The Hindu Newspaper 15/06/2020

World Investment Report is published annually by which of the following?

a.  World Bank

b.  World Economic Forum

c.  International Monetary Fund

d.  UN Conference on Trade and Development

Answer : d

2)Feni Bridge also known as Maitree Setu is connecting India with which of the following countries?

a.  Bangladesh

b.  Myanmar

c.  Sri Lanka

d.  Nepal

Answer : a

Being developed as a corridor for trade and commerce between India’s North-East and Bangladesh, the Feni bridge also known as Maitree Setu will connect Tripura of India with Chittagong port of Bangladesh.

The bridge is being constructed by the National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd of Ministry of Road and Transport highways.

3)International Intellectual Property Index was published by which of the following?

a.  UN Development Programme

b.  World Intellectual Property Organisation

c.  US Chamber of Commerce

d.  None of the above

Answer : c

News:- In the pandemic, the disabled remain an invisible minority:-

According to a report by the National Centre for the Promotion of Employment for Disabled Persons (NCPEDP) — which includes results from a study of 1,067 people with disabilities (about 73% male, 27% female)
— over 73% of those surveyed faced serious difficulties during the lockdown.

ABOUT NCPEDP:– National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) is a cross-disability, non-profit organization, working as an interface between the Government, Industry, International Agencies, and the Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities.

News:- India and Japan Join Hands For – ‘Lunar Polar Exploration’ mission

Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA) will be launching a joint lunar mission called the Lunar Polar Exploration(LPE).

Facts:

  • Proposed Launch Year: After 2023
  • Aim: To send a lunar rover and lander to explore the south pole region of the Moon.
  • Objective: To obtain data on the quantity and forms of water resources present in order to determine the feasibility of utilizing such resources for sustainable space exploration activities in the future.
  • Under the mission, JAXA would be building the overall landing module and the rover while ISRO would develop the lander system.

India and Japan Join Hands For – ‘Lunar Polar Exploration’ mission

Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA) will be launching a joint lunar mission called the Lunar Polar Exploration(LPE).

Facts:

  • Proposed Launch Year: After 2023
  • Aim: To send a lunar rover and lander to explore the south pole region of the Moon.
  • Objective: To obtain data on the quantity and forms of water resources present in order to determine the feasibility of utilizing such resources for sustainable space exploration activities in the future.
  • Under the mission, JAXA would be building the overall landing module and the rover while ISRO would develop the lander system.

News: India looks to deploy Naval Liaisons

Where ??:- India wants to deploy NAVAL LIAISONS to RMIFC (Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre) in Madagascar and European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) in Abu Dhabi,”

Why :– This will be in the overall realm of improving linkages of the Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)in Gurugram with other IFCs and become the repository for all maritime data in the IOR,”

What is RMIFC:- The RMIFC functions under the aegis of the IOC, of which India became an Observer in March 2020 along with Japan and the United
Nations.

What is IOC:- The IOC is a regional forum in the Southwest Indian Ocean, comprising five nations — Comoros, France (Reunion), Madagascar,
Mauritius and Seychelles.
China and the European Union (EU) have been Observers in the IOC since 2016 and 2017, respectively.

India,UN and japan became observer member of IOC in March 2020.

The EMASOH headquarters is composed of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and French officers and based at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi. The aim is “to monitor maritime activity and guarantee freedom
of navigation in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”

About IFC – IOR:- The Navy set up the IFCIOR in December 2018 within the premises of the Information Management and Analysis Centre in Gurugram
to track maritime movements in the region. France became the first country to deploy a LO at the IFCIOR, followed by the U.S. and several other countries including Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom have announced their intention to post LOs.

News:- Forgotten in the fog of war, the last firing at India – China Border:- At TULUNG LA in 1975 . Tulung La is in Arunachal Pradesh.

EDITORIALS OF THE DAY :-

COVID-19 and public transport

Source – The Hindu

Syllabus – GS 3 – Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc

Context – Based on opinion surveys, a significant drop in public transport ridership can be expected for months after easing the lockdown.

India closed its public transport during shutdown which is considered as one of the most lethal public places to promote the community transmission of virus.

Reasons for the apprehensions associated with public transport system are:

  1. Contact based commutation– Possibility of viral transmission through tokens, tickets, push buttons on lifts, and handrails at the station elevators are high as contact-less commutation is absent in India.
  2. Crowding– The population boom and the non-availability of enough numbers of pubic vehicle for commutation led to high crowding in the few available transport systems. This makes social distancing a mere rhetoric in public vehicles.
  3. Indoor-like environment– Correlation to the effect of air conditioning airflow has also been established based on precise seating locations of those infected at a restaurant and at a call centre which holds true for air conditioned buses and metro rails also.
  4. Absence of culture of hygiene – Bathrooms with water availability and other hand sanitizing facilities are not there in majority of bus, railway or metro stations.

All these challenges has the potential that people shift from public to private mode of transport which will have following implications:

  1. Increase in fuel consumption and thus, more air pollution.
  2. Heavy traffic, more noise pollution and longer commutation time.
  3. Increase in number of accidents and human lives lost in such accidents.

Suggested solutions to promote culture of hygiene in public transport systems:

  1. Contact-less commutation – This involves compulsory use of cards or e-ticketing. The regular sanitization of handrails, handgrips, and buttons on lift by the newly hired staff will create more hygienic public stations. Signs on hand hygiene vis-a-vis touching surfaces are needed.
  2. Increasing fleet of public transport– This is a solution which also solves the issue of increasing air pollution on account of use of private vehicles by people. With more buses and more metros the social distancing would be easier to practice.
  3. Creating outdoor-like environment– AC buses and metro rail AC systems could be changed to High Efficiency Particulate Air filters with frequent circulation of fresh air.
  4. Social influence and persuasion – Leaders need to come forward to persuade people to use all needed measures to prevent the spread of virus through touching, sneezing in public etc.

Way Forward – Actions are needed from both authorities and the public to keep our public transport systems safe. Our buses and trains must be perceived as safe, so it is vital to assure ourselves that public transport is for the public – not the virus.

Need of an anti-discrimination law

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2-Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Context: Recent revelations made by the former West Indies cricketer Darren Sammy about racist remarks must awaken us to a problem of a society replete with racism.

Prejudice established in society: 

  • The former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan pointed to how players from South India routinely faced abuse from crowds in the north.
  • Pathan said that racism in our country goes beyond the colourof our skins as it enforces people seeking to buy houses based on their faith. He faced abuses and a cricketer who had represented India on the world stage was asked to prove his loyalty all over again simply on account of his faith.
  • Blow against race-neutrality:
    • Indirect discrimination: These damages pervade every aspect of life from access to basic goods to education and employment.
    • S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. (1971): It held that an energy company had fallen foul of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 which made racial discrimination in private workplaces illegal by insisting on a superfluous written test by applicants for its better entry-level jobs. In practice, it allowed the company to victimiseAfrican-Americans.

Our Constitution has dealt with discrimination in public and private spheres.

Discrimination by the state:

  • Both direct and indirect forms of discrimination are against India’s constitutional vision of equality.
  • Such as the Delhi High Court in Madhu vs. Northern Railway (2018):The Railways had denied free medical treatment to the wife and daughter of an employee as it contended that the employee had “disowned” his family and had had their names struck off his medical card.
  • The court held that to make essential benefits such as medical services subject to a declaration by an employee might be “facially neutral” but it produced a disparate impact particularly on women and children.

Discrimination in Private sphere: 

  • Such as entry barriers to goods such as housing, schools and employment.
  • Constitutional basis:Article 15(2) stipulates that citizens shall not on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth be denied access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment.
  • Conflict: This right comes into conflict with the rights of persons to associate with others often to the exclusion of certain groups.
  • Zoroastrian Cooperative Housing Society vs District Registrar Co-operative Societies (Urban) and Others (2005): The SC ruled in favourof a bye-law of a Parsi housing society that prohibited the sale of property to non-Parsis.
  • The judgment conflated the freedom to contract with the constitutional freedom to associate and alsooverlooked altogether Article 15(2).
  • The scope in Article 15(2): The word “shops” used in it is meant to be read widely. A study of the Constituent Assembly’s debates on the clause’s framing shows us that the founders explicitly intended to place restrictions on any economic activity that sought to exclude specific groups. For example, when a person refuses to lease her property to another based on the customer’s faith, such a refusal would run directly counter to the guarantee of equality.

Our civil liberties are capable of being threatened by acts of private individuals as well as the state. Our rule of law must subsume an understanding that discrimination partakes different forms.

Attempts to end discrimination: 

  • Private members bill:It was introduced by Shashi Tharoor in 2017.
  • Equality Bill: It was drafted and released by the Centre for Law & Policy Research.

Way Forward

To end discrimination, there is a need of enacting a law that will help reverse our deep-rooted culture of discrimination.

Setbacks in relations of India and Nepal

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2- India and its neighbourhood- relations

Context: The lower house of Nepal passed the constitutional amendment ratifying a change in its maps that include Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura.

Issue of contention: 

  • The territories of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura is controlled by India.
  • Resurfacing of issue: 
    • In 2000 and 2014, India and Nepal agreed to hold talks about Kalapani and Susta, without much success.
    • Nepal objected to the depiction of disputed territory: The issue resurfaced in 2019 when New Delhi published new political maps to reflect the changes after the decision to reorganize the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The India’s DefenceMinister inaugurated Lipulekh pass to which Nepal protested strongly.
    • Role of China: The Indian Army Chief suggested it was at the “behest” of China. Nepal’s purposeful manner in pursuing the amendment at the same time as the India-China border stand-off further bolsters the belief.
    • Diplomatic failure: India contends that it was willing to discuss matters at a mutually convenient date but Nepal says the MEA has rejected two dates suggested by Nepal and has routinely dismissed requests from the Nepal Ambassador for a meeting with the Foreign Secretary. It was further enraged by the MEA who said Kalapani talks could wait until both countries had dealt with the coronavirus pandemic first.

Need to Resolve issue:

  • Two nations must resolve their issues through dialogue before facing serious consequences.
  • Security issue for India:The deteriorating relations could cause a security nightmare for India if it opens up other parts of their long boundary and reverses old commitments on open and unsecured border posts.

Way Forward

India and Nepal need to move quickly to reverse the recent setback to ties.

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