Saturday, May 21News That Matters

Opinion

20% ethanol in petrol

20% ethanol in petrol

Opinion
INDIA imports 85 per cent of its oil requirements and the petroleum bill for 2020-21 was a whopping $551 billion. Blending of biofuel ethanol can reduce the quantity of petrol required to run a vehicle. The Union Cabinet's decision to advance the date by which fuel companies have to increase the percentage of ethanol in petrol to 20 per cent — known as the E20 target — to 2025 from 2030 is aimed at cutting the dependence on imported, costly and polluting petrol. At present, the all-India average blending is 9.9 per cent; petrol with up to 20 per cent ethanol will be introduced from April 1, 2023. Derived from sugarcane molasses, corn and rice, ethanol is also considered a cleaner alternative energy source to mitigate carbon emissions. The roadmap for E20 lists as favourable factors the av...
Fiscal federalism

Fiscal federalism

Opinion
The Supreme Court's assertion that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is not only an avenue for the exercise of cooperative federalism but also for contestation across Centre-state lines is a timely reiteration of the provisions in Articles 246A and 279A of the Constitution. According to Article 246A, Parliament and the state legislature possess equal powers to legislate on aspects of GST; Article 279A envisions that the Centre and the states can't act independently of each other. The council's voting system gives two-third weightage to the states' collective votes and one-third to the Centre's vote in a bid to provide a level playing field. It's unfortunate that despite such clear-cut provisions, the BJP-led Union Government and Opposition-ruled states have often been at loggerhead...
In Praise of the Prophet: Part II

In Praise of the Prophet: Part II

Opinion
Praise of the Prophet (PBUH) is a pious and sweet expression of love and affection of the faithful towards the messenger of God. They think it their duty to be grateful to him and extol him and beg from Allah to shower His choicest blessings on him and pray that peace be upon him, his progeny and his companions. They praise him and send their Darood-u-Salaam on him as much and as often as they can. The devout among Muslims let themselves be carried away by the love of their beloved Prophet (PBUH). People laud him and send him Darood-o-Salaam along with Naats in poetic concerts, podiums of mosques, Dargahs, shrines or in their individual capacity and seclusion and in all other places, in such a way that it scatters an aura of spirituality all round. They do so because the Prophet (PBUH) gav...
Justice at last

Justice at last

Opinion
INVOKING its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has intervened to do 'complete justice' by ordering the release of AG Perarivalan, who has spent over 30 years in jail after being convicted for his role in the 1991 assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. The SC Bench sternly observed that the inexplicable delay in deciding remission was inexcusable as it contributed to 'adverse physical conditions and mental distress to the inmates'. The obvious question is: Who was/were responsible for the 'inexplicable, inexcusable' delay? There is no doubt that the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government, along with the Governor, took an inordinately long time to make vital decisions pertaining to the case. The sequence of events speaks for itself. It was in Febr...
Green signal for NGT

Green signal for NGT

Opinion
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) must seize the opportunity provided by the Supreme Court ruling that upholds the validity of the 2010 legislation, which empowers the Centre to establish the tribunal. The environmental court deserves more attention by way of administrative support, along with financial and human resources, to bolster its efficiency and effectiveness. Enforcement of orders can become a casualty in the absence of adequate backup and synergy with the local authorities, defeating the purpose of sending a clear signal to the industry and government machinery that safeguarding the environment is not optional. Set up for the expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, conservation of forests and other natural resources, the green tribunal has established...
In Praise of the Prophet: Part I

In Praise of the Prophet: Part I

Opinion
Once when I met a tourist couple at the front gate of Dargah Hazratbal in Srinagar, I found them looking at the Persian couplet written at the top of the gate. Seeing me, they asked me to translate the couplet for them. Well, I did, but my words failed to convey the essence and meaning of the same to them. However, somehow they grasped the meaning and were for some time in deep thought and reflection. It is here that I realised how important it is to make humanity at large aware and conscious about the praises which the lovers of Prophet have showered on him and will continue to shower as long as the world exists. This praise of the Prophet has been called in poetry as “Naa’t”. It is not everybody’s cup of tea to understand Naa’t easily and fully. An attempt has been made in these columns ...
American nightmare

American nightmare

Opinion
The killing of 10 black people by a gun-toting white teenager in Buffalo, New York, indicates that not much has changed in the US even two years after a nationwide outrage over George Floyd's murder had revitalised the Black Lives Matter movement. 'Terrorism, terrorism, domestic terrorism,' that's how US President Joe Biden has described the Buffalo incident, while the authorities have termed it an act of 'racially motivated violent extremism'. In a strongly worded statement, Biden has condemned white supremacists, the media, the Internet and politics for spreading racist conspiracy theories. The assailant was reportedly using social media to convince netizens about the 'Great Replacement' theory, which contends that white people are being deliberately replaced by minorities through immigr...
Paying for electricity

Paying for electricity

Opinion
India is among the world leaders in losing money to electricity theft. The country's power sector also has a peculiar pattern of entities selling without getting the money on time, or nothing at all. Coal India is owed about Rs 12,300 crore by power generation companies, which themselves have not been paid over Rs 1 lakh crore by distribution companies. The figures of losses suffered by discoms are much higher. The circuit does get completed somehow, but the uneven transaction, which defies business sense, introduces a disruptive strand that limits the scope for any future planning. Regular and unannounced shutdowns become the norm as the power supply falls short of demand, which this time is expected to touch record highs of 215-220 gigawatts amid the scorching heatwave. In debt-ridden P...
The Limits of Israeli Intelligence: Does Israel Have a Yahya Sinwar Problem?

The Limits of Israeli Intelligence: Does Israel Have a Yahya Sinwar Problem?

Opinion
Like typical analyses offered by western intelligences when trying to assess risks or understand major political phenomena in the Middle East, Israeli intelligence is equally short-sighted. It insists on analyzing the attitudes and body language of individuals instead of focusing on the behavior of collectives. This is the case today as Israel is desperately trying to understand the changing political dynamics in Palestine. Following the Israeli war on Gaza in May 2021, the Israeli military prepared a ‘personality profile’ of Gaza-based Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar. Though Hamas, and Sinwar, were important political actors in the events that took place throughout Palestine at the time, the real stars of the show were the Palestinian people. The popular Palestinian rebellion did not only chal...
Nurses: The Heart of Healthcare

Nurses: The Heart of Healthcare

Opinion
Sayima Wani “You don’t build a house without its foundation. You don’t build a hospital without its nurses.” Nursing is both among the oldest and the youngest of professions. The word nurse derives from the Latin word nutritious. The American Nurses Association defines nursing as the “protection, promotion and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and population.” According to International Council of Nurses (ICN), nursing encompasses “autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well, and in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of...