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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 11 November 2020

Road bumps

  • 15th Finance Commission submitted its report to the President
  • Recommendations on the formula for sharing the divisible pool of tax revenues between the Centre and the States for the next five years
  • It has to be tabled in Parliament
  • An action taken report would reveal the government’s acceptance or rejection of the panel’s prescriptions.
  • 14th Finance Commission recommended a sharp increase - from 32% to 42% of the divisible pool of revenues and the Centre accepted it.
  • However, their actual shares of total taxes mopped up have turned out to be far lower as the Centre deployed more cesses and surcharges to garner additional revenues in recent years.
  • States’ recent stand-off with the Centre on how their GST compensation dues will be paid this year
  • The Centre had tasked the Commission with assessing a few unusual ideas, including the creation of a non-lapsable fund for defence and security spending, and incentivising States for performance on reforms considered desirable by the Centre such as adoption of direct benefits transfer
  • Southern States are worried that the use of 2011 population data, instead of 1971
  • That the panel has dedicated a volume entirely to States, analysing the development needs of each, is heartening.
  • The Centre can allay States’ fears further by tabling the report soon so that any anxieties can be debated and laid to rest, and States can also plan upcoming Budgets with less uncertainty.
  • Being receptive to States’ concerns can help forge a fresh cohesive federal compact for the coming years — a double engine that can hasten India’s return to high growth.

Vaccine Hope | ToI

  • Pharma company Pfizer – 2 dose Covid vaccine - has been found to be more than 90% effective as per early analysis of its late-stage trial
  • Pfizer has released only sparse details from its clinical trial
  • Developing an effective vaccine at such breakneck speed would be nothing short of a miracle.
  • That said, the vaccine – which was developed along with German firm BioNTech – still has to prove its long-term safety and efficacy.
  • Plus, it is based on cutting edge mRNA technology that has never been approved for use in people.
  • The mRNA method uses fragments of synthetic genetic material which when injected instructs muscle cells to produce spike proteins associated with the coronavirus, prompting an immune response.
  • Pfizer says it will have manufactured enough doses to immunise 15 to 20 million people by the end of the year.
  • However, given the nature of the vaccine, it needs to be stored at -70°C or below, with the shots spoiling in about five days at normal refrigeration temperatures.
  • This presents a huge challenge for storage and transportation of the vaccine.
  • India hasn’t even reserved any doses with Pfizer.
  • Nor is Pfizer part of WHO’s Covax distribution programme.

Pakistan on the boil

  • Pakistan, already saddled with umpteen problems
  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced its verdict on October 23 retaining Pakistan in the grey list
  • Pak has fulfilled only only 21 out of the laid down 27 requirements
  • While Mongolia and Iceland were removed from the grey list, Pakistan will be reviewed again on February 20-21
  • Significantly, Pakistan under Prime Minister Imran Khan, came under scathing attack when the army and the Sindh Police had a frontal confrontation on October 18.
  • Panicked by the mounting pressure unleashed by the Progressive Democratic Movement ( PDM), the federal government and more specifically, the army, ordered the arrest of Captain Safdar (husband of Maryam Nawaz) on charges of desecration of Jinnah's monument.
  • The Sindh Police refused to comply with orders forcing the army and the frontier corps based in Karachi, to arrest the IG Sindh, Mushtaq Ahar, raiding his house, intimidating for action against Safdar.
  • The entire Sindh police force was up in arms.
  • As a token of protest, the Sindh Police proceeded on leave en masse and the situation was like a full-fledged police revolt with Karachi as the epicentre of mutiny.
  • COAS, General Qamar Ahmad Bajwa, ordered an enquiry into the IG's arrest and the highhandedness by the army.
  • The general Pakistani populace is undoubtedly sympathetic towards the Sindh police and that's worrying for the establishment.
  • At present, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and the entire political opposition is united under the PDM.
  • The deep state, which is now under assault, is being charged by the opposition to be acting above the state.
  • Imran Khan remains frustrated by the repeated failures and his political party, the PTI is fast losing its popularity as was seen two years ago.
  • Imran Khan is bound to have a series of sleepless nights in the days to come.

Building blocks

  • Discovered in 2004 by two researchers at The University of Manchester, Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov.
  • Andre and Kostya won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering work.

  • With more than 10,000 research papers in graphene-related subject areas published worldwide every year, graphene has still managed to withhold the awe of scientists.
  • Amazing as it sounds, graphene was simply extracted from a piece of graphite using a common adhesive tape.
  • The only difference is that graphite has a three-dimensional crystal structure but graphene is a two-dimensional material.
  • So, if this substance has been known for so long then what is holding it back from taking over the market?
  • It is the lack of economically feasible and efficient mass production.
  • An Italian helmet manufacturing company, Momo design, has floated a range of helmets coated with graphene.
  • The presence of graphene improves the distribution of any impact force, making it safer.
  • It also dissipates heat faster than conventional materials, making the helmet cooler.
  • An American company called Real Graphene has created a graphene-enhanced lithium battery that can cut phone charging time from an hour and a half to 20 minutes.
  • It has a longer life than conventional lithium batteries and generates less heat.
  • Another Italian company, Italcementi, has proposed graphene-infused concrete, which could lead to doing away with wiring in buildings, as the building material is already highly conductive on its own.
  • Graphene's high thermal conductivity would enable walls to dissipate heat, potentially eliminating the need for air conditioning in hot countries.
  • Scientists have devised a low-cost, energy-efficient and environment-friendly technology using graphene electrodes for desalination of seawater.
  • Meanwhile, researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) have shown how the coating surface of medical implants with 'vertical graphene flakes' makes them resistant to bacterial infections.
  • This could limit the use of antibiotics and lower the chances of implant rejection by the host body.
  • Talking of very recent research in medicine, graphene oxide derivatives are being studied as biosensors to detect cancerous cells and other diseases in the human body and also as media for targeted drug delivery.


  • NDA retains power in Bihar; Secures absolute majority by winning 125 seats
  • PM to inaugurate new state-of-the-art complex of Income-tax Appellate Tribunal at Cuttack
  • Armenia, Azerbaijan sign Russia brokered peace deal; Moscow sends troops to enforce ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Active COVID-19 cases drop below 5 lakh mark for 1st time after 106 days: Health Ministry
  • Hunar Haat to restart from today
      • The theme of this event is Vocal for Local where indigenous exquisite products made from Maati (clay), Metal and Machiya (wooden and jute products) will be the major attraction.

  • M.P. bypolls: BJP wins 16 seats, secures govt.
  • ‘Severe’ air pollution for 6th day in city
    • The air quality of Delhi and Noida continued to be in the ‘severe’ category for the sixth consecutive day and that of Gurugram for the fourth day on Tuesday, according to Central Pollution Control Board data.
    • The newly formed Commission on Air Quality Management, as an interim measure, has given the CPCB powers to operationalise measures under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) on air pollution.
    • The GRAP is a set of emergency measures to be implemented to control air pollution depending upon the air quality.
  • PM seeks respect for ‘territorial integrity’
    • Modi addresses SCO summit in presence of Xi