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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 14 August 2021

Parliament is abdicating its oversight role | TH

M.R. Madhavan is President of the PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi

  • Many important issues had not been discussed such as the COVID-19 response and strategy, the Chinese incursion into Ladakh, the economic situation, rising prices of many essential items, and farmers’ problems, to name a few.
  • Both Houses were frequently disrupted as the Government and Opposition parties could not agree on the topics to be debated.
  • The Lok Sabha worked for just 19% of its originally scheduled time, and the Rajya Sabha for 26%.
  • The Government pushed through 20 Bills, mostly without any discussion.
  • Of the 18 Bills passed by the Lok Sabha, only one saw discussion over 15 minutes.
  • While the Rajya Sabha crossed this low bar for most Bills, only two Bills were discussed for over an hour.
  • In 15 of these Bills, not even one member of the Lok Sabha spoke; each Bill was passed after a short statement by the respective Minister.
  • The Lok Sabha proceedings show one Bill — the Scheduled Tribes (Order) Amendment — as being discussed for 10 minutes within which seven members spoke, two Ministers intervened, and the Minister replied.
  • Every Bill introduced during the session was passed within the session.
  • This means that there was no time for any scrutiny by members.
  • While we have seen such behaviour in State Assemblies (in 2020, 91% of all Bills in 19 Assemblies were passed within five days of introduction), this is a new development for Parliament.
  • In the period of the Fifteenth Lok Sabha (2009-14), 18% of the Bills were passed within the same session.
  • This rose to 33% in the Sixteenth Lok Sabha and is at 70% halfway through the current Parliament.
  • None of the Bills was referred to a parliamentary committee for examination.
  • These committees provide a forum for parliamentarians to engage with experts, stakeholders and government officials to understand the implications of Bills.
  • To sum up, Parliament appears to be quite ineffective in all its functions.
  • The reason for having a legislature separate from the executive is to have a check on executive power.
  • Parliament will have its 70th anniversary next year. Parliament also plans to move to a larger building.
  • We will see many speeches celebrating these occasions.

An Indian sail to navigate the maritime environment | TH

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address on August 9 at the UNSC High-Level Open Debate on “Enhancing Maritime Security: A Case For International Cooperation”, convened by India, was both timely and apt.
  • Oceans: common heritage for humankind and a lifeline for the future of the planet.
  • The global community to develop a common framework to deal with contemporary challenges, including maritime disputes and natural disasters

  • Vasco de Gama was piloted to the west coast of India from Zanzibar by a Gujarati seaman.
  • The very word navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word “navgath”.
  • India’s maritime trade with Mesopotamia 4,500 years ago
  • Lothal was a key maritime centre of the Indus Valley civilisation.
  • A ship built indigenously and manned by a local crew voyaged to England and back in the time of Rao Godji II (1760-1778) of Kutch.
  • Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam
  • SAGAR (Security And Growth For All In The Region)
  • Develop a cooperative and inclusive framework for maritime security, so essential for unimpeded trade and commerce.
  • Ninety per cent of global trade is conducted on the high seas
  • The blockage in the Suez Canal earlier this year interrupted the flow of trade worth billions of dollars.

  • India’s acceptance of the award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2014 paved the way for India and Bangladesh to put aside their maritime dispute and forge even closer ties.
  • This should be an example to others in the region.
  • In 2016, China summarily rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in favour of the Philippines.
  • Natural disasters and maritime threats posed by non-state actors
  • Cyclones, tsunami and maritime pollution
  • Boxing Day tsunami in 2004
  • The Indian Air Force airlifted 30 tonnes of relief material to Mauritius in August 2020 to contain an oil spill that threatened to engulf the island nation’s pristine coast.
  • The election, on August 5, of the Director General of Indian Coast Guard as the executive director of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre, Singapore.
  • The Indian Navy’s state-of-the-art Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) based in Gurugram hosts officers from the United States, Japan, France, Australia and the United Kingdom.
  • The U.S., Japan and Australia are also promoting better standards for global infrastructure through the Blue Dot Network.
  • The Presidential Statement issued on the occasion highlights the commitment of the UN Security Council to international law.
  • Importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the legal framework governing all maritime activity.

Afghan tragedy | TH

  • With the fall of Kandahar and Herat, Afghanistan’s second and third largest cities, to the Taliban, the war in the country appears to have entered an irreversible phase.
  • The speed with which the Islamist insurgents captured the cities — 17 in eight days — is a surprise.
  • The latest U.S. intelligence assessment predicts that Kabul could fall within 90 days.
  • What altered the balance of power in the battlefield was the withdrawal of the U.S.-led international forces.
  • While the U.S.-Taliban agreement in February 2020 legitimised the jihadists, the American withdrawal gave them a sense of victory.
  • On the other side, the U.S. withdrawal has left the Afghan government, internally divided and lacking support in rural areas, devoid of its most critical advantage in the war — air support.
  • Mr. Ghani turned to the ethnic leaders, but it is now too late as the Taliban are already at the gates of Kabul.
  • The tragedy is that if they take Kabul, Afghanistan’s nearly 40 million population would be subjected, once again, to one of the most barbaric forms of religious totalitarianism.
  • Whatever limited progress and freedoms the Afghans earned over the last 20 years are now at risk of being surrendered to a murderous militia with scant regard for human rights.

Transition from fossil fuels in India | ToI

  • The latest IPCC report paints a grim picture of the future if the world fails to eliminate the use of fossil fuels over the next three decades.
  • The only question in front of us is how best to plan this transition to secure a just and equitable outcome.
  • There is a stark asymmetry in India’s energy map.
  • While 85% of coal production is concentrated in relatively poor eastern and central states of Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Over 60% of renewable energy potential (and 80% of current capacity) is concentrated in relatively wealthy southern and western states – Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
  • How will the energy transition affect inter-state relations?
  • What implications will it have on government revenue, public expenditure and regional inequality?
  • What happens to districts like Dhanbad, Singrauli, Korba, Angul, or Paschim Bardhaman, where coal is the fulcrum of jobs and growth?
  • How will we re-skill and re-employ millions of workers formally and informally employed in fossil fuel-dependent industries like thermal power, steel, cement, refineries, automobile, petrol pumps, or urea fertiliser?
  • All major Indian companies, from Tata’s to Reliance and Adani’s to Mahindra’s, are putting billions of dollars in renewable energy, battery storage and EVs.
  • If the transition away from coal (and oil) is not well-managed, many of the country’s disadvantaged districts will be pushed even further into poverty.
  • Furthermore, it will have serious ramifications for the political economy in central and eastern India, where coal is firmly embedded in local culture and politics.
  • A Just Transition and not merely an energy transition.
  • A well-planned Just Transition will help districts and states dependent on fossil fuels to diversify their economy and secure decent work opportunities for their population.
  • Most coal areas are impoverished and polluted, with more than half of the population suffering from multidimensional poverty.
  • In addition, the informal workforce is approximately four times the formal employees.
  • The fossil fuel industry has a large footprint.
  • There are 120 districts in which these businesses play a significant role.
  • Of these, 60 districts account for 95% of coal production, 60% thermal power capacity, and 90% automobile and automobile component manufacturing.
  • Disruptions will occur in these districts early on, perhaps within the next five years, as alternative technologies are already in the market for these sectors.
  • The industry employs a large number of people, with at least 20 million people working in mines and factories.
  • Automobile, iron and steel, and coal mining are the biggest employers.
  • To put things in perspective, the coal-mining sector in the United States employed 54,000 people in 2019; in India, the figure is over 2.0 million.
  • The fossil fuel industries contribute significantly to the exchequer.
  • Taxes on coal, oil and gas contributed 18.8% of the total revenue receipts of the central government and about 8.3% of the state governments in 2019-20.
  • Thus, these taxes are essential for the government’s revenue and spending.
  • The 5 R’s
    1. Restructuring of the economy and industries in fossil fuel-dependent districts/ states
    2. Repurposing of land and infrastructure, as these industries hold vast land and assets. For example, coal mines and thermal power plants alone have 0.3 million hectares of land, which can be repurposed to build a new green economy
    3. Reskilling existing and skilling new workforce to avoid job loss and create a new workforce for the green industries
    4. Revenue substitution and investments in Just Transition. This will require progressively moving taxes away from fossils and using fossil taxes like GST compensation cess (formerly coal cess) and District Mineral Foundation funds for Just Transition.
    5. Responsible social and environmental practices during the transition process to create a better world than today

NEWS

  • PM Modi launches National Automobile Scrappage Policy in Gujarat
  • Centre releases another installment of 35% of India COVID Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Phase II Package to States
  • First Nasal COVID vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech gets regulatory approval for 2nd, 3rd phase trials
  • IIT, Bombay develops novel method using infra-red technology to predict patients more likely to be severely ill from COVID
  • Govt notifies plastic waste management amendment rules 2021
  • Rajnath Singh launches series of events to mark 75th anniversary of India’s Independence being celebrated as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav
  • Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur launches nationwide programme of Fit India Freedom Run 2.0
  • Series of events have been planned to commemorate 75 years of Independence: Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar
  • President Kovind to address nation today on the eve of 75th Independence Day
  • Jitendra Singh reviews status of ongoing 4-Days Camp organised by Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants), Jammu
  • India asks its nationals to leave Afghanistan by commercial flights
  • Quad members met by video conference; reviewed progress of Quad Vaccine initiative
  • Death toll from floods in northern Turkey reaches 27
  • UN urges Afghanistan’s neighbours to keep their borders open as number of civilians fleeing Taliban onslaught swells
  • Bangladesh COVID registration app comes under Cyber attack

ANS

Q.) Which of these States does not have an Upper House?

  1. Uttar Pradesh
  2. West Bengal
  3. Maharashtra
  4. None of the above

Q.)  The population survey of which two animals will now be conducted as part of a common estimation protocol in India?

  • Tigers and Lions
  • Elephants and Lions
  • Tigers and Cheetahs
  • Elephants and Tigers