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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 22nd May’20 | PDF Download

Keeping the peace

  • 4 incidents along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in recent weeks.
  • India-China border is witnessing the highest tensions since the Doklam stand-off in 2017.
  • Prime Minister Modi and President Xi both agreed differences should not be allowed to escalate into disputes.
  • Also, a clear message was sent to the two militaries to abide by the detailed protocols already in place, such as those agreed to in 2005 and 2013.
  • Delhi needs to remind Beijing that a fundamental principle that underpins all previous agreements is recognising the right to mutual and equal security of the two sides.

  • On May 19, Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the Indian Army of “attempting to unilaterally change the status” of the LAC.
  • Last year, India completed the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulet Beg Oldi (DBO) road which connects Leh to the Karakoram Pass.
  • China now seems to be telling India it has no right to carry out the kind of activity that Beijing has already done.
  • The immediate priority is for both sides to use existing channels and step back.
  • India and China should grasp the current situation as an opportunity to revive the stalled process of clarifying the LAC.
  • Clarifying the LAC may even provide a fresh impetus to the stalled boundary talks between the Special Representatives.
  • Beyond the posturing, both sides know a final settlement will ultimately have to use the LAC as a basis, with only minor adjustments.
  • Only a settlement will end the shadow boxing on the LAC.
  • With both countries in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, the time to push for a settlement to a distracting, protracted dispute is now.

 In the eye of the storm

  • Amphan forced the evacuation of nearly five lakh in West Bengal and about two lakh in Odisha.
  • The lesson from this disaster is obvious — it is better to anticipate such exigencies to prevent the loss of life and property.
  • Timely and accurate forecast, besides advance deployment of the NDRF, is attributed as the reason behind the timely evacuation of people.
  • The FCI has been asked to ensure the availability of foodgrain – especially rice, a staple diet in the region — for those marooned.
  • Work is on for early restoration of power and telecommunication services.
  • Railway infrastructure has suffered damage and a process to restart its operations is on.
  • The difference between Phailin, Hudhud, Titli and Amphan is probably the fact that the authorities have been able to evacuate a large number of people this time.
  • Odisha super-cyclone: claimed over 10,000 lives in 1999.
  • The damage is restricted to agriculture and no loss of life has been reported.
  • After the super-cyclone, the state has worked to prepare a culture of disaster preparedness.

 Building Atmanirbhar Bharat

  • In his ‘Open secret of economic growth’ David McCord Wright had observed: “The fundamental factors making for economic growth are non-economic and non-materialistic in character. It is the spirit itself that builds the body.”
  • Something like this comes to mind when one goes through the Atmanirbhar Bharat package that came in wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
  • On May 12 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced its five pillars, the core was non-economic and non-materialistic in character.
  • A self-reliant India will stand on five pillars
  1. ‘ECONOMY’, which brings in quantum jump and not incremental change.
  2. ‘INFRASTRUCTURE’
  3. ‘SYSTEM’, based on 21st century technology driven arrangements
  4. ‘VIBRANT DEMOGRAPHY’, which is our source of energy for a self-reliant India
  5. ‘DEMAND’, whereby the strength of our demand and supply chain should be utilised to full capacity.
  • Post-Covid revival strategy gives a major thrust to agriculture and MSMEs.
  • The government now wishes to create a unified market in agriculture commodities, pushing investment in agriculture supply chain through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, better price realisation for farmers and bringing modern technology in agriculture.
  • Income generation through agriculture and allied activities is expected to support the MSME sector along with preference for our local products and government procurement.
  • MSMEs will benefit from a range of measures which include easy access to loan and de-risking the sector with a credit guarantee to help banks draw comfort.
  • The thrust to mining notably in coal and other minerals, introduction of a seamless explorationmining- production regime, measures in civil aviation, privatisation of power distribution and space will bring private interest in these sectors.
  • Also, indigenisation of defence hardware could open huge opportunities downstream for domestic manufacturing.
  • The emphasis on technology driven systems in health and education, administrative reforms, and privatisation of public sector units except in strategic sectors will bring the required efficiencies, thus releasing resources over and above what has been allocated.
  • Opening up of space and atomic energy for private sector also entails positive spillover effect of technology.
  • Liquidity support to low rated NBFCs will help in damping volatility and build confidence.
  • Exclusion of Covid-19 related debt from the definition of “default” under the IBC for the purpose of triggering insolvency proceedings is also a welcome move.
  • Increase in allocation for MGNREGS by Rs 40,000 crore to accommodate migrant workers, faster refunds, low cost housing and ease of doing business will cushion against the adverse impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Cinema after COVID-19

  • We are the largest film-making nation in the world.
  • The film industry offers jobs to several thousands.
  • The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has led to large-scale anxieties about the future of the arts.
  • Many livelihoods rely upon the performing and visual arts.
  • It is just not the fraternity of artistes but their support staff, co-workers and an entire ecosystem that is sustained through their practice.
  • We might stay away from film theatres to avoid large gatherings.
  • Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc., have witnessed a record surge in subscriptions during the lockdown.
  • The content and range of programmes on these portals is also far superior to what is available on regular television.
  • The choice and diversity of content on these platforms is much greater.
  • A film theatre has to cater to mainstream audience expectations for business reasons. In the process, many deserving films often miss out on decent screening slots or have to make do with whatever is available.
  • The online platforms do not have to deal with these concerns and offer a good mix of both mainstream and art-house cinema.
  • Access to these platforms is largely limited to an urban demography that can afford an Internet connection, along with the subscription fees which also determines the class character of its potential viewers.
  • If this were to become the norm, it would exclude a large majority of the film-viewing population.
  • That will be a denial of cinema to those who have been its utmost supporters.

A diplomatic opening

  • The unanimous resolution approved by the World Health Assembly on Tuesday night, calling for an inquiry into the origin and spread of the coronavirus and the international community’s response to it, masks a more complex diplomatic story.
  •  US and China have agreed to the resolution is a surprise.
  • The real source of the consensus on the resolution is the enormous damage inflicted by the virus.
  • It has already infected nearly 5 million people and killed nearly 3,50,000 around the world.
  • To make matters worse, it has ground the global economy to a sudden halt and heaped unprecedented misery on the world’s population.
  • No wonder most nations want to know where the virus came from, how it spread across the world, and the role that the WHO, as the world’s pandemic watchdog, played.
  • The credit for generating the consensus must go to the EU and Australia that piloted the move at the WHO and other middle powers like India which extended early and strong diplomatic support.
  • The middle powers have a bigger responsibility in the days ahead as the next round of contestation begins on the terms and conditions of the inquiry.
  • Although the resolution has strong enough claws, there is bound to be an unending diplomatic squabble on its interpretation and implementation.
  • India, which will take charge of the rotating chair of the WHO’s Executive Board for a year, will have its hands full in guiding the organisation through its most difficult moments.
  • Delhi needs to develop a practical agenda for reform and revitalisation of the WHO amidst President Donald Trump’s threats to permanently cut off funding and walk out of the forum.

NEWS

  • PLA blocking Indian patrols in Ladakh, Sikkim, says MEA
  • New Delhi on Thursday rejected Beijing’s claim that Indian troops trespassed into Chinese territory, and accused the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of “hindering” patrols by Indian soldiers.
  • In the first such statement after weeks of a stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers at four points along the boundary in Sikkim and Ladakh, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also told China that “peace and tranquility in border areas” is an “essential prerequisite” to developing bilateral relations.
  • Govt. announces price range based on duration of flights
  • The Centre on Thursday set a price range for air tickets, which would be a function of the flight duration when commercial airlines resume operations on May 25.
  • The scale has been divided into seven categories, with the lowest range defined for flights of less than 40 minutes and the highest category set for the longest domestic flights of up to 210 minutes.

  • Two girls found murdered in Shamli
  • After a lull, reports of heinous crimes have once again started emerging from western Uttar Pradesh.
  • After the gruesome murder of two workers of a political party in Sambhal on May 19, two unidentified bodies of girls were found in a sugarcane field in a village in Shamli district on Wednesday, police said.
  • ‘Not paying train fare reflects badly on State’
  • Terming that migrants in the State are in a precarious condition, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the Chief Secretary and the Labour Secretary to appear personally through video-conference on May 26.
  • The top officials’ presence was necessitated as the Karnataka government could not give clarity on its decision of not paying train fares of migrant workers who cannot afford the fares to return to their home States.
  • Enforce night curfew, says Centre
  • Home Ministry flags violations by the States in implementation of guidelines
  • Odisha adopts contract farming system
  • The Odisha government has promulgated an ordinance allowing investors and farmers to enter into agreement for contract farming in view of the continuing uncertainties due to the pandemic.
  • The ordinance is aimed at facilitating both farmers and sponsors to develop mutually beneficial and efficient contract farming system.
  • It argued the new system will improve production and marketing of agricultural produce and livestock while promoting farmers’ interest.

 

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