Religion data released with little warning, no context – (Social Issues)
· The events leading to the release of Census data on religion on Tuesday were a departure from the norm and marked by secrecy, sources in the census office said.
· The 2011 data had been ready since late-2013, as the office worked on releasing the data far more quickly this time. First, the United Progressive Alliance, in the final year of a stormy second term and faced with a resurgent BJP, got cold feet about releasing the data, a senior Home Ministry official said.
India-Seychelles pact to curb black money – (International Relations)
· India inked a taxation agreement with the Seychelles on Wednesday for allowing exchange of information to curb tax evasion and avoidance and is looking at strengthening maritime security ties and cooperation on blue economy with the island nation.
GSAT-6 will be a game changer – (Science and Technology)
· Thursday’s GSLV flight from Sriharikota will have the country’s space community closely watching how the much-needed launch vehicle fares with the home-built cryogenic third stage.
· The 2,117-kg GSAT-6 is a predominantly S-band communication satellite that enables multimedia applications. It will be used purely for ‘strategic’ purposes by the Armed Forces and for societal uses during a disaster or an emergency, according to A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Questions of timing and context (Social Issues)
· Numbers lend themselves to words in myriad, complex ways. Data on population by religious communities in a country of India’s size and diversity can be especially sensitive, with deep, long-term implications for communal harmony and political stability.
‘Historic’ is still some way away – (Security)
· Clarity of thought and brevity of expression are needed to work out a solution to the Naga issue. The government must refrain from claiming success until a final settlement is worked out and implemented for a problem that has lasted six decades.
· The Naga settlement can provide a new benchmark to fulfil autonomist aspirations elsewhere in the Republic and actually strengthen the bonds that hold this huge country together.
Looming crisis – (Economics)
· The crisis-ridden textile sector, being labour-intensive, should have been an ideal candidate for a push as part of the Prime Minister’s pet ‘Make in India’ initiative, but as the issues it is mired in remain unresolved, and with losses mounting, the situation is grim. Nearly half of India’s power looms are at a standstill: the spinning industry in the northern and southern regions has pressed in shutdowns of as much as 15 to 20 per cent of production capacity. The textile industry as a whole is reeling under high input and transaction costs.
Missing the bigger picture on OROP – (Defence)
· The One Rank One Pension issue has been ignored for too long. But any victory achieved through bellicose means will be, at best, pyrrhic, leaving a bitter legacy.
· The private Sector can Step in with Post-retirement options; also, ex-servicemen can be reskilled for entrepreneurship.
Decks cleared for India’s role in Iranian Port – (International Relations)
· Indian presence in Chabahar is expected to offset Chinese presence in Pakistani port of Gwadar.
· The port will be used to ship crude oil and urea, greatly reducing India’s transportation costs.
· A railway line, to be built by Ircon International, will connect Chabahar port to Zahedan on Afghan border.
Global oil prices stabilise – (Economics)
· Oil stabilised on Wednesday after China’s central bank moved to support the country’s economy, but prices stayed near 6-1/2-year lows as a heavy supply glut kept the market outlook bearish.
· “Oil is catching its breath a bit and seeing if markets have been oversold or not,” Capital Economics commodities economist Thomas Pugh said. Brent was up 20 cents at $43.41 a barrel intra-day, and U.S. crude was up 15 cents at $39.46 a barrel.