The Hindu PDF 17 November 2023 Analysis

The Hindu PDF 17 November 2023 Newspaper is considered an important source of news and information for UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) aspirants in India. This The Hindu Epaper PDF newspaper covers a wide range of topics that are relevant to the UPSC exam, including politics, economics, international relations, governance, and social issues.

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The Hindu PDF Analysis 17 November 2023 for UPSC

UNSC seeks ‘humanitarian pauses, corridors’ in Gaza: Page 1

  • UNSC Calls for extended humanitarian pauses in Gaza.
  • Israel links pause to the release of hostages by Hamas.
  • Resolution adopted with 12 votes in favor, U.S., U.K., Russia abstain.
  • Calls for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors in Gaza.
  • Doesn’t specify the duration of the pause in the adopted resolution.
  • Urges compliance with international humanitarian obligations for the protection of civilians.
  • Calls for immediate and unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas.
  • Resolution does not condemn the October 7 cross-border attack by Hamas.
  • Diplomatic tensions over the wording of the resolution (ceasefire, truce, or pause).

Biden, Xi restore military ties but remain apart on wider flashpoint of Taiwan: Page 1

  • Biden and Xi agreed to restore military communications between the U.S. and China.
  • Biden referred to Xi as a “dictator” during the summit.
  • Both leaders walked around a garden at a historic California estate during the four-hour talks.
  • Agreement to crack down on fentanyl production in China, with Xi expressing sympathy for U.S. victims.
  • Significant differences remained on the Taiwan issue, with Xi urging the U.S. to stop arming Taiwan, claiming reunification is “unstoppable.”
  • China severed military-to-military communications after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in 2022; its restoration is deemed “critically important.”
  • The leaders agreed to hold talks on Artificial Intelligence and deepen cooperation on climate change.
  • Biden emphasized the need for vigorous but responsible competition with China to avoid conflict.
  • Diplomacy efforts led to the summit, marked by red carpet handshakes and discussions on Gaza, Ukraine, and other issues.
  • Despite differences, Biden described talks as “constructive and productive.”

Widening divide: Page 8

  • Violent ethnic conflict in Manipur persists six months after a conflagration.
  • Little progress in bridging the divide between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities.
  • Provocative moves from both sides contribute to heightened tensions and increased hostility.
  • Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) announces pursuit of “self-rule” with a separate “chief minister” for Kuki-Zo dominated districts, further hardening stances.
  • Lack of legal basis for the ITLF move may enrage Meiteis, adding to grievances related to land ownership rights.
  • Union government losing control in Manipur, indicated by the ITLF announcement following meetings with Intelligence Bureau and Ministry of Home Affairs officials.
  • Tenuous peace maintained by the government without enacting leadership change, relying on paramilitary forces and Article 355 provisions.
  • Half-measures exacerbate the divide and face opposition from partisans on both sides.
  • Distrust of state police among Kuki-Zo people adds complexity to the situation.
  • Clear détente and a dialogue process needed for enduring peace and rebuilding fraternal relations between communities.
  • BJP’s central leadership’s strategy of discreet silence and administrative ploys criticized; change needed to address the ongoing conflict in Manipur.

Challenging the Electoral Bond Scheme: Page 8

  • Political parties in India resist public scrutiny of fund sources; need significant funds from Big Business.
  • Civil society campaigns for voter empowerment and transparency in political funding.
  • Public interest litigation (PIL) used to challenge the Electoral Bond Scheme (EBS).
  • EBS introduced to obfuscate corporate donor identities; legislative changes precede its implementation.
  • Amendments to FCRA, RPA, Companies Act, Income Tax Act, and RBI Act pave the way for EBS.
  • A PIL challenges the constitutionality of amendments, citing infringement of the citizen’s right to know.
  • Amendments jeopardize autonomy, incentivize corrupt practices, and make the nexus between politics and big business more opaque.
  • EBS becomes the favored mode of political donation; bonds worth ₹13,791 crore sold in 27 tranches until July 2023.
  • BJP receives the majority (74.5%) of electoral bonds redeemed until 2020-2021, according to ADR’s research.
  • Political parties use electoral bonds to interact with the formal economy, giving them advantages in influencing voter behavior.
  • Challenge to the constitutionality of electoral bonds approaching resolution after a six-year wait.
  • Supreme Court rejects plea for interim stay, emphasizes the voter’s ability to pierce the veil of secrecy.
  • Government stresses protecting donor anonymity, citing the right to privacy.
  • PIL argues against the need for greater protection for corporate donors.
  • Constitution Bench expeditiously concludes the hearing; hope for a reasonably level-playing field in future elections.

War in Myanmar: Page 8

  • Coordinated offensive by Myanmar’s ethnic rebels against the junta signals the regime’s vulnerability.
  • Three Brotherhood Alliance, a coalition of ethnic armed groups, claims territorial gains on the China-Myanmar border.
  • Clashes reported in Rakhine State and Chin State bordering India; junta responds with air strikes causing civilian casualties.
  • President Myint Swe acknowledges the rebel offensive and emphasizes the need for careful control.
  • Junta’s violence since the coup has resulted in over 4,000 civilian deaths, 20,000 people jailed, and 1.7 million forced out of their homes.
  • Pro-democracy movement shifts from peaceful resistance to an underground government, militia formation, and collaboration with ethnic rebels.
  • New political realities emerge with rebels making territorial gains and maintaining pressure on the junta on multiple fronts.
  • Junta faces regional isolation, especially within ASEAN.
  • Rebel offensive and territorial losses highlight the challenges faced by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s regime.
  • Military solution appears improbable; rebels call for the junta to retreat from politics and engage in talks for peace.
  • Rebels demand a federal democratic system with greater autonomy for ethnic minority regions.
  • Regional players, including India and China, along with ASEAN, urged to play a proactive role in achieving a ceasefire in Myanmar and facilitating meaningful dialogue for restoring democracy.

Branded, generic and the missing ingredient of quality: Page 8

  • Patients often seek a second opinion on medicines from the seller at a medical shop, accepting the verdict without doubt.
  • Generic medicines are preferred over brand names due to cost considerations.
  • The National Medical Council (NMC) directed doctors to prescribe only generic names, leading to protests.
  • Brand names are perceived as costly, and the Hathi Committee in 1975 recommended gradually eliminating them.
  • Alleged nexus between pharmaceutical companies and doctors, but medical organizations emphasize ethical commitment to improving access to affordable medicines.
  • Quality of medicines is crucial for a doctor’s reputation, but ensuring compliance with quality parameters is challenging.
  • Prevalence rates of spurious and not standard quality medicines in India are 4.5% and 3.4%, respectively.
  • Government must ensure the quality of medicines through Universal Health Coverage and private healthcare networks.
  • Periodic testing, banning failed batches, and punitive action against manufacturers are essential to maintain quality.
  • Tamil Nadu’s practice of keeping medicines under quarantine stock until quality testing is cleared is worth replicating.
  • Until the government can assure standard quality in the market, doctors should be allowed to mention trusted companies in generic prescriptions.
  • Availability of essential medicines must be above 90%, and there should be a ban on unscientific combinations of medicines.
  • Affordable medicines under Universal Health Care require free medicines, diagnostics, and expanded Janaushadhi kendras.
  • Approved profit margins for wholesale agents and retailers need regulation to ensure accessibility to cheaper medicines.
  • NMC withdrew the order on generic prescribing after protests by the Indian Medical Association, but challenges in achieving universal access to affordable generic medicines persist.

On the sub-categorisation within castes: Page 12

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to look into the sub-categorization of Scheduled Castes (SCs) during an election rally in Telangana.
  • This move is perceived as an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to woo the Madiga community, the most populous among SC communities in the state.
  • The Madigas claim that their share of representation is being taken up by another SC community, the Malas.
  • The Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes are against sub-categorization.
  • Multiple states, including Punjab, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu, have attempted to bring in reservation laws for sub-categorization, but plans are held up in courts.
  • The Supreme Court is forming a larger Constitution Bench to decide the legality of sub-categorization.
  • A 2004 judgment held that states do not have the power to unilaterally sub-categorize communities in the list of SCs or STs.
  • A 2020 judgment indicated that states could decide on the quantum of benefits in the lists of SCs/STs already notified.
  • Governments have explored legal options for sub-categorization, with an Attorney-General opining that a constitutional amendment could be brought in to facilitate it.
  • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) opined that a constitutional amendment was not necessary and that Article 16(4) of the Constitution already provided for states to create special laws for under-represented backward classes.
  • Arguments for sub-categorization include graded inequalities among SC communities, with some facing lesser access to basic facilities, leading to crowding out of more backward communities.
  • The SC and ST Commissions argue that separate reservations within categories may not address the root cause, and existing schemes and government benefits should reach the most backward sections first.
  • Legal experts highlight the necessity for concrete data, including population numbers and socio-economic data, to support sub-categorization decisions.

How was the first vaccine for chikungunya approved?: Page 12

  • On November 9, the first vaccine for chikungunya was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • The vaccine, named Ixchiq, is developed by European vaccine manufacturer Valneva.
  • It is approved for administration in people aged 18 and older who are at increased risk of exposure to the chikungunya virus.
  • The approval was granted using the Accelerated Approval pathway, allowing the FDA to clear products for serious or life-threatening conditions based on evidence of effectiveness likely to provide clinical benefit.
  • Chikungunya is a viral infection characterized by severe joint pain, impaired mobility, fever, and other symptoms.
  • It is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes and is considered an emerging global health threat.
  • The vaccine, administered as a single dose by injection, contains a live, weakened version of the chikungunya virus.
  • Safety and effectiveness were evaluated in clinical studies with participants receiving the vaccine and a placebo.
  • Common side effects reported by vaccine recipients include headache, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, fever, nausea, and tenderness at the injection site.
  • The vaccine’s effectiveness was based on immune response data from clinical studies.
  • The approval addresses an unmet medical need, providing an important advancement in preventing a potentially debilitating disease with limited treatment options.
  • The hope is that the fast-track pathway used for COVID research will expedite the rollout of the chikungunya vaccine in countries where the disease is prevalent.

Jaishankar optimistic on Starmer’s view of U.K.-lndia relations: Page 14

  • S. Jaishankar met Labour Party leader Keir Starmer in London
  • Optimistic that India-U.K. relationship would improve under Labour Party
  • Labour Party positions supportive of the growth of ties
  • Labour-India relationship strained due to political differences with Modi’s government
  • Keir Starmer eager to reboot relationship, expressed desire for the right relationship
  • Discussion on ‘free trade’ agreement, technology collaboration, people-people exchanges, and students
  • Health collaboration discussed, including India-U.K. collaboration on COVID-19 (Serum Institute of India involved in vaccine production)
  • Keir Starmer enthusiastic about developing the U.K.-India relationship

Unimpeded freedom of navigation vital: Rajnath: Page 16

  • Rajnath Singh emphasizes India’s commitment to freedom of navigation, overflight, and unimpeded lawful commerce in international waters
  • Supports the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
  • Reaffirms ASEAN’s centrality and appreciates its role in promoting dialogue and consensus in the region
  • India holds bilateral talks with counterparts from Indonesia and Vietnam
  • ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) platform for security and defense cooperation
  • Calls for consultative and development-oriented regional security initiatives
  • Expresses commitment to practical cooperation with ADMM-Plus for enhancing maritime security
  • Highlights the toll of conflicts on human lives, livelihoods, regional and global stability, and food and energy security
  • Stresses India’s commitment to work with ASEAN and Plus countries for peace, prosperity, and security
  • Appreciates ASEAN members’ participation in India-ASEAN activities, including initiatives for women in UN peacekeeping operations and marine pollution response
  • India and Indonesia co-chair ASEAN’s expert working group on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities
  • India proposes to co-chair the expert working group on counter-terrorism, endorsed by ADMM-Plus

Rijiju to attend Muizzu’s inaugural in Maldives: Page 17

  • Kiren Rijiju to represent India at the swearing-in ceremony of Maldives President-elect Mohamed Muizzu
  • Represents India’s commitment to deepen cooperation and people-to-people ties
  • PM Modi received an invitation but a decision on his participation is pending
  • President-elect Muizzu won the election, pledging to remove Indian troops from Maldivian soil
  • 75 Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives to operate gifted aircraft and helicopters
  • Muizzu aims to remove Indian troops through negotiations, emphasizing a peaceful and democratic approach
  • Previous administration under Abdulla Yameen had a pro-China tilt, while President Solih adopted an “India first” foreign policy
  • Concerns over the Maldives potentially returning to China’s orbit after Solih’s election defeat
  • Muizzu reassures a “Maldives first” policy, not seeking the departure of Indian troops for another country’s military presence
  • Chinese Special Envoy Shen Yiqin to attend Muizzu’s inaugural ceremony
  • Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe also attending the event in the Maldives

Food prices pose risk to aligning inflation to 4% target: RBI officials: Page 18

  • RBI officials highlight food inflation as the only risk to aligning headline inflation with the 4% target
  • High frequency data shows prices of various food items, including onions, tomatoes, cereals, pulses, and sugar, firming up in November
  • Officials anticipate upticks in inflation readings for November and December
  • September and October inflation readings provided relief at about 5% and 4.9%, respectively, compared to the higher average in 2022-23 and July-August 2023
  • Caution that the economy is “not out of the woods yet” on inflation
  • Outlook on food inflation is uncertain, with a sharp increase observed in cereal and pulse prices in November
  • Festival demand expected to contribute to higher GDP in the fiscal third quarter
  • Resilient investment demand attributed to government’s infrastructure spending

RBI raises risk weights on consumer credit exposure of banks, NBFCs to 125%: Page 18

  • RBI issues new regulatory measures on consumer credit after barring Bajaj Finance from certain lending activities
  • Risk weights on consumer credit exposure of commercial banks increased by 25 percentage points to 125%
  • Applies to outstanding and new consumer credit, excluding housing loans, education loans, vehicle loans, and loans secured by gold and gold jewellery
  • Currently, consumer credit exposure of commercial banks attracts a risk weight of 100%
  • Consumer credit exposure of NBFCs categorized as retail loans, excluding specific types, to attract a risk weight of 125%, up from the standard 100%
  • Aimed at addressing concerns about rising unsecured loan books of certain Regulated Entities (REs)

Source: The Hindu Epaper

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