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HINDU EDITORIAL ANALYSIS:28th DEC'17 https://unacademy.com/user/abhishek6077 Editorial analysis- Nov & October News Analysis- November & October . Crash course on Polity, Modern, Ancient & Medieval History Ncert Class VI History Summary Delhi Sultanate Essay writing
Through the smog-screen When Sri Lankan cricketers trooped out wearing pollution masks in the middle of a Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground in Delhi, it heralded a new low for the city. The desolation of smog plays out every year with immaculate regularity. Anti-corruption rallies in 2011 and the brutal rape of 'Nirbhaya' in 2012 may have brought thousands of people out on the streets of Delhi but anti-pollution activism has largely been home-based. WhatsApp has been preferred over popular venues like Ramlila Maidan or Jantar Mantar. People have, indeed, thronged the streets, but it was either for the Delhi marathon or to watch the Test match against the Lankans. Delhi has proved time and again either by damaging the Yamuna floodplain to host a World Culture Festival, or bursting crackers in Diwali even after a court ban on its sale entertainment comes first.
Significant sections of recent reportage on Delhi's air pollution have trained their guns on paddy stalk burning in Punjab and Haryana, positioning it as a key contributor to the crisis Some have pinned the blame on the Green Revolution and the rampant use of tubewells which converted Punjab to a paddy-growing landscape. Others have pointed at the recent success of the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009. Aiming at arresting Punjab's falling groundwater tables, it banned farmers from transplanting rice in fields before June, so that they would not pump groundwater and rely more on the monsoon rains for their water supply. This allowed a window of barely 20 days for farmers to get their fields ready for sowing wheat after harvesting paddy. It's pretty clear that actions of farmers are often a reaction to state policy, indicating lack of choice rather than a wilful act of environmental vandalism
An IIT report But the same cannot be said about the denizens of Delhi. A 334-page India Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur report published in 2016 cites municipal solid waste burning and vehicular pollution as critical contributors of air pollution apart from crop residue burning The report clearly states that if municipal solid waste burning was stopped and waste management upgraded, it would improve Delhi's air quality by 100%. Control of vehicular pollution would do the same by 50% and stopping crop residue burning would ensure 90%. Delhi's air remains polluted throughout the year because of municipal solid waste burning and vehicular pollution. Crop residue burning only tips the scales in favour of a catastrophe. Delhi, a city of 18.6 million, has approximately 10 million cars on its streets, owned by only 15%-20% of its population. The recent Supreme Court approval to bring 10,000 buses on the streets of Delhi by end of next year is a welcome step, but will not stem the rising tide of private vehicle ownership. Moreover, approximately 190-246 tonnes of municipal solid waste is burnt every day in Delhi. However, Delhiites and civic authorities have both assiduously avoided segregating waste at source.
Choice-less farmers in Punjab are being asked to manage 15 million tonnes of paddy stalk sustainably. But no one is asking residents of Delhi to do the simple thing of keeping two separate waste bins at home. On the contrary, in an effort to protect themselves from a pollution crisis fuelled by their own consumption, Delhiites have tried to buy their way out of it. The sale of household air purifiers and steroidal inhalers has skyrocketed. The Delhi government is considering seeding clouds in order to get artificial rain to clean up Delhi's air rather than inconvenience its citizenry with waste segregation measures The urban elite of Delhi has always succeeded in keeping attention away from their consumption Radical measures needed In the first leg of Delhi's clean air struggle almost two decades ago, the Supreme Court forced the government and the automotive industry to introduce new standards for fuel and emissions, but the successful shift to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) was restricted to auto-rickshaws and public transport buses.
In the second leg, the NASA satellite map with numerous vermilion spots marking crop-burning sites has again conveniently shifted media focus away from the city to the rural hinterland. Diagnosis has been prioritised over action, and in spite of apps that give us daily updates to real-time dashboards spatially visualising our misery, there has been little tangible effort at addressing the internal contradictions of air pollution in Delhi. In a paradox that truly defines India, farmers are being goaded by policies to provide food security, ensure groundwater conservation, and now, protect Delhi from pollution, while Delhi elites are required to do nothing. The other irony is that Delhi's environment is repeatedly being rescued by judicial interventions and not by its elected representatives. Delhi needs radical policies more car-free zones, increased taxation on sale of private vehicles, clampdown on illegal parking and making a garage a prerequisite for car purchase. It is time that we acknowledge that smog is only a symptom. What Delhi suffers from in reality is irresponsible consumption and urban misgovernance.
The diagnostic lens: A paper in the Indian journal Current Science suggests an unexpected cause for the inflammatory brain disease encephalitis found in Malkangiri district of Odisha. For many years, this recurring outbreak, which killed over 100 children last year, was thought to be due to the Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus. Now researchers say it was likely due to the consumption of a wild bean, called Bada Chakunda, which grows freely in the region. Like several natural toxins, the anthraquinones in the bean don't harm healthy people, but cause fatal dysfunction of the liver, heart and brain in underfed children. This finding draws on the researchers' previous work in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district, where too a recurrent encephalitis outbreak was traced to this bean. While more data may be needed to confirm this link, it is clear the Malkangiri scourge wasn't JE. This is only the latest in a series of such investigations in which suspected pockets of JE turned out to be something else
An illness around for three decades in U.P.'s Gorakhpur turned out, primarily, to be scrub typhus last year, while epidemics in Bihar's Muzaffarpur were linked to lychee consumption, again among emaciated children. In all these cases, the suspicion of JE, though the epidemiology and symptoms didn't match, delayed the discovery of the cause. Why does this keep happening? One answer is that JE was indeed the biggest cause of encephalitis in India for decades, and today the public health diagnostic machinery is built around this illness. But as JE vaccination rates have grown, incidence has shrunk, and a host of other causes of encephalitis, like dengue, scrub typhus, herpes simplex and the West Nile virus, have emerged to the forefront. Yet, investigating agencies such as the National Centre for Disease Control and the National Institute of Virology have persisted in focussing on JE. Another problem is the archaic format in which encephalitis is reported to the government.
This too is a relic of the pre-JE-vaccination era. Under this format, if an encephalitis case cannot be confirrmed as JE, doctors tag it as Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), a term that has now crept into medical literature. But AES is no diagnosis, just a temporary label for different unnamed diseases. Classifying them all under one head gives doctors the false sense of security of having pinpointed the illness, the researchers behind the Malkangiri finding argue. It is time for Indian investigators to update their understanding of encephalitis and look at outbreaks through a wider lens. If JE made 2,043 Indians sick this year, the mysterious AES is reported to have affected six times as many. A fixation with JE means the numerous patients in the second group may never get a diagnosis.
Post-poll 'chalphal' in Nepal The word 'chalphal' in Nepali means more than a discussion; it implies an interminable discussion, often for the sake of it, to a point where in the heat and dust of arguments the way forward gets obscured. Nepali politicians revel in this pastime. The post-election 'chalphal' currently underway in Kathmandu, unless resolved with maturity, wil lead to heightened polarisation in a society that has been in search of political stability for nearly three decades. This has been a watershed year when Nepal successfully conducted three elections- the local body elections after two decades between May and September, followed by the first federal and provincial elections, under the new Constitution, in November-December. The elections were reasonably peaceful and the results have been accepted by all political parties but government formation remains uncertain.
PR category of 110 seats, UML and NC were close, getting 41 and 40 seats Maoists at 17 two Madhesi based parties claiming six each. With a total of 174 seats in a House of 275, the Left Alliance led by Mr. Oli is well placed to form the government. Government formation Yet the Election Commission of Nepal cannot announce the results. The issue is the methodology of election of the 56 members of the NA for which the electoral college consists of 550 members of provincial assemblies and the mayors/chairpersons and deputies of the 753 local bodies Two months ago, the government had submitted an ordinance to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari proposing that the Election Commission frame the rules for the NA elections on the basis of the single transferable vote (STV). This is seen as more representative and enables
Mr. Oli is blaming caretaker Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for delaying tactics and the debate is increasing polarisation. Mr. Oli is unlikely to get his way but needs a political face-saver. The Maoist leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', had joined the alliance thinking that he and Mr. Oli could share the prime ministership by dividing up the tenure. Given the UML's strong showing, Mr. Oli is not receptive to such an idea and has suggested that Mr. Prachanda instead become chairman of the new entity once the merger between the two parties takes place. Mr. Prachanda is unlikely to find this satisfactory as it cements his junior status, but his options seem to be limited. The NC has received a drubbing in the FPTP results but its vote share remains intact, which is more a reflection of poor campaign management and disenchantment with the NC leadership than a dent in its political base. Its old leaders have been defeated, pointing to the need for a thorough revamp. Madhesi groups have put up a strong showing in Province 2 indicating that if they work together, they can be a potent force for pushing a forward looking agenda. Further constitutional amendments orn inclusivity will have to be pushed through with persuasion rather than agitation and confrontation.
Unseemly spat The meeting in Islamabad between former naval commander Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family should have been a sign that India and Pakistan are able to adhere to internationally accepted norms in dealing with officers accused of espionage. Instead, Mr. Jadhav's meeting with his mother and his wife has led quickly to an unseemly spat, with fears that bilateral ties could now deteriorate further. India has reason to complain on several counts First, it took months for Pakistan to allow the meeting after Pakistan conducted a secret military court trial of Mr. Jadhav on terrorism and spying charges, which seemed a sham. India had to take its case for consular access to the International Court of Justice for Pakistarn to be made to pause the process, and give a commitment that Mr. Jadhav's execution sentence would be on hold pending a decision.
Second, having accepted the visit, Pakistan's Foreign Office turned a personal, humanitarian meeting into a media circus, with photographs of the meeting and a prepared video statement from Mr. Jadhav thanking the Pakistani government released. A gaggle of hostile journalists hurled undignified questions at the women. Pakistan would have been expected to use the visit to showcase its "humanitarian gesture", but its conduct of the Jadhav reunion was crass. India's statement reacting to Pakistan's actions bears closer scrutiny as well. To have objected to the frisking, change of attire and removal of the mangalsutra necklace, bindi, and so on obscures other, more egregious actions that India could rightfully have taken up. Most prison manuals in India mandate the removal of all metal objects and most accessories, while several prisoner-family meetings around the world take place across glass screens, especially when they involve terror suspects. References to Pakistan's "religious and cultural insensitivity" needlessly give the episode a denominational tinge
Instead, India should have made its objections on the other procedural blunders from their understanding known, but by summoning the relevant Pakistani diplomat to South Block. Going forward, India and Pakistan should ensure that their exchanges on Mr. Jadhav are conducted through quiet diplomacy. If the object is to save him from an unfair trial and sentencing, where a coerced confession and dual passports appear to be the only evidence against him, then it is in India's interests to convince Pakistan and the world of the benefits of doing so. Backed in a corner on several counts from other countries on the issue of terrorism, Pakistan may well be persuaded of the inhumanity, injustice, and imprudence of carrying out Mr. Jadhav's sentence but it will need a face-saver which can only be found through reasoned diplomacy. When a man's life hangs in the balance, political point-scoring, especially at this stage, can be counterproductive.
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