- Govt to procure 75% of vaccines from manufacturers and provide it to States, UTs free of cost
- 44 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be available by December this year
- More than 23.88 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered in country so far
- National COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 94.3 per cent
- Southwest monsoon likely to set in over Mumbai today
- FCI supplies 69 lakh tonnes of free food grains to all States and UTs under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh says, motto of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan is to Make in India and Make for World
- Centre issues guidelines for development of e-Content for Children with disabilities
- INS Tarkash reaches Mumbai with critical medical supplies from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
- Railways delivers more than 27,600 tonnes of LMO to 15 states across country
- Bangladesh reports highest single day COVID infection in 40 days, highest deaths in 30 days
- Major outage affects number of high profile websites including Amazon, Reddit and Twitch
- Hundreds arrested in 18 countries in global crackdown on organised crim
This time for Male
- The election of Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid as the President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, that begins in September for 2021-22, is a major boost for the island-nation’s international profile.
- The election marks the first time a Maldivian will hold the post in the UN’s history.
- Maldives also sees it as a win for the 52-member Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which are battling climate change vulnerability and other developmental challenges.
- Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla had announced India’s support for the Maldives in November 2020.
- The focus now shifts to his tenure and South Asian issues such as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and equitable access to vaccines.
- Cooperation is close and Mr. Shahid is in discussions to appoint an Indian diplomat as his chief aide.
- Modi government focuses on showcasing the country at the UN during India’s 75th Independence anniversary next year.
- Above all, it is hoped that India in the UNSC and the Maldivian President of the General Assembly will work in tandem as New Delhi pursues its goals for multilateral reform, and re-energise the dormant process of effecting change in the old power structures in the global body.
Building trust in governance
- Over the last decade, India has witnessed a big and welcome change in social trust.
- This trust is experiential: it is built as consumers get consistent information and predictability, over time, every time.
- When we book an Ola cab, we get an OTP every time, we can track our cab every time, the OTP works every time we give it to the driver, and so on.
- A mechanism to hold the service provider accountable is fundamental to building trust.
- In our experience in working in the area of service delivery by urban local bodies, we find that citizens’ default position is low trust.
- Past experiences
- Corruption makes this worse.
- The worst is paying a bribe and still not being served.
- We also observe power imbalance: citizens feel that they do not have any recourse.
- These frictional interactions pile up over time.
- They lead to apathy, disengagement, a ‘nothing will happen’ mindset.
- In Andhra Pradesh, we at eGov Foundation partnered with the government to roll out a citizen services delivery platform (PuraSeva) in all 110 towns and cities.
- We saw the positive impact of this platform on social trust.
- One of the areas reformed was the complaints process: multiple channels to lodge complaints, prompt acknowledgment with a reference number assigned, SMS notifications providing an expected completion date and responsible person, and notifications of each status change.
- Finally, citizens are invited to provide a star rating upon completion.
- Moreover, citizens and civil society groups can view the performance data for their localities through open dashboards.
- The results have been encouraging. The number of complaints has increased — not because problems have gone up, but because citizens trust the government to resolve them.
- The speed of resolution and the percentage of complaints resolved within the designated time have both increased sharply.
- Perhaps the best indicator of this new approach is that if a citizen does not provide a star rating, they will get a call from the local government, asking them to rate their satisfaction with the services received.
- Each interaction is an occasion to send a trust signal, to raise low expectations and meet new, high ones.
- This is how the ‘nothing will happen’ mindset gets replaced with the confidence that yes, something will be done.
Terms of relief
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Monday the extension till Diwali (November) of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana — the scheme that offers free foodgrains to households.
- The scheme, under which 5 kg of wheat or rice is distributed free of cost to around 80 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, was initially announced only for the months of May and June as economic activity had begun to be disrupted with state governments imposing localised lockdowns to deal with the surge in Covid cases.
- Though some states have recently begun to roll back some of the restrictions imposed on activities as infection rates have fallen, considering the economic toll of the second wave and the rise in unemployment, the extension of this scheme is a welcome decision.
- With foodgrains available in the central pool considerably higher than the buffer stock norms, fulfilling this additional allocation will not be a problem.
- The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was first introduced in April last year when the central government had announced the imposition of a national lockdown.
- As the pandemic dragged on, both the duration as well as scope of the scheme were expanded subsequently.
- Perhaps this time around, too, considering that many eligible people such as migrant labourers may not be able to access these benefits, more relaxed criteria may be adopted.
- According to somes estimates, the fiscal costs stemming from the extension of this scheme till November (along with the change in the vaccination policy) are likely to be around 0.4 per cent of GDP.
- This would imply that part of the fiscal space created by the Centre by advancing the payment of FCI dues to 2020-21, earlier budgeted for 2021-22, will now be offset by higher spending on account of the extension of this scheme.
- Considering the depth and breadth of this crisis, this measure should be seen as a first step towards a more comprehensive relief package that is needed at this juncture.
- To begin with, given the sharp rise in unemployment, the government should ramp up the allocation for MGNREGA this year.
- The approved labour budget is the same as in 2019-20 but the work demanded in both April and May under the programme, while lower than last year, is considerably higher than in 2019-20, signalling the extent of the distress.
- While there are indications of formal economic activity picking up, the government should consider more such relief measures to support the economy during this period.
The proportionality principle
- Every war is tragic. Every civilian death is a world lost.
- The principle of proportionality is defined as the obligation to refrain from “any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss or injuries to civilians, or damage to civilian objects, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated”.
- The proportionality principle means that before every military strike, military commanders must assess two factors.
- First, they must examine the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from an attack, when naturally, the neutralisation of some targets would have a higher advantage than others.
- In order to offer such advantage, the target must be a military target, such as a weapons depot.
- Importantly, a seemingly civilian object, used by the adversary for military purposes (for example, a residential building used to store weapons) may be considered a lawful target.
- Second, the commanders must assess, based on reasonably available information at the time of the attack, what the expected collateral damage would be.
- They must assess how many civilians, if any, will be present in the area of the planned attack.
- Then they must assess the extent of expected damage to civilian property, including indirect damage that is to be accounted for, such as infrastructure.
- Lastly, they must implement all feasible precautions to mitigate harm to civilians and civilian objects.
- If the assessment of the two factors leads to the conclusion that the expected damage to civilians or civilian objects is deemed excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage, carrying out an attack would be unlawful.
- Hamas is committing a double war crime – endangering Israeli civilians by targeting them and endangering Gazan civilians by using them as human shields.
- What does international law require Israel, a law-abiding state, to do, when facing Hamas’ unlawful tactics?
- The law of armed conflict states that when civilian presence is used to shield military objectives from attacks, that presence does not grant the target immunity.
- Despite Hamas’s blatant disregard for the law or its citizens’ well-being, Israel does everything feasible in order to prevent or at least minimise harm to the Palestinian civilian population, often at the cost of operational advantage.
- Fighting an enemy that deliberately abuses the law of armed conflict raises grave challenges for Israeli soldiers.
- In other words, Hamas pays no price for its war crimes and often it is Israel that is wrongfully blamed.
Q.) In which year did the United Nations’s Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention take place?
Q.) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will fly to space on July 20. What is the name of his rocket company?
- Code Blue
- Blue Origin