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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 24th September ’21 | PDF Download

Vital relief | TH

  • COVID-19  death – ₹50,000 per deceased individual within 30 days of submitting the necessary documents.
  • A small relief for those who have lost breadwinners and productive members.
  • India has high chronic and invisible mortality due to disease and road traffic accidents.

  • As of September 13, WHO recorded 4,45,768 COVID-19 deaths in India and 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases, indicating that the current ex gratia outlay would be of the order of ₹2,300 crore.
  • The relief amount proposed by the National Disaster Management Authority is to be paid out of the State Disaster Response Fund.
  • State authorities will create a people-friendly claims mechanism.
  • Fresh audits and recertification of deaths have become an important factor, given the move by several States to keep virus mortality numbers low, attribute a significant number of deaths to co-morbidities rather than the infection, and the indisputable undercounting of lives lost in the two phases of the pandemic.
  • More challenging will be the issue of resolving cases where the medical certification of cause of death has not acknowledged it as COVID-19.
  • The task before the States is to ensure that the process is easy, accurate and empathetic.
  • In fact, such disputes have already entered the realm of litigation, with families seeking judicial relief, because doctors refuse proper certification and cite underlying conditions of patients based on Government instructions.
  • Also, the Centre must consider providing additional compensation in the future, treating COVID-19 on a par with other disasters such as cyclones, major accidents, building collapses and industrial mishaps, where the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund has been sanctioning ₹2 lakh for death and ₹50,000 for serious injury.
  • Going forward, the Centre must now quickly set up risk insurance for disasters as suggested by the XV Finance Commission, to which States will readily contribute.

Another grouping | TH

  • AUKUS: Australia, UK, USA
  • India has made it clear that it does not welcome the announcement, nor does it wish to link AUKUS to Indian interests.
  • Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla said that AUKUS – will not affect plans to strengthen the Quad.
  • He called them two very different groupings, describing AUKUS as a security alliance, and indicating that security is not the Quad’s main focus.
  • India does not see AUKUS as nuclear proliferation.
  • But New Delhi has noticed the protests from others, especially France, that has lost a lucrative submarine deal in the bargain, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to reach out to their French counterparts.
  • France has recalled its Ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia, accusing them of betrayal by negotiating their defence partnership with the U.K., and without informing European allies.
  • The EU and ASEAN countries have been reserved in their reactions. U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have now spoken to French President Emmanuel Macron, but it remains to be seen whether the damage to ties can be reversed.
  • The promising possibilities of the alliance include strengthening the Quad’s agenda to keep the Indo-Pacific region free, open and inclusive.
  • The alliance could also extend itself to bolstering the Quad’s efforts on maritime exercises, security and efforts in countering COVID-19, climate change, cooperating on critical technologies, and building resilient supply chains.
  • America is back
  • Partnerships with fellow democracies
  • But the concerns over AUKUS are considerable too: that the timing of the announcement of the deal just before the Quad leaders meet could overshadow the latter, and also signal that the U.S. is relegating the Quad to less substantive issues in the Indo-Pacific.

Make departments smart, first | TH  

  • As India grows more urban, the importance of effective governance and service delivery by city governments becomes central to the well-being of Indians.
  • We hope to live in ‘smart cities’, where digital systems enable the use of data — generated by people living and working in the city itself — to continuously improve how the city functions.
  • A smart city requires good data to inform decision-making.
  • The only reliable way to get good data is to design ‘smart systems’ that generate such data by default.
  • A smart city is a network of smart functions and departments.
  • What makes a department smart?
  • The foundation of a simple behavioural change: when doing their work, local government employees have to switch from using pen and paper and records to using digital tools and systems.
  • This is the first step in the e-governance journey.
  • The reality in most local government offices in India is that records are kept on paper; if they do get digitised, it is as part of a post-facto data entry exercise.
  • This creates scope for errors and manipulation.
  • To ensure digitisation, city leaders must use a combination of expectation-setting and incentives.
  • They can demonstrate the time saved and ease of work gained when digital tools automate away record creation and retrieval.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, for instance, ULB employees reported saving an average of 11 hours every week after a digital system was adopted.
  • The framework incorporates a ‘citizen centricity’ lever to emphasise that urban local bodies are service delivery organisations, and that internal reforms have to reflect in better experience and empowerment for citizens.
  • All the benefits we associate with e-governance — the ease of interaction, the gains in efficiency through both performance management and process reform, and the potential for data-driven preventive maintenance of infrastructure — hinge upon adoption of the system by local government employees and citizens themselves.
  • In turn, adoption leads to the richer datasets that will bring various departments in a city to collaborate with each other — and indeed with non-governmental partners as well — to create a virtuous cycle of co-creation, learning, and efficiency.
  • This is how smart cities emerge, not from the top down, but from organic collaboration between departments, employees, and citizens, who are simply looking to do their own jobs more effectively.

Rarefied Standards | ToI

  • WHO’s decision to revise air quality guidelines making them more stringent compared to its earlier 2005 standards, virtually sounds a global air pollution emergency.
  • Each year over 7 million deaths globally are linked to air pollution.
  • For India, the national capital territory of Delhi alone had at least 57,000 deaths due to air pollution last year.
  • In fact, Delhi’s mean average PM2.5 for 2020 exceeded the earlier WHO standards by eight times – it will be a whopping 17 times higher than the new safe limits.
  • With Mumbai now exceeding the standards by eight times, Kolkata 9.4 times and Chennai 5.4 times.
  • Hence, there’s no denying that both Indian air quality standards and pollution mitigation measures need to be strengthened.
  • Developing countries like India also need to balance economic growth and pollution mitigation goals.
  • Switching to a greener economy is expensive.
  • As noted investment strategist and columnist Ruchir Sharma wrote in these pages recently, materials needed for building green power sources – lithium-ion batteries and copper-based green electrification – are themselves subject to environment regulation and are therefore costly to produce.
  • The result is ‘greenflation’ where supply of green energy sources becomes cost prohibitive.
  • At the end of the day, fighting air pollution is a subset of climate change mitigation efforts.
  • And the rich world, which bears the greatest historical emission responsibilities, can’t expect climate change mitigation without transferring substantial technology and finance to the developing world.
  • But India, better placed than most low-middle income countries in terms of technological capacity, should develop its own green tech.

China in CPTPP will change regional balance | FE

  • China has applied for joining the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership).
  • The CPTPP is a major free trade agreement (FTA) between 11 Asia-Pacific countries that are all members of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation).
  • The agreement has been functional since December 30, 2018.
  • Japan, Canada and Australia are the three largest economies of the group, followed by Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei and Vietnam.

  • The CPTPP began as the TPP (TransPacific Partnership) led by the US.
  • The TPP tried to implement 21st century trade rules in the Asia-Pacific, to be written and run by the US and its strategic allies.
  • The TPP, however, survived, as Japan and other prominent middle powers in the group, notably Australia and Canada, worked together to salvage the deal. Some amendments followed and the deal was reborn as the CPTPP.
  • As an APEC member, China is justified in wishing to join a deal comprising 11 other APEC members.
  • Technically, there can’t be any opposition to China’s joining the deal if it is willing to accept the terms and conditions for becoming a member.
  • These conditions, ostensibly, would demand China’s commitment to change domestic policies for enabling CPTPP members to gain greater access to the mainland market, while aligning China’s policies closer to those of other CPTPP members.
  • What are the areas where some rules might be tricky for China?
    • Investor-state dispute settlement
    • Settling disputes between members
    • E-commerce rules
    • Competition policy provisions impacting functioning of state-owned enterprises (soes)
    • Intellectual property rights
  • The CPTPP will give China deeper access in member economy markets than some of its existing FTAs, such as the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) and bilateral FTAs with the ASEAN, and Australia and New Zealand.
  • The CPTPP’s coverage of market access is much wider, both in terms of tariff cuts it entails, as well as the new generation trade issues it covers.
  • It would also be looking at prospective large markets of other new members, such as the UK, which has also applied for joining the CPTPP.
  • Entering the CPTPP helps China in scoring decisive political goals.
  • By entering a deep and comprehensive FTA with ‘sparringcountries like Canada, Australia, and Japan, it is able to create more institutional mechanisms ensuring ‘business as usual’ commercial relations, even if political relations dive south, as they have in the recent past.
  • Entering CPTPP will also enable China to block future entry of Taiwan in the group.
  • Most importantly, after RCEP, joining CPTPP will enable China to firmly control trade governance in the Asia-Pacific and influence the rules of trade in the region.
  • With China in the driver’s seat on trade in the region, efforts to construct economic rules-based arrangements in the Indo-Pacific will run into problems.
  • Certainly not great news for India, US and other movers and shakers of the Indo-Pacific!


  • PM Modi interacts with top CEOs of American companies in Washington DC
  • PM Modi met US Vice President Kamala Harris; bilateral meetings with his Australian and Japanese counterparts
  • UAE Minister Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi meets FM Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss economic, commercial ties between India & UAE
  • Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya releases National Comprehensive Guidelines on post-COVID management
  • Country still in midst of second wave of COVID-19 even though number of cases are declining: Govt
  • Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana completes 3 years today
  • Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman says, India has been its best market for investment in the world
  • PM Modi and Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar agree on enhancement of manufacturing of Solar in India
  • PM Modi holds meeting with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen
  • PM Modi holds meeting with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon
  • General Atomic CEO Vivek Lall lauds India’s policies and reforms in the field of drones
  • Indian Army to organise cultural fest to showcase linkages with Bangladesh during the liberation War
  • Madagascar: 46 people killed in clash between cattle thieves and villagers
  • Somalia hosts first public film-screening in 30 years


Q.) India will resume export of Covid-19 vaccines under its ______ programme?

  • Vaccine Dosti
  • Vaccine Maitri
  • Vaccine for all
  • Fight Covid

Q.) 2500 Rhino horns were turned to ashes in which state on World Rhino Day?

  • West Bengal
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Arunachal Pradesh

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