9 PM Daily Brief – August 19th,2020

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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9 PM for Main examination


  1. Time for India and Nepal to make up
  2. Gaps in National Education Policy 2020
  3. COVID-19- India’s approach for an inclusive future


  1. Limitations of central banking framework


  1. Limitations of central banking framework

9 PM for Preliminary examination


 1.Time for India and Nepal to make up

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS2– Bilateral relations-India Nepal.

Context: Nepal-India dispute over the Himalayan territory of Limpiyadhura was revived recently after India published a revised political map showing the newly created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Present Scenario:

  • Nepal has published a revised official map incorporating the territory from the Limpiyadhurasource of the Kali to Kalapani and Lipulekh pass.
  • Cause of dispute:disputed ownership of the triangle north of Kumaon, including the Limpiyadhura ridgeline, the high pass into Tibet at Lipu Lek, and the Kalapani area hosting an Indian Army garrison.
  • There has been much blood-letting over the past four months and India has pointedly said it will sit for talks only after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Nepal’s Prime Minister abandoned diplomatic decorum to question India’s commitment to ‘satyameva jayate’.
  • The China card:It has provided Nepal the leverage to practise their version of non-alignment. China is pursuing a more assertive foreign policy and considers Nepal an important element in its growing South Asian footprint.

Different perspectives:

  • India’s view:Administrative records dating back to the 1830s show that the Kalapani area had been administered as part of the Pithoragarh district (then Almora district).
    • The Kali River begins only after Lipu Gadis joined by other streams arising from the Kalapani springs. Therefore, the Indian border leaves the midstream of the river near Kalapani and follows the high watershed of the streams that join it.
  • Nepal’s view:
    • Nepal’s claim is centred on the Treaty of Sugauli (1815), whose language reads the “Rajah of Nipal renounces all claim to the countries lying to the west of the River Kali”.
    • Nepali authorities claim that people living in the low-density area were included in the Census of Nepal until 58 years ago.
    • Kathmandu responded with sensitivity to Indian strategic concernsbefore and after the 1962 China-India war by allowing the Indian army post to be stationed within what was clearly its territory at Kalapani.

Steps taken to resolve disputes:

  • Joint communiqué: It was issued in 1997 during I.K. Gujral’s prime ministershipdown to the present time of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
    • The two governments have agreed that a territorial dispute exists on upstream Kali and have assigned negotiators.
    • A border demarcation teamwas able to delineate 98% of the 1,751 km Nepal-India frontier, but not Susta along the Gandaki flats and the upper tracts of the Kali.
  • In 2014, India’s External Affairs Minister agreed to the establishment of a Border Working Group.
  • In 2019, India’s Minister for External Affairs and Nepal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs assigned the task to the two Foreign Secretaries.

Way forward:

  • De-escalation must happen before the social, cultural and economic flows across the open border suffer long-term damage.
  • Enhance understanding with respect to Nepal: Nepal does not have an ‘independence day’. It would help them in unravelling the Limpiyadhura tangle and accepting the need to go back to the archival papers (and misdemeanours) of the East India Company.
    • For Nepal: Indian diplomacy seems increasingly unresponsive under the centralised control of the Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Talks must be held: for which the video conference facility that has existed between the two Foreign Secretaries must be re-activated.
  • Build consensus and enhance bilateral engagement: India have experience of successfully resolving territorial disputes with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even Pakistan bilaterally.
  • Backchannel diplomacy: It helped in ending 2015 blockade.
  • Declare the disputed area a ‘zone of peace and pilgrimage’: to ensure security for while the Kailash-Manasarovar route is kept open for pilgrims.

2.Gaps in National Education Policy 2020

Source: Livemint

Syllabus: GS-2- Education

Context: Recently cabinet approved a new national education policy 2020

Issues with the National Education Policy 2020

  • Ignorant to socio-political context: The economic, social and political contexts that have shaped educational outcomes have been ignored by the NEP 2020.
  • Issues with recommendations for undergraduate degrees: The flexibility in length and structure of undergraduate degrees proposed by the NEP is problematic. If Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes can be either 3+2 or 4+1, the incompatibility will stop the mobility of students between universities. Further, an exit option at the end of every year, in every institution, will make design of curriculum difficult.
  • Removing MPhil: The end of MPhil programmes could stifle research capabilities and motivation in universities where research is already poor.
  • Regulatory framework: The NEP proposes the Higher Education Commission of India, with four separate verticals for regulation, accreditation, funding and standards. Given the bureaucratic culture of intervention and control in government, such centralization will make regulation rigid.
  • No due importance to character building:
    • It does not focus enough on character building. Much of its attention is on experiential learning, multi-disciplinary courses, critical thinking, and so on.
    • NEP 2020 aims to bring pre-school education for children of ages 3 to 5 under the ambit of formal schooling as this age group is recognised as crucial for the development of a child’s mental faculties. However, the policy do not adequately take advantage of it.

Examples of Character Building through schooling:

  • Military academies: These perfectly combine the character-building and learning aspects of education
  • Preventive system of schooling of Salesian Don Bosco: They do not use punishments at all in their educational methodology. The supervisor lovingly corrects students when they make mistakes, and thus manages to reduce wrongdoing.

Way Forward: Mere introduction of few courses on ethics, culture or values, as will not achieve character-building. The whole process will have to be institutionalized.

3.COVID-19- India’s approach for an inclusive future

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Context: COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of India’s urban system like never before.  The urgency to revisit and adapt city planning principles and approaches cannot be emphasized more.


  1. Poor Healthcare system– The healthcare system is grossly inadequate and lacks the capacity and power to provide quality infrastructure and facilities to the citizens.
  2. Population density– India is one of the densest countries in the world; two-thirds of COVID-19 cases are in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. The population density makes the spread of the virus difficult to control as physical distancing is hard to mandates.
  3. Lack of water resources– India having large number of people living in the dense informal housing slums, where access to piped water is often restricted, this makes self-isolation and hand-washing very difficult.
  4. Food and Nutrition- The rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as the measures adopted to contain its spread have put many families at risk by impacting their food supply, livelihoods and household incomes.
  5. Unemployment– In the digital age, daily wage workers becomes a distinct group of people who do not have an occupational identity. The pandemic provides a glimpse into the uncertainty, exploitation and lawlessness prevalent in the job market which over 42 crore unorganized workers in the country are being subjected to.
  6. Polluted Environment– The constant need of building infrastructure leads to carbon emission and research suggests that exposure to pollution increases the susceptibility and severity of COVID-19 infection.

Ways to battle against the challenges

  1. Strengthening the social infrastructure– The urgent need to invest in public health to strengthen our health systems for rapid response while ensuring long-term preparedness.
  2. WASH for vulnerable sections– Government must prioritize the basic needs of the most vulnerable, including improving drinking water and sanitation services and also need to decongest slums to protect people’s health and wellbeing.
  3. Ensuring food security– Center should continue to provide legal entitlements for food and nutritional security and expand efforts to ensure food is available at affordable prices (or even free) for poorer families.
  4. Employment opportunities– Local authority and city administration need to generate employmentfor migrant workers who have gone back to their villages.
  5. Going Carbon neutral– Requires innovation to reduce the carbon content and enhance the use of green building materials.

Example – Invest in public and non-motorized transportation (for example, bicycle) which significantly create more jobs than the same level of investment in roads and motorways.

  1. New working environment– Stepping up digital infrastructure will help make the work-from-home trend permanent

Way forward

Urban governance challenge at the local level becomes very crucial to create enabling conditions which continue to attract economic activity, maintain competitiveness, and ensure equitable access, while balancing negative impacts on the environment.

4.Limitations of central banking framework

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus Gs3:  Growth & Development- RBI’s Monetary policy

Context: The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) actions over the past few months are guided by multiple considerations.

More on news:

  • Slew of measures taken to arrest economic slowdown and address the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Inflation and growth management
    • Debt management
    • Currency management
  • These measures have exposed the limitations of and the inherent contradictions in the central banking framework in India.

Monetary policy function of RBI and the limitation:

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is guided by the goal of maintaining inflation at 4 plus/minus 2 percent.
  • Issue associated:At the current juncture, should the MPC be driven by growth considerations or should short-term inflation concerns dominate?
  • Problem of Growth and inflation:
  • Recently, the MPC has attached more importance to reviving growth and has lowered the benchmark repo rate by 250 basis points.
  • However, despite dire growth prospects, it chose to maintain the status quo, which was driven (in part) by elevated inflation which continues to average above the upper threshold of the inflation targeting framework.

Uncertainty over trajectory of inflation:

  • Uncertainty regarding impact of COVID-19:
    • Inflationary or disinflationary.
    • Inflationary in the short run (retail inflation is elevated largely due to supply dislocations).
    • Disinflationary over the medium term (with demand falling).
  • Supply dislocations and disruptions:The current rise in inflation is mainly driven by supply-chain dislocations owing to the lockdowns.
    • Implication: It means spurt in retail inflation will be temporary, and it will begin to trend lower as these disruptions ebb.
  • Disconnect between the wholesale and consumer price index:Since April, while WPI has been in negative territory, CPI has been elevated, indicating excess supply or low demand at the producer or wholesale level but excess demand or low supply at the retail or consumer level.
  • No firm projection of future inflation by MPC: Though the committee members are basing their decisions on some expectation of future inflation and growth, these should have been publicly disclosed.

Inherent contradictions between the MPC’s operations, and the RBI’s debt and currency management functions:

  • As manager of the government debt:The RBI’s debt management functions have run up against its currency management functions.
    • Responsibility: RBI is tasked with ensuring that the government’s borrowing programme sails through smoothly.
      • Steps taken:Operation twist, which involve the RBI buying longer-dated government bonds, while simultaneously selling an equivalent amount of shorter-dated securities — pushing down long-term Gsec yields, and exerting upward pressure on short-term yields as a consequence.
      • Contradiction:RBI ended up doing exactly the opposite of what the MPC was trying to achieve by cutting short term rates.
    • RBI’s interventions in the currency market:
      • Responsibility:To prevent the rupee from appreciating.
      • Contradiction:It constrained its ability to carry out open market operations as these would have led to further liquidity injections.

Way forward:

  • Develop a clear strategy regarding its responsibilities.
  • Look beyond the current spurt in inflation: test the limits of both conventional and unconventional monetary policy.
  • Need for a further Monetary policy easing:It will be helpful as uncertainty remains over whether Covid having a deflationary or inflationary impact on the Indian economy in the medium term.

5.Social Media: A platform to change the work of Institution of powers

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 4 – Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions

Context: The very people, who legitimately critique a police force for being corrupt, incompetent or unaccountable, turn around and demand that any ‘suspect’, rounded by the same police force, should be encountered without proper legal trial.

Instance: Case of Journalist Vikram Joshi

  • Journalist Vikram Joshi was shot dead in the head in Ghaziabad, presumably by men he had accused of molesting his niece. It was reported that the local police had ignored a complaint by Mr. Joshi about the molestation.
  • The social media was on fire with righteousness over the crime.
  • Soon, the same police announced that they had arrested the ‘culprits’ and the people who had been criticising the police force started tweeting about the pressing need to behead, grievously torture, execute or encounter the suspects.

Truth about the social media

  • Social base of people– The people demanding the need of the illegal action and injustice on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the rest are those who are well educated and intelligent.
  • Inconsistent demands– When they legitimately criticise a police force for corruption or incompetence but then want to execute any suspect arrested by the same force without due process of law, they are not motivated by the justice. This represents lack of integrity in these people.
  • Rise of Fascists – The People, who put their absolute trust in any institution of power and support all the actions whatsoever done by these institution of power.

Factors affecting the understanding of Fascist people

  1. Impatience promoted by neoliberalism– Farmers, who depend on agricultural seasons, are characteristically seen as patient people —compared to city dwellers. Neoliberalism, with its focus on short-term profit, arguably breeds an even more impatient lifestyle.
  2. Self- righteousness– Fascist people tend to self-justify their own privileges to themselves in order to feel ethical and righteous.
  3. Getting it over with– The withering away of human relations, the ‘abandonment’ of aged parents, the shrinking ‘attention span’ of younger people, etc are few of many instances where people judge others and consider themselves right.

Therefore, all three are ‘human tendencies’ which are all dominant ingredients of this age, particularly in circles with some degree of empowerment.

Way Forward

People need to understand that the institution of powers is only going to work arbitrarily when they will allow it. Social media is a great platform to curb the illegal and unethical actions of the Police force, not to encourage them to take action without completion of due process of law. The people arrested are never ‘culprits’. They are only suspects, and their guilt needs to be proven by due process of law.

9 PM for Preliminary examination

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