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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 28th July ’20 | PDF Download

A P J Abdul Kalam’s vision for development | IndExp

  • The world is going through very turbulent times.
  • A P J Abdul Kalam: the earth is the only livable planet in our solar system
  • Humanity is duty-bound to protect and preserve the earth.
  • Our society and governance systems recognise this and have become more sensitive.
  • Even small delays in action can cause unrepairable consequences.
  • The combination of better governance systems and our demographic dividend are key ingredients in developing India in a sustainable manner, which can also be inspiring to rest of the world.
  • In his final, cautionary lecture — “Creating a Livable Planet Earth” — at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, on July 27, 2015, he gave a warning about the damage our quest for development has inflicted on the earth’s ecosystem.
  • It was at the Beijing Forum in China on November 2, 2012, that Kalam first spoke about how vital the idea of a livable planet earth is.
  • Today, the technology-connected world has become a global village.
  • We must include green measures in our daily lives.
  • Lives are interlinked and we need to strengthen these linkages.
  • As an important stakeholder in the ecosystem, we must act towards strengthening policy initiatives such as recycling, waste management, energy efficiency, designs without pollution, paperless offices, renewable energy, effective use of natural light and ventilation, sustainability education and other such relevant activities.
  • Kalam advised politicians to show maturity and work for the sustainable development of the country.
  • As per Article 79 of the Constitution, Parliament consists of the President and the two Houses of Parliament. Emphasising this relationship, Kalam expressed concern about frequent disruptions of Parliament many times.
  • While demitting office as the President, Kalam said that his mission in life was to connect the hearts and minds of billions of people and to give them self-confidence that “we can do it”.
  • Karma yogi Kalam’s wisdom continues to guide us even after his death.

lobal coalition of democracies | IndExp

  • US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo
  1. Nearly five decades of US engagement with China have arrived at a dead-end.
  2. Pompeo recognised that the US can’t address the China challenge alone and called for collective action.
  • Pompeo, however, insisted that tackling China is very unlike the “containment of Soviet Union”.
  • It is “about a complex new challenge that we’ve never faced before. The USSR was closed off from the free world. Communist China is already within our borders”.
  • Pompeo called China a party-state
  • Washington has nothing against the Chinese people and that its contestation is with the CCP and its policies.
  • To reinforce the point, Pompeo welcomed two well-known Chinese democracy activists in the audience — Wang Dan, one of the leaders of the pro-democracy student protests at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, and Wei Jingsheng who had called for democratic reform a decade earlier in 1978.
  • It was Nixon who ended the US boycott of communist China by traveling to Beijing in 1972.
  • China occupies significant space in the Democratic Party’s draft platform for the elections to be finalised this week.
  • It tries to differentiate Biden from Trump’s China policy while also sounding tough on Beijing’s unfair trade practices and human rights abuse.
  • Although the term, “Indo-Pacific”, was invented by the Democrats, the party platform sticks to the idea of “Asia-Pacific”.
  • But it also hails the “Pacific Century” and promises to “invest in our strategic partnership with India — the world’s largest democracy, a nation of great diversity, and a growing Asia-Pacific power.”
  • Over the last many years, India has become comfortable with the idea of a political partnership with the world’s leading democracies.
  • The NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee joined the Clinton Administration’s initiative to build a global “Community of Democracies”.
  • The UPA government supported George W Bush’s democracy promotion fund at the United Nations.
  • An Asian quadrilateral of democracies was very much part of the conversation between Delhi and Washington during the Obama years.
  • Delhi has revived the security dialogue among the Quad (including Canberra, Tokyo and Washington).
  • Quad Plus” drawing other countries like New Zealand, South Korea, and Vietnam
  • Delhi has also welcomed President Trump’s initiative to convene an expanded gathering of the G-7 leaders in Washington later this year.
  • Australia, South Korea and India are expected to join the meeting.
  • Some are calling it the Group of Ten Democracies.
  • The idea of democracies working together has an enduring appeal for the US.

The big freeze | Pioneer

  • During the Korean War in the early 1950s, the US came extremely close to dropping a nuclear weapon on China.
  • In fact, had the then American President, Harry Truman, not fired General Douglas MacArthur, the maverick would have left north-east Asia in a decade-long nuclear winter.
  • Instead, ever since the Sino-Soviet split in the late 1960s, the US has worked towards economically empowering the Middle Kingdom in an attempt to weaken the hold of communism.
  • With China now challenging the US, it appears that much like the Taliban, the US has nurtured another monster, the CPC.
  • America’s move to shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston, alleging that it is a spying centre, is drastic and will escalate the already deteriorating ties between the two.
  • Houston is the nerve centre of the US’ space programme and with America making its intentions clear about returning to the Moon and going to Mars, China is keen to keep a hawk’s eye.
  • India cannot cop out of this fight. It has to stand up for itself and readily back the US.

Kargil lessons | ToI

  • Kargil Diwas address by PM Modi: Pakistan’s aggression in 1999 despite India’s efforts to build friendly ties with that country.
  • The main difference from the Kargil intrusions is that talks are now underway to try and resolve the matter and restore status quo ante.
  • That’s because the China threat is vastly different from Pakistan, since the power gap between New Delhi and Beijing is significant.
  • Engaging the Chinese in talks while bringing economic pressure on them is a right strategy.
  • The Chinese look at indices such as comprehensive national power – which consists of such things as economic strength, military modernisation and social cohesion.
  • Consider that we still suffer from shortages of critical weapons platforms.
  • Recently, government provided emergency funds to the armed forces to purchase weapon systems to counter China shows a clear lack of planning.
  • New Delhi must treat the border crisis as a warning to urgently set its house in order in terms of pursuing rapid economic growth and military modernisation, and fostering social and political cohesion rather than polarisation at home.

An opportunity to reshape health care | TH

  • COVID-19 pandemic has massively disrupted health, environment, livelihoods, and supply chains.
  • It has unmasked India’s health-care system vulnerabilites.
  • Indian health care has been increasingly privatised over the last few decades.
  • Many patients are scared to visit health facilities fearing COVID-19.
  • Routine’ admissions for ‘observation’ or ‘insurance claimshave got curtailed.
  • Strangely, even emergency medical cases have declined during the lockdown, with a decrease in the cases of heart attacks or strokes presenting to hospitals.
  • While some of these may have been true emergencies involving those who suffered at home, perhaps the unpolluted air, decreased work stress, or home-cooked food has had a bigger impact on health than we assume.
  • Or maybe we were over-diagnosing and over-treating certain emergencies.
  • Investigating these important questions and critically analysing their answers may make future health care more beneficial to patients.
  • The dangers of chemotherapy with COVID-19 lurking in the air has made everyone weigh its pros and cons with more caution than usual.
  • The widely prevalent practice of a ‘health check-up’ which does not have proven public health value but is a tactic which targets health-obsessed ‘clients’, has also got derailed.
  • The focus has instead fortunately moved back to the basics of preventive health such as diet, exercise, good sugar control, and quitting smoking and tobacco.
  • The pandemic may have finally taught our population the importance of not coughing or spitting in the open.
  • With hospital and doctors incomes falling during the pandemic, there may be a resurgence of unethical practices with a vengeance as the industry tries to make up its losses.
  • Huge bills that patients with COVID-19 are being slapped with.
  • The call of duty has led many to don Coronavirus warrior outfits and set aside commerce for now.
  • Public respect for the profession has also improved.
  • If we can seize this chance to correct undesirable practices, which have become an albatross around our neck, it may help the return of trust in the doctor-patient relationship, which was under severe threat before the pandemic.

In reverse gear | TH

  • Union Ministry of Environment has been in the spotlight on more than one occasion during the pandemic.
  • In April, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar used a virtual conference to ensure that the National Board for Wildlife’s Standing Committee stamped its approval on several projects, with serious implications for conservation.
  • A new Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification
    • it seeks to replace the existing EIA notification of 2006
  • Reduce or even remove public participation
  • Independent expert opinion
  • Section 26 provides a list of projects that would not attract environmental clearance or permission, including coal mining and seismic surveys for oil, methane and shale gas on some lands.
  • Section 14 provides exemption for these and some other projects from public consultation, also limiting the scope of public involvement to the districts concerned, in the case of national parks and sanctuaries where pipeline infrastructure will pass.
  • Roads and highways get liberal concessions.
  • Further, it retains the clause that if a public agency or authority considers the local situation not conducive to participation by citizens, the public consultation need not include a public hearing.
  • The exercise has been further muddied by the mysterious blocking of some activist websites calling for the EIA proposal to be dropped, and demanding a new approach towards conserving natural resources for future generations.
  • Clearly, the Centre’s attempts at weakening checks and balances are not new.
  • A study of coal mining clearances shows that 4,302 hectares of forest were diverted during 2014-18, favouring extraction over conservation.
  • COVID-19 has powerfully demonstrated the value of nature for well-being: of lost forests and captured wildlife bringing virus reservoirs closer to humans and foul air destroying their health.
  • While there might be a case for some changes, much of the proposed EIA system can only make things worse, and should not be pushed through.

Modern tools, age-old wisdom | TH

  • The unique India-Sri Lanka relationship is between equals as sovereign nations.
  • But it’s asymmetric in terms of geographic size, population, military and economic power, on the one hand, and social indicators and geographical location, on the other. It is steeped in myth and legend, and influenced by religious, cultural and social affinities.
  • This is an opportune time for Sri Lanka and India to nourish the roots of the relationship using modern toolkits, but leveraging age-old wisdom and experience.
  • History reveals that the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka during the time of Emperor Ashoka was the result of cross-border discourse.
  • For many centuries in the first millennia, the ancient capital city of Anuradhapura housed an international community which included traders from India, China, Rome, Arabia and Persia.
  • Later, Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka travelled to India, China, Cambodia and Java leaving behind inscriptions.
  • Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, to this day, contain shrines for Hindu deities.
  • The colonial expansion of European maritime nations reshaped the Sri Lankan economy.
  • Labour from south India was brought to Sri Lanka to work in plantations.
  • The Indian freedom struggle had its influence on Sri Lanka as well.
  • There was cross-border support for the revival of culture, tradition, local languages, spiritual practices and philosophies, and education.
  • Both countries transformed into modern nations with constitutional and institutionalised governance under colonial rule.
  • Episodic instances of communal hostility are referenced often to suit tactical political gain.
  • Around the world today, and not just in South Asia, policies and thinking are becoming communally exclusive, localised and inward-looking.
  • In this regard, the people of Sri Lanka and India have been served well by long years of uninterrupted democratic governance.
  • Sri Lanka’s strategic location makes it apparent that not only economic fortunes but the security of both countries are inextricably linked.
  • Therefore it is heartening that India and Sri Lanka constantly strive for excellence in neighbourly relations, recognising that a calamity in one country can adversely impact the other.
  • The socioeconomic development of Sri Lanka has remained linked to India.
  • Sri Lanka can encourage Indian entrepreneurs to make Colombo another business hub for them, as logistical capacities and facilities for rest and recreation keep improving in Sri Lanka.
  • Integrating the two economies but with special and differential treatment for Sri Lanka due to economic asymmetries can be fast-tracked for this purpose.
  • Robust partnerships across the economic and social spectrum can promote people-to-people bonhomie.

NEWS

  • COVID-19 testing
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that at present, more than five lakh COVID-19 tests are being conducted in the country daily and efforts are underway to increase this capacity to 10 lakh in the coming weeks.
    • The Prime Minister was speaking after virtually launching three high throughput COVID-19 testing facilities yesterday.
    • These facilities are located at the National Institutes of Indian Council of Medical Research, at Kolkata, Mumbai and Noida.
    • Mr. Modi said, the country now has more than 11 thousand COVID facilities and more than 11 lakh isolation beds.
    • Prime Minister said, the country had only one COVID testing centre in January. He mentioned in a small span of time, there are almost 1,300 such labs in the country now.
    • The Prime Minister said that apart from developing the physical infrastructure, the country has also managed to swiftly ramp up human resources including paramedics, ASHA workers, Anganwadis among others.
    • Mr. Modi emphasized that due to timely decisions taken by the government, India is better placed in comparison with many other countries in terms of deaths due to coronavirus.
    • He said, as health workers, they played a significant part in controlling the spread of the pandemic.
    • The Prime Minister forewarned people to be cautious during the celebrations of the festivals in order to keep the virus contained.
    • He stressed that the benefits of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna should reach the poor on a timely basis and added that till the time a vaccine is not developed, people should adhere to the health guidelines following do gaz doori, wearing masks and hand sanitization.
    • The launch ceremony of the three high-throughput testing facilities was also attended by Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal along with ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava.
  • Health Minister
    • Speaking on the occasion, the Health Minister said, the government has planned to establish COVID testing facility in every district of the country.
    • Dr Harsh Vardhan said that under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India undertook a preemptive approach towards containment of COVID-19.
    • The Health Minister said, 97 per cent of the country currently has easy access to the testing facility.
    • Dr. Vardhan informed that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) started validation centres at 24 places in the country for granting easy and speedy approvals to novel testing and treating techniques.
    • On Sunday, India tested a total of 5 lakh 15 thousand samples and yesterday, a total of 5 lakh 28 thousand samples were tested.
  • Total recoveries from Covid-19 has surpassed 9 lakh mark.
    • With this, recovery rate stands at 63.92 per cent in the country.
    • The case fatality rate has further declined to 2.28 per cent in the country.
    • The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has said, a total of nine lakh 17 thousand 568 people have recovered in India so far and 31 thousand 991 recoveries have been reported in past 24 hours.
    • The Health Ministry said, highest 49 thousand 931 new cases of Covid-19 have been registered in the country in one day taking the total number of cases to 14 lakh 35 thousand 453.
    • Presently, the total number of active Corona cases in the country is four lakh 85 thousand 114.
    • In a single day, 708 deaths have been reported taking the nationwide toll to 32 thousand 771.
  • The Chhattisgarh government has decided to extend the lockdown in hotspot areas till 6th of August following surge in COVID-19 cases.
  • The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to hold final-year graduation and fourth semester post-graduation examinations through ‘open book system’ with students giving exams at their homes.
  • In Bihar, the number of Coronavirus positive cases is rising rapidly.
  • Gujarat recorded 1052 new coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours.
  • Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has informed that the state government will provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and masks to hospitals in the state under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Health Scheme.
  • The Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) has booked three firms for tax evasion of over 600 crore rupees.
    • An official statement said, a case was booked against  Fortune Graphics Limited, Reema Polychem Private Limited and Ganpati Enterprises, who were found involved in issuance of invoices without any actual supply of goods.
    • It said, the case was detected and developed by the officers on further data analytics out of a case booked against one of the exporters, Anannya Exim, covered in the all India joint operation, launched by DGGI and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in September last year against various exporters for fraudulently claiming IGST refund on the basis of ineligible input tax credit.
    • The statement said, during the investigations conducted by the DGGI Headquarters, it has emerged that the three companies have issued invoices worth more than 4 thousand 100 crore rupees wherein tax amount of more than 600 crore rupees has been fraudulently passed on as ITC credit to different entities.
  • Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan
    • India has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan High Commission on the reported incident where a Gurdwara has been claimed as the place of Masjid Shahid Ganj and attempts are being made to convert it to a mosque.
    • Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan is the site of martyrdom of Bhai Taru Singh ji at Naulakha Bazaar at Lahore in Pakistan.
    • External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Anurag Srivastava yesterday said the Gurdwara is a historical place where Bhai Taru Ji made supreme sacrifice in 1745.
    • He said, the Gurdwara is a place of reverence and considered sacred by the Sikh community.
    • India expressed its concerns in strongest terms on this incident and called upon Pakistan to investigate the matter and take immediate remedial measures.
    • Pakistan was also called upon to look after the safety, security, well-being of its minority communities including protection of their religious rights and cultural heritage.
  • Rafale fighter jets
    • The first batch of five Rafale fighter jets flew out of France yesterday and will arrive in India tomorrow.
    • The fighter jets will officially be inducted and join the Indian Air Force fleet at Ambala in  Haryana tomorrow.
    • The fighter jets, built by French aviation firm Dassault, took off from the Merignac airbase in southern France’s Bordeaux.
    • The five aircraft will be the first tranche of the 36 planes bought by India from France in a 59,000-crore rupees inter-governmental deal in 2016.
    • The Rafale aircraft are covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km from France to India with air-to-air refuelling and a single stop at a French airbase in the United Arab Emirates.
    • The delivery of all thirty six aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021.
  • ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’
    • Defence Research and Development Organisation has launched its innovation contest ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’  to promote the innovators and startups of the country.
    • The contest was launched on the 5th death anniversary of former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam yesterday.
    • Dr Kalam, also known as missile man, had the vision of self-reliance.
    • The scheme is being launched for emerging technologies to promote the individuals and startups for innovation in defence and aerospace technologies in the country.
    • Defence Minister Rajnath has also lauded the initiative and expressed happiness on the announcement of the contest for the ‘Ignited Minds’.
  • Global Tiger Day 2020
    • On the eve of Global Tiger Day, 2020 today, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar will dedicate to the people the Guinness world record recognizing the country’s efforts in monitoring its wild tiger population as the world’s largest camera-trap survey of wildlife.
    • India now has nearly 70 per cent of the global tiger population.
    • The event is expected to be joined by around 500 participants from across the country.
    • The Minister is likely to launch the new website and Outreach Journal of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
    • The Heads of the Governments of Tiger range countries had resolved to double the tiger population by the year 2022.
    • In this regard, Saint Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation was signed by the countries in 2010. In the meeting, it was decided to celebrate 29th of July as Global Tiger Day across the world to create awareness on tiger conservation.

 

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