Newspaper GIST


Speed up trial of politicians, says SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the government to frame a central scheme for setting up special courts across the country to exclusively try criminal cases involving 'political persons'.

Russia-India partnership second to none: Envoy

Russia's partnership with India is 'second to none' and cannot be compared with its relationship with Pakistan, Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said on Wednesday.

India, Bhutan security indivisible: President

The security of India and Bhutan is 'indivisible and mutual', President Ram Nath Kovind said here on Wednesday.

Nirmala flags Indian Ocean issues

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday expressed concerns at the increased militarisation of the Indian Ocean region and the way extra-regional nations- in an apparent reference to China- were maintaining a 'near permanent presence' there.


Moving Up

India rose itself from the 130th position last year to 100th position in the latest World Bank report on the quality of ease of doing business. This is an advantage and good news for the economy and the country as a whole. Since the last few months when the country is facing criticism and reports for a bad economic condition, the news of the upsurge is a positive one. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reiterated the country commitment to pursue additional reforms, especially in the areas where the country stands poorly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also earlier finalised the target of venturing in the top 50 in the Bank’s index to his government. Specific steps to cut down red tape, introduction of the advanced new insolvency and bankruptcy resolution strategies, simplifications in the payment process of statutory dues like provident fund contributions as well as corporate taxes and an easier access to due credit are among the key steps which boosted India to the current position. Currently India stands at the fourth best placed in the whole world for the minority investors. The position that India is in is well ahead of many developed nations. The Bank’s report, however didn’t take into account the impact of the GST which was launched on July 1st 2017. The report was based on all executive actions and feedback from businesses across Mumbai and Delhi until 1st June. The quality as well as the pace of course correction post GST implementation would determine whether India can still stand in its 100th position or rise further.

The War on TB

The recent figures highlighting a drop in the number of new TB cases and TB deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015 is good news and a ray of hope for the country. From the estimated 2.84 million new cases in the year 2015, the figures dropped marginally to 2.79 million cases in 2016, as per a WHO Global tuberculosis report 2017. In terms of TB mortality, the drop was from 0.51 million cases in 2015 to 0.43 million cases in 2016. The number of TB deaths and its incidence rate has both fallen globally as well as in India. The targets that are set in the End TB strategy are a global reduction of 20% in the incidence rate and 35% in mortality rates by the year 2020. This target was set taking 2015 as the base year. To successfully achieve the target, the global drop in incidence rate needs to be 4-5% per year — currently it is around 2% per year. In addition to that the percentage of deaths should also reduce from the current 16% to 10%. The initial step in defeating the TB disease and achieving the set targets is to successfully record every diagnosed TB patient through case notification. Though there was a 34% increase in the case notifications between 2013 and 2015 which improved from 61% in the year 2015 to 69% in 2016, there is still more work. Case notifications need to improve as only 1.9 million TB cases in both public and private sectors were notified in the year 2016, leaving a 25% huge gap between the incidence and notification. For the first time, small introductory steps are taken to provide preventive TB treatment to a certain small (5%) number of people who are also HIV-positive, and to around 1.9% of children below five years who are also household contacts of the people recently diagnosed with pulmonary TB. While improved and better funding will help India to reach the set target by 2025, more work is required in terms of funding as well commitment on all fronts.

Tackling Fake News

Fake news is doing the rounds everywhere- in India too. In India, perhaps the Indians and the ‘Indian National Anthem’ recently being adjudged as the best by UNESCO is the most common fake news which is doing the rounds across the Internet. This piece of fake news highlights the menace of fake and fabricated news which is prevalent in high tide and is a threat to the society. Fake and fabricated news arise from any sphere of life- be it political or social. Rampant misinformation Claire Wardle of First Draft, which is a UK-based non- profit organisation categorised misinformation and fake news into seven different categories- satire or parody, misleading content, imposter content, improper fabricated content, false connection, false content as well as manipulated content. All these forms exist in India- though fabricated and manipulated content are more common. The rise of digital as well as social media as powerful platforms only boosted the fake and fabricated news sphere. A growing polarisation of the society on multiple ideological lines fanned the flames of spreading fake news much more easily. In the past, cases of communal violence in India were only a localised affair- nowadays it is an extensive upsurge through the Internet. One can see much provocative content, inaccurate improper information, doctored videos as well as pictures being disseminated through different online and mobile platforms in the media. The platforms act like nodal agencies for distributing unverified content. In India, multiple sites are introduced to peddle fake news having click bait headlines. The introduction of fake news is not new to the world- only the potential to reach to the masses have been amplified due to many online platforms and free applications. The lack of good and robust uniform guidelines is what spurred this menace. There is also a need for the regulations and dealing with such fabricated and fake content to be checked and addressed urgently. Considering the rampant use of mobile phones and a rise in use of social media across India, fake news is currently not a problem at all limited to only the online world.

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