GS 2

Government policies


Probe ‘extra-judicial’ killings in Manipur, SC tells CBI (The Hindu) (SC orders CBI probe against AFSPA activities during Manipur insurgency) Context

  • The Supreme Court ordered a time-bound CBI probe into the deaths of over 80 civilians in disturbed areas under the grip of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, in the north-eastern State of Manipur during the heights of insurgency.

The judgement

  • A Bench of Justices Madan B.
  • Lokur and U.U. Lalit snubbed to entertain the Centre’s argument that such crimes were “vintage” and there was no need to re-visit them.

  • The Centre in its defense said that victim’s families were compensated and nothing more needed to be done.
  • The Centre blamed local pressures and the ground situation as the reasons behind the years of neglect.
  • Justice Lokur, stating the dos and don’t’s and the ten commandments of the Army chief, requires enquiry.
  • Parents and families of the victims had approached the court for answers in the cases of 1,528 persons finished off in what they termed as “extra-judicial killings”.
  • The crime allegedly committed by the police and “personnel in uniform of the armed forces of the Union” will be scrutinized.
  • Not a single Fir was registered against any personnel of the Manipur Police for all these years.
  • SC observed that heinous crimes can never get settled through payment of monetary compensation.

SIT to probe attack on Amarnath pilgrims (The Hindu)


(Special Investigation Team set up for inspecting the Amarnath attack) Context

  • The Jammu and Kashmir police have set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the attack on Amarnath pilgrims.

Reports of Investigation

  • The preliminary investigations suggest militants “wanted to inflict heavy casualty as five magazines were emptied on the bus.”
  • As per the reports, at least 150 empty bullet cartridges or five magazines of AK-47 were found near Batengoo, Anantnag.
  • Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, South Kashmir, S.P. Pani will head the SIT.
  • Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Anantnag, Altaf Ahmad Khan, will be assisting him.

The attack in brief

  • Tracing the attack trajectory, the police inquiry suggests that the five magazines emptied within a short time.
  • This suggests that “more than three militants” may have taken part in the attack.
  • The police are focusing on technical details to establish the link of the militants, who carried out the attack, with the handlers across the Line of Control (LoC).
  • The police maintain that Lashkar-e-Taiba’s is behind the attack.

Effects of developed and developing countries policies


How Brexit has begun to unravel (The Hindu, Editorial) Context

  • With just 20 months to go till Britain is meant to leave the EU, the government of Britain is eventually lousy with its stance on Brexit, with some even suggesting that it might not happen at all.

Issues around Brexit

  • The practical issues around Brexit and the interpretation of the “will of the people” seem to be grow rapidly, highlighted by an ongoing controversy over Britain’s membership of the European nuclear industry regulator, Euratom.
  • Britain had committed to leave the agency when it notified Europe of its plans to leave the union, back in March.
  • The government had suggested it had little option but to leave as it raised issues around jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice among other things.

Effect

  • Leaving the regulator, Euratom, Britain would lose out on crucial developments that had taken place, particularly around radiotherapy, which could delay the delivery of cancer drugs to patients.
  • When India is seen to be most in the beneficiary by Britain’s exit, the former country will at be at a considerable lost.

Malabar drills aim at giving regional security, says Japan (The Hindu)


(Japan aims at regional security through Malabar drill) Context

  • Japanese ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatasu considers the trilateral Naval exercise at Malabar 2017, involving India, the U.S. and Japan, as strategically very important and destined to maintain the rule of law and maritime security in the region.

The important points

  • The Ambassador assured that Japan’s relations with India had a solid base, “for safeguarding peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
  • He hinted at more exchanges linking ground and air forces and an exchange of personnel in various areas.

Other areas

  • Japan’s ambassador denied that the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor project, envisaging an India-Japan collaboration in Africa is to counter China’s Belt and Road project.
  • Hiramatasu considers India and Japan taking up specific pilot projects in Africa, as a “good win-win situation”.
  • On the civil nuclear agreement, signed between the two countries last year, the Ambassador articulated the hope that there would be discussion “in due course of time.”
  • The roll out of GST have interested Japanese investors in India.

GS 3

Pollution and conservation


Adrift at sea (The Hindu, Editorial) Context

  • The calving of a trillion-ton iceberg from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica raises the question about the impact of warming atmosphere.

The concern

  • In the context of rising emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, a cautionary note was sounded, on warming the seas which hastens the melting of the shelves that hold its great mass.
  • Reports says that except for man-made causes, there was no anticipated factor in the natural geological cycle that would disturb Antarctica.
  • And in the case of Larsen C, scientists have said that there was no link to human-induced climate change.
  • Thus, The separation of an iceberg almost 6,000 sq. km in size from the ice shelf shows the importance of such alarms.

Effect

  • Among the immediate effects of changes could be a shift in biodiversity: species like emperor penguins which depend on sea ice to complete their life cycle are at risk if ice cover declines.
  • Any negative impact of the latest event will likely be felt years or decades later but it highlights the need to stop continued warming of the planet from man-made carbon emissions.

Indian Economy. Planning, Growth and Employment


New tax to hurt exporters (The Hindu) (GST to impact liquidity, thereby affecting competitiveness) Context: The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the apex body for the country’s exporters, pointed out that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime would impact the liquidity of the exporters and in turn hurt export competitiveness. Introduction:

  • Exporters used to get ab-initio exemptions from duties before implementation of GST. Now, they have to pay first and then seek refund. Due to this process, the FIEO stated that about Rs 1,85,000 crore will get stuck with the government..
  • Exporters are worried about liquidity issues as the refund mechanism would require payment of GST first and get refund subsequently.
  • The government is looking into various options to neutralize the impact of the GST regime on the export sector.

Possible consequence of GST on exporters:

  • The GST will severely dent the liquidity of the exporter and increase the compliance cost of merchant exporters.
  • Export sector would be losing export competitiveness by about 2% and this will be a big blow for exporters.

Demands of FIEO:

  • FIEO had asked the government to provide interest on delay in payment of refund of taxes and duties after 10 days of exporters filing claim under the GST regime.
  • The additional cost of credit to manage the liquidity should be borne by the government, if the present exemption is brought forward in the GST.

Government’s initiative

  • The government is looking into various options to neutralize the impact of the GST regime on the export sector.
  • As per the refund rules, the interest on delayed payment would be due only after 60 days.
  • Earlier, the government had appointed nodal officers at the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and the Central Board of Excise and Customs to look into the concerns of exporters with regard to the GST regime.

About FIEO

  • Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) is a trade promotion organisation in India, jointly established in 1965 by the Ministry of Commerce of the Government of India and private trade and industry.
  • The FIEO is responsible for representing and asking Indian entrepreneurs and exporters in foreign markets.

EU, India set up fund for investments (The Hindu) Context The European Union (EU) and India announced the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India. Introduction

  • The Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) will allow for a close coordination between the European Union and the Government of India.
  • As part of the IFM, the EU Delegation to India and the DIPP will hold regular high level meetings to assess and facilitate “ease of doing business” for EU investors in India.
  • Invest India, the Indian government’s official Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency, will also be part of the IFM.

Purpose of establishing IFM

  • The aim is to promote and facilitate EU investment in India.
  • The IFM has been established with the key objectives of paving the way for identifying and solving problems faced by EU companies and investors will regard to their operations in India.
  • The IFM will cover new investors as well as those already established in India.
  • The IFM will also serve as a platform for discussing general suggestions from the point of view of EU companies and investors with regard to ease of doing business in India.
  • As part of the IFM, the EU Delegation to India and the DIPP will hold regular high level meetings to assess and facilitate “ease of doing business” for EU investors in India.
  • This will include identifying and putting in place solutions to procedural impediments faced by EU firms and investors in establishing or running their operations in India.

Background

  • The Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) builds on the Joint Statement of the 13th EU-India Summit held in Brussels in March 2016, where the EU had welcomed India’s readiness to establish such a mechanism to oppose protectionism and to work in favour of a fair, transparent and rule-based trade and investment environment.
  • Ease of doing business is a fundamental priority of the Indian Government’s Make in India Campaign and the establishment of IFM for facilitating EU investments in India is another step to achieve this goal.

Trade deficit widens to $13 bn (The Hindu) (Imports climb 19% in June, exports see slower growth) Context Trade deficit widened to $ 12.95 billion, according to the data released by the Commerce Ministry on Friday. Introduction

  • With goods imports outpacing exports in June, trade deficit for the month widened to $12.95 billion. In June 2016, the goods deficit was only $8.1 billion.
  • Continuing with growth indicated since September 2016, goods exports in June 2017 rose 4.39% year –on-year to $ 23.56 billion.
  • However, imports in June jumped 19% to $36.5 billion.

Commodity imports showing high growth

  • Major commodity group of imports showing high growth in June were petroleum, crude and products (12.04%), electronic goods (24.22%), pearls, precious and semi-precious stones(86.31%), machinery, electrical and non-electrical (7.02%) and gold(102.99%).

Implications

  • After showing a robust trend, India’s export basket is showing sign of muted growth, though the engineering sector has maintained its vibrancy in June.
  • The currency impact in terms of stronger rupee hurting the exports is clearly visible in the form of shipments showing a negative growth, measured in Indian rupees.
  • Unabated global liquidity flows into Indian financial markets are casting a shadow on the competitiveness of Indian exports.

Prelims Related News


Saraswati, a supercluster of galaxies Context

  • A group of Indian astronomers have discovered a massive supercluster of galaxies, and have named it Saraswati.

Introduction

  • The supercluster is about 4 billion light years away and spreads over a “great wall” about 600 million light years across.
  • This makes it one of the largest superclusters to be discovered and also the furthest.

The naming of the super cluster

  • The Indian astronomers have a habit of naming galaxies after rivers.
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