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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (2nd June)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. The Error In Zero Tolerance

Anti-doping measures often target sportspersons who are victims, not perpetrators.

  • Close on the heels of the recently concluded Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia, where the Indian contingent got rapped for alleged violations of the “No Needle Policy”, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has reportedly decided to implement a similar policy.

What is CWG’s no-needle policy?

  • Needles must not be used except by medically qualified practitioners for treatment of injury, illness or other medical conditions those requiring auto-injection therapy for an established medical condition, e.g. for insulin dependent diabetes.
  • Every Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) must ensure that needles are stored in a central secured location, access to which is restricted to authorized medical personnel of the CGA delegation.
  • Athletes with a valid TUE (therapeutic use exemption) for use of insulin, and nonathletes requiring other forms of auto-injection may keep appropriate materials with them if safely stored and disposed of in accordance with the following:
  • All used needles and associated materials (vials, syringes, and swabs) are disposed of in an appropriate bio-hazards container
  • Whenever an athlete receives an injection during the Games, the attached “Injection Declaration Form” (IDF) is duly completed and forwarded to the CGF Medical Commission no later than noon the day following such injection.

Analysis of the Policy

  • Zero tolerance is welcome. The culture of casual doping amongst athletes needs to change.
  • The reasons for the malaise are many — peer pressure, irresponsible advisers and fellow athletes, unscrupulous coaches, easy availability, poorly administered federations and, of course, human fallibility.
  • Indian anti-doping rules mirror the WADA code and prescribe a framework of strict liability. For this, the athlete first needs to establish how the prohibited substance entered his/her system. This burden is justifiably onerous. In reality, it disables an athlete caught in inadvertent doping. Inadvertent doping is due to contaminated or mislabelled supplements, misguided medical treatment and at worst, sabotage.
  • Harmless food supplements like proteins or vitamins used by athletes are often from unreliable sources like private shops or online purchase.
  • A recent initiative by the Foods and Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to test and certify supplements is still to be fully operationalised. Ideally, the government should create a source for safe permitted supplements. It would curb accidental doping.
  • An athlete accused of inadvertent doping cannot get supplements tested for contamination, having no access to authorised laboratories. The National Dope-Testing Laboratory (NDTL) is accessible only to NADA or the government.
  • Any anti-doping initiative should aggressively focus not only on detection but also on education and awareness. Athletes, support staff, federations, sports medical personnel must be equipped with well-conceived literature, consultation and workshops. Current efforts are inadequate. NADA’s efforts need to be supplemented by a cadre of indigenous anti-doping experts.

Suggested Reforms

  • First, as a policy, this will be separate from the Anti-Doping Rules and will have to be implemented in silos.
  • Second, the infringement of policy can lead to a disciplinary action but not an anti-doping sanction.
  • Third, an impenetrable infrastructure needs to be put in place first, so that cases of sabotage (simply planting a needle in a competitor’s room) does not become rampant.
  • Finally, there is an argument for restorative, rather than simply retributive justice. A framework must be created to constructively counsel athletes to understand the real causes, degrees of fault and administrative lapses.

Merely subjecting them to an arduous legal process before NADA is not a long-term solution. We must recognise the socio-cultural reality of our sportspersons. Quite a few are from semi-urban or rural backgrounds. To them, sports is the only route to a better economic status. Literacy and language are serious impediments. They are subject to the whims and dictates of administrators. Amidst such intense pressure, they compete and carry our nation’s hopes. But when they err, or are accused of doing so, we disclaim all responsibility.

Conclusion

Making doping a criminal offence, as was once proposed, is an untenable idea which would subject athletes to an already crippled criminal justice system. A nation with a burgeoning young population cannot let inertia put it on a murky sporting track.

2. The democracy project in Bangladesh

The Awami League government’s success in turning around the economy and health care must not be overlooked.

About BTI

  • The BTI (Bangladesh “Transformation Index 2018)  measures and compares transition processes in 129 transformation countries with data collected between 2015 and 2017 and establishes their global rating based on detailed country reports.
  • The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) thus systematically places political decision-makers’ steering capability at the heart of its analysis and, as a result, is the only index in the world that measures and compares the quality of governance with self-collected data.
  • The BTI has, since 2006, been measuring quality of democracy, market economy and governance in 129 developing and transformation countries.

Basics of Bangladesh Politics

  • The three major parties in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Awami League and Jatiya Party.
  • BNP finds its allies among some Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh while the Awami League aligns itself traditionally with leftist and secularist parties.
  • Another important player is the Jatiya Party, headed by former military ruler Hossain Mohammad Ershad.
  • The Awami League-BNP rivalry has been bitter and punctuated by protests, violence and murder.
  • Student politics is particularly strong in Bangladesh, a legacy from the liberation movement era. Almost all parties have highly active student wings, and students have been elected to the Parliament.

BTI Report on Bangladesh

  • Due to the worsened quality of elections, the formerly fifth largest democracy is classified as an autocracy again.
  • These developments are worrying for citizens because corruption, social exclusion and barriers to fair economic competition continue to be more prevalent in autocracies.”
  • A project manager for the BTI at the Bertelsmann Foundation claims the report is balanced as it has flagged “positive developments” in the economic realm in terms of economic output, macroeconomic stability, market-based competition and private enterprise and also “negative developments” in the political realm such as free and fair elections, the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.

A long journey

  • Since the restoration of democracy after the fall of the H.M. Ershad-led military junta in 1990, Bangladesh has witnessed a change of government every five years.
  • The polls were held under a neutral caretaker administration until the Awami League came to power in December 2008 and scrapped the system using its decisive majority in Parliament.
  • This was necessary because the military-backed caretaker administration put in place earlier had overshot its brief and instead of holding an immediate poll, ruled Bangladesh for two years without any mandate.
  • In the last eight years of Awami League, Bangladesh has achieved phenomenal economic growth and inclusive social and human development in areas such as gender empowerment and public health care.
  • But the West, especially the U.S., has sought to punish Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for not allowing a free run to the ambitions of Nobel laureate Mohammed Yunus.
  • The BNP leader, Khaleda Zia, had boycotted the 2014 election to protest the absence of a caretaker administration; in any case the campaign of violence unleashed during the BNP’s reign in the early 2000s cannot be forgotten.
  • It is odd that this systematic lethal campaign directed against the Awami League, a party that had led the country to freedom, did not amount to a murder of democracy for the West, but when BNP-Jamaat leaders are jailed for leading and instigating violence, the West has cried ‘murder of democracy’.

3. Singapore a strategic partner: PM

India and Singapore on Friday agreed to deepen their economic and defence ties as they signed eight agreements, one on logistics cooperation between their Navies, after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong.

  • Mr Modi said that India-Singapore relations fulfil the criterion of strategic partnership in the true sense and that there is no uneasiness in their relationships, rather it has only warmth, harmony and faith.
  • The two countries signed an implementation agreement between their Navies on mutual coordination, logistics and services support for visits of naval ships, submarines and naval aircraft — including ship-borne aviation assets.
  • Both Prime Ministers welcomed the exchange of the Implementing Arrangement between the Navies of both countries concerning mutual coordination, logistics and services support, and called for the early renewal of the Army Bilateral Agreement.

Maritime exercises

  • Appreciating India’s leading role in the Indian Ocean region, both sides agreed to New Delhi’s proposal for continuous and institutionalised naval engagements in their shared maritime space, including establishing maritime exercises with like-minded regional or ASEAN partners.

Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX)– 25 Years

  • Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX)is an annual bilateral naval exercise conducted by the Indian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

CECA review

  • Mr Modi said that they have been able to conclude successfully the second review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), but that’s not just their target and goal but only a means to an end.
  • The officials will soon begin discussions on upgrading and reforming this agreement.
  • Modi and Mr. Lee exchanged views on the regional and global challenges and reiterated their principled position on maritime security and expressed commitment to a rules-based order.
  • The two leaders also agreed on the need to maintain an open, stable and fair international trade regime.
  • They also reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism.
  • Modi welcomed the progress towards realisation of the ASEAN community and expressed full support for ASEAN’s unity, centrality and leadership in the evolving regional architecture.
  • Lee said that India and Singapore were collaborating on technology, smart cities and skills development.
  • He reaffirmed Singapore’s continuing support for India as a permanent member in a reformed United Nations Security Council.

Technology breaks social barriers

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the importance of technology and innovation in every sphere of life.
  • A technology-driven society breaks social barriers.
  • Technology has to be affordable and user-friendly.
  • We should not see every disruption as destruction. People were apprehensive about computers but see how computers changed human history.
  • Technology is aiding human creativity.
  • Various social media platforms have given voice to millions.

Modi gifts replica of Buddhagupta stone

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a replica of the 5th century CE Buddhagupta stone.

Buddhagupta stone

  • The original stone, housed in the Indian Museum in Kolkata, bears a Sanskrit inscription in Pallava script and serves as important evidence of the transmission of Buddhism from India to southeast Asia.
  • A replica of the stone is also housed in the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur.
  • It was discovered by Lt. Col. James Low of the East India Company in Bujang Valley, Kedah, in 1834 in the ruins of what was believed to be a Buddhist monument.
  • A sangha of local and Indian monks, supported by Malays and Indian merchants, used to live along the coast.

4. PM affirms India’s ‘strategic autonomy’

India’s principle of “strategic autonomy” remains strong, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, drawing an equivalence in ties with Russia, the U.S. and China and cautioning against a “return to the age of great power rivalries,” at a conference in Singapore on Friday.

The Indo-Pacific strategy

  • Amid India’s varied strategic moves, as well as the flux in the region, Mr. Modi’s speech was expected to clarify India’s position on the Indo-Pacific strategy which is often seen as a platform to contain China’s moves in the South China Sea.
  • However, Mr. Modi denied the Indo-Pacific was part of a strategy and called it a natural geographical region, placing the 10 countries of South East Asia (ASEAN) at the centre of the forum.
  • Referring specifically to relations between India and Russia, U.S., and China separately, Mr. Modi made it clear that he believed India, like Singapore didn’t stand behind one power or the other.

China

  • In his keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue, he also called the relationship with China a multi-layered one, as he drew out his seven-point vision for the Indo-Pacific region (Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean).
  • India and China have displayed maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border, said the PM.
  • Modi’s words were significant, days before another visit to China’s Qingdao city to attend the SCO summit, a visit which comes a few weeks after he travelled to Wuhan to meet President Xi Jinping.

Russia

  • India and Russia share their views on the need for a strong multi-polar world order for dealing with the challenges of these times.

USA

  • At the same time, India’s global strategic partnership with the United States has overcome the hesitations of history and continues to deepen across the extraordinary breadth of their relationship.

5. Centre notifies Cauvery authority

Three days after the Karnataka Assembly election results and three months after the Supreme Court’s order, the Union government on Friday issued a notification for the Cauvery Water Management Authority.

Functions

  • The authority’s mandate will be to monitor the storage, apportion shares, supervise operation of reservoirs and regulate water releases with the assistance of the Regulation Committee.
  • It will regulate water release by Karnataka at the the Biligundulu gauge and discharge station located on the common border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • It will determine the total residual storage in the specified reservoirs on June 1 every year.
  • The share of each State will be determined on the basis of the flows together with the available carry-over storage in the reservoirs.
  • The withdrawals will be allowed on the basis of the share worked out for each State.
  • If the Authority finds that any Government of the party States, namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Union territory of Puducherry do not cooperate in implementing the decision or direction of the Tribunal, it can seek the help of the Central Government for implementation of the Award of the Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court.

Composition

  • The chairman of the authority will be appointed by the Central government for a tenure of five years.
  • He has to be a senior and eminent engineer with wide experience in water resource management or an IAS officer in the rank of secretary or additional secretary.
  • There will be two part-time members — representatives of the Central Government of the rank of Joint Secretary to be nominated by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare respectively and four part-time members from party States — administrative secretaries in charge of Water Resource Departments of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry who shall be nominated by the State governments and Union territory administration respectively.

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