News & Events
in this section, we are presenting our readers/aspirants compilation of selected editorials of national daily viz. The Hindu, The live mint,The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, PIB etc. This section caters the requirement of Civil Services Mains (GS + Essay) , PCS, HAS Mains (GS + Essay) & others essay writing competitions
1.US’s messy C-Band 5G rollout forces its government to balance the interests of the telecom and aviation sector
The cancellation of flights to the United States by many international carriers including Air India owing to safety fears arising from a muddled 5G rollout is the latest in a series of setbacks for the airline industry. Earlier, travel during the December-January holiday season was severely affected by the Omicron surge. The US government is caught in a position where it has to balance the concerns of airline and telecom firms.
The 5G rollout by telecom companies AT&T and Verizon are using C-Band spectrum (3.7-4 GHz) that is in close proximity to frequency bands used by radar altimeters (4.2-4.4 GHz) on commercial aircrafts, which help in judging altitudes during landing and take-off. Other countries that have switched to 5G are using frequencies in the relatively farther 3.4 to 3.8 GHz and haven’t faced problems in the aviation sector.
A compromise proposed by FAA and accepted by the two telecom companies involves not switching on 5G cellular antennas in the proximity of 50 major airports. Verizon has said it will not use the higher band frequencies that are closer to the ones used by altimeters for several years. But 5G is the way ahead and the C-band spectrum promises much greater speeds. So solutions to prevent distortion of radar altimeter communications will have to be quickly devised. After the difficulties faced during the pandemic, airline companies won’t be happy to incur more costs on upgrades. The telecom companies paid the US government around $81 billion to use these frequencies. So the big question is whether it is the state’s responsibility to compensate airline companies.
2.Stats of the nation: Not just death counts or data on malnutrition, India’s statistics are poor across categories
Two independent proceedings in the Supreme Court have brought the state of India’s statistical system into focus. The sharp divergence between some states’ official Covid toll and the higher number of compensation claims accepted by them has raised questions on India’s mortality statistics. In a similar fashion, the apex court’s questions directed at GoI on starvation deaths, while hearing a plea for a national policy on community kitchens, point to an unsatisfactory state of affairs.
India had an early start in collating vital statistics of the population. The process began in the 19th century. Later, in 1969, recording of these details was made mandatory through statutory backing. The Civil Registration System (CRS) is overseen by GoI but run by states. It aims to be a comprehensive database on births and deaths, but the quality varies sharply across states. CRS 2019, the last available one, estimates India had 8.3 million deaths, of which 92% were registered. Over time, there has been progress in registering births and deaths. However, when it comes to medically certified deaths, India regressed even before the pandemic. Only 20.7% of the registered deaths in 2019 were medically certified, a lower proportion than the 21.1% and 22% recorded in the preceding years.
The national average masks sharp interstate variation. If 100% of deaths were medically certified in Goa, it was less than 10% in Bihar, Jharkhand and UP. This level of inconsistency harms both individuals and policy. Compensation for Covid deaths or allocation of resources to combat malnutrition depend on accurate data. The gaps in India’s statistical system are undermining the effectiveness of policy making. To illustrate, in the absence of household consumption surveys for a decade, realignment of consumer price index or consistent poverty estimates are not possible. The apex court proceedings highlight that governments are shooting in the dark.
The absence of relevant statistics is the primary problem. A related issue is the politicisation of release. Over decades, heated debates over interpreting data have often been political in nature. If that’s inevitable, what is indefensible is holding back scheduled release of data because it doesn’t fit an ideal narrative. Sticking to scheduled timelines of release is an essential part of building credibility. Violating it casts a shadow of doubt on the entire effort of India’s statistical apparatus. Policies need to be based on evidence. Here, India risks getting left behind if GoI and states don’t get it togethe
3.All in the fray: On new contenders in Goa polls
Goa polls will see relatively new contenders against established parties
Seven of the 13 governments formed in Goa since 1963 have been by coalitions. In 2017, it was more a usurpation of power than the making of a defensible coalition. The BJP, which had won only 13 of the 40 Assembly seats, cobbled up a coalition with the two main regional parties, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP), and two Independents to form the government under Manohar Parrikar, outsmarting the Congress that had emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats. As the State saunters to the next Assembly election, the Congress is left with only two MLAs. Most of the others have crossed over to the BJP, which discarded its original partners, the MGP and the GFP, along the way. This time, the MGP has tied up with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), and the Vijai Sardesai-led GFP is in alliance with the Congress. The MGP at present has one and the GFP two MLAs in the Assembly. The 2022 Assembly election has been spiced up with the entry of the TMC, and vigorous campaigning by Arvind Kejrwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is looking to improve its dismal performance in the 2017 Goa Assembly election when the party failed to win even a single seat. An alliance of the NCP and Shiv Sena is also in the fray.
4.Technology tangle: On 5G services and flight disruptions
The roll-out of 5G services near airports is posing a challenge to airlines
Almost 11 months after the United States’ leading telecommunications companies won bids for $81 billion worth of C-band radio spectrum to roll out 5G services, the much-awaited introduction hit a major snag this week after the country’s leading airlines warned of massive flight disruptions if the wireless technology was put into operation, especially around the nation’s airports. In a compromise on the eve of the planned roll-out on January 19, AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay introduction of the new wireless service near key airports. The two major telcos’ commitments notwithstanding, several domestic and international airlines flying to the U.S. have announced major rescheduling as well as the possibility of cancellation of flights to several destinations citing warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aircraft makers that accurate functioning of radar altimeters in some aircraft may be affected by the 5G radio frequencies. The altimeters provide information on an aircraft’s altitude and are a crucial part of flight operations for pilots, particularly while seeking to make low-visibility landings in inclement weather. At the heart of the impasse lies the fact that both the 5G services and some flight equipment operate on the same C-band radio spectrum, with only the frequencies varying. The FAA has said it is working with altimeter manufacturers to evaluate data from the wireless companies to determine how robust each model is, and, if required, have the devices retrofitted or replaced.
The fact that the world’s largest economy is now faced with the risk of large-scale domestic and international air travel disruptions as a result of the