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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 01 January 2021

Unmasked, reflections on the pandemic and life

  • Masked living for the last 10 months to stave off the novel coronavirus has raised questions: of the purpose and the meaning of life.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to live restricted lives for most part of the last year.
  • Life has been unmasked as we masked ourselves to survive.
  • The purpose of life is to be happy, said the Dalai Lama.
  • Is work the only purpose of life and source of happiness?
  • Life is a battle against uncertainties and challenges.
  • We live in a very complex world.
  • Plato said philosophy is a process of constant questioning that takes the form of dialogue.
  • In fast and busy life, we have stopped self-talk
  • Lesson from pandemic - reorienting our mindset
  • Our arrogance of being supreme, thanks to Covid, is shattered.
  • Principal lesson - we are only part of a larger design
  • The forgotten ideas of oneness, interconnectedness and the intelligent laws that govern the universe have come to the fore once again.
  • The issue is not about saving nature.
  • It is more about aligning with it and understanding how we are one.
  • A specific purpose of life determines the choices one makes and influences behaviour toward the surroundings.
  • We live only once and have to live in the best possible manner.

  • Living in moderation is the best lesson of the experience of the pandemic.
  • Living with equanimity and harmoniously with all beings, our surroundings and society is ideal living.
  • One is the master of one’s life and the path to its meaning.
  • Uncertainties never cease.
  • Learn how to live.

A leopard count with a missing benchmark number

  • “India’s leopard population increases by 60% in 4 years” [since 2014] is what most newspapers highlighted when a first-of-its-kind report on leopard numbers in the country was released recently.
  • Unlike the fanfare and debates that would have rolled out with tiger numbers, there was hardly any discourse about this species.
  • Found in 21 States of India – preparing a report is a massive task.
  • The country has 12,852 leopards.
    • The writer of this article claims that we have over 20000 leopards.
  • This report is a by-product of the all-India tiger estimate.
  • Hence other leopard habitats such as rocky outcrops, smaller dry forests, higher elevation habitats in the Himalayas, agricultural landscapes (coffee, tea, arecanut, sugarcane plantations) where leopards are known to be found in good numbers were not a part of this exercise.
  • It requires enormous resources and time to carry out a study on the scale of a large nation such as ours.
  • The claim that “leopard numbers increased by 60%” also needs to be closely looked into.
  • If we can assess leopard numbers in a few selected sites and monitor the area occupied by them over large swathes, it will perhaps give us a better overview of leopard conservation efforts.

Acclimatising to climate risks

  • Several parts of north India are in the grip of a severe cold wave.
  • While winter may be longer and harsher in some regions due to La Niña, forecasters suggest that 2021 would still be among the Earth’s hottest years recorded.
  • Rising temperatures have led to a sharp increase in climate extreme events in recent years.

  • A recent report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water found that 75% of districts in India, home to over half the population, were vulnerable to extreme climate risks.
  • While India witnessed 250 extreme climate events between 1970 and 2005, the country recorded 310 extreme climate events after 2005 alone.
  • Further, between 1990 and 2019, India incurred losses exceeding $100 billion.
  • Also, the intensity of floods increased eightfold and that of associated events such as landslides and heavy rainfall increased by over 20 times since 1970.
  • Drought-affected districts have increased by an yearly average of 13 times over the last two decades..
  • The frequency of cyclones has also doubled.
  • Over 40% of Indian districts now show a swapping trend: flood-prone areas are becoming drought-prone, and vice-versa.
  • UN Secretary-General: tagged 2021 as a “make it or break it” year
  • India should create an Environment and Health De-risking Mission to increase emergency preparedness, secure critical resources and build resilient infrastructure and governance systems to counter the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.
  • Democratising local climate-related and weather-related data along with integrating risk projections in national, sub-national and district disaster and climate plans.
  • Another priority would be restoration, revival, and recreation of traditional climate-resilient practices, with a special focus on indigenous communities, often on the front lines of ecosystem conservation.
  • Comprehensive Climate Risk Atlas to present a risk-informed decision-making toolkit for policymakers at the national, State, and district level.
  • Green Climate Fund
  • Attracting private investments into climate-proofing of infrastructure.
  • This year, policymakers, industry captains and common citizens must make climate proof choices.

Ending the deadlock

  • Farmers protesting against three agriculture reform laws, and on related issues, have reached a partial agreement with the Centre on Wednesday, but the main points of contention remain unresolved.
  • The government has agreed to not penalise farmers for stubble burning and to safeguard power subsidies.
  • Farmers have decided to continue the agitation until the three laws are repealed and their demand for a legal guarantee for MSPs for farm produce is met.
  • Farmer leaders will meet with Central Ministers again on January 4.
  • Farmer concerns are not uniform across India.
  • The government is reluctant to agree to a legal guarantee of MSP because the demand is unrelated to the laws.
  • The ongoing agitation is being spearheaded by farmers from Punjab and Haryana, who have been big beneficiaries of government procurement.
  • It now faces the risk of losing steam or spinning out of control.
  • Finding a way out will be better for both sides.
  • Reforms are necessary to ensure that India has a productive, sustainable and remunerative agriculture sector.
  • The reports of the National Commission on Farmers, chaired by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, and other government committees have suggested solutions.
  • The Centre must engage with the farmers, political parties and States on the economic and environmental issues at stake.


  • President, Vice President, Prime Minister greet people on New Year 2021
  • Cold wave conditions intensify in North India
  • Govt extends benefit of RoDTEP scheme to all export goods to boost export from today
  • Defence Ministry signs contract with BEL for procurement of 10 Lynx U2 Fire Control systems
  • India, Sri Lanka hold meeting of Joint Working Group on Fisheries
  • CBSE to hold Board Examinations for class 10th and 12th from 4th of May
  • 10 injured, 11 missing as landslide buries homes in Norway
  • New spike in Coronavirus cases leads to restrictions placed on New Year festivities globally
  • PM Modi to lay foundation stone of light house projects under Global Housing Technology Challenge-India at 11 this morning
  • Govt extends deadline for 100% collection of toll charges on National Highways till February 15
  • Centre orders 83 crore syringes for COVID-19 vaccination; Nationwide dry run to begin tomorrow
  • Countries around the world welcome New Year 2021 with fireworks