Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam VOL - 42 (15th September 2014 TO 21st September 2014)


Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam

VOL - 42 (15th September 2014 TO 21st September 2014)


Issue : VOL - 42 (15th September 2014 TO 21st September 2014)

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:: NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA ::

Union Ministry of Women & Child Development

Ministry of Women and Child is addressing the needs of over 70% of the Indian people. The Ministry’s functioning is largely guided by the following two objectives:

  • To empower women to live with confidence, dignity and economic & educational abilities
  • To nurture children to develop to their full potential, make them safe and healthy in protective environments

In the last few months, Ministry has taken up new areas of activities, new processes and new ways of doing things. This is intended to produce more outcomes and results that impact positively on our mandated community which is women and children. This period has allowed us to review the past with a view to making future programmes and activities impactful and significant.

Over the last two months our Ministry has worked closely with the Ministries of HRD and H&FW to design and prepare for implementation of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) initiative. The adverse and declining child sex ratio (CSR) across the States is a major cause of concern as it has fallen from 927 in 2001 to 918 in 2011. The BBBP seeks to arrest the trend and over time to reverse it. A 100 critical low CSR districts in all States and UTs have been identified for focused and convergent action by these Ministries. The Ministry of WCD is the nodal Ministry for this initiative and will carry out training to stakeholders, community mobilization and sensitization. It will also embark upon a range of advocacy measures and activities, not limited to the 100 low CSR districts but all across the country. All forms of media and social media platforms would be used for this. The key to the success of the initiatives would lie with the communities, States, Panchayats and the local self-Government. On our part we would wish to appeal to the members of the press to take up the cause, to enable the dignity, opportunity and equality with rights of the women to be realized. At the same time our partner Ministries would also be carrying out actions as per their part of interventions. The Health Ministry would focus on the implementation of the PC&PNDT Act and to curb the misuse of technology to the detriment of girl children and women. In a much wider role, the Health Ministry would promote, along with our Ministry, the early registration of pregnancy in the first trimester itself. Working together on these, the Anganwadis and the health Centres would monitor the CSR, nutrition and health status. The existing commitments to having all girls in the schools, to discourage and eliminate child marriage would continue. An important part of the programme is give reward and recognition – all schools, institution workers and volunteers will all be part of this mass campaign. The Department of School Education would intensify efforts to ensure universalization of enrolment of girls, decrease the dropout rates, establish girl friendly schools and to strictly implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

A comprehensive legislation has been drafted that provides measures for children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law. For the first time, offences have been clearly defined and classified in the Bill as petty, serious and heinous. Special provisions have been made to tackle child offenders committing heinous offences in the age group of 16-18 years. The Juvenile Justice Board has been given the option to transfer cases of heinous offences by such children to a Children’s Court, which is a Court of Session after conducting a preliminary inquiry. The Bill also proposes to place such children in a place of safety both during and after the trial till they attain the age of 21 years. After completing the age of 21 years, if the term of the child is still remaining then the Children’s Court shall conduct an assessment of the performance of the child and if the Court feels that the child may become a contributory member of the society then the Court can release the child under probation. In case the child has not undergone any reformative change then the child is to be shifted to a jail meant for adults.

Source- PIB

:: Ministry of External affairs ::

India-China relations

A for Asia. B for Business. C for Culture. And D for Diplomacy and Development. This is the emerging alphabet of multi-faceted engagement between the two Asian powers which are forging a new vocabulary and semantics to script new pathways of cooperation and to reconfigure the evolving world order. The ABCD of India-China relations will find fuller articulation in the September 17-19 visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India, a potentially defining trip which could transform ties between the two Asian neighbours and create new opportunities for their 2.5 billion people, one third of the world’s humanity.

Why Modi-Xi summit matters

When the leaders of India and China hold talks, the world will be watching closely, and not without reason. They are, after all, Asia’s leading economies with a combined GDP of over $11 trillion and proactive stakeholders in crafting an inclusive international world order. This time round, there is a new configuration, which promises to invest the maiden full-spectrum summit between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s Xi Jinping with an added resonance: on both sides, there are strong-willed leaders who are armed with an unambiguous mandate to take decisive initiatives and are crafting a new chapter in national resurgence of their respective countries. Xi Jinping is widely seen as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong as he holds the triumvirate of positions within the Chinese establishment that confers him near absolute power: he is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, the president of the state and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Narendra Modi, on the other hand, is the first India head of government to command a clear parliamentary majority in the last quarter of a century, liberating him from the fret and fever of coalition politics. Translated into simple terms, it means both leaders have the power to walk the talk. Prime Minister Modi’s connection to China dates back to his days as Gujarat chief minister during which he travelled to China four times and managed to net investments running into millions of dollars into his state. The two leaders struck good equations when they first met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Fortaleza in July this year. And they are known to admire and hold each other in high regard. This personal chemistry, backed by a synergy of interests, gives both leaders space to build a lasting relationship between the two emerging Asian powers.

Coming back to the ABCD, Business and Development will be the key highlights of the Modi-Xi summit meeting. The talks between the leaders of the world’s two most populous countries will renew the focus on sustaining a new pragmatic model of relationship, which means not letting complex and difficult issues like the decades-old boundary dispute coming in the way of developing and expanding relationship in other areas, be it economic, military and cultural. This imaginative and flexible approach has yielded rich dividends: bilateral trade between India and China has exceeded $65 billion and the two countries are not leaving any stone unturned to scale it up to $100 billion in the not-too-distant future. The burgeoning economic relationship, however, has its flip side: a ballooning trade imbalance of over $30 billion. To bridge this trade imbalance, India is looking to get China to grant market access to Indian IT and pharma companies.

With India’s infrastructure sector hungry for investment and expertise, China has an unprecedented opportunity to partner India in its developmental journey. China is looking to set up dedicated industrial parks in India catering to Chinese companies, help modernise Indian Railways and scale up investments in Asia’s third largest economy. Taking off from their strategic economic dialogue, the two countries are now aiming at structural transformation in their economic ties, from the buyer-seller model to a more enduring investment-driven model. Investments are currently abysmally low: China, which boasts of over $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, has invested less than a billion dollars into the emerging market of India. Against this backdrop, one can expect the unveiling of mega investment plans by the Chinese president, and at least two Chinese industrial parks in Gujarat and Maharashtra. China, which is known as the factory of the world, is expected to lend its expertise in assisting the transformation of India, the office of the world, into a manufacturing powerhouse, a key priority of the new government in New Delhi.

Source- http://mea.gov.in/in

:: Planning Commission of India ::

Biodiversity informatics vital for sustainable growth

The Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar has said the concept of sustainability was an integral part of Indian ethos which ensured balanced approach to issues pertaining to conservation, access and growth. Environmental protection and economic development needed to be integrated with an informatics supported mechanism so as to efficiently manage and use natural resources as a natural capital asset. It was therefore critical to manage natural resources and ecosystems that harboured unique and varied bio diversity. The Minister stated this while delivering the inaugural address at the 21st meeting of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility Governing Board in New Delhi today.

The Minister said that India stood committed to developing “biodiversity informatics” as an essential element of India’s economic, environment and social well-being. Adding further, the Minister said that India was in the process of building a comprehensive and decentralized biodiversity information infrastructure to serve the national interests and to provide inter-operability with regional and global initiatives.

Elaborating further, Shri Javadekar said that while around 6500 natural history museums throughout the world housed approximately 3 billion specimens of Indian origin, access to these specimens was both time-consuming and expensive. It was therefore important to promote and facilitate an informatics mechanism to provide easy and better access. The momentum in this process had already begun. In the last two decades, many natural history museums in developed nations had digitized specimen collections that they were holding. Several ongoing global and regional biodiversity informatics initiatives for sharing data about these specimens with the countries of origin were gaining impetus. In the given situation, GBIF and its partners needed to mainstream the process of institutionalizing the digital exchange of data.

The Minister also mentioned that keeping in mind the contemporary trends it was essential for countries across the world to transform a 500 year old tradition of (slow) information transfer by lines of type on paper into a digital (rapid) interchange among thousands of distributed, heterogeneous, and multilingual databases. This transition needed to take place while dealing with complexities of the information management and tools for dissemination and integration.

(Courtesy: http://planningcommission.nic.in)

:: NATIONAL EVENTS ::

Data glitches stall rollout of Food Security Act

  • Technological and procedural delays in identifying the intended beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) has seen the agencies involved — the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), the nodal agency to provide enumeration devices and data entry operators, and state officials -- indulge in a blame game.

  • For the Socio-Economic Caste Census survey, proposed as the basis of the identification process, enumerators used scanned images of handwritten data from the National Population Register (NPR) to verify household members’ basic details.

  • They were accompanied by data entry operators (DEOs) who entered the responses into a tablet computer.

Uma promises clean Ganga in three years

  • Union Minister Uma Bharti reiterated her commitment to clean river Ganga and promised to do so in three years while asserting that she would not entertain any questions in this regard before the task was achieved.
  • She congratulated the teachers who were felicitated in the programme, and asked all teachers to become ‘real gurus’ and students to become better human beings rather than grow professionally.

Property law unfair to Christian women: report

  • The Law Commission of India has asked the Narendra Modi government to amend provisions in a pre-Independence law dealing with property succession in Christian families, saying the statute gives “preferential approach to men and is unfair and unjust to Christian women.”

  • Noting that Christianity is the third largest religion in India, the Law Commission headed by Justice A.P. Shah said Sections in the Indian Succession Act, 1925 “weave an archaic principle of giving superior status to man in access to and owning property.”

  • The 247th Law Commission report specifically focuses on the impact caused by Sections 42 to 46 of the 1925 Act on Christian women and mothers.

National Board for Wildlife reconstituted

  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court reconstituting the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) after the apex court had earlier stayed all the decisions of the standing Committee.
  • In the affidavit the government has retained the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation and added four NGOs — World Wildlife Fund for Nature-India, New Delhi, Aranyak, Guwahati, Nature Conservation Society, Jharkhand and the Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra.

:: INTERNATIONAL ::

Sweden: Social Democrats likely to win

  • Swedish voters headed to the polls in general elections with the Social Democrats poised to reclaim power after eight years in opposition and the far right expected to make historic gains.
  • The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats could double their seats in Parliament, as a growing proportion of the nation of 10 million express frustration with an accelerating influx of refugees.
  • If opinion polls prove right, Stefan Loefven, the stocky leader of the Social Democrats, looks set to become the next Prime Minister, although he could win by just a slim margin.

Pope solemnises ‘modern marriages’

  • A single mother, people who have been married before and couples who have been living together ‘in sin’ were married by Pope Francis in a taboo-challenging ceremony at the Vatican.
  • In another signal of the openness of his papacy, Pope Francis asked to marry 40 people from different social backgrounds who would be a realistic sample of modern couples.
  • Popes very rarely perform marriages — the last one was in 2000. One of the couples was single mother Gabriella and her partner Guido, whose previous marriage was annulled by an ecclesiastical tribunal.
  • The last time a Pope performed a marriage was under the leadership of John Paul II in 2000, and before that in 1994. It comes three weeks before a major synod of the Catholic Church will discuss the divisive issues of marriage, divorce and conception.

Need to examine ‘MH370 objects’

  • The Australia-led search team for the missing Malaysian flight MH370 has discovered 58 hard objects inconsistent with the Indian Ocean seabed, raising hopes of solving the over six months-long aviation mystery.
  • Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) which is leading the search for the plane is currently in the midst of retrieving the objects to be analysed.

Naipaul dropped by an international literary festival in Bali

  • Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul has been dropped by an international literary festival in Bali after the event refused to meet his “eleventh-hour request” for a $20,000 fee to appear, its organisers said .
  • The Trinidad-born British writer had been one of the biggest names booked for this year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF).
  • However the event’s founder and director, Janet DeNeefe, said they had decided to cancel his appearance after he asked for the fee.

Sweeping a historic vote

  • Coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama was on the verge of sweeping a historic vote to become Fiji’s first elected leader in eight years, as international observers gave the ballot a stamp of approval.
  • With 70 per cent of the vote counted following poll, Mr. Bainimarama’s Fiji First Party had 60.1 per cent, well clear of its nearest rival, the Social Democratic Liberal Party (Sodelpa) on 26.7.

:: INDIA AND THE WORLD ::

Negotiated resolution of the border issue

  • China has called for a negotiated resolution of the border issue with India, shifting the focus on the root cause of the problem, following the latest incidents in Chumar and Demchok, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • In dealing with a complex relationship, with areas of agreement and differences, the Chinese appear to have pitched for a wide-ranging dialogue with India in the hope of building consensus.
  • In response to a question on the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) — an initiative, which many of its critics say has an element of Beijing’s alleged India-containment strategy — the spokesman said China and India should build consensus on this subject, based on dialogue

:: ECONOMY ::

Lupin tied up with Merck Serono

  • Lupin has tied up with Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, to support the expansion of Merck Serono’s general medicines portfolio in emerging markets.
  • A statement from Lupin said the tie-up would address the local needs for affordable, high-quality medicines.
  • While no financial details of the tie-up were available, Lupin said it had an established working relationship with Merck and the agreement could add up to 20 new products to the current portfolio.
  • Lupin will receive an upfront and milestone based licensing fee. The first launches are expected in 2016.

Infosys global partnership with Huawei

  • Infosys announced a global partnership with Huawei to offer enterprise customers big data and communication solutions besides expansion of its existing engagement with Microsoft and Hitachi Data Systems.
  • Providing details, in separate press releases, Infosys said the IT solutions to be developed with Chinese multi-national ICT firm Huawei would be for enterprise customers looking to modernise operations with cloud infrastructure.
  • Both the companies will build reference architectures and standardised solutions for big data platforms on Huawei hardware infrastructure.

Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) partnered Snapdeal

  • Ahead of the launch of its new generation Scorpio, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) has partnered online marketplace Snapdeal for booking the sport utility vehicle (SUV).
  • Scorpio has been Mahindra’s one of the highest selling SUVs and the homegrown auto giant is to launch the refreshed version on September 25.
  • According to the details made available to users, the new generation Scorpio will be available in six variants.

:: SCIENCE AND TECH ::

INS Sindhurakshak

  • The second Board of Inquiry (BOI) constituted by the Defence Ministry to probe the feasibility of reusing INS Sindhurakshak has recommended decommissioning of the kilo-class submarine.
  • The submarine was finally retrieved from the waters in June 2014 and handed over to the Navy. Since then it has been anchored at the Naval Dockyard in south Mumbai.

:: SPORTS ::

Munawar and Arathi crowned champions again

  • Kozhikode’s Mohammed Munawar and Ernakulam’s Arathi Sara Sunil retained the men’s and women’s singles titles in the 45th Seshasayee Kerala State senior badminton championship at the FACT Udyogamandal Club, Eloor .

  • Munawar, unseeded as he had lost early in the lone State-ranking tourney he had played this season, defeated Ernakulam’s fourth-seeded Alwin Francis in straight sets while Arathi, a former international, defeated Thiruvananthapuram’s J.K. Malavika in a repeat of last year’s final.

  • The seasoned pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas brushed aside the top-seeded Dilshad Kamaludheen and Ram C. Vijay while Kozhikode’s Agna Anto and M.H. Haritha took the women’s doubles title.

New owner for Mumbai franchise

  • Hockey India announced DoIT Sports Management (India) Pvt. Ltd as the new owner of the Mumbai franchise, taking the total number of teams back to the original six in the Hockey India League (HIL).

  • The Mumbai franchise, originally owned by Dabur, was dismantled recently due to financial issues. Along with Ranchi Rhinos, the pullout had reduced the number of original owners in the HIL to four before Pune came on board as one of the new teams two days back.

  • However, the present batch of players contracted to the Mumbai team would not be retained and would be part of the min-auction to be held towards end of October.

:: IN THE NEWS (PERSONS) ::

Yamaguchi

  • Japanese actress and singer Yoshiko “Shirley” Yamaguchi, who was nearly executed in China at the end of World War II, has died at the age of 94 after a life as dramatic as any of her films.

  • Yamaguchi, who was born to Japanese parents in pre-war Manchuria, where her father worked for the railway, entertained Chinese and Japanese audiences posing as a Chinese under her assumed identity Rikoran or Li Xianglan.

  • Some of her movies at this time were seen as pro-Japanese propaganda, including China Nights (1940), in which she starred with Japanese heartthrob Kazuo Hasegawa, and she later expressed regret over them.

  • Arrested after the war as a collaborator, she narrowly avoided execution for treason by revealing her Japanese identity to the Chinese court.

  • Her hit songs included “Fragrance of the Night” and “Suzhou Serenade”, which was banned in mainland China after the war.

  • Following her deportation from China in 1946, she re-launched her career in Japan under her birth name, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, and went on to star in Akira Kurosawa’s Scandal and other films.

  • She also played a leading role in U.S. movies and musicals in the 1950s as Shirley Yamaguchi, including Samuel Fuller’s A House of Bamboo (1955). She married Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi in 1951 but their marriage lasted just four years.

Shahid Afridi

  • The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) named flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi as its new national Twenty20 captain until the 2016 World T20 while Misbah ul Haq was retained as the Test and ODI skipper until the 2015 ODI World Cup.

  • Afridi has played 381 ODIs and 74 T20 internationals.

  • Afridi, 34, who captained Pakistan in ODIs and T20 matches in 2010 and 2011 before being removed by the board said he was delighted to get back the responsibility.

Lalitha Kumarmangalam

  • BJP’s national executive member Lalitha Kumarmangalam was appointed as the chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW).
  • Kumarmangalam is from Tamil Nadu and runs an NGO called Prakriti.

:: Selected Editorials of Importance ::

Talking trade and peace with China

Xi Jinping’s visit was billed as the third by a Chinese President. This may be right in a technical sense; not so from a historical perspective. Mr. Xi is actually the fourth Chinese President to visit India. The first was Chiang Kai-Shek, President of the Republic of China.

Chiang visited India in early 1942 — soon after Japan entered the Second World War. As the Tokyo typhoon swept Southeast Asia, India became vital for China’s survival. Chiang travelled to India seeking to persuade the Indian National Congress to fully support the British war effort. His long meetings with Nehru and with Gandhi did not yield much. And Chiang returned with little more than the spinning wheel that Gandhi had gifted to his wife.

India’s strategic role

Yet the visits by Presidents Chiang and Mr. Xi have more in common than the Gandhian spinning wheel. For one thing, they underscore India’s importance in any Asian security architecture. In the 1940s, when the hegemon in Asia — Britain — was knocked off its perch by a rising power, India played a pivotal strategic role in stopping Japan in its tracks. Today the situation is very different. Yet, as China’s swaggering rise rattles its neighbours, India is seen as a key player in ensuring a balanced regional order.

Further, both the visits point to the strategic quadrangle of China, Japan, India and the United States. In 1942, China sought American assistance in enabling India to hold Japan at bay. Now it is India and Japan that are working together against any unilateral Chinese attempt to rewrite the rules of the game in Asia. And the Americans are keenly backing their moves.

These wider considerations clearly underpin Mr. Xi’s desire to woo India. At any rate, his visit may turn out to be rather more successful than the maiden foray by Chiang. From China’s standpoint, India now appears an attractive destination for investment. Prime Minister Modi has given unprecedented political salience to infrastructure and industry. So, the Chinese are well placed to play to their strengths. From India’s standpoint, attracting Chinese investment is imperative for reviving growth. Besides, its deepening ties with Japan, Australia and Vietnam have opened up more room for manoeuvre in Asia.

In commerce, testing the waters

Yet, for a range of reasons, it may be prudent to temper expectations. First, China is not rushing to open its coffers to India. Prior to the visit, Chinese officials had claimed that Mr. Xi would commit to invest at least $100 billion. But the five-year plan inked by the two sides envisages $20 billion of Chinese investment. Clearly, Beijing is waiting to see if New Delhi can walk the talk. This is not surprising. Outside of Gujarat, China’s experience with big ticket investments has not been encouraging. This is precisely why the Prime Minister received Mr. Xi in Ahmedabad. Moreover, China — unlike Japan — does not have long experience of working in India.

Nevertheless, China’s inclination to test the waters implies that India’s trade deficit may not be adequately offset by capital inflows. To be sure, the Chinese have also agreed to improve market access for Indian firms. But it remains to be seen whether they will deliver on this. The economic imbalance between India and China, then, may not be set right anytime soon.

Second, Mr. Modi appears lukewarm to Mr. Xi’s ambitious plans for building multiple “silk roads.” Although India has finally agreed to consider the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor, it is unlikely to move with alacrity. India’s own backward linkages from the Northeast leave much to be desired. In such a situation, going ahead with a corridor — connecting the Northeast with these countries — will be seen as working mainly to China’s advantage. Nor does the proposed “maritime silk road” connecting China’s coastline with various hubs in the Indian Ocean have much traction in New Delhi.

Placing these proposals in the ice pail is not good idea, however. India must realise that these routes will come up irrespective of its participation. Countries across the region are drooling at the prospect of big infrastructure and cheap Chinese finance. Sri Lanka and the Maldives have lapped up Mr. Xi’s plans for a “maritime silk road.” India, too, could benefit much from joining these ventures. For instance, the upgradation of our coastal infrastructure would considerably aid our emergence as a serious maritime — not just naval — power. Concerns about Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean can be overdone. In the past three years, New Delhi has put in place practical arrangements for maritime security with Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius.

Border ‘incursions’ and claims

Finally, there is the disputed boundary which cast a shadow on the summit. The Prime Minister rightly observed that peace and stability along the borders was crucial to realising the enormous economic potential of Sino-Indian relations. But his call for the resumption of talks on clarifying the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was off-beam. This can hardly help prevent “incursions”.

The LAC is supposed to divide the areas that are under Indian and Chinese control since the end of the 1962 war. The line, however, was not mutually agreed upon by the two sides. This was because the war ended with a unilateral ceasefire and the subsequent withdrawal by China. In the Ladakh sector, the question of where exactly Chinese forces stood after the war remains contested. The areas where Chinese “incursions” occur are claimed by both sides as lying on their side of the LAC. In the Arunachal Pradesh sector, the Chinese treat the McMahon Line as the LAC. But they challenge India’s claim that the Line should follow the watershed or the highest line of mountains. They point out that the coordinates of the McMahon Line — as set out in the Simla Conference of 1914 — depart at places from the watershed. These “grey areas” south of the watershed are the places where Chinese “incursions” occur in this sector.

Given these differing notions of the LAC, any exercise in clarification is unlikely to succeed. We can only agree to disagree. The good thing is that we know the areas of disagreement. What’s more, both sides will continue to intrude into these areas. At one level, this is tactical jockeying. Chumar, for instance, is the only place along the LAC in Ladakh which the Chinese cannot directly access. Hence, the spurt in Chinese probing near Chumar. Demchok is one of two “mutually agreed disputed areas,” but that does not stop India from going ahead with its activities. At another level, “incursions” are essential for both sides to keep alive their territorial claims.

Towards settlement

Indeed, the only way to put an end to “incursions” is to settle the boundary dispute. It is worth recalling that under Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, India had initially insisted on talks to clarify the LAC. By 2003, however, the government came round to the sensible view that these would not help and that it was essential to kick-start negotiations on the boundary by appointing special representatives. The subsequent agreement of 2005 provides an ideal basis for settlement by mutual concessions. It acknowledges India’s concerns over places like Tawang by tacitly agreeing that settled areas are not up for bargaining. It takes China’s demands into account by suggesting that the watershed principle may not be ironclad.

All along, a settlement has proved elusive owing to political concerns. Governments in both India and China have baulked at the prospect of selling a deal to their domestic audiences. Having insistently laid claims to Arunachal Pradesh, Beijing is concerned about dropping them for good. Indian governments, for their part, have paled at the thought of pushing through a constitutional amendment — one that will require two-thirds majority in both Houses as well as ratification by 50 per cent of the State legislatures. The problem is not just of numbers. Even governments with commanding majorities such as those led by Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have hesitated to grasp the nettle — owing mainly to opposition from within their own party and concerns about adverse political fall out.

In the run-up to the summit, Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi were projected as powerful and decisive leaders. As such, they should be ideally placed to take a serious crack at resolving the boundary dispute. Mr. Modi is supposedly free of the baggage that weighed on the Congress party. He is certainly capable of making a persuasive public case for a settlement. Instead of going down the rabbit-hole of LAC clarification, the government should move boldly to settle the boundary dispute with China.

(The Hindu)

:: MCQs ::

1Q.

(i) A series of misleading author listings for B.R. Ambedkar’s seminal text The Annihilation of Caste on web portals has generated a lot of flak against writer and columnist Arundhati Roy and publisher S. Anand.
(ii) The webpage of VersoBooks.com, a U.K.-based publisher of the book advertised it as Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition by B.R. Ambedkar and Arundhati Roy.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?

(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii

2Q.

(i) Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan appointed BJP veteran L.K. Advani as the chairman of the Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha.
(ii) Manikrao Gavit of Congress was heading the Committee in the last Lok Sabha.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?

(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii

3Q.

(i) Maruti Suzuki India’s marketing and sales head Mayank Pareek has quit the company after nearly 20 years of service at the country’s largest carmaker.
(ii) It is speculated that Pareek may join homegrown auto major Birla Motors, which has been seeking a revival in fortunes in the passenger cars segment.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?

(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii

4Q.

(i) The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has a Rs. 120-crore relief and rehabilitation package for Jammu and Kashmir to help the State deal with the situation arising out of the floods.
(ii) The money will be provided through various programmes, including “Seekho aur Kamao,” and “Jan Vikas Yojana,” scholarships, concessional finance for setting up micro-enterprises, construction of health centres and educational institutions under the Multi-Sectoral Development Plan, skill upgrade and bridge courses for madrasa students.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are not true ?

(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii

5Q.

(i) A group of survivors of the 2004 Bhopal gas tragedy and people living in the areas near the abandoned Union Carbide factory held a protest outside the residence of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.
(ii) Protesters demanded that the government revise the death and injury figures in the curative petition pending before the Supreme Court and intervene in the case relating to the cleaning up of the factory site, being heard in the U.S. Federal Court.

Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?

(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii

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