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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 22 May 2021

NEWS

  • PM Modi lauds efforts of medical team in containing Covid-19 pandemic to great extent
  • Centre asks States to review their preparedness for prevention & control of Black Fungus
  • India's entire adult population will be vaccinated by end of this year: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan
  • UK launches third booster dose trial of seven Corona vaccines
  • Karnataka govt extends lockdown till 7th June
  • RBI approves transfer of Rs. 99,122 crore as surplus to Centre
  • Govt hikes variable dearness allowance for workers in central sphere
  • 17% more wheat procured during current Rabi Marketing Season: Govt
  • Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launches NMMS app & Area officer monitoring App
  • Indian Navy’s first destroyer INS Rajput decommissioned
  • Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolves Parliament; fixes general elections in November
  • US President Biden, South Korea’s Moon express willingness to engage North Korea in dialogue
  • Bangladesh issues Cyclone Alert
  • BAWG emphasizes importance of enhancing collaboration among astronomers from BRICS countries
  • Arctic warming three times more quickly than the planet: Report

Extending safety

  • Pursuing a policy of spreading the interval between two doses of vaccine, the Centre has now outlined more scenarios of second dose deferment.
  • Lactating women can go ahead for vaccine
  • Wait for 3 months for you 1st dose, if you were infected with Covid
  • Those inoculated but who have tested positive should defer their second dose by three months after clinical recovery from COVID-19.
  • The recommendations follow from earlier ones that advise increasing the interval from 12-16 weeks for Covishield, the more widely available vaccine.
  • But there are two underlying principles behind these recommendations, the first being a vaccine shortage.
  • Until early April, India had a very different scheme for its vaccination roll-out, appearing to take stock of availability as well as prioritising those at greater disease risk.
  • The second principle is that the timing of the second dose for an optimal boost to the immune system is not clear.
  • A general policy for childhood vaccines in India is a four to eight-week interval.
  • However, clinical trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the U.K (18-55 years) showed that binding antibodies (the ones that actually block viruses) were nearly twice as high in those who got their shots 12 or more weeks apart than in doses had within six weeks.
  • The vaccine also appeared to be more protective in those above 18 with a longer dose interval.
  • Given that SARS-CoV-2 has been around for less than 20 months, there is uncertainty about the duration of protection.
  • There are also documented cases of breakthrough infections as well as deaths even after a second dose.
  • Though they fall within expected statistical boundaries so far, it is only more inoculations from now that will shed greater clarity on the degree of protection.
  • Put together, these recommendations do buy policy makers time to stagger doses until more vaccines become available from August.
  • Given that many Indians have still not been exposed to the virus and newer threatening variants abound, there is no reason to be complacent that people will be protected from future waves.
  • The aim of vaccines is to prevent severe disease and death and all policy recommendations must be geared towards that goal.
  • There is no room for knee-jerk reactions that can compromise this objective.

Fragile Truce

  • After 11 days of intense fighting, Israel and Hamas have finally agreed to a ceasefire brokered by the US, Egypt, Qatar among others.
  • The hostilities, which have claimed at least 232 Palestinian lives including 65 children with the death toll in Israel reaching 12, could have seriously gone out of hand had the Israeli armed forces launched a full-scale ground operation into Gaza.
  • On the other hand, Hamas launching thousands of rockets into Israel in recent days was beginning to affect Israeli public mood and political calculus.
  • Focus must now shift to the huge task of rebuilding Gaza and providing relief to its residents while ensuring that the truce holds on the ground.
  • Israel-Palestine conflict is the ‘Mother Conflict’ in the Middle East.
  • And the only practical way to solve it is the two-state solution that envisages sovereign Palestine and Israel living side by side in concord.
  • This is precisely the position India recently expressed at UN, urging both sides to resume direct talks.
  • True, this is challenging as presently there is a political vacuum in Israel with PM Netanyahu serving as caretaker premier.
  • Similarly, Palestinian polity is divided between Fatah and Hamas with the latter controlling Gaza.
  • But Hamas is designated as a terror organisation by the US and EU, while many Arab states today are willing to recognise and work with Israel.
  • Of course peace in Israel is not possible by skirting the issue of Palestinian rights.
  • The international community must use this moment to once again push for Israel-Palestine dialogue with the clear aim of actualising the two-state solution.

A Flawed Diplomacy

  • Vaccine Maitri is based on a sound principle.
  • The corona pandemic is global in its ferocity.
  • No country can, therefore, choose to be entirely insular in its response.
  • Countries must contribute to battling the pandemic with a sense of collective responsibility.
  • India, in choosing to be of assistance to other countries, through the export or grant of vaccines, was only following this principle.
  • There is an organic correlation between the internal dynamics of a country and the diplomacy that it chooses to follow.
  • If the internal dynamics are misinterpreted, the external diplomatic initiatives will be flawed.
  • It was based on an erroneous impression that India had ‘conqueredthe virus, and was thus in a position to be magnanimous to the needs of others because its own had been met.
  • At the Davos meeting in January 2021, PM Modi declared that “India is among the most successful countries in saving lives,” and we remained in this euphoric illusion until March when the second wave had commenced.
  • Accordingly, India became a leading member of the UN Covax programme, whose aim was to provide 2 billion vaccines to middle- and low-income countries.
  • In January, the government decided that India would give Covishield and Covaxin free of cost to Mongolia, Oman, Myanmar, Bahrain, the Philippines, Maldives, Mauritius, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Seychelles as a ‘goodwill gesture’.
  • In all India gave as grants 10.7 million doses of vaccines, exported another 35.7 million, and saw a Covax outflow of 19.8 million doses, all together to 95 countries.
  • It was a noble gesture, but it missed out that in this bathos of international goodwill, India had inoculated less than 10% of its own people.
  • The unseemly polarity between the ‘pharmacy of the world’ gifting vaccines, and its own citizens running from pillar to post to get vaccinated, was stark.
  • Firstly, if we had to gift vaccines, it should have been prioritised only for our immediate neighbourhood.
  • But to offer vaccines and then cancel deliveries because of an export ban, has made us fall flat between all stools.
  • Secondly, in order to contribute more to global supply chains we should have taken steps far in advance of the crisis to boost our internal production.
  • Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India, our two principle vaccine producers, were not provided timely financial incentives, and it was only as late as April that the rusty levers of the bureaucracy moved to give them some of the required funding.
  • Contrast this with the policy followed by the US and some European countries, which uninhibitedly – even aggressively – opened their purse strings for their indigenous manufacturers.
  • Nor were we quick to offer Covaxin’s IPR to other Indian manufacturers.
  • Thirdly, India should have swiftly moved to tie up international licensing arrangements with foreign vaccine producers. India rightly took the lead along with South Africa in the WTO for a waiver on all patents.
  • For actual production, waiver needs to be accompanied by a ‘tech transfer’ and production knowhow.
  • Our vaccine diplomacy should have innovatively focussed on persuading America – and its pharma sector – to facilitate this.
  • India should have aggressively bought up stocks of ready-to-use vaccines from any and everywhere they were available.

SC to lenders’ aid

  • The financial lenders have got relief with the Supreme Court upholding a Government notification for invoking personal guarantees of promoters whose companies have defaulted on bank loans.
  • The banks can now file for personal bankruptcies against promoters whose companies are facing debt resolution from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
  • The Government enacted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in 2016 to deal with the inability of banks to get back defaulting loans.
  • Within a few months, over 50 companies ended up with the NCLT and personal guarantees given by the defaulting promoters were sought to be invoked.
  • At that point, several promoters moved the High Courts and finally the Supreme Court transferred the cases to itself.
  • In 2019, the Government amended the Code by bringing in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Personal Guarantors to Corporate Debtors) Regulations, 2019.
  • The notification empowered the lenders to invoke the defaulters’ personal guarantees.
  • The apex court clubbed all the 70-odd petitions that challenged the “personal guarantors” clause of the notification.
  • The Supreme Court not only upheld the constitutional validity of the notification, it also held that even after a resolution formula is worked out for the corporate debtor, the personal guarantor continues to be liable for any balance amount remaining.
  • This ensures that the liability of the personal guarantor does not end even after a resolution formula is worked out for the corporate debtor and proceedings can be initiated against the promoter and personal guarantor and co-guarantors, if any, as well.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision has now provided teeth to the banks’ recovery processes.
  • They can pursue both the personal guarantors and the corporate debtors simultaneously.
  • The banks or other lenders can directly invoke the personal guarantees of the promoters even as the bankruptcy proceedings against the promoters’ companies go ahead.
  • The promoters will now be made to reach a settlement with the banks in the form of a one-time settlement or a repayment plan and give an undertaking that they will not impede the resolution process of the corporate debtor.
  • It gives a fillip to the banks’ attempts to clean up the huge amount of bad loans without writing them off as NPAs.
  • The decision plugs a major loophole in the bankruptcy law and acts as a powerful deterrent against the defaulters.

ANS

Q.) Who is the Chancellor of Austria?

  1. Werner Kogler
  2. Christian Kern
  3. Heinz Christian Strache
  4. Sebastian Kurz

Q.) Name the chief of Hamas in Gaza, whose house was destroyed by Israeli airstrike

  1. Hassan Yousef
  2. Fawzi Barhoum
  3. Yehya Al-Sinwar
  4. Khaled Mashal