May be, mandatory wearing of masks in India, will help us agains pollution too.
With particulate pollution having gone up by 42% since 1998, ordinary citizens are losing over five years of their life spans.
Fact: India continues to pay a steep price for its air pollution.
R.K. Singh: India will have around 60% of its installed electricity generation capacity from clean sources by 2030.
The main contributors to pollution — emissions by industries, vehicularpollution and constructionactivity.
Calcutta: 70% of the residents reportedly suffer some sort of respiratory disease
It is thus clear that the problem persists not only because its multi-layerednatureisignored but also because the twin interventions of implementation and sensitization leave a lot to be desired.
This institutional apathy can only be challenged if investmentsby the State to combat air pollution are accompanied by education and adequate awareness campaigns.
Only then can respiratory health and longevityofcitizens be safeguarded.
Self-reliance in defence is a national imperative | Mint
China stance has made war preparedness a top priority
The draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 unveiled on Monday is perhaps India’s most ambitious ever
Aims: domestic output worth ₹1.75 trillion of aerospace and defencegoods and services by 2025, with exports raking in ₹35,000 crore.
Indigenous development of modern weaponry: hypersonicmissiles and ace sensors to stealth submarines and fly-by-wire fighter jets
As of now, self-relianceis a distant goal.
Rajnath Singh placed an emergency order for 21 MiG-29 jets with Russia.
HALhasfailedinTejas production targets.
DRDOscientists claim success in several projects, including the Tejas design.
But decisions on procurements for our armed forces are made through a complex process—involving service chiefs, technocrats and politicians—that ends up favouring foreign purchases.
The finer details of defence deals are usually confidential, after all, and the payments huge.
By one estimate, India was the world’s third largest military spender in 2019, with a bill of over $71 billion, after the US and China.
Long drawn out acquisition processes is one of the main reason why Indian private players are not ready to jump into this business.
If a big push for “made in India" defence systems calls an entire ecosystem of experiments, ideas and technical wizardry into being, it could help our economy leap ahead too.
More of the same | TH
Trump’s attacks on the inflow of skilled foreign workers.
Trump: prevent such workers from participating in any federal government contracts indefinitely.
Indian nationals tend to be granted 60-70% or more of visas in this category annually, which implies that the potential impact of this order on IT and ITES firms based in India could be considerable, and produce a ripple effect in the bilateral economic space.
This order is likely to create a sense of shock among those Indian corporates who have invested in US economy and have created jobs over there.
April 2020: White House announced that it would be suspending the issuance of green cards, effectively halting legal migration into the U.S.
The economy, which was in fine fettle until the COVID-19 pandemic struck, appears to be grinding to a halt, with an expected surge in unemployment numbers to nearly 18 million jobless people.
However, instead of striking a positive note about finding the U.S.’s greatest source of economic resilience in the diversity of its people, Mr. Trump has steadily retreated deeper into the morass of hateful tropes about immigrants stealing jobs.
This may well strike a chord with his core support base of blue-collar workers across middle America who are undeniably in economic pain, but it does little to repair the damage done since 2016 to the fabric of American society.
Bitter polarisation is a perennial trait of the political landscape of the U.S., but it has rarely ever been as exacerbated as in the last four years.
A step at a time | IndExp
It is heartening that the Pune-basedSerum Institute of India has received the country’s top drug regulator’s approval to conduct late-stage human trials for the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The vaccine has shown encouragingresults in early trials.
Its mild side effects augur a safe vaccine.
SCIENTISTS: Large-scale trials are required to ascertain if the vaccineactuallyprotects against the pathogen.
Theimmune system hastwo ways to defend thebody against pathogens like the coronavirus — by producing antibodies that disable an infectious agentandby manufacturing T cells that have a long memory of such agents.
Early research has suggested that antibodies fade away within months of contracting the coronavirus. However, a robust T cell response can prevent the infection from recurring.
The Oxford-AstraZenecavaccineis designed to trigger both kinds of reactions.
But we do not know how protective the memory in the T cells, induced by the vaccine, will be against the coronavirus.
Moreover, the trials were conducted on volunteers aged 18-55.
The efficacy of the vaccine in older, and morevulnerable, people is still not known.
According to the WHO, more than 150 vaccine candidates are undergoing trials in different parts of the world.
Three of them — theOxford vaccine, the vaccine being developed by the pharma major Moderna in the US and the candidate of the Chinese firm, Sinovac Biotech — have reached the third stage.
The Oxford vaccine, for instance, was administered to a little more than 1,000 people in the initial trials. It will reportedly be tested on more than 30,000 people in different parts of the world — 1,600 of them in India — in the final phase.
There are reasons to be cautious even after a COVID vaccine enters the market.
In 1999, a rotavirus vaccine had to be recalled after it caused adverse reactions.
It would also be worth remembering that flu viruses mutate. We are still some way away from victory against the coronavirus.
Language of unity| TH
By rejecting the three-language formula advocated in the National Education Policy (NEP 2020), Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has only reiterated the State’s unwavering position on an emotive and political issue.
Its two-languagepolicy, implementeddecadesago after a historic agitation against the imposition of Hindi, remains non-negotiable for almost the entire political class.
Opposition from the State had last year forced the Centre to amend the draft NEP and withdraw a proposal to teach Hindi as a third language in schools in non-Hindi speaking States.
Yet in the NEP, approved by the Union Cabinet last week, it chose to push for the three-languageformula, packaging it as a means to promote multilingualism and “national unity”.
Though the policy said that no language will be imposed on any State, it has expectedly cut no ice with parties in Tamil Nadu, which have risen in near unison to oppose the proposal.
In fact, Mr. Palaniswami, citing “collective sentiments” of the people, noted that the proposal was “saddening and painful” and appealed to the Prime Minister to allow States to follow their own language policy.
In a Statethat resisted multiple attempts to impose Hindi since 1937, political parties are understandably wary of any mandate to impart an additional language in schools.
They fear this would eventually pave the way for Hindi to enter the State through the back door.
Since1985, the State has even refused to allow Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas to be set up as they teach Hindi.
The two-language policy of Tamil and English, piloted by former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai in 1968, has thus far worked well in the State.
In a liberalised world, more windows to the world are being opened up for those proficient in English, a global link language.
The State’s significant human resources contribution to the ever-expandingITsector is also attributed to the Englishfluency of its recruits as much as to their technical knowledge.
However, its voluntary learning has never been restricted and the growth over the past decade in the number of CBSE schools, where the language is taught, would bear testimony to this.
The patronage for the 102-year-oldDakshinaBharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, based in Chennai, also proves this.
Out of necessity, many in the State have picked up conversational Hindi to engage with the migrant population that feeds the labour needs from factories to hair salons.
Only compulsion is met with resistance.
India’s federal nature and diversity demand that no regional language is given supremacy over another.
Jammu & Kashmir: A Year After | ToI
On this day last year, much against the run of events in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), the Centre took some major decisions to give a new course to the proxy hybrid war troubled state.
It involved two basic changes: abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution which gave J&K a special constitutional status, and its administrative downgrade from a single state to two separate Union Territories of Ladakh and J&K.
On the first anniversary of these decisions, three basic questions bear significance.
In retrospect, did these decisions warrant being taken at that moment in the light of the then existing scene?
Have they helped improve the deteriorating situation?
How are the effects of these decisions likely to shape regional geopolitics, internal security, integrative process, people’s psyche and related domains through the very challenging times ahead?
For the last 30 years we had been subjected to sub-conventional proxy war by Pakistan, making use of the schisms it created within society in J&K.
Although India had effectively used the kineticroute to curb Pakistan’s capability to change things, it never could sufficiently address the issue politically for lasting effect.
The Centredithered and lacked the confidence to comprehensively address the prickly issues sustaining the conflict, imagining a non-existent Pakistani capability masterfully packaged to create a defensive psyche within India.
Articles 370 and 35A helped create a self-image for J&K of it being different, a psyche instilling a belief of never being part of the Indian mainstream.
That psyche, in turn, fostered a delusive belief about ‘azadi’ (Independence).
It was exploited by the deep state in Pakistan to create a perpetual state of proxy war.
Existing within the establishment and the political community was a long embedded belief that even touching the constitutional exclusivity of J&K would mean unbearable consequences.
One way of viewing the situation in J&K today is through the prism of the past.
Every three to four years a cycle had been repeated; violent years followed by a short period of peace.
Since 2013 a generational change in leadership was occurring; the new one brash and irrational, given to radical external ideological influence.
In 2014-16 the government did try conventional ways of conflict resolution, but overtures to Pakistan were responded to by terror attacks at Pathankot, Uri, Nagrota and laterPulwama (2019), along with increasing street turbulence, radical utterances by separatists, difficulty in governance due to nepotism and corruption in local politics, and multiple networks run by overground workers (OGWs).
In 2016 the situation was only heading southwards.
All these gave a cumulative signal for transformational change.
Has that change occurred in the last one year?
A festering proxy war cannot be defeated in a year even after major decisions.
The two year period prior to 5 Aug 2019 witnessed a focused campaign launched to counter the OGW networks which ran everything nefarious in J&K; finances, media, ideology, street mobs, drugs, arms and ammunition.
The effects of that started to tell in 2019 but the process is even now incomplete, so deeply are these networks embedded.
Indiahad for long fought terror, militancy and separatism in a benign way where people’s liberties were minimally disturbed even as the security forces took casualties.
The prime difference has been curtailment in the flow of finances thus neutralising the mobilisation of stone throwing protests, the elimination of terrorist leaders, greater flow of intelligence with the change in the winds of support at the grassroots, reduction of recruitment and easier decision making on such issues as mortal remains of even local terrorists not being given for last rites to their families.
The recent resignation of SAS Geelani from the Hurriyat Conference can largely be attributed to all these measures which have rendered the separatists ineffective.
Careful amendment in laws of domicile, a contentious issue for long with potential to trigger unrest, has been effected without opening floodgates.
The real challenges however lie in the field of governance and political activity both of which have been stymied by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The information and influence domains to create perception of public acceptance towards national mainstreaming also need a more imaginative and empathetic approach.
However, given the bold decisions of 5 August, operational stabilisation thereafter and India’s proactive stance on the return of Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK, enhanced strategic confidence has had impact in the geopolitical world too.
The events in Ladakh can partially be ascribed to this.
Nothing has yet ended with the bold decisions.
There is no magic wand to end proxy war.
Patience and all round pragmatism to absorb temporary setbacks will enhance the chances of eventual success.
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Union Agriculture Minister launches Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today launched the Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel, a new initiative by National Cooperative Development Corporation.
The initiatives are steps towards One Nation One Market with the objective for India to become food factory of the world.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tests positive for Covid-19
Pakistan’s new map an exercise in political absurdity: MEA
New Delhi has described a so-called political map of Pakistan issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan as an exercise in political absurdity, laying untenable claims to territories in the Indian State of Gujarat and our Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
A press statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said, these ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility.
It said, in fact, this new effort only confirms reality of Pakistan’s obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism.
Indian Army begins process to grant Permanent Commission to eligible women officers