Daily Current Affairs for 12th May 2020

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How will the pandemic play out? Some possible scenarios, from research

Paper: III

Prelims: Fact related to these studies

Mains:  Awareness in the field of diseases, morphology of SARS-CoV-2

The News:

Two new studies, first reported in The New York Times, project various shapes the Covid-19 curve can take. One study, published in Science, projects that winter outbreaks will probably recur. The other study is a viewpoint published by the US Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).

Important point

  • FOR THE last several months, the key questions on everybody’s mind have included how long the Covid-19 pandemic will run, and whether the disease will resurface season by season.
  • The Study published in science suggests prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022 to prevent the case load from exceeding critical care capacities.
  • The other study is a viewpoint published by the US Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). It projects various conceptual courses that the pandemic “wave” may take. These are based on historic patterns of previous pandemics as well as the findings of the paper in Science.

How social distancing helps

  • The study in Science used US time series data for two other corona virus infections (OC43 and HKU1), made estimates for seasonality and immunity, and prepared a model for SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
  • Chart 1A plots a time series for the prevalence of total cases and critical cases per 10,000. The dotted line represents a prevalence threshold for enforcing/removing social distancing measures, while the blue bars represent the period of social distancing. On the right, Chart 1B projects the corresponding cumulative progress towards herd immunity.
  • Charts 1C and 1D are to be read the same way. The difference is that the second pair of charts account for the seasonality of outbreaks, while the first pair does not.

“We projected that recurrent wintertime outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 will probably occur after the initial, most severe pandemic wave,” the researchers wrote.

While the graphs reproduced here are for scenarios with current US critical care capacity, Lipsitch made it clear that this is not a projection of exact trajectory even for the US but a description of a policy and its broad features. “Other regions may have different levels of transmission (India seems to be showing less transmission than many expected, for reasons that are unclear), different seasonality, and different control policies,” he said.

Waves, as a concept

  • Projecting several scenarios for the future of the pandemic, the CIDRAP viewpoint summarized these as shown in Figure 2.
  • Scenario 1: The first wave in spring 2020 is followed by a series of repetitive smaller waves through the summer, and then consistently over a 1- to 2-year period, gradually diminishing sometime in 2021.
  • Scenario 2: The first wave in spring 2020 is followed by a larger wave in the autumn or winter of 2020 and one or smaller subsequent waves in 2021.
  • Scenario 3: The first wave in spring 2020 is followed by a “slow burn” of ongoing transmission and case occurrence but without a clear wave pattern. This pattern may vary geographically and may be influenced by mitigation measures in place.


The pandemic will not leave anytime soon. “The broad conclusion of both studies was that SARS-CoV-2 will not go away on its own and that with control measures in place we can protect health care capacity but then move more slowly to herd immunity, if herd immunity is possible (we still don’t know how long immunity will last). For this reason it will be many months and likely several years before the virus moves through the population in a region with significant transmission and significant control measures,” Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, told The Indian Express, by email.

Sino-India border clashes: China says its troops committed to uphold peace

Paper: II

Prelims: About indo china border  

Mains:  Geo political Relationship between india and china

The News:

China on reacted guardedly to the recent clashes between the Chinese and Indian soldiers, saying its troops remained “committed to uphold peace and tranquillity” at the border areas.

      Important point:

  • Answering questions on the clashes near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector which resulted in injuries to both sides, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the most pressing issue for the world at present is the fight against the corona virus. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and India have been staying in close communication and cooperation on prevention and control to jointly meet challenges”, he said.
  • “Now the most pressing issue for the international community is solidarity and cooperation against COVID-19. We shouldn’t allow any politicization or stigmatization in a bid to create more differences or confrontation”, he said.
  • Asked whether the clashes which took place on May 5-6 anyway reflect an aggressive approach by China post the COVID-19 outbreak, Zhao said, “relevant assumption is groundless”. “As to the China-India border issue, our position is clear and consistent,” he said. “Our troops there are committed to uphold peace and stability.”
  • “This serves the common interests of our two countries and two peoples. We hope India will work with China to uphold peace and tranquillity in the border regions with concrete actions”, he said.
  • Zhao cautiously skirted any direct reference to the incident nor gave any details of the clashes. “Chinese border troops have always been upholding peace and tranquility along our border areas. China and India stay in close communication and coordination concerning our border affairs with existing channels”, he said.
  • “This year marks the 70th year of establishment of the diplomatic relations between India and China, and the two countries have joined hands to fight against COVID-19”, he said. “Under such circumstances both sides should work together with each other and properly manage and handle the differences and earnestly uphold peace and stability in the border region so as to create enabling conditions for our bilateral relations as well as joint fight against COVID-19”, he said.

Recent clashes between two countries:

  • Troops of India and China were engaged in two fierce face-offs in Eastern Ladakh and near Naku La Pass in Northern Sikkim recently, leaving several soldiers on both sides injured.
  • In the first incident, scores of Indian and Chinese army personnel clashed along the northern bank of the Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh on the late evening of May 5 and the face-off ended the next morning following dialogue between the two sides. A number of soldiers on both sides sustained minor injuries as they exchanged punches and resorted to stone-pelting, the sources said, adding around 200 personnel were involved in the face-off. Both sides brought in additional troops following the fracas.
  • It was the first case of troops from both sides exchanging blows after a similar incident had taken place around the Pangong Lake in August 2017.
  • In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinese military personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector of the Sino-India border in which at least 10 soldiers sustained injuries.

Doklam tri-junction in 2017

  • The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017, which triggered fears of a war between the two neighbours.
  • The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control, the de-facto border between the two countries.
  • Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first informal summit in April 2018 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, months after the Doklam standoff. During the summit, the two leaders decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications so that they can build trust and understanding.
  • Modi and Xi held their second informal summit in Mamallapuram near Chennai in October last year with a focus on further broadening the bilateral ties.

Political Relations

  • On 1 April, 1950, India became the first non-socialist bloc country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Prime
  • Minister Nehru visited China in October 1954. Though the border conflict in 1962 was a setback to ties, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s landmark visit in 1988 marked the beginning of improvement in bilateral relations.
  • In 1993, the signing of an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China Border Areas during Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s visit reflected the growing stability in bilateral ties. 2018 witnessed an upward swing in the momentum of ties. In April 2018 Prime Minister Modi and President Xi held the first Informal Summit in Wuhan to exchange views on overarching issues of bilateral and global importance and elaborated upon their respective visions and priorities for national development.
  • The two leaders have also visited each other’s countries to attend various multilateral summits. Prime Minister Modi visited China in September 2016 to participate in the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, in September 2017 to participate in the BRICS Summit in Xiamen.
  • Last year, PM Modi attended the SCO Summit in Qingdao in June 2018. At a bilateral meeting with President Xi on the sidelines of this Summit, two agreements, relating to provision of hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river, and on phytosanitary requirements for rice exports, were signed. President Xi visited India in October 2016 to participate in the BRICS Summit in Goa.
  • Recently on 13 June 2019, the two leaders met for the first time since the re-election of Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Bishkek.

Commercial and Economic Relations

  • The trade and economic relationship between India and China has seen a rapid growth in the last few years. Trade volume between the two countries in the beginning of the century, year 2000, stood at US$ 3 billion. In 2008, bilateral trade reached US$ 51.8 billion with China replacing the United States as India’s largest trading partner in goods. In 2018, bilateral trade reached an all-time high of US$ 95.54 billion.

Trade unions may knock at ILO’s door

Paper: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Sub-topics: Important International institutions

Why in news:

Ten central trade unions said that they were considering lodging a complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against the anti-worker changes in the labour laws in some States.

Key points:

  • Several States across India are ignoring the welfare laws for workers in the name of boosting economic activity.
  • Trade Unions have opposed the unilateral withdrawal of labour laws that some States have implemented and others are considering.
  • Trade Unions see the recent blanket exemption given to establishments from the employer’s obligations under several labour laws for three years by the Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh governments as a retrograde and anti-worker move.
  • P. Government had brought an ordinance for this, the M.P. Government had reportedly said it would also do the same. The Gujarat Government was also reportedly working on a similar exemption.
  • Six state governments have increased the working hours from 8 to 12 hours.

What Will be the course of action?

  • Central trade unions consider these moves as an inhuman crime and brutality on the working people, besides being gross violation of the Right to Freedom of Association [ILO Convention 87], Rights to Collective Bargaining [ILO Convention 98] and also the internationally accepted norm of eight hour working day – espoused by core conventions of ILO.
  • The Trade Unions are considering lodging a complaint to the ILO on these misdeeds of the government for gross violation of labour standards.

Additional Information:

International Labour Organization (ILO)


The ILO was established as an agency for the League of Nations following World War I. 

  • It was established by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
  • Its founders had made great strides in social thought and action before the establishment of the organization itself.
  • It became the first specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) in the year 1946.


The ILO is the only tripartite U.N. agency.

The four objectives are:

  • To develop and effectuate standards, fundamental principles, and fundamental rights at work.
  • To ensure that men and women have equal access to decent work while enhancing opportunities for the same.
  • To magnify the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for everyone.
  • To strengthen Tripartism and social dialogue.


The ILO comprises the International Labour Conference, the Governing Body, and the International Labour Office.

International Labour Conference: 

The progressive policies of the ILO are set by the International Labour Conference.

The conference is an annual event, which happens in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference brings together all the representatives of the ILO.

Function: It is a panel for the review of the important issues regarding labour.


The ILO plays an important role in the formulation of policies which are focussed on solving labour issues. The ILO also has other functions, such as:

  • It adopts international labour standards. They are adopted in the form of conventions. It also controls the implementation of its conventions.
  • It aids the member states in resolving their social and labour problems.
  • It advocates and works for the protection of Human rights.
  • It is responsible for the research and publication of information regarding social and labour issues.
  • The Trade Unions play a pivotal role in developing policies at the ILO, thus the Bureau for Workers’ Activities at the secretariat is dedicated to strengthening independent and democratic trade unions so they can better defend workers’ rights and interests.

Supervisory role:

  • It monitors the implementation of ILO conventions ratified by member states.
  • The implementation is done through the Committee of Experts, the International Labour Conference’s Tripartite Committee and the member-states. 
  • Member states are obligated to send reports on the development of the implementation of the conventions they have approved. 

Registration of complaints: 

  • The ILO registers complaints against entities that are violating international rules. 
  • The ILO, however, does not impose any sanctions on the governments.
  • Complaints can also be filed against member states for not complying with ILO conventions that have been ratified.
  • International Labour Standards: The ILO is also responsible for setting International Labour Standards. The international labour conventions which are set by the ILO are ratified by the member states. These are mostly non-binding in nature.
  • But once a member state accepts conventions, it becomes legally binding. The conventions are often used to bring national laws in alignment with international

International Labour Organization – Core Conventions

The eight fundamental conventions form an indispensable part of the United Nations Human Rights Framework, and their sanction is an important sign of member States’ commitment to human rights. Overall, 135 member States have ratified all eight fundamental conventions.

The eight-core conventions of the ILO are:

  • Forced Labour Convention (No. 29)
  • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No.105)
  • Equal Remuneration Convention (No.100)
  • Discrimination (Employment Occupation) Convention (No.111)
  • Minimum Age Convention (No.138)
  • Worst forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182)
  • Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organised Convention (No.87)
  • Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98)

International Labour Organization and India

  • India is a founding member of the ILO.
  • It became a permanent member of the ILO Governing Body in 1922.
  • The first ILO Office in India was inaugurated in 1928.
  • India has ratified six fundamental conventions.
  • India has not ratified Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).

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