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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 17 August 2021

Fall of Kabul | TH

  • History came full circle on August 15 when the Taliban captured Kabul, almost 20 years after the U.S. launched its global war on terror.
  • The city of roughly 5 million people fell to the Islamist insurgents without even a fight while Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and the Americans abandoned their Embassy and rushed to Kabul airport.
  • The soldiers did not fight.
  • Police abandoned their stations.
  • Former Northern Alliance warlords left the country.
  • And the government crumbled like the proverbial house of cards.
  • There is already worrying news coming from the provinces that the Taliban are enforcing a strict religious code on the public and violence against anyone who resists.
  • The last time the Taliban were in power, women were not allowed to work.
  • They had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative outside their homes.
  • Girls were not allowed to go to school.
  • The Taliban had also banned TV, music, painting and photography, handed out brutal forms of punishment to those violating their Islamic code, and persecuted minorities.
  • The chaotic scenes from Kabul airport, where people are desperately trying to cling on to airplanes hoping to leave the country, bear testimony to their fear of the Taliban.
  • This is also about an Islamist group with a medieval mindset and modern weapons defeating the world’s most powerful country.
  • The U.S. can say in its defence that its mission was to fight al-Qaeda and that it met its strategic objectives.
  • But in reality, after spending 20 years in Afghanistan to fight terrorism and rebuild the Afghan state, the U.S. ran away from the battlefield, embarrassing itself and leaving its allies helpless.
  • In 1996, when the Taliban took Kabul, the government did not flee the country.
  • Ahmad Shah Massoud and Burhanuddin Rabbani retreated to the Panjshir valley from where they regrouped the Northern Alliance and continued resistance against the Taliban.
  • This time, there is no Northern Alliance. There is no government.
  • The whole country, except some pockets, is now firmly under the Taliban’s control.
  • The Taliban are also more receptive to regional players such as China and Russia, while Pakistan is openly celebrating their triumph.
  • It remains to be seen what kind of a regime a stronger Taliban will install in Kabul.
  • If the 1990s are anything to go by, darker days are ahead in Afghanistan.

What Now? | ToI

  • What will happen going forward, not just for Afghanistan, but also the region and beyond?
  • If there are atrocities, reprisal killings and massacres, if minorities are persecuted and women are considered chattel and/or are erased from public life, then it will be difficult, even impossible, for much of the world to engage with the Emirate.
  • Diplomatic, economic and political isolation will follow.
  • There will be resistance to Taliban rule from within Afghanistan and without.
  • Taliban approach to jihadists. Will it sever links with the melange of non-Afghan jihadists – Arabs, Chechens, Iranians, Pakistanis, Tajiks, Turkmen, Uighurs, Uzbeks and others?
  • Even if Taliban doesn’t break its ties with al-Qaida and other non-Afghan terror groups, will it restrict and restrain their movements and activities?
  • If Taliban ensures that Afghan soil will not be used against any other country, then there is a good chance that many countries will be ready to do business with the Emirate.
  • Afghanistan can’t become a horror show for Afghans and still expect the world to look the other way just because it isn’t exporting jihad.
  • Foreign jihadists expect Taliban to help them the same way they helped Taliban.
  • Pakistanis, who have invested so much in Taliban, also have a lot riding on Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan, they believe, is their lynchpin for becoming the regional hub for trade and transit.
  • Connectivity to Central Asia and Islamabad’s geo-economic wet dreams are all dependent on how Afghanistan plays out.
  • Pakistan will find itself compelled to impose on the Emirate, including putting curbs on Pakistani Taliban who shares an organic link with Afghan Taliban.
  • For now India, like many other countries, will be in a wait-and-watch mode.
  • There are not too many options that India can exercise except for pulling out its people and providing refuge to Afghan friends.
  • These Afghans will be India’s friends when things take yet another turn in Afghanistan.
  • While India waits for its options in Afghanistan to open up, it must not only beef up defences to handle a possible wave of jihadism, but also have retaliatory options in place against Pakistan, which will be the conduit for these jihadists.

Beating plastic pollution | TH

  • The Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules notified by the Centre on August 12 acknowledge the gravity of pollution caused by plastic articles of everyday use, particularly those that have no utility beyond a few minutes or hours.
  • The decisions follow recommendations made by an expert group constituted by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals two years ago.
  • Under the new rules, the manufacture, sale and use of some single-use goods made with plastic, polystyrene, and expanded polystyrene, such as earbuds, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, wrapping and packing films, are prohibited from July 1 next year, while others such as carry bags must be at least 75 microns thick from September 30, 2021, and 120 microns from December 31 next year, compared to 50 microns at present.
  • In 2018, India won praise globally for asserting on World Environment Day that it would eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022, a theme that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed more than once.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board has reported that 22 States have, in the past, announced a ban on single-use plastic, but this has had little impact on the crisis of waste choking wetlands and waterways and being transported to the oceans to turn into microplastic.
  • At about 34 lakh tonnes generated in 2019-20, India has a staggering annual volume of plastic waste, of which only about 60% is recycled.
  • What is more, a recent study of the top 100 global producers of polymers that culminate in plastic waste found six of them based in India.
  • The international view is changing, however, and support for a UN Plastic Treaty is growing; the majority of G7 countries too are supportive of cleaning up the oceans through a charter in the interests of human wellbeing and environmental integrity.
  • State governments have felt no compulsion to replace municipal contracts, where companies are paid for haulage of mixed waste, with terms that require segregation and accounting of materials.
  • Patchy regulation has led to prohibited plastic moving across State borders.
  • Now that the Centre has adopted a broad ban, further pollution must end.
  • Microplastic is already found in the food chain, and governments must act responsibly to stop the scourge.

Powerless MPs, MLAs | ToI

  • Parliament and legislative assemblies should but won’t pay any heed to CJI NV Ramana’s observation that rush-job legislations end up becoming a millstone around the judiciary’s neck.
  • Bills are passed frequently without Houses in functioning order or without allowing legislators to speak on details of the proposed law or without threadbare scrutiny by House committees.
  • Laws badly drafted by bureaucrats escape lawmakers’ scrutiny and the lack of clarity spawns copious and long-drawn litigation.
  • Proper scrutiny means investment of time.
  • The first Lok Sabha averaged 135 sittings a year; the 16th Lok Sabha – the one before the current House – averaged 66 sittings.
  • The rot is even deeper in state legislative assemblies.
  • According to PRS Legislative Research, UP, Bengal and Kerala, respectively, annually averaged 24, 40 and 53 assembly sittings and 100, 122 and 306 functional hours between 2017 and 2019.
  • Given that UP and Bengal assemblies elect 403 and 294 members, respectively, such paltry working hours mean individual legislators, even when inclined to do so, don’t have adequate time to hone their law-making skills or to participate in legislative debates.
  • The worrying thing is state assemblies pass hugely consequential laws, for example, on inter-faith marriage, that are subject to no legislative interrogation.
  • The problem is part of a broader process that’s devaluing legislative debate, and the root of it is the 1985 anti-defection law that demands MPs and MLAs obey party whips.
  • What was intended to stop shopping of legislators has ended up silencing them.
  • Governing party MPs and MLAs cannot, even if they seriously want to, question bills drafted by the executive, nor can opposition MPs and MLAs make common cause with treasury benches if that means defying opposition leadership.
  • The irrelevance of non-ministers and backbenchers other than for their votes sharply contrasts to legislative functioning in the UK and US.
  • In both these democracies, individual legislators frequently dissent over bills and even policies of their party leadership, and sometimes force changes.
  • If a party is in office because it has a majority of legislators, those legislators should have meaningful roles – in India, they have been reduced to ‘ayes’ or ‘nos’.
  • BS Yediyurappa is no longer BJP’s Karnataka CM and Punjab’s Congress CM Amarinder Singh has Navjot Singh Sidhu to contend with because dissenters convinced party leaderships that they can sabotage electoral chances.


  • Thoughtful rebellion has little chance in Indian politics.
  • UNSC calls for an immediate end to violence and establishment of new government in Afghanistan
  • External Affairs Minister says govt is monitoring situation in Kabul continuously; Sets up a special cell to coordinate for repatriation from war-torn country
  • US President Joe Biden says, he stands squarely behind his decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan
  • Kabul International Airport reopens for evacuation process, says US
  • PM Modi to interact with Indian para-athlete contingent for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games today
  • India administers over 55 crore 14 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses so far
  • Ten more Handloom Design Resource Centres to be set up in country: Ministry of Textiles
  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurates world's 2nd-largest refurbished National Gene Bank
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs approves proposals for construction of 16,488 houses

Q.) Which former Prime Minister of India coined the slogan Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, to motivate the soldiers and farmers of the country?

  1. Jawaharlal Nehru
  2. Morarji Desai
  3. Lal Bahadur Shashtri
  4. Indira Gandhi

Q.) When was the Indian Standard Time officially introduced?

  1. August 15, 1947
  2. September 1, 1947
  3. January 26, 1950
  4. January 30, 1932