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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 15 August 2020

Limited peace

  • Israel - United Arab Emirates peace agreement
  • The deal was announced by U.S. President Trump
  • UAE would recognise the state of Israel and establish formal diplomatic relations.
  • Israel would halt its controversial plan to annex swathes of the Palestinian West Bank.
  • LANDMARK AGREEMENT: UAE is only the third Arab country and the first in the Gulf recognising Israel.

  • Arab-Israeli relations have largely been conflict-ridden ever since the state of Israel was declared in 1948.
  • Sunni Arab kingdoms + Jewish-majority Israel vs Shia Iran
  • Israel has said it would focus on “expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world
  • USA: hopefully more Arab countries would follow the UAE’s lead

  • Mr. Trump who played a critical role.
  • It is a rare diplomatic victory for Mr. Trump
  • His other foreign policy bets — Iran, North Korea or Afghanistan — were either disastrous or inconclusive.
  • The U.S. had arranged several meetings between Israeli and Emirati officials last year, which probably laid the foundations for the agreement.
  • This deal has the potential to change Arab-Israeli relations for good.
  • Arab countries are gradually decoupling themselves from the Palestine question.
  • Saudi Arabia initiative endorsed by the Arab League, offered recognition to Israel in exchange for its full withdrawal from the occupied territories.
  • UAE has moved away from the Arab initiative.
  • Can UAE press the Jewish state to relax its inhuman and illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and start talks between the occupier and the occupied.
  • Emerging realities in West Asia
    • Arab-Israel conflict is coming to an end
  • Palestine-Israel conflict is to continue without any respite.

73 years of freedom

  • Matter of pride: world’s largest democracy
  • Last general election: over 600 million out of total 911 million voters voted
  • Sadly, money and muscle power are success factors.
  • Legislators are on sale and need to be locked up in resorts.
  • Caste & political dynasties are realities
  • Constitutionally autonomous institutions are under pressure.
  • Tolerance for dissent is low.
  • Parliament, if it functions, rarely witnesses informed and scintillating debate.
  • We are today the world’s fifth largest economy by nominal GDP, and the third largest by purchasing power parity.
  • The richest 1% in India owns 58.4% of the country’s wealth; the richest 10%, an astounding 80.7%. The bottom 10% of our nation owns 0.2%.
  • 2005-16: lifted some 270 million people above the poverty line.
  • But, we still have the world’s largest number of the abjectly poor.
  • According to the IMF, in terms of per capita income in 2019, India lags at 139th in the world. China is at 65.
  • India is ranked second worldwide in terms of farm output, first in the world in net cropped area; it is the world’s largest producer of milk, and the second largest of wheat and rice.
  • But India still languishes at 102 out of 117 countries in the Global Hunger Index, below Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Half our workforce is employed in agriculture, but agriculture contributes only 16% to the national GDP.
  • Only 35% of our land is reliably irrigated
  • World Bank’s ease of doing business: from the 149th position worldwide in 2014 to 63 in 2019
    • 136th place in the ease of starting a business, just ahead of Mozambique and Afghanistan.
  • In New Delhi, to open a restaurant requires 26 licences, and 45 documents to obtain clearance from the police alone; in China you need just four licences.
  • Manufacturing units need to conform with 6,976 compliance items.
  • We take four years to enforce a contract; in Indonesia, it takes 1.2 years, in China, 1.4.
  • Our goods take 7-10 days to reach a port; in China – and even Bangladesh – it takes a day.
  • It takes 58 days to register a property and, on average, 1,445 days to resolve a commercial dispute in the court of first instance.
  • Entrepreneurship is one of our great assets. We need to give it a greater chance.
  • Our doctors, engineers and scientists are among the best in the world.
  • The New Education Policy has many positive features.
  • But too many of our young are still not in school, and even if they are, the state of government schools is abysmal.
  • We have some of the best hospitals in the world, but the ordinary Indian – in spite of schemes like Ayushman Bharat – is still not guaranteed even efficient primary health care, and more people die of dysentery and malaria in India than anywhere else.
  • We are preparing to send a mission to the moon.
  • Yet, the number of scientific innovations with global impact are meagre.
  • As an ancient civilisation, we are still negotiating the elusive divide between tradition and modernity.
  • We proclaim fealty to egalitarianism, but remain deeply hierarchical in our thinking.
  • Gender disparity persists pervasively, although far more women are empowered and excelling today.
  • Too much mimicry of the West abounds; we laud our culture, but neglect artists and cultural infrastructure.
  • Our Republic is proud to be a land of many faiths.
  • So, is the glass half full or half empty? It depends on the view you take. I remain an optimist, a believer in the destiny of my nation. For me, it is half full. Happy Independence Day! Jai Hind!

Gaps in the casting of India’s foreign policy

  • Chinese soldiers squatting on India’s side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC)
  • Cartographic aggression by little Nepal
  • Iran joining a virtual alliance with China
  • Russia getting close to China
  • Pakistan shooting across the Line of Control (LoC)
  • A looming financial crisis and other challenges
  • Government will examine all these and other international developments and apply correctives wherever possible.
  • Since the global situation itself is in a flux, there will be many surprises on the way and our own positions will also influence the shape of the post-COVID-19 world.
  1. Real situation: which is known only to those at the higher levels and the interlocuters in the government.
  2. Official version: properly calibrated for the guidance of spokespersons of the government
  3. Rosy picture: the general public who should feel comfortable that the government that they have elected is doing well.
  • The dream world gets disturbed occasionally when the reality pierces through the carefully created layers of positive impressions and the surprise turns into concern and even panic.
  • The most recent example of a relationship clouded by fairy tales is the one with China
  • Wuhan Spirit’ and the ‘Chennai Connect’ in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu.
  • We have declared victory in a battle that has not ended.
  • We were surprised in 1962 that the erstwhile Soviet Union refused to intervene in the India-China conflict on the plea that “one was a brother and the other was a friend”.
  • Our close defence relationship, with 60% of our arms supply coming from Russia is explicable, but not sustainable.
  • The most celebrated fairy tale is the impression created that the UN Security Council will be expanded soon, and that India will be a permanent member.
  • We have been campaigning for a reform of the Security Council since 1979 and there has been really no progress on the issue of new permanent members.
  • The vast majority of the members of the UN would want to abolish the veto rather than give it to more countries.
  • A former Foreign Secretary has recently clarified that there was no offer of a permanent seat to India during the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, hopefully ending the speculation on that score.
  • Membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is another mirage that the public believes is a reality.
  • India joining the NSG is like Russia joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization because the NSG was set up originally to deny India any nuclear material following India’s nuclear tests in 1974.
  • Every member of the NSG is a signatory to the NPT and the best it could do was to give us an unconditional waiver, which we already have.
  • We hear about six American nuclear reactors being set up in Andhra Pradesh every time there is a discussion on bilateral relations.
  • Here again, the presumption is that the hurdle of our Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, placing the responsibility of any damages being on the supplier, will wither away.
  • Many formulae are being suggested, but a senior nuclear scientist admitted a couple of years ago that the United States was using the Liability Law as a smokescreen not to transfer nuclear technology to India.
  • The Clinton White House was of the view that India could use the India-U.S. Agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation for acquiring technology and material from other countries, and the U.S. should refrain from strengthening India’s nuclear capability.

Democracy needs an Internet ombudsman

  • In the interplay between government, companies and citizens for big data, information asymmetry has become so skewed that it has eroded the very spirit of democracy by limiting the unbiased communication of ideas.
  • Governments and private companies are using the Internet as ‘a means of control and surveillance, extending from cases of fraud detection, storage and exchange of criminal and financial records to those of political surveillance and control’.
  • When the Government of India banned 59 Chinese apps on the ground of transgressing Indian security, the question as to why in the first instance were they allowed into India did not get sufficient importance.
  • Was there no security or privacy audit?
  • While Facebook and Amazon are facing scrutiny on their own soil for their data mining policies, how did we allow so many apps without any check?
  • Government policy on national security should be based on advance strategic assessment rather than on a reactive basis.
  • On the privacy front, even after the Supreme Court of India had declared privacy as a fundamental right, the government insisted on affidavit in the top court that informational privacy or data privacy cannot be a fundamental right.
  • The Aadhar Act diluted the notion of ‘privacy’ and the standard of proportionality test set up by the Supreme Court. In an ongoing dilemma, even the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app is battling to satisfy the conscience of privacy overseers.
  • The clear impression is that the government is more interested in ‘control’ than ‘protection’ of data.
  • A national policy on data privacy of individuals is still a non-starter.
  • People continue to suffer because of the regular incidents of data theft.
  • India’s cybersecurity watchdog, CERT-In, last year reported huge data theft of Facebook and Twitter users by malicious third party apps.
  • Reportedly, more than 1.3 million credit and debit card details from Indian banks and the data of 6.8 million users from an Indian health-care website were stolen in the same year.
  • Private data analytics companies have emerged to exploit the electoral process with the sole objective of customising political messaging.
  • According to a report by Omidyar Network India and Monitor Deloitte, many private enterprises routinely share the personal data of individuals with third parties including political organisations.
  • For citizens, digital media are carriers of images and sounds, rather than words and thoughts, and the system where images run faster than thoughts is suitable for the spread of fake news.
  • Should there be a gatekeeper to balance appetites for technology, security and privacy?
  • The answer is yes, so long as the gate keeper is for regulation, not surveillance, and so long as it is completely and genuinely independent.
  • The Personal Data Protection Bill, struggling to be born in Parliament despite conception in 2018, is more about control and surveillance than about promoting privacy and protection of data.
  • Section 35, which provides the government with unfettered access to personal data, negates the three tests of legality, necessity and proportionality given by the Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) vs Union Of India.
  • Only an Internet ombudsman with experts on cyber and Internet laws, IT, data management, data science, data security, public administration and national security, and consciously involving eminent sections of civil society, can be an effective antidote to unregulated technological disruptions.

NEWS

  • Nation celebrates its 74th Independence day today, PM Modi unfurls Tri-Colour from Rampart of Red Fort
  • PM Narendra Modi reiterates country's resolve for Atma Nirbhar Bharat
  • Govt. identifies 7,000 projects from different sectors to bring new revolution in infrastructure
  • Prime Minsiter says India is dealing effectively with both terrorism and expansionism
  • President approves 84 gallantry awards for defence personnel
  • 926 Police personnel awarded Medals for their conspicuous gallant action on Independence Day
  • If enemy country attacks India, it will be given a befitting reply: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
  • V. President M. Venkaiah Naidu greets people on Independence Day
  • ISRO, IISc Bengaluru develop sustainable process to make space bricks on lunar surface
  • Home Minister Amit Shah remembers freedom fighters, brave soldiers on Independence Day
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extends Independence Day greetings to India
  • Independence Day observed in Bangladesh
  • Indian community in Sri Lanka celebrates Independence Day with enthusiasm and nationalistic fervor
  • Australia's second-largest city Victoria shows a decline in new Covid-19 infections
  • Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju launches the Fit India Freedom Run.