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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 12 June 2021

NEWS

  • PM Modi to participate in Outreach Sessions of G7 Summit today & tomorrow
  • FM Nirmala Sitharaman to chair 44th GST Council meeting today
  • EAM S Jaishankar says, India moved mountains to contain 2nd wave of Covid-19
  • IMD warns of heavy rain in Mumbai, adjoining areas during weekend
  • Central Athlete Injury Management System launched for training of athletes for 2024 Olympics
  • India administers over 24.93 cr doses of COVID-19 vaccine so far
  • NPPA caps trade margin for oxygen concentrators at 70% on Price to Distributor level
  • IREDA invites bids for setting up solar manufacturing units under PLI Scheme
  • KVIC issues legal notices to over 1000 private firms for misusing its brand name
  • President expresses grief over the demise of Dr Ashok Panagariya
  • G7 summit: Boris Johnson urges world leaders to build back better after COVID pandemic
  • COVID deaths cross 13,000, positivity rate over 13 percent in Bangladesh
  • Chinese national arrested trying to enter India from Bangladesh
  • Indian Mango Promotion Programme begins in Bahrain
  • Kenya receives 750 M loan from World Bank to help recovery from COVID-19 effects
  • French Open Tennis: Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal to reach Men's Singles final

FINANCIAL NEWS

  • Keep Expenses in Check, Finmin Tells Ministries
    • Cut controllable expenditure by a fifth and suggested as many as 18 areas where reductions can be made, such as advertisement and publicity, office expenses and overtime allowance.
    • The government faces higher expenditure on the centralised procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and the free food ration programme that’s been extended until November.
    • Spending related to containment of Covid-19 has been excluded from the purview of these curbs.
    • Vaccine procurement costs could rise to ₹50,000 crore against the budgeted ₹35,000 crore while the free food programme will cost a further ₹1 lakh crore.
    • In addition, the government has also enhanced the fertiliser subsidy for the current financial year.
  • HC Rejects Amazon, Flipkart Plea Against CCI Investigation
    • The Karnataka High Court rejected a petition by Amazon India and Walmartowned Flipkart that sought to quash an investigation by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) into their business practices.
    • The decision by justice PS Dinesh Kumar on Friday cleared the way for the antitrust regulator to restart its investigation into the ecommerce companies.
    • Flipkart and Amazon India will likely challenge the order, said people with knowledge of the matter. They have 30 days to appeal.
    • CCI had ordered a probe against the two companies last January, saying it had “prima facie” evidence to begin an investigation under Section 26 (1) of the Competition Act, 2002.
    • This followed allegations by trade bodies such as the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM) that Amazon India and Flipkart were offering deep discounts to customers that were predatory in nature and favourable terms to select sellers.
  • G7: 1 Billion Vax Doses for Poorer Nations
    • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expects the Group of Seven to agree to donate 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries during its summit, and help inoculate the world by the end of next year.
    • Just hours after US President Joe Biden vowed to supercharge the battle against the coronavirus with a donation of 500 million Pfizer shots, Johnson said Britain would give at least 100 million surplus vaccines to the poorest nations.
    • Johnson has already called on G7 leaders to commit to vaccinate the entire world by the end of 2022 and the group is expected to pledge 1 billion doses during its three-day summit in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay.
    • Some campaign groups condemned the plan as a drop in the ocean, with Oxfam estimating that nearly 4 billion people will depend for vaccines on COVAX, the programme that distributes Covid-19 shots to low and middle income countries.
    • Oxfam also called on G7 leaders to support a waiver on the intellectual property behind the vaccines.
    • “The lives of millions of people in developing countries should never be dependent on the goodwill of rich nations and profit-hungry pharmaceutical corporations,” Oxfam's health policy manager Anna Marriott said.
    • Of the 100 million British shots, 80 million will go to the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization and the rest will be shared bilaterally with countries in need.
    • British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Friday there was no doubt some countries were using vaccines as a diplomatic tool to secure influence but Britain did not support so-called vaccine diplomacy.

Iran Presidential Election

  • On May 25, the Guardian Council in Iran announced a slate of seven candidates who would compete in the presidential election on June 18.
  • The council, in a non-transparent process, selected these seven candidates from among 592 applicants, including 40 women.
  • The list does not include a woman
  • Iran has a dichotomous political order whose two parts are constantly at odds with each other.
  • It has the institutions of a normal democratic system — a directly elected President, an elected national assembly, and a government responsible to the assembly.
  • The other part of the political order is devoted to safeguarding the ideology and principles of the Islamic Revolution
  • Placed above the popularly elected President is the Supreme Leader, who wields supreme authority in all matters of national governance — security, defence, foreign relations, the judiciary.
  • One of the bodies under the Supreme Leader is the 12-member Guardian Council.
  • The council has now carefully rejected reformist candidates and retained two who seem to be centrist, so that the slate has five so-called “hardliners”.
  • The Guardian Council has decided to ensure the election of one specific candidate, Ebrahim Raisi.
  • Raisi has been a high-profile legal luminary in Iran since the days of the Revolution.
  • He is now head of the judiciary and deputy chief of the Assembly of Experts which selects the Supreme Leader.
  • Raisi had stood against Hassan Rouhani for the presidency in 2017, but was soundly defeated.
  • fighting corruption+caring for the down-trodden and the under-privileged
  • Surprisingly, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself has said that in the vetting process “some candidates were wronged”, but,so far, the Guardian Council has not revised the candidates’ list.
  • Khamenei appears to have backed the narrow selection of candidates to ensure that Iran’s politics will now shift from Rouhani’s moderate reform to the hard ideological posture of Ebrahim Raisi, who is his long-term political associate.
  • Earlier, in the absence of harsh sanctions, Iran’s economy had grown exponentially and expanded the size of the middle class.
  • In 2013, with the prospect of the end of sanctions, Rouhani won the presidential election, when the middle class was nearly 60% of the population.
  • The lifting of sanctions after the nuclear agreement saw him through during the 2017 elections as well.
  • However, the re-introduction of sanctions by the Donald Trump administration cost the economy about $200 billion:
    • The middle class has been reduced by eight million, while those living in extreme poverty have increased five-fold to 20 million.
    • Poor medical facilities have caused pandemic-related deaths of around 80,000 people.
    • S. sanctions have also changed political attitudes: support for the nuclear agreement has gone from 80% in 2015 to just 50% today
  • Iran’s inflation rate has gone from 10% in 2017 to 50% today, the national currency has depreciated four times in value, while unemployment is over 12%.
  • The easing of sanctions after an agreement on nuclear issues in Vienna will remove restrictions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors and help bring much-needed relief to the beleaguered population.
  • Thus, the “Cold War” between the two will continue, along with occasional skirmishes with Israel, not just in Syria, but also in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
  • Iran will seek strategic comfort in closer ties with Russia and China.
  • Donald Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” that, with its crippling sanctions, was meant to achieve regime change in Iran, has had the ironical effect of tilting Iran’s political balance sharply in favour of the hardliners.

Counting the dead

  • The real time mortality impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is an important statistical measure to guide policy responses.
  • WHO, in January 2021, had estimated, based on excess deaths data in Europe and the American continents, that actual deaths were at least 1.6 times over the official count.
  • The problem of under-counting, even in mature public health systems across the developed world, is largely because patients who die due to cardiovascular issues among others even after apparent recovery from COVID-19 are sometimes not tracked and registered as COVID-19-related deaths.
  • Bihar where the reported toll was suddenly increased by 72% following a Health Department review after the Patna High Court found discrepancies in figures cited by different agencies in Buxar district.
  • Bihar is among the States in India with the lowest civil registration of deaths, with barely 34.1% of the dead being registered, according to the Civil Registration System (CRS) report of 2018.
  • Estimations of the actual count of the dead are difficult to obtain in other States such as Uttar Pradesh as well, where public health systems are poor and neither the infections nor deaths have been effectively tracked, especially in rural areas, where many have died outside of hospitals.
  • One method to assess the actual number of deaths due to COVID-19 is by calculating the excess deaths during the given period when the pandemic has raged, compared to the baseline mortality occurring in similar time frames before the pandemic.
  • Excess deaths analyses in Gujarat, Chennai and Kolkata based on collations of preliminary registration data by news organisations suggest that they were nearly 10, five and seven times higher, respectively, than reported fatalities during the second wave.
  • If the CRS datasets, maintained by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India besides State registrars and municipal officials with a good quality of registration, are made available, it would enable better estimation of the actual mortality figures.
  • In the meantime, only honest reporting of the deaths will help provide better mitigation strategies.

Refocused vaccination campaigns are possible

  • Poornima and Ashok, 80-year-old parents of two and grandparents of three, have been hunkered down in their Mumbai apartment for a year.
  • Older adults who remain unvaccinated, and very much at risk.
  • Ensure we vaccinate them before we open vaccination to younger adults.
  • Local governments and municipalities should also prioritise vaccines for the historically marginalised by focusing through the lens of equity and justice.
  • It would require prioritising the poor, religious minorities, socially disadvantaged castes, Adivasi communities, those living in remote areas, and women.
  • One example of an equity-focused vaccination plan came from the Chhattisgarh government.
  • The plan prioritised ration card holders, specifically because they are poor, and often live in multi-generation, larger households, putting them at higher risk of infection.
  • They also often lack access to mobile phones and the Internet, which are necessary to register for vaccination.
  • WHO’s strategic advisory group of experts on immunisation recommend prioritising sociodemographic groups at significantly higher risk of severe disease or death (for vaccination) in the context of limited supply
  • India depended, and continues to depend on the AstraZeneca vaccine because it was stable in a refrigerator for longer periods than mRNA vaccines.
  • But it also enables the vaccine to be transported in vaccine carriers, and taken to the people where they are.
  • In Indian villages, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives (ANMs) have vast experience and expertise with campaign-style pulse polio vaccination and newborn vaccination.
  • Urban slums and neighbourhoods, where socially disadvantaged caste and community groups, and migrants from Adivasi communities often reside, have poor access to and low levels of trust in the health-care system.
  • Vaccines should be provided in camps or door-to-door in such areas.
  • A similar approach — vaccination camps where people live and work — could also greatly enhance vaccine uptake among essential workers and the poor.
  • We need to ensure that those who work for daily wages are able to get the vaccine without having to forego work or pay.
  • Adivasi communities also reside in remote and forested areas that are also being ravaged by waves of death, presumably due to COVID-19; vaccine distribution should be prioritised to districts where they live.
  • Vaccine distribution should also be prioritised to Muslim-dominated tier-3 towns across the country.
  • We need women-only vaccine days to ensure that women know that they are being prioritised. During the 1918 influenza pandemic, India was one of few locations where mortality was higher in women than in men (https://bit.ly/3gfc4vH), and we barely understand the drivers of this observation.
  • In an ideal world, vaccines would be procured and equitably distributed to countries based on need through the COVAX facility.
  • But instead, wealthy countries have once again, as during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, secured more doses than they need to vaccinate every member of their population (https://bit.ly/3zmRa5a), and even pre-ordered booster doses.
  • This leaves only poor countries to be dependent on supplies through COVAX, and they find themselves at the end of the line.
  • Refocused, rejuvenated local, national, and global vaccination campaigns are possible.
  • Let us ensure that we plan now so that we get those shots in arms when they are available.
  • Let us get to work in India.

ANS

Q.) Which university maintained its position as the top Indian institution for the fourth consecutive year in the QS World University rankings?

  1. IISc, Banglore
  2. IIT Delhi
  3. IIT Bombay
  4. IIT Madras

MCQ

Q.) Among the following, which country has the highest percentage of fully vaccinated people?

  1. Brazil
  2. Israel
  3. UK
  4. Russia