The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 29th Sept, 2020 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

UPSC: The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 29th Sept, 2020 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

The document The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 29th Sept, 2020 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 29th Sept, 2020 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC


1. MAKING AMENDS: ON INDIA'S APPEAL TO SRI LANKA TO ADDRESS TAMIL ASPIRATIONS-

GS 2- India and its neighborhood- relations

Context
India’s appeal to Sri Lanka to address the aspirations of its Tamil minority will certainly find resonance(impact) among the Tamil-speaking populace on both sides of the Palk Strait, but it is doubtful if it will have any effect.

The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 29th Sept, 2020 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC


Reiteration Of Policy
(i) A joint statement by both countries after a virtual summit between PM of India and his counterpart reiterated(repeated) India’s stated policy of seeking to ensure “equality, justice, peace and respect within a united Sri Lanka” for Tamils.
(ii) It also explicitly mentioned the need to carry forward the reconciliation(reunite) process through the implementation of the 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution.
(iii) It said Sri Lanka’s PM expressed confidence that SL would work towards “realising the expectations” of all ethnic groups, including Tamils.
(iv) However, he appeared to qualify the commitment by linking it to “reconciliation nurtured as per the mandate of the people of Sri Lanka”.
(v) Significantly, a separate statement by Mr. Rajapaksa’s office issued later made no reference to the 13th Amendment, which envisaged power-sharing with the provinces based on the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of 1987.
(vi) The omission is unsurprising.
(vii) Mr. Rajapaksa has the required two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend the Constitution as his party pleases.
(viii) But the gulf(division) between the sort of devolution that would fulfil Tamil aspirations and what his brother, President Gotabaya, would want to prioritise is quite large.
(ix) India’s interest in the matter is undoubtedly related to speculation that far from implementing the 13th Amendment, Sri Lanka may heed(respond) calls to roll back the provincial council system itself.

Hardly Any Leverage
(i) The trajectory of relations, in which India is keen on limiting Sri Lanka’s exposure to China’s sphere of influence, may not afford the country much leverage(advantage) over its smaller neighbour.
(ii) When India was backing Sri Lanka after the war resumed in 2005-06, it chose to ignore the de-merger of the northern and eastern provinces.
(iii) Now, when there is little global interest in holding SL to its past promises on ethnic reconciliation and justice for war-time excesses, there is room for considerable scepticism(doubt) about how effectual any appeal to the Sri Lankan regime would be.
(iv) The Rajapaksas are aware of their mandates and are unlikely to do anything that does not have the approbation(approval) of the majority Sinhala community.
(v) While announcing steps on bilateral cooperation and a $15 million grant for Buddhist cultural exchanges, India held back its decision on Sri Lanka’s request for a currency swap and a deferment(suspension) of debt.
(vi) It would be watching developments on the legislative front, as the Rajapaksa administration plans to undo legislation that had curbed the President’s powers.

Conclusion
Given Sri Lanka’s majoritarian turn, appeals to address Tamil aspirations may be ineffectual.

2. UN AND THE RETREAT FROM MULTILATERALISM-

GS 2- Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate

Context
(i) The United Nations commemorated(celebrated) its 75th anniversary on September 21, 2020 by adopting a Declaration.
(ii) The anniversary comes at a time when the world is witnessing a retreat(going back) from multilateralism.
(iii) It also faces an unprecedented pandemic. In his address to the UN on September 22, the UN Secretary-General called the pandemic “the fifth horseman”.
(iv) No one could have predicted it. It has also brought in its wake the deepest recession the world has seen since the 1930s.
(v) This has made it more difficult to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the UN had adopted.
(vi) The Secretary-General said the world is “careening(shooting) off track” in achieving the SDGs.

The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 29th Sept, 2020 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC


Challenge To Multilateralism
(i) The European Union’s and U.S.’s sanctions against Russia have driven it closer to China.
(ii) The rift(division) The challenge to multilateralism is coming not from the have-nots, but the main stakeholders of the system.
(iii) The U.S. is not alone in withdrawing from multilateralism.
(iv) Brexit has shown that nationalism remains strong in Europe. It has delivered a blow to the idea of Europe, united and whole.
(v) Nevertheless, the most important development is the position of the U.S.
(vi) As French President remarked in his speech at the UN General Assembly, the U.S., which created the international system as we know today, is no longer willing to be its “guarantor of last resort”.
(vii) U.S. President Donald Trump stressed “America First” in his speech, and suggested that others too should put their countries first.
(viii) China has stepped in to take advantage of the West’s retreat from multilateralism. But China’s assertion of a role on the world stage is not an embrace(welcome) of the idea of multilateralism.
(ix) Its flagship Belt and Road Initiative consists of a series of bilateral credit agreements with recipient countries with no mechanism for multilateral consultation or oversight.
(x) Curiously, President Xi Jinping’s speech at the UN General Assembly did not mention it.
(xi) Between the permanent members of the Security Council has already started affecting the work of the UN Security Council.

Clashing Perspectives
(i) The speeches at the regular session of the UN General Assembly on September 22 brought out the clashing perspectives of the U.S. and China.
(ii) President Trump highlighted China’s culpability(involvement) in the spread of the pandemic. He pointed out that China had banned internal flights but allowed international flights from Wuhan to continue.
(iii) This set the stage for the spread of COVID-19. The World Health Organization also failed to provide early warnings.
(iv) President Xi’s speech sought to project the fight against COVID-19 as a matter of collective responsibility of the international community.
(v) He said China will “honour” its commitment to provide $2 billion assistance to the developing countries over two years.
(vi) This was clearly a reference to existing pledges without bringing additional resources to tackle a crisis which has tipped the world economy into recession.
(vii) This is not a large amount considering the scale. The actual assistance committed to the UN COVID-19 response fund was a paltry $50 million in addition to a similar amount pledged earlier.
(viii) President Macron pointed out that while the U.S. is withdrawing, the world faces China’s projection beyond its frontiers.
(ix) He also highlighted problems nearer home posed by Turkey’s intervention in Syria, Libya, and the Eastern Mediterranean, which is a breach(violation) of international law.
(x) The last was a reference to Turkey sending a drilling ship in Greek and Cypriot exclusive economic zones.
(xi) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a detailed reference to the Jammu and Kashmir issue.
(xii) Though otherwise Mr. Erdogan’s statements may not matter, Turkey has assumed the position of UN General Assembly President.

Several Hurdles
(i) The UN Secretary-General’s report on the work of the organisation highlights some of the achievements and challenges the world body faces.
(ii) Over 40 UN political missions and peacekeeping operations engage 95,000 troops, police, and civil personnel.
(iii) To be effective, they have to be put on a sound financial basis.
(iv) The UN peacekeeping budget, a little over $8 billion, is a small fraction of the $1.9 trillion military expenditure governments made in 2019. Yet it suffers from a paucity(lack) of resources.
(v) There was an outstanding assessed contribution of $1.7 billion for peacekeeping activities by the end of the financial year. Similarly, there was a $711 million in the assessed contribution for the general budget.
(vi) Most of the humanitarian assistance, developmental work, and budgets of the specialised agencies are based on voluntary contributions.
(vii) There are calls for increasing public-private partnerships. This is not a satisfactory arrangement.
(viii) The UN provides ‘public goods’ in terms of peace and development often in remote parts of the world.
(ix) There may not be enough appetite on the part of corporations. The UN remains an inter-governmental body.
(x) Most world leaders spoke of climate change. President Trump mentioned that China’s emissions are nearly twice of those of the U.S., and despite its withdrawal from the Paris
(xi) Agreement, the U.S. has reduced its carbon emissions by more than any country in the world. President Xi said that after peaking emissions by 2030, China will achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
(xii) President Macron said that he was determined to see the EU agree on a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

India And Pakistan
(i) The Prime Minister of Pakistan in his speech made an extensive reference to Jammu and Kashmir.
(ii) Though this is customary for Pakistani leaders, he brought a particularly uncivil tone to the discourse(discussion).
(iii) Meanwhile, his country has slid to the 134th rank in the UN SDG index, the lowest for any country in South Asia.
(iv) Prime Minister of India focused on UN reforms and India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping for which we can be justly proud.
(v) What does the UN bring to the developing countries? It gives them greater political space.
(vi) We need to support reform not only to expand the permanent members’ category of the Security Council but also to revitalise(strengthen) the role of the General Assembly.

Conclusion
The retreat from multilateralism would undermine the UN’s capacity to face diverse challenges.


3. THE MISSING POSTWOMEN-

GS 1- Salient aspects of Diversity of India and Indian Society

Context
(i) The Prime Minister has publicly stated that his government will give priority to women, especially physically challenged women, while providing government jobs in rural areas.
(ii) But sadly, the Department of Post seems to still have a 19th century mindset.

The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 29th Sept, 2020 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC


A Dismal Track Record
(i) Village post offices all over the country are crying for want of attention.
(ii) They are characterised by low morale, poor monetary incentives and a hierarchical management system that dates back to pre-Independence times.
(iii) In the age of computers, emails and the Internet, the village postman is still highly respected. Nothing can replace face-to-face contact.
(iv) He writes letters for illiterate mothers to their sons serving in the border areas and makes sure these letters are posted.
(v) He delivers money through money orders to poor families at their doorstep.
(vi) Where else in the world do you have a letter delivered every day by hand in 6,00,000 villages? This happens only in India.
(vii) However, the Department of Post still has very few village postwomen.
(viii) Out of the 1.3 lakh post offices in rural areas, including the 24,000 sub post offices located in villages with a population between 5,000 and 10,000, one can count the number of postwomen on one hand.
(ix) And to be sure, there are no physically challenged women posted in rural areas.
(x) This dismal(poor) situation needs to be rectified(improved).
(xi) The Minister for Communications must ask the Secretary of the Department of Post why India has such a dismal track record and rectify it.

Gender Sensitivity
(i) In February 2020, such an attempt was made.
(ii) The Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment wrote on February 10, 2020 to the Secretary of the Department of Post requesting that well-trained physically challenged women be allowed to run the Aadhaar Enrolment Centres.
(iii) In a letter dated February 19, the Secretary of the Department of Post replied that no “outsourced agent” can operate Aadhaar Enrolment Centres.
(iv) It was forbidden by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to outsource these jobs, he said, so he was helpless.
(v) When a Member of the Postal Board was approached to speak to the Secretary, he said there was no point.
(vi) On May 21, 2020, UIDAI sent a notification to the Secretary of the Department of Post that read: “UIDAI do not have any objection if DoP either appoints Divyang on its roll or hire them from any manpower outsourcing agency for carrying Aadhaar enrolment/ update work in post offices subject to availability of DoP official as verifier at the centre.”
(vii) Despite this notification, he remained unmoved. Further, the Director General of Post sent a circular asking other senior postal officers whether this would be a wise move.
(viii) The Department of Post seems to really need a crash course on gender sensitivity.

Unexplained Resistance
(i) It is the end of September; yet the Secretary of the Department of Post has not issued any orders for physically challenged rural women to operate the Aadhaar Enrolment Centres.
(ii) The sub-post office in the village of Tilonia in Ajmer district of Rajasthan has an Aadhaar Centre. A qualified physically challenged woman is ready to operate the Aadhaar Centre.
(iii) But it has been many months now and there seems to be great resistance from the Department of Post to break this glass ceiling(limit). Can the Minister please personally intervene?
(iv) When in doubt, set up a Committee.
(v) The mandate of this Committee should be to explore the practical possibilities of immediately hiring the daughters, some physically challenged, of village postmen who have retired or are about to retire looking for employment and security.
(vi) That would indeed be a great achievement for the Department of Post.

The document The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 29th Sept, 2020 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly.
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