government taken to
tighten the coastal security? Explain. (200 Words)
The Hindu
7. What is Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project?
Why is it important to India? Why is there
opposition to the project? Explain. (250 Words)
The Hindu
8. Compare and contrast the process of
government formation in Germany and India.
(200 Words)
The Hindu
9. The World Bank estimates that geothermal
from east Africas Rift Valley could power 150
million homes. Examine what factors favor this
region to produce geothermal energy and how is it
formed? (200 Words)
The Hindu
10. Rohingya (50 Words)
The Hindu
11. Burraq and Shahpar UAV Systems (50 Words)
The Hindu
12. What guidelines has the Supreme Court
directed to safeguard women from sexual
harassment at the workplaces? (150 Words)
The Hindu

27, November 2013
1. Write a short note on Service Tax Voluntary
Compliance Encouragement Scheme 2013 (100
Words)
The Hindu
2. Why is there an increase in incidents of gold
smuggling into the country? Explain. (150 Words)
The Hindu
3. The bubbling debate over the idea of secular
stagnation in the West may prove to have far-
reaching intellectual and practical consequences
for the world. What is secular stangnation? What
can India learn from it? Examine. (200 Words)
Indian Express
4. Involving farmers in the decision-making
process would be a good place to begin to
effectively use increased the funds meant for R&D
in agricultural research institutions. Elaborate.
(200 Words)
Indian Express
5. How does the success of nuclear talks in Geneva
between Iran and p5+1 countries ties between
Saudi Arabia and Iran? (150 Words)
The Hindu
6. East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) (50
Words)
The Hindu
7. Asias balance of power will be determined
principally by events in East Asia and the Indian
Ocean. Comment (200 Words)
The Hindu
8. Do you think India and Japan are Asias
natural-born allies? Critically analyze the evolving
relationship between India and Japan in trade and
strategic affairs. (250 Words)
The Hindu
9. Cyber Coalition 2013 (50 Words)
The Hindu
10. The objective must be to ring-fence the
acquired capability so its use can only be
peaceful. Elucidate the statement in the light of
recent agreement between Iran and the west
regarding Irans nuclear program. (200 Words)

28, November 2013
1. In India, Despite law, dowry is still seen as
adequate recompense for inheritance. Explain
the sociological factors that stop women from
inheriting land and other properties. (200 Words)
The Hindu
2. Critically examine the steps taken by the
government in ensuring safe institutional delivery
for pregnant women in India. (200 Words)
The Hindu
3. In your opinion why India has high rate of
MMR? (150 Words)
The Hindu
4. Has affirmative action affected well being of
people belonging to forward classes? Critically
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
http://insightsonindia.com Page 141

comment if there is need to introduce the policy of
affirmative action in favor of forward classes too.
(200 Words)
The Hindu
5. Kirit Parikh committees recommendations are
too ambitious and are politically challenging.
Comment. (200 Words)
Indian Express
Economic Times
6. Is a multilateral trading system such as WTO
indispensable to the world? Comment. (150
Words)
Indian Express
7. Indian Deep Space Network (50 Words)
The Hindu
8. Write a critical note on Chinas Air Defence
Identification Zone (ADIZ) and its implication on
the regional security. (200 Words)
The Hindu
9. The Bay Psalm Book (50 Words)
The Hindu
10. A range of reforms legal, judicial and
institutional needs to be initiated for dealing
with delays and ensuring access to justice.
Elaborate. (200 Words)

29, November 2013
1. The anti-poverty programmes are leaky and
inefficient, unable to lift Indians out of poverty.
Comment. (150 Words)
The Hindu
2. Live-in or marriage like relationship is neither
a crime nor a sin though socially unacceptable in
this country. Do you think the recent verdict by
the Supreme Court on live-in relationships is
progressive? Examine if there are any legal
hindrances to successful social life of live-in
couples and how can they be overcome? (200
Words)
The Hindu
3. Explain how GDP is calculated in India. Do you
think GDP growth rate reflects overall well being
of a country? Comment why. (200 Words)
The Hindu
4. Write a critical note on the geopolitical
aspirations of EU in the Eastern Europe region.
(150 Words)
The Hindu
5. Write a note on the importance of NBFCs (non-
banking finance companies) to Indian economy.
(150 Words)
The Hindu
6. What are the problems being faced
by electricity distribution companies (discoms) in
India? Explain. (150 Words)
The Hindu
7. Highlight the recommendation of Percy Mistry
Committee on financial sector reforms. (150
Words)
The Hindu
8. Real financial sector reforms require a strong
political will. Comment. (200 Words)
The Hindu
9. What are the legal hurdles in the creation of new
state of Telangana? (150 Words)
The Hindu
10. Now for The Future (50 Words)

30, November 2013
1.Democratic decentralisation cannot be
misunderstood to mean communitarian anarchy.
Comment. (150 Words)
Indian Express
Reference
2. What were the major outcomes of the UN
climate negotiations in Warsaw? (150 Words)
Indian Express
3. Explain the measures taken by the Union
government in conserving the Tiger population in
India. (150 Words)
The Hindu
4. China will be increasingly judged by its
partners and the international community by
its actions and not by its rhetoric. Comment
on the statement in the light of recent
developments in the South China Sea and
elsewhere. (200 Words)
The Hindu
INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS ANALYSIS NOVEMBER - 2013
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5. Comet Ison (50 Words)
The Hindu
6. Despite investing heavily in infrastructure
projects, the India cities have not resolved
traffic issues efficiently. Comment. (200
Words)
The Hindu
7. The main problem with Indian cities is
the disconnect between growth and
transportation grids. Elaborate. (150
Words)


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