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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 23rd June’20 | PDF Download

The lone wolf threat

  • The knife attack at a park in Reading.
  • Another reminder of the threat of lone wolf attacks the U.K. is facing.
  • Lone wolf attacks, in which extremist individuals translate their beliefs into violent actions, are hard to detect and prevent.
  • A 25-year-old Libyan national has been arrested in connection with the latest incident.
  • British media have reported that Khairi Saadallah was on the MI5’s radar.
  • In coordinated terror attacks, the chances of competent intelligence agencies detecting the perpetrators are much higher.
  • To their credit, the U.K.’s intelligence wings have foiled dozens of terror attacks since the devastating 2005 London bombings that killed 52 people and injured 700 others.
  • But the U.K., especially London, continued to see low-tech lone attacks, where the attacker either used vehicles to run over people or launched knife attacks.
  • In 2017, Khalid Masood, a British citizen, drove a car into pedestrians on the pavement of Westminster Bridge and stabbed a police officer.
  • He killed six people and injured 40 others before being shot by police.
  • Lone wolf attacks continue to pose a security challenge to the public and the government.
  • In all the last three knife attacks, the attackers were known to the agencies.
  • The government and the security agencies need to adopt a multi-pronged approach towards radicalisation, which is anchored in human intelligence, strong ties with communities and community leaders and deradicalisation programmes.

A way out of undelineated borders

  • The root of the misunderstanding between India and Nepal lies in a treaty to end a territorial war to which no map was attached and the negotiators had no idea of the geography of the area, except that devout Hindus on the way to Mansarovar considered the springs at Kalapani, at the base of the Lipulekh pass, as the source of the Kali river.
  • The Treaty of Sugauli in 1815-16, which ended the Anglo-Nepalese War, stipulated that “the Kali River” would mark Nepal’s western border with the British East India Company.
  • The demarcation undertaken by W.J. Webb later in 1816, covered ‘the entire Byans region both to the east and west of the river, on the ground that it had traditionally been part of Kumaon prior to the 25-year-old occupation by Nepal’.
  • In 1817, Nepal made a ‘representation to the British, claiming that it was entitled to the areas east of the river.
  • The British Governor-General in Council accepted the demand’, and the villages of Tinkar and Chaggru were transferred to Nepal, dividing the Byans area.
  • The drainage of the Kalapani and Lipulekh was considered wholly within British territory, and it was stated that a short way below the springs, the Kali formed the boundary with Nepal.

  • Nepal later ‘extended a claim to the Kuthi valley further to the west, stating that the Kuthi-Yankti stream, the western branch of the head waters, should be considered the main Kali river’.
  • The Himalayan Gazetteer records that the surveyor, W.J. Webb, made known to Bam Shah, the Governor of Doti, who had negotiated the Treaty, ‘that the lesser stream flowing from the Kalapani springs had always been recognised as the main branch of the Kali and had in fact given its name to the river.
  • The British retained the Kuthi Valley’ and the Limpiyadhura Pass.
  • The first British Resident in Nepal, Edward Gardner, laid this out to the Nepal Durbar, in correspondence (February 4, 1817 to October 10, 1817).
  • The matter was considered settled as only the lowland lying between the Kali and Gorakhpur that were ceded in 1815 were restored to Nepal by the Treaty of 1860.
  • The British Government did not shift the British East India Company boundary, as Nepal alleges.
  • In 1905, Charles A. Sherring, Deputy Commissioner of Almora, recorded his travels across Lipulekh into Tibet.
  • He camped at Kalapani and noted its half dozen springs and the Nepal boundary at the Tinkar Pass.
  • Trade through Lipulekh, amounting to £26,000 annually, had grown ten-fold since 1816, and was regulated by the British.
  • The 1954 Trade Agreement between India and China mentions Lipulekh as one of the passes that could be used for trade and pilgrimage traffic; a police post was established by India at Kalapani in 1956.
  • The China-Nepal Boundary Protocol of January 20, 1963 established permanent boundary markers “as numbered 1 to 79 in serial order from west to east.” The first marker of the Sino-Nepal border is at Tinkar.
  • Principles of international law support the British and India’s claim.
  • In the case of Lipulekh and Kalapani, and now Limpiyadhura, the political agreement in 1817 has been acted upon and not open to challenge now.
  • A treaty has to be interpreted with reference to the circumstances prevailing at the time the treaty was concluded.

A case to exempt GST in Central Police Canteens

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced in early May that only indigenous products will be sold in all Central Police Canteens run by the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  • The CAPF comprises the Central Reserve Police Force, the Border Security Force, the Central Industrial Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal, the Assam Rifles and the National Security Guard.
  • Run by the CAPFs, the Central Police Canteens are open to serving and retired CAPF and State police personnel and their families all over the country.
  • With over 119 master canteens functioning as depots and 1,700 canteens running across the country catering to over 50 lakh family members of 10 lakh serving personnel, the Central Police Canteen boasts of sales of over ₹2,800 crore worth of products annually.
  • Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali has already made inroads into these canteens with various products and is expected to expand.
  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission is also channelising the sale of its products like textiles and uniform accoutrements through these canteens.
  • Non-exemption of GST on all products sold through canteens has been a sore point among the CAPF personnel.
  • Exemption of GST will reduce the costs further making the products more easily affordable and lucrative.
  • The authorities cannot ignore the fact that the the CAPF is working in difficult conditions across the country at grave risk to their lives.
  • Not only are these personnel combating terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, tackling insurgency in the Northeast and fighting the Maoists in left wing extremism-affected areas but are also in the forefront quelling riots, as they did in Delhi and Aligarh recently.
  • While sale of indigenous products in CAPF canteens is a step in the right direction, the issue of exemption of GST needs to be addressed on priority lest the CAPF personnel feel that they are being given step-motherly treatment despite the arduous duties they carry out in inhospitable terrains and the innumerable sacrifices they make for the nation.

The Dharavi Model

  • Asia’s largest slum and the extraordinary population density of 2,27,136 persons per square km, Dharavi was early named a ticking Covid bomb.
  • But the local authorities’ intelligent and relentless efforts to defuse it have borne fruit.
  • On Sunday the Union health ministry praised the Maharashtra government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for actively chasing the virus – to reduce its growth rate from 12% in April to 4.3% in May and further to 1.02% in June.
  • Is it replicable in other troubled parts of the country?
  • With 8-10 people living in 10ft x 10ft spaces and 80% population dependent on community toilets, home isolation was not really an option in Dharavi.
  • It needed institutional quarantine facilities on scale.
  • These were set up in schools, community halls etc in timely fashion.
  • As assistant municipal commissioner Kiran Dighavkar has said, they did not wait for the cases to reach even 100 to start acting.
  • The first fever clinic was in fact set up three days after the first case.
  • Oximeters, mobile vans and private clinics were roped in alongside BMC health workers for early screening, which helped in both prompt separation of suspected cases from the community and lowering the mortality rate.
  • Aggressive and accessible testing was part of the arsenal.
  • The investment in trust building has been notable too.
  • From distributing fruits and dates at the isolation centres during Ramzan to working with local doctors and NGOs, there has been a conscious attempt to reduce community fear of the Covid care machinery.
  • Dharavi will have to remain alert as Unlock continues.
  • Nonetheless the success of the four Ts here – tracing, tracking, testing and treating – should encourage the fight everywhere.
  • While different hotspots come with different challenges, making the smartest use of available resources is key.
  • Dharavi points the way.

A neural network for development

  • The economy needs revving up.
  • The government of India has taken several measures to restart economic activity.
  • The intent is to bring back both the demand-side and the supply-side responses.
  • While the reduction in the repo rate or bank rate brings relief to formal sector.
  • It must be admitted that in India the front-loaded monetary policy that reduced the policy rate has not triggered much investment response, conforming that we have a weak monetary policy transmission mechanism.
  • But on the fiscal policy side, pumping money into MGNREGA-type schemes is like an intravenous injection.
  • It puts money in the hands of the rural community, which is a large part of the overall demand.
  • Such a policy has a high expenditure multiplier, besides it also generates a sense of well-being as it creates employment.
  • This large-scale government expenditure necessitates ‘borrowing’ from RBI, which actually is nothing but printing of money.
  • The difficult issue is to generate a supply response.
  • Banks have to take the risk and allow liberal enhancement of limits, no-questions-asked moratoriums, and must go for index-triggered approvals that are not associated with any subjectivity and hence won’t put bankers to individual-level risks.
  • The MSME sector needs to open up.
  • If this is not done in the same time-frame as the demand response, we may see inflation.
  • Of the 543 elected members of the Lok Sabha, 274 belong to the BJP constituting over 50% of total strength.
  • Then there are NDA partners, taking the strength to 349.
  • Then there are Rajya Sabha members.
  • It is a great opportunity to use this political workforce to go to their constituencies and work towards reviving industries and other supply-side responses.
  • The Members of Parliament should be directed by their Party high command to revive industries to the level corresponding to last year.
  • The issues of MGNREGA, unemployment, farm produce procurement, agricultural produce, harvesting, storing, transportation must be overseen by the local MP, as a special effort, not in the course of business-as-usual.
  • He/she must report in a laid-down format and his/her performance should be measured/rated.
  • They should also effectively oversee that MGNREGA is executed properly.
  • Reports from rural areas confirm that disbursement and utilisation of funds under MGNREGA is faster than ever before.
  • MPs should be asked to report progress to a senior functionary in the Party, and the Party should measure this performance through a special cell.
  • This will not only ensure that a large amount of money does not get into the pockets of gram pradhans, but also that a large number of beneficiaries get the money in their hands and make an impact on aggregate demand.
  • The highest potential for misutilisation is in the ‘earth works’ and that too before the monsoon (and 80% of MGNREGA work is earth work).
  • An observant and a vigilant MP can do much more than timid officials.
  • Due to extreme structural deficiencies of the Indian economy, a supply response is not likely to get sufficient traction.
  • MPs must be made to look after the issues of supply of labour and demand for labour.
  • MPs of surplus areas in Bihar and UP must be willing to lead the charge in encouraging local labourers to go to places where the demand is, such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, etc.
  • Only they can do this; no bureaucratic machine will deliver on this front if tasked to.
  • The government, in the meantime, should come out with a migrant-labour-focused scheme to iron out the structural distortion of the Indian economy.
  • The government can make this initiative even more effective if it measures the performance of each MP, which, in turn, could determine his/her eligibility for a ticket next time

NEWS

    • India has one of the lowest COVID cases per lakh population in the world in spite of its high population density.
    • Citing a WHO report, the Health Ministry said, the country’s cases per lakh population are 30.04 while the global average is more than triple at 114.67.
    • The US has 671.24 cases per lakh population while the metric for Germany is 583.88, Spain is 526.22 and Brazil is 489.42.
    • This was revealed in the WHO Situation Report-153 dated 21st of June.
    • The Health Ministry said, this low figure is a testimony to the graded, pre-emptive and pro-active approach the Central Government along with the States and Union Territories took for the prevention, containment and management of COVID-19.
    • The Health Ministry said the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients has improved to 55.77 per cent in the country.
    • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced today that his government will give pulse oximeters to the COVID-19 patients under home isolation in the city.
    • He said the number of coronavirus tests has increased by three times in the national capital.
    • Addressing an online media briefing, Mr Kejriwal said around 18,000 coronavirus tests are being conducted daily in the city now.
    • There are around 12,000 people under home isolation and they will be given pulse oximeters.
    • He added that seven thousand beds are vacant across Delhi.
    • The Supreme Court today allowed Puri’s Rath Yatra, scheduled to start from tomorrow, saying it cannot micro-manage the rituals and left it to the wisdom of state, the Centre and temple management to deal with that issue.
    • The apex court said Puri rath yatra will be held with coordination of Temple committee, State and Central Governments without compromising with health issue.
    • It said, Odisha can even stop the yatra or festivities if they feel it is going out of hand.
    • The apex court had on June 18th said that in the interest of public health and safety of citizens, this year’s Puri Rath Yatra cannot be allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde was informed by the Odisha government that it will coordinate with temple management and the Centre to make things smooth during Rath Yatra.
    • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will reached Moscow lastnight, on a three-day visit to Russia.
    • In a tweet, Mr Singh said, during his visit, he will hold talks on ways to further deepen the India-Russia defence and strategic partnership.
    • The Defence Minister said, he will also attend the 75th Victory Day Parade in Moscow.
    • The Victory Parade will be held on Wednesday to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the victory in the Second World War.
    • The Parade is organized to honour the heroism and sacrifices made by the Russian and other friendly people.
    • Separately, a Tri-Service 75- Member Indian Military Contingent has already reached Moscow to participate in the Victory Parade along with the Russian contingent and other invited contingents.
    • India has strongly condemned the abduction of Nedan Singh, a leader of the Hindu and Sikh Community of Afghanistan, by terrorists.
    • External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, the targeting and persecution of the minority community members by terrorists at the behest of their external supporters is a matter of grave concern.
    • He was responding to a media query regarding abduction of the Sikh community leader in Paktia, Afghanistan.
    • He said India is in touch with the Afghan government for ensuring safety, security and well being of the minority community in Afghanistan.
    • He hoped that the Afghan government would be able to secure the safe and early release of Nedan Singh.
    • Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has inaugurated the India Pavilion at the Cannes Film Market 2020 virtually.
    • Speaking at the inaugural session today, he highlighted the government’s initiative of instituting Film Facilitation Centres for granting quick and easy clearances for shooting of International Films in the country.
    • Mr. Javadekar called upon global film makers to shoot movies in India and produce them for the global market.
    • The Minister informed that the Marathi movie Mai Ghat and Gujarati movie Hellaro, are the official entrants to be showcased in the Cannes film festival this year.
    • Mr. Javadekar also launched the poster and information booklet for the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) , slated to be held in Goa from the 20th of November this year.
    • One of the most prestigious film festivals and cinema’s largest annual gathering, Cannes Film Festival had earlier postponed its 73rd edition of this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
    • Union State Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya today inaugurated one of India’s largest and first Virtual Healthcare and Hygiene EXPO 2020.
    • An ecosystem is being built for a self-reliant India, which will help in ramping up domestic production in Pharmaceutical, Health and Hygiene Sector.
    • Health, Hygiene and Sanitation, Medical textiles and Devices, AYUSH and Wellness sectors have assumed greater significance in the nation’s fight against the COVID 19 pandemic.
    • Mansukh Mandaviya underlined schemes such as providing toilets for every household, Ayushman Bharat , to cover 10 crore family for healthcare, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Suvidha Sanitary Napkin under which sanitary napkin is provided for just 1 rupees each.
    • The minister also mentioned the remarkable contribution of the Jan Aushadhi stores which are providing quality medicines at affordable price for everyone.
    • Mr. Mandaviya also spoke about the recent policy announcement of Government giving incentives for setting up of Bulk Drug Parks and Medical Device Parks in the country which will act as a cog in the wheel of Atmanirbharat Abhiyan.

 

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