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Thursday, August 18, 2022

The HINDU Notes – 18th August 2022

14:07

 


πŸ“° Data opportunity at the G20

The Indian Government should present a holistic agenda that embeds data collection and sharing

•The global politics of data is rapidly evolving as leading and emerging digital economies like the European Union (EU), the U.S., India, Indonesia, and South Africa strive to protect, monetise, and leverage data collected within their territories for domestic purposes. The age of borderless data with limited or no government control, once an aspiration, appears behind us. 

•Increasing privacy and security concerns coupled with economic interests have compelled governments to institute rules and standards that govern and restrict cross-border flows with natural implications for negotiations on global trade and commerce. Indeed, the sheer amount of data being generated and shared globally has necessitated governments to exert more control over the use, sharing, and cross-border flow of data. According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), data localisation laws have more than doubled from 2017 to 2021, indicating that states seek and want increasing levels of regulatory control over data.

Creation of single data market

•Data regulation efforts transcend data localisation. Relaxing its deference to self-regulation by firms, Joe Biden’s administration recently issued an executive order on promoting competition in the American economy that pushed for the use of antitrust policy to meet the challenges posed by the rise of dominant platforms, and surveillance. European policymakers have introduced a bevy of digital rules that place individual users centre-stage, and enhancing their data security. Through the proposed Data Act, the EU hopes to become an unparalleled data power by creating a single data market, setting robust standards and deploying the EU’s collective data for their own use.

•As a rising ‘data market’ with critical stakes in multilateral and regional negotiations on data, how can India negotiate data when it assumes leadership of the G20?

•The G-20 appears as a viable platform to discuss data, particularly sharing and transfer, given seemingly converging positions on data governance amongst major G-7 powers and emerging economies as the state finds a greater role in regulating data. Moreover, the G-20’s track record as the apex forum to discuss global economic issues gives it legitimacy and having the top (digital) economies makes it an appropriate forum to discuss data. The G20 does not create binding rules but serves as a platform to catalyse and inject new thinking around critical current issues.

Data sovereignty

•India was way ahead of the ‘data sovereignty’ curve, brandishing it to justify domestic policy-making and burnishing this stance at various international discussions, long before it became fashionable across northern jurisdictions. Since 2017, India has attempted to incubate governance of non-personal data, personal data, e-commerce regulation and artificial intelligence (AI) with a preference to harness “India’s data for India’s development.” These policies, including the recently withdrawn Personal Data Protection Bill, are works in progress but this does not take away from the vast ecosystem of actors — including experts, civil society, and industry actively engaging with and attempting to shape digital policy-making.

•To underscore political rhetoric and drive global data discussions at the G20, the Indian government should present a holistic agenda that embeds data collection and sharing within a broader framework that prioritises digital security, innovation, and citizen rights.

•For instance, the Reserve Bank of India’s data localisation directive has been in place for four years now. An empirical assessment of how this has impacted both start-ups, big technology companies, and users could serve as a useful example. Has localisation achieved requisite security and economic benefits? Or has it stifled digital innovation? Second, India’s digital economy stewardship must transcend data localisation by highlighting best practices on data protection, competition law, data stewardship, and responsible artificial intelligence both in India and other G20 countries. The ongoing effort to redraft the Personal Data Protection Bill and embed it within a ‘more comprehensive framework’ that addresses related concerns like cybersecurity must serve as an urgent domestic priority, and could lend weight to India’s G-20 data approach.

•By adding nuance to prevailing ‘data’ narratives and enabling countries with different views to express themselves and engage meaningfully on critical questions, India’s G-20 stint would mark a key phase in the global digital economy. 

πŸ“° Voters not looking for freebies: SC

Promises alone do not decide the outcome of elections for political parties, it says

•Voters, if given a chance, will prefer to earn a dignified earning through welfare schemes such as the MGNREGA and create public assets in rural India. Freebies do not always decide the outcome of elections for political parties, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.

•A Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said there have been instances of parties losing elections in spite of their promises of freebies. “I don’t think voters are looking for freebies. Given an opportunity, they (voters) will opt for dignified earning. For example, MGNREGA offered dignified earning and also created public assets in rural areas. So, I don’t think promises alone decide the outcome of elections... There are instances of parties not being elected despite their promises,” Chief Justice Ramana said.

•The court was hearing a petition to curb the practice of offering or distributing “irrational freebies” at the cost of public money, especially in debt-ridden States during the run-up to elections.

•The court said its primary concern is about “the right way of spending public money”. The court indicated that promises of freebies come at a cost to the public exchequer. “At the end of the day, we must say there is no free lunch,” the Bench observed.

•The court is dealing with rival contentions raised in the case. On the one hand, the contention is that freebies are a waste of public money and a sure road to economic doom for the country, on the other, they are incentives and schemes to ensure public welfare.

•“But the question is what exactly qualifies as a ‘valid promise’? Can promise of subsidy on power, seeds and fertilizers to small and marginal farmers, free health care and drinking water be considered as freebies? Can we treat promises of consumer products, electronics free of cost for all as a welfare measure?” the court asked.

Welfare schemes

•Chief Justice Ramana said freebies should not be confused with welfare schemes introduced by States. The CJI said Article 38 of the Constitution mandates that States should ensure the welfare of the people, “minimise inequalities in income and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations”.

•“You cannot prevent a political party or an individual from making promises that are aimed at fulfilling this constitutional mandate, if elected to power,” the Chief Justice observed.

•Senior advocate P. Wilson, for Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, submitted that the Constitution empowered States to promulgate welfare schemes. The term ‘freebies’ cannot be interpreted to restrict States’ competence to provide welfare.

•The court said the parties involved, including the Centre and the State political parties, should come up with their opinions and recommendations on the issue of freebies which was getting more “complicated”. The court posted the case to next week. In the previous hearing, senior advocate Vikas Singh, for petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, said States have a debt of ₹15 lakh crore. “Public money should not be misused by political parties whose only intention is to gain and retain power,” Mr. Singh said.

πŸ“° The Centre vs State tussle over IAS postings

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THE HINDU NEWSPAPER IMPORTANT ARTICLES 18.08.2022

07:32
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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Daily Current Affairs, 17th August 2022

18:54

 


1)  Indian flag unfurled in space to marks 75 Years of Independence

•The Indian national flag was unfurled in space at an altitude of over 30 km as the country marked its 75 years of Independence. The tricolour was sent to the edge of space on a balloon by Space Kidz India, which describes itself as an aerospace organisation creating young scientists for the country. The unfurling of the flag was part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations that mark the completion of 75 years since India became Independent.


2)  Odisha Government Signed An MoU With NIOT For Protecting It’s Coastline

•The Odisha Government has signed an  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) for the protection of coastal areas from various natural calamities like flood, cyclone, soil erosion and high tide, etc. The Odisha coastal areas face natural calamities every year due to the effects of climate change. Seven districts namely Ganjam, Puri, Khordha, Kendrapada, Bhadrak, Baleswar and Jagatsinghpur will get benefitted out of the initiative.


3)  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh unveils statue of Marwari warrior Veer Durgadas Rathore

•Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has unveiled the Statue of “Veer Durgadas Rathore” on his 385th birth anniversary in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur. The Raksha Mantri paid glowing tribute to Veer Durgadas Rathore on the occasion, terming him as the symbol of social harmony, honesty, bravery and devotion. He stated that people, irrespective of caste or religion, should take inspiration from Veer Durgadas Rathore, who strived for peace and harmony against divisive elements in society.


4)  Union Minister Jitendra Singh unveils India’s first Saline Water Lantern

•Union Minister of Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh has launched India’s first saline water lantern, ‘Roshini’, which uses seawater to power Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps. The minister unveiled the first-of-its-kind lantern during his visit to Sagar Anveshika, a coastal research vessel operated by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) Chennai for marine research.


5)  Simon Stiell of Grenada named as new UNFCCC Executive Secretary

•UN Secretary-General AntΓ³nio Guterres has appointed Simon Stiell as the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat based in Bonn, Germany. The appointment has been endorsed by the Bureau of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


6)  William Ruto is declared Kenya’s next president

•Kenyan Deputy President, William Ruto is now the country’s president-elect after he was declared the winner of the last presidential election over five-time contender Raila Odinga. Before Wafula Chebukati, the chair of Kenya’s electoral commission could announce Ruto’s victory. Ruto received 50.49% of the vote, the chairman said, while Odinga received 48.85%.


•Ruto, who has promised a break from the “dynasties” that have dominated Kenyan politics since independence, projected a conciliatory tone in his acceptance speech, urging unity. Kenya is a model of democracy in East Africa, a region where authoritarianism has been ascendant. These elections had been hailed as a step forward for Kenyan democracy because the campaign was marked by political maturity. Politicians focused on economic issues, instead of the tribal mobilization that has been a feature of every Kenyan election since independence.


7)  India Can Be USD 5 Trillion Economy By FY29 If GDP Grows At 9% For 5 Years

•India may become a USD five trillion economy by 2028-29 only if the GDP grows at nine per cent per annum consistently for the next five years, former RBI Governor D Subbarao said on Monday. Speaking at Federation of Telangana Chamber of Commerce and Industry on India @75- Marching Towards USD 5 Trillion Economy on the occasion of 75 years of Indian Independence.


8)  India To Start Supplying Petrol With 20% Ethanol From April 2023

•India will start supplying petrol with 20 per cent ethanol at select petrol pumps from April next year and will ramp up supplies thereafter as it looks to cut oil import dependence and address environmental issues. E20 petrol (petrol blended with 20 per cent ethanol) in some quantity will be available from April 2023 and the rest to be covered by 2025.


9)  Covid booster vaccination approved first in the United Kingdom

•British health authorities stated that the UK has become the first nation to approve a bivalent Moderna Covid booster vaccination. Covid booster vaccination targets both the original strain of COVID-19 and the more recent Omicron version. The Moderna Covid booster vaccination was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as a “sharpened instrument” against the new coronavirus after it was determined to meet its requirements of safety, quality, and effectiveness.


10)  4 independent directors reappointed by GoI to RBI’s central board

•Satish Kashinath Marathe, Swaminathan Gurumurthy, Revathy Iyer, and Sachin Chaturvedi have all been renominated by the national government to serve as part-time, non-official directors on the RBI’s central board or central board of the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI said on its website that Gurumurthy and Marathe have been renominated for another term of four years, until further instructions for RBI’s central board.


11)  Nation Celebrates 150th Birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo

•India is celebrating the 75th year of its Independence and to add more glory to this day, India is also celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo, who is a spiritual icon. Sri Aurobindo was one of the greatest revolutionaries in India and later became a legendary Spiritual Master. He has left behind great philosophical and political writings to learn from.


•For the 150th Birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo, over 10,000 devotees across the world paid their tribute to one of the greatest spiritual leaders of India. Several devotees stood in long lines to visit the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and some visited Sri Aurobindo’s room. The residents of Auroville held various events and a light mandala and sacred fire offering at the Inuksuk near the Visitors Centre at Auroville.


12)  Wholesale Price Index (WPI) declines to 13.93% in July

•According to figures issued by the commerce ministry, Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation in India decreased to 13.93% in July. The WPI inflation rate dropped from a record-breaking 16.63 percent in May to 15.18 percent in June. Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation was 11.57 percent in July 2021. The wholesale price index increased by double digits in July, marking the 16th consecutive month that the WPI has risen above the 10-percent threshold.

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The HINDU Notes – 17th August 2022

13:11

 


πŸ“° Child mortality has dipped to 35 per 1,000 births: Minister

Govt. launches new app, Paalan 1000, to guide parents

•India has taken rapid strides in reducing child mortality since 2014 from 45 per 1,000 live births to 35 per 1,000 live births in 2019, Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said here on Tuesday.

•Dr. Pawar was speaking after the virtual launch of the ‘Paalan 1000’ National Campaign and Parenting App at the Early Childhood Development Conclave in Mumbai.

•‘Paalan 1000’ focuses on the cognitive development of children in the first two years of their life. The app will provide practical advice to caregivers on what they can do in their everyday routine and will help clear doubts.

•Highlighting the importance of the early phases of a child’s life as their impact can last a lifetime, Dr. Pawar said, “A baby’s brain development begins during pregnancy and is influenced by the pregnant woman’s health, nutrition and environment.”

•“The first 1,000 days encompasses conception as well as the first two years of a child’s life and during this period, the growing child needs the right nutrition, stimulation, love and support. The first 1,000 days establishes a solid platform for a child’s physical, mental, emotional, cognitive and social health,” she said.

πŸ“° The coming 75 years

A higher standard of living is possible if India shifts its focus to science and technology

•As India celebrates 75 years of Independence, it is apt to imagine what the next 75 years will look like. Can our nation, obsessed with politics, Bollywood, and cricket, aspire to make the next 75 years an enviable era with a higher standard of living for every citizen? Yes, India can, and will, provided there is a shift in focus to science and technology. But how will India make this happen, given that it spends a meagre 0.7% of its GDP on research and development (R&D)? It needs to make some fundamental policy changes to facilitate the transition. These include increasing the R&D budget to 4% of the nation’s GDP, ensuring that individual institutions implement processes to accommodate the large budget, encouraging individual entrepreneurs and linking science with society.

Strengthening infrastructure

•First, spending 4% of the national GDP on R&D is required to drive science and innovation. Israel and South Korea are prime examples that drive their respective economies by spending nearly 5% of their GDP on R&D. However, an increase in the science budget to innovate must precede appropriate macro-level policy changes on how and where the money needs to be spent. A part of this increase needs to be earmarked for building physical and intellectual infrastructure across the country, especially in the universities. A first-class infrastructure must be accompanied by well-trained, globally competitive institutional administrators and processes. India cannot compete on a global stage unless the dwindling infrastructure of its universities is upgraded.

•Second, before any policy changes take effect, individual institutions must implement processes to accommodate the large budget. This requires standardising procedures across institutions and borrowing the best practices from some global counterparts. For example, when the government encourages public-private partnerships, each grant-receiving institution must have internal procedures to handle their scientists’ requests to facilitate effective academia-industry collaboration. Although there is a well-defined system to disburse research grants to scientists through their institutions, it is mired in inefficiencies. Inadequate staffing at funding agencies, lack of transparency in fund disbursal, lack of a rigorous international standard review and feedback process, excessive delay in fund disbursal, and an outdated appraisal system are holding our scientists back. Everyone knows about the lacking, but what is the way out? Part of the solution is to bring and implement best practices from the industry and some of the best-run science grant administrations abroad. The involvement of the IT major, Tata Consulting Services, and technology use in transforming passport services across the globe gives us hope. This is not to hand over the crucial decision-making process of science grant administration to the industry, but to facilitate the process of paper submission and to make the decision-making process easier, faster, and with complete transparency.

Science for the masses

•Third, it is time to bring the fruits of science and technology closer to the masses. There is no better way to do this than by promoting and facilitating individual entrepreneurs. This has received increased attention from the government with many positive policy changes. However, without proper nutrition, the plants cannot produce greener leaves. There are no better cradles for creative ideas than our university labs. A robust system to link the labs with the entrepreneurs to funnel innovative ideas, products, and solutions to our society needs to be in place. To make this happen, the universities must encourage scientists to innovate and place standardised procedures to take ideas out of labs. Entrepreneurship will only succeed in India if it is backed by a funnel of ideas and a liberal process of taking those ideas out of our university labs.

•Where does India find $125 billion or nearly ₹10 lakh crore to fund science? India cannot do that by taking money away from social infrastructure, rural development or important welfare schemes. This is only possible if India cuts the defence budget. No nation can claim to win wars in the 21st century with increased defence spending. Even the mighty U.S., with an excess of $750 billion dollars in the defence budget, could not defeat the Taliban. We must realise that the next generation of war is economic, not military, and only a science and technology-driven economy can prepare us for that.

πŸ“° FIFA bans AIFF for third party influence

India loses right to host Women’s U17 World Cup scheduled from October 11

•In a massive setback for the country, world football governing body FIFA on Tuesday suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for “undue influence from third parties” and said the U-17 Women’s World Cup “cannot currently be held in India as planned.” The country was scheduled to host the FIFA tournament from October 11-30.

•This is the first time the AIFF has been banned by FIFA in its 85-year history, with the apex body saying there have been “flagrant violations of the FIFA Statutes”.

•“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes,” the FIFA said in a statement.

•“The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.”

•“The suspension means that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, scheduled to take place in India on 11-30 October 2022, cannot currently be held in India as planned. FIFA is assessing the next steps with regard to the tournament and will refer the matter to the Bureau of the Council if and when necessary.”

•In the wake of the latest development, the Centre sought an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court on the AIFF matter.

•A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, that “important development” has taken place and FIFA has sent a letter suspending India which is in public domain and needs to be brought on record.

•This was after a four-member FIFA delegation held a meeting with senior sports ministry officials and the CoA on Friday and Monday, respectively.

•“Till last evening it seemed consensus has been reached between all the parties but last night FIFA just informed us that they will have to ban AIFF as per its internal committee decision,” an official in the Sports Ministry said. A ban on India has been on the cards since the Supreme Court removed Praful Patel as AIFF president on May 18.

πŸ“° Understanding ethanol blending

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THE HINDU NEWSPAPER IMPORTANT ARTICLES 17.08.2022

07:27
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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Daily Current Affairs, 16th August 2022

17:58

 


1)  World’s Highest Chenab Railway Bridge Inaugurated

•The golden joint of the world’s highest railway bridge over River Chenab was inaugurated. For the first time ever since independence, Srinagar will be linked to the rest of India after the overarch deck on the world’s highest single-arch railway bridge over River Chenab. The bridge will be 35 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower.


2)  Arunachal’s 3rd Airport Named ‘Donyi Polo Airport’

•The third airport in Arunachal Pradesh, which is now under construction in Itanagar, the state capital, has been given the name “Donyi Polo Airport” by the Arunachal Pradesh administration. According to a representative of the Chief Minister’s Office, the state cabinet adopted “Donyi Polo Airport” as the name of the airport at its meeting. Pema Khandu, the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, presided over the gathering.


3)  Kolkata To Host 23rd Edition Of India International Seafood Show(IISS)

•Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in association with the Seafood Exporters’ Association of India (SEAI) will hold the 23rd edition of India International Seafood Show (IISS) in Kolkata, the City of Joy from February 15 to 7 next year.


4)  Defence forces, RBI and PM Office Most Trusted Institutions

•Defence forces, RBI and Prime Minister of India are the three most trusted institutions in the country, according to a survey by Ipsos India. The Supreme Court of India came fourth and it was followed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).


5)  107 Gallantry awards announced for Armed Forces and CAPF personnel

•President of India, Droupadi Murmu has approved 107 Gallantry awards to Armed Forces and Central Armed Police Forces personnel on the occasion of Independence Day 2022. The awards include three Kirti Chakra, 13 Shaurya Chakras, two bar to Sena Medals (gallantry), 81 Sena Medals (gallantry), one Nao Sena Medal (gallantry) and seven Vayu Sena Medals (gallantry).


•The president has also approved 40 mention-in-despatches to the Indian Army, one to Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel and another to the army dog, ‘Axel’ (posthumously), for their significant contributions in different military operations which include Operation Rakshak, Operation Snow Leopard, Operation Rhino, Operation Orchid, Operation Falcon, Operation Hifazat and Operation Trikut (Deoghar).


6)  IAS Piyush Goyal named NATGRID CEO by the Union government

•IAS officer of the Nagaland cadre, Piyush Goyal has been appointed by the Central Government as the new CEO of NATGRID (National Intelligence Grid). Along with this, the Central Government has also issued an order to post 26 other officers on the post of Additional Secretary. Piyush Goyal is currently serving as Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry.


•The post of its CEO was vacant since June when its then chief IPS officer Ashish Gupta was appointed as additional director general of the Border Security Force (BSF). Chandrakar Bharti, a 1996 batch IAS officer of the Union Territory cadre, has been appointed in place of Piyush Goyal. Presently he is Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Defence.


7)  State Bank of India launched “Utsav fixed deposit scheme”

•The largest lender in the nation, State Bank of India (SBI) has introduced a unique term deposit programme called “Utsav Deposit Scheme”. This fixed deposit scheme has higher interest rates and is only available for a limited time. This programme is introduced on the occasion of the nation’s 76th year of Independence, celebrated as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.


8)  INS Satpura to 75 Lap “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav Run” at San Diego

•Indian Naval Ship (INS) Satpura reached the San Diego Harbour North American Continent on 13th August to celebrate the 75 years of Independence of India. The INS Satpura conducted a 75 Lap Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav Run at the San Diego US Navy Base on the Independence Day of India. The ship hoisted the Indian Tricolour flag in the presence of the Indian diaspora and distinguished local dignitaries in the North American Continent on the historic occasion of 75 years of Independence of India.


•The arrival of INS Satpura to the San Diego US Navy Base is a historic event as it is the first time an Indian Naval Warship has reached the western coast of North America. This event demonstrates the capability and advancement of the Indian Navy after 75 years of Independence.

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The HINDU Notes – 16th August 2022

14:04

 


πŸ“° A road map for India-EU ties

India and EU should not let divergence of views on some issues overwhelm the convergence of views on other areas

•While India celebrates its 75th year of Independence, it also celebrates 60 years of diplomatic relations with the European Union (EU). A cooperation agreement signed in 1994 took the bilateral relationship beyond trade and economic cooperation. The first India-EU Summit, in June 2000, marked a watershed in the evolution of the relationship. At the fifth India-EU Summit in 2004, the relationship was upgraded to a ‘Strategic Partnership’. The two sides adopted a Joint Action Plan in 2005 towards strengthening dialogue and consultation mechanisms in the political and economic spheres, enhancing trade and investment, and bringing peoples and cultures together. The 15th India-EU Summit, in July 2020, provided a common road map to guide joint action and further strengthen the partnership over the next five years. The road map highlights engagement across five domains: foreign policy and security cooperation; trade and economy; sustainable modernisation partnership; global governance; and people-to-people relations.

Areas of cooperation

•The India-EU partnership has grown rapidly ever since. Bilateral trade between the two surpassed $116 billion in 2021-22. The EU is India’s second largest trading partner after the U.S., and the second largest destination for Indian exports. There are 6,000 European companies in the country that directly and indirectly create 6.7 million jobs.

•Beyond the economic partnership, India and the EU have several avenues of collaboration. For example, the ‘green strategic partnership’ between India and Denmark aims to address climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and the India-Nordic Summit in May focused on green technologies and industry transformation that are vital for sustainable and inclusive growth. All this will act as a catalyst for enhanced cooperation between the two regions.

•Cooperation with the EU in the defence sector has also increased substantially. This is critical for India at this juncture, to reduce its hardware dependence on Russia in the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict and seek diversification of its armament imports from other regions with latest technologies in wake of its confrontation with China. India and the EU regularly conduct joint military and naval exercises which reflects on their commitment to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. The first maritime security dialogue between the two in 2021 focused on cooperation in maritime domain awareness, capacity-building, and joint naval activities. France’s on-time delivery of 36 Rafale fighter jets and willingness to offer Barracuda nuclear attack submarines to the Indian Navy reflects the growing level of trust in their relationships. Leading European defence equipment manufacturers are willing to partner with Indian companies for defence projects aligned with the ‘Make in India’ programme.

•Another rapidly growing area of engagement is the start-up and innovation ecosystem across India and Europe. Furthermore, the Science and Technology Joint Steering Committee between the two focus on areas such as healthcare, Artificial Intelligence, and earth sciences. In 2020, there was an agreement for research and development cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the European Atomic Energy Community and the Government of India.

Challenges

•However, challenges remain. Both have differing opinions and divergent interests in some areas. India’s reluctance to explicitly condemn Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, and the country’s increasing economic cooperation with Russia, has been one area of disagreement. India has called out the EU’s double standards on the same, for the EU purchases 45% of its gas imports from Russia in 2021. There is also ambiguity on the EU’s strategy in tackling the rise of China. Its muted response during the Galwan clash is a case in point. India’s economic, political and demographic weight could be deftly leveraged by the EU to counterbalance China’s influence across the region. But there seems to be some hesitancy about this.

•India and the EU should not let such divergences of views overwhelm the many areas of convergence among them. The proactive resumption of the ambitious India-EU free trade and investment agreement in 2021 is a step in the right direction. European partners acknowledge India as an important pillar in ensuring stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The EU wants to be more than just a trading bloc and is seeking alliances with like-minded countries like India. Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar rightly said, “ [India and the EU] are each political and economic poles in an increasingly multi-polar world. Our ability to work together, therefore, can shape global outcomes.”

πŸ“° Panel moots district-level survey to bring more children into adoption ambit

Experts stress on the need to look beyond custodial requirements of children and focus on rights, bringing more children in need into government’s safety net

•In a country with millions of orphans, there are only 2,430 children available for adoption while the number of parents desiring to bring home a child is growing rapidly. To address this paradox, a Parliamentary panel has recommended district-level surveys to proactively identify orphaned and abandoned children.

•A report recently tabled on “Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws” in Parliament by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances and Law and Justice has said, “it is important to get a true picture of number of children who are orphaned/abandoned through a district-level survey and the data needs to be updated on a regular basis.”

•It has suggested that a monthly meeting chaired by the District Magistrate should be held in every district to “ensure that orphan and abandoned children found begging in streets are produced before the Child Welfare Committee and are made available for adoption at the earliest.”

•According to the report, there were 27,939 prospective parents registered with the Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) as on December 2021, up from nearly 18,000 in 2017. In comparison, though there were a total 6,996 orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children residing in childcare institutions considered adoptable, only 2,430 were declared “legally free” for adoption by Child Welfare Committees. The waiting time for adoption too has increased to three years from one year in the past five years. The total number of children adopted in 2021-2022 was only 3,175.

•Experts say the reason there are only 2,430 children found to be legally free for adoption in a country with an estimated 3.1 crore orphans (defined in the report as loss of either or both parent) according to the 2020 Orphan Report of IHH Humanitarian and Social Research Center (INSAMER) is because of the failure to bring more children in need of care into the government’s safety net. And that is why they welcome the suggestion for a district-level survey, but call for a need to exercise caution.

Call for caution

•“The point should not be to track more children and put them into adoption, but to not leave children out of the safety net...otherwise poor people will have their children snatched away. We have to provide a family for a child, not vice versa,” says child rights and adoption expert Nilima Mehta.

•There are 6,525 child care institutions registered under the Juvenile Justice Act as on September 30, 2021, according to the government’s reply in the Lok Sabha. Why then are there only 6,996 identified as adoptable?

•A mapping exercise of childcare institutions by the Women and Child Development Ministry in its report in 2018 found that of the total 3.7 lakh children in need of care and protection in these homes, the largest category of children were those who had a single parent at 32% or 1.2 lakh children, while those without any parent were just 11% or 41,730 out of the total.

•“Children in CCIs are there for various reasons such as for shelter or protection or care or for whatever reason their family is not able to look after them. These are used by vulnerable families more as hostels or spaces where there is access to education, food, shelter and clothing,” says Dr. Mehta.

•Dr. Mehta says in order to link children to nurturing families there is a need for a paradigm shift that looks beyond “custodial” needs such as food and shelter and focuses on their rights.

•“Many children are under parental care, but not optimal care. There are parents abusing their own children or neglecting them. We must have a zero tolerance towards abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect of children and then have an adequate safety net so that they get the help they need. The failure to do so also leads to malpractices, which is what the centralisation of adoptions in 2015 aimed to curb,” she says.

πŸ“° The fragility of the Northeast’s integration

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THE HINDU NEWSPAPER IMPORTANT ARTICLES 16.08.2022

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Monday, August 15, 2022

Yojana Magazine August 2022 ( Hindi ) PDF

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Yojana Magazine August 2022 ( Hindi ) PDF

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Yojana Magazine August 2022 ( English ) PDF

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