Weekend Page : January 30th- January 31st, 2021
Your 10 minute read!
LAW, POLICY & GOVERNANCE
1. HC orders protection for same-sex couple in UP
Noting that it was duty-bound to monitor the rights of citizens under threat on account of their sexual orientation, the Allahabad High Court has ordered police protection for a same-sex woman couple in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur. The two women, aged 23 and 22, have been in a live-in relationship for a couple of years and are voluntarily living with each other on account of their sexual orientation.
“The petition highlights the stark reality of the society where the citizens are facing discrimination at the hands of the society only on account of their sexual orientation despite it being well settled that sexual orientation is innate to human being.”
Counsel for the petitioners contended that despite legitimacy being accorded to such relations by the Supreme Court in the case of Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 1, the petitioners are being threatened with violation of their rights enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution only on the ground of their sexual orientation.
2. ‘Govt. to abide by SC order on farm laws’
The Union Government respected the Supreme Court and would abide by its decision to stay the implementation of the three farm laws, President Ram Nath Kovind told a joint sitting of Parliament. The President condemned Republic Day violence. “While the Constitution gives us the right to freedom of expression, it is also expected that we abide by the laws and rules with equal sincerity,” he observed.
He said these laws do not take away any rights and facilities that are available under the existing system; rather the laws have “provided new facilities to the farmers and have empowered them.”
3. Government tightens oversight on funds received by NGOs
The Union Home Ministry has laid down a charter for banks which says that “donations received in Indian rupees” by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and associations from “any foreign source even if that source is located in India at the time of such donation” should be treated as “foreign contribution”.
As per the existing rules, all banks have to report to the Central government within 48 hours the “receipt or utilisation of any foreign contribution” by any NGO, association or person whether or not they are registered or granted prior permission under the FCRA.
Last September, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, was amended by Parliament and a new provision that makes it mandatory for all NGOs to receive foreign funds in a designated bank account at the State Bank of India’s (SBI) New Delhi branch was inserted. The Ministry has laid out a series of guidelines and charter to make the NGOs and the banks comply with the new provisions.
4. Plea seeks appointment of PMLA tribunal chief
- The Supreme Court asked the government to respond to a petition seeking reasons for the delay in appointment of chairperson and members to the appellate tribunal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde gave the government four weeks to reply to the petition
5. Jokes need no defence, stand-up comedian tells SC
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra, facing contempt for scandalising the Supreme Court with his tweets, said the phenomenon of “taking offence” to comedy or satire has been elevated. A Bench, led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, adjourned the hearing by two weeks.
“The more attention you paid to a joke, the more credible it became. The public faith in the judiciary is founded on the institution’s own actions, and not on any criticism or commentary about it,” he stated.
6. Proposal to stay farm laws stands: Modi
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at an all party meeting of floor leaders in Parliament that the government’s proposal of suspending the implementation of three farm laws, against which farmers’ unions have been protesting for months, still stood, and that any resolution of the issue “should be found through dialogue”. On violence during the tractor rally on Republic Day, he said the ‘law must take its own course’.
7. U.P. ordinance on conversion not yet received by MHA
The ordinance on unlawful religious conversions, promulgated by the Uttar Pradesh government last year, has not been sent to the Centre for examination, according to a reply from the Union Home Ministry to a query under the Right to Information Act (RTI).
Article 213 of the Constitution, under which U.P. Governor Anandiben Patel promulgated the ordinance, saying the Governor shall not, without instructions from the President, promulgate any such Ordinance if a Bill would have “required the previous sanction of the President” for introduction in the State Legislature.
8. Fresh FIRs against Tharoor, senior scribes
- Delhi Police and Gurugram Police have lodged FIRs against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and six senior journalists, on charges of sedition, promoting enmity and criminal conspiracy, for posting “mala fide, defamatory, false and misleading” tweets accusing the Delhi police of killing a farmer during the tractor parade on Republic Day. A case under Indian Penal Code Sections 153, 504, 505(1)(b), and 120B was lodged and investigation is underway
NATIONAL NEWS/ INTERVENTIONS
1. Blast in Delhi: India reaches out to Israel
- India on Friday assured Israel of the safety of its missions and diplomats after a low intensity device exploded near the country’s Embassy on the high security A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Road in Delhi. A police officer said the explosive was planted in a used soft drink can and wrapped in polythene; he ruled out any terror angle as of now. The blast took place while the Beating Retreat ceremony was taking place at Rajpath.
2. C. Subramaniam’s call for ‘science for the economic freedom of humanity’ echoes on his birth anniversary today
January 30, is the birth anniversary of Mr. C. Subramaniam, an architect of public policy for Indian science and of the ‘Green Revolution’ in the country.
In addition to the above, CS championed the cause of planned public investments in science. This year, 2021, is significant for another reason – it is the golden jubilee year of the founding of India’s Ministry of Science and Technology. CS had an abiding trust in science and believed that technology alone could offer solutions to the problems faced by society.
He realised that the economic freedom of every citizen of India was heavily reliant on the 4Es: Education, Environment, Economy and Empowerment of our farmers. The National Agro Foundation (NAF) was his gift to the nation on his 90th birthday.
3. ‘Delink boundary dispute from ties’
China said it “appreciates” External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar emphasising the importance of India-China relations, but reiterated its calls for the boundary dispute to “not be linked with the overall bilateral relations”. In a speech, Mr. Jaishankar said the relationship needed to be built on “mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests''. The Minister outlined eight propositions to take the ties forward after what he called a year of “exceptional stress”.
China has in recent months hit out at India’s economic measures, such as the banning of apps and tightening the curbs on investment, saying events on the border should not be linked to other aspects of relations. India has reiterated its view that such a proposition is untenable, and normal relations can’t be restored until there is peace on the border and a full restoration of the status quo, prior to last summer’s transgressions.
4. New COVID-19 vaccine likely by June: SII
Serum Institute of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla said he is hopeful of launching a new COVID-19 vaccine under the brand name Covovax by June. SII had earlier applied for clearance to conduct a trial for the vaccine in India. The DGCI had reviewed the application and asked them to submit a revised protocol.
Covovax is being developed by American company Novavax. According to a recent press statement, the vaccine was found to be 89.3% effective in a U.K. trial and was nearly as effective in protecting against the U.K. variant. Novavax’s vaccine contains a full length, prefusion spike protein made using their recombinant nanoparticle technology and the company’s proprietary saponin-based MatrixM adjuvant. It is stable at 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius (refrigerated) and is shipped in a ready to use liquid formulation.
5. China is still largest source of critical imports for India
China still remains the largest source of critical imports for India, from mobile phone components to pharmaceutical ingredients, and India is working on a multipronged strategy to reduce this reliance, which is a bigger concern than the imbalance in trade.
“The trade deficit is not in dollars, it is in over-dependence,” said Sanjay Chadha, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Mr. Chadha said that India was working on a multipronged strategy to reduce this dependence, ranging from the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to boost domestic manufacturing, a global effort involving India’s foreign missions to find alternatives to China, and the use of free trade agreements (FTAs) with other trading partners.
COVID-19 had helped accelerate this change. When production in China was hit early in 2020, although its economy would recover by the summer and become the only major economy to avoid contraction last year, India shared with its foreign missions lists of items critically dependent on China, following which the missions linked up with suppliers in their countries.
China still remained the biggest source of India’s imports, but imports last year fell 10.8%, the lowest since 2016. Two-way trade in 2020 reached $87.6 billion, down by 5.6%, while the trade deficit declined to a five year low of $45.8 billion.
6. Pulse polio programme launched
- President Ram Nath Kovind launched the pulse polio programme for 2021 on Saturday by administering polio drops to children less than five years of age at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President and First Lady Savita Kovind administered polio drops to children on the eve of the Polio National Immunization Day, which is observed on January 31, 2021. Around 17 crore children of less than five years of age will be given polio drops as part of the drive of the government to sustain polio free status of the country.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS/EVENTS/ PERSONALITIES
1. U.S. is bombarding civilians in breach of Afghan deal: Taliban
The Taliban rejected Washington’s accusations that it had not lived up to its promises in Afghanistan, in turn claiming the U.S. was ‘bombarding civilians’. The U.S. signed a landmark deal with the insurgents last year, agreeing to withdraw its troops from the country in return for security guarantees after a stalemate on the battlefield.
The U.S military has in recent months carried out airstrikes against the Taliban fighters in defence of Afghan forces in some provinces. The agreement, signed in Doha last year, required the Taliban to halt attacks on U.S. forces, sharply decrease the level of violence in the country, and advance peace talks with the government in Kabul.
2. China executes former banker in graft case
- China on Friday executed a former top banker accused of taking $260 million worth of bribes, as well as other forms of corruption and bigamy, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of Huarong – one of China’s largest state controlled asset management firms – was put to death by a court in the northern city of Tianjin, CCTV said.
3. Myanmar poll panel rejects fraud claims
Myanmar’s Election Commission rejected allegations by the military that fraud played a significant role in determining the outcome of November’s elections, in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won a majority of seats. The decision, announced, came amid heightened tensions after the military, which had ruled Myanmar for five decades until 2015, refused to rule out the possibility of a coup if their complaints were ignored.
Call for election review Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party captured 396 out of 476 seats in the November 8 polls, allowing them to form the government for five more years.
The military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won 33 seats. The military has been calling on the government and the Union Election Commission to review the results. It says it has found 8.6 million irregularities in voter lists in 314 townships that could have let voters cast multiple ballots or commit other “voting malpractice,” but the Election Commission said there was no evidence to support these claims.
Myanmar’s military chief Min Aung Hlaing on Wednesday said that the Constitution could be revoked if the laws are not being properly enforced.
4. Biden govt. will build on the Quad: NSA
The new U.S. National Security Adviser (NSA), Jake Sullivan, has said the Biden administration would like to carry forward the work of the Donald Trump administration in strengthening the Quad grouping – India, the U.S., Japan and Australia. His comments will bring some measure of clarity to discussions on the level of priority the new administration will assign to the Indo-Pacific, which had been elevated by the Trump administration as a foreign policy priority, mostly as a reaction to China’s growing assertiveness.
Mr. Sullivan described the Quad and the Abraham Accords – deals signed in 2020 to normalise relations between Israel and certain West Asian and North African countries – as examples of Trump administration’s actions that were positive and ones the Biden administration would build on. For Mr Sullivan, the most pressing challenge was the turmoil within the U.S. itself.
5. After uproar, Myanmar Army plays down coup rhetoric
Myanmar’s military on Saturday vowed to abide by the country’s Constitution, in an apparent backtracking after its commander-in-chief spurred fears of a coup when he suggested the juntascripted charter could be repealed. The powerful Army has for weeks alleged widespread irregularities in November’s election, won in a landslide by Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).
The last time the country saw its Constitution revoked was in 1988, when the military reinstated a junta after a popular uprising. The General’s comments on the Constitution drew alarm from more than a dozen foreign missions and the UN, while smaller political parties called for a resolution between Ms. Suu Kyi and the military.
Voter fraud charges : The country’s highest Buddhist authority even stepped in, with the senior monks of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka issuing a statement late on Friday calling for negotiations to prevail “instead of heated arguments”. The military is alleging 10 million cases of voter fraud in November’s polls, and is demanding the Election Commission release the electoral roll for cross checking. The Election Commission has denied fraud, though it has conceded that there were “flaws” in the lists of voters.
6. No curbs on vaccine supply to N. Ireland: EU
The European Union backtracked on a threat to restrict exports of coronavirus shots to Northern Ireland in its growing row with Britain. British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca has said it can only deliver a fraction of its vaccine doses promised to the EU and Britain because of production problems, but both sides are demanding their pledges are met.
The EU threatened to restrict vaccine exports to Northern Ireland by overriding part of the Brexit deal with Britain that allowed the free flow of goods over the Irish border, but backed down after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced “grave concern” over the potential impact from the decision. The European Commission will “ensure that the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol is unaffected”, the EU commissioner said in a statement.
7. Post-poll crisis in CAR displaced 2 lakh: UN
More than 2,00,000 people have fled fighting in the Central African Republic since violence erupted over a December election result, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said, with nearly half crossing into the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cause of Violence : The CAR Army, backed by U.N., Russian and Rwandan troops, has been battling rebels that are seeking to overturn a December 27 vote, in which President Faustin Archange Touadera was declared the winner. “Refugees have told UNHCR that they fled in panic when they heard gunshots, leaving their belongings behind,” spokesman Boris Cheshirkov told journalists in Geneva. About 92,000 refugees have reached DRC and more than 13,000 have crossed into Cameroon, Chad and the Republic of Congo. The rest are displaced inside the Central African Republic.
8. China’s Hualong One nuclear reactor gets going
China National Nuclear Corporation said its first nuclear power unit that uses Hualong One, a third generation reactor, started commercial operations. The reactor, located in Fuqing city in China’s southeastern Fujian province, was designed to have a 60 year lifespan, with its core equipment domestically produced.
Each unit of the Hualong No. 1 has a capacity of 1.161 million kilowatts and can meet the annual domestic electricity demand of 1 million people in moderately developed countries, according to CNNC. “With Hualong One online, China is now at the forefront of third-generation nuclear technology in the world, alongside countries like the U.S., France and Russia,” said CNNC President Yu Jianfeng. A second Hualong One unit is due to be completed later this year.
OPINIONS & ANALYSIS
Analysis : Google and the government of Australia
- Australia is working on a law that seeks to make Internet platforms Google and Facebook pay news media companies for displaying their content as well as linking to their content. Last week, just over a month after Australia introduced the legislation in Parliament, Google said it will shut down its search engine there if the law becomes a reality.
(ii). Basics of the law
In its 2019 report, Digital Platforms Inquiry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the country’s competition regulator, noted that there was a fundamental imbalance in the power between news media and internet platforms. The report said these platforms had “substantial bargaining power in relation to many news media businesses.”
Very few platforms have the billion plus user base or the ﬁnancial strength of Google or Facebook. On the other side are millions of individual publishers, none close to being any match for the scale of the top tech platforms. It also highlighted that media regulation hardly applied to platforms.
(iii). How the bill seeks to correct power imbalance
What is being proposed is a mandatory mechanism, under which news media companies will get to negotiate with Facebook and Google regarding payment for their content. Further, the Bill provides for a 14-day notice that platforms need to give publishers regarding any change in their algorithms. Changes in platform algorithms have a signiﬁcant impact on the referral traﬃc that publishers receive, and consequently affects their business. This is one of those rare interventions by a government in publisher-platform relationships.
Publications often worry about faring well on Google and Facebook. They also worry about keeping pace with algorithmic changes. But the publisher-platform relationship has rarely ever been about money. It has almost always been about tools and strategies for publishers to fare well on the platforms.
(iv). What is Google's stand
Google is not just against the idea of paying for the links but is also critical of the proposals on arbitration and algorithmic changes. Google has said: “Right now, no website or search engine in Australia pays to connect people to other sites through links... The Code undermines one of the key principles of the open internet people use every day.”
In 2014, Google shut its News Service in Spain, when the government introduced a law to make it pay a licence fee to use news content. Google shut down its Chinese search engine in 2010. In France, it has been forced by law to strike deals with publishers. The EU copyright rules, which France has given force to, “allow publishers to demand a fee from online platforms showing extracts of their news.”
Google has proposed a diﬀerent solution. It goes by the name, Google News Showcase, a licensing arrangement with publishers across the world, toward which it plans to spend $1 billion globally in the next three years.
ECONOMICS & FINANCE
1. Government plans law to ban bitcoin, set up official digital currency
India plans to introduce a law to ban private cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and put in place a framework for an oﬃcial digital currency to be issued by the central bank, according to a legislative agenda listed by the government. The law will “create a facilitative framework for creation of the oﬃcial digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).”
The legislation seeks “to prohibit all private crypto currencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses,” the government said. In mid-2019, a government panel recommended banning all private cryptocurrencies, with a jail term of up to 10 years and heavy ﬁnes for anyone dealing in digital currencies. The panel had, however, asked the government to consider the introduction of an oﬃcial government backed digital currency, to function like bank notes, through the RBI.
In March 2020, the Supreme Court allowed banks to handle cryptocurrency transactions from exchanges and traders, overturning a ban that had dealt the thriving industry a blow. Governments around the world have been looking into ways to regulate cryptocurrencies but no major economy has taken the drastic step of placing a blanket ban on owning them.
2. US lobby urges India not to tighten e-commerce rules
A U.S. lobby group that represents ﬁrms including Amazon.com and Walmart has urged India not to tighten foreign investment rules for e-commerce companies again. India is considering revising the rules after traders in the country accused Amazon’s Indian division and Walmart’s Flipkart of creating complex structures to bypass investment regulations.
India allows foreign e-commerce players to operate as only a marketplace but local traders say the U.S. giants promote select sellers and oﬀer deep discounts, which hurts business for smaller local retailers. The Centre is now considering tightening those rules again to include sellers in which a foreign e-commerce ﬁrm holds indirect stake through its parent.
“Any further changes in FDI rules would limit e-commerce ﬁrms from leveraging their scale,” U.S. India Business Council (USIBC) said in a letter.
Economic Survey snippets
1. Economic survey predicts 11% growth next fiscal
India’s economy is ﬁrmly in the middle of a V-shaped recovery and will bounce back to record 11% growth in 2021-22 after an estimated 7.7% contraction this year, as per a “conservative” estimate in the Economic Survey for 2020-21, which termed this a “lockdown dividend” from the country’s stringent response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The V-shaped economic recovery while avoiding a second wave of infections make India a sui generis case in this unique, synchronized global recession,” the Survey said. It added that a rapid vaccination rollout this year could boost recovery in the services sectors as well as stir up private consumption and investment.
The Survey argued that the country’s ‘mature policy response to this “once in a century” crisis provides important lessons for democracies to avoid myopic policy making and demonstrates the significant beneﬁts of focusing on long-term gains’.
In absolute terms, India's GDP was Rs. 145.7 lakh crore in FY20. A contraction of 7.7% in FY21 would reduce it to Rs. 134.4 lakh crore. And an expansion of 11% in FY22 would take it to Rs. 149.2 lakh crore.
2. Bare necessities gap between states has narrowed since 2012, survey shows
Poorer States have reduced the gap with rich States in providing citizens with access to the basics of daily life – housing, water, power, sanitation, cooking gas, according to a new ‘Bare Necessities Index’ (BNI) in the Economic Survey 202021.
The index, which draws its name from Baloo the Bear’s song in the movie adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, uses existing National Statistical Ofﬁce survey data to show that between 2012 and 2018, serious gains were made in the area of sanitation although equity in housing access still lagged.
Access to ‘the bare necessities’ has improved disproportionately more for the poorest households when compared to the richest households across rural and urban areas. However, the survey noted there was still a gap between urban and rural India, as well as among income groups, and recommended “eﬀective targeting of the needier population” in government schemes. It also suggested the BNI could be constructed at district level using large annual household survey data, to show progress.
3. Withdrawal of forbearance measures once economy recovers
The Economic Survey 2020-21 has prescribed an early withdrawal of the regulatory forbearance that was adopted in the wake of the pandemic toward oﬀ the threat of ﬁnancial sector failures impacting the real economy, citing the lesson learnt from the prolonged continuance of the loosened regulations over the seven years following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008. During the GFC, the forbearance, which should have been discontinued in 2011 when GDP, exports, IIP and credit growth had all recovered signiﬁcantly, continued for seven years resulting in unintended and detrimental consequences for banks, ﬁrms, and the economy, the survey asserted.
The lesson for policymakers was “to treat emergency measures as such and not to extend them even after recovery: when an emergency medicine becomes a staple diet, it can be counterproductive.”
On Asset quality reviews of banks : The asset quality review must account for all the creative ways in which banks can evergreen their loans. The banking regulator needs to be more equipped in the early detection of fault lines and must expand the tool kit of ex-ante remedial measures. The Survey said a clean-up unaccompanied by mandatory capital infusion exacerbates bad lending practices. A clean-up exercise should be accompanied by mandatory recapitalisation based on a thorough evaluation of the capital requirements post an asset quality review, it added. Apart from recapitalising banks, it is important to enhance the quality of their governance.
4. India's ratings don't reflect economy's fundamentals : CEA
India’s sovereign credit ratings do not reﬂect the economy’s fundamentals, Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian said, while pitching for sovereign credit ratings methodology to be made more transparent and less subjective. “Sovereign credit ratings methodology must be amended to reﬂect economies’ ability and willingness to pay their debt obligations by becoming more transparent and less subjective. Developing economies must come together to address this bias and subjectivity inherent in sovereign credit ratings methodology to prevent exacerbation of crises in future,” it said.
The Chief Economic Adviser also pitched for simpliﬁcation of regulatory processes by avoiding substitution of supervision with more complex regulation, along with transparent decision-making processes.
5. Capital budget allocated for defence completely utilised since 2016-17
The allocated capital budget for defence has been fully utilised since 2016-17, reversing the previous trends of surrender of funds, as per the Economic Survey. The allocation for defence budget, including civil estimates and pensions for 2020-21, was ₹4,71,378 crore or ₹40,367.71 crore more than the budget estimates of 2019-20. On account of the lengthy procurement process and delays in ﬁnalising deals, in the past, unused funds had been returned at the end of the ﬁnancial year.
On eﬀorts to boost indigenisation of weapons systems, the Economic Survey said Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) and Ordnance Factories (OFs) were striving to increase the indigenous content of the equipment and products manufactured by them. Further, over the years, a wide vendor base had been developed. Exports from the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the DPSUs and the private sector had increased from ₹4,682 crore in 2017-18 to ₹9,116 crore in 2019-20.
6. ‘Focus on growth than on alleviating inequality’
India must keep its focus on economic growth, rather than trying to alleviate inequality, says the Economic Survey, arguing given India’s current stage of development, redistribution of wealth is not feasible without growing the overall pie. Unlike the developed world, in India, economic growth and inequality both have similar correlations with socio-economic indicators such as health, education, fertility rates, crime and drug usage.
The Survey also draws on the Chinese experience to suggest in countries with high growth rates and high levels of absolute poverty, there is no tradeoff between growth and inequality. It said questions regarding conflict between growth and inequality become more pertinent “especially because of the inevitable focus on inequality following the COVID-19 pandemic.”
An Oxfam report had shown Indian billionaires increased their wealth by 35% during the lockdown at a time when a quarter of the country was earning less than ₹3,000 per month.
7. ‘Lockdown provided a boost to gig economy’
- The lockdown gave a boost to the gig economy, while it had an “inevitable impact on the vulnerable and informal sector,” the Economic Survey for 2020-21 noted. “During the period of COVID-19 induced lockdown, the increasing role of the gig economy was evident with significant growth of online retail business,” it stated. Gig or platform workers had lacked basic rights and social security till the recent Code on Social Security was introduced.
8. ‘High out of pocket expenses for health can lead to poverty’
India has one of the highest levels of Out-Of-Pocket Expenditures (OOPE) contributing directly to the high incidence of catastrophic expenditures and poverty, notes the Economic Survey. It suggested an increase in public spending from 1% to 2.53% of GDP – as envisaged in the National Health Policy 2017 – can decrease the OOPE from 65% to 30% of overall healthcare spend.
The Survey states about 65% of deaths in India are now caused by noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) with ischemic heart diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and stroke being the leading causes.
The Survey observes that the health of a nation depends critically on its citizens having access to an equitable, affordable and accountable healthcare system. The OOPE, as a share of total health expenditure, drops precipitously when public health expenditure increases. The Survey also underlines that OOPE for health increases the risk of vulnerable groups slipping into poverty because of catastrophic health expenditures. The life expectancy in a country correlates positively with per capita public health expenditure, it notes.
Private healthcare, The Economic Survey observed that bulk of the healthcare in India is provided by the private sector. “Private hospitals charge much higher than government hospitals for treatment of the same ailment and higher charges do not assure better quality,’’ it said. The Survey added that for enabling India to respond to pandemics, the health infrastructure must incorporate flexibility as events requiring healthcare attention may not repeat in identical fashion in future.
1. NDTL suspension to stay for now
The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) has said that National Dope Testing Laboratory’s (NDTL) accreditation cannot be reinstated now as the New Delhi based lab is yet to satisfy WADA over several corrective actions. The suspension prohibited the NDTL from carrying out any anti-doping activities, including all analyses of urine and blood samples.
What is WADA? The World Anti-Doping Agency is a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee based in Canada to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports. The agency's key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code, whose provisions are enforced by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.
2. Ranji Trophy not to held this season
- For the ﬁrst time since its inception in 1934-35, the Ranji Trophy – the premier First Class cricket tournament in India – is set to be suspended for a season, owing to the pandemic. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has informed its aﬃliates that the truncated season would comprise the Vijay Hazare Trophy, senior women’s one day tournament and the Vinoo Mankad Trophy for under-19 boys.
1. A budget blueprint for difficult times https://www.pressreader.com/india/the-hindu/20210130/281758451962168
2. 72 year journey of Supreme Court of India https://www.indialegallive.com/special/72-year-journey-of-supreme-court-of-india/
3. Right to freedom of religion : A lesson from Zimbabwe https://www.indialegallive.com/cover-story-articles/il-feature-news/right-freedom-religion-zimbabwe-education/
4. Supreme Court on uniform adoption and guardianship guidelines https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-pil-uniform-adoption-guardianship-constitution-169105
5. Profile: Rakesh Tikait https://indianexpress.com/article/india/a-breakdown-and-the-rise-of-farmer-leader-rakesh-tikait-7167239/
6. Overreaching Act : RTI https://www.livelaw.in/columns/right-to-information-act-rti-transparency-article-19-constitution-169166
7. On the 'love-Jihad' ordinance : Justice A.P Shah https://thewire.in/law/love-jihad-ordinance-communal-rhetoric-divisive-justice-ap-shah
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Sources referred to : The Hindu, The Indian Express, Live Law, Bar & Bench