9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 1, 2018


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GS-2

Neighbourhood first?

Neighbourhood first?

Article

  1. Suhasini Haider, an International relations expert talked about recent changes in Neighbourhood policy of Modi government.

Important Analysis

  1. Author observes that there is gradual shift in the government’s neighbourhood policy of 2018, that resounds closer to the “neighbourhood first” articulation of 2014.
  2. The government has changed its role from playing big brother in the neighbourhood to a more generous and avuncular version.
  3. Author observe following change
  • Maldives: In mid-November Prime Minister Modi attended the swearing-in of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the country’s President.This was Mr. Modi’s first visit to the Maldives, the only country in South Asia he had not yet visited in his tenure, and the first by an Indian Prime Minister in seven years. In swearing in ceremony Prime Ministergesture was softer as he chose to be one among the audience rather than on stage.
    • Earlier, Prime Minister cancelled his trip in 2015 to register a strong protest at the treatment of opposition leaders, who are now in government.
    • when emergency was declared by the previous regime of Abdulla Yameen, New Delhi made no attempt to threaten him militarily despite expectations of domestic commentators and Western diplomats.
    • When Mr. Yameendenied visas to thousands of Indian job seekers and naval and military personnel stationed there, New Delhi’s response was much softer by declaring that every country has a right to decide its visa policy.
  • Nepal:With Nepal, the government’s moves were a clear turn-around from the ‘tough love’ policy since the 2015 blockade. After the re-election of K.P. Sharma Oli, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj went to Kathmandu despite of his anti-India campaign.
    • Since then, Mr. Oli has been invited to Delhi and Mr. Modi has made two visits to Nepal, with a third one planned in December to be part of the “Vivaha Panchami” festival. The frequency of visits in 2018 is in stark contrast to the three preceding years, when Mr. Modi did not visit Nepal at all.
  • Afghanistan: After a policy of more than two decades of refusing to engage with the Taliban, in November India sent envoys to the Moscow conference on Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s representatives were present.The U.S. chose to send a diplomat based in Moscow as an “observer”, but the Indian delegation of former Ambassadors to the region represented non-official “participation” at the event.
    • Earlier, the government had stayed aloof from the process, explaining that any meeting outside Afghanistan crossed the redline on an “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution”.
    • Although the change in position was eventually achieved by a high-level outreach by the Russian government and Afghanistan President Ghani himself. Ghani had made a strong pitch for backing talks with the Taliban during a visit to Delhi in mid-September.
  • Pakistan: India send two Union Ministers to Pakistan to join Prime Minister Imran Khan for the ground-breaking ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor, as part of the larger pattern of softening towards the neighbourhood.
  1. During election campaign in Bhutan and Bangladesh and during the political crisis in Sri Lanka, India has chosen to make no public political statement that could be construed as interference or preference for one side over the other
  2. Reason for this change in approach author cited is receiving of certain backlash from some of its smallest neighbours like Nepal and the Maldives in recent times.
  3. Another could be the conscious rolling back of India’s previous policy of dissuading neighbours from Chinese engagement to now standing back as they learn the risks of debt-traps and over-construction of infrastructure on their own.
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Bihar, Punjab take DGP issue to SC

Bihar, Punjab take DGP issue to SC

News

  1. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the pleas of Bihar and Punjab seeking modification of an earlier order directing the States to mandatorily take assistance of the Union Public Service Commission in shortlisting names for appointing Director General of Police (DGP).

Important Facts

  1. Earlier Supreme Court ordered a series of direction regarding appointment of DGP
  • SC ordered all states and Union territories to not appoint any police officer as acting Director General of Police (DGP)
  • the appointment of DGPs and police officers should be merit-based and transparent and officers like DGPs and Superintendents of Police should have a minimum fixed tenure of two years.
  • Before appointing DGP states need to send names of senior police officersat least three months prior to the retirement of the incumbentto the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for being considered as probable candidates to be appointed as DGPs or Police Commissioners as the case may be.
  • The UPSC, in turn, will prepare a list of three most suitable officers and the states will be free to appoint one of them as police chief.
  • SC also ordered that a person, who had been selected and appointed as DGP, has a reasonable period of service left.
  1. The apex court also ruled that any rule or state law on the subject of the appointment of police officers “will be kept at abeyance”.The bench, however, granted liberty to the states, which have made laws on police appointments, to move before it seeking modification of its order.
  2. The top court’s direction had come on an application filed by the Centre in which it claimed that certain States have been appointing acting DGPs and then making them permanent just before the date of their superannuation to enable them get the benefit of an additional two-year tenure till the age of 62 years.
  3. Now, the governments of Bihar and Punjab told the SC that the July 3 order needed to be modified as they have already come out with State laws to deal with the issue of appointment of DGP.
  4. The apex court has now fixed the pleas of both States for hearing on December 7.
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GS-3

Wage drag

Wage drag

News

  1. International Labour Organisations has recently released Global Wage Report for 2018/19

Important facts

  1. Key finding of the report
  • Global wage growth, adjusted for inflation, slowed to 1.8% in 2017, from 2.4% in 2016. this is the lowest rate since 2008.
  • In the advanced G20 countries the pace eased to 0.4%, with the U.S. posting an unchanged 0.7% growth and Europe (excluding Eastern Europe) stalling at about zero.
  • In the emerging and developing economies in G20, growth in wages slowing to 4.3%, from 4.9% in 2016.
  • In the Asia and Pacific nations, where workers had enjoyed the biggest real wage growth worldwide between 2006 and 2017, it slid to 3.5% from the previous year’s 4.8%.
  • During 2008-17, real wage growth in India stood at 5.5 per cent, highest among all the countries in southern Asia
  • India and Pakistan had the highest gap of 34.5 per cent and 34 per cent respectively between what men and women earn. This wage gap was the worst among all the 73 countries for which data was compiled.
  1. On growth:The ILO report observes that the acceleration of economic growth in high-income countries in 2017 was led mainly by higher investment spending rather than by private consumption.
  2. On condition of workers in low- and middle-income countries:It reveals that real wages almost tripled in the developing and emerging countries of the G20 between 1999 and 2017, while in the advanced economies the increase over the same period aggregated to a far lower 9%. And yet, in many low- and middle-income economies the average wage, in absolute terms, was so low it was still inadequate to cover the bare needs of workers.
  3. Impact of globalisation:The report also finds that due to intensification of competition in era of globalisation there is worldwide decline in bargaining power of labour.
  4. ILO also finds the weakening share of labour compensation in GDP across many countries that “remain substantially below those of the early 1990s”.
  5. The Washington-based Economic Policy Institute uses the U.S. example to argue that widening inequality is slowing demand and growth by shifting larger shares of income “to rich households that save rather than spend”.
  6. Author also suggests that to reap the demographic dividend India need not only jobs, but wage expansion that is robust and equitable.
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Army not ready for women in combat roles’

Army not ready for women in combat roles’

News

  1. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat expressed his views about the role of women in armed forces.

Important Facts

  1. Army Chief said that armed force would take in increasing numbers of woman officers in the coming years but it wasn’t ready yet to cast them in combat roles.
  2. Reasons for not inducting women in combat role
  • Social and cultural reason: Large numbers of army personnel come from the rural areas where the intermingling between genders is still not there.Harassment and resentment of the presence of women in a hyper masculine military subculture would likely become a problem. This is contrary to western nation where society is more open.
  • Efficiency: Some women will be able to meet the required standards, but most will not. Army Chief is of the opinion that women need to be prepared to face hardships required for combat role.
  1. However, General Rawatpointed out that there were several fields where women could be inducted and remarked that the Army was contemplating setting up a Permanent Commission for women in the forces.
  2. General Rawat assures that there would be an increase in the role of women in the armed forces in coming years.
  3. Army needs language interpreters as military diplomacy is gaining ground. Army general looking forward towards role of women as language interpreters as he observes that women interpreters are naturally linguistically proficient and militarily sound.
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