Mains Test Series


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GS-2

NGOs on ED watchlist for funding Naxals

News:

  1. The Enforcement Director(ED) keeping eye on some NGOs that are suspected for funding naxals in various states.

Important facts:

2. The agency is preparing a list of these NGOs to examine their financial dealings.

3. The action is being taken following several rounds of multi-agency meetings.

4. The ED also identified some prominent industrial houses involved in paying ‘protection money’ to these organsiation.

5. ED will soon send summon to these houses for recording their statements.

6. The agency earlier has found that naxal leaders extorted money and laundered the funds.

7. Properties worth crores has been attached under Prevention of Money Laundering Act over the past few months.

8. States like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana are more prone to naxals.

Prevention of Money Laundering  Act,2002:

  • This act was enacted to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from money laundering.
  •   It came into force in 2005.
  •   PMLA defines money laundering offence and provides for the freezing, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.
  •   Salient Features of this act are as follows:

a) The provisions of this act are applicable to all financial institutions.

b) The agency monitoring the anti-Money laundering activities in India is the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-IND).

c) There can be punishment of imprisonment upto 3-7 years with fine upto 5 lakh rupees.

The Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Act 2012

  •  The PMLA was enacted in 2002, but was amended thrice, first in 2005, then in 2009 and then 2012.
  •  PMLA (Amendment) Act, 2012 has enlarged the definition of money laundering by including activities such as concealment, acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime as criminal activities.
  •  Some other features are as follows:

a) The amendment has introduced the concept of Corresponding law to link the provisions of Indian law with the laws of foreign countries.

b) It also introduced the concept of ‘reporting entity, which would include banking company and financial institutions.

c) The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 levied a fine up to Rs 5 lakh. The amendment act has removed this upper limit.

d) The act has provided for provisional attachment and confiscation of property of any person (for a period not exceeding 180 days).

e) The act has conferred the powers upon the Director to call for records of transactions or any additional information that may be required for the purposes of investigation.

f) Obligation of banking companies, financial Institutions and Intermediaries to follow the KYC norms and maintain records for a minimum period of 10 Years.

 

Chronicle of a victory foretold

Article:

  1. Ahmet Tonak, an economist, and Vijay Prashad, Chief editor of Lefts words book, analyse the upcoming challenges before Turkey’s newly elected President Tayyip Erdogan.

Important Analysis:

2. Tayyip Erdogan won recent re-election as President of Turkey.

3. The elections were held in a state of emergency, imposed in July 2016 following a coup attempt.

4. Erdogan called for election a year before they were due as a clever political move. This victory will provide him opportunity to establish his political authority before he tackles the economic weakness of Turkey.

5. Turkey after financial crisis:

  • After 2008 financial crisis Turkey faced lots of problems. Mr Erdogan’s initiated some steps to tackle this crisis situation.
  • Aftermath of 2008 financial crisis, new money was to break unavailability of credit. Turkey like other middle-income countries (Argentina and Mexico), joined the larger economies to stimulate economic growth.
  • Turkey and Mexico lose their currency value after the U. S. Federal Reserve began to reduce money supply and raise interest rates.
  • Erdogan’s financial manager prevented the Turkish central bank from raising interest rates to deal with capital outflow.
  • Author says that this move was  to protect his allies amongst the mid-level Anatolian business communities and the small artisans, not to protect lira.
  • The Turkish currency lira dropped in value against the U.S. dollar from 3.75 TL in early 2018 to 4.92 TL by May.

6. Arab Spring in 2011:

  • At the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, Mr Erdogan was confident that Turkey would re-emerge as a major player in the region.
  • A foreign policy outlook named neo-Ottomanism commanded Turkey’s ambitions.
  • Failure attempt to overthrow Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and defeat of Turkey’s preferred Muslim Brotherhood from Tunisia to Egypt led to the desiccation of Mr. Erdogan’s hopes for Turkish expansion.
  • Moreover, tensions with the West and failure in Arab world    have driven Turkey back towards relations with Russia, China and Iran.

7. New Challenges before Turkey:

  • Turkish republicanism is posing an incoherent challenge to Erdogan’s mix of nationalism and Sunni internationalism.
  • It is wedded to the EU project, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation(NATO).
  • The new manoeuvres of international finance capital added substantial fragility to Turkey’s economy, which already accumulated external debt of around $ 500 billion.
  • By the end of the year, Turkey will have to pay down almost half of this debt.
  • To do so, Mr Erdogan may be compelled to enact policies that favour business community rather than working class and peasantry.
  • Higher rates of unemployment can be expected.
  • Higher inflation can be seen in essential goods.

8. Conclusion:

  • Edogan’s reelection will mean that Turkey will continue to stumble between its obligations to NATO and the West as well as its need for close links to Russia, China and Iran.

 

Russia-related sanctions to dominate 2+2 talks

News:

  1. India and the US will hold their first 2+2 dialogue next week

Important facts:

2. First  2+2 Dialogue will involve the External Affairs and Defence Ministers and their American counterparts.

2+2 Dialogue:

  •  India and the U.S. have decided to set up a new dialogue mechanism that would include defence and foreign ministers of the two countries.
  •   The dialogue format would be likely called “2 by 2”.
  •  The India-U.S. “2 by 2”dialogue will be on the lines of India-Japan 2+2 dialogue format.
  •  The India-U.S. “2 by 2”dialogue would replace the existing India-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue for trade and commercial issues.
  •  India and the U.S. will now have a separate dialogue on commercial issues, which will not include the foreign ministers.

Significance of “2 by 2” Dialogue 

  • The objective of this dialogue is to raise defence and security issues.
  • It is aimed at enhancing peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region by elevating strategic consultations in the dialogue.
  • The shared priorities include job creation, improving the business and investment climate and sustaining a rules-based global order.
  • The U.S. has strategic consultations in this format with key partners and allies including Australia, Japan and the Philippines.

3. The new dialogue format was agreed upon by the two sides during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington D.C. in June 2017.

4. U.S President Donald Trump recently accused New Delhi of charging as high as 100 per cent tariff on import of American products.

5. Trump recently impose tariffs on import of foreign products.

6. Trumphas defended it by arguing that this is in retaliation to the imbalance of trade that the US has with major trading partners including China, the European Union and India.

7. Issues expected to discuss:

  • Recent Russia-related sanctions, key impediment for India’s defence modernization.
  • The two sides will share perspective on strengthening their strategic and security ties.
  • Both side will exchange views on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual interest.
  • The Indian side will firmly place its objections to CAATSA during the 2+2 Dialogue on July 6.

8. Impact of CAATSA

  • The impact of CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) is still being assessed in the military circles even as policy moves from the U.S. have not been reassuring.
  • Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for 2019 without any waiver provisions under CAATSA for countries having significant defence relations with Russia.
  • Indian side will firmly place its objections to CAATSA as practically all major defence deals in the pipeline between India and U.S. would help up due to this.

9. No waivers

  • The House version which was passed earlier had allowed limited waiver, which did not find place in the Senate version.
  • The House version allows for waivers for 180 days, provided the administration certifies that the country in question is scaling back its ties with Russia.
  • Even this would be tough for India, as it would be extremely difficult to scale down its relations with Russia.

 

‘China proposed 2+1 format for India talks’

News:

  1. Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Oli’s visit to Beijing.

Important facts:

2. During Mr Oli’s visit, China made its intent clear to engage deeply with Nepal.

3. China wants to develop special ties with the Himalayan neighbor.

4. China-Nepal ties would be docked with India’s shared interest as well.

China’s 2+1 format:

5. China proposed 2+1 format for India talks.

6. This is different from a trilateral mechanism.

7. Under the Chinese proposal, China and India can jointly conduct a dialogue with a third regional country.

8. China wants that this 2+1 format to be flexible and apply in other country in South Asia.

9. This initiative is not Nepal-Specific.

10. China made it clear that they were not interested in pursuing a zero-sum approach with Nepal.

11. The Chinese made direct reference to the April Wuhan informal Summit, which has began to have a cascading impact on the region.

12. While the analyst says that China is keen to build bridges with India after frictions with the U.S. under Trump administration.

13. For achieving China’s Belt and Road Initiative’s full potential, it is important to enhance regional connectivity with India, including a trans-Himalayan corridor through Nepal.

 

GS-3

Transplanting best practices

Article:

  1. Sanjay Nagral, Surgeon, emphasized on controversy over large percentage of foreigners receiving cardiac transplant from decreased donar’s in India.

Important Analysis:

2. Heart transplantation has always been in public eye, Christian Barnand performed the first successful human heart transplant in 1967, in Cape Town, Africa.

3. Controversy:

  • Large number of foreigners receiving cardiac transplants from donars in India.
  • The debate around it is important as it emphasized the loopholes in transplantation policy in India.

4. Organ transplantation in India:

  • Organ transplant in India is mostly conducted in private hospitals.
  • The cost of transplantation is very high.
  • Cardiovascular practice in India is largely dominated by bypass and stenting for ischemic heart disease.
  • Tamil Nadu’s deceased donar programme is one of the best in the country.
  • In India, there is need for transparency in the organ allocation process.
  • It is also important to address certain key drivers behind foreigners getting cardiac transplant.
  • Hard policy changes like :
  1. Strengthening the capacity of the public sector.
  2. Subsidising transplantation
  3. Enabling affirmative action in the allocation process in favour of public hospitals.
  4. Need to build high public trust in their respective nationalized health schemes like Europe
What is organ donation?

  • Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantation.
  • Transplant: A transplant is a medical procedure where one person’s dysfunctional organ or tissue is replaced by that of a healthy person, thus restoring its function.

Different types of organ donation:

Living Donation:

  • Living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ (or part of an organ) for transplantation to another person.

Deceased Cadaver Donation:

  • An organ or part of an organ given at the time of donor’s death. (Cadaver means corpse)
  • Donated after the donor is declared brain dead.
  • Brain death is the total and irreversible loss of all brain functions.
  • Brain dead persons are kept on ventilators (artificial support) to ensure all organs remain oxygenated and healthy until they are harvested.

 

Saving Delhi’s trees

Article:

  1. Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli are environmental researchers at Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, said Delhi residents are protesting against deforestation for construction projects.

Important Analysis:

2. Delhi residents have been protesting against the government’s approval for felling over 14,000 trees in South Delhi.

3. The National Buildings Construction Corporation is facing several criticisms in this regard.

4. The Corporation, tasked with redeveloping half a dozen south Delhi colonies, recently assured the Delhi High Court that no trees would be cut for the project.

5. The project involving huge investment was designed by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

6. The project was approved  by the Union Cabinet in 2017.

7. They have been declared “smart” and “green” despite their ecological impacts such as high water usage and tree loss

8. The National Green Tribunal in September 2017 challenge these projects.

9. Atleast five of the seven projects received environment clearances between November and June.

10. From 2006, most construction projects have been approved based on an application form instead of detailed assessment reports.

11. In 2014, schools, colleges and hostels for educational institutions were exempted from taking environment clearances as long as they followed specific sustainability parameters.

12. In 2016, projects with areas of less than 20,000 sq m were permitted to proceed as long as they submitted a self-declaration ensuring adherence to environmental norms.

13. The residents are now appealing to the government to embrace inclusive ways of redesigning the city.

14. The governments could join hands by committing to review these projects.

 

Pakistan’s arid land transforms into green gold

News:

  1. Billion Tree Tsunami’ transforms arid Pakistan region into green gold.
Billion Tree Tsunami:

  • The Billion Tree Tsunami was launched in 2014, by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa(KPK), Pakistan, as a response to the challenge of  global warming
  •   Pakistan’s Billion Tree Tsunami restores 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land to surpass its  Bonn Challenge commitment.
  • The project aims at improving the ecosystems of classified forests, as well as privately owned waste and farm lands
  • The project due to be completed in June 2020.

Important facts:

2. In northwestern Pakistan, hundreds of millions of trees have been planted to fight deforestation.

3. The ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ has seen 300 million trees of 42 species planted across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

4. In 2015 and 2016, around 16,000 labourers planted more than 9,00,000 fast-growing eucalyptus trees at regular, geometric intervals in Heroshah .

5. These new trees will be helpful in the following ways:

  • These trees  control soil erosion
  • Will also help in mitigate climate change.
  • Decreases chances of floods and increase the chances of precipitation.
  • Also economic boost for residents.
  • Can be used as firewood by residents.

6.. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat, many of the high valleys were denuded by the Pakistan Taliban during their reign from 2006 to 2009.

7. The Heroshah and Swat plantations are part of the “Billion Tree Tsunami”, a provincial government programme.

8. In early 2017, the government announced its own Green Pakistan Project, which aims to plant 100 million trees in five years across the country.

 

Elephantine threat: Assam considering sedation, relocation of aggressive animals

News:

  1. Assam wildlife officials are considering sedation, relocation of aggressive elephants for reducing man-animal conflict in western Assam.

Important facts:

2. Assam wildlife officials said that they are encouraged by a similar experiment near Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand.

3. About half of 58 elephant corridors in the northeast, comprising 35% of the country’s, are in Assam.

4. More than 15 of these corridors, used by an estimated 9,350 elephants, are under the Northeast Frontier Railway.

5. Human habitations and barriers such as electric fences and trenches have blocked some of these corridors.

6. The scores of reserve forests and proposed reserve forests in the district are fragmented.

7. Goalpara has 103 reserve forests, covering 20% of the district’s landmass.

8. Most of the elephants have been forced to move about in a 300 sq km area for more than two years now.

9. Cornered, the herds and a lone makhna – male without tusks – have turned aggressive, raiding villages and killing at least 17 people this year.

10. More worrying for wildlife officials and activists is the fact that conflicts are happening throughout the year, instead of winter months as in the past.

11. The gravity of the problem in Goalpara made the State forest department call all wildlife officials and veterinarians for a meeting to work out strategies.

12. Strategies:

  • Translocation of the rogue loner and other ‘troublemakers’ in the herds.

13. Challenge:

  • Finding suitable locations for translocation.
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