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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 01 May 2020

Data becomes new Oil

  • Mathematician Clive Humby said in 2006 that “data is the new oil".
  • Crash in oil prices
  • Announcement of Facebook to buy nearly 10% of Reliance’s Jio Platforms.
  • Golden Quadrilateral by late Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee
  • New Golden Quadrilateral: four Cs of content, carriage, customer and commerce.
  • So far, different companies have owned or dominated these corners.
  • TV and studios owned content
  • Telecom firms owned carriage
  • Customer was touched by multiple players
  • Commerce owned by online retailers
  • Some ventures have tried to own two of the Cs.
  • Amazon’s play for commerce and customer
  • AT&T’s botched acquisition of Time-Warner to dominate carriage and content.
  • Jio+FB = perhaps the first grand move to own all parts of the quadrilateral.
  • Content: Saavn for music, news company Network, libraries of movies, films.
  • Add the treasure trove of user-generated content on Facebook and the platforms it owns, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, and the combine’s content hoard would have no parallel.
  • Carriage: Jio is already India’s largest telecom player with 350 million wireless customers.
  • Jio may soon own the data highways, streets and even the alleyways that connect Indians over the internet.
  • Commerce: This is where there is scope for the most disruption.
  • Two large firms, Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart, own the nascent but fast-growing e-commerce market in India.
  • More than 90% of retail sales are through small kirana stores.
  • Each of these shops uses WhatsApp or Facebook.
  • JioMart and WhatsApp will empower nearly three crore small Indian kirana shops to digitally transact with every customer in their neighbourhood. This means all of you can order and get faster delivery of day-to-day items from nearby local shops. At the same time, small kiranas can grow their businesses and create new employment opportunities.“ - Mukesh Ambani
  • Customer: Jio, as a telecom provider, has a billing relationship with the customer, which grants it direct access and data, and puts up high exit barriers.
  • The buying habits of Indians could serve Facebook’s ravenous advertising engines.
  • If most customer needs are met—data, shopping, entertainment, food—she is unlikely to go elsewhere, and firmly become a inhabitant of the data quadrilateral.

Religion and freedom

  • Religious freedom is of paramount importance, not because it is about religion, but because it is about freedom.
  • The characterisation by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) of India as a country of particular concern , in its annual report.
  • The Indian government not only repudiated the report but also ridiculed the USCIRF.
  • In March, the Indian government told Niti Aayog to track 32 global indices and engage with the bodies that measure them, to advance reform and growth.

WHO crisis and multilateralism

  • In April 1929, when smallpox broke on SS Tuscania large passenger ship sailing from Mumbai to Liverpool via Marseilles.
  • It triggered a European health and travel crisis
  • France banned travel from the UK for those without vaccinations.
  • The crisis was only defused, as information historian Heidi J Tworek has documented, when the League of Nations Health Organisation (LNHO) – the precursor of WHO – issued a reassuring epidemiological bulletin that was seen by all to be impartial and credible.
  • Yet countries even then agreed to honest data sharing with the LNHO, because they saw the benefits of having what one official called “a central fire-station in a municipal system of fire prevention”, overseeing “the world’s alarm system”.
  • The need to keep data flowing also helped investments in wireless infrastructure, which later became the centrepiece of our modern telecom network.
  • Trump has wrongly suspended US funding for WHO, accusing it of a pro-China bias in handling the coronavirus.
  • There is no question that the world needs a neutral arbiter of medical data.
  • The crisis at WHO represents a deeper malaise at its heart, one that plagues almost all multilateral organisations.
  • Credible international organisations work only when they are seen to be neutral and impartial.
  • In reality, many of our global institutions are so dependent on their donors for funding that they often become pawns for their political agendas.
  • Strategic affairs scholar C Raja Mohan has pointed out how UN secretary general Antonio Guterres was quick to jump into Indo-Pak arguments over Kashmir in 2019 and raised concerns over CAA and NRC
  • “But when it comes to China’s role in the spread of the coronavirus, Guterres can’t seem to find the words.” All his appeals so far “consciously avoid getting into anything specific,” as Raja Mohan has pointed out.
  • IMF’s Gita Gopinath has rightly argued that “multilateral cooperation is vital to the health of the global recovery” and “collaborative effort is needed to ensure that the world does not deglobalise, so the recovery is not damaged by further losses to productivity.”
  • Multilateralism is crucial to fighting this crisis and maintaining the global commons is vital to get through this.

Needed: a pandemic patent pool

  • April 26: World Intellectual Property Day
  • Purpose: innovation should be made public in exchange for a limited monopoly.
  • For human life to become normal again, vaccines or medicines are the only permanent solutions.
  • Even after approval for commercial production is granted, say, in one country, in order for the product to be available to the rest of the world, approvals will be required in each and every country.
  • Then countries will have to gear up for instant manufacturing and marketing of the drug.
  • The question that arises is whether the exclusivity that is recognised by patent rights will be detrimental to society. Will patents create roadblocks or is there a solution?
  • Governments and international organisations need to arrive at a consensus in advance to ensure that the system is ready.
  • Under the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) regime, there are several tools such as compulsory licensing that are available to ensure access to medicines.
  • However, beyond the laws, society needs to respect innovation.
  • One method by which aggregation and dissemination of innovative products can be ensured is by creating a patent pool.
  • Patent pools are usually effective in aggregating, administering and licensing patents related to specific areas of technology.
  • Such pools are usually managed by a central agency and the patents which become part of the pool are readily made available for licensing.
  • Anyone who wishes to obtain a licence will be able to approach the pool, agree to the terms, and begin to manufacture and sell the products.
  • A more fruitful endeavour would be to create a global pool of COVID-19-related innovations, or innovations related to rare pandemics, in respect of vaccines and medicines.
  • This could be managed by a trustworthy international organisation.
  • All countries ought to have the right to implement these innovations without further permission from the patent-holders and without resorting to provisions such as compulsory licensing, state acquisition, etc.
  • Even if royalties are at a minimal level, the revenues would still be in billions of dollars owing to the large swathes of the population affected by the pandemic, who will need to be administered these products.
  • Pooling of patent resources is also in line with the Doha Declaration on Public Health which is a part of the TRIPS agreement.
  • This declaration recognises the need for taking measures to ‘protect public health’ and ‘promote access to medicines’.
  • Creation of the ‘PPP-pandemic patent pool’ at a global level, to pool all innovations, is the way forward.

Plasma therapy is no silver bullet

  • The therapy involves infusing patients suffering from COVID-19 with plasma from recovered patients.
  • Already, four patients have been enrolled in Ahmedabad and the study will be rolled out in 20 hospitals by the end of this week and at more centres over the next month.
  • The transfusion of convalescent plasma is also not without risks, which range from mild reactions like fever, itching, to life-threatening allergic reactions and lung injury.
  • Further, convalescent plasma therapy requires intensive resources, healthy COVID-19 survivors to donate, a blood bank with proper machinery and trained personnel to remove plasma, equipment to store it and testing facilities to make sure it has an adequate amount of antibodies.

  • Even these times of collective uncertainty are no reason to lower scientific temper.
  • While it is good to be hopeful, the fact remains there are no real silver bullets in medicine and health outcomes are a result of not just a few pills or therapies but a complex set of factors.
  • Science should be driven by reason and evidence with hope as a catalyst but not by either fear or populism.
  • Pushing one or the other therapy without evidence or caution can only set back our larger fight against COVID-19.

NEWS

  • Recovery rate rises to 25%, says govt.
  • March core sector output slumps 6.5%
  • Parliament project gets panel nod
  • NIA arrests ex-Shopian sarpanch
  • The suspect, Tariq Ahmad Mir, 36, was arrested on Wednesday. An official said his name cropped up during the interrogation of Naveed Mushtaq Shah, the Hizb militant.
  • Shah reportedly told interrogators that Mir was involved in providing weapons to other terrorist groups.
  • Icon of romance takes a final bow
  • Spend ₹65,000 crore for the poor: Rajan
  • GI tag to Manipur black rice, Gorakhpur terracotta