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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 20 August 2021

Arms and the women | TH

  • Women have been fighting a tough and uphill battle for equal opportunities in the Indian Army.
  • In a landmark judgment in February 2020, the Supreme Court asked the Government to abide by its own policy and grant permanent commission to women in the Short Service Commission and give them command postings in all services other than combat.
  • In The Secretary, Ministry of Defence vs Babita Puniya & Others, the top court pointed out that women had played a “significant role” in the army since their induction in 1992 and extending permanent commission to women SSC officers “is a step forward in recognising and realising the right of women to equality of opportunity in the Army”.
  • Despite the stringent verdict, systemic issues remain in the Army, and women have gone back to court to sort out the issues.
  • Another step towards ensuring that women get an equal opportunity, as laid down by the Constitution, has been taken on Wednesday, when the Court passed an interim order allowing women to appear for the National Defence Academy entrance exam on September 5.
  • Till now, women could join the Army through the Indian Military Academy and the Officers Training Academy.
  • The directive allows girls who clear the exam to study at the NDA and then at the IMA or the naval and air force academies and become commissioned officers.
  • When Additional Solicitor-General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Government and the Indian Army, told the Court that it was a policy decision not to allow women to take the NDA exam, the Bench, of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, said it was based on “gender discrimination”, directing the Centre and the Army to take a constructive view.
  • The directive is subject to further orders from the Court, and the case has been posted for hearing again on September 8.
  • The ruling came on a writ petition filed by Kush Kalra seeking permission for women to sit for the NDA entrance exam.
  • Mr. Kalra argued that Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the Constitution, which uphold the values of equality and allow equal, non-discriminatory opportunities at work, were being violated by denying eligible women the opportunity.
  • Though the legal route has helped overcome some of the hurdles, it will be a long haul before gender parity is fully achieved in the Army.
  • In that context, the Prime Minister’s Independence Day announcement that girls will be granted admission in the Sainik Schools is a welcome move towards preparing them for an equal role and life in the military.

Optimistic assessment | TH

  • Less than a fortnight after the RBI announced its latest monetary policy, a team of its officials has provided an optimistic assessment of the ‘State of the Economy’ in the August issue of the central bank’s monthly bulletin.
  • Pivoting from what the bank posited on August 6 when it said, “the outlook for aggregate demand is improving, but still weak and overcast by the pandemic”, the officials led by Deputy Governor Michael D. Patra asserted that aggregate demand conditions had been buoyed by pent-up demand released by unlocking and vaccination.
  • And, evidence that the economy was gaining traction could be seen in “manufacturing activity gradually turning around even as the contraction in services had moderated”, they wrote.
  • The authors of the article have arrayed several high-frequency indicators including E-way bills, toll collections, fuel consumption, automobile dispatches and registrations, and rail freight volumes to buttress their view that demand is regaining momentum.
  • The team has also pointed to a private forecaster’s data showing a sizeable sequential decline in the unemployment rate last month — to 6.95% from 9.17% in June, and that with a pronounced rural bias — to posit that this reflects the “resilience of the rural sector on brightened agricultural prospects”.
  • But the authors elide over the fact that the CMIE, whose survey-based unemployment rate they have cited, is far less sanguine about the addition of approximately 16 million jobs in July.
  • CMIE MD Mahesh Vyas contends in an analysis that “all the additional employment provided by India in July was of poor quality” while better quality salaried jobs shrank by 3.2 million, noting that the bulk of the rural jobs added were of temporary farm labour linked to delayed kharif sowing.
  • The RBI officials also throw no additional light on the concerns that earlier this month prompted the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to cut its own June forecast for GDP growth in the second, third and fourth fiscal quarters by between 0.5 and 0.9 percentage points.
  • On inflation too, the article’s authors have pitched an upbeat prognosis citing July’s 70 basis points month-on-month deceleration in retail price gains to 5.6% as “reinforcing the view that the recent upsurge has peaked and the worst would be behind us”.
  • However, official food price data for the August 1-12 period reveals an uptick in cereal prices, while edible oils continue to see price pressures after July’s 32.5% inflation rate for oils and fats, belying the authors’ optimism.
  • The RBI Deputy Governor overseeing monetary policy admits the internal dilemma at the MPC observing that ultimately the policy decision was “a judgment call” as any move to tame inflation by one percentage point would mean ‘sacrificing’ 1.5-2 percentage points of GDP growth.
  • In postulating an either-or trade-off, monetary authorities risk achieving neither goal and sending the economy into a harder to redress state of ‘stagflation’.
  • The recent visit by the Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal R.K. Bhadauria, to Israel offers a window to study how New Delhi is taking advantage of the Abraham Accords deal signed between Israel and a consortium of Arab States led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2020.
  • According to reports, an Indian contingent of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will now visit Israel in October to take part in multilateral military exercises.
  • In the same week as ACM Bhadauria’s visit, India also conducted the ‘Zayed Talwar’ naval exercises with the UAE off the coast of Abu Dhabi, further deepening the fast-developing strategic cooperation between the two countries.
  • In December 2020, Indian Army chief, General M.M. Naravane, visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia, becoming the first chief of the Indian Army to do so.
  • The foundation for these visits was set by the (now former) chief of the Indian Navy, Admiral Sunil Lanba, in 2017, who visited the UAE and Oman, the latter being home to Duqm Port where New Delhi signed a deal with Muscat for access to the facility, including dry dock use by the Indian Navy.
  • The above examples show the pacey developments on the defence front between India and the West Asian region.

Asian region.

  • This status quo is now witnessing a change, with Israel inaugurating its first diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi and direct flights, business and tourism picking up between the two countries over the past few months.
  • New Delhi had welcomed the Accords, highlighting its support for mechanisms that offer peace and stability in the region.
  • Starting from the relatively low-key staging visit to Saudi Arabia conducted by the IAF in 2015, to hosting visiting Iranian naval warships in 2018, defence of the critical waterways in and around the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the extended Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has taken a driving seat in Indian strategic thinking.
  • Recently, as tensions between Iran, Israel and the United States flared up in the Persian Gulf, the Indian Navy orchestrated Operation Sankalp, which saw Indian warships escort on an average 16 Indian-flagged vessels a day.
  • Despite a lot of effort from Israel, under the (now former) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia has maintained a distance from this arrangement.
  • More recently, Riyadh has praised the Accords, but said that the resolution of the Palestinian State remains at the forefront of its requirements.

  • Iran, as part of India’s ‘West Asia’ construct, will also play a significant part in India’s outreach in the months to come as the crisis in Afghanistan deepens.
  • The fact that New Delhi used Iranian airspace and facilities when evacuating its diplomatic staff from Kandahar in July showcases a level of strategic commonality, interest and play on certain issues in the region.
  • Recent multiple visits by India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh followed by Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami’s visit to India highlight a revitalised strategic cooperation between the two countries despite multiple obstacles in the bilateral relations, led by U.S. sanctions against Tehran and the general tensions between Israel, the Gulf and Iran via proxy battles in theatres such as Yemen, Syria and beyond.
  • India’s strategic play in West Asia will be reflective of its economic growth, and by association, an increasingly important place in the global order.
  • From the UN Security Council to the Indo-Pacific, New Delhi will be expected to be more assertive, diplomatically and militarily, in its posturing and shed the cloaks of its foreign and strategic policies being conducted from a stage balanced on a fence.

Back to basics

  • A preliminary report of a nationwide survey conducted by Lego Foundation in Denmark stated that students give importance to peer interactions, good teachers, fun learning content and knowledge gained from experimental approaches.
  • According to various estimates, the pandemic and lockdowns have led to an alarming drop-out rate from schools, migration of children from private to government schools due to inability to pay fees, increased abuse at home, inadequate nutrition, etc.
  • Industry experts will agree with the claim that for adults to unlearn and relearn is a very expensive and time-consuming process.
  • Thus, if the foundation of education is weak, any effort at a later stage to strengthen it will only yield sub-optimal results.
  • Issues to be addressed
  • So, what are the major factors that need to be addressed at the foundational level?
  • UNICEF has raised the issue of nutrition.
  • Children, depending on their age group and gender, need to consume 1,000-3,200 calories per day.
  • How close do India’s mid-day meal schemes address their nutritional needs?
  • Supporting slower foundational development while focusing on the essentials will allow for deeper and more meaningful learning.
  • The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education 2009 quoted the NEP 1986 which said, “The status of the teacher reflects the socio-cultural ethos of the society; it is said that no people can rise above the level of its teachers”.
  • Anganwadi teachers will not be able to fulfil the task of developing underprivileged kindergarten students into creators simply because they lack the expertise to do so.
  • The proposal to upgrade their skills using online methods is grossly inadequate.
  • If the sight is on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal for Education, India needs to work on a war footing.
  • One way is to mobilise students in higher education to contribute three to six months in government-sponsored programmes by working in the most remote and underdeveloped areas to educate children and teachers.
  • Private companies could also sponsor mentorship programmes where employees spend about a month on the field.
  • This will have a transformative effect on all the participants involved.
  • Current solutions appear to be designed in the cloud without adequate exposure of the ground.
  • The ability to successfully satisfy Sustainable Development Goal 4 will depend on the priority afforded to school education.
  • And with budgetary allocations based on priority, the question that begs to be asked is, what is the priority of school education?

NEWS

  • PM Modi to inaugurate, lay foundation stone of various projects virtually at Somnath Temple in Gujarat today
  • MHA recommends CBI probe into one thousand low-floor bus purchase by Delhi government
  • India crosses another milestone in COVID Vaccination Drive, crosses 57 Cr mark; National COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 97.53 %
  • Meghalaya govt decides to open up a number of activities from Monday
  • Khadi India stalls set up at 75 railway stations across the country to celebrate 75 years of Independence
  • Afghanistan will no longer be able to access lender’s resources: IMF
  • Deposed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani supports talks between Taliban and Hamid Karzai

Q.) What is the name of the Godfather of Sudoku who died on Tuesday?

  1. Maki Kaji
  2. Momofuku Ando
  3. Satoru Iwata
  4. Kaz Hirai

Q.) Hindustan Aeronautics Limited signed a $716 million deal with GE Aviation for aircraft engines and support services to power which aircraft?

  1. Tejas LCA Mk-1A
  2. MiG-29
  3. Mirage-2000
  4. Rafale