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GS 2

Making sense of the Wuhan reset

India china

Article

  1. MK Narayan, former National Security Advisor has analysed the India- China relation in the context of resent informal summit in Wuhan.

Important Analysis

  1. The wisdom of holding an informal summit when other avenues of diplomacy are available is debatable.
  2. Reason to choose Wuhan
  • Wuhan is symbolic of China’s resilience and economic might today.
  • To show case the wide gulf between ‘Made in China 2025’ and India’s ‘Make in India’ programme.
  1. Reasons for India to choose informal summit
  • As a trust-building exercise
  • To discuss contentious issues with China away from media glare and publicity.
  • To quietly sort out problems that existed between the two countries such as border issues.
  • To project that India and China are on the same page in dealing with global problems.
  1. Reasons for China to choose informal summit
  • To extract some concessions from India as the price for agreeing to an informal summit, viz. putting curbs on the Dalai Lama’s activities in India or backing away from the U.S. policy of containment of China in Asia.
  • China wants to advance its support in its favour in Asia and elsewhere to counter the US.
  1. PM Modi define the relationship between India and China is based on five principles Soch (thought), Sampark (contact), Sahyog (cooperation), Sankalp (determination) and Sapne (dreams).
  2. Background of the summit
  • Leaders of China, Japan and South Korea met in Japan to devise measures that were needed to move ahead with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (India is a part of the RCEP, but a reinvigorated RCEP, alongside a China-Japan reset does not augur well for India).
  • Just before India-China talks, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang was in Tokyo to meet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe as part of a major two-stage initiative. This helps to remove improve trade and strategic relation between the two countries.
  1. China’s position globally
  • US and Europe are not ready to confront China globally
  • China plays vital role in the maintenance of peace in Korean peninsula
  • China –Russia improves recently
  • China establish new equation in West Asia, including with Iran
  • In south Asia, China positioning itself as an alternative to India
  1. Take away of summit
  • An agreement between the leaders for provision of greater ‘strategic communications’ at the highest level.
  • To give ‘strategic guidance’ to the respective militaries to build trust and understanding for ‘prudent management of differences with mutual sensitivity’.
  • To work together jointly on an economic project in Afghanistan.
  • Both have agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and tranquility in all areas of the India-China border.
  • Both sides reiterated the need to cooperate on counter-terrorism.
  • The summit appears to have reinforced the validity of 2005 document ‘Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Boundary Question’, which was signed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
  1. Concerns over the summit
  • Doklam issue not discussed
  • No change in China’s stand over Arunachal Pradesh
  • China’s penetration of India’s neighbourhood is set to continue, with special emphasis on countries such as Nepal and the Maldives.
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor remains unresolved.
  • China focuses on building strong naval and air defences, bolstered by the infusion of high technology.
  1. India should be concerned about Beijing’s defence budget for 2018 which increased by 8.1% over that of the previous year, to build a world class military. This could further encourage China to expand its activities in the Indian Ocean region.

A just and equal code

Uniform civil code

Article:

  1. The author Mohammed Ayoob, Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Michigan State University, is of the opinion that Muslim Indians should accept a uniform civil code that promotes gender justice and social equality.

Analysis:

  1. Background:
  • From the 18th century onwards, British judges decided cases involving Muslims based on their understanding of Islamic legal texts known as Anglo-Mohammedan Law, which forms the basis of Muslim Personal Law.
    • 1937: Muslim Personal Law was codified by the Central Legislature in order to impose uniformity throughout British India.
    • 1950s: Unlike Hindu law, parliament did not make any changes in the Muslim personal law because the Muslim minorities were already traumatised after Partition. Nehru wanted demand for reform to come from muslims.
  1. In later years, the refusal of Muslims to adopt changes in their personal law was result of post partition insecurity. Also, the foremost proponent of an UCC was Hindu communal forces which aggravated the resistance.
  2. According to author, the Koran clearly states that all human beings are equal. The prophet declared that women could inherit property and that a wife’s assets belonged solely to her.
  3. Author opines that a uniform civil code (UCC) which is based on following principle should not be subjected to debate by the Indian Muslims.
    • rational,
    • non-discriminatory
    • sensitive to changing times and
    • Promotes social equality and gender justice (two principal socio-moral lessons in Islamic teachings),and
    • Does not discriminate on the basis of religion or caste.

GS 3

Two Nipah virus deaths confirmed in Kozhikode

Health;

News:

  1. The Health Department of Kozhikode district has confirmed Nipah virus (NiV) infection for the first time in the State.

Important facts:

  1. The National Virology Institute, Pune has confirmed the Presence of the zoonotic virus in the blood sample of died person.
  2. Nipah virus (NiV) infection cause severe disease in both animals and humans.
  3. The virus is transmitted through Fruit bat which is natural reservoir of Nipah virus.
  4. Symptoms of Nipah Virus include:
  • Fever and muscle pain.
  • Inflammation of the brain which further lead to coma.
  • Infection can lead to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis among humans.
  • The virus is capable of causing diseases in domestic animals also.
  1. There is no vaccine for the disease and the only form of treatment is supportive medicines.
  2. To control the spread of virus the district administration has constituted a task force to monitor the situation and directed to set up special wards in private and government hospitals.
  3. Union Health Ministry has directed the Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to visit Kozhikode to assist the State government regarding the Nipah virus.

A high-tech tiger census in Andhra Pradesh

Environment; tiger census

News:

  1. Recently, the 3rdphase of 4th All-India Tiger Estimation (AITE) began in Nallamala forest of Andhra Pradesh

Important facts:

  1. Recently, there have been indications that tigers have also spread to the region south of the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) in the forest up to the Penna River.
  2. The recent tiger estimation is the first in Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation
  3. During the last estimation in 2014, tiger count in united Andhra Pradesh was 68. Tiger count  was 95 in the first AITE in 2006
  4. For the first time, the authorities have used a new app Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-StrIPES). The app would facilitate avoiding human error in the traditional recording of the pugmarks and other signs during survey
  5. For the survey, 250 members of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) of Chenchus have been engaged as trackers for protecting and monitoring the tigers.

Census 2021 may have 2,231 new census towns: study

Census; urbanization

News:

  1. According to a recent study by Centre for Policy Research (CPR), 2231 villages are likely to be declared census towns for the Census 2021

Important Facts:

  1. Census towns are settlements with the following characteristics:
  • A minimum population of 5000, b. Atleast 75% of male main workers engaged in non-agricultural activities, c. A density of population of atleast 400 persons/ sq.km
  1. These settlements are governed like villages by rural panchayats, unlike statutory towns which are governed by urban local bodies.
  2. At present there are 4000 census towns.
  3. There was 1362 census town in 2001. In 2011, there were additional 2,600 census towns.
  4. In 2016, the Union Ministry of Urban Development had recommended convert all identified census towns into statutory ULBs in order to promote planned urban development.

Foreign investors cold to residency scheme

Foreign investment; permanent residency status scheme

News:

  1. No foreigners applied under the Permanent Residency Status (PRS) scheme since its inception in 2016.

Important facts:

  1. PRS in 2016 intended to boost its “Make in India” policy.
  2. Features of Permanent Residency Status (PRS)
  • Permanent Residency Status (PRS) promises facilities for foreign investors who invest a minimum of Rs10 crore within 18 months or Rs25 crore in 36 months.
  • Except Pakistani citizens or third-country nationals of Pakistani origin, the scheme is open for citizens of every country.
  • The foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians in every financial year.
  • PRS will be granted for a period of 10 years with multiple entries and can be renewed for another 10 years.
  • There will be no requirement of registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), the Home Ministry document on the scheme.
  • The PRS card holders are eligible to buy residential property in India.
  1. Most European Union countries, the U.S., Canada and others offer permanent residency to foreign investors. The U.S. offers the EB-5 visa programme where foreigners could apply for permanent residency if they created employment opportunities for 10 people with a minimum investment of Rs6.5 crore.
  2. In India, 90% of FDI proposals came through automatic routes. Among the foreign countries, the U.S., China (including Hong Kong), Mauritius and the U.K. have received the most number of projects at 10 each, followed by Germany at six, Bangladesh at three and Italy, Israel, Netherlands and Switzerland at two each.

PMO seeks change in UPSC allocation

UPSC; civil services reform

News:

  1. The Prime Minister Office has asked to examine if service allocation/cadre allocation to probationers selected for civil service examination can be made after the foundation course.

Important fact:

  1. PMO has asked to examine the feasibility of giving due weightage to the performance in the foundation course and making service allocation as well as cadre allocation to all-India services officers based on the combined score obtained in the exam and the foundation course
  2. At present, service allocation to the selected candidates of Civil Service examination is made well before the commencement of the foundation course.
  3. The total duration of the foundation course for probationers of all the services is three months.
  4. PMO asked the concern departments to give their feedback on the proposal to allocate other Central services also.

India gears up for AI-driven wars

Artificial intelligence; defence projects

News:

  1. The government has initiated to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the operational preparedness of the armed forces.

Note: Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term for simulated intelligence in machines. These machines are programmed to “think” like a human and mimic the way a person acts. The ideal characteristic of artificial intelligence is its ability to rationalize and take actions that have the best chance of achieving a specific goal.

Important facts:

  1. India had  started the work on the application of AI to boost the capabilities of its armed forces as many developed national is already following AI.
  2. A high-powered task force headed by Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran is finalizing the specifics and framework of the project, which would be implemented in a “partnership model” between the armed forces and the private sector.
  3. The government had decided to introduce Artificial intelligence as a part of a broader policy initiative to prepare the Army, Navy and the Air Force for next-generation warfare.
  4. Unmanned aerial vehicles, naval vessels, tanks and automatic robotic rifles as weapon systems would be included as a part AI in future wars.

5.The induction of Artificial intelligence will provide Indian Armed force a level playing field and to overcome the Chinese and other world power in field of Artificial intelligence.

  1. Artificial intelligence will help in border surveillance and could ease the pressure on armed forces personnel guarding the sensitive frontiers with China and Pakistan.
  2. Artificial intelligence around the world.
  • China is putting its hard efforts in Artificial intelligence research and machine learning.
  • The U.S., Britain, France and the European Union are also investing significantly in Artificial intelligence.
  • The U.S. has carried out successful with the help of artificial intelligence to target terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan and Northwest Pakistan using drones.

What’s roiling the rupee

Rupee depreciation; value of rupee

News:

  1. Rupee now figures among the worst-performing Asian currencies. It slides over 6% against the U.S. dollar since the beginning of 2018.

Important facts:

  1. In 2013, rupee slides more than 20% in 3 months from May to August, due to bond buying programme of U.S Federal Reserve. This forced RBI to take interventionist measure such as raising interest rates and curbing gold imports.
  2. Reasons for rupee fall in India.
  • Persistent current account deficit (CAD)
  • Rising oil prices
  • Reduction in foreign investment
  1. Difference between situation of 2013 and 2018
  • CAD in 2018 is forecasted 2% of GDP as compared to 4.8% of GDP in 2013. India is expected to end FY19 with CAD at about $70 billion or about 2.5% of GDP, a significant deterioration from 0.7% in FY17, but still only at half the levels seen in 2013.
  • RBI has sufficient stocks of forex reserve in 2018 as compared to 2013 to meet any volatile situation.
  • An oil price was $110 per barrel, as compared to $71 in May 2018.
  • India attracts about double FDI inflow in 2018 as compared to 2013
  1. Issues in 2018
  • Frequent elections act as a barrier
  • Volatile FPI flow
  • India equities trade is at stiff premium as compared to other Emerging Markets after the four-year Bull Run. This hampers the FPI inflow.
  • A narrowing gap between the bond rate of US treasury and Indian gilts may prompt FPI to pull away from Indian bond market.
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