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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

19 Jan, 2021

48 Min Read

India – China Border dispute

GS-II : International Relations Border disputes

India – China Border dispute

  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday said it was aware of infrastructure construction by China in the past several years “along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)” and that India has also stepped up its construction. The statement came after a report by NDTV showed satellite images of a new Chinese settlement in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • This is the first time the government has acknowledged Chinese construction, although official sources say the land has been under the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) control since 1959.
  • “The Chinese have been holding the area since 1959 and it is not a new development. Prior to that, there was an Assam Rifles post there which was overrun. They have been doing construction there on and off. There were some temporary constructions a few years back. They have now done permanent construction there,” an official source said.
  • A second official source said, “They are doing it [the construction] on their side and we are doing it on our side.”
  • Satellite images show the construction of a big village on the banks of Tsari Chu river in Upper Subansiri district between November 2019 and November 2020.
  • Stating that the government remains committed to the objective of creating infrastructure along the border areas for the improvement of the livelihood of its citizens, including in Arunachal Pradesh, the MEA said in a statement, “Government keeps a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India’s security and takes all the necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.” It said that India, too, has stepped up border infrastructure, including the construction of roads and bridges among others, which it added has provided “much-needed connectivity to the local population along the border.”

Source: TH

Guidelines for the use of Covaxin

GS-III : S&T Health

Guidelines for the use of Covaxin and Vaccine Hesitancy

  • Those with a history of allergies, fever and bleeding disorder, people on blood thinners and those with compromised immunity or on medication that affects the immune system have been told by Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • A statement uploaded on the company website on Monday said the vaccine was also contraindicated for pregnant and lactating women, those using other COVID-19 vaccines and people with any other serious health-related issues as determined by the vaccinator or the officer supervising the vaccination.
  • “There is remote chance that Covaxin could cause severe allergic reaction including difficulty in breathing, swelling of face/throat/fast heart beat, rash all over the body and dizziness and weakness,” it said.
  • Faith in entities is often an act of personal commitment not amenable to falsification, but trust in a scientific process can be established with confidence-building measures and full disclosure of all relevant data.
  • Any mass campaign that involves voluntary effort on the part of the public can succeed only when transparency and open communication channels are the tools of choice.
  • If the poor rate of uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in most of the States in the country is any indication, the government has not taken the people of the country along, in what is a purely voluntary exercise, but one vested with great power to retard the pace of the epidemic.
  • For instance, Tamil Nadu, a State perceived to be largely health literate, and relatively well-equipped with health infrastructure, achieved only over 16% of its targeted coverage on the launch day.
  • On the second day of vaccination, the compliance further dropped; in some States, vaccination was suspended.
  • A marked favouring of the Covishield vaccine over Covaxin was also noticed in multiple States. But none of this is a surprise.
  • The signs, verily, were out there for everyone to see, for a long time indeed. Studies measured high levels of vaccine hesitancy among the general population, and among health-care workers, the first in the line list of people to receive free vaccination.
  • Clearly, vaccine hesitancy was not addressed sufficiently, or not taken seriously enough.
  • With the sequence of events that followed the clearance of Emergency Use Authorisation (in Covaxin, it is emergency use authorisation in ‘clinical trial mode’) — a high-handed announcement with little attempt to put out compelling evidence in the public domain, or answer multiple queries in press conferences — vaccine hesitancy merely dug its heels in deeper.
  • The inability of the government and agencies involved to amicably resolve controversies surrounding the clearance for Covaxin, even before it was able to produce interim data on efficacy from phase-3 trials, has had a direct consequence, as witnessed by poor numbers in its uptake so far.
  • A vaccine, unequivocally, is public good, but the lack of transparency surrounding the roll-out of the COVID vaccines has done little to enhance trust in this experiential principle.
  • This uncommon haste in trying to lunge towards the tape while still some distance from the finish line might have been justified if the state had taken the people along.
  • Vaccinating the nation, however, is less a race than a slow and steady process.
  • Building confidence in the process is crucial to achieving the task at hand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s oft-repeated mantra, ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, is very relevant here.
  • And the Health Ministry must do whatever it takes to make a success of the vaccination drive.

Source: TH

Whatsapp chats of Arnab Goswami

GS-III : Internal security Privacy Vs Security

Whatsapp chats of Arnab Goswami

  • The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) on Monday said the WhatsApp chats of Arnab Goswami were shocking.
  • In a statement, the NBA said Republic TV be expelled from the Indian Broadcasting Foundation.
  • The NBA Board called for Republic TV to be left out of the BARC rating system till the final court order in the matter.
  • These WhatsApp messages not only reflect manipulation of ratings but is also about power play, it said.
  • The messages exchanged go on to refer to the appointment of Secretaries, Cabinet reshuffle, access to the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) and the workings of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • “This only confirms the many and continuous allegations made by NBA in the last four years that ratings were being manipulated by a non-NBA member broadcaster in connivance with BARC’s top management officials,” the statement said.
  • “It is indeed with dismay that NBA notes the fact that in spite of having a damning verdict in its possession since July 2020, BARC sat on the forensic report for several months, which brought to light these manipulations. This is a glaring example of the systemic lack of transparency that has prevailed right since the inception of BARC,” it said.
  • The NBA Board demanded that BARC make a statement about the veracity of its ratings for the period that is under audit, conduct an audit of the Hindi news genre, expunge the data of Republic TV and re-state the rankings of all news channels.

Source: TH

Labour laws in India

GS-III : Economic Issues Labour

Labour laws in India

  • The Union Labour and Employment Ministry is likely to appoint legal consultants this month to look at whether the States’ labour laws are in consonance with the Centre’s four new labour codes, according to senior Ministry officials.
  • The codes on wages, social security, industrial relations and occupational safety, health and working conditions could be implemented before the April 1 target.
  • Labour and Employment Secretary Apurva Chandra told that the rules framed under the codes on social security, industrial relations and occupational safety would be finalised by the end of the month. The rules under the Code on Wages, 2019 have already been finalised.
  • Along with the implementation of the codes, an official said the Ministry would appoint legal consultants soon to review the various State laws.
  • The official added that the matter would be taken up with the States if the laws are found to be out of tune with the codes. The work would start with two or three States, the official said.
  • The four codes have amalgamated 29 Central labour laws, including those covering matters of minimum wages, benefits for workers and strikes. For the first time, gig and platform workers have been covered under the social security schemes.
  • Most Central trade unions, however, have protested against the codes, terming them anti-worker.

For labour laws and analysis of changes in UP laws: click here

For complete news on Labor Laws and Labor codes: click here

Editorial on Labor Laws in UP, MP and Gujarat: click here

Source: TH

Government may raise import duties by 5-10%

GS-III : Economic Issues Tax

The government may raise import duties by 5-10%

  • India is considering raising import duties by 5%-10% on more than 50 items including smartphones, electronic components and appliances in the upcoming budget.
  • The move to increase import duties is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s self-reliant India campaign that aims to promote and support domestic manufacturing, said the sources, who asked not to be named as the discussions are not public.
  • One of the sources said the government was seeking to target additional revenue of about Rs. 200 billion to Rs. 210 billion, as it looks to shore up revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic-driven slowdown that has stung the economy.
  • Two of the government sources also said the duty increases could impact furniture and electric vehicles, potentially hurting the likes of Swedish furniture maker Ikea and Tesla, which is planning to launch its cars in India this year.
  • The officials, however, did not specify how much of an increase was planned on furniture and electric vehicles.
  • Both Ikea and Tesla executives have previously expressed concerns about the steep duty structure their products already face in India.
  • The list of items likely to attract steeper duties is set to include appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners too, three of the sources said.
  • India’s finance minister will on Feb. 1 unveil the central government’s annual budget for the 2021-22 financial year, which begins on April 1.
  • The sources said the proposals may still be tweaked further before they are finalised.
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will unveil the budget on Feb. 1 in the shadow of a projected economic contraction of 7.7% for the current fiscal year.
  • India has in recent years taken a series of measures that industry executives say discriminate against foreign companies. Government officials say such taxes are essential to promote India as a destination for local manufacturing and to support domestic businesses.
  • “This is part of revenue raising and Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) plan,” said one of the government sources.
  • Last year, India raised duties on a range of products such as footwear, furniture, toys, electrical and electronics items by up to 20%.

Source: TH

THEODORE BASKARAN WON SANCTUARY LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD 2020

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Conservation

THEODORE BASKARAN WON SANCTUARY LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD 2020

  • S. Theodore Baskaran who is a writer, a historian, a naturalist and an activist has won the Sanctuary Lifetime Service Award, 2020.
  • The award was instituted by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation.

Theodore on Conservation

  • Theodore is of the view that any conservation initiative should be in the local language in order to gain momentum as a people’s movement.
  • He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award (Iyal Virudhu) for his writing on nature in Tamil. The award was given by the Canada Literary Garden in the year 2014 in Toronto.

Books by him

  • Some of his books in the English language include- Dance of the Sarus: Essays of a Wandering Naturalist; Book of Indian Dogs and A Day with the Shama: Essays on Nature.

Source: PIB

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