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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 24 August 2020

 

How ‘Big Brother’ is watching you, all the time | HT

  • Facebook controversy - criminal case against Ankhi DasBJP vs Congress - spill over into the next session of Parliament.
  • Ravi Shankar Prasad has assured people that Arogya Setu app is safe.
  • It was able to discern what many Americans were thinking, what kind of leadership they were seeking and what policies appealed to them.
  • Private information barriers being breached is becoming a real danger.
  • Facebook shares nosedived by $119 billion in just one day.
  • The data collected through these apps, if used for anything other than medical and scientific purposes, could seriously compromise the privacy of the individual.
  • This can be abused, especially in places with a weak democracy or one without a robust and independent judiciary.
  • Gabriel Baiman, Researcher, University of Haifa, Israel: 90% of the recruitment to terrorist organisations was done through social platforms.
  • What topics people read?
  • Which videos they had seen?
  • How they expressed their thoughts?
  • What sort of messages they exchanged with loved ones and others?
  • Researchers were able to get an accurate picture of what was going on in the minds of young people.
  • Jihadi John, an ISIS member from Britain, who became notorious for his beheading videos, was recruited through social media.
  • A number of young Indians were also misled by propaganda on social media platforms.
  • Everything and everyone is online.
  • There is no guarantee that this data will not reach a terrorist organisation, an anarchist group, a foreign government, rogue government officials or predatory drug companies.
  • Confidential information falling into the wrong hands, or unknown hands, is a huge danger to all citizens of democratic countries.

Systematic erasure of identity | Tribune

  • Plight of the nearly 11 million Uighurs living in Xinjiang.
  • The Uighurs are a Turkic ethnic group whose members are predominantly Muslim.
  • The reports indicate that China is trying to wipe out their identity and forcibly assimilate them by attacking their culture, traditions, beliefs and reducing their population growth.
  • Collectively these measures are suggestive of grave human rights violations.
  • The brutal crackdown dates back to at least 2009 when there were violent clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese in which about 200 people, mostly Han, were killed.
  • The crackdown was intensified following the visit of President Xi Jinping to the region in 2014.
  • Since 2017, the authorities have set up detention camps called ‘vocational education and training centres’.
  • Another report from the Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) indicates that about 80,000 detainees have been transferred to 27 factories across China since 2017.
  • Uighurs, who are subjected to ubiquitous surveillance, have been detained not for crimes but for things like contacting people abroad, attending mosques, having more than three children, sending texts containing Quranic verses, wearing headscarves or long beards, declining to eat pork, or having travelled abroad.
  • Many have also been picked up for using a popular app known as Zapya.
  • In a bid to eradicate Uighur identity, China has directly tackled Islamic beliefs.
  • One such is the Sultanim cemetery in Hotan that had existed in one form or another for over 1,000 years.
  • Birth rates in the mostly Uighur regions of Hotan and Kashgar went down more than 60% from 2015 to 2018.
  • Birth rates have nose-dived, falling nearly 24% last year alone, compared with just 4.2% nationwide.
  • There are also reports about medical testing and forced organ harvesting.
  • International criticism is slowly gathering steam.
  • In 2019, Turkey had condemned China’s treatment of the Uighurs, but under pressure, President Erdogan soon backed down.
  • The US has imposed sanctions against party officials implicated in rights abuses.
  • An initiative has been launched to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics unless ‘significant improvements’ were made in the treatment of the Uighurs by January 2021.
  • Pakistan, which otherwise projects itself as the champion of Muslim rights, has been silent on this issue.
  • Pakistan’s silence has not only demolished its credibility to talk about the Kashmir issue but also it is likely to face a backlash from its own religious groups unhappy with what China is doing.

Sports awards need overhaul | Tribune

  • It is time to rethink and reimagine the national sports awards.
  • Every year, the awards cause a row, despite a new selection committee being formed — the fault clearly lies in the system.
  • This year’s selection committee has been overly generous, naming a very large number of individuals for awards — 29 sportspersons for the Arjuna Award, 14 more than suggested by the guidelines. It did the same with the Dronacharya Award (13 instead of five) and Khel Ratna awards (five instead of one).
  • For instance, despite India being in the midst of a chess boom, no Arjuna Award has been given to a chess player since 2013, and no chess coach has been given the Dronacharya Award since 2006.
  • Often, the discretion of the selection committee overrules the points system, as does the political decision to promote indigenous sports such as kho-kho or Mallakhamb — thus athletes/coaches of these sports override the points system.
  • The Khel Ratna recommendations are purely discretionary and often flawed.
  • The recognition for table tennis player Manika Batra defies logic — she won the Arjuna Award in 2018 for her exploits at that year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games, and now she's been given the Khel Ratna for that very show even as her performance has waned.
  • Women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal has also got the Khel Ratna, though her achievements seem relatively paltry for this award.
  • There is a very persuasive view that the state should simply provide infrastructure, funds and jobs for sportspersons and get out of the business of handing out awards — awards politicise sport and divert the energy of sportspersons.
  • But since populism can’t be done away with, the least that should be done is to reorganise and reform the awards system.

State tyranny | The Statesman

  • At least for the last 50 years, the people of Tamil Nadu have come to accept that nothing gets done in the State government unless some ‘speed money’ changes hands.
  • For most services, rates are fixed informally and the system works smoothly.
  • E-pass during lockdown, like other government services, is supposed to be free, but unless a person shells out between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000, the elusive e-pass never materialises.
  • A week ago, the Madras High Court impressed upon the State government to seriously look into scores of complaints regarding government officials making illegal money even during a grave situation posed by the pandemic by collecting bribes for issuing e-passes to people for travelling from one district to another.
  • A Division Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and VM Velumani observed, “For the past few months people have been unable to work or travel from one place to another for various purposes and they have been put to untold misery. Though the government is not responsible for the present position, some corrupt officials involved in issuing e-passes are bent upon making a bounty. They are like cruel bloodthirsty wolves and they should be dealt with an iron hand. Throughout the State there are allegations that brokers are available for getting e-passes and the rate ranges between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000.”
  • Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, who is new to the State, on Wednesday refused to declare as unconstitutional the e-pass rule imposed by the State government.
  • Presiding over the First Bench along with Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, he ruled there was nothing unconstitutional about the e-pass system since it only regulated free movement in the public interest and did not prohibit or restrict travel altogether.
  • The Chief Justice, however, left it open to the State government to reconsider the system of issuing e-passes in the larger interest of the public.

Thinking through the Nepal policy | TH

  • On August 15, Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli made a friendly gesture towards India by telephoning Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convey greetings on India’s Independence Day.
  • This was followed by a meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Project Monitoring Committee on August 17 chaired by the Indian Ambassador to Nepal and the Nepal Foreign Secretary.
  • The committee was set up to review progress in the large number of bilateral cooperation projects.
  • Shyam Saran Former Foreign Secretary and Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research.
  • He was India’s Ambassador to Nepal in 2002-04
  • An India-Nepal Joint Commission meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers is due later in October but may be held virtually due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • But will the two sides hold Foreign Secretary-level talks on the vexed boundary issue that is related to Kalapani and Susta?
  • Borders which have been accepted by both sides for more than 100 years and which have also been reflected on their official maps cannot be unilaterally altered by one side coming up with archival material which has surfaced in the meantime.
  • This would make national boundaries unstable and shifting, and create avoidable controversies between countries as is the case now between India and Nepal.
  • The Treaty of Sugauli of 1816 sets the Kali river as the boundary between the two countries in the western sector.
  • There was no map attached to the treaty.
  • Nepal is now claiming that the main tributary of the Kalapani river rises east of the Lipu Lekh pass from the Limpiyadhura ridgeline and hence should serve as the border.
  • In 1969, the then Prime Minister of Nepal Kirti Nidhi Bisht, demanded that India military personnel manning 17 villages along the Nepal-Tibet border since the early 1950s be withdrawn. Here is the National Panchayat record of Bisht’s statement: “The Minister informed that the check posts manned by the Indian nationals exist in seventeen villages — Gumsha, Mustang, Namche Bazar, Lamabagar, Kodari, Thula, Thumshe, Thulo, Olanchung Dola, Mugu,Simikot, Tin Kar, Chepuwa, Jhumshung, Pushu, Basuwa and Selubash.”
  • If Lipu Lekh and Kalapani were on Nepali territory then why were they omitted from the list?
  • The inconvenient fact is that the Chinese, at least since 1954, have accepted Lipu Lekh Pass as being in Indian territory.
  • In the Nepal-China boundary agreement of 1960, the starting point of the boundary is clearly designated at a point just west of the Tinker Pass.
  • Reversing history selectively may seem tempting but it can open a Pandora’s box which may have irretrievably negative consequences for what Mr. Dixit rightly describes as “the most exemplary inter-state relationship of South Asia”.

More evidence of India’s food insecurity | TH

  • State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report: India has the largest population of food insecure people.
  • The SOFI report, which is published annually, presents the most authoritative evaluation of hunger and food insecurity in the world.
  • Since 2017, SOFI presents two key measures of food insecurity: the conventional measure called the Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU) and a new measure called the Prevalence of Moderate and Severe Food Insecurity (PMSFI).
  • While PoU is focused on estimating the proportion of population facing chronic deficiency of calories, the PMSFI is a more comprehensive measure of the lack of access to adequate and nutritious food.
  • Food insecurity increased by 3.8 percentage points in India between 2014 and 2019.
  • By 2019, 6.2 crore more people were living with food insecurity than the number in 2014.
  • The PMSFI is based on annual surveys that collect information on experiences of food insecurity (such as food shortages, skipping meals, and changing diet diversity because of a lack of resources).
  • The PMSFI uses the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), a gold standard in food security measurement developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for estimating globally-comparable prevalence rates.
  • Given the solid conceptual foundations of this methodology and the ease of collection of data, FIES and the PMFSI have been widely adopted by countries across the world.
  • These estimates show that while 27.8% of India’s population suffered from moderate or severe food insecurity in 2014-16, the proportion rose to 31.6% in 2017-19.
  • The number of food insecure people grew from 42.65 crore in 2014-16 to 48.86 crore in 2017-19.
  • India accounted for 22% of the global burden of food insecurity, the highest for any country, in 2017-19.
  • It is also noteworthy that while the PMSFI increased in India by 3.7 percentage points during this period, it fell by 0.5 percentage points in the rest of South Asia.
  • India has not released the latest National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) consumption expenditure survey data for 2017-18.
  • The significant rise in food insecurity, as shown by these data, is a clear manifestation of the overall economic distress during this period marked by a deepening agrarian crisis, falling investments across sectors and shrinking employment opportunities.
  • It is widely believed that demonetisation and introduction of the Goods and Services Tax were two prime causes of economic distress during this period.
  • A sudden imposition of an unprecedented and prolonged lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed focus on the problems of hunger and food insecurity.
  • With a sudden loss of livelihoods, a vast majority of India’s poor are faced with increased food insecurity, hunger and starvation.
  • A number of starvation deaths have also been reported in the media.
  • Given this, these estimates of the PMSFI provide an important baseline estimate for the situation before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical for India to conduct a national survey on food insecurity to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security of different sections of the population.

Women, uninterrupted | TH

  • Pandemic and its impact on women’s lives: inability to access contraceptives and abortion services during the long lockdown warn of dire consequences, including unwanted pregnancies, increase in domestic violence, and maternal mortality.
  • Marie Stopes International (MSI) said about two million women missed out on services between January and June; 1.3 million were in India alone.
  • WHO: a recent survey of responses from 103 countries found that 67% reported disruption in family planning and contraception services.
  • UNFPA projections indicate that 47 million women in 114 low- and middle-income countries would be unable to use modern contraceptives if the average lockdown continued for 6 months with major disruptions to services, and an additional 7 million unintended pregnancies are expected to occur.
  • At the heart of this issue is the bulk of health-care services shifting to cater to COVID-19 related emergencies, and lockdown disruptions.
  • India listed abortions as essential services under the lockdown, but the disruption of transport services hampered access to centres of care, and lack of awareness about these services being available during this period was a factor.
  • Almost 30% of the respondents seeking an abortion said that the clinic in their area was closed, according to the MSI report.
  • Further, a study in six States by the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India, showed a severe shortage of medical abortion drugs in pharmacies.
  • The need for contraceptive services remains high in India, with over 1 in 3 women (35%) reporting a need for contraceptive advice, as per the MSI study.
  • Providing uninterrupted abortion and contraceptive counselling, devices and care services are essential to safeguard the reproductive rights of women, and protect them from abuse.

Failing on fires | TH

  • A fire in a hydroelectric station located close to unlimited quantities of water would seem to be a contradiction, but as the deadly blaze in the Srisailam power plant shows, the risk is very real.
  • Nine people, including five engineers, perished in the facility on the Telangana-Andhra Pradesh border.
  • At 900 MW capacity, the plant on the left bank canal of the Krishna is one of the biggest contributors to the Telangana State Power Generation Corporation; another branch serves Andhra Pradesh.
  • Industries and power plants in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have been wracked by accidents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In Srisailam, the fire appears to have started in a control panel during maintenance.
  • The victims were unable to make an exit through an escape tunnel and were overwhelmed by smoke, while others at a different level could flee in time.
  • Telangana has instituted a CID inquiry.
  • Handling a fire becomes complicated in such circumstances, and safety features have to be extremely reliable.
  • IEEE standards for substation fire protection, issued a quarter century ago, lay down norms for fixed and portable ventilation systems that can remove heavy smoke — as seen in Srisailam.
  • Use of fire-retardant materials in construction, dual exits, easy vertical escape routes using staircases and alarm systems are all part of safety codes.
  • Whether these features were available in the Telangana power plant, and if they were, why the personnel could not use them to quickly escape the inferno should be investigated.
  • India loses many lives to fires each year: at 12,748 accidental deaths in 2018, nearly double the number caused by forces of nature, according to NCRB data.
  • Only a rigorous adherence to safety codes can reduce this shocking toll.

NEWS

  • COVID -19 recovery rate improves to nearly 75 per cent across the Country
  • Film fraternity welcomes Centre's decision to allow resumption of film and TV shootings
  • Fresh tender for Vande Bharat express trains to allow over 50 pct local components: Railways
  • Govt activates Aadhaar authentication for new GST registration
  • Chattisgarh, Puducherry abolish e-pass system for inter-state or intra-state movement
  • CBI questions Sushant Singh Rajput's friend and domestic helps
  • Vice President urges political parties to arrive at consensus to provide reservation to women in Parliament & state legislatures
  • DSEL calls for suggestions from school teachers & Principals on NEP2020
  • Home Ministry issues SOP for international travel on non-scheduled commercial flights
  • Saudi Arabia's state oil company Aramco suspends 10 bn dollar China oil refinery project
  • Global COVID-19 tally reaches 2,32,08,492 mark
  • US: FDA announces emergency authorization of blood plasma treatment against Covid-19
  • Indonesia: Sinabung volcano unleashes new burst of hot ash
  • COVID-19 recoveries outnumber new infections in Bangladesh