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Note:  The following Current affairs has been selected from AIR, PIB, PRS, BBC, The Hindu, IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses), Live mint, Indian Express, Quora.com, Hindustan Times, Telegraph, The Times , WTO, New Indian express , The Guardian and is highly recommended for UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination


News Analysis: 22-12-2018

National News


General Studies-II : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Himachal, Kerala and T.N. top development index

  • Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu have been ranked highest in terms of being on track to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), according to a first-of-its-kind index released by NITI Aayog on Friday.

  • The index comprises a composite score for each State and Union Territory based on their aggregate performance across 13 of the 17 SDGs. The score, ranging between 0 and 100, denotes the average performance of the State/UT towards achieving the 13 SDGs and their respective targets. The average Indian score was 57.

  • Among the States, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh are the front runners, with an SDG India Index score of 69. Among the UTs, Chandigarh is the front runner with a score of 68

  • Tamil Nadu has a score 66, and is the top scorer on the goals to do with eradicating poverty and also providing clean and affordable energy.

  • The aim of the index is to instil competition among States to improve their performance across social indices as the States’ progress will determine India’s progress towards achieving the set goals by 2030

  • Kerala’s top rank is attributed to its superior performance in providing good health, reducing hunger, achieving gender equality and providing quality education

  • Himachal Pradesh ranks high on providing clean water and sanitation, in reducing inequalities and preserving the mountain ecosystem.

  • Among the UTs, Chandigarh takes the lead because of its exemplary performance in providing clean water and sanitation to its people


Source: The Hindu


General Studies-II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


Controversial exit

  • Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria has rattled his team and his allies

  • President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria has predictably upset both the Washington establishment and America’s global allies.

  • Within a day of the announcement, Secretary of Defense James Mattis quit, while allies say the move would affect the battle against the Islamic State in Syria. Mr. Trump, however, appears unfazed. Bringing soldiers back to the U.S. was a campaign promise.

  • Earlier this year he had wanted to exit Syria, but delayed the decision amid resistance within his cabinet. Now he claims that the physical infrastructure of the IS caliphate is destroyed and the U.S. can leave the war against the remnants of the jihadist group to the Syrian government and its main backers, Russia and Iran.

  • On the face of it, there is a strategic argument in Mr. Trump’s decision. The caliphate is actually destroyed — the IS has lost 95% of the territory it once controlled and is now confined to narrow pockets on the Iraqi-Syrian border.

  • The U.S. would also not like to get stuck in Syria forever. It is basically Russia’s war. The U.S. is already stranded in Afghanistan (for 17 years) and Iraq (over 15 years) without a way out.

  • After these interventions, Presidents have been wary of deploying “boots on the ground” in West Asia. Barack Obama had pulled back most U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Mr. Trump wants to get out of the Syrian theatre. But the ground reality is too complex and requires Mr. Trump to be more patient and strategic in his policymaking.

  • The U.S. has only 2,000 troops in Syria. They were not directly involved in the ground battle, and were supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces, a rebel group led by Kurdish rebels who were in the forefront of the fight against the IS.

  • The U.S. support for the Kurdish rebels has irked Turkey, which sees them as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, the rebels on the Turkish side who have been fighting Turkish troops for decades.

  • Turkey considers the military consolidation of Kurds as a strategic threat. In the past, Turkey had attacked Kurds in some pockets on the Syrian side, but was prevented from launching a full-throttle attack because of the U.S. presence.

  • When Mr. Trump pulls out American troops, he would in effect be leaving the Syrian Kurds at the mercy of Turkish troops.

  • A second risk factor will emerge if Turkey launches an attack on the Kurdish militants, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to do.

  • The Kurds will then have to re-channel their resources to fight Turkish soldiers. This will weaken the ground resistance against the remaining IS militants on the southern side of the border.

  • Mr. Trump would have done better to wait before deciding to pull out of Syria. He could have considered waiting for the conflict to de-escalate even further; also, he could have gained assurances from Turkey that it would refrain from attacking Kurdish troops.

  • The cost of being so abrupt is that it leaves a dangerous vacuum in northeastern Syria.


Source: The Hindu


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