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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 16 July 2021

NEWS

  • India’s COVID vaccination coverage surpasses 39 Crore 49 lakh; National COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 97.28 pct
  • Centre grants relief package of 800 crore rupees to Tamil Nadu for Covid-19 management

  • Textile Minister Piyush Goyal stresses need to enhance productivity of local artisans and domestic industry to realise Atmanirbhar Bharat vision
  • Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education to announce Class 10th results today
  • Rajnath Singh launches AI-powered grievance management application
  • Jaishankar calls on Afghan President on the sidelines of Tashkent Connectivity Conference in Uzbekistan
  • Civil Aviation Ministry releases d-Drone Rules, 2021 for public consultation
  • ESIC felicitates donors to ESIC Hospitals during COVID-19 Pandemic
  • IAHE inks Agreement with University of New South Wales, Australia for setting up Centre for Advanced Transportation Technology and Systems in Noida
  • WHO warns of ‘early stages’ of Covid-19 third wave amid Delta variant surge
  • 17 people confirmed dead in collapse of hotel in Eastern China, unauthorized construction to blame
  • Taliban offer 3-month ceasefire in exchange for release of 7,000 insurgent prisoners
  • US Senate passes legislation to ban import of products from China's Xinjiang region
  • ‘Shocked’ China asks Pakistan to ensure safety of Chinese projects after 9 Chinese killed in bus explosion, sends investigation team
  • PM to inaugurate and dedicate to nation several key Railways and other projects in Gujarat tomorrow
  • Normal life thrown out of gear at several places in Telangana due to rains
  • Assam govt takes steps to boost up health infrastructure in fight against COVID
  • PM Modi to inaugurate newly-built five-star hotel atop redeveloped Gandhinagar Railway Station in Gujarat today
  • 119th Birthday of former CM of Tamil Nadu, K. Kamaraj celebrated in Puducherry

Ending the impasse | TH

  • India’s relations with China have been in deep freeze for over a year.
  • The crisis on the LAC remains unresolved, and tens of thousands of soldiers from both sides still remain deployed in forward areas.
  • Against this backdrop, Wednesday’s meeting between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Dushanbe assumes significance.

  • Their last meeting in Moscow, in September 2020, took place in the aftermath of the Galwan Valley clash and at a time of a tinderbox-like situation south of Pangong Lake, with troops and artillery dangerously close to each other on the heights of the Kailash Range.
  • Mr. Jaishankar said the unresolved situation was “visibly impacting the relationship in a negative manner” and “assessing the overall relationship”, it was peace on the border that provided “the foundation for the development of ties since 1988” when the post-1962 freeze ended.
  • Mr. Wang did not appear to view the boundary dispute with the same seriousness, instead calling for it to be kept “in an appropriate place” while “expanding the positive momentum of bilateral cooperation”.
  • The difference from Moscow to Dushanbe is that China, which last year was equally concerned after India’s counter-deployments to take the heights of the Kailash Range where even shots were fired in warning — the first firing since 1975 — now appears to be in no hurry to restore the status quo elsewhere.
  • The only way for Beijing to demonstrate that is indeed the case will be to resume negotiations on the LAC at the earliest.
  • Unless a full restoration of peace and a de-escalation on the borders happen, the relations in all other spheres will remain cloaked in distrust.

A 19-Month Wait | ToI

  • Almost three years after the deadline, RBI’s finally cracked the whip on data localisation.
  • Mastercard Asia has been ordered to refrain from taking on new customers as it failed to fulfil its obligations under the local data storage rules.
  • The bigger issue is how will this fit in with data localisation requirements under India’s Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP) that was introduced in the Parliament 19 months ago.
  • India’s retail payments landscape has transitioned to contactless payments, and cards are slowly losing relevance.
  • The original bill covered localisation and stated that some critical data shall be processed only in India.
  • PDP cannot exist in isolation.
  • India has globally competitive firms in data processing and PDP’s contours will have a ripple effect on them.
  • A benchmark could be the EU’s GDPR which allows transfer of data to non-EU-based firms provided they follow the same standards.
  • What’s clear is that everyone, RBI included, has to be governed by PDP’s standards, which can look at the big picture.

Past as present | Ind Exp

  • India’s reach out to the Taliban have not yielded the desired results.
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s words at the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation Foreign Ministers’ meeting at Dushanbe that the “future of Afghanistan cannot be its past” reflected India’s concern.
  • Russia and China were not unhappy to see the Americans leave.
  • Taliban has assured these 2 powers and some other nations that they have nothing to fear from.
  • Pakistan looks triumphant at succeeding in clipping India’s wings in Afghanistan.
  • Delhi’s decision to pull out Indian nationals from its diplomatic outpost in Kandahar.
  • As the Russian deputy envoy to Delhi has been quoted as saying, the Taliban are the current reality of Afghanistan, and it is for India to decide what role it wants to play.
  • Much hope is being set on the Doha talks between the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government.
  • For now, Delhi can only wait, and hope that the Taliban can be persuaded by its backers in Rawalpindi and elsewhere not to target the infrastructure projects India built over the last two decades.

Ghost of Section 66A | Ind Exp

  • It was struck down as unconstitutional six years ago by the Supreme Court, which found that it “arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invades the right of free speech”.
  • And yet, this draconian piece of dead law has had an astonishing afterlife in police stations across the country, leading to the persecution of several citizens for “menacing” or “offensive” online posts.
  • According to a plea filed by an NGO in the Supreme Court, as many as 745 cases are active before district courts in 11 states, with the accused being prosecuted for offences under the invalid law.
  • The Centre has written to state governments, asking them to pass on the memo to the police force — and withdraw all cases that may have been filed under Section 66A.
  • Introduced by the UPA government in 2008, the amendment to the IT Act gave the government power to arrest and imprison an individual for allegedly “offensive and menacing” online posts, and was passed without discussion in Parliament.
  • The court’s 2015 decision in Shreya Singhal vs Union of India was a landmark judicial pushback against state encroachment on freedom of speech and expression.
  • The gap between the court’s judgment and the pile of Section 66A cases is, perhaps, explained by a political climate in which free speech, dissent and legitimate criticism are seen as exercises in bad faith, and existing laws are wielded as weapons to arrest journalists and citizens for a tweet or a slogan or a Facebook post.
  • The Centre’s note to the states is welcome — but regular monitoring is the only way to ensure that the law is implemented in letter and spirit.

Stubble burning | Pioneer

  • The months of October and November witness a massive surge in smog over Delhi and surrounding areas and every one starts talking about stubble burning by Punjab and Haryana farmers.
  • Happy Seeders, biomass production, and straw balers
  • The Union government has provided huge subsidies for crop residue management (CRM) machinery which includes alternative uses of stubble or incorporating it back into the soil.
  1. The behavioural change among farmers
    • Range from farmers’ perception that fields are only clean when they are free of stubble and mulch
    • They also have a false impression that wheat yields are lower when using CRM.
  2. An effective last-mile delivery of technologies and services
    • Last-mile delivery issues range from the need for high-powered tractors, a limited window for CRM, shorter business viability of CRM machines, and financing for buying the machines.
  • The challenges can be addressed by developing village-level entrepreneurs to build trust among farmers and some tweaks in the processes and support mechanisms of the government.
  • To a large extent, behavioural change is a function of trust.
  • Hence, a hyper local change agent must be involved in building trust among farmers and help them understand the benefits of new technologies.
  • Ideally, an educated and unemployed rural youth should be identified in each village to act as the change agent.
  • The first activity that the change agent should undertake is to setup a five to 10-acre demonstration farm using CRM and creating awareness among 50 to 100 farmers in the village.
  • If we can setup entrepreneurs and demonstration farms in all the 12,789 villages in Punjab in the next two years, half the battle would be won.
  • Enable the entrepreneurs to purchase Happy Seeders and provide services to farmers.
  • Let entrepreneurs aggregate the demand and passit on to custom hiring centers and Farming As a Service (FAAS) operators.
  • The financial viability of Happy Seeders would increase if the machine could also be utilized for direct seeding of rice (that saves water and avoids methane emissions) and also for sowing crops like maize, gram, pulses, etc.
  • The entrepreneurs will not be successful if their business model is based on an activity that spans just two months a year.
  • Hence, it is important to diversify the income-earning opportunities for entrepreneurs.
  • They could cater to other farm needs such as providing animal feed, agri inputs or providing market linkages.
  • Most entrepreneurs could also double up as digital banking agents providing basic banking services and selling rural insurance products.
  • In this way, they could also earn the trust of their fellow farmers by providing additional services and creating value for them.
  • Ultimately, it is the result that matters along with the process.
  • Instead of providing capital subsidies, the government could explore providing subsidies to the Happy Seeder operators for every acre of CRM.
  • With the deployment of telematics in tractors, Happy Seeders and Combines with Super Straw Management Systems, it is easy to track the number of acres under CRM.
  • A number of FAAS operators and custom hiring centres would be motivated to cover more acres under CRM.
  • The government should create a carbon financing framework to register clusters of villages to reduce emissions from stubble burn and zero tillage.
  • The government can use these funds to incentivize villages that exhibit no stubble burning.
  • Incentives at a village level will create peer pressure among farmers to comply and end stubble burning.

ANS

Q.) Which of these Cabinet committees was reduced in size from 11 members to eight?

  1. Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development
  2. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
  3. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
  4. Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth

Q.) The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the continuation of which flagship scheme by the Central Government as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for another five years till 2026?

  1. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
  2. Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana
  3. Ayushman Sahakar Scheme
  4. National Ayush Mission