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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 21 April 2020

 

To Kerala, from Singapore

  • Last 3 years: Kerala has suffered the Nipah virus outbreak, two floods, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The State has won worldwide acclaim for its deft handling of these catastrophes by mostly deploying domestic resources.
  • The State has an impressive tracking and surveillance system.
  • It has set up testing kiosks
  • It has institutes that are ready for plasma trials
  • It has also enacted a law on epidemic control
  • Community kitchen
  • Singapore did very well in putting a firm lid on new infections, but it has subsequently seen an explosive uptick in cases and even deaths.
  • The challenge is the plight of returning students and workers as foreign countries become inhospitable for non-nationals.
  • IMF projects: West Asia output will decline 3% in 2020
  • Nearly 1 million Keralites work in the United Arab Emirates alone.
  • To respond to COVID-19, Kerala will need to go full scale in testing, and implement isolation and better hygiene practices.
  • When the pandemic ends, it would be a mistake for activities to return to business as usual.
  • This is a great opportunity for Kerala to redouble its focus on health, education and the environment.
  • Given its topography, fragile ecology, and high population density, Kerala is highly exposed to health and climate disasters.
  • If the State can revive economic growth in more environmentally and socially sustainable ways, it would not only be more resilient to extreme events but also have a greater chance of using the rich human and natural endowments for the betterment of its people.

 Implement Aarogya Setu, but only through law

  • Post lockdown, the threat of Covid-19 will continue.
  • This will lead to a fundamental transformation in the role of the state in regulating society.
  • Heightened epidemic surveillance by the government could lead to an increased risk of institutionalised surveillance of individuals.
  • In China, it’s alarming to note that a phone app was started as a voluntary service for informing users of their potential exposure to infected persons, but soon began to be used as an e-pass for allowing access to public transport.
  • Aarogya Setu app: has been criticised for not complying with data protection principles of data minimisation, purpose limitation, transparency and accountability, all of which are crucial to protecting the privacy of its users.
  • The government is also at liberty to revise the terms of the privacy policy at its discretion (and has done so) without notifying its users.
  • Individuals may be forced to download the app to be able to access basic amenities and services.
  • India lacks a comprehensive data protection or surveillance law.

Takeover fears

  • The government’s decision to ban foreign direct investments (FDI) through the automatic route from neighbouring countries that share a land border with India has raised eyebrows.
  • AIM: fear of Chinese investment to exploit the situation aka “opportunistic takeovers”
  • Italy, Spain, France and Australia have already taken similar action.
  • Brookings India study: total current and planned investment by Chinese entities is over $26 billion
  • Chinese capital is invested not just in brick-andmortar industries but in technology and fintech start-ups.
  • Private company roots to Chinese government.
  • Greenfield investments should have been kept out of the purview.
  • SEBI has already sent out missives to custodians asking for details of Chinese holdings in listed entities.

Moon rising

  • South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, whose government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic won acclaim, scored a political victory last week.
  • SK last year: protests were going on due to slowing growth and corruption. Things have changed.
  • The President can follow his reform agenda and North Korean rapprochement without legislative bottlenecks.
  • Since the thaw in ties between the neighbours began in 2018, Mr. Moon and Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jongun have also met on the Demilitarised Zone before a global media blitz.

Korean Peninsula’s denuclearisation

  • But progress on the North’s nuclear stand-off has been stalled ever since the Trump-Kim Hanoi summit, in February 2019, broke down.
  • Their meeting, in Singapore in June 2018, resulted in no more than vague promises to end the long deadlock.
  • Pyongyang insists on crippling economic sanctions ending as a precondition for any meaningful reduction of nuclear testing in the future.
  • Washington has, meanwhile, harped on access to the North’s nuclear sites in exchange for a relaxation of sanctions.
  • Coronavirus is a hope for nations to cooperate with each other.
  • Nurturing air power to meet rising demand
  • Air power is the total aviation capability of a nation, military and civilian put together.
  • Soon after the novel coronavirus began spreading, Air India evacuated Indian nationals from Wuhan, China.
  • India’s Consulate staff from Herat in Afghanistan were evacuated by a C-130 Super Hercules aircraft in secrecy.
  • Incidentally, 58 IAF aerial assets (transport aircraft and helicopters) are carrying out internal COVID-19-related tasks like transporting medicines, equipment and medical samples for evaluation from inaccessible areas.
  • Recent history is witness to their untiring work in building brand India.
  • In 1957, and then in 1978, the IAF was sent to Sri Lanka for flood relief efforts, as it was to Bangladesh in 1991 after the cyclone.
  • Following the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, 30 transport aircraft and 16 helicopters flew round the clock in India’s island territories; two IL78 aerial refuelling tankers were stripped of their fuselage fuel tanks overnight and the aircraft pressed into relief.
  • In addition, six Mi 8 helicopters were sent to help Sri Lanka.
  • In the international academic circuit, however, the Berlin airlift is quoted as the gold standard for an air logistics campaign.
  • True, it was staggering — 2.3 million tonnes of load were transported into West Berlin between June 1948 and September 1949.
  • Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Indian nationals were flown out via Amman.
  • Air India, along with IL-76s of the IAF, flew home 1,11,000 Indians (some documents say 1,76,000) in 488 flights from Amman to Mumbai in just two months.
  • The IAF transport fleet was in the forefront to retrieve casualties from Kabul following the 2008 bombing of the Indian embassy.
  • The only delay then was the clearance from Islamabad to overfly Pakistan.
  • The Uttarakhand flash floods in 2013 saw what was perhaps the biggest helicopter evacuation in history, with 23,892 pilgrims evacuated in only a week.
  • Far-sightedness is required to meet the challenges of the coming decades.
  • The biggest challenge is that all of India’s medium- and heavy-lift assets are foreign sourced, except the Dhruv and Chetak/Cheetah helicopters.
  • Finances will have to be found for their replacements.
  • If we look at India’s forward planning, the scene isn’t very rosy.
  • The Ministry of Defence will need all its persuasive powers to generate the required monies from the scarce resources with the Finance Ministry.

The occasion to revisit the sovereign’s role

  • COVID-19 is forcing a paradigm shift.
  • No section or sector is going to remain untouched and unaltered.
  • A second wave of outbreak is a realistic probability.
  • Unlike other threats to humanity such as global warming and a nuclear armageddon, this threat is now, not in the future.
  • COVID-19 threatens to push the world into a deep recession.
  • Both demand and supply contractions are likely to be severe.
  • Political systems, economic architectures and cultural mores are on trial.
  • Work patterns, production and distribution practices are up for redefinition.
  • We must now be quick in seizing lessons from the present crisis and get ready to embark on measures to build a new paradigm of life, work and governance.
  • The enlarged economic role of the state in the aftermath of the Second World War came under major assault since the 1980s.
  • India embarked on the path of trimming the role of the state.
  • The Indian state’s role in health care, education, creation and maintenance of infrastructure and delivery of welfare has shrunk or become nominal, half-hearted, inefficient, and dysfunctional.
  • Those with no social media handles, who cannot organise annual ‘thought’ conclaves, who are incapable of highlighting their problems with impressive presentations are rendered voiceless.
  • Underfunded public health systems are unable to serve them.
  • State’s first responsibility is the marginalised.
  • This is the appropriate context to revisit the political economy of the Indian state and its role.
  • The way we elect our representatives to legislatures must also come under the lens.

 The invisible face of the fallout

  • While catastrophes affect people at large, the economical, sociological and psychological impact that each catastrophe has on women is profound.
  • Women stay around looking for their loved ones in order to see them safe. Besides this, women lack many life skills such as swimming and climbing.
  • Women also faced abuse by men, plus hygiene challenges in these camps due to inadequate sanitation facilities.
  • In the United States, which has a high incidence of tornadoes, families headed by women are affected the most.
  • WHO: around 70% of the world’s health workers are women, 79% of nurses are women.
  • Health workers in general are highly vulnerable and not ensuring their safety is a high risk that can severely impact the health system.
  • India has a million-plus accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers who are an integral part of its health system.
  • ASHAs, who work at the ground level, are reporting incidents of attacks while on COVID-19 duty.
  • Stringent action against their tormentors is needed to ensure their professional safety.
  • WFH: the equal division of household responsibilities among couples is still distant.
  • Women from all strata face substantial additional household work.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) among re-productive age groups, pregnancy-related depressive conditions, postpartum depression (PPDs) among new mothers as well as premenopausal and menopausal symptoms are common, interfering in every day life and relationships.
  • Assigning ASHA workers to specifically address women’s welfare during this pandemic, setting up exclusive cells to quickly address domestic violence and women’s health-related issues, including men in conversations, and even online counselling for alcoholism in men are not difficult to implement.

NEWS

  • Speed of virus infections slows, doubling time rises in 18 States
  • As Centre frowns, Kerala steps back on easing curbs
  • Police detain 59 for violence over quarantine round-up
  • Vijay Mallya loses U.K. High Court appeal
  • Avoid hate speech, expat Indians told
  •  “India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the Rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this,” Ambassador Pavan Kapoor said in a tweet on Monday, indicating how strongly the government has taken many such cases that have come into prominence recently.
  • China says Indian trade curbs are against WTO principles
  • Adityanath to stay away from father’s funeral
  •  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s father Anand Bisht died on Monday and will be cremated in Haridwar at a funeral which will not be attended by the Chief Minister, who said he is duty-bound to stay in his State.
  • Blood banks running on low reserves, seek urgent help
  • Europe begins easing lockdown steps
  •