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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 20 October 2020

Dormant but waiting to strike

  • During the pandemic, we have fortunately been hearing little about terror organisations of the likes of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
  • This is partly explained by the fact that open terror attacks have been reducing, presumably because terror outfits lack resources and because of temporary loss of support from those normally hostile to the non-Islamic world and tolerant Muslims.
  • They continue to pose threats to modern society, especially to India and its neighbourhood.
  • Their numbers may not be formidable, but they can cause a ripple effect that cannot be underestimated.
  • Terrorist cells are probably engaged in the quiet process of garnering resources for future lethal assaults.
  • The aggravation of poverty in developing nations due to COVID-19 could offer a fertile ground for recruitment.
  • Reports say - al-Qaeda & ISIS - have been reorganising and rebuilding during the pandemic.
  • Only these two outfits have an impressive global reach backed by global ambitions.
  • February 29 - Doha Accord – USA and Taliban
  • As part of the agreement, Taliban will keep the al-Qaeda under check seems an exercise in deception.
  • Both are friendly towards Pakistan and could pose a problem or two to India in the near future.
  • India will have no respite from the al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, the two most organised and motivated groups.
  • Many recent raids by the NIA point to an al-Qaeda network in India.
  • The al-Qaeda has a robust cadre from which a strong and young leader could still emerge to lead it in order to intimidate the civilised world.

A tool for thought

  • A committee of experts — well-regarded mathematicians and infectious disease experts — appointed by the Department of Science and Technology to use mathematical modelling and forecast the course of the pandemic has brought good tidings.
  • By their estimate, India passed its COVID-19 peak in September and the decline in the overall caseload being observed for nearly a month now is to continue.
  • Active cases, about 7.5 lakh now, are expected to drop below 50,000 by December, and by February, the pandemic is likely to extinguish itself with only ‘minimal’ (not zero) infections.
  • The decline will continue only if there are no major mutations during winter, protective antibodies are durable, and current restrictions are maintained.
  • Their calculation also showed a peak by July latest, with anything from six to 15 times the existing infections had there been no lockdown or if it had been delayed to April.
  • The datasets it has relied on are publicly available and the modelling employs a category of models called SEIR that estimates, within a population, those Susceptible, Exposed, Infected and Recovered.
  • Experts associated with the pandemic have reiterated many times that mathematical modelling ought not to be taken literally.
  • The latest assessment too should then be used not to critique or justify past decisions but dwell more on the future.

Many gains in fighting HIV

  • The newly released 2019 HIV estimates by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO)/Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the technical support of UNAIDS tell us that there has been a 66.1% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a 65.3% reduction in AIDS-related deaths in India over a nine-year period.
  • The number of pregnant women living with HIV has reduced from 31,000 in 2010 to 20,000 in 2019.
  • Overall, antenatal coverage has expanded, and HIV testing has increased over time and within target range.
  • Treatment coverage has also expanded.
  • Under the leadership of NACO, a ‘Fast-Tracking of EMTCT (elimination of mother-to-child transmission) strategy-cum-action plan’ was outlined by June 2019, in the run-up towards December 2020: the deadline to achieve EMTCT.
  • The plan entailed mobilisation and reinforcement of all national, State and partners’ collective efforts — in a strategic manner, with district-level focus, and considering latest evidence — so that the States/Union Territories and the country as a whole achieve the EMTCT goal.
  • Additionally, in March 2020, we began efforts to minimise challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • From 2010 to 2019, India made important progress in reducing the HIV impact on children through prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  • India made HIV testing for all pregnant women free and HIV treatment is offered the same way nationwide without cost to pregnant mothers living with HIV through the national ‘treat all’ policy.
  • Indeed, the approach being promoted by UNICEF in focusing attention and resources in high burden districts is supported by the HIV strategic information division of NACO and UNAIDS to better understand the locations and populations most HIV affected, so that technical support and HIV services can be directed towards these areas.
  • However, there remains a need for increased treatment saturation coverage and for early HIV testing and treatment initiation to become the normal.
  • Using data-driven and decision-making approaches, we are certain that AIDS will no longer be a public health threat for children in India by the end 2030, if not before.

Governance 101 (ToI)

  • Satellite images indicating a threefold rise in Punjab farm fires from the same period last year, and the highest number of farm fires in four years, fly in the face of governmental claims of remedial action.
  • The fires accounted for 17% of Delhi’s air pollution on Sunday, and further spikes are expected.
  • Political blame game started

  • Waste burning continues in Delhi despite the air quality dip.
  • This points to a solid waste management problem.
  • Or look at Gurgaon, cast as the “Millennium City” but utterly dependent on diesel gensets because Haryana is yet to master power distribution to its prized urban revenue spinner.
  • Cut to agriculture where Green Revolution solved food shortages but farmers, pampered with power subsidies, pump out groundwater at unsustainable rates in Punjab and Haryana for water guzzling paddy cultivation.
  • Happy seeders, rotavators, mulchers and sundry other straw management technologies have been fruitlessly promoted with 80% central subsidy.
  • To tackle farm fires, market and ecology distorting incentives for paddy, a crop not endemic to Haryana or Punjab, must end, sooner rather than later.

NEWS

  • India stands at forefront of vaccine development for Coronavirus, says PM Modi
  • Chinese economy shows sign of recovery but not out of COVID-19 shadow
  • Apprehended PLA soldier to be returned back to Chinese officials at Chushul-Moldo meeting point: MEA
  • MoS Home G. Kishan Reddy completes 2-day visit to Leh Ladakh
    • Mr Reddy said that soon after the Leh Hill Council elections, the Centre will make an Act to protect employment, land, culture and language of Ladakh region.
  • Centre invites British govt to exploit huge business potential in North East
    • British officials have greatly appreciated the handicrafts, fruits, vegetables and spices in the North Eastern States and expressed their willingness to brand them and sell the same in global market.
    • They said that Britain is a pioneer in Agri-Tech and could explore setting up cold chains in the region on the lines of what they did in Haryana for processing of food products.
  • Haj-2021 will depend on national-international Protocol Guidelines: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
  • Early voting for US Presidential election begins in crucial state of Florida
  • Australia to join Malabar Naval exercise with India, US and Japan
  • India's agricultural exports rise by 14.8 % during first five months of current fiscal
  • COVID-19 positivity rate in country remains below 8 % for 4th consecutive day
  • CAA will be executed, rules being framed, says Nadda
  • No time for relaxation: WHO