We have launched our mobile app, get it now. Call : 9354229384, 9354252518, 9999830584.  

Current Affairs

Filter By Article

Filter By Article

The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 18 May 2021

NEWS

  • Extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae weakens after crossing Gujarat coast
  • PM Modi to interact with state & district officials across country on COVID -19 management
  • Plasma therapy dropped from India's corona treatment protocol
  • Over 18 crore 44 lakh COVID vaccine doses administered to beneficiaries so far
  • US to share 80 million doses of Corona vaccine with world
  • WhatsApp's new privacy policy violates Indian IT rules: Govt tells Delhi HC
  • Tribal Affairs Ministry & Microsoft sign MoU for digital transformation of Tribal Schools
  • MyGov launches Innovation Challenge for creating Indian Language Learning App
  • India witnessing declining trend in number of active & fresh COVID-19 cases
  • HM Amit Shah speaks to CMs of cyclone-affected states, UT to assess ground situation
  • US imposes new sanctions on Myanmar's administrative body & high-ranking officials
  • UN, US and UK call for more protection for civilians caught in violence between Israel & Palestinian militants
  • Taiwan mobilises diplomatic corps to secure speedier delivery of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Israel conducts dozens of air strikes on Gaza Strip after Palestinian militants fired barrages of rockets at southern Israeli cities
  • Singapore to close schools from Wednesday as authorities warned new Coronavirus strains were affecting more children in city-state

FINANCIAL NEWS

  • Local Investors Lead Market Rally as Infections Fall
    • Indian stocks jumped 1.7% on Monday as a drop in the country’s coronavirus cases below 300,000 for the first time in almost a month lifted sentiment.
    • For the market to extend gains, a lot will depend on the pace at which the Covid spread decelerates.
  • Payment Defaults Rise 50% in May for NBFCs
    • Ravaged by the second wave of the pandemic, non-bank lenders have seen a 50% rise in customers missing payments in the first fortnight of May, threatening to push up overall defaults to perilous levels.
    • Most non-bank finance companies (NBFCs) have been forced to stop door-to-door collections after several payment pick-up agents succumbed to the virus in the past six weeks or so.
    • Despite the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowing the recast of small loans, non-banks say they won’t be able to do much as such proposals require customer consent, involving doorstep visits.
  • WPI Hits11-Yr High of10.49% in Apr as Metals, Fuel Prices Zoom
    • India’s wholesale price inflation hardened to an almost 11-year high in April on the back of a sharp rise in prices of basic metals, fuel and power, indicating retail inflation may firm with a lag in response to this cost push pressure.
    • Data released by the commerce ministry on Monday showed wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation at 10.49% last month, up from 7.39% in March.
    • Inflation in fuel and manufacturing items rose to 20.94% and 9.01%, respectively, in April compared with 10.25% and 7.34% last month.
  • Spectre Of 2012 | ToI
  • Pranab Mukherjee’s decision as finance minister in 2012 to retrospectively amend a section of the Income-tax Act was perhaps the most economically damaging decision of UPA-2.
  • Its reverberations continue as NDA clings on to the underlying approach.
  • The most recent fallout of the 2012 amendment showed up last week when UK’s Cairn Energy filed a lawsuit in New York, seeking to enforce an international arbitral tribunal’s award against India.
  • The retrospective amendment was introduced in the 2012 Budget to nullify a Supreme Court verdict that went in favour of Vodafone International in its income tax dispute with the government.
  • One case that was exhumed was a transaction that Cairn Energy had undertaken in 2006.
  • In Cairn’s case, the income tax department even sold its financial assets to realise the tax demand.
  • Both Vodafone and Cairn filed arbitrations abroad claiming the government’s actions violated its bilateral investment treaties with the Netherlands and UK respectively.
  • India lost both cases.
  • The government disagrees and has challenged the Vodafone award.
  • But this approach is counterproductive.
  • It will have an adverse impact on potential foreign direct investment as it vitiates the investment atmosphere.
  • For India’s long-term economic benefit, the 2012 retrospective amendment needs to be buried.
  • Reputations matter in investment decisions.

A Case For Lives & Livelihoods | ToI

  • There is a strong case for continuing largescale construction and infrastructure projects where there is good capacity to control the spread of infections.
  • Cost of that lockdown was steep but necessary.
  • By the end of the first wave it was apparent that in this vast and diverse country, different states were at very different stages of the pandemic, their state of preparedness, and their balance between lives and livelihoods.
  • The double-digit growth of bank deposits compared to less than 5% growth in non-food credit from commercial banks reflects weak demand sentiments.
  • Capacity utilisation in industry is still at less than 70%, far below the 80% threshold believed to trigger a selfreinforcing virtuous investment cycle.
  • Construction of infrastructure and real estate create about five times the jobs for the money spent relative to the number of jobs generated per unit of investment in other sectors of the economy.
  • The largest enterprises in these sectors have the capacity to minimise the spread of infections among their workforce.
  • The argument that the resources for construction or infrastructure can just be alternately invested in hospitals is fallacious.
  • India definitely needs more and better hospitals.
  • It is worth noting that the government has accorded special attention to the healthcare sector, increasing overall outlay to health and wellbeing by more than 135% over last year.
  • Since 2014, the number of AIIMS campuses have grown 267% from six to 22, medical colleges have grown 48% from 381 to 565, with undergraduate seats growing 58% from 54,348 to 85,726 and postgraduate seats growing 80% from 30,191 to 54,275.
  • The pace of expansion of numbers of healthcare professionals is unprecedented in the country’s history.
  • Last October for example, the Centre ordered 162 oxygen plants for public health facilities in states to be delivered in 2020 although daily infections were already declining.
  • By mid-April only 33 were installed, but the initial orders were more than tripled last month.
  • Clearly the constraints are other than financial resources.
  • Assertions that the redevelopment of the Central Vista of New Delhi is taking away resources from pressing concerns like healthcare and pollution for a vanity project are therefore misplaced and indeed mal-intentioned.
  • The project for the redevelopment of urban spaces in Delhi started well before the start of the pandemic.
  • The consolidation of central ministries and departments in a single location will surely improve the functioning efficiency of and between the currently disparately spread central government ministries.
  • Efforts to slow the pace of re-acceleration in infections and addressing the fallout, are taking the attention of the whole of the government.
  • Simultaneously, timely completion of infrastructure and building projects in India will go a long way in bringing down India’s cost of capital, recycle capital faster, and accelerate the pace of growth and employment generation of our economy.

No learning from the Spanish flu

  • Spanish flu - three waves of the 1918 influenza pandemic
  • The image read, “The most severe pandemic in history was the Spanish Flu of 1918. It lasted for 2 years, in 3 waves, with 500 million people infected and 50 million deaths.
  • Most of the fatalities happened in the 2nd wave.
  • According to James Harris, a historian at Ohio State University, part of the reason why the flu spread like wildfire causing a second wave was because officials were unwilling to impose restrictions during wartime despite the existence of a new mutated strain.
  • Knowing about the Spanish flu is very different from having to live through a similar pandemic.
  • Social ostracisation has been shown to cause pain in the brain similar to putting up with physical pain.
  • So, as the number of cases began to fall by the end of the first COVID-19 wave, governments and people around the world started to let their guard down.
  • Each one of us has to contribute to break the chain of COVID-19 infections.
  • Governments of most countries failed to learn from the Spanish flu because they failed to understand and predict human behaviour.
  • In India, the government allowed election rallies and religious gatherings.
  • It hesitated in imposing a lockdown despite the emergence of new strains of the virus.

Avoiding breakdown

  • After a gap of over seven months, the GST Council will now meet on May 28, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced last Saturday.
  • That the Council, expected to meet every quarter, has taken possibly the longest pause in its functioning does not set a good precedent.
  • States later reluctantly agreed to the Centre’s proposal to raise ₹1.1 lakh crore of GST recompense dues through special market borrowings, after the Finance Ministry backed off from insisting that States raise these loans directly.
  • And unlike the first wave, there is a greater onus on the States now to figure out everything from what mobility restrictions to put in place, to vaccination sequencing, and the bigger headache of sourcing enough vaccines from within or outside India.
  • There is much big ticket pending work on the Council’s plate, but from the States’ perspective, it would be necessary to get clarity on the modalities for receiving the ₹63,000 crore GST compensation still due to them, along with this year’s dues, in a timely manner.
  • Cash flow visibility would help them gear up better, be it for vaccines or subsequent COVID-19 waves.
  • Even more pressing is the demand to drop GST on material to battle the pandemic, including the 12% tax on oxygen concentrators, 5% on vaccines, and on relief supplies from abroad.
  • The Centre had dropped the GST on sanitary napkins after strongly defending the tax, with one stated worry being cheap imports.

ANS

  • Subdoluseps nilgiriensis
  • Soviet Union, USA
  • 1987

 

Q.) Name the eminent virologist who has recently who resigned from the post of Head of the Advisory Group to the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortium?

  1. Randeep Guleria
  2. Gagandeep Kang
  3. Shahid Jameel
  4. K. VijayRaghavan