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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 30th September ’21 | PDF Download

A scheme before its time | TH

  • National Digital Health Mission
  • All citizens will have the option of voluntarily opting for a Health ID
  • A 14-digit health identification number that will uniquely identify every citizen
  • A repository of their medical history

  • Never have to haul around their reports
  • The doctor who is examining the patient can give more well-informed advice.
  • This id can be created by using a person’s basic details and mobile number or Aadhaar number, and there will presumably be an app acting as a convenient interface.
  • There are too few hospitals with trained staff to cater to all Indians.
  • The graver problem is that the technocratic sheen of a digital health id hides a mammoth store of personal data, which in the absence of a privacy law and little public awareness and control over their data, could be open to misuse.
  • For a digital health ecosystem to work, it is important that the fundamentals be fixed from the ground up.

Bang, bang | Pioneer

  • Festival season – Supreme Court – ban on firecrackers
  • 2018 judgment banning the use of toxic substances barium
  • The court called its order an act to strike a balance between the right to public health and the right to occupation of the fireworks industry.
  1. There was no consensus on the chemical composition of green crackers
  2. The court should wait for a definitive study that firecrackers do pollute the atmosphere around Diwali
  • “We cannot give money or jobs or support people who will lose their jobs if we shut down firecrackers manufacturing units… We do not want to generate unemployment.”
  • National Green Tribunal – total ban
  • Delhi imposed a complete ban till 1-1-22
  • What is absent is a national firecracker policy that takes into account
  1. The pollution levels and the right to life
  2. The threat to firecracker employees and the right to occupation
  3. The necessity of green crackers completely replacing the polluting fireworks
  • There is an unending blame game
  • If the production does not begin, at least eight lakh employees, mostly in Tamil Nadu, will starve.
  • To the manufacturers, it means huge losses as the raw material remains unused.
  • To the traders, it is about languishing stocks of firecrackers that cannot be sold.

A Jobs Problem | ToI

  • India’s economy has been slowing down since 2017-18.
  • The big question is what’s happened in the job market?
  • On Monday, GoI unveiled a quarterly report on employment for April-June, which estimates the labour demand of nine handpicked non-farm sectors by surveying establishments with 10 people or more.
  • The takeaway is not that job creation grew by 29% in seven years, but that only a million jobs have been added annually over the last seven years.
  • The periodic labour force survey (PLFS), both annual and quarterly, also shows a marked deterioration in the quality of jobs.
  • The annual PLFS (July 2019-June 2020) shows that there is a shift in employment pattern since 2018 towards agriculture and informality.
  • The quarterly PLFS captures only urban trends and the last available one (October-December 2020) confirms the shift away from salaried jobs.
  • The unemployment rate of 10.3% in October-December 2020 was higher than the 7.9% of the corresponding period in 2019.
  • And even more indisputable is the hit female participation in the workforce has taken.
  • India has a jobs problem.
  1. The first step to dealing with it is releasing data consistently and also reducing lags.
  2. We need a far bigger industrial manufacturing sector.

India And Companies | ToI

  • RSS-linked Panchjanya magazine describing Amazon as East India Company 2.0 just weeks after accusing Infosys of many lapses comes amid GoI’s strenuous efforts to woo foreign investors.
  • Mixed messaging is a risk, especially for foreign investors
  • GoI has promised a probe into bribery allegations now roiling Amazon India even as regulators like CCI pursue other alleged anti-competitive practices.
  • After decades of insular socialism, India discovered the merits of market signals and globalisation that created jobs and brought material prosperity to millions.
  • There’s also the issue of repeated targeting of the ecommerce sector.
  • From around $50 billion presently, the Indian ecommerce market size could exceed $100 billion, at a compounded annual growth rate of 27%, by as early as 2024-25.
  • Its 4.7% market share in 2019 signifies traditional retail’s dominance, and even by 2024, etail will reach just 10%.
  • With tremendous political capital being invested in reforms like reversing retrospective taxation, AI privatisation, asset monetisation and creating the bad bank, GoI must ensure the right message goes out on all aspects of the digital economy.

A lesson from China on gig workers’ rights | TH

  • On September 20, 2021, the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers, on behalf of gig workers, filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court demanding that the Union government provide succour to workers affected by the pandemic.
  • The petition has asked for ‘gig workers’ and ‘platform workers’ to be declared as ‘unorganised workers’ so they come under the purview of the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.
  • In short, the petition demands social security benefits.
  • Meituan and Ele.me, committed to end the practice of forcing workers to register as ‘independent businesses’, which has long helped these platforms evade responsibilities as employers.
  • People’s Daily, the largest state-affiliated daily in China, responded to public sentiment by ranking delivery work among the top 10 occupations.
  • In the fall of 2020, Renwu, a monthly Chinese magazine, took an exhaustive look at the plight of delivery workers across the two food delivery platforms.
  • Titled ‘Delivery Riders, Trapped in the System’, the article was shared over 200 million times on the Chinese internet indicating how deeply Chinese social media users connected with the issue.
  • In 2015, for instance, a TED-style talk on China’s pollution crisis got 100 million views across major video streaming sites within 48 hours of its release, resulting in policy change.
  • Sophisticated labour control system
  • Over the years, strikes in different parts of China have reflected this growing backlash.
  • In cities such as Shenzhen, Tongxiang and Linyi, delivery workers protested against new company policies that slashed their pay per delivery.
  • In 2018, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, Ya-Wen Lei, documented strikes in Chongqing, a municipality in southwest China.
  • She found that workers had mobilised through social media and offline meetings.
  • In China, where the government is now focused on “common prosperity”, which seeks to narrow a widening wealth gap that threatens the country’s economic rise, the government’s scrutiny over food delivery platforms has increased.
  • In April, Caixin reported that a government official disguised himself as a Meituan driver and worked a 12-hour shift barely making RMB 41 ($6.32) for a day’s work.
  • The situation is vastly different in India.
  • Any reform in this sector is led wholly by delivery workers, not the public.
  • For 27 days in 2020, close to 3,000 delivery workers from Swiggy went on strike in Hyderabad to protest the slash in remuneration from ₹35 to ₹15 per order.
  • The strikes disbanded only after the Joint Commissioner of the Labour Department called a hearing with the platform’s operations manager and the workers’ union.
  • It was the first time in India that such a negotiation was taking place, that too on the street.
  • This year, in the lead up to Zomato’s July IPO, several anonymous Twitter accounts set up by delivery workers called customers’ attention to what they deem as “exploitative practices” employed by platforms.
  • The PIL in the Supreme Court is another major step in this regard.
  • In the U.S., a gig workers collective has urged customers to delete the Instacart app as a show of solidarity until demands for better working conditions are met.
  • Indians could make an effort to be better informed about the way platforms work by seeking out delivery workers and asking about their work conditions and the pressures they face.
  • We will then be aware of the price that a person, who we only see as a miniature bike on our apps, pays for our convenience.


  • PM Modi chairs 38th PRAGATI meeting
  • Cabinet gives nod to continuation of PM POSHAN in Schools for 5 more years
  • Cabinet approves Rs 4,400 cr investment in ECGC Ltd. in 5-years to provide support to exporters as well as banks
  • Govt approves continuation of NEIA scheme, infusion of Rs 1,650 cr Grant-in-Aid over 5 years
  • Cabinet clears doubling of Nimach-Ratlam and Rajkot-Kanalus railway lines
  • PM to inaugurate Institute of Petrochemicals Technology, Jaipur today
  • India achieves another milestone in COVID vaccination drive with total vaccination crossing 88 cr mark; Recovery rate reaches 97.83%
  • Government extends ban on International flights till October 31
  • Corona Jagrukta Series: NSD AIR brings Special discussion Programme on Covid-19
  • More than 85.42 cr COVID vaccine doses provided to States, UTs so far
  • Bill Gates congratulates PM Modi on national launch of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
  • At least 12 groups designated as Foreign Terrorist Organisations by America are based in Pakistan, says US Congress report
  • Bangladesh: COVID positivity below 5 percent for the 9th consecutive day


Q.) Which Nordic country topped the World Economic Forum’s ranking of most egalitarian countries for the past 12 years?

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Sweden
  4. Greenland

Q.) The Supreme Court asked the Centre to issue instructions “at the earliest and not later than four months” for giving reservations in promotions to which category?

  1. OBC
  2. ST
  3. SC
  4. Persons with disabilities

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