16 November 2015



Proposed H-1B visa changes may not hit Indian software engineers  –    (International Relation)

  • Prospective software engineers seeking jobs in the United States need not be perturbed by the recent changes proposed by the U.S. senators on the H-1B visa norms as the changes may not come through in the proposed form.
  • This is the overwhelming view of the software industry that sends large number of young software professionals to work on projects in the United States.


G20 for joint steps to fight terrorism   –    (International Relation)

  • The crisis in Syria, the base to the Islamic State group, which was already high on the G20 Summit’s agenda, in the wake of the attacks by it in Paris, took centre stage at the talks between world leaders in the Turkish seaside resort city of Antalya, not far from the Syrian border.
  • G20 leaders on arriving here for the summit, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called for joint efforts to combat terrorism.


Modi for solid result at Paris talks   –    (International Relation)

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that India looked forward to a concrete outcome at the Paris climate talks within the framework of the U.N. Convention on Climate Change that should have an appropriate balance of collective action: equity and common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.
  • While India had “ambitious” plans for addressing challenges of climate change, it did not see development and climate change as competing objectives, he said.


U.S., Russia may coordinate anti-IS strikes   –    (International Relation)

  • The series of terror strikes by the Islamic State — in Paris, Beirut and the downing of the Russian plane in Egypt — may bring Russia and the U.S. closer in counterterrorism operation. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna on Saturday, said they expected cooperation to be more effective and broader in the coming days in tackling IS terror.
  • The U.S.-led NATO had in April 2014 suspended military and civilian cooperation with Russia, in response to its military intervention in Ukraine.


IS unlikely to become strong in India: experts   –    (Security)

  • For a variety of reasons, the Islamic State would not become a powerful terrorist presence in India, argue many in the country’s security establishment.
  • All of them say there is no evidence in any of the inputs on IS members and sympathisers from India to show there are enclaves of IS sympathisers, enabling the environment for organising terror attacks. One officer who has closely studied all IS followers from India said the ideological fervour among IS’s Indian sympathisers is not as intense as the movement itself.


All railway contracts will be tendered online, says Prabhu   –    (Governance)

  • Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that all Indian Railway contracts will be tendered online from early next year on an e-tendering platform. He was speaking after flagging off the first of the bi-weekly trains from Goa’s Margao railway station to New Delhi in south Goa on Sunday.
  • The idea was to bring in transparency in the processes and to cut-down the time lag. He said that the first few modern railway coaches designed by the National Institute of Design have already been rolled out by Railways. The Ministry was also pushing for a rollout of new, modern coaches which, Mr. Prabhu said, would change the way a typical journey by Indian Railways is often perceived.


India, Australia seal nuclear deal procedures  –    (International Relation)

  • India announced on Sunday that the procedures for a civil nuclear agreement with Australia for supply of uranium from it had been completed following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit here.
  • External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted that the two Prime Ministers had announced the completion of the procedures. No official statement from Australia was immediately available.


990 ‘new Indians’ to make their passage from enclaves   –    (International Relation)

  • The letters between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Bangladesh in June acknowledged the right of more than 50,000 enclave-dwellers with no state to choose their homeland.
  • Only 990 “new Indians,” with three newborns, have decided to leave Bangladesh for India, while the rest will stay back in the erstwhile enclaves, now part of any one of the countries. The passage of the dwellers, described as historic, will start this week.


Loan rigmarole pushes Punjab farmers into debt trap  –    (Economics)

  • Farmers in the country’s grain bowl — Punjab — face huge problems in availing themselves of bank loans and other institutional credit, which push them into the debt trap of exploitative non-institutional sources of credit, primarily commission agents (arthiyas).
  • Agricultural experts in Punjab say around one-fifth of the total debt of the farmers is through non-institutional sources, of which commission agents are the most popular medium as they facilitate easy availability of credit at all times and for all purposes.


Mr. Modi’s London takeaway  –    (International Relation)

  • Of the about 30 countries Narendra Modi has visited as Prime Minister, he has addressed big public rallies in seven. Yet, none can compare with the scale of London’s Wembley event, where an estimated 50,000 non-resident Indians (NRIs) and other Indians braved the cold to listen to him speak during his visit last week to the United Kingdom.
  • And when he did, the crowds cheered with delight as he invoked the common threads between the two countries, neatly sidestepping the issue of British colonialism in India and instead referring to a “shared history” and values in which 1.5 million British Indians play a vital part.


Hope and clarity in Paris –    (International Relation)

  • Will Friday’s attacks signal a retreat from France’s global engagement and a closing of the borders? Or, on the contrary, will the French demand stronger action against Islamic militant groups abroad?
  • The French will hopefully find positive ways to understand what has just happened to them. A history of racism has not stopped France from becoming a multicultural society. Despite Islamophobia, the French have welcomed and lived with Europe’s largest Muslim population.


Fighting terror from Mumbai to Paris   –    (International Relation)

  • There is a need to put the Paris attack in the proper historical and political context, lest we treat this as a one-off incident and move on.
  • Daesh is pure evil, and needs to be defeated for humanity’s sake; but critical questions need to be asked, also for humanity’s sake, about the many wars on terror and convenient wars of intervention that the West is now engaged in.


Niggling doubts over the new gold schemes  –    (Economics)

  • The government has launched, amidst plenty of fanfare, three new schemes to monetise gold in the country — the gold monetisation scheme, the sovereign gold bond and gold coin. The underlying objectives of all three are laudable.
  • Households in India hold a large amount of their savings as physical assets — gold, silver and other precious metals and real estate. Gold especially has for long held a tremendous attraction both as an investment avenue as well as a store of value.
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