Friday, 10 July 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 10/07/2015

India – Pakistan Talks
Indian Prime Minister met his Pakistani counterpart in Ufa, Russia today after more than a year. This was followed by a joint statement made by Foreign Secretaries of two countries which included following –

A meeting in New Delhi between the two NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism.
Early meetings of DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers followed by that of DGMOs.
Decision for release of fishermen in each other’s custody, along with their boats, within a period of 15 days.
Mechanism for facilitating religious tourism.
Both sides agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.
Relations with Pakistan saw several ups and downs in short span of new Indian government. A fresh start was made by PM Modi by inviting Nawaz Sharif to his oath taking ceremony but this followed cancelling of talks between Foreign Secretaries on issue of Pakistan High Commissioner’s meeting with Kashmir separatist Hurriyat Leaders. This was followed by fierce ceasefire violations from Pakistan, which was handled well by BSF. New low came when Indian operation ‘Hot Pursuit’ on India-Myanmar border irked Pakistani leadership, prompting them to give irresponsible statements. Given all this, latest engagements appear as a blatant about turn, which lacks a cohesive Foreign Policy. But experts disagree and feel that the only permanent foreign policy possible with Pakistan is of ‘constant maneuver’ and adjusting to the changes in larger system. Constituents of this ‘larger system’ are almost all countries strategically important for India – U.S., China, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan etc.

When we are dealing with Pakistan we are also dealing with wide array of diplomatic combination and permutations. Pakistan due to its strategic location punches much above its weight. U.S. used Pakistan to destabilize Soviet Union with help of Mujahedeen. Further, Pak helped US handling its interests in Middle East. On other hand China engaged with Pakistan to keep check on aspirational India. Pakistan was perhaps behind establishment of diplomatic relations between U.S. and China in 1970’s. While geopolitics has changed significantly in 21st century, yet Pakistan retains its strategic significance.

Pakistan remains strategic ally of US and China. US aid is still pouring in and China just has agreed to construct a $ 46 billion ‘Economic Corridor’ in Pakistan. China reaffirmed its commitment to Pakistan by vetoing in its favor, the resolution against Pakistan’s release of Lakhvi. Further, China made Indian membership to SCO contingent upon Pakistan’s membership, thus trying to equate two countries. Now, both countries are set to become members of SCO next year which opens a new chapter in Indian diplomacy.

India has to take care that SCO does not become a forum for treating bilateral issues between both countries as multilateral ones. In recent meet Pakistan gave agreed that issues should be solved without external interferences. It should be noted that, not only India, but almost all allies of Pakistan are also its victims. US had bitter experience of 9/11 which had some links with Pakistan. On the top of this, Osama Bin Laden was found hidden in Pakistan. Same is the case with Uighur insurgency in China. Citizens of both nations have been selectively killed by terror emanating from Pakistan. Russia has fresh bitter experience with Pakistan, for latter’s role in disintegration of USSR. Off late Pakistan itself is feeling victimized by terror. Even then Russia, forced by harsh western sanctions, has started to engage with Pakistan. This is typical era of interest based diplomacy in which nations are friends and foes at the same time.

Indian Prime Minister has agreed to visit Islamabad to participate in SAARC submit in 2016. It has been said time and again that just talks between political establishments is not enough. So, talks at DG levels of both Border Security Force and Pakistan Ranger will be held, which will be followed by DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) level talks. Along with this, commitment to release fishermen and promote religious tourism is cause of optimism. However, commitment of Pakistan regarding Mumbai tragedy is likely to be mere lip service for obvious reasons. Regarding talks on terrorism Pakistan NSA will meet Indian counterpart in Delhi.

Having said this India Pakistan relation will most likely remain as it was in past. Pakistan wants parity with India. Being well aware that it can’t match the grandeur of India, it wants to bring India down. This is unwavering ideology of Pakistan. It was same logic behind the argument for partition by Muslim League. Three powers which shape this ideology in Pakistan are: elected government, It’s armed forces and clergy. They still have hangover of Mughal Rule which they think of as rule by Muslims over Hindus. Given such ideological base nothing constructive is going to come out of it. Notwithstanding all this, India has no option but to engage with Pakistan, while giving strong messages when needed. Engagement becomes even more compelling given change in attitude of Afghan government.

India, US ink pact on sharing account info
To curb overseas tax evasion and black money, India and the U.S. recently signed an inter-governmental agreement to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
  • This agreement makes it obligatory on the part of the two nations to exchange information on offshore accounts of each other’s citizens in their respective territories.
About the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA):
  • The U.S. government enacted FATCA in 2010 to obtain information on accounts held by US taxpayers in other countries.
  • Under FATCA, foreign financial institutions in the U.S. will have to provide information about Indian account holders to the U.S. government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which will forward the information to the Indian government.
  • The Indian government will provide similar information to the IRS.
  • As of now, the U.S. has such agreements with more than 110 jurisdictions and is engaged in related discussions with many other jurisdictions.
  • Financial institutions such as banks, brokerages or mutual funds that do not comply with this agreement will face a 30% withholding tax on all payments from the U.S.
  • This automatic exchange of information is scheduled to begin on September 30.
Indians in The Royal Society
The names of two researchers based in Bengaluru are all set to be entered in a historic charter book containing the who’s who of the scientific world.

The two Researchers are:
  • Professor of Biology Kamaljit Bawa, who founded the independent research organisation Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc) physicist Ajay Sood.
Some facts:
  • These researchers will join a select group of scientists from the country to be inducted as a fellow by London’s The Royal Society.
  • Sood is the only scientist whose work has been based entirely in laboratories in India.
  • Among the Indian and Indian-origin scientists inducted as fellows and foreign members, two have been intimately involved with research in Bengaluru-based National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS).
About Royal Society, London:
  • It is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society still in existence.
  • It was founded in November 1660 and was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as “The Royal Society”.
  • The Society today acts as a scientific advisor to the British government, receiving a parliamentary grant-in-aid.
  • The Society acts as the UK’s Academy of Sciences, and funds research fellowships and scientific start-up companies.
NDDB launches mobile app for dairy farmers
The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has launched a mobile application that will recommend a balanced diet for cows and buffaloes to help boost dairy farmers’ income by raising milk yield and cutting feed cost.

About the app:
  • The mobile application is named ‘Pashu Poshan‘.
  • The application, which will be available on both web and android platforms, can be accessed by registering on the INAPH portal (inaph.nddb.coop).
  • This application will benefit dairy farmers across the country. They will get information about balanced ration for their cows and buffaloes through this application. The use of this application is expected to boost milk output and income of dairy farmers.
  • To use this application, the farmer needs to provide complete animal profile, including breed, age, milk production, fat content in milk apart from food items being currently fed to the animal along with the cost in order to formulate the balanced ration formula.
  • India is the largest milk producer in the world, but the biggest challenge for the domestic dairy sector is low productivity of its bovine population as compared to developed countries.
Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (RAA) Launched by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, former President of India recently launched the Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (RAA).

About the Abhiyaan:
  • Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan is a unique concept developed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development that aims to inculcate a spirit of inquiry, creativity and love for Science and Mathematics in school children.
  • It aims to encourage students to learn sciences beyond the classrooms. It is an effort to take forward the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Teach in India’.
  • Under Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan, government schools will be mentored by Institutes like IITs/ IIMs/ IISERs and other Central Universities and reputed organisations through innovative programmes, student exchanges, demonstrations, student visits, etc to develop a natural sense of passion towards learning of Science and Maths.

Digital India: MPEDA launches mobile-based apps
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), nodal agency for promotion of marine exports from India, has launched two mobile based applications, which would help farmers get prices on shrimp and capture data on aquaculture through mobile.
  • These initiatives were launched under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India programme.
  • Under these initiatives , MPEDA will provide price related market information of Vannamei and Black Tiger shrimp to farmers. The farmers have to give a missed call to a predetermined number and they will get the prices of various grades of these two shrimp varieties in major markets such as Japan, the U.S. and EU through an SMS.
  • The service will be provided free of cost to farmers all over India and would enable them to make an informed decision on harvest of their produce and get better price realisation.
  • The mobile app called mKrishi will enable farmers get expert guidance on all operations, besides helping with book keeping and weather information. mKrishi is under pilot in Gujarat and will be extended all over India in the next three months.
About the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA):
  • MPEDA is a statutory body under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • The role envisaged for the MPEDA under the statute is comprehensive – covering fisheries of all kinds, increasing exports, specifying standards, processing, marketing, extension and training in various aspects of the industry.
  • It acts as a coordinating agency with different Central and State Government establishments engaged in fishery production and allied activities.
In your opinion, why is left wing extremism in India is still thriving despite efforts made to curb its activities? Critically examine.
Left Wing Extremism started with the philosophy of replacing the existing social and political order by socialist or communist pattern of society. The means for transformation adopted by them is violence and non-cooperation with the State. This has resulted into the lives of thousands of the innocent peoples and the security personnels in the last 50 years. Communist Party of India(Maoist) Party is the major left wing extremist outfit operating in the country. The nine maoist affected states are: Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, M.P. and U.P.

The Government of India(GoI) has taken several measures to curb the menance of left wing extremist through deploying security forces as well as promoting development in the maoist affected areas, but all are in vain because of some of the reasons:

1. Ideological change : The earlier issues like 'encroachment of tribals','corporate exploitaton','human rights violation' are no more their demand. Now they want to control the state in their hand through violence activities. The issues like destructing school buildings, roads, hospitals proved that they are against development .Panchayatraj Extended to Schedule area Act (PESA) was enacted to provide political autonomy in tribal areas, but their activities against the act and killing of panchayat memebers proved that they do not want political autonomy too. This is quiet unconstitutional and intervention of the State is much required. Integrated Action Plan launched in 88 districts seems not much fruitful.

2. Policies failure: As major minerals resources are distributed in tribal areas. Excavation of mineral resources has displaced them without providing proper rehabilitation. This has developed their sentiments against the State. Recent Land Acquisition ordinance has also failed to solve the issue.

3. International hands: There is no doubt that insurgents are funded by the foreigner belligerent countries. This is for harming the country politically, socially and economically.

4. Violence activities: To control the violent insurgents, government has also adopted violent methods. From both side major of the population that are being killed are innocents. Peoples Liberation Gureilla Army (PLGA), the armed wing of CPI(Maoist) has been created to act violently. Government has also deployed Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Commando Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA) against them. But these violence activities has only aggravated the situation.

The GoI is ready to talk with them. But, maoists are against any talk. Their demands could only be met when they will adopt constitutional means. Government must focus to educate them and distribute fruits of development in priority basis in the left wing extremist affected areas.

Do you think the political parties should be brought
under the ambit of the Right to Information Act? Justify. 
RTI Act 2005 has proved to be a very effective tool to hold public servants and public authorities accountable.However there is a strong need to bring political parties(PP) within its ambit.
1-PP work in public interest and in the process they avail many tax benefits and facilities like office etc. and the burden falls on the taxpayer .Hence they are accountable to the citizens.
2-Citizens have right to make informed choice in elections so they must be aware of internal practices prevelent in PPs.
3-Disclosure of information would help in curbing flow of black money in election process, making it more fair and transparent.
4-Disclosure would increase they credibility of PPs and increase voters confidence in them, thus bringing about healthy competition among PPs and reforming our electoral process and polity.
5-PPs would be forced to adopt democratic way of doing internal work and making decisions.
Thus holding PP accountable under RTI would strengthen the roots of democratic polity and boost economy.

“We are not facing a shortage of energy. We are facing a technical challenge in capturing it and delivering it to consumers.” With reference to India’s power problems, critically comment on the statement 
India has the third largest reserves of coal, significant thorium reserves, capacity for solar power, numerous rivers with hydropower feasibility, tidal energy, geo thermal, wind and newly found abundant coal bed methane and shale reserves. Still large proportion of population without electricity access. The reason for this paradox are mostly technical such as :

1) Coal - Poor coal quality of indian reserves and inadequate coal washing, coal gasification technology.
2) Solar - Lack of storage batteries technology, insufficient micro grid and low capacity of our national grid does not allow extensive usage of solar power.
3) Nuclear - Thrid stage nuclear generation uses thorium reserves. We still haven't reached there. Moreover, no progress on Fourth generation nuclear reactors.
4) CBM and shale require state of the art fracking technology which is unavailable.
5) Other renewable energy require technology upgradation to make them affordable and comparable to other resources.

These technological challenges have not allowed us to adequately capture our resources. Moreover, coupled with AT&C loses, inability to stop thefts and inadequate distribution network has made electricity expensive. Nevertheless, the government through the Deendayal gram jyoti yojana, Integrated Power Development Scheme(IPDS), National solar mission and recent coal auction seeks to resolve these issues.

Discuss the importance of microgrids for the Indian economy. (200 Words)

Write a note on the science and effectiveness of earthquake early warning system.
-Uttarakhand recently got its second Earthquake Early Warning System. This system would enable an early warning of earthquake of magnitude 5 or more in the area.

-The earthquakes are generated by the sheer pressure generated at the fault lines. The first of these waves to generate are P-waves which are followed by S-wave. The devastations are caused by S-waves and not by P-waves. The early warning system helps detect P-waves and alarm before the S-waves hit the surface. The warning can be before 1-40 seconds depending upon the distance from the epicentre.

-These systems are very affecting in preventing many injuries and saving lives. These has been installed and successfully tested in many countries such as Mexico, California and Japan. This would be more helpful in areas which are at a distant from epicentre as they would get more time.

-Even in places which are not so far from the epicentre, the warning giving 4-5 seconds can be of much help. This would let people hiding in safe places.

-These system would be of much help in train and metro as early warning would prevent them from derailing and saving many lives.

-With the current earthquake devastation in Nepal, India has to take a learning. India has to install these equipment in the earthquake prone zones. India envisages of “Smart City project”. These cities should be at least as smart as giving early warning for earthquake in India.

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