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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 11th June’20 | PDF Download

An unravelling of the Group of Seven

  • G7 summit in Washington DC in mid-June: postponed
  • Angela Merkel’s decision to stay away from the meeting.
  • COVID-19 + desultory results
  • Mr Trump: why not a G10 or G11 instead?
  • Inclusion of India, South Korea, Australia and possibly Russia.
  • U.S. President wanted to include other countries, including the Five Eyes countries and to talk about the future of China.

  • China’s objection to an expanded G7 is no reason for India to stay away from it, if invited to join.
  • India’s Prime Minister was guest invited to Biarritz, France to the G7 summit last year, along with other heads of government (Australia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Egypt, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain, and South Africa).
  • The G7 emerged as a restricted club of the rich democracies in the early 1970s.
  • The quadrupling of oil prices just after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, when members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo against Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States, shocked their economies.
  • Then French President invited Finance Ministers of five of the most developed members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom, for an informal discussion on global issues.
  • This transformed into a G7 Summit of the heads of government from the following year, with the inclusion of Canada (1976), and the European Commission/Community (later Union) attending as a non-enumerated member, a year later.
  • On the initiative of U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the G7 became the G8, with the Russian Federation joining the club in 1998.
  • This ended with Russia’s expulsion following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Economic circumstances

  • When constituted, the G7 countries accounted for close to two-thirds of global GDP.
  • PwCThe World in 2050”: G7 now account for less than a third of global GDP on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, and less than half on market exchange rates (MER) basis.
  • The seven largest emerging economies (E7, or “Emerging 7”), comprising Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey, account for over a third of global GDP on purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, and over a quarter on MER basis.
  • India’s economy is already the third largest in the world in PPP terms, even if way behind that of the U.S. and China.
  • By 2050, the PwC Report predicts, six of the seven of the world’s best performing economies will be China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia.
  • It projects that India’s GDP will increase to $17 trillion in 2030 and $42 trillion in 2050 in PPP terms, in second place after China, just ahead of the United States.

The limitations of G7

  • The success or otherwise of multilateral institutions are judged by the standard of whether or not they have successfully addressed the core global or regional challenges of the time.
  • G7 failed to head off the economic downturn of 2007-08.
    • This led to the rise of the G20.
  • COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the challenge of the Daesh, and the crisis of state collapse in West Asia.
  • It had announced its members would phase out all fossil fuels and subsidies, but has not so far announced any plan of action to do so.
  • The G7 countries account for 59% of historic global CO2 emissions (“from 1850 to 2010”), and their coal fired plants emit “twice more CO2 than those of the entire African continent”.
  • Three of the G7 countries, France, Germany, and the U.K., were among the top 10 countries contributing volunteers to the Daesh, which had between 22,000-30,000 foreign fighters just two years ago.
  • Mediterranean Sea a death trap for people fleeing against fear of persecution and threat to their lives.

Need for a new institution

  • The world is in a state of disorder.
  • Existing international institutions have proven themselves unequal to these tasks.
  • It would be ideal to include in it the seven future leading economies, plus Germany, Japan, the U.K., France, Mexico, Turkey, South Korea, and Australia.
  • The 2005 ad hoc experiment by Prime Minister Tony Blair in bringing together the G7 and the BRICS countries was a one-off.
  • India would be vitally interested in three: international trade, climate change, and the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Global public health and the revival of growth and trade in a sustainable way (that also reduces the inequalities among and within nations) would pose a huge challenge.
  • India: counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation.
  • An immediate concern is to ensure effective implementation of the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention and the prevention of any possible cheating by its state parties by the possible creation of new microorganisms or viruses by using recombinant technologies.
  • On regional issues, establishing a modus vivendi with Iran would be important to ensure that it does not acquire nuclear weapons and is able to contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan, the Gulf and West Asia.
  • The end state in Afghanistan would also be of interest to India, as also the reduction of tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.

Needed, a transfusion for public health care

  • The high cost of medical care in the top hospitals of the country is well known.
  • Why do we have so many private hospitals in a poor country such as India.
  • We have more hospital beds in the private sector than in the public sector.
  • It is estimated that there are 19 lakh hospital beds, 95,000 ICU beds and 48,000 ventilators in India.
  • Most of these are concentrated in seven States, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and West Bengal.
  • Except for Tamil Nadu, Delhi and West Bengal, there are far more beds and ventilators in the private sector than in the public, according to the Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy.
  • Since Independence, India has, quite rightly, focused attention on the larger picture.
  • The priority in a developing country would be the provision of primary care at the peripheral level, preventive measures, immunisation, maternity and paediatric care as well as dealing with common infections such as tuberculosis.
  • However, not enough hospital beds and specialised facilities were provided by the public sector during this time.
  • The second reason for the dominance of private medicine in India is the lack of adequate investment in public health.
  • The Indian government spends an abysmally low 1.3% of GDP on public health care, which is woefully inadequate.
  • Greater transparency and tighter administration are necessary to ensure that our resources are utilised appropriately.
  • Specialists should be adequately compensated to obviate their need for private practice.
  • Private medicine in India is by no means uniform.
  • Quacks
  • Big hospitals
  • Trust/Charitable hospitals
  • The wide range of quality in medical services in India reflects the wide range of income and wealth in India.
  • It is estimated that the wealth of the top 1% in India is four times the combined wealth of the bottom 70%.
  • Health-care spending by the government must be appropriate, based on evidence, and transparent and accountable.
  • Training of doctors and health-care workers also need to be the responsibility of the government mainly.
  • Recent reforms in the selection of medical students need to be scrutinised to see if they are having the desired result.
  • Private hospitals and institutions will need to be regulated. Costing and auditing of care and procedures need to be done by independent bodies.
  • No hospital, business, institution or individual should profiteer from a national calamity such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hospitals, like any other institution, have a social responsibility to provide care in times of need.
  • But one should be also aware of the actual costs involved which have to be met.

Look back in relief

  • The worst may be over for the country’s inter-State workers.
  • 57.22 lakh migrant workers have returned to their home towns
  • Supreme Court has fixed a 15-day deadline for the completion of the process of transporting all of them back home, besides asking governments across the country to drop criminal cases against them for violating the lockdown since it was imposed at short notice on March 25.
  • SC made all State governments file comprehensive affidavits on the action they had taken to facilitate the return of the workers, provide them with immediate relief and the arrangements made for food and water for them during train journeys.
  • It has further asked the States to spell out their plans for registering all the workers, their skills, their areas of employment and the different welfare and employment schemes meant for them.
  • Overall, the Court’s belated intervention has occasioned a moment of much-needed introspection for everyone concerned on their responses, attitudes and shortcomings.

Policing the police is not enough

  • Alleged institutionalised racism in policing across nations.
  • The magnitude of protests across the U.S. – including in Washington, outside the White House; London; and elsewhere in Europe – has surprised many observers.
  • It is the unison and spontaneity of the outcry that has bewildered many.
  • What is significant this time is that a large number of white people are participating in the marches against the police in the U.S. and U.K.
  • The widespread demand is to overhaul the system.
  • An eternal dilemma: too soft | too hard
  • How much is too much force is an eternal dilemma.
  • We know that if an Inspector General of Police or Director General of Police encourages violence in a discreet manner, the message goes down the ranks leading to the torture of innocent citizens.
  • Ultimately, it is often a case of culture.
  • Police leadership should be advised to resist the temptation of giving up the cause without a fight.

The fault in our drafts

  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016: a law enacted to bring about smooth and quick resolutions for companies facing insolvency and bankruptcy with a view to primarily avoiding liquidation.
  • The government, the Minister said, was considering suspension of certain provisions of the IBC which enabled creditors to file insolvency petitions against Indian companies for a year’s time beyond April 30.
  • April 30 came and went without any announcement in this regard.
  • In mid-May, the Finance Minister announced that the government was planning to bring in an ordinance to suspend provisions enabling filing of fresh insolvency cases for a period of one year.
  • This was followed by absolute silence on the modalities or mechanism of suspension of the provisions.
  • Banks, financial institutions (FIs), and insolvency law practitioners had no idea where they stood with these announcements.
  • Finally, on June 5, the government promulgated an ordinance which inserted Section 10A in the IBC.
  • The government said the ordinance was promulgated because the lockdown has caused business disruptions which may lead to default on debts pushing such companies into insolvency. Therefore, it felt that suspending Sections 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC would be the right course of action.
  • If the main provision is unclear, a proviso may be given to explain its true meaning.
  • While the main Section 10A suspends such applications for a limited period, the proviso enlarges the scope to provide complete amnesty under the IBC for any default occurring during such period.
  • The ordinance appears to consider every default occurring during the suspension period to be a consequence of the pandemic.
  • The government increased the minimum default amount to trigger corporate insolvency resolution from ₹1 lakh to ₹1 crore.
  • The ordinance has opened itself up to a legal challenge on grounds of arbitrariness and untenability of the proviso due to the flaw in its drafting.
  • It is unfathomable how these flaws arose despite the government having ample time to think this through.

News

  • China reaches accord with India on LAC spat
  • The Chinese Foreign Ministry said both sides had agreed to handle the situation “properly” and “in line with the agreement” to ease the situation, but did not provide specific details on some of the stand-off points, such as Pangong Lake, where Chinese troops are still present on India’s side of the LAC.
  • As per the agreement, a series of ground-level talks would be held over the next 10 days, with four other points of conflict identified at PP15, PP17, Chushul and the north bank of Pangong Lake.
  • COVID-19 turns India’s urban blight
  • Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Ahmedabad have accounted for nearly 1,25,000 cases and 4,193 deaths, close to 43% of the overall cases and more than half of the total number of fatalities in India, signifying how the novel coronavirus has affected urban metropolitan centres.
  • These cities continue to register the bulk of new cases and deaths.
  • Government today said that for the first time the number of recovered patients from COVID-19 has exceeded the number of active patients.
  • Health Ministry said, one lakh 35 thousand 205 patients have recovered and the total number of active cases is one lakh 33 thousand 632.
  • The recovery rate now stands at 48.88 per cent.
  • In the last 24 hours, as many as five thousand 991 patients were cured of COVID-19.
  • Central Teams are being deputed to provide technical support and handhold to the State Health Departments and Municipal Health Officials to review public health measures being undertaken for COVID-19 in six cities.
  • These cities are Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Bengaluru.
  • Five militants gunned down in Shopian
  • Five militants, a joint group of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), were gunned down by security forces in Shopian on Wednesday.
  • In three combat operations in four days in the south Kashmir district, as many as 14 militants were killed.
  • Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to ensure installation of LED boards at all major health facilities to display availability of beds, charges and details of persons to be contacted for admission.
  • In his letter, the LG said, the health department must ensure that data displayed on these LED boards reconcile with that available on the Delhi government’s app.
  • The move is aimed at increasing transparency in allocation of hospital beds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mr Baijal, who is also the chairman of Delhi Disaster Management Authority, said periodic surprise checks may also be conducted by officers deputed by the DDMA to ensure that correct data is displayed by health facilities and no genuine patient is denied admission or is overcharged.
  • Kerala continues to report a rise in Covid 19 cases with 65 new cases and one Covid death today.
  • The test result of 87 year old  who died on June 7th  in Thrissur, also turned  positive today, taking the death toll due to Covid  in the State to 17.
  • Bringing great relief , 57 persons  recovered from the disease today.
  • Presently 1,238 active cases are there in Kerala.
  • Meanwhile under  Vande Bharat  mission 16 flights are carrying stranded Indian nationals from Gulf region to Kerala today.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonwal to discuss the situation in the wake of the Baghjan fire tragedy.
  • The Prime Minister’s Office said, Mr Modi assured all possible support from the Centre.
  • The PMO said, the situation is being monitored closely.
  • Meanwhile, the spread of fire is now under control at Baghjan but the well fire is on following yesterday’s blast.
  • The spread of fire to neighbouring areas has been controlled.
  • The Oil India Limited said that 4 weeks time will be required to bring the situation back to normal at  Baghjan in Assam following the yesterday’s blast.
  • Huge enthusiasm is being seen among the people about sending entries to ‘My Life – My Yoga’ video blogging competition which will continue till 15th of this month.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced this competition during his Mann Ki Baat programme on 31st of this month.
  • Mr Modi said, the world has shown keen interest in Yoga and Ayurveda amidst the Corona Pandemic.
  • The competition is being run jointly by Ministry of AYUSH and Indian Council for Cultural Relations-ICCR  to raise awareness about yoga and to inspire people to prepare for and become active participants in the observation of International Day of Yoga 2020.
  • In Gujarat, the Asiatic lions which once faced imminent extinction has shown a population recovery.
  • In the recent exercise called Poonam Avalokan which was carried out in the last week exclusively by the forest department, the population of Asiatic lions has shown a steady increase by 28.87 percent.
  • The recent exercise shows that the population of lions has gone up to 674 against the 523 which was reported in 2015.
  • In a tweet, Mr Modi said, this is powered by community participation, emphasis on technology, wildlife healthcare, proper habitat management and steps to minimise human-lion conflict. He hoped that this positive trend will continue in the future.

 

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