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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 4th October ’21 | PDF Download

Locked in a stalemate

  • 13th round of talks in near future
  • Relations are undoubtedly at their lowest since 1988
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry: India’s “illegal trespass” caused the dispute
  • New Delhi in turn reminded Beijing that it was its “provocative behaviour”, and amassing of troops in April 2020 following annual military exercises, that led to the flashpoints.
  • The Chinese envoy to India, Sun Weidong, called on both countries to “place the border issue in an appropriate position” and said “it is not the whole story of bilateral relations”.
  • This week’s military commanders talks will take up disputes in Hot Springs, while disputes in Demchok and Depsang remain unresolved.
  • Since the crisis last year, both sides have set up buffer zones in Galwan Valley and on the north bank of Pangong Lake, and have disengaged on the south bank and in Gogra.
  • Recent incidents in Uttarakhand, and a continued military build-up in the Eastern Sector.

Tentative recovery

  • Two separate sets of macro-economic data, one from the Government on output at eight core industries in August, and the other, IHS Markit’s survey-based Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector from September, collectively point to a recovery in industrial activity.
  • The provisional figures based on the Index of Eight Core Industries spanning coal to fertilizers show overall output grew 11.6% year-on-year in August.
  • Expansions in electricity and steel production of 15.3% and 5.1%, respectively.
  • With weights of almost 20% and 18% in the index, respectively, the two industries were also among the only three sectors that posted month-on-month expansions from July, with natural gas being the third.
  • Refinery products, the largest constituent of the index, recorded 9.1% growth over August 2020 with the gradual easing of the pandemic-related restrictions.
  • However, an almost 9% slump in diesel consumption from the preceding month saw the sector post a 5.5% sequential contraction.
  • The more contemporary September PMI data show factory orders and output expanded faster than in the preceding month, with the PMI reading of 53.7 outpacing August’s 52.3.
  • Manufacturers reported favourable market conditions and improvements in sales volumes, with makers of consumer goods leading the pack.

NS2, a win-win proposition?

  • While some of the increase in orders at manufacturing companies is clearly linked to improved demand for Indian products in the international markets, a trend reflected in the more than 21% jump in merchandise exports last month, a substantial part is tied to an inventory build-up in view of the festival season.
  • IHS Markit’s survey of manufacturing firms, however, also reveals a lack of fresh hiring for the second straight month as well as price pressures from high fuel and transport costs.
  • While the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, the Iran-India undersea pipeline, and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline remain pipe dreams, the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) running from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea is now complete despite controversy.
  • NS2’s manufacture began in 2016 and construction in 2018.
  • The 1,224 km, $11-billion underwater link is the shortest, most economical and environment-friendly route to double Russia’s gas export to Germany.

  • Energy is never removed from politics.
  • Russian authorities say NS2 can transport 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year, cover the needs of about 26 million households, and restock storage inventories.
  • European gas prices have broken records this year, edging close to an unprecedented $1,000 per thousand cubic meters which places many industries and food supply chains under stress.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel is accused, mainly by Poland and Ukraine, of weakening the EU’s political unity and strategic coherence by giving Russia greater leverage through NS2.
  • Ukraine has not diversified its economic fundamentals, whose viability is dependent on Russia moving fossil fuels through its territory.

Reimagining food systems with lessons from India  

  • The first and historic United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) 2021 which was held in September this year, concluded after an intense ‘bottom-up’ process conceived in 2019 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to find solutions and ‘catalyse momentum’ to transform the way the world produces, consumes, and thinks about food and help address rising hunger.
  • 11 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) out of 17 are directly related to the food system.
  • Why the Food Systems Summit and what is the expectation from its outcome?
  • Global food systems are in a state of crisis in many countries affecting the poor and the vulnerable.
  • The flaws in food systems affect us all, but most of all they are affecting 811 million people in the world who go to bed hungry each night.
  1. Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all;
  2. Shift to sustainable consumption patterns;
  3. Boost nature-positive production;
  4. Advance equitable livelihoods,
  5. Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress
  • There are lessons from India’s tryst with food insecurity.
  • The long journey from chronic food shortage to surplus food producer offers several interesting lessons for other developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the area of land reforms, public investments, institutional infrastructure, new regulatory systems, public support, and intervention in agri markets and prices and agri research and extension.
  • The period between 1991 to 2015, saw the diversification of agriculture beyond field crops and brought greater focus on the horticulture, dairy, animal husbandry, and fishery sectors.
  • One of India’s greatest contributions to equity in food is its National Food Security Act 2013 that anchors the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), the Mid-Day meals (MDM), and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
  • Today, India’s food safety nets collectively reach over a billion people.
  • Dietary diversity, nutrition, and related health outcomes are another area of concern as a focus on rice and wheat has created nutritional challenges of its own.
  • It is ironic that despite being a net exporter and food surplus country at the aggregate level, India has a 50% higher prevalence of undernutrition compared to the world average.
  • Food wastage in India exceeds ₹1-lakh crore.
  • “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos.”
  • We are on the cusp of a transformation to make the world free of hunger by 2030 and deliver promises for SDGs, with strong cooperation and partnership between governments, citizens, civil society organisations, and the private sector.

A ‘Maharaja’ price to pay for an aviation homecoming

  • When the Tatas, with their joint venture with Singapore Airlines, launched an airline in 2015 under the brand name Vistara, it marked the culmination of a long battle, overcoming obstacles placed in their path by all other airlines including Air India.
  • The other venture of the Tatas, Air Asia India, is also weighing them down.
  • We have witnessed how Air India and Indian Airlines, which were in the black before their ill-conceived formal merger in 2007, plunged into a bottomless pit draining tax-payers’ funds.
  • In the eventuality of the Tatas winning the Air India bid, merging the four airlines (Air India, Air India Express, Vistara and Air Asia India) will require large doses of the magic potion of Getafix of Asterix fame.
  • Vistara has just begun spreading its wings on long haul routes and also set service standards in general, with a Singapore touch.
  • Under a Tata-owned Air India, will it concede that path to Air India or will there be a duplication of routes?
  • Will the Tatas run the multi-airline system independent of interference by the Ministry of Civil Aviation? Only time will tell.
  • One of the major problems that Air India has is its Delhi-centric operations and staff approach.
  • For the Tatas to bring in efficiency, many staff would need to be relocated to various parts of the country for optimum use of manpower.
  • Another major issue is the safety culture.
  • Maintenance is another major issue with Air India.
  • They need to focus on service, safety and high training standards.
  • They need to axe the non-performers in Air India.
  • They must desist from filling up the airline board with cadre from the Indian Administrative Service as they have proved to be the most disastrous minds for aviation in India.


  • PM urges people to make Khadi, handicraft products a part of their lives; says it will strengthen resolve to build Aatmanirbhar Bharat
  • Over 90.15 cr COVID-19 vaccine doses administered across country so far; Recovery rate nearing 98%
  • Strong leadership of PM Modi helped in ensuring free COVID vaccination protection to all citizens: Union Minister Anurag Thakur
  • Vice-President calls for adopting a multi-pronged strategy to arrest the growing incidence of cancer
  • India’s culture, traditions and Constitution has not allowed the thread of Unity in Diversity to get weaken in any circumstances: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
  • Power Ministry promulgates Electricity Rules 2021 to regulate Transmission System Planning, Development and Recovery of Inter-State Transmission Charges
  • Vice President urges centre & states to work in team India spirit to further improve health indices
  • UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid says, he received two doses of Covishield vaccine manufactured in India
  • J&K LG inaugurates ‘Retreat Ceremony’ on India-Pak International Border in Jammu
  • Bangladesh Naval ship reaches Visakhapatnam on 5-day visit
  • British govt extends emergency visa program for truck drivers
  • Former US President Donald Trump asks federal judge in Florida to force Twitter to restore his account
  • Qatar: Results of first legislative council election announced, no female candidates elected
  • UN calls for investigation into killing of Rohingya leader Mohibullah, family blames ARSA insurgents
  • Pink-ball test between India women and Australia women ends in draw

Q.) The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), on Tuesday approved the framework for exchange of which commodity?

  1. Gold
  2. Silver
  3. Platinum
  4. Diamond

Q.) According to the Reserve Bank of India’s ‘Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy’, which State has been ranked number one in terms of net per capita income growth in 2020-21?

  1. Kerala
  2. Maharashtra
  3. Kranataka
  4. West Bengal


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