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Editorial Today (English)

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 competition

1.SEBI does its bit for startup ecosystem

Capital markets regulator Sebi has made far-reaching changes to listing norms on the Innovators Growth Platform (IGP), the novel exchange podium for startups. It has considerably eased the eligibility and listing criteria, which seems most welcome.

The idea is to boost public listing from India’s thriving startup ecosystem. At present, for a company with early-stage investors to be able to list on IGP, the shareholding period for investors owning 25% in the startup needs to be at least two years. Sebi has now halved the timeline to just one year.

It has also decided on a higher share of allotment, of up to 60% of issue size, to anchor investors on a discretionary basis, prior to the issue’s opening, with a 30-day lock-in for such shares. Further, startups now have Sebi’s go-ahead to issue superior voting rights to promoters or founders, and such companies can now list and go public under the IGP framework.

Besides, the open offer trigger for companies to be listed on IGP has been raised from 26% to 49%. Also, Sebi has eased the rules for delisting on IGP or to migrate and move to the main board, NSE or BSE. Note that IGP, floated in 2019, with the specific purpose of providing innovation-intensive startups listing opportunities under much-relaxed norms compared to the mainboard capital markets, is yet to have a listing.

Large investors in startups, so-called ‘accredited investors’, individual investors with a net worth of `5 crore, and now to be labelled ‘IGP investors’, can now have larger pre-issue shareholding of up to 25% in the company, up from a ceiling of 10% earlier. The revamped norms could see IGP take off. We do need to update and revise rules and benchmark the norms to global standards to unlock shareholder value here.

2.A relationship to build and build on

Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh to mark 50 years of independence and the birth centenary of Bangladesh’s founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman marks an important milestone in the bilateral relationship.

The foundation stone for a memorial for the Indian soldiers who died in the Bangladesh Liberation War is concrete acknowledgement of the key and special place India holds in that country’s self-perception. The past has not been easy but India and Bangladesh ties are now on an even keel.

Modi’s visit was as much about the past as it is about the future. Strengthening the bilateral relationship is critical to a strong, open and prosperous South Asia and Indo-Pacific. Critical to the future is the resolution of water-sharing agreements. The Teesta River water-sharing agreement, which has been held up by the Mamata Banerjeeled Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal since 2011, must be finalised.

That will unlock the Feni River water-sharing agreement being held up by Bangladesh since 2011. Water is critical for life, particularly in the climate-constrained world. Resolving the two agreements will ensure progress on the framework agreement on water sharing on six rivers that run across the two countries. Agreements on power generation and new border haats for trade promotion will firm up the relationship and offer new areas of engagement.

The bilateral relationship must build on efforts to challenges such as climate change. As it did with the pandemic, India must not hesitate to lead. Adapting to climate change, addressing loss and damage, and building capacity should be areas of joint action.

India must work with Bangladesh to leverage opportunities arising from transition to low-carbon energy systems, mobility and infrastructure for economic growth. Bangladesh’s participation in the India-led inter-governmental Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure is a beginning. The two countries must step up their joint efforts for the preservation and conservation of the Sunderbans ecosystem.

3.Running close: LDF welfarism, Vijayan’s crisis management, Youth Congress ascent animate Kerala poll scene

A close finish beckons in Kerala again. In 2011, Congress-led UDF had wrested a narrow two-seat victory against the incumbent CPM-led LDF government. Cut to 2021 and LDF is on better footing unlike its UDF predecessor, decimated in 2016 by bribery allegations. CPM has its share of financial taint now with central agencies in hot pursuit, but has successfully kept the focus on its welfare schemes. To complicate the picture Kerala also witnesses seat-by-seat fights trumping the state narrative, owing to many hardworking MLAs and imaginative challengers creating their own local narratives.

CM Vijayan now boasts a different persona from 2016 when he neatly sidelined the wildly popular nonagenarian VS Achuthanandan. Seen as a hard-nosed party commissar then, Vijayan has cultivated the women’s vote. No communist CM enjoyed Vijayan’s luxury of firm control over both government and party, leading to derisive Congress chants of “Kerala Modi”. Meanwhile, opposition attempts to belittle his reassuring stewardship during five major crises – Covid pandemic, two annual floods, Cyclone Ockhi and Nipah outbreak – find little appreciation.

LDF is also projecting the “PDS+” universal monthly kit comprising pulses, oils, spices and other essential items, which cushioned household expenditure during the pandemic. But mounting economic woes are just as starkly prominent. Unemployment rate among youth was highest nationally even before the pandemic struck. Since then, reverse migration from Gulf countries has accelerated, causing a double whammy. Congress may just have tapped into this wellspring of discontent by awarding over 50% of tickets to newcomers, something Rahul Gandhi can take credit for, after fruitlessly pursuing such a course since 2008.

Youth Congress last enjoyed a similar upsurge in the 1970s, propelling AK Antony, Oommen Chandy and all of today’s national veteran cohort. Amid BJP’s upswing, the youthful turn, the slow eclipse of Chandy – popular among people but a factionalist in equal measure – and the impending rise of his rivals Ramesh Chennithala and K Muraleedharan may help Congress regain the Nair vote. However, Christians in central Kerala have shown signs of veering to LDF. Sitaram Yechury’s support for Sabarimala women entry, which the Kerala CPM was tactfully downplaying, has brought a divided BJP roaring back. With many triangular contests looming and communal loyalties in flux, Kerala elections are becoming tougher to call. But whichever side wins has a tough task: Putting the wrecked economy and state finances back on the rails.

4.Roadblock ahead: Too much vaccine nationalism will undo the collaborative effort of last year

It’s been less than 15 months since the world got to know of the novel coronavirus. Yet, there are at least seven vaccines in use and more than 60 in clinical development. The extraordinary speed of vaccine development promises to limit the social and economic damage of the pandemic. If the worst case prognosis of a year ago seems unlikely, we should thank an unprecedented collaborative effort between governments, multilateral public health alliances, regulators and companies. The collaboration spread the financial risks of development and production of vaccines across countries to make a quick response possible.

Today, this work is in danger of being undone by vaccine nationalism. The term encapsulates a reversal of global collaboration to one where countries are getting narrow minded. It’s a mistake that will not only harm the global battle against Covid-19 but also negatively impact other areas. Vaccines are a complex product with a supply chain that is global. No country can claim to be truly self-reliant as manufacture of key ingredients such as adjuvants and bioreactors is spread across a global supply chain. Therefore, when countries overturn contracts or discourage trade, the entire system is disrupted.

The worst example of vaccine nationalism today is the one being played out between the UK and EU. The consequences are spilling over to other countries in the supply chain, disrupting scheduled orders. There’s a breakdown of trust between countries. It’s been worsened by governments trying to cope with surges in virus transmission. But the core problem is the breakdown of trust. The key players in the vaccine supply chain, particularly the US, UK, EU and India, need to take matters in hand. Last year’s collaboration was spurred by the understanding that in a pandemic no one is safe till everyone is safe. That reality should trigger damage control.

5.Biden lays out his line on China | HT Editorial

Last week, in his first detailed press conference after assuming presidency, United States (US) president Joe Biden laid out his impressive report card on the battle against Covid-19 — the administration has doubled the vaccination target and now aims to administer 200 million vaccine shots in its first 100 days. He also spoke about measures to tackle economic distress — the new dispensation has pushed through a massive $1.9 trillion package with direct income assistance and range of welfare measures for the vulnerable. When questioned on the administration’s plans on gun reforms, immigration reforms, voting rights, and climate, Mr Biden underlined the urgency of all these issues but also spoke about the need to prioritise and get the timing right, as a prerequisite for being effective.

But while domestic issues dominated the press conference, it was Mr Biden’s blunt remarks on China, and the larger landscape of geopolitics, that merit attention. The president said, based on his extensive personal interactions with Xi Jinping, that China’s president was straightforward, smart, lacked any democratic bone in his body, and believed autocracy was the “wave of the future”. Mr Biden added that the US would re-establish alliances (referring to the Quad summit and his discussion with other countries in the grouping on how to hold China “accountable”); that it was defined by certain values, including of freedom, and would not give these up; and that he had told Mr Xi that the US will insist China play by international rules. The US president said that China’s aim was to be the leading country, wealthiest country, and most powerful country in the world, but that under his watch, the US would continue to “grow and expand”.



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