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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 31st March ’21 | PDF Download

  • Ashgabat
  • Mithi River
  • Philippines

Q.) Name the flagship rural housing scheme of Central Government

  1. PM Jan Arogya Yojana
  2. PM Awas Yojana – Gramin
  3. National Rural Mission
  4. PM Kisaan Maan Dhan Yojana

Q.) The company that operates the cargo ship M.V. Ever Green, is based in which country?

  1. Japan
  2. Egypt
  3. Taiwan
  4. UK

Q. ) According to the 2020 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, where did India rank, among the 180 countries assessed?

  1. 74
  2. 112
  3. 142
  4. 100

Mask, Jab, Test | ToI

  • Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray – to officials – prepare the roadmap for a second lockdown
  • 30,000 cases daily
  • A lockdown in Maharashtra will affect the nation
  • It is India’s wealthiest state with a strong industrial base
  • Maharashtra leads the country in tests and vaccination doses
  • Centre must supply more doses to the state
  • East Asian countries have proved that masking is the most effective virus suppression method
  • Our administrators have failed us
  • N-95 masks cost just a fraction of an RT-PCR test or vaccination and their accompanying infrastructure.
  • The mixed messaging on masking is bad
  • Flattening this second wave with minimal economic disruption is possible.

Remoteness is no hindrance to academic excellence

  • How many Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) should India have, and what should these institutes try to achieve?
  • In their article, “Too many IITs, unrealistic expectations” (The Hindu, February 20), Philip G. Altbach and Eldho Mathews suggest that there should be between 10 to 12 IITs, that these institutes ought to be situated in big urban areas, and that they should focus on being “crown jewels”.
  • Excellence in education depends on the quality of mentorship
  • Not on the size or location of campuses
  • To improve, faculties should be made bigger, and recruitment yardsticks should focus on quality and not quantity.
  • Core functions of an engineering school
  • About a quarter of the incoming undergraduates need extra training and confidence-building measures in using the English language
  • A mindset that focuses on strategic maximisation of points on multiple-choice questions
  • They need to be goaded toward free inquiry and whole-problem tackling
  • Skilled engineers + train to speak and write clearly
  • At IIT Mandi in Himachal Pradesh for example, a five-week induction programme gently welcomes them into the academic setting and helps them feel at home.
  • The curriculum at IIT Mandi includes courses from a design and innovation stream, which includes a mandatory socio-technical practicum
  • A substantial final year project can be nourishing and fulfilling for anyone completing an academic degree, because it presents an opportunity for focused work bringing together different strands of knowledge and skills on a concrete problem.
  • In a labour-surplus country like India, just as Arun Maira has suggested for the economy at large, we should readily use all the skilled labour that we can muster.
  • Faculty recruitment is such a big problem
    • Not enough faculty members are hired, and that those hired are burdened with additional tasks such as running the canteen, etc.
    • The second problem is that of inconsistency and group think in the hiring committees.
  • The external experts should prepare a short shortlist, and then the local hiring committees should attempt hiring from within this shortlist.
  • The applicants should be required to submit information demonstrating the best aspects of their work.
  • Each applicant should be asked to provide, in addition to their full curriculum vitae, their two best research publications, and their two best pedagogic materials such as a homework assignment or examination.
  • A waning fantasy is that only large companies and organisations can invent new technologies.
  • Cornell University is located in the heart of rural New England, and has been excellent from even before the Internet age. And Cornell has a thriving start-up scene, even though the campus is not surrounded by industries.
  • Japan’s newest world-class University, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, is in the most remote corner within its territory, Okinawa island.

India does not shine when only some gleam

  • Several lucky Indians have taken their vaccine shots and flown abroad.
  • A Union Minister pooh-poohed the Global Hunger Index which places India 94 amongst 107 countries
  • International observers are wrong, he said….
  • Indian citizens are amongst the least happy in the world: India ranks a very low 144th.
  • Like aerodynamic stress-tests reveal structural weaknesses in the designs of aircraft, the pandemic has revealed structural flaws in countries’ economies.
  • According to a report released by the World Bank, while India’s stock markets rose during the pandemic and the very rich became even richer, the number of people who are poor in India (with incomes of $2 or less a day) is estimated to have increased by 75 million.
  • The pandemic has revealed that the old economy was not good for migrant workers, however. Their “ease of living” was often sacrificed for capital’s “ease of doing business”.
  • Everyone’s income should go up
  • Economic growth must no longer be at the cost of the environment.
  • India ranks 120 out of 122 countries in water quality, and 179 out of 180 in air quality.
  • India urgently needs a new strategy for growth, founded on new pillars.
  • Several frameworks are being developed now to measure what really matters including the health of the environment, and the condition of societies (public services, equal access to opportunities, etc.).
  • What matters to people depends also on the conditions of others around them.
  • Therefore, countries in which the spirit of community is high, such as the ‘socialistcountries of Northern Europe, come on top of well-being rankings even when their per capita incomes are not the highest.
  • Locals know which factors in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals matter the most to them.
  • Therefore, standard global solutions will neither make their conditions better nor make them happier.
  • New ways must be adopted to create a new post-pandemic normal. Sadly, the old ways are returning.
  • Wealth creators (large companies and wealthy individuals) are being touted as the solution for growth.
  • Power is being centralised.
  • Communities must be allowed to, and assisted to, find their own solutions to complex problems.
  • When only some shine, India does not shine.
  • “India@75” campaign to celebrate, in 2022, the 75th anniversary of India’s independence
  • The size of its GDP, the numbers of billionaires, the numbers of Indian multinationals, and the reach of its rockets in space?
  • Or the condition of our holy Mother Earth ravaged by economic progress, and the conditions of hundreds of millions of citizens left behind?

Good neighbours

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh
  • It showcased the deep history the two nations share, their future plans and the challenges ahead.
  • India’s role in the creation of Bangladesh was highlighted by Ms. Hasina as she thanked India for its aid, and later, for providing her shelter when members of her family, including her father Mujib, were assassinated.
  • The two leaders built on their December 2020 (virtual) meet by bolstering plans for connectivity and infrastructure projects with a framework for cooperation on trade, along with other MoUs on sports, education and disaster management.
  • India-Bangladesh ties in the past 15 years, since Ms. Hasina was elected, have been marked by new areas of cooperation and an ability to resolve specific differences.
  • Ms. Hasina’s decision, beginning 2009, to shut down anti-India terror camps and to hand over nearly two dozen of India’s “most wanted”, reversed mistrust.
  • Mr. Modi’s push to conclude the long-pending Land Boundary Agreement in 2015, and to accept an international tribunal verdict in favour of Bangladesh that resolved a 40-year-old maritime dispute, built confidence as well.
  • Other issues, if unresolved, could pose challenges.
  • The joint statement noted the need to resolve the dispute over Teesta water sharing, and six other rivers.
  • The problem of Bangladeshi civilians being killed at the border has dented relations.
  • The Modi government’s concerns over the treatment of Hindus, an impetus for the CAA, were highlighted as the PM performed two temple poojas and addressed a rally of minority Matua Hindus.

A road to progress

  • The achievements of women dairy farmers in contributing to India’s ‘White Revolution’ are perhaps the greatest cause for celebrating the Women’s History Month in March.
  • That this has happened despite around a majority of dairy farmers owning only small landholdings — typically households with two to five cows — is also a testament to the success of the dairy cooperatives models that were at the heart of Operation Flood.
  • A study by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) indicates that 93% of women farmers who receive training alongside financial support succeed in their ventures, compared to the 57% success rate of those who receive financial aid alone.
  • Institutionalising such inputs, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) now organises farmer’s orientation programmes across the country, under which women farmers are trained in scientific best practices on animal health, fodder quality, clean milk production, and accounts management.
  • According to latest data, there are more than 1,90,000 dairy cooperative societies across the country, with approximately 6 million women members.
  • A study conducted on Women Dairy Cooperative Society (WDCS) members across Rajasthan showed that with the income generated through dairying, 31% of the women had converted their mud houses to cement structures, while 39% had constructed concrete sheds for their cattle.
  • Importantly, women-led cooperatives also provide fertile ground for grooming women from rural areas for leadership positions.
  • In many instances, this becomes the first step for women in breaking free from traditional practices.
  • This was amply demonstrated through the testimonials of women dairy farmers highlighted by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying on the International Women’s Day earlier this month.
  • Among the many stories that stood out, it was heartening to hear the account of Prem Bai from Rajasthan who never had access to education or formal employment but experienced a life transformation after she became a member of the Bhilwara Milk Union.
  • She is now the main breadwinner in her family and recently bought 25 acres of land with the income she earned through dairy farming.
  • Another major challenge in this sector is information asymmetry among farmers.
  • Statistics indicate that small and marginal farmers have access to only 50-70% of the resources that large and medium farmers have.
  • Once again, the presence of collectives in the form of cooperatives and milk unions plays a significant role in enhancing the knowledge and bargaining power of women.
  • Shreeja Mahila Milk Producer Company, which was started with 24 women and now has more than 90,000 members, with an annual turnover of approximately ₹450 crore.
  • Amul Dairy released a list of 10 women dairy farmers who became millionaires by selling milk to the company.
  • Navalben Dalsangbhai Chaudhary from Vadgam earned almost ₹88 lakh by selling 2,21,595 kg of milk in 2019-20, and Malvi Kanuben from Dhanera earned about ₹74 lakh by selling 2,50,745 kg of milk.

FINANCIAL NEWS

  • Payment Cos Face Tighter RBI Norms
    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tightened its supervision norms over payment companies storing customer data, amid a slew of cyber-security breaches at Indian tech startups over the last few months.
    • From April 1, all licensed payment system operators (PSOs) will have to submit detailed “compliance certificates” to the central bank twice a year, signed by their CEOs or managing directors, confirming adherence to all RBI regulations around security and storage of payment data.
    • In a letter issued by the central bank’s Department of Payment and Settlement Systems (DPSS) on Friday to all PSOs, RBI has asked these certificates be submitted on April 30 and October 31 for the period ending March 31 and September 30, respectively, every year.
    • Gurugram-based Mobikwik in January joined a list of high-profile targets that have been allegedly afflicted by cyber breaches.
    • Other companies include grocery e-tailer Big Basket, educational technology platform Unacademy and payment aggregator JusPay.
    • While top Mobikwik executives have repeatedly denied any breach, several top cyber-researchers corroborated the extent and the nature of the attack on the servers of the fintech startup, and claimed that the personal information of over 100 million Indians was put up on the dark web for sale.
    • Another attack on payment aggregator Juspay was also reported in January where data of over 100 million client customers was allegedly leaked and sold on the dark web for bitcoins worth just $6,000.
  • GDP may Grow 7% in FY22: UN Agency
    • The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Unescap) on Tuesday said it expects the economy to grow only 7% in FY22 – much less than forecasts of global rating agencies – as it heads for a “K-shaped recovery”.
    • The Indian economy is expected to contract 7.7% in the current fiscal ending this month, the UN agency said.
    • Maintaining low borrowing costs while keeping non-performing loans in check would be a challenge for the country, it said.
    • As per the report, India entered the pandemic with subdued GDP growth and investment.
    • The UN agency’s subdued forecast comes soon after global rating agencies Fitch and S&P raised India’s growth projections for FY22 to 12.8% (from 11% earlier) and 11% (from 10%), respectively, last week. Moody’s had last month pegged India’s GDP growth forecast for the next fiscal at 13.5%.
  • Highways Construction Hits a New High in FY21
    • India has constructed close to 13,000 kilometres of highways this fiscal at about 35 km per day, achieving a new high despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • The road transport and highways ministry, through its various implementing agencies, has constructed around 12,700 km of highways this year
    • The ministry has exceeded its construction target for the current year.
    • Inflation Above Comfort Level: Moody’s Analytics
    • India’s inflation is “above comfort levels”, even as it has remained subdued in most Asian economies, said a Moody’s Analytics report released on Tuesday.
    • Higher fuel prices are expected to keep an upward pressure on the headline consumer price index (CPI), leaving no further space for rate cuts from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), said the report titled ‘Macro Roundup: Is Inflation the Next Worry in Asia?’
    • It said India’s inflation is worrisome as retail inflation jumped up to 5% in February from 4.1% in January, posing an additional challenge to policymakers.
    • “Volatile food prices and rising oil prices led India’s CPI to exceed the upper band of 6% several times in 2020, inhibiting the RBI’s ability to keep accommodative monetary settings in place during the height of the pandemic,” said the intelligence arm of the United States-headquartered rating agency Moody’s Corporation.

NEWS

  • All arrangements put in place for 2nd phase of assembly elections to be held in West Bengal & Assam tomorrow
  • Centre approves issuance of 16th tranche of electoral bonds
  • More than 6.24 cr doses of Covid vaccine administered in country so far
  • One-man judicial panel to probe Parambir Singh’s charges against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh
  • Jaipur court awards life term to 12 SIMI members in Rajasthan on terrorism charges
  • Centre proposes upto 25 % tax concession on purchase of new vehicles on submission of scrappage certificate
  • India to set up new DFI with initial paid-up capital of around 3 bn dollars with lending target of 69 bn dollars in next three years
  • ED attaches 12 land pieces worth over 152 crore rupees of Unitech Group in money laundering case
  • 22 routes inaugurated under UDAN scheme in 3 days
  • Centre proposes up to 25% tax concession on purchase of new vehicles on submission of scrappage certificate
  • Protests continue in Myanmar even as death toll crosses 510
  • UN human rights experts raise serious concerns about alleged detention and forced labour of Muslim Uyghurs in China
  • Bangladesh: COVID infection above 5000, death 45 for second consecutive day
  • WHO to release report on origins of COVID-19 today
  • Three members of a polio vaccination team killed in Afghanistan

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