DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 15 APR 2021 | RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

15 APRIL 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

Why less may be more for India and China

The Hindu

2

Scale it up, Roll it out

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

B.1.617 variant and the surge

Syllabus– GS 2: Health

Analysis: –

  • The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV-2 carries two mutations, E484Q and L452R. Both are separately found in many other coronavirus variants, but they have been reported together for the first time in India.
  • The two mutations are found in the virus’s spike protein. The spike protein helps the virus to bind itself to the human cell’s receptors and gain entry into a host cell.
  • The E484Q mutation is similar to E484K, a mutation found in the United Kingdom (lineage B.1.1.7) and South Africa (B.1.351) variants of the coronavirus.
  • The L452R mutation has been found in fast spreading variants in California (B.1.427 and B.1.429). It can increase the binding power of spike proteins with ACE2 receptors on human cells, making it more transmissible. L452R can also potentially enhance viral replication.
  • As of April 10, India has delivered more than 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the fastest country to reach the mark.

India calls out historical polluters including US before climate meeting

Syllabus– GS 3: Environment: Conservation

Analysis: –

  • India wants historical polluters including the US and Europe to finance and provide technologies for climate mitigation, its environment minister said ahead of President Joe Biden’s planned leaders’ meeting later this month.
  • “In climate debates, historical responsibility is a very important aspect,” minister Prakash Javadekar said in a speech at a climate conference during French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s visit to New Delhi.
  • “We are not responsible for the climate change that is happening.”
  • The world’s third-biggest emitter, India has come under pressure to make a net-zero pledge ahead of the US meeting and global climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, this November.
  • Signatories to the Paris Agreement are expected to boost their commitments to slow global warming, and China — the biggest polluter and a rival of India — won international praise for setting a 2060 net-zero target in September.
  • The minister defended India’s energy consumption and emissions, adding thatbig polluters had not kept their 2011 commitment to provide $1 billion each year for mitigation.
  • India will raise its climate ambitions but is “not under pressure,” he said.

State obliged to facilitate access to education: Supreme Court

Syllabus– GS 2: Education

Analysis: –

  • Access to professional education is not a “governmental largesse” and state has an affirmative obligation to facilitate its reach at all levels, the Supreme Court has said.
  • This obligation assumes far greater importance for students whose background imposes formidable obstacles on their path to access quality education, the apex court said.
  • A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah made these observations in a verdict on separate pleas filed by two students from Ladakh who were not admitted to MBBS degree course in medical colleges here despite due nomination by the Union Territory and in terms of the seats notified by the Centre.
  • “While the right to pursue higher (professional) education has not been spelt out as a fundamental right in Part III of the Constitution, it bears emphasis that access to professional education is not a governmental largesse.
  • Instead, the state has an affirmative obligation to facilitate access to education, at all levels,” the bench said in its judgement delivered on April 9.

Mains Analysis

Why less may be more for India and China

Why in News: –

The foreign ministers of BIMSTEC (the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) met virtually on April 1 for their 17th meeting.

Syllabus: -GS 2: International Relations

Changing India China Relations: –

  • India’s perception was that China had a stable and pragmatic Chinese leadership under former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who had reached out to India’s then foreign minister and later prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
  • India hoped this would mean that China would be more amenable to a boundary settlement on a realistic basis, willing to institutionalize peace and tranquility through confidence-building measures, show greater respect for India’s territorial integrity, and moderate the China-Pakistan partnership through better Sino-Indian relations.
  • Both countries (India & China) seek a new equilibrium after a major rupture in relations following the border crisis.
  • That was the consensus shared by the two sides at a Track-II dialogue held in early April, possibly the first of its kind to be held after the border crisis.
  • This brought together former ambassadors and military officials from both sides, organized by the Ananta Aspen Centre in New Delhi and the China Reform Forum in Beijing, which is affiliated with the Central Party School.

Challenges in India China Relations:­

  • The history of India-China relations is rife with examples of how misplaced expectations have burdened the relationship, often only leading to recurring disappointment.
  • In the 1950s, relations veered from being led by idealized notions of restoring some pan-Asian, civilizational partnership — one that, in truth, never really existed through centuries of historical exchanges — to confrontation and ultimately war in 1962.
  • an example of a more recent vintage, the holding of two “informal summits” in Wuhan in 2018 and in Mamallapuram near Chennai the following year, was seen as marking the start of another new promising era in ties, only to turn out to be another false dawn.
  • Rather than once again veer from high expectation to familiar disappointment, perhaps the search for a new equilibrium with China should instead be driven by modest goals, led by conversations driven by hard talk and self-interest, rather than lofty goals of the partnership.

The core of the issue: –

  • At the recent dialogue, the shared view was that key to arriving at this new, more realistic state of relations will be managing three issues —
    • The boundary question,
    • Trade, and
    • The increasing impact of third-party
    • multilateral engagements on the two-way relationship.
  • On all three fronts, setting the sights on limited goals may end up paying rich dividends.

Consider the boundary dispute.

  • Ten months after the clash at Galwan Valley, which marked the worst violence on the border since 1967, both sides are nowhere near full de-escalation.
  • The initial optimism of a quick end to the crisis, following disengagement on the north and south banks of Pangong Lake, the most-thorny of the disputes in eastern Ladakh, has now given way to an apparent stalemate.
  • The readouts from both sides after the eleventh round of talks between Corps Commanders on April 9 suggested as much, with no joint statement – for the first time since the sixth round in September – and no mention from the Chinese side of early disengagement.
  • At the Track-II dialogue, Chinese speakers, unsurprisingly, offered no clarity on what prompted the People’s Liberation Army’s mass mobilization along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) last summer and the hammer blow dealt with agreements that ensured decades of a carefully managed peace.
  • The absence of a permanent peace does not, however, mean both countries are necessarily destined for conflict.
  • What they do need, in the view of military planners of both sides, is small steps to restore a shattered trust.
  • If China has made clear there is little likelihood of clarifying the LAC — a process that has been stalled for 19 years — one possible way forward is to, at least, clarify the most sensitive spots, and arrive at understandings, such as coordinated patrolling either by time or area.

Trade Relations: –

  • On the trade front, Chinese billionaires from Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Wanda’s Wang Jianlin all received audiences with the Prime Minister on their India visits — to talk now of “decoupling”.
  • If the idea of roping in China as a major economic partner now seems premature in light of the many unresolved political problems, so is talk of a complete disengagement on trade.
  • One only needs to look at the trade figures for a year that saw the biggest border crisis in decades.
  • Trade reached $87.6 billion and China was India’s largest trading partner, with India importing $66.7 billion worth of machinery and medical equipment, among other goods, and exporting a record $20 billion to China, mostly ores to fill the appetite of China’s rebounding economy.
  • Or, for that matter, at the prompt restoration of Chinese mobile phone company Vivo as the sponsor of India’s biggest cricket tournament after a suspension last year, even if the border crisis is nowhere near resolution.

Other issues: –

  • Jettisoning all activity with China is neither realistic nor prudent.
  • Instead, what is needed is a clear-headed, all-of-government approach that decides where both sides can cooperate —
  • Infrastructure that has no security implications is an obvious area,
  • As is clean energy is given China’s capacities on solar and wind, to name but two —
  • Another area where Delhi may find it needs to tread with caution, such as the roll-out of 5G.
  • The Track-II dialogue made it clear how China is viewing relations with India through the prism of its relations with the United States that is its abiding priority.
  • Beijing has increasingly hit out at what President Xi Jinping called “small circles” when he spoke to Davos, which has now become shorthand for U.S.-involved groupings including the Quad.

Focus on shared platforms

  • Rather than view every element of such engagements as a threat, that both sides would be better served to have a conversation about what the red lines are was a shared view at the dialogue.
  • Moreover, as relations stabilize, India and China could start injecting more energy into their own shared platforms such as BRICS, which, for instance, could come up with its own vaccine initiatives as the Quad has done.
  • They could also revive their bilateral cooperation in Afghanistan.

Way Forward: –

  • India has its own grouses with China-involved “small circles” of which there are many, to certain multilateral efforts on Afghanistan that India has been kept out of.
  • As both sides chart a course forward after last year’s rupture in ties, they may find a conversation that is driven by hard talk and finding shared interests, even if modest ones, more rewarding than bearing misplaced expectations. As India and China go back to the drawing board, less may indeed be more.

Question: –

Illustrate the strategic challenges in India-China Relations.

 

 

Scale it up, Roll it out

Why in News: –

As of April 10, India has delivered more than 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the fastest country to reach the mark.

Syllabus: – GS2: Issues related to Health Sector.

  • Over the last year, an unprecedented collaboration between all stakeholders of the society has helped in minimizing death & sickness from the virus.
  • Currently, India is better equipped in treating very sick patients as well as accessible, quality antivirals & effective vaccines to deploy against the COVID pandemic.

India & the Vaccination Drive:

  • India began the “World’s Largest Vaccination Program” with domestically manufactured COVID vaccines in Jan 2021.
  • It is India’s first-ever adult vaccination drive.
  • India has adopted a phased vaccination approach
    • Starting with high-risk populations
    • Next 60 plus population
    • Now everyone above 45 years is eligible.
  • The government has launched the CoWIN application for registration of beneficiaries & for planning, implementing & monitoring the vaccination drive.
  • India became the fastest country in delivering 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses within 3 months of the drive.
  • But India needs more people to vaccinate & this can be possible only with a scientifically directed approach while maintaining the process safety, quality & integrity.

Scale Up Strategy Vaccine Supply:

  • India a global hub for vaccine manufacturing & the leading vaccine supplier to the world.
  • The present indigenous manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines are around 70-80 million doses a month
  • Which became crucial as the present production creates shortage for domestic & export purpose where many countries depended on India.
  • But ramping up production is a complex process that requires financial resources, specialized skilled human resources & most crucial, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for biological & pharmaceutical products to be followed by all manufacturers.
  • Scaling up of production capacity must be in tandem with the ability of manufacturers to ensure adherence to GMP.
  • Deployment of Sufficient Trained Vaccinators:
  • From the learning’s of the 3-month drive, it is evident that the Universal Immunization Programme’s workforce hadn’t sufficient to carry out the Covid-19 vaccination program.
  • To ensure safe & efficient vaccine administration, all health workers involved need to have adequate skills & knowledge.
  • Training must be robust & complete & cover a wide range of aspects from storage to waste management of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • There needs to be an active collaboration with doctors, nurses & technicians from the private arena to meet vaccination needs.
  • Training health workers is critical in addressing vaccine hesitancy & building public trust.
  • Training itself is a mammoth task that requires all stakeholders & aspects of adequate support & engagement to ensure an adequate skilled & trained workforce to deliver Covid-19 vaccination.

Vaccination Centres:

  • The need is to have vaccination centres that are accessible & acceptable to people & mainly to have adequate space for mandatory vaccination effects monitoring.
  • In phase-1, Govt used the entire Universal Immunization Programme infrastructure for Covid-19 vaccination, now private facilities are also administering the vaccine.
  • To make the next phases of vaccination successful an extraordinary level of coordination & preparedness at each center is needed.

Short-Term Action:

  • Vaccine equity will become critical in creating a difference in vaccination drive.
  • The need of the hour is to prioritize vaccinating vulnerable populations but the rapid resurgence of cases requires considering an opportunity to vaccinate the asymptomatic spreaders.
  • Similarly, strengthening partnerships with the private sector for rapid scale-up needs to be balanced with the affordability issue for keeping equitable access to the vaccine for the marginalized & vulnerable groups.

Long-Term Action:

  • India needs to follow a “cafeteria approach”, whereby bringing more affordable, global vaccine alternatives to markets has to be balanced with stimulating indigenous production.
  • There is a need to prevent demands for market-driven exports & market-driven prices of foreign vaccines that are not available in the public immunization program.
  • It is to stop skepticism about the quality of vaccines administered by the government.

Challenges in Vaccination drive:

  • Increasing cases of vaccine hesitancy in the country, from common citizens & frontline workers as well, obstructing the smooth implementation of the vaccination drive.
  • Growing fake news &skepticism about the vaccine’s efficacy & side effects have been a major challenge to administer the vaccine in rural areas.
  • Issues with Co-WIN app such as internet connectivity causing problems while tracking vaccine stocks & updating beneficiaries’ information.
  • COVID-19 vaccination drive is India’s first-ever large-scale vaccination drive which gives a lack of experience in not repeating any mistakes.
  • As data from various shows that, there has been an increase in vaccine wastages in the country due to a lack of proper awareness among healthcare workers.
  • India needs a more trained & skilled healthcare workforce to scale up the vaccination drive.

Way-Forward:

  • Engagement with community-based organizations & NGOs for spreading awareness & educating people about vaccines will bring down the vaccine hesitancy in the country.
  • Proper training of the healthcare workforce about vaccine utilization will prevent vaccine wastages.
  • India needs to overcome the vaccine shortage by ramping up vaccine production & continuing the flow of vaccines to the centers.
  • The administrating vaccine alone won’t help tackle the COVID crisis, all stakeholders are required to maintain COVID-appropriate behavior.
  • The government simultaneously should continue tracing out new variants of virus & also look for any vaccine-resistant virus.

Question: –

Explain the India’s efforts to cut off the chain of transmission is to focus on relentless adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour& continued emphasis on testing & tracking, alongside Vaccination.

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