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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 6th July ’20 | PDF Download

ICMR’s Gaffe [ToI]

  • 15-Aug-2020: Indian Council of Medical Research to launch a Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Experts: vaccine cannot be launched in such a hurry without reducing quality of clinical trials.
  • Most optimistic estimates for Vaccine Launch are talking about end of 2020 or ealry 2021.
  • Who will be held responsible for no-effect or side-effect?
  • Science and data cannot be subordinated to political deadlines.
  • Bhargava’s letter: indigenous vaccine jointly developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR was among the government’s “top priority projects which is being monitored at the topmost level”.
  • Press release: letter solely aimed to cut “unnecessary red tape” without compromising safety, best practices and rigour.
  • Cutting red tape should not lead to
    1. Hospital ethics committees are under duress
    2. Researchers go easy
    3. Outcomes are pre-decided
    4. Dissent faces disciplinary actions
  • Patanjali’s product: drug originally marketed as a corona cure and later as an immunity booster while retaining a misleading name, also fits into a pattern.
  • Trofim Lysenko, Soviet agrobiologist tried to subordinate science to Marxist-Leninist principles.

The vaccine race [Pioneer]

  • Science cannot be rushed.
  • ICMR: nation’s topmost medical research body
  • The Ministry of Science had to curb such ambition with a statement saying it would not be ready before 2021.
  • Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is miles ahead of us.
  • Under normal circumstances, clinical trials on volunteers who are innoculated take over 10 years.
  • This 10 years timeline has been compressed by most scientists around the world.
  • Indigenous Indian COVID 19 vaccines are in the global race to end the corinavirus pandemic.
  • Science and Technology Ministry said that a silver lining has appeared with the announcement of COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech and ZyCov-D Vaccine by Zydus Cadila.
  • Drug Controller General of India, has given the nod to conduct of the human trial for the vaccines.
  • In the past years, India has emerged as one of the significant vaccine manufacturing hubs.
  • Indian manufacturers account for 60 per cent of vaccine supplies made to UNICEF.
  • Across the world, more than 140 candidate vaccines are under various stages of development.
  • Along with COVAXIN and ZyCov-D, 11 out of 140 vaccine candidates have entered the human trials the world over.
  • Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government, Professor K Vijay Raghavan said, it is important that vaccines are properly tested to ensure its quality and safety.

Oli’s political woes

  • Nepal Communist Party top players are calling for KP Oli’s resignation, as both party chairperson and PM.
  • Disenchantment with Oli’s unilateral style of working.
  • Authoritarian and not consulting with seniors of the party.
  • Oli says that India is doing all this against him.
  • Oli has been using anti-India rhetoric to counter criticism.
  • What India offers Nepal in terms of an open border, free movement of people, and economic opportunities for Nepali citizens can never be matched by China.

India must not cast anchor in ‘Enrica Lexie’

  • The operative part of the Annex VII arbitral tribunal’s decision, made public last week, on July 2, 2020, gave Italy full satisfaction on this crucial point although in a split 3-2 verdict, and on shaky grounds.
  • The tribunal, established by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), held that the marines were “entitled to immunity in relation to the acts that they committed during the incident of 15 February, 2012, and that India is precluded from exercising its jurisdiction over the Marines”.
  • India had opposed Italy’s request for an arbitral tribunal but ITLOS ruled in Italy’s favour.
  • ITLOS had asked both countries to “suspend all court proceedings” and “refrain from initiating new ones” that may “aggravate the dispute” or prevent the implementation of the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision.
  • Italy will now continue with the case it had registered against Lattore and Girone. It is highly unlikely though that any Italian court will convict Lattore and Girone for Pink and Valentine’s unjustified killing.
  • Immunity of state officials should not be tangentially brought in to settle issues of jurisdiction.
  • Besides, even if Italian marines are considered as state officials, they were deployed on an Italian commercial vessel. Italy did so unilaterally without the cover of any multilateral or bilateral arrangement.
  • The government should instruct the Embassy in Rome that a diplomat should always be present during court proceedings.
  • We need to introspect on how we handled the whole affair?

Re-enfranchise the forgotten voter

  • ECI: postal ballot for senior citizens above the age of 65.
  • Migrant workers face enormous difficulties in exercising its franchise.
  • Economic Survey of 2017: 13.9 crore internal migrant workers in India.
  • Internal migrant workers do not enrol as voters in their place of employment since they find proof of residence hard to provide.
  • It is a matter of pride that India currently has over 91.05 crore registered voters and in the 2019 general election, a record 67.4%, i.e., 61.36 crore voters, cast their vote.
  • So 29.68 crore didnt vote.
  • 10 crore out of this said that they are not interested in politcs.
  • Apparently, it leaves approximately 20 crore voters who want to vote but are unable to do so.
    1. Including 3 crore NRIs.
  • Does our system enable any form of voter portability that can serve as a model for re-enfranchising migrant workers?
  • Service voters (government employees) posted away from home can vote through the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS).
  • ETPBS is developed by ECI and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
  • Classified service voters (e.g., military personnel) can do so through their proxies.
  • ECI is testing Aadhaar-linked voter-ID based solution.
  • Voting must be viewed not just as a civic duty but as a civic right.
  • “We… do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”- Thomas Jefferson

How to counter China

  • In 1987, both India’s and China’s nominal GDP were almost equal.
  • 2019: Chinese economy is 5 times larger than ours.
    • There was a rough parity in 1989
  • Heightened vigilance along the LAC demands summoning scarce resources.
  • Limited fiscal and monetary tools, and dried-up private financing, constrain India’s options.
  • Root causes of India’s economic woes: lathargy
  • India did not liberalise land, labour and capital
  • Officials have discussed land and labour changes, while reaffirming an interest in integrating India into global value chains.
  • Several States have temporarily lifted labour restrictions.
  • Greater self-sufficiency can be salutary.
  • Home-grown manufacturing of critical medicinal ingredients or digital safeguards on citizens’ personal data would reduce vulnerabilities.
  • Conversely, imposing protective barriers to build-up local defence industry would hamper acquisitions helping balance Beijing.
  • China faces intense scrutiny resulting from the pandemic, geopolitical competition, trade wars, and economic coercion.
  • Businesses are revisiting whether or not to diversify  from China.
  • Rivals are staking their claim on regulatory predictability, stable tax policies, and fewer trade obstacles.
  • India urgently needs increased exports and investments.
  • Businesses purchase cost-efficient inputs overseas for use in higher value, manufactured exports.
  • Before committing to long-term, multi-billion investments, companies often want to test India’s market through international sales.
  • Liberalisation remains the tried-and-true path to competitiveness.
  • Bold reforms offer the best option.

NEWS

  • COVID recovery rate improves to 60.77 per cent in the country.
  • All centrally protected monuments to open from today in non- containment zones.
  • Air India to operate 36 flights between United States and India under Vande Bharat mission from 11th July; Booking of tickets starts this evening.
  • Indian Air Force joins locust control operations in Rajasthan.
  • Chennai has opened up from full lockdown to the unlock phase since early this morning.

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