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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 25 August 2021

Jab Half Done | ToI

  • At least 1.6 crore people who received their first vaccine dose before May 2 haven’t been jabbed with the second, despite the maximum permissible gap of 16 weeks for Covishield elapsing.
  • 7 months after India’s vaccination programme began and weeks after lofty promises of accelerating supply this is both a cause for concern and a continuing sign of systemic stress.
  • Note here that a large study in a Delhi hospital recently demonstrated limited efficacy of a single dose.
  • Even if one accounts for vaccine hesitancy, plain ignorance or a delayed second shot because of a post-first jab Covid infection, the gap is not good news.
  • More so because over a crore of those waiting are vulnerable senior citizens.
  • With India averaging around 50 lakh inoculations a day, indicating 7 crore jabs a fortnight, soon a situation could come where those thronging for second doses outnumber those queueing up for first shots.
  • The equivocation on booster doses is another growing pressure point.
  • Cyrus Poonawalla has disclosed that SII employees received a third dose in view of waning immunity over a long duration.
  • Medical professionals, the first set to get vaccinated earlier this year, are keen on booster doses too.
  • With social distancing measures quite erratic, vaccination is our only line of defence.
  • And then there’s the question of vaccinating children.
  • Supply remains the great big question.

Farm loan waiver | Pioneer

  • The reports of a district administration ordering the auction of the land of several farmers in Rajasthan to recover their dues to public sector banks are shocking.
  • Land is the only asset that a farmer, especially small and marginal, has and if it is taken away, this will lead to permanent incapacitation impairing the person's ability to earn a livelihood.
  • The dues piled up because the farmers did not pay back because in the run-up to the 2018 assembly elections, then Congress President Rahul Gandhi had promised loan waiver and that too within ten days of his party Government taking charge.
  • However, it has not kept the promise - not even after completing half of its term - leading to the present horrific situation.
  • Congress is not alone in promising farm loan waivers.
  • Every major political party including BJP led by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has promised it.
  • In Uttar Pradesh (2017), he had promised to waive loans for all small and marginal farmers and to extend fresh credit at zero interest rate (as against 7 per cent applicable and 4 per cent for those paying back in time).
  • Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh are other major States where loan waivers involving tens of thousands of crores were promised.
  • We need to ponder over the implications of such a reckless trend for various stakeholders including the State exchequer, Centre and banks, especially PSBs.
  • Fundamentally, a loan waiver is granted under excruciating circumstances say,
  1. An unprecedented drought or floods
  2. A massive pest attack which results in either drastic reduction in output, or extensive damage to the standing crop
  • This drastically changes the mindset of farmers whereby they expect a loan waiver each time an election is held.
  • So, they stop paying back; even farmers who can afford to pay back join this bandwagon.
  • This is dangerous as it gives rise to a cult of non-payment - a potential source of creating huge NPAs, especially of PSBs.
  • According to a study by the RBI’s internal working group, during 2016-17, large farmers with holding over 10 hectares got away with 41 per cent of the crop loan (these are short-term loan used for financing purchase of agri-inputs) even as they account for a mere 0.6 per cent of the total number of farmers.
  • Semi-medium and medium farmers, owning between 2 -10 hectares (they are 13.2 per cent of all) got bulk of the balance 59 per cent.
  • At the other extreme, small and marginal farmers (they are 86.2 per cent of the total number) got very little; in fact, nearly 41 per cent of them don’t even have access to banks.
  • Sadly, as brought out in the study by the RBI, the medium and large farmers having borrowed from the banks at low rates (effectively it works out to 4 per cent if the loan is paid back in time), lend this money to the small/marginal farmers at a much higher rate, thereby making huge profit from arbitrage.
  • The study also brings out that in several States, the quantum of crop loan was higher than the value of all agri-inputs (in Andhra Pradesh, during 2015-2017, this was 7.5 times the value of agri-inputs).
  • Considering that crop loans are taken mostly for buying agri-inputs, when the value of the former exceeds the latter, it points towards diversion of funds to non-farm uses.
  • These demands only end up increasing the FD of the Centre as eventually it has to give budgetary support to PSBs whose capital gets eroded due to the write off.
  • The States should shun this unhealthy practice, and if need be, the Centre should pass a law to make it happen.
  • As for helping poor farmers, the Government should pursue agri-reforms - including in credit and crop insurance - to protect their income in an unforeseen event of steep drop in output or price realization from sale of the produce.

Managing the plan | Ind Exp

  • On Monday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the broad contours of an ambitious asset monetisation programme.
  • The National Monetisation Pipeline involves leasing out central government assets valued at around Rs 6 lakh crore over a four-year period ending in 2024-25, with the government looking to mop up Rs 88,000 crore in the ongoing financial year.
  • At its core, the idea is to lease out brownfield projects, proceeds from which can be used to finance greenfield projects.
  • The ownership of the assets monetised, though, will remain with the government, with the private players taking on the operational risk.
  • While roads, railways and power account for around 65 per cent of the proceeds of the programme, the list of assets detailed is spread across sectors such as telecom, aviation, mining and warehousing, suggesting a more wide-ranging programme.
  • While the targets are aggressive, a four-year roadmap, providing in detail the assets the government intends to lease, should provide clarity to investors and generate interest.
  • The transactions are likely to be structured through either public private partnerships, concessions or instruments such as infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs).
  • To ensure a smooth rollout, some experts have suggested that the government should look at addressing the concerns raised around PPPs.
  • The recent experience of the Indian Railways when it invited private players to run passenger trains has not been encouraging — reportedly, only two players participated in the process, one of which is a government entity.
  • Thus, how these agreements are structured will be central to their success as that will determine the extent of private sector participation.
  • The central government is also incentivising states to participate in this programme.
  • After all, states, like the Centre, have assets that can be monetised, creating a lucrative revenue stream for them.
  • And considering that states drive general government capital expenditure, this channel could provide them with the additional resources needed to sustain public investment during this period of stressed public finances.

NEWS

  • Government evacuates 626 people including 228 Indian nationals from Afghanistan
  • India’s first mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine DCGI nod to move into Ph-2 & Ph-3 trial
    • Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd which is  the Pune-based biotechnology company is working on the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine- HGCO19.
  • India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage crosses 59.47 crore mark
  • BJP President J P Nadda criticizes Maharashtra govt for arrest of Union Minister Narayan Rane
  • NSA Ajit Doval hosts 11th Meeting of BRICS High Representatives Responsible for National Security
  • Prime Minister Modi discuss Afghan situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • Stability in Afghanistan linked to peace & security of the region: India at UN
  • eSanjeevani conducts over one crore tele-consultations
  • Govt to launch e-Shram portal - National Database on Unorganized Workers on 26th Aug
  • Pakistan gets 2.75 billion from IMF under SDR programme
  • Enough medical supplies in Afghanistan to last for one week: WHO

Ans

Q.) India, Japan, USA & Australia (QUAD) are going to conduct a military exercise near Guam island in Western Pacific. What is the name of this exercise?

  1. Yudh Abhyas
  2. Exercise Konkan
  3. Malabar Exercise
  4. Maitree Exercise

Q.) Which country dropped India from the Generalised System of Preferences for exports from developing countries in 2019?

  1. US
  2. China
  3. UK
  4. Pakistan