The HINDU Notes – 17th January

📰 THE HINDU – CURRENT NOTE 17 January


G.S-01

🔴 New 98-year-old photo of Bharati revealed

bharati

  • Mahakavi Subramania Bharati’s photograph that was recently discovered, making it only one of six available images of the patriot-poet.
  • The photograph, discovered at the Department of Tamil language of Madras University in New Delhi.
  • It was taken at the Ratna Company, Chennai, apparently to promote English lectures on “The Cult of the Eternal — Being a scientific exposition of the art of conquering death” by Bharatiyar at the Victoria Public Hall on March 2, 1919 presided over by Justice S. Subramania Iyer.
  • The advertisement published in Annie Besant’s “New India”.
  • Bharati met Mahatma Gandhi at the residence of Kasturi Ranga Iyengar on Cathedral Road in March 1919.
  • Gandhiji stayed in the city between March 19 and 23 and there is a record of the meetings he attended.
  • Rajaji, who was present during Bharati’s meeting with Gandhiji, is said to have described the poet’s appearance as similar to ‘a pitha sanyasi [a mad sanyasi].
  • Two photographs were taken in 1917, Besides Bharati, his wife Chellammal, daughters Thangammal and Sakunthala and Vijayaragavachariyar are seen in the picture.
  • Photograph along with the members of Karaikudi Hindu Madhabimana Sangam and for a separate image in 1919.
  • Irish writer James H. Cousin met Bharati in Puducherry and described him as one of India’s four important poets — besides Tagore, Sarojini Naidu and Sri Aurobindo.

🔴 President to unveil Netaji’s restored car tomorrow

netaji-car

  • President Pranab Mukherjee is set to unveil the car a four-door sedan manufactured in the early 1930s by Auto Union, then a venture of four German auto majors and now owned by Audi.
  • Bose – a member of Parliament and a professor of history at Harvard University, said full optical restoration of the sedan not done but original catalogue intact.
  • Subhas Chandra Bose or Netaji had boarded the car in the guise of a Pathan, evaded the British police and set off on his ‘Great Escape’ to Germany.
  • It was past 1.35 am, January 16-17, 1941 Dr. Sisir Kumar Bose [son of elder brother of Netaji] was at the driver’s seat, started the engine immediately, took a right on the Elgin Road and another right to Allenby Road [now Dr Sisir Kumar Bose road] and went further north. Netaji was on the rear seat.
  • Sisir Bose and Netaji reached Gomoh station (now in Jharkhand) late on January 17 to to board the Delhi-Kalka Mail.

G.S-02

🔴 Warships sold, not gifted to Pakistan, says China

chinese_navy_ships_karachi

China clarified that it had not “donated” two warships to Pakistan, but that the transfer of vessels, apparently for the defence of Gwadar port, was part of a legitimate “military trade” between the two countries.

Pakistani media reports:

  • China has handed over two ships to Pakistan Navy on Saturday to safeguard the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • The two ships had not been provided exclusively for protecting the Gwadar port, will be employed in all maritime zones of Pakistan to undertake search and rescue operations.
  • The vessels were handed over to the agency in Guangzhou, China, and not at Gwadar.
  • China is building two more ships, named Dasht and Zhob, which will be delivered to the Pakistani Navy soon.

Jash-e-Mohammad (JeM)- Azhar and NSG Issue:china-support-to-masood-azhar

  • China’s Point– China had not blocked India’s move to impose a ban on the JeM chief. Beijing will continue to remain engaged with “relevant parties on this”. India has sought a UN ban on the head of the JeM chief following last year’s attack on the Pathankot air base.
  • Membership to the grouping could not be considered a “farewell gift” that countries give to each other. China’s clearance on blocking India’s membership to the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  • Background– Earlier this year China Vetoed on India’s demand for a ban on Jash-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council.
  • The 1267 committee needs to base its decision on solid evidence and follow relevant resolutions and rules of procedure and make a decision based on consensus. The technical hold China proposed is to allow more time for consultation and deliberation.

🔴 NATO is obsolete, U.S. could cut a deal with Russia, says Trump

nato

NATO is “obsolete”, Germany’s Angela Merkel made a “catastrophic mistake” on refugees, Brexit will be “great” and the U.S. could cut a deal with Russia.

{Trump’s controversial comments about European allies in interviews with British newspapers}

Hand to Russia:

He suggested a deal in which nuclear arsenals would be reduced and sanctions against Moscow would be eased, but gave no details extending a hand to Russia.

Earlier:

  • His predecessor Barack Obama puts sanctions over Moscow’s involvement in Ukraine, the Syrian war and for alleged cyber attacks to influence the U.S. election.
  • Washington’s European allies imposed sanctions against Russia over Ukraine in 2014. Those measures were renewed on December 19.

NATO:

  • It was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago and the countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay.
  • Eastern European NATO countries nervous about Moscow following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and involvement in Ukraine.

Trade deal with U.K:

  • He backed a trade deal with post-EU Britain, which would be “good for both sides”. After 20 January Inauguration he will meet British Prime Minister Theresa May.
  • Other countries will leave the European Union in future largely due to the pressure the bloc was put under following a significant rise in migrants and refugees arriving.
  • He also criticised Ms. Merkel for letting Germany admit undocumented migrants enter the country, insinuating that this posed a security risk.

🔴 The pragmatist’s pivot to India

ali-akbar-hashemi-rafsanjani

  • The death of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on January 8 was a landmark for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • He was a pivotal figure in the country’s path since the 1979 revolution: a founding father, a military leader in the war with Iraq, and twice President.
  • Under his presidency a historic shift in ties with India, laying the groundwork for the cooperation that has unfolded, haltingly, over the past 20 years.

From radical to moderate:

  • His nicknames “Akbar Shah” and “the shark”, convey his blend of power, cunning, and adaptability. He was also a source of support for Iran’s beleaguered reformists.
  • In the final decade of his life, he became a totem of pragmatism, moderation, and reform.
  • He warned that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in 2009 would bring “Islamic fascism”, blamed the Bashar al-Assad regime for the use of chemical weapons in 2013, and supported Hassan Rouhani’s successful bid for the presidency that same year.
  • His funeral last week drew more than two million people, including supporters of the Green Movement, crushed by force in 2009, and vocal critics of Russia, alongside which Iran is fighting in Syria.

Transforming ties with India:

modi-in-tehran

  • In the early 1990s, the situation was delicate his flexibility played a role in the evolution of Iran’s ties with India.
  • He noted the visit of P.V. Narasimha Rao (first Indian Prime Minister to visit Iran since the revolution) in September 1993 as “a turning point”.
  • In March 1994, Iran bailed out India in the UN Commission on Human Rights, blocking a consensus on Kashmir.
  • He spoke his mind: on the “persecution” of minorities, on the Babri Masjid, and on the importance of India-Pakistan talks, including “true” representatives of Kashmiris, such as the Hurriyat Conference, to resolve the conflict in the Valley.
  • Taliban’s spectacular advance in Afghanistan by then with the support of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence had concentrated minds in both countries and concerned at being associated too closely with India while the then Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was preparing once more to censure India on Kashmir.
  • In April 1995, Rafsanjani met PM Rao at New Delhi. Speaking to over 10,000 Shias at Lucknow’s Bara Imambara — and promising ₹10 million for its upkeep — Rafsanjani gave an unexpected endorsement of Indian secularism and even praised India’s “serious will” on Kashmir while dismissing Pakistan’s call for American mediation.
  • He signed a three-way India-Iran-Turkmenistan transit agreement, allowing India to avoid Russian or Ukrainian ports. He also urged a Tehran-Delhi-Beijing axis — his proposal, sandwiched between India’s 1993 and 1996 border agreements with China.
  • Structural factors, such as India’s economic liberalisation and the situation in Afghanistan, were more important for the change in relations.
  • Rafsanjani’s trip marked several themes that would shape India-Iranian relations for the next two decades. One was economic diplomacy focussed on connectivity, energy, and trade. Another was mutual concern over the future of Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s role there.
  • A third was India’s effort — not always successful — to prevent relations with Washington and Tehran from interfering with one another.

Economic diplomacy:

chabahar-graphic

  • Rising India has looked to Central Asia and Iran has emerged from the sanctions straightjacket after historic agreement over the Chabahar port.
  • Iran is considerably more relaxed than India about Gwadar, China’s regional infrastructure plans, and the Chinese navy’s presence in the Indian Ocean.
  • India’s oil imports from Iran trebled from the previous year, pushing it into fourth place in the ranking of Indian suppliers, and there is pressure on the Reserve Bank of India to allow Iranian banks to open branches in India, which would boost the relatively modest amount of bilateral trade.
  • Tehran now openly flirting with parts of the Taliban even as Delhi and Kabul draw closer together. Taliban delegations have been coming to Iran for years; they attended December’s International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran with no semblance of secrecy.

Tehran-Washington balancing act:

  • With Boeing and Airbus queuing up to sell to Iran, it’s easier for India to do so after eased in sanctions by Obama administration in the U.S.
  • President-elect Trump has repeated, to a British newspaper, his view that Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is “one of the worst deals ever made”. Russian President Vladimir Putin, would agree to a re-imposition of sanctions.
  • Rouhani seeking re-election this year, and hardliners breathing down his neck, it’s not difficult to imagine a spiral of U.S. and Iranian steps that leads to its unravelling.

🔴 SC revives hearing on Andhra bifurcation

divided-andhra

  • Supreme Court reviving a bunch of petitions challenging the bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 said What better “index” to ascertain whether a State is to be divided or not other than public demand.
  • The Petition wanted the court to declare the bifurcation as an illegal and unconstitutional act.
  • In 2014 issuing notice to Centre Govt. Supreme Court Bench, led by then CJI H.L. Dattu refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014, leading to the bifurcation of the State and the formation of Telangana.

Petition Demands:

  • Petitioners demanded there should be a “federal index” for State formation. The Centre cannot be allowed to ride roughshod over the federal structure of democracy.
  • They denied there had been no such pressure to bifurcate and proper consultations were not held between the Centre and erstwhile State authorities.
  • The petitions were listed before new Chief Justice Khehar. He Questioned-What can be a better index than the entire State demanding it [bifurcation]? ‘State’, we did not mean the State government. We meant the people of the State,” Chief Justice Khehar said.
  • The petitions claimed that the Centre had introduced the Bill when it was rejected by the Andhra Pradesh State Legislature.
  • They contended that the bifurcation violated the basic provisions of federalism. The Centre had to first consult the State legislature before passing any law to merge or divide it.
  • The Excuse: Telangana lost 140 of its villages due to the bifurcation, and this was not the first time the people had experienced the sufferings of bifurcation and new State formations. The first time was when Andhra was separated from Madras
  • Centre’s note: Centre submitted that a committee had held detailed hearings and filed a report that the people living in parts of the present Telangana wanted a new State.

🔴 SC slams States’ stance on PILs

pil

  • Supreme Court slammed several States for their casual attitude towards crucial public interest matters. Admonishing the States for failing to file responses and status reports in court despite several opportunities.
  • States were caught napping in a row of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions which came up for hearing, right from installation of speed governors in public transport vehicles to curb road accidents to industrial pollution to even mid-day meals in schools.

Lack of urgency:

  • The Bench found that several States had not bothered to file responses against the PIL plea on industrial pollution filed by the Gujarat-based NGO, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, was filed five years ago in 2012.
  • The Bench ordered State Transport Secretaries who had neglected to file their responses to be present in court on the next date of hearing after four weeks. The States’ lack of urgency got brickbats in the two hearings concerning mid-day meals and industrial pollution.
  • In the speed governors’ case, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Tripura, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had not filed their replies.

Road casualties:

On hearing a PIL plea filed by NGO Suraksha Foundation highlighting the large number of casualties on Indian roads. The NGO had sought intervention from the apex court with the States to install speed governors to rein in speeding public transport vehicles.

🔴 Centre notifies green action plan for Delhi

air-pollution

  • Environment Ministry has amended laws and formally tasked a Supreme Court-appointed panel with implementing a graded action plan for pollution control.
  • The comprehensive plan, prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), focusing on Delhi was submitted to the Supreme Court on December 2 last year. The court had accepted the plan and asked the Centre to notify it, details measures to be enforced based on the intensity of pollution ranging from severe plus or emergency to moderate-poor.
  • In pursuance of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), the Central government hereby assigns the task of implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan to the EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority)
  • Once the plan is notified, emergency measures like odd-even car rationing scheme and ban on construction activities will be automatically enforced in the city if level of PM2.5 breaches 300 micrograms per cubic metre and PM10 levels stay above 500 micrograms per cubic metre for two consecutive days.
  • The plan lists a number of other measures such as ban on diesel generators & increase in parking fee during ‘very poor’ air quality, closing brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers and intensifying public transport services, increasing the frequency of mechanised cleaning and sprinkling of water on roads.

G.S-03

🔴 Findings on pest menace under a cloud

pest-menace

  • The Central Island Agricultural Research Institute (CIARI), Port Blair, faces allegations of research misconduct and fabrication of scientific data on the occurrence of pollu beetle, a pest infesting black pepper.
  • Scientific paper by K.D. Prathapan challenging CIARI their claim to have identified the pollu beetle (Longitarsus nigripennis) as a major pest of black pepper on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • He argued that three field surveys and review of literature had failed to provide evidence of the occurrence of the pest on the islands.
  • In 2011 a team of researchers at the CIARI, led by Ajanta Birah, published its work in the Indian Journal of Entomology.
  • Black Pepper: It’s a cash crop cultivated in Western Ghats and Andaman Island.
  • Its once was the attraction for European people & that led to colonization of India.

🔴 ‘Sanitising of cattle-sheds key to prevent malaria’

cattleshed

  • Mosquitoes transmitting malaria are often found in cattle-sheds in India and these insects need to be targeted to further WHO’s goal of eliminating the disease globally by 2030.
  • Understanding the dynamic between humans, cattle and mosquitoes could have major implications for malaria control policy and practice, not only in India, but in other areas where transmission is sustained by zoophilic vectors.
  • A team collected a total of 1,774 Anopheles culicifacies and 169 Anopheles fluviatilis mosquitoes specimens — major vectors of malaria on the Indian subcontinent — from six villages in Odisha (highest number of malaria cases in India).
  • The researchers built a computer model that simulated the life of an adult mosquito and showed that conventional control tools such as insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor insecticide sprays are less effective when mosquitoes exhibit ‘zoophilic’ behaviours — having an attraction to non-human animals.

🔴 GST stalemate resolved, rollout deferred to July 1

gst-on-1july

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council arrived at a consensus on contentious issues such as administrative control over taxpayers in the new indirect tax regime.
  • Another area of contention between the Centre and the States was the issue of who would get to collect tax on the economic activities taking place in Indian territorial waters.
  • The Council will now meet on February 18 and approve the legislation that need to be cleared by Parliament and it is expected that those would be passed and ratified during the Budget session.
  • Time for implementation was decided in 1st April but due to some legislative and administrative formulation it’s delayed to 01st
  • Parliament has earlier passed 122nd Constitution amendment bill to Intact Goods and Service Tax. This tax policy is indirect tax means tax imposition not directly intend to any person this is called regressive tax as economic status of the person not mentioned while taxing.

The Formula:

  • As per the formula for dual control of assessees, 90% of those with a GST turnover of 1.5 crore or less will be assessed for the purposes of scrutiny and audit by the States, and 10% by the administrative machinery of the Centre.
  • Those above a turnover of 1.5 crore would be assessed in the ratio of 50:50 between the Centre and the States.

🔴 Demonetisation has hit India’s growth: IMF

The International Monetary Fund logo is seen inside its headquarters at the end of the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington

  • IMF cuts down India’s expected growth rate by one percentage point in the current fiscal year and 0.4 percentage point the next year.
  • 6% for current year and 7.2% next year (earlier projected 7.6%).
  • In 2018-19, the Indian economy should be growing at 7.7%, as estimated earlier.
  • Reasons: 1. temporary negative consumption shock induced by cash shortages. 2. payment disruptions associated with the recent currency note withdrawal and exchange initiative.

U.S-China Outlook:

  • Global growth for 2016 is estimated at 3.1%. stimulus policies expected and already underway in the U.S. and China will hold the world economy from further slowdown. Trump could have a positive impact on the U.S. economy as White House and Congress are in the hands of the same party for the first time in six years.
  • For China, the growth forecast for 2017 was revised upwards, to 6.5%, 0.3 percentage point above the October forecast. In 2018, China’s growth rate is projected to be 6% against India’s 7.7%.
  • Continuing rapid credit expansion, impaired corporate debts, and persistent government support for inefficient state-owned firms are the future risks which can disrupt slowdown in future.

🔴 Vagaries of the job market

unemployment

  • The International Labour Organisation’s latest forecast in ‘World Employment and Social Outlook 2017’ that a few more millions are set to join the pool of the jobless during this year and the next.
  • Serious concern to the stubborn challenge of reducing the extent of vulnerability that currently affects about 42 per cent of the total working population. It refers to lack of access to contributory social protection schemes among the self-employed and allied categories, unlike their counterparts in the wage-earning and salaried classes.

The Data:

ilo-data

  • Self-employed and allied accounts for nearly 50% of workers in the emerging economies and 80% in developing countries.
  • Overall share of vulnerable workers dropped from 46 per cent of total employment in 2015 to 42% in 2016. But only a mere 0.2 percentage point rate of reduction through 2017-18.
  • The proportion of the population in jobs characterised by vulnerability declined by an average annual rate of 0.5 percentage points in the previous decade.

Reasons:

unemployment

  • Relatively slow reversal rates in more recent years, projected to increase unemployment globally by 11 million a year.
  • Rise in income levels in the lowest rungs of the population.
  • Economic dislocation and unprecedented mass migration

The challenge for policymakers worldwide is to ensure that incomes do not fall below the levels of basic subsistence as the world marches towards the poverty reduction targets under the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

🔴 Specialist salvage op to set INS Betwa upright

ins-betwa-mishap

  • Navy has selected a specialist salvage firm Resolve Marine Group (RMG) to set the INS Betwa upright. The 4,000-tonne guided missile frigate had slipped to its side on December 5.
  • It will cost about 20 crore and the entire process is expected to be completed by the end of February.
  • Two people were killed and 14 injured when the INS Betwa suffered the mishap while being un-docked for a scheduled two-year refit in Mumbai’s dockyard. As of now, the ship is 25% in water.
  • Structures will be erected around the ship to balance it and lift it with hydraulic machines as the dock is de-flooded in a controlled way it will take about 15-20days.

 

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