‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Bilateral & Global groupings agreement – Indo-U.S. statement focusses on fight against terrorism

The relationship “has never been stronger, has never been better,” says Trump

    What you need to know:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump jointly declared that bilateral ties between India and the U.S. would continue to grow, seeking to dispel notions that the latter’s election to the White House on a nationalist agenda might have a negative impact on the relationship.
  • With Mr. Modi by his side in the Rose Garden of the White House after they met for the first time, Mr. Trump said the relationship “has never been stronger, has never been better.” The leaders shared a meal and three hugs in the four hours that Mr. Modi spent at the White House, and First Lady Melania Trump gave the Prime Minister a tour of the residential quarters.

   Visible chemistry:

  • The interaction between the leaders showed “visible chemistry,” and “they were comfortable talking to each other,” Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told reporters.
  • The one-on-one meeting lasted 40 minutes. A joint statement issued after the deliberations underscored the fight against terrorism as a cornerstone of mutual cooperation between the countries, went beyond the usual American position on Pakistan that usually pulls it up for harbouring terrorist groups and echoed Indian concerns regarding the Chinese-led Belt and Road initiative.
  • We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism,” Mr. Trump said. Both sides reiterated their commitment to continuing the course on strategic convergence in Asia Pacific, increasing defence trade partnership and added energy as a new thrust area of cooperation.

   Defence sale means jobs:

  • A fact sheet provided by the White House said, with the sale of Guardian drones, Apache attack helicopters, and C-17 aircraft, defence orders by India for American companies will be nearly $19 billion, “supporting thousands of U.S. jobs.
  • Addressing the media after the formal talks but before the reception and dinner, Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi spoke of shared democratic values, and their status of being leaders of two big democracies. “The friendship between the United States and India is built on shared values, including our shared commitment to democracy,” the President said.

   Source: Indian Express

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Development related to Health sector – WHO for use of devices to test multiple diseases

A single device can diagnose Tuberculosis, HIV and Hepatitis

    What is important to know:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday released new advice to countries, recommending the use of multi-disease testing devices for Tuberculosis, HIV and Hepatitis.
  • A single device called the GeneXpert can be used to diagnose TB and HIV infections, and quantitatively measure HIV and hepatitis C viral loads.
  • India recently procured 600 GeneXpert machines for the National Tuberculosis programme. The WHO is recommending use of these state-of-theart portable machines the size of a microwave oven, which can run molecular tests.
  • However, most countries do not use them for multi-disease testing. “Any good health system must have the capacity to do several tests that are of importance.
  • Currently, we are mostly investing in single disease testing technologies, while there is great potential to use the same platform for multiple conditions.” said Prof Madhukar Pai, Canada Research Chair in Epidemiology & Global Health.

   Single platform:

  • With the power and adaptability of molecular technologies, we are in an era of great advancement for the rapid diagnosis of many diseases using single platforms,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme.
  • These platforms offer technical and financial efficiencies to countries in their disease control efforts, while expanding access to care.

   Source: The Hindu

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Effect of World Policy – A meek reform

Piecemeal reforms like ‘Vision 2030’ will not save Saudi Arabia


  • The ascent of Saudi Arabia’s 31- year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has raised hopes of radical reform. Last year, the prince vowed to roll back government and unleash market forces. But that’s easier said than done, given the size of the Saudi state.
  • The Saudi government has typically extracted about 80- 90% of its revenues from oil, but falling oil prices have forced a search for other sources of revenue. One of them is the plan to tax foreign residents who constitute well over half the economy’s total workforce.
  • About 70% of Saudi nationals work in the unproductive public sector, while 9 out of 10 foreign workers are in the productive private sector. Yet, jobs in the public sector pay about 70% more than those in the private sector.
  • This is because public sector jobs exist mostly for the Kingdom to channel oil revenues to Saudis.

   Diversification of economy:

  • ‘Vision 2030’ shows few signs of reforming this perverse model. As oil revenues have dried up, a $2 trillion public investment fund is the new hope to sustain welfare spending.
  • Even by 2030, the government is expected to contribute about 40% of total national spending. The prince wants to diversify the economy from oil and promote sectors in which, he thinks, Saudi Arabia possesses a “comparative advantage”.
  • But if the price of oil were to rise again, where would the Kingdom’s comparative advantage lie? These are decisions best left to markets, under the right institutions. Saudi Arabia’s institutions, though, are abysmal.
  • The World Bank ranks it 105th in the world (in 2017) for enforcing contracts as “creditors are unlikely to recover their money through a formal legal process”.
  • The larger agenda of the reform plan is the development of a private, non-oil economy that can create 4,50,000 jobs for Saudi nationals by 2020. If that doesn’t happen, the plan makes space for labour quotas compelling private companies to hire Saudi nationals over foreigners.
  • This suggests that ‘Vision 2030’ envisions a protectionist, state-led economy. To bring about serious change though, the prince should recognise that dependence on oil is not necessarily a curse.
  • Chile, Norway, Botswana and Canada are resource-rich economies that have prospered using their resources. They are also market economies that respect property rights, which has allowed them to quickly overcome economic shocks. Oil will likely remain Saudi Arabia’s main asset, so the focus should be on making its use more efficient by ending state control. Removing market barriers and building reliable institutions will also help.

   Source: World United