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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 29 January 2021

Tempered optimism

  • Some rich nations have run out of vaccine
  • Access to vaccine is a problem for poor nations
  • India reports a decline in cases
  • Vaccine hesistancy is wasting time and energy

  • Home Ministry has proposed further relaxations in the protocols for public activity from February
  • DGCA has decided to maintain status quo on scheduled flights till February end
  • Use of face masks, healthy distancing, staggering of working hours, workplace sanitisation and firm action against spitting in public
  • Genetic mutations of the coronavirus in South Africa, the U.K. and Brazil pose a new worry, with implications for those who have avoided infection so far or have recovered after a difficult battle.
  • European Governments - masks of N95 or FFP2 standards

Vacancies in High Courts | Tribune

  • Judicial vacancies in the 25 high courts
  • Collegium is struggling
  • A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has frowned upon the government for delaying the process of clearing the names recommended by the collegium for appointment as high court judges.
  • Terming it a ‘matter of great concern’, it has asked the Ministry of Law and Justice to spell out how much time it would take to process the recommendations.
  • As on January 1 this year, there were 668 judges against a sanctioned strength of 1,079 and 411 posts remained vacant.
  • More than 100 names sent to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice by various high courts to be forwarded to the Supreme Court collegium for approval are hanging fire, many of them for more than a year.
  • There are 56.57 lakh cases pending in 25 high courts.
  • Of this, 92,085 are more than 30 years old; 1,51,853 cases have been awaiting disposal for over 20 years.
  • There are 56.57 lakh cases pending in 25 high courts.
  • Of this, 92,085 are more than 30 years old; 1,51,853 cases have been awaiting disposal for over 20 years.
  • The Memorandum of Procedure that governs the process for judicial appointments requires the Centre to give its feedback on the names recommended.
  • Successive governments have used their feedback as a ‘pocket veto’
  • It’s time to fix the lacunae in the judicial appointment system in the interest of justice.

On the upswing | Ind Exp

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) - the pace of recovery in 2021 is could surpass earlier expectations
  • The damange is likely to be less severe than previously expected
  • IMF: global economy contracted by 3.5% in 2020 and not 4.4%
  • IMF - the world economy to grow at 5.5 per cent
  • India’s contraction will be lower
  • 2021-22 - Indian economy to grow at 11.5 per cent, 2.7 percentage points higher than its previous forecast

Issues/Challenges

  • Official estimates do not tend to accurately capture the informal economy
  • Despite faster growth, the economy is likely to reach pre-COVID levels only by the end of 2021-22
  • Expectations of higher growth should not lead to policy complacency.
  • The economy will continue to need careful policy support.

End Ad-Hocism In Hydrocarbons | ET

  • The upstream oil sector requires focused policy attention and tax rationalisation.
  • 2015 – PM Modi said – we will see 10% reduction of oil imports by 2022
  • In fact, our import dependency is at a record 84.5%

  • Oil production is the highest taxed sector, with the government take at 60%.
  • Policy flip-flops appear to have stymied interest of global oil majors in Indian oil and gas blocks
  • New Exploration Licensing Policy, conceptualised in 1997-98 and implemented in 1999, seems particularly usurious, never mind that it has led to India’s biggest oil find in over three decades, in Barmer, Rajasthan, operated by Cairn India.
  • However, with global oil prices range-bound around $50 a barrel, and Cairn’s opex now in the $10-12/b range, the 60% government take can well affect ongoing operations and further reduce oil production.
  • By removing the cess, field investment and oil output would rise.

Global antitrust and the challenge of Big Tech

  • Abuse of monopolistic power by the Big Tech firms
  • Non-rival
  • Telecom services are within the jurisdictional boundaries of regulators
  • But, internet firms operate globally

  • Subtle trade-offs of personal information for availing services of the Internet firms.
  • While governments can cover the expense of providing public goods (such as police protection, parks and street lights) through tax-payers’ money, private firms need to have monetisation models to cover the costs of providing their services.
  • Hence, the Internet firms have resorted to personalised advertisements and third-party sharing of the personal information of their users for monetisation purposes.
  • In order to retain their pole position, these firms may resort to anti-competitive behaviour.
    • Acquiring rivals to vertically integrate
    • Erecting entry barriers by refusing to interconnect and inter-operate with competing firms
    • Leveraging their capital base, thereby engaging in predatory pricing, and driving out competitors
  • This is a tough nut to crack as it is often very difficult to prove that the firms engage in the abuse of their monopoly power.
  • It is legitimate as pointed out by the Australian government in its media legislation, that Google and Facebook must negotiate a fair payment with news organisations for using their content in Facebook’s newsfeed and Google’s Search.
  • The other way to control any abusive behaviour of the Internet firms is to use the power of public voice.
  • The million mails that were sent to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in March 2015, effectively put an end to the Free Basics programme of Facebook in India, thereby prohibiting any violation of Net Neutrality principles.
  • Similarly, the huge public outcry and subsequent government actions have delayed the recent changes to privacy policy relating to the sharing of personal information between WhatsApp and its parent firm, Facebook.
  • While governments and regulators deal with these dilemmas, should not the Internet firms adhere to core ethical principles in conducting their businesses?

NEWS

  • Budget session of Parliament begins today with President's Address; Economic Survey to be tabled in the House
  • PM Modi says India offers predictable and friendly tax regime and FDI norms
  • CBSE datesheet for 10th and 12th exams to be announced on Feb 2
  • DGCA extends travel restrictions on scheduled international commercial flights till Feb 28
  • UN chief says India's vaccine production capacity is the best asset for today's world
  • Beating Retreat, marking culmination of Republic Day celebrations, to be held today at Vijay Chowk
  • India fastest country to reach one million vaccination in first six days: Government
  • PM Modi speaks to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, discusses impact of COVID pandemic
  • India joins the World to light up Qutub Minar as sign of Unity to combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • HM Amit Shah visits hospital to enquire about health of Delhi Police personnel injured in tractor rally violence on Republic Day
  • WHO team in Wuhan investigating COVID-19 origins leaves quarantine