9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 10, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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Why the Taiwan Covid-19 Model Works?

Source: Click here

Syllabus: GS-2, Social Issues, Health related Issues

Synopsis: Taiwan detected its 1st case of Covid-19 in January 2020. However, it managed to control the pandemic effectively despite the adverse circumstances. With India suffering heavily from Covid-19, it becomes important to have a good look at the Taiwan Covid-19 model.


  • A novel form of pneumonia was first emerged in Wuhan, China, in 2019, and is called coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). It has caused more than 150 million cases and more than 3.1 million deaths worldwide.
  • The disease has a huge medical, economic, and social impact across the globe. It has considerably threatened global efforts to attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Taiwan was expected to be one of the most severely affected countries by the virus because of its proximity to China. Taiwan did not ignore the Covid-19 alarms, given its experience of fighting the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Explain the Taiwan Covid-19 model

Taiwan gathered information from evolving official and unofficial accounts to understand the emerging disease i.e. Covid-19. It helped them in understanding the scope and severity worse than what the global public view suggested.

  1. Firstly, the system used this information to launch superior monitoring in December 2019. They have vigorously implemented public health control methods ever since Taiwan’s first case was detected. They didn’t ignore warnings or public health containment measures unlike many other countries.
  2. Secondly, Taiwan was benefitted by its experience in handling the 2003 SARS outbreak. It had an established nationwide infectious disease healthcare network. This network provides the legal authority for shifting patients with highly infectious diseases to chosen facilities.
    • This has helped protect health systems and health professionals from being overburdened. It also allowed most non-Covid-19 health services to continue.
  3. Thirdly, Taiwan diminished the economic impact of Covid-19 by acting early and effectively. Taiwan implemented flexible measures to maintain vital international, social, economic, and trade activities.
    • It applied flexible quarantine measures for vessels and aircraft so that fisheries, offshore wind farms, and air transport industries could continue operations.
  4. Fourthly, public trust and cooperation with the government’s response was equally important in successfully containing Covid-19. The government followed the principles of rational response, minimum damage, and steady adoption while framing disease control rules.
  5. Fifthly, Taiwan has stressed the right to health and associated protections and strong opposition to human rights abuses. It prioritized the protection of disadvantaged groups, including migrant workers.
    • Taiwan’s response to Covid-19 has been very successful. It has proven that Taiwan cannot remain outside the global health network. It plays a key role in the global monitoring and early warning systems that detect the threat of emerging infectious diseases.

Way forward

  • The Taiwan model has proven that it is capable of containing Covid-19. Taiwan will be able to work with the rest of the world by contributing to international Covid-19 supply chain systems, global diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics platforms.
  • WHO and related parties should acknowledge Taiwan’s age-old contributions to the international community in public health, disease prevention, and the human right to health. Taiwan should be included in WHO meetings, mechanisms, and activities.
  • As a result, Taiwan will work with the rest of the world to safeguard that all enjoy the fundamental human right to health as specified in the WHO constitution. Resonating with the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals mantra, no one should be left behind.

Nation wide lockdown is an Opportunity to Improve Health Infrastructure

Source – The Hindu

Syllabus – GS 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Synopsis – At last, states are implementing strict lockdowns. It is to handle the out-of-control spread of Coronavirus infection. Now, states should use this opportunity to improve health infrastructure in the country.


  • Life threat from a mutating virus has aggravated manifold. An increase in Covid cases from 9,000 new daily in early February to over 4,00,000 in May, is mostly caused by incorrect messaging, political rallies, and religious gatherings.
  • To curb the transmission of the virus, there is a need to impose national wide lockdown. However, lockdown should be used to improve the health infrastructure.

Benefits of a lockdown

  • Break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 – The lockdown will help to break the chain of transmission of the virus so that number of cases falls.
  • Lockdown will provide breathing time-
    • The chance of respite for the overburdened medical community – The lockdown will help healthcare professionals to manage existing cases.
    • In the meantime, the government should increase essential health supplies such as oxygen concentrators, ICU beds, and ventilators. It is necessary to treat Covid-19 patients.
    • The lockdown provided a breathing space for the government to ramp up COVID-19 testing facilities to assess the true scale of the pandemic.
    • The lockdown would provide the Centre government time and capacity to boost vaccine’s domestic production.

Way forward

  • Government should avoid shut out employment and services completely. Home delivery services and some vending should be permitted.
  • The state government should ensure proper social distancing during ration distribution. Online payment for ration and consumer goods and doorstep delivery can be used.
  • Travel for emergencies must be facilitated without harassment.
  • People should focus on wearing quality good masks, keeping a safe distance, and avoiding big gathering

US Support to TRIPS Waiver – Challenges Ahead

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 2- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Synopsis – US is supporting the TRIPS waiver on Covid-19 Vaccines. However, it may take much more time and effort to take benefits out of it.


  • The US is supporting a temporary waiver of the TRIPS agreement [patent protection rules] on Covid-19 vaccines proposed by India and South Africa.
  • Article IX of the WTO Agreement allows for waiving obligations in exceptional circumstances.

However, developed nations [home to the big pharmaceutical companies] oppose the TRIPS waiver.

Why developed countries were against the proposal to waive TRIPS?

According to some developed countries-

  • If IP (intellectual property) not properly protected, investment in the medical field, especially in the area of infectious diseases, would be reduced.
  • It will also add a risk factor for the growth of medical technology which will be hindered, and essential products may not be developed in future crises.

Hopefully, just support for the waiver is not sufficient. There are many more challenges in achieving the final goal of mass production of vaccines in every country.

TRIPS Waiver Challenges- 

  • First, Previous experience- TRIPS Agreement contains flexibilities. These include the freedom to use parallel imports and compulsory licenses that help countries get access to medicines. Yet such flexibilities are not always easy to use.
    • For example- Following the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa in the 1990s, the WTO adopted a decision in 2003 to waive certain TRIPS obligations.
    • In 2003, a mechanism was developed that enables countries with no pharmaceutical manufacturing capability to use and benefit from compulsory licenses. However, it was subject to so many conditions that poor countries could not get the benefit of this waiver, such as
      • The exporting country must ensure that the drugs so manufactured are exported to that nation only.
      • The medicines should be readily identifiable through different colours, or shapes.
      • Only the amount necessary to meet the requirements of the eligible importing country are manufactured
      • The importing country has to notify the WTO’s TRIPS Council.
  • Second, Time-taking process- Given the WTO’s consensus-based decision-making process and the complexities of the issues involved, negotiations on the text of the waiver will take time.
  • Third, the limited scope of the waiver- The US only supports waiving IP protection on Covid-19 vaccines. While medicines and other therapeutics and technologies related to the treatment of COVID-19 are being ignored.
  • Forth, Non-IP challenges- The lack of access to technological know-how related to manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines will not be solved by TRIPS waiver.
    • IP Waiver does not impose a legal requirement on pharmaceutical companies to transfer or share technology.


  • Governments must negotiate with big-pharma firms for technology transfer by offering additional financial benefits and establishing a favorable policy environment.
  • Countries should start working towards making suitable amendments to their domestic legal framework to operationalize and enforce the TRIPS waiver.
  • Developed countries should consider waiving medicines and other therapeutics and technologies related to the treatment of COVID-19.

EAC Recommends the Great Nicobar Development Plan for EIA Study

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 3:Environmental Impact Assessment

Synopsis: The Environment Appraisal Committee has recommended the  Great Nicobar Development plan for grant of terms of reference for EIA studies. The committee also flagged a few critical concerns.


The Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) had raised serious concerns about NITI Aayog’s ambitious project for the Great Nicobar Development plan. However, the EAC has also recommended the plan for a term of reference (TOR) for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies. 

About the NITI Aayog’s Great Nicobar Development plan:

NITI Aayog developed a ‘Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island at Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ plan. 

The plan proposal includes construction of the following,

  • An international container trans-shipment terminal,
  • A greenfield international airport,
  • A power plant and a township complex spread over 166 sq. km
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO) will be the nodal agency for the implementation of the Great Nicobar Development plan.

The ‘pre-feasibility report of the Great Nicobar Development plan was prepared by a Gurugram-based consulting agency Aecom India Private Limited for NITI Aayog. The report mentioned the implementation of the plan will require an estimated cost of ₹ 75,000 crores.

About the Environment Appraisal Committee:

  • A 15 member EAC headed by a marine biologist and former director, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Deepak Apte was formed to study the pre-feasibility report.
  • Recently, the EAC made their decision and uploaded the documents on the MoEFCC’s Parivesh portal.
  • In that, it recommended the plan for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies.
  • Apart from that, the committee also raises few concerns with the plan.

What were the concerns of the committee?

The committee held two meetings one in March and the other in April. During that, it raises both technical and practical concerns. The discussion of the March meeting was delayed because of the incomplete submission of documents.

  1. The incomplete information includes the details of the township, information on seismic and tsunami risks, freshwater requirement details for projects and settlements, etc. Apart from that, the impact on the Giant Leatherback turtle was also incomplete.
    • After the completion of projects, it is expected that nearly 6.5 lakh people will live on the island. The current population is only 8,500 on Great Nicobar. The current total population of the entire island chain is less than 4.5 lakh.
  2. The committee also pointed that there were no details of the trees to be chopped. 130 sq. km. of the project area has some of the finest tropical forests in India. Hence, the numbers of chopped trees could run into millions.
  3. The committee asked for details of the corporate environment policy of the implementing agency. Similarly, the EAC also asks whether the company has an environmental policy, a prescribed standard operating procedure to deal with environmental and forest violations.
  4. AECOM’s pre-feasibility report has proposed 2022-23 for the start of work on the site. However, one year is not enough if the government and project proponents follow the EAC’s recommendations in letter and spirit. 
  5. Galathea Bay of Great Nicobar forms the centrepiece of the NITI Aayog proposal. The Plan aims to construct a port in Galathea Bay. But, this has a number of issues in the plan.
    • Ecological surveys have reported a number of new species, many restricted to just the Galathea region. These include the critically endangered Nicobar shrew, the Great Nicobar crake, the Nicobar frog etc. These are not mentioned in AECOM’s pre-feasibility report.
    • The beaches at the mouth of the river Galathea in South Bay are among the most prominent nesting sites of Giant leatherback turtles.
    • The EAC highlighted that the site selection for the port had been done on technical and financial criteria. The environmental aspects were ignored.
    • So the EAC has asked for an independent evaluation for the aptness of the proposed port site with a specific focus on Leatherback Turtle.
  6. At present, the ANIIDCO is involved in activities such as tourism, trading and infrastructure development for tourism and fisheries. Its annual turnover for 2018-19 was ₹ 379 crore. But to manage the infrastructure project valued to cost ₹75,000 crore is way beyond its capacity.

Action points suggested by the Environment Appraisal Committee:

More than 100 specific points of action are listed out by the committee. The important ones include, 

  1. The need for an independent assessment of terrestrial and marine biodiversity
  2. A study on the impact of dredging, recovery and port operations, including oil spills.
  3. Analysis of risk-handling capabilities and a disaster management plan.
  4. Details of labour, labour camps and their requirements.
  5. The need for studies of alternative sites for the port with a focus on environmental and ecological impact
  6. Conducting a hydro-geological study to assess the impact on ground and surface water regimes. 

Solving Present Health Care Crisis With Lessons from Green Revolution

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS:3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth and  development

Synopsis: India is facing a severe shortage of healthcare infrastructure. But, this is not the first time. India already tackled a food shortage worse than this during the 1960s by the green revolution.


India is witnessing shortages of almost everything needed to treat COVID-19 patients. Such as hospital beds, drugs, ventilators, Vaccines, and, above all, medical oxygen. Many countries such as the US, the U.K., the European Union, and even China offering help to India to tackle the second Covid-19 wave. This situation resembles India from the Mid-1960s.

The Situation of India during the 1960s:

  • India faced a severe food shortage after facing two consecutive years of drought. After that, India forced to accept US aid. It is a point to note that, India at that time neither supported USSR nor the USA.
  • President Lyndon, send food to India by the shipload. So that India can keep the ship on a short lease”
  • Though it was the worst situation, the response of Indian leadership was exemplary.
  • Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, and others brought the scientific and bureaucratic communities to debates. Especially to bring a quantum leap in food production.
  • The debate turned into action very soon. Within a few years, India achieved Food security.
  • No one imagined that India from such a dreadful situation will achieve food security this fast.
  • The Green Revolution stands out in Indian history even today. It is the display of extraordinary accountability of political leadership, combined ability to resolve an issue from bureaucrat and Scientific community.

Advantages for present India vis-à-vis 1960s:

  • In March 2020, India faced a similar 1960s problem on health infrastructure. To improve the medical capability and delay the Covid-19 spread India imposed lockdown at very short notice.
  • But India has certain advantages at present when compared to the situation in 1960. Such as,
    • At present, India has a  better industrial base, compared to the 1960s. So, India needs some time to ramp up hospital beds, ventilators, and oxygen supply.
    • Similarly, certain parts of India actually have a surplus of oxygen. They can help to fulfill urgent demands.
    • India has an enormous foreign exchange reserve at present. This is not the case in the 1960s. So, India was in a better position to import some crucial medical inputs such as vaccines.


  • Inter-State variation in death rate is directly related to the amount of health spending with respect to the state domestic product. Similarly, the health infrastructure of the country is also important. So, to avert any future crisis States have to increase the level of spending on health.
  • India also witnesses a hike in Food prices during the pandemic. This denotes that there is a disruption of supply in between in the supply chain. This will be further impacted due to various State-level lockdowns. To avoid this, PM has to interact with the farming community. This is an important lesson for India from the mid-sixties.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 10 May, 2021

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