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GS: 2

Thirty years after the 8888 uprising

Article:

  1. Nehginpao Kipgen, Associate Professor , O.P Jindal Global University, discussed  that Myanmar’s stability and development can be achieved by resolving the issues of equality and federalism.

Important facts:

  1. August 8, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the people’s uprising (8888 uprising) in Myanmar.
  2. About ‘8888’ uprising:
  • The ‘8888’ uprising is one of Myanmar’s most important historic days in the context of pro-democracy movement.
  • It was a people’s movement that challenged the then ruling Burma Socialist Programme party’s grip on political, economic and social affairs which led the country into extreme poverty.
  • The protest gave rise to the National League for Democracy (NLD), which paved the way for the current Myanmar state counselor, Aung San Suu Kyi’s entry into politics.
  • The objective of ‘8888’ uprising was twofold:
  1. To push for the transfer of power from the military to a civilian leadership.
  2. Change in political system from an authoritarian regime to a multi-party democracy.
  • For the country’s ethnic minorities, their political demands that date back to before Myanmaar’s independence in 1948 continue.
  • Non-Burma ethnic armed group have demanded a federal democracy that guarantees autonomy and self-determination in their respective areas.
  1. The day has also been observed in different parts of the world including Myanmar by Burmese expatriates.
  2. But , year’s programme in Myanmar is significant for two reasons:
  • It keeps alive the spirit of democracy and underscores the need for equality and federalism.
  • Builds an awareness campaign on the role of military.
  • This year anniversary committee has laid emphases on the importance of federalism and equality.
  • The success of 21st Century Panglong Conference or peace talk will depend on these two key issues:- Equality and Federalism.
  • Myanmar’s peace, stability and development also depend on these two issues (Equality and Federalism).
  1. The political change in Myanmar was designed by the military.
  2. Even the country’s 2008 Constitution gave the military a dominant role in politics.
  3. From 2016, Ms Sunn Kyi and the NLD formed the first civilian government in the country.
  4. Myanmar now practices the ‘Burmese way to democracy’ , introduced by former PM Khin Nyunt in 2003 when he announced the military’s seven-step road map to a flourishing democracy.
  5. The author gave the following suggestions for stability and democracy in Myanmar.
  • According to the author’s view the ‘8888’ leaders should look at democratic transitions in other countries.
  • They should share their findings not only with the civilian government but also with the military leadership.
  • According to the author no democracy can succeed when the military holds the rein and is unaccountable to an elected civilian leadership.
  • For democracy, the role of the ‘8888’ leaders remains important.
  • The military in Myanmar should note that all countries want a democracy that respects the rights of its entire people including the minorities.

GS: 3

Three northeastern States emerge as new HIV hotspots

News:

  1. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of HIV cases has been declining in India.

Important facts:

  1. However, in few northeastern states such as Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have emerged as the new hotspots for HIV.
  2. The Ministry’s data revealed the following facts:
  • In four sites in Mizoram and one in Tripura, HIV prevalence was higher among IDUs, which for the rest of the country is 6.3%
  • In places named  Aizwal, Champhai and Kolasib, the prevalence of HIV in IDUs was 37.44%, 33.06% and 38.14% respectively.
  • In Mizoram’s Aizwal district, the prevalence of HIV was as high as 24.68%, compared with 1.6% for other sites in the country.
  • HIV prevalence among female sex workers was higher at four sites- two in Tripura and one each in Mizoram and Meghlaya.
  • In case of pregnant women visiting ante-natal clinics(ANC), six centres in Mizoram, two in Meghalaya and one in Tripura recorded HIV prevalence of more than 1%, compared with HIV prevalence of 0.28% among pregnant women visiting ANCs in other places in India surveyed last year.
  • The HIV Sentinel Surveillance (HSS), a biennial study conducted by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), is one of the largest regular studies in the world dealing with HIV in high risk groups of the population.
  • The HSS had referred that HIV prevalence in the context of ANCs in the northeastern States of Mizoram (1.19%), Nagaland (0.82%), Meghalaya (0.73%), Tripura (0.56%) and Manipur (0.47%) were among the highest.
  1. The Ministry attributed the reason for the rise in the incidence of HIV to the high-risk behaviour of Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), and unsafe sexual practices.
  2. Following suggestions were given by the Ministry to address the spread of HIV:
  • Preventive and intervention strategies for the most-at-risk population.
  • To bring more people living with HIV infection in India under Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART).
  • The challenge lies in encouraging more people to take the test and then provide them with ART.
  • ART helps in effectively suppressing the virus and reducing the transmission of HIV from the infected person.
  • In terms of PLHIV who are on ART, Maharashtra has the highest number (with 2.03 lakh persons) followed by A.P.(1.78 lakh ) and Karnataka (1.58 lakh persons).

Our privacy’s worth

Article:

  1. Shankar Naryanan, leads the Public Law vertical at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, gave his arguments against criticism of the Srikrishna Committee report.

Important facts:

  • The draft personal data protection Bill 2018, submitted by the Justice B.N. Srikrishna-headed expert panel has proposed that critical personal data of Indian citizens be processed in centres located within the country.
  1. Critiques alleged that the Srikrishan Committee has undermined and reinterpreted the legal principles in the right of privacy judgment.
  2. While this claim may seem provocative, it is based on a reading of the privacy judgment.
  • It expressly stated the primacy of the individual as the beneficiary of fundamental rights.
  • It rejected the argument that the right to privacy dissolves in the face of amorphous collective notions of economic development.
  1. The critiques said that the report on data protection misinterprets the Supreme Court’s right to privacy judgment.
  2. In Aug 2017, the Supreme Court declared the right to privacy a fundamental right and observed that informational privacy is a key facet of this right
  3. The court ruled that States must create a regime for informational privacy which protects individuals from state and non-state actors.
  4. Thought, the committee was constituted prior to the judgment, this was its task, as stated in its report
  5. While defending the Srikrishan committee, the author raised the two important key points in this article:
  6. Provocative claim:
  • The apex court has held the individual is the beneficiary of fundamental rights.
  • Much like other fundamental right, the right to privacy is a means to achieve collective goal of a free and just society.
  • The Preamble of the Constitution speaks of a people who value liberty, equality, fraternity and justice.
  • The Srikrishan committee report makes this point as succinctly as possible when it notes that the importance of a right in this account is not because of the benefit that accrues to the rights-holder but because that benefit is a public good.
  • In other words, there is an important societal interest which is furthered by protecting the right to privacy.
  • The author quotes Justice D.Y. Chandrachud who notes that the “individual is the focal point of the Constitution because it is in the realisation of individual rights that the collective well being of the community is determined”.
  • It is to this effect that the Committee notes that it would be an error to view individual rights as deontological categories which protect individual interests.
  1. Other argument raised in this article:
  • In another argument the author said that the report endorses a view that the right to privacy dissolves in the face of amorphous claims of economic development.
  • According to the author, the report actually dismisses the notion of such a binary.
  • The Committee specifically emphasizes that protecting the autonomy of an individual for free and fair digital economy.
  • The Committee expresses the view that protecting the autonomy of data principals is critical as it will encourage the flow of information.
  • The committee observes that such an economy envisages a polity where the individual autonomously decides what to do with her personal data, in a manner that promotes overall welfare.
  • The author said that Srikrishna Committee report and Bill are not perfect outcomes of a perfect process. However, they are honest attempts to provide rational solutions to real problems.

 

The economics of tax havens

News:

  1. According to another recent paper, “The missing profits of nations”, by Ludvig Wier and others, about 40% of the profits earned by multinationals each year continue to be shifted to tax havens.

Important facts:

  1. Organisations like Oxfam have often characterized tax havens as “anti-poor” since they help the rich avoid paying taxes to governments.
  2. Tax havens help rich corporations and businessmen avoid paying high taxes on their income.
  3. It promotes illegal accumulation of wealth.
  4. However, a 2018 paper by Juan Carlos Suarez Serrato, titled “Unintended consequences of eliminating tax havens”, circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research, emphasized that critics may be committing a huge mistake by attacking tax havens.
  5. The paper tries to point out that if eliminating tax havens is good economic policy.
  6. For this, the author studies the economic impact of repealing Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code. This made it harder for American multinational corporations to avoid paying taxes.
  7. Corporations had earlier made use of Section 936 to avoid paying high taxes in the U.S. by shifting their profits to tax havens like Puerto Rico that charged them lower tax rates.
  8. The existence of tax havens allowed corporations to invest in the U.S. despite the country’s high tax rates because tax havens helped to lower the effective U.S. tax rate.
  9. Despite the crackdown on tax havens, the practice of shifting profits to avoid paying higher taxes continues unabated.
  10. The author argued the following reasons for profit shifting to other countries:
  • Because tax authorities in high-tax countries have been unable to eliminate the influence of tax havens that compete against them for revenues.
  • So these tax authorities have instead resorted to competing against other high-tax countries by allowing corporations to shift profits to their jurisdictions.
  • Such competition between tax authorities has caused the average global corporate tax rate to fall by more than half between 1985 and 2018.

 

 

 

 

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