Current Affairs – 22nd Jan 2021

China defends new village in Arunachal Pradesh #GS2 #IR

China said its construction of a village across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh was “beyond reproach” because it had “never recognised” Arunachal.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs said earlier this week it was aware of the construction “along the LAC”. This followed a report showing satellite images of the village, built between November 2019 and November 2020 and located a couple of kilometres across the LAC, beyond what India sees as the border separating Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, on the banks of the Tsari Chu river in Upper Subansiri district in Arunachal.

Indian officials said this area has been under Chinese control since 1959. There are close to two dozen spots along the entire length of the LAC in all sectors where India and China do not agree on its alignment. Indian officials said China had earlier built a permanent construction of military barracks in this area. 

‘Clear position’

China’s “position on Zangnan [or South Tibet, as China refers to Arunachal] region is consistent and clear”. China and India haven’t demarcated the border line of this area yet. So they cannot accuse China of building a village on the Indian side

That is in large part because China has refused to exchange maps showing its LAC perception in the eastern sector, leaving unclear the extent of its claims on what is under its control.

The site of the village is close to where China had attacked an Assam Rifles post in 1959, in what is known as the Longju incident. He said it is at least 2 km south of the McMahon Line, which China doesn’t recognise. After the 1962 war, India stopped patrolling the area.

Construction appeared to be part of a programme by China to build what it calls “poverty alleviation” villages. He estimates that under the initiative, launched after a Tibet economic work conference in 2015, some 600 villages have been built, of which around 100 are in border areas. 

While the government calls them poverty alleviation villages, some of the villages in border areas are very remote with little economic activity there, so they appear to have a strategic purpose. Another village built last year, called Pangda, was built 2-3 km inside what Bhutan sees as its territory, in another disputed area.

The new village in Arunachal is around 30 km from another well-known border village called Yumai, which made headlines in China in 2017.

Benefit of the newsNames of some areas near LOC, river flowing, earlier China border villages issues

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/china-defends-new-village-in-arunachal-pradesh/article33631022.ece

India to clear vaccine exports to Brazil today #GS2 #IR

Brazil is set to receive the go-ahead from the Indian government to collect two million doses of the Covishield vaccine made by the Serum Institute. 

After the clearance of grant assistance of the vaccines to neighbouring countries, officials confirmed that Brazil is among the “key partners” who would receive export permissions for their orders next.

However, after India refused to give the “technical clearances” in time for the plane, Mr. Bolsonaro decided to go ahead with its vaccination programme using Chinese-developed Sinovac that had been manufactured at a local institute.

In an operation concluded on Tuesday, Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello announced that the country had distributed six million doses of Sinovac, manufactured by the Butantan Institute to all of Brazil’s 27 States in order to complete the first phase of vaccinating frontline workers.

Brazil’s first phase of vaccination will target 49 million people out of its total population of 212 million. Health regulator ANVISA has cleared both Sinovac and the U.K.’s AstraZeneca vaccine, both of which will be manufactured in Brazil.

Benefit of the newsIndia relations with Brazil along with an example for BRICS 

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/india-to-clear-vaccine-exports-to-brazil-today/article33631052.ece

We have not ‘functionally changed’ privacy policy: FB #GS3 #SNT

Facebook, which owns communication platform WhatsApp, clarified that it has not “functionally changed” the privacy policy. Officials of Facebook and Twitter deposed before the committee on the subject of “safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms”.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) had recently written to Will Cathcart, Global CEO of WhatsApp, to withdraw the proposed changes to the privacy policy of the Facebook-owned messaging application for Indian users. The Ministry demanded that WhatsApp explain if the metadata of users’ chat will be shared with other Facebook companies.

The Facebook officials clarified that the privacy policy is “functionally” the same as what has been in existence since 2016. 

The committee also questioned Facebook on data security and its monetisation. The Facebook officials conceded that the revenue model of the platform is advertising-driven, though the officials insisted that it does not share the user data with any of its advertisers.

Members also asked Facebook to explain whether it is a publisher or merely an intermediary. Concerns were raised in the meeting that Facebook is governed solely by the U.S. community laws since it is a U.S.-based registered company.

Benefit of the newsView point from India side for latest WhatsApp policy

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/we-have-not-functionally-changed-privacy-policy-fb/article33631044.ece

GDP within striking distance of growth #GS3 #Economy

The economy is within striking distance of attaining positive growth,  adding that the letter ‘V’ in the V-shaped recovery stood for vaccine. The Centre unveiled a vaccination drive on January 16 to protect people from COVID-19.

India’s vaccination drive is backed by its comparative advantage of having the largest vaccine manufacturing capacity in the world and a rich experience of mass inoculation drives against polio and measles.

E-commerce and digital technologies will likely be the bright spots in a recovery in a world in which there will be rebounds for sure, but pre-pandemic levels of output and employment are a long way off.

Recent shifts in the macroeconomic landscape have brightened the outlook, with GDP in striking distance of attaining positive territory and inflation easing closer to the target. India’s GDP is estimated to contract by a record 7.7% during 2020-21 as the pandemic severely hit the key manufacturing and services segments.

The economy shrank by 23.9% in the first quarter and 7.5% in the second quarter on account of the pandemic. With rabi sowing surpassing the normal acreage way before the end of the season, bumper agriculture production is expected in 2021.

Benefit of the newsAbout V Shaped growth

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-business/gdp-within-striking-distance-of-growth/article33630963.ece

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