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GS 1


Social issues A Crisis Of Male Identity: (The Hindu, Editorial) Masculinity in crisis? Context:

  • In the recent times, due to the lack of making an identity through career and academics, male identity crisis has been exacerbated.

Introduction:

  • Identity can be divided into two broad categories:
  • “Achieved” identity derived from individual endeavors (education, work and so on)
  • “Ascribed” identity that is derived from intrinsic characteristics (religion, ethnicity, gender, etc)
  • The achieved identity of the Indian male is under attack today.
  • Because even though aspirations are sky-high, employment growth decreases and thus self-esteem and emotional security are more likely to be found in the ascribed identities of the Indian male.
  • Faced with increased competition and impossible odds in the job market, their achieved identity based on work and material markers is severely threatened.

Consequences:

  • The increase in violence against women and minorities, rampant moral policing, and attempts to criminalize alternate sexualities are all part of a consequences against the threats to male supremacy.
  • A recent scenario of the cow protection narrative which is being pushed today is part of a larger attempt to restore the supposedly lost glory of a muscular Hindu India.

Conclusion:

  • The intention of the ascribed identities of targeting the “other” will not diminish in our context, unless purposefully countered.

GS 2


India and neighbors India-China trade talks deadlocked: (The Hindu) India – China bilateral trade talks deadlocked Context

  • Trade talks between India and China stayed deadlocked with neither side willing to offer concessions to end the impasse.

The failure of recent talks

  • The recent bilateral talks on farm products fell apart between India and China.
  • As the talk took place in the backdrop of the military standoff in the Doklam area of the India-Bhutan-China tri-Junction the talk anyway was very unlikely.
  • China deferred taking a decision on grant of market access to Indian rice, pomegranate, okra and bovine meat.
  • India chose to stick to its ban on imports of apple, pear, milk and milk products from China.

Game of chicken in the high Himalayas: (The Hindu, Editorial) India – China Himalayan face off Context Almost 2,500 Chinese “transgressions” have been documented since 2010 on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the undefined border between India and China. The Himalayan

  • The Himalayan discord is separate to the India-China territorial dispute.
  • The present stand-off is near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction, and in an area where both China and Bhutan hold competing territorial claims.
  • Outbreak of hostilities on the Himalayan border would taint China’s image.
  • It will also undermine the internationalism surrounding the Belt and Road discourse.
  • It would also fuel anti-Chinese sentiment in India, which both Washington and Tokyo would almost certainly profit from.

Five-judge Bench to hear Aadhaar pleas: (The Hindu) Five judges- Bench constituted to hear Aadhaar pleas: Context: A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court will hear a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Aadhaar scheme, primarily whether the parting of biometric details by citizens to access welfare and benefits under the scheme is a violation of the right to privacy. Introduction:

  • Attorney General K.K Venugopal for the Centre and senior advocate Shyam Divan made an urgent mention before a bench led by Chief Justice of India J. S. Khehar for setting up a Constitution bench to hear the petitions at the earliest.
  • The CJI’s decision to set up a five-judge Constitution Bench came after Attorney-General KK Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan mentioned the matter before him. .
  • The Supreme Court had referred the case for hearing before a Constitution bench in October 2015.
  • This is the first time the government has formally joined the petitioner’s side to mention the case for an early hearing by a larger bench.
  • The petitions were filed after Centre notified making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare schemes.
  • The centre, however, had assured the top court that no one would be deprived for want of this identification.
  • Petitions have been field in the apex court challenging several government notifications mandating Aadhaar for availing benefits under various social welfare schemes.
  • One of the petitions being heard is filed by former NCPCR chairperson and Maysaysay winner Shanta Sinha.
  • The top court, however, had allowed the Centre to seek Aadhaar card voluntarily from citizens for extending benefits of schemes like LPG subsidy, Jan Dhan scheme and Public Distribution System.

Hearing on July 18-19:

  • The Constitution Bench will decide if the Aadhaar scheme violated an individual’s right to privacy.
  • The bench may also refer the issue to a 9 judge bench.
  • The hearing would begin on July 18

International groupings and agreements


GS 3


Indian Economy. Planning, Growth and Employment Don’t fly into the same storm: (The Hindu, Editorial) A level playing field: Context: Air India’s disinvestment, first attempted by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, is being revived. Introduction:

  • The sale bid the last time was a flop, shelved prematurely after all the bidders were either disqualified or dropped out.
  • In May 2000, bids were invited for a 40 per cent stake in Air India, with a cap of 26 % on foreign investment.
  • The airline had reported losses for six straight years, had $ 70 million debt on its books and was fast losing traffic.
  • More than 18,000 workers were on its rolls for a fleet of just about two dozen planes.
  • Its employee-aircraft ratio, 750 was among the worst.
  • Singapore Airlines, in contrast, had 91 employees per aircraft.
  • Inefficiency, in a government controlled set up, was bleeding Air India.
  • The sale’s stated purpose was to bring on board a strategic partner who would turn around Air India. However, a bidding rule that required foreign airlines to team up with a local partner forced them to opt out.
  • Singapore Airlines, which had also expressed interest formally, roped in the Tatas to proceed with its bid.

Description:

  • A Delhi based chamber of commerce wrote to the Prime Minister lobbying against foreign investors being allowed to acquire more than 25 per cent stake in Air India, as this was the rule in U.S, China, Thailand and Mexico.
  • Under Indian law, investors owning fewer than 26 per cent shares cannot move special resolutions, a restriction that did not apply in the countries the letter cited.
  • After the sale was scrapped, private airlines flourished.
  • Although Air India’s fleet which includes its subsidiaries has now grown to around 150 aircraft, it has lost traffic and market leadership to competition.
  • The contest was down to two bidder- the Hinduja group and the Singapore Airlines-Tata joint venture.
  • Both were invited to inspect Air India’s book.

Present situation:

  • Air India’s debt, now about $8 billion, is growing unsustainably.
  • It was bailed out with $ 5.8 billion of taxpayer money in 2012.
  • The sale’s purpose should be to compensate taxpayers for shouldering the burden of keeping the national carrier afloat.
  • Air India’s disinvestment could deliver this if it results in reduced government interference and increased competition.
  • Competition in the air travel market will not increase if Air India gets acquired by a private airline in India.

Conclusion: The rules should provide foreign airlines a level playing field. Sharp scrutiny of objections can expose and thwart hidden vested interests. Selling only a part of the government’s holding will not free India of the ills of public ownership. The government will have to exit the airline clearly and completely.

  • The reform demands political courage, economic wisdom and business like shrewdness. Nod for Bangladesh JIN pact: (The Hindu) Cabinet’s green signal for JIN Pact: Context: The Cabinet gave its approval for the Joint Interpretative Notes (JIN) on the agreement between India and Bangladesh for promotion and protection of investments. Introduction:

    • The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved key trade, commerce, health and foreign cooperation proposals.
    • The meeting also gave approval for signing of the Joint interpretative notes(JIN) agreement between India and Bangladesh.
    • The JIP agreement is aimed at ensuring smooth implementation of the investment promotion and protection pact.
    • Apart from the above approval cabinet also gave nod for Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh for cyber security cooperation.The Cabinet also gave green signal to sign a JIN agreement with Germany for cooperation in the field of healthcare.

    Significance of JIN Pact:

    • It will boost bilateral investments between India and Bangladesh.
    • Agreement involves promotion, protection of investments.
    • The JIN would impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing agreement between India and Bangladesh for the promotion and protection of Investments.
    • It will help in strengthening the investment treaty regime.

    About JIN Pact:

    • It includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses including the definition of investor, definition of investment, exclusion of taxation measures, fair and equitable treatment, National Treatment and Most Favoured Nation treatment, expropriation, essential security interests and Settlement of Disputes between an Investor and a Contracting Party.
    • Joint Interpretative will strengthen the investment treaty regime.

    Possible implications:

    • In the present situation of bilateral investment treaty disputes, it likely to have strong persuasive value before tribunals.
    • Such a proactive approach by states can foster a more predictable and coherent reading of treaty terms by arbitration tribunals.

    Science and Tech Too early to settle the Aryan migration debate?: (The Hindu, Editorial) (The complexity of Aryan Migration) Context:

    • With genetic data currently available, it is difficult to deduce the direction of Aryan migration either into India or out of India during 3200 BC.

    Introduction:

    • Scientists are converging the Aryan migration to the Subcontinent around 2000-1500 BC.
    • Anyone who understands the complexity of Indian population will appreciate that Indians living outside the Subcontinent do not reflect the full diversity of India, as the majority of them are from caste populations with limited subset of regions.
    • India is home to 4,700 ethnic populations, including socially stratified communities, many of which have maintained endogamy (marrying within the community) for thousands of years, and these have been hardly sampled in the Y chromosome analysis and so do not provide an accurate characterization of the R1a frequencies in India (several tribal populations carry substantial frequency of haplogroup R1a).
    • Equally important to understand is that the Y chromosome phylogeny suffered genetic drift (lineage loss), and thus there is a greater chance to lose less frequent R1a branches, if one concentrates only on specific populations, keeping in mind the high level of endogamy of the Subcontinent.
    • These are extremely important factors one should consider before making any strong conclusions related to Indian populations.

    Genetic affinities:

    • The split with the European is around 6,000 years and thereafter the Asian branch (Z93) gave rise to the South Asian (L657), which is a brother branch of lineages present in West Asia, Europe and Central Asia.
    • Scientists using more than 5, 00,000 autosomal genetic markers, showed that the Ancestral North Indians (ANI) share genetic affinities with Europeans, Caucasians and West Asians.
    • Another study holds the opinion that when the Gujarati Indians in Houston (GIH) were analysed for genetic affinities with different ethnic populations of India, it was found that the GIH have formed two clusters in Principal Component Analysis (PCA), one with Indian populations, another an independent cluster.
    • Another study analysed 74 patients with neuromuscular diseases (of mitochondrial origin) living in the U.K. and found a mutation in RNASEH1 gene in three families of Indian origin.
    • However, this mutation was absent in Indian patients with neuromuscular diseases (of mitochondrial origin).
    • This mutation was earlier reported in Europeans, suggesting that these three families might have mixed with the local Europeans.
    • Yet another study analysed 142 samples from 30 ethnic groups and mentioned that modeling of the observed haplotype diversities suggests that both Indian ancestry components (ANI and ASI) are older than the purported Indo-Aryan invasion 3,500 YBP (years before present).
    • As well as, consistent with the results of pairwise genetic distances among world regions, Indians share more ancestry signals with West than with East Eurasians.

    Conclusion:

    • The findings could be biased and confusing is at all one doesn’t understand the complexity of the Indian populations and select samples carefully for analysis. For example:
    • Tribes are one of the founding populations of India, any conclusion drawn without studying them will fail to capture the complete genetic information of the Subcontinent.

    Prelims Related News


    6,000 sq.km Antarctic iceberg splits: (Giant Ice break in Antarctica) Context:

    • One of the biggest icebergs ever recorded has just broken away from Antarctica.
    • An U.S. satellite observed the berg on 12th July, 2017, while passing over a region known as the Larsen C Ice Shelf.

    What is it?

    • The new Larsen berg is probably in the top ten biggest ever recorded bergs.
    • The largest observed in the satellite era was called B-15 which came away from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000 and measured some 11,000 sq.
    • km.

    • The giant block is estimated to cover an area of roughly 6,000 sq.
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