EP 160: Poll finds 2/3rd of US saying Social Media divisive, WHO: Variant in India cause of concern

Poll finds 2/3rd of US saying Social Media divisive, WHO: Variant in India a cause of concern, US support for COVID to India reaches $500 Million, Georgia Governor Bans Defunding of Police and more

Sree Iyer: Namaskar, episode 160 of Daily Global Insights with Sri and Sree. May 11, 2021. US News, according to an NBC poll, two-thirds of Americans say, social platforms do more to divide us than unite us. Well, this is something that we have been experiencing. Haven’t we Sridharji.

Sridhar Chityala: Yes, there’s a first formal poll that just ratifies and confirms the truth and the reality not that it will make a material difference but it just reaffirmation if it was a fox or let us say, Breitbart, Epoch they will say it’s right-wing. Even the poll is by NBC, is more legitimacy credibility, which brings the progressives and left into the equation.

Sree Iyer:  Georgia Governor bans, defunding of police, that’s a good move, in my opinion, a country cannot run without its police. So what are your thoughts, sir?

Sridhar Chityala: I think that he is seeing rising crimes all around the country, he seeing this defunding police’s, our strategy to legitimize the crimes, we don’t want to report but the number of crimes in Manhattan you know in Minneapolis and Los Angeles and you know many of these Urban cities, Washington DC, many of the Cities you can see the rising homicides to some extent we have given anecdotal numbers. It’s a very good move by Georgia Governor Brain Kemp to pre-empt this decision.

Sree Iyer: Portland Police have responded to at least 359 shootings this year. It just complements what you just said, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: Defunding police moment, and they wouldn’t even want to have National Guard or anybody. They would like these crimes and violence to continue and Seattle is another place, where they seem to have been to some extents tapering down around the West Coast. But, you know, despite these 359 shootings, there is no attempt to reinforce and address issues of crime.

Sree Iyer:  Biden is now meeting with GOP leaders for deal-making. Wow, this could have been done before ever.

Sridhar Chityala:  He could have and he recognizes that he’s got two problems. One problem he has is on the funding side which is namely the taxes. There’s a lot of push bags. Second, on the size of the stimulus, this is just coming on the back of the 2.1 billion dollars stimulus that was released and he still has got part of the 1.8 trillion dollars which is around the America child plan. So he’s not able to get this infrastructure agenda moving and he’s got three challenges that he’s facing. I think first we have already touched on the tax side. The second is the job report says that dampened his spirit so he feels that you know, he needs to go back to the table. But again, the flip-flop yesterday morning, he says job spotter Biden tells people you either accept jobs or you lose employment. Then by afternoon, he was saying he followed up with morning comments by saying hey employers if you pay decent wages workers will come back. So almost beyond unionization, he is implicitly making a plea on wage negotiations.

Sree Iyer: And Mitch McConnell of GOP, says that GOP will support infrastructure bill with a cap at $800 billion dollars. This number the GOP has been pretty consistent they have been saying, I think what they did and if correct me if I’m wrong sir, they took the 2.8 trillion in an infrastructure bill. They looked at what was the real infrastructure? The rest perhaps was what you call forks and earmarks and so on and so forth and said, okay, this part we will get behind the rest has to go, is that correct?

Sridhar Chityala:  Absolutely. Your assessment is absolutely correct. One of the other things that they have done is if you recall, they would not want to support more than 600 to 640 or of which 600 was accounted for 40 was the cap just in case they spill. Now, they will increase this cap from 600 to another 200 billion dollars cushion in case the programs have over. And so, I believe that 800 billion dollars is a good compromise to the 2.1 trillion dollars that the Democrats suggested. I think it also would legitimize, the genuine plan, which is the America child plan, which is the child credits, as well as the childcare and plus providing the expansion of benefits to the child care workers.

Sree Iyer: Senate, Democrats, press ahead with Elections Reform Bill. So, this is a Reform Bill that affects, which part of America, again?

Sridhar Chityala:  Its federalizing, the conduct of the elections,

Sree Iyer: ok, so that’s something that I would like to get behind. I would like to have a uniform election process across the country, especially for the election of the president sir

Sridhar Chityala:  Election of the president and not only the election of the president, but the election of the state legislatures and councils, what it does, is pros and cons to this bill. The Republicans are now stoutly opposing, these 23 states, which are tagging behind this. I don’t believe that the Republicans believe that the constitution is fair and just in terms of the mandate given to the States from conducting the process and the elections itself where the problem has come up, is around the discrepancies that have been introduced, that one part of it. The second part is whether the executive and the judicial branch usher the powers, which is entrusted with the legislature, on the conduct of the elections. This is where the states are going to push back by federalizing it. Then you are beginning to control what happens within the states, which is not as per the Constitution.

Sree Iyer: In India news, the Indian government tells the Supreme Court that the Vaccination Strategy is Equitable, the intervention will have consequences. If I’m understanding this correctly. The Supreme Court has been told by the government that its directives are difficult to carry out?

Sridhar Chityala:  They are saying is that the allocation of the vaccines is fair and just. The consistency has been followed in terms of the number of vaccines allocated to each of the states. So if you try to now come in and intervene, I come up with a new framework, it only is going to upset the process and it just is going to make it very difficult for a democratically elected government to run a process because the Supreme Court comes and say, this is not good. So you change the rule we have already seen the inconsistency and I wrote about this, which is to say, hey, you know, you are saying that you need to install real-time software to monitor the oxygen Cylinders. Then, you are saying, you got to be able to track the distribution of these oxygen Cylinders and you got to be in a position to give. Oh, by the way, you give more cylinders to Delhi because we all happen to live, I’m saying this we all happen to live in Delhi. Now, when you begin to juxtapose these kinds of mechanisms, then you can hold the government for the conduct and whether everybody is being treated in the respective States for the policy of the government. Now I am saying there are your policies don’t work, I as the Supreme Court enact those policies.  And similarly, appointing these 12  member task force as part of all these covid strategies again, is an intervention by the Supreme Court. So I think this is what there’s the centre is saying or the state or the government is saying, our strategies are fair and equitable. We are not going to change that. And if you change it, then you’re going to collapse the whole process.

Sree Iyer: And in other news, the US support for covid to India reaches close to 500 million dollars. While they showed some hesitation now, the US has jumped in with both feet, sir.

Sridhar Chityala:  it is, I think it also, the contributions also include a lot of Indian-American efforts through organizations such as, you know, Various US India Business Council, SEVA and so on and so forth. There’s a number of organisation which have got behind in support of sending these oxygen cylinders and other kinds of support. I believe that this will go to more than a billion dollars by the time this whole thing is wrapped up.

Sree Iyer: Exports and better balance sheet to help firms to tide over the second wave. This is for India. We have told you yesterday that the numbers look very good for the month of May. Sir, this just adds more credence to what we observed yesterday.

Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think it does add more credence. One of the questions that is concerning to everybody is what is going to happen to the economic growth? It was projected to be 10-12.5% growth. If there are shutdowns and so on and the domestic consumption is impacted, how is the economy going to be made up? Also, what it does to the balance sheets of some of the companies. Export numbers point that there is still continued momentum and that, to some extent, will help these institutions to tide over. There are still questions around MSME but we’ll look at that in more detail.

Sree Iyer: In Global News, Hamas fires rockets deep into Israel escalating tensions. Israel still does not have a government in place. There is still a caretaker government. And now, with all these Rockets being fired, I think things are beginning to escalate to a climax, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think that whenever there is any uncertainty in the formation of the government, then you have an opportunity for unrest to settle, you do not need an excuse for unrest to settle. There are also rumours that it is very much conceivable that Mr Neftali Bennett who is extreme right is likely to become the Prime Minister who is a pro-settlement person. Under the circumstances, I think you’re beginning to see some salvos being fired.

Sree Iyer: Clashes in the holy city of Jeruselum at Al Aqsa Mosque injured, I think, about 50 Palestinians. Is my reading correct?

Sridhar Chityala: About 300 Palestinians, probably 50 were more seriously hurt. This is the month of Ramadan which is drawing to a close. So there are going to be a lot of people in and out of the mosques. So, I think, that the spurt in violence may be in concert with this. With these rocket escalations plus Israeli Police moving in to contain. I think Israeli also responded to these tensions with appropriate attacks in those territories. So you’re beginning to see the simmering of it coming out.

Sree Iyer: China denounces the US appeal for Taiwan to join the WHO meeting. Again, I think the United States and perhaps some other Western countries are trying to normalize the existence of Taiwan and I think China will not have that.

Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think Taiwan has been one of the most active and supportive players of the world cause not, just on the manufacturing side, but also on the support, and the aid being given, for example, India received, I don’t remember the exact number hundred metric tons of oxygen and oxygen cylinders, and Taiwan stood up and said it is in support. It is also supporting some of the Asian countries. We must also state that Taiwan and Israel are the two countries which are the leaders in the past in terms of managing and containing this covid virus. So, I think China has definitely got its nose out of joint.

Sree Iyer: The EU talks of Afghan support as the US leaves and security declines. We saw the bombing that happened near a school yesterday in Kabul. So this is again, beginning to… this is like a cycle like I’ve heard this thing, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, feels like a Deja Vu, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: It’s very interesting that even the Pakistan, I don’t know whether it is hearing, but Pakistani Prime minister says, if there is no security in Afghanistan, in other words, they could be anchoring to say will take over Afghanistan and merge with our country. They are saying that the Belt and Road initiative will now be a major risk and can be threatened if there is uncertainty. I don’t believe the world community is going to accept it, nor the Afghanis are going to accept that some third country coming in. So EU, which has historically been dealing with these types of humanitarian, as well as security crisis is really stepping up and saying, ‘we could have a major problem in the region if this is not addressed.’ The US has spent enough money and they have realized after spending so much time, there’s no solution.

Sree Iyer: Nepal’s Prime Minister loses confidence vote amidst surging viruses. Again, there is uncertainty here, too.

Sridhar Chityala: Yes, I think when you begin to use the word viruses, now, apparently the Indian variant is also going into Nepal. So, it is going into the adjacent territory besides the generic version of that SARS COV 2 virus. There are also these mutational viruses now going in. So they have a spurt, there’s an uncertainty that they need to address. In the meanwhile, there is political bickering between the factions within the communities party and Mr Oli has stepped down. When you look at it, it looks like an advantage to India because to some extent Oli was one of the most relegates was casting some serious aspersions.

Sree Iyer: WHO classifies triple mutant variant from India as a global risk. Again, this has become like a handmaiden of China. Isn’t it?

Sridhar Chityala: It’s almost like Chinese propaganda which is coming out. Indian media hasn’t picked up as yet, I’m sure you will begin to see it. But certainly, in the US media, CNBC is reporting and not all the media has picked up. So my view is it’s no longer covid, which is China virus, it’s like Indian variant, Brazil variant, UK variant, South African variant, but they have forgotten is whole thing started, notwithstanding the fact, some people say, that this news is coming out of Breitbart or somebody. China had made an explicit pledge that India must be isolated because the reason is, it is posing a risk. Well, China should be isolated and should be debarred for a number of things. Not India. So India needs more support. How did we address this issue when we had the virus in the United States? Each of the countries went into lockdown and managed using air bubbles. So this is very political rhetoric and for WHO to come out and talk about a triple mutant variant when so many vaccines are coming out and that too it says, if you should read the report, an official from WHO – who is this official – and what is the data behind it, we will come to know.

Sree Iyer: In markets news, Etherium surges past 4,000 and the Dow and other stocks seem to have had a good day today. Treasury gives flexibility to states on covid funds. What does that mean, sir? A little bit of expansion, please.

Sridhar Chityala: Yes. First and foremost Etherium goes back 4,000, it was less than 4,000. If you were in our special show, we said that Etherium will surely make up. The markets went down yesterday. They went up 225 points and then got down on the back of the unemployment numbers, and potential inflation and also because of that the tech stocks dragged and the market came down.

Now, coming to the most important statement that is the treasury, there is $350 billion allocated towards the local and state administration if you saw in the December budget, which got approved – the 1.9 or 2.1 trillion dollars. Quite amazing for the treasury to state that you can now use these funds as per your discretion as appropriate, we will not be questioning. In other words, the funds allocated for managing covid, you now have the discretion to spend it. What they are implying is, many of the blue states are defunct, and they are badly managed and some of them are even close to bankruptcy. So, they’re saying that they can use these funds to fill up the gaps and the balance sheets, and we will not be asking you the questions. This was the whole contention in dispute behind that December funding plan that was stuck between the Senate and the House. That’s what that statement means, sir.

Sree Iyer: With that, we bring to an end today’s Daily Global Insights. We will be back again tomorrow, bright and early. Namaskar. Thanks for watching.

Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar and thank you so much. Have a wonderful day. and we’ll be meeting soon.

Sree Iyer: So, viewers, in about two and a half hours TV Mohandas Pai and Sridhar Chityalaji will be taking a look at the second wave of covid, the economic situation in India, vis-à-vis the United States. Just a fireside chat series, we have got the next episode for you. Don’t miss that one. It is going to be a cracker session. Thank you so much, sir. Namaskar.

Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar.



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