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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 20 May 2021

NEWS

  • PM conducts aerial survey of Gujarat, Diu after cyclonic storm Tauktae; announces Rs 1000 cr relief package for Gujarat
  • UP govt to take responsibility of children orphaned due to COVID-19
  • Rajasthan declares Mucormycosis as epidemic
  • National COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 86.23%; Cumulative vaccination coverage exceeds 18.58 crore doses
  • Govt asks Whatsapp messaging platform to withdraw its updated privacy policy
  • CBI registers case against MD of IFFCO US Awasthi and former MD of Indian Potash Ltd.
    • on the charges of importing fertilizers and raw materials at highly inflated rates to claim higher subsidy from the government
  • Govt to hike DAP subsidy by 140% to provide fertiliser to farmers at old rate despite international price rise
  • Defer vaccination for 3 months after recovery from Covid: Health Ministry
  • INS Kochi returns to Mumbai after rescuing 188 people from Barge P305
  • India expresses concern at situation along Armenia-Azerbaijan border
  • France, Austria reopen bars and restaurants as eases Covid lockdown restrictions
  • EU agrees to ease COVID travel restrictions for non-EU visitors ahead of summer tourist season
  • Journalists protest arrest of investigative reporter in Bangladesh
  • China accuses US of provocation in Taiwan Strait
  • IOC reassures Japan of its commitment to organise safe Olympic and Paralympic games with strict COVID precautions

Towards A ‘Smart’ Sarkar | ToI

  • Startup India, Stand Up India, Skill India, the list is long and well-publicised.
  • Smart Cities Mission - 100 technologically wired urban centres
  • Panjim, Goa is a designated smart city
  • Jaw-dropping administrative collapse
  • Squabbles have broken out between health minister and chief minister
  • Bars and casinos remaining open
  • Citizen indiscipline
  • Goa Medical College hospital
  • Patients kept losing their lives because, bizarrely, a tractor trolley bearing oxygen cylinders could not be properly manoeuvred into position
  • Oxygen supply was delivered through creaky pipelines and constantly fluctuated.
  • The 21st century is likely to hurl evermore menacing challenges from super cyclones to mutating viruses
  • We need SMART GOVERNMENT
  • Smart government means less government
  • Less ‘bureaucratic cholesterol’ and red tape
  • Fixing responsibility and accountability
  • Smart government is leadership by experts.
  • An autonomous fully-empowered task force of top doctors, epidemiologists, scientists, even logistical experts to lead India on tracking the virus, genome sequencing, transport of oxygen and vaccine procurement
  • Where is India’s Dr Anthony Fauci?
  • Smart government is decentralisation and facilitation
  • The Centre not only needs to resist centralisation of power but also needs to facilitate the states.
  • Decentralisation does not mean leaving states to fend for themselves as has happened with confusing vaccine policies.
  • Mumbai BMC chief IAS officer Iqbal Chahal has emerged as a robust Covid fighter, mustering available resources, deploying technology to ‘chase the virus’, and creating the ‘Mumbai model’ of fighting Covid.
  • Before Chahal, former Kerala health minister KK Shailaja with her ‘Covid brigade’ put the state ahead in the Covid battle.
  • Smart government is insulating emergency decision-making from over-politicisation.
  • Breakdown of trust between Centre and states can have disastrous consequences.
  • Centre and states must urgently bridge the trust deficit, it is a matter of life and death.
  • Smart government - constant and substantive communication
  • In the early days of the pandemic New York governor Andrew Cuomo was constantly interacting with citizens, providing regular Covid briefings, detailed facts and steps being taken by the administration.
  • In India, when semi-literate populations can fall prey to fear, superstition and irrational panic, there is a need for a fact-based communication drive to inform the public and prevent panic.

SMART GOVERNMENT

  1. Small government
  2. Leadership of domain experts
  3. Decentralisation
  4. Shunning over-politicization
  5. Communication drive

Stomach Criticism | ToI

  • Sedition case filed by Andhra Pradesh police
  • Rebel YSRCP parliamentarian and two Telugu news channels
  • MP KR Krishnam Raju and the channels have moved SC.
  • Sedition’s definition in the IPC – bringing or attempting to bring or exciting “hatred or contempt … or disaffection towards the Government” – sounds dangerously similar to bona fide criticism of government.
  • Despite SC narrowing sedition to require incitement of violence threatening national security or public order, police officers tend to follow the literal IPC definition.
  • Raju’s charge of torture in custody will be scrutinised by a medical board
  • The news channels want contempt proceedings against AP government for violating SC’s order forbidding coercive actions against those revealing shortcomings in official Covid responses.
  • Journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem – Social media post - cow dung and cow urine are no cure for Covid
  • National Security Act
  • Muzzling dissent has grave implications.
  • Sedition cases have seen a year-on-year increase from 30 in 2015 to 93 in 2019 but total convictions are only in single digits.
  • That courts will ultimately acquit is of little comfort; the byzantine legal process is often the punishment in India.
  • Other Commonwealth countries like United Kingdom, Uganda and Ghana have repealed sedition.

To Build Resilience Into Infrastructure | ET

  • Cyclone Tauktae, the third major storm to hit the country during the pandemic, and the second one on the west coast, is a reminder of the clear and present danger of climate change and India’s vulnerability.
  • Addressing the risk that climate change poses means not just curbing the emission or mitigating greenhouse gases but also improving resilience to the impacts of climate change.
  • There has been marked acceleration in the frequency and intensity of extreme events — droughts, changes in rainfall patterns, floods and cyclones — in the last 15 years.
  • Council on Energy, Environment and Water
    • 55 districts experience floods
    • 79 districts extreme droughts
    • 24 districts cyclones
  • India’s emergency response to extreme weather events has improved.
  • This is evident from the fact that loss of life has been greatly minimised.
  • The focus must now shift to building resilience into infrastructure.
  • Climate change-induced extreme events will affect all infrastructure — buildings, energy, transport and water.
  1. Direct damages
  2. The larger, indirect costs of the disrupted infrastructure
  • Loss of power could mean lost industrial output and other economic activity, interrupted education, inability to purify water, leading to water-borne diseases, and accidents and crime in the absence of lighting.
  • With the bulk of India’s infrastructure yet to be built, India must plan, design and build its infrastructure, incorporating resilience.
  • Building resilient infrastructure requires systemic changes that include improved access to data and information, robust environmental assessments, investment in better design, materials and structural engineering and mandatory regulatory codes for buildings.
  • Financial outlays will have to go up, to accommodate improved resilience.
  • India established the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, a global platform that brings together governments, UN agencies, banks, private sector and academia.
  • Now, India must ensure the resilience of its infrastructure.

Overstepping the norm

  • MHA - security cover to 77 BJP MLAs of West Bengal
  • It is rare for such a blanket order for deployment of forces to protect individuals to be issued.
  • In practice, decisions to provide security to persons under threat is taken by a committee in the MHA.
  • Intelligence Bureau
  • Delhi Police
  • Senior officials of the Central Armed Police Forces
    • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
    • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
    • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)
    • National Security Guard (NSG)
  • Law and order being a State subject, West Bengal is duty-bound to protect every citizen of the State, more so the MLAs.
  • This is hardly a healthy sign for Centre-State relations.
  • The number of protected persons has increased in recent years to such an extent that in 2019, as many as 66,043 police and CAPF personnel were deployed to protect 19,467 Ministers, Members of Parliament, judges and bureaucrats, against the sanctioned strength of 43,556 personnel, as per the Data on Police Organisations.
  • The Prime Minister has a strength of over 3,000 CAPF personnel on deputation to Special Protection Group (SPG) under the SPG Act, protecting him round the clock.
  • Members of Parliament and leaders with criminal records should be charged a fee for the security personnel deployed to protect them.
  • Having security cover has now become a status symbol and the growing clamour by people for personnel to escort them will be curbed to a large extent if they are made to pay for the security.

A thaw in India-Pakistan trade relations?

  • In 2019, India and Pakistan undertook trade-restrictive measures against each other, which were perhaps the most severe in several decades.
  • Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) - sugar, cotton and cotton yarn from India
  • Pak Govt rejected it
  • India withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status of Pakistan and imposed a customs duty hike of 200% on imports.
  • Later, when India revoked the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan suspended bilateral trade.
  • Even though trade curbs have been applied several times in the past, such measures have been reversed to create a trade enhancing environment.
  • Most notable is the protocol on resumption of trade in 1974 after a hiatus of nine years following the India-Pakistan war in 1965.
  • The two countries agreed to trade in a list of items, including essential agricultural commodities, which could stabilise domestic prices and take care of seasonal shortages and food security in the home country.
  • Both countries worked on positive lists for some years, which expanded over the years.
  • Within a month of suspending bilateral trade with India, the Pakistan government lifted the ban on the import of medicines and raw material from India to avert any crises and ensure that there is no shortage of essential drugs.
  • Nearly 77% of India’s exports comprised vaccines, pharmaceutical products and products of chemical and allied industries.
  • Interestingly, despite the trade ban, sugar was already being exported to Pakistan and was the second most important item, accounting for 15% of India’s total exports.
  • Thus, even under restrictive trade conditions, there are interdependencies between India and Pakistan.
  • Governments of both countries need to recognise that there are significant costs of non-cooperation.

Q.) Contact tracing of Covid-19 cases in community settings is conducted on the guidelines prescribed by which programme of the Union Health Ministry?

  1. Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme
  2. Integrated Infections Surveillance Programme
  3. Community Surveillance Programme
  4. Health and Infection Census

Q.) According to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, India’s unemployment rate increased from 6.5% in January 2021 to _____ % in April.

  1. 8.2
  2. 7.9
  3. 7.2
  4. 8.8