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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today
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9 PM for Main examination
- Transforming Indian Education System
- The use of arbitrary power by State
- Digital media redefining political communication
- Importance of a strong Air Force in LAC
- Food security and farmer welfare
9 PM for Preliminary examination
1.Transforming Indian Education System
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS-2- Education
Context: The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how people, places and non-human entities and processes are connected and this should be reflected in the education system also.
Issues with Indian Education system
Problems with current school education system
- Access to Education:The RTE Act provides for free and compulsory education to all children from the age of six to 14 years. Despite advances in expanding access to education, participation rates are still not universal, particularly in rural regions and among lower castes and other disadvantaged groups
- Rote learning: The Kasturi Ranjan committee observed that the current education system solely focuses on rote learning of facts and procedures. According to Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2018, only 16% of children in Class 1 in rural areas can read the text at the prescribed level, while almost 40% cannot even recognize letters.
- Incoherence in curriculum: the school curriculum in India remain incoherent and does not focus on interconnectedness of the natural world with our everyday lives. This hampers the learning process of students.
- Marks based evaluation system: Marks play the most important role in deciding the future of children and this often comes down upon students as a burdening factor and often leads to students underperforming.
- Quality of Teachers: The school education system faces issues of low teacher to student ratio and quality of teachers. Teachers are often unequipped with modern pedagogical methods of teaching.
Problems with current higher education system:
- Access: According to the All India Survey on Higher Education, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education in India is 25.8% in 2017-18. The Kasturi Ranjan Committee identified lack of access as a major reason behind low intake in higher education. It is much behind that of USA (85.8%) and China (43.39%)
- Poor investment in research and innovation:According to Economic Survey 2017-18, only 0.6-0.7% of GDP has been spent on research in India in the last two decades. This is very low as compared to 2.4% of USA, China-2.1%, Japan-3.58% and South korea-4.29%
- Curriculum and Employability: The curriculum remains outdated, theoretical in nature with low scope for creativity. There is a gap between industry requirements and curriculum leading to low employability of graduates. The government noted in 2017 that 60% of engineering graduates remain unemployed, while a 2013 study of 60,000 university graduates in different disciplines found that 47% of them were unemployable in any skilled occupation.
- Samagra Shiksha: A comprehensive program subsuming Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
- UDISE+ : It is an updated online real time version of UDISE (Unified District Information on School Education)
- 70-point Performance Grading Index (PGI)to assess areas of deficiency in each state’s school education system so that targeted interventions can be made at every level from pedagogy to teacher training.
- ICT driven initiatives: Shaala Sidhi (to enable all schools to self-evaluate their performance), e-Pathshala (providing digital resources such as textbooks, audio, video, periodicals etc.) and Saransh (an initiative of CBSE for schools to conduct self-review exercises).
- Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE):It aims to increase investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions.
- IMPRINT India:It is a joint initiative of IITs and IISc to address major and science and technology challenges in India.
- Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM):E-education platform
- Ucchtar Aavishkar Abhiyaan:To promote industry-specific need-based research
- Institution of Eminence:It aims to develop 20 world-class teaching and research institutions
- School education curriculum should focus on interconnectedness of the natural world with everyday lives in order to equip students with rising environmental challenges including climate change.
- The higher education curriculum should focus on industrial demands and skill development to increase the employability of Indian graduates.
Learning: Schools and colleges should introduce conceptual learning rather than focusing on rote learning.
Evaluation system: The focus of evaluation should be classroom participation by a student, projects, communication and leadership skills and extra-curricular activities.
Teacher’s Training: The recommendations of National educational Policy 2019 should be followed-
- The practice of ‘para-teachers’ (unqualified, contract teachers) should stopped across the country by 2022.
- All teachers should be able to move into either educational administration or teacher education after a minimum number of years of teaching experience.
- Merit-based scholarships to be instituted to undertake the four-year integrated B.Ed. program
Investment in research and innovation: A National Research Foundation (NRF) should be set up as an autonomous body of the Government of India to boost investment in research and innovation.
2.The use of arbitrary power by State
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 2-Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
Context: The accusation that state has used arbitrary power which has corroded our democratic structure.
Background: Bail was denied to a pregnant student-activist who was arrested for creating disorder on an ‘unprecedented scale’ when she actively participated in a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. There are questions on Whether the offence committed by a pregnant student-activist so grave that bail could not be granted until June 23 on her 4th attempt?
The arbitrary use of power is deeply troublesome especially when this is exercised by the government.
The negative aspect of arbitrariness of laws:
- Loss of freedom:
- Individuals, communities or citizens cannot function freely without a stable set of expectations. Frequent arbitrariness in the political domain leads to exploitation. It compresses upon the basic freedoms and blocks freedom.
- Laws enable significant freedoms and stabilize expectations. Laws enable our actions to become broadly predictable.
- For example- A person knows that he is legally restricted to drive only on the left. He will drive with greater freedom as he knows that chance of headlong collision is very sparse.
- The arbitrariness puts someone at mercy of someone else:
- The person in a powerful position can do much greater harm to the people which is unjust.
- For example- In the traffic example, suppose that two vehicles stop at the traffic light but just beyond the zebra crossing. The policeman issues a challan to one but not the other. Infact he seizes the driving license of a careful driver, who has stopped a good meter behind the crossing merely because he dislikes the make of his car.
- A person is made to act in accordance with the pleasure of state officials in case of power exercised arbitrarily by the state. For example- the political enslavement where an entire people are colonized and subjected to the will of the colonizers.
There should not be use of arbitrariness in laws for upholding democratic rights. For example- in the emergency (1975-77), opposition leaders were thrown in jail on the false charge of conspiring against the state.
The Current charges of Emergency by critics:
- There are rises in the number of FIRs filed at the behest of random persons on unsubstantiated complaints and little explanation.
- Upending rights: Consider the arrest of activists.
- Non reasonable grounds of arrest and detention:Article 22 requires that anyone arrested and detained must be informed of the ground for such an arrest. Even the grounds of preventive detention must assume that the suspicion of offence is well-grounded based on available evidence which should satisfy any objective observer. It should not be based on mischievous allegations.
- Arbitrary curtailment of liberty: There is an increase in its frequency and brazen partisanship. Participants in the anti-corruption movement of 2011-12 were not thrown in jail.
There should not be whimsical curtailment of liberty and rights of the people by the government.
3.Digital media redefining political communication
Source – Indian Express
Syllabus – GS 3 – Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Context – As India enters a technology-driven world, changes in the country’s political discourse are natural and communication between parties and people will become simpler.
A one-way process to a two-way process
- One-way process– Before 21st century mode and method of political communication restricted citizen’s participation in political processes. For instance – use of political gatherings and print media to disseminate ideas was done by the leaders in Indian Freedom Struggle.
Figure 1- One-way process of political communication
Disadvantages of this process:
- Two-way process– With the emergence of digital media, the process of political engagement has become two-way where citizens actively participate in national and international political events across the world.
Advantages of digital media –
- Data for mainstream media-Tweets and Facebook posts are sources of information even for the so-called mainstream communication channels like tv news, radio etc.
- Virtuous cycleof active citizen participation and ethical practices of leaders.
- Environmental cost– Reduces the need of pamphlets, posters, banners which cost heavily in terms of dumping of waste and cutting of trees.
- Effective use in pandemics– For instance, Home Minister Amit Shah’s Bihar jansamvad rally has introduced us to a new experience of digital communication which ensures social distancing while continuing with political discourses in pandemics.
Way Forward – Digital India is the backbone of innovative use of digital media in political sphere. Thus, need of the hour is to increase the availability, accessibility of digital mediums by connecting whole India with optical fibre network.
4.Importance of a strong Air Force in LAC.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 3-Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
Context: Analyzing the importance of a strong Air Force in the backdrop of India-China faceoff.
- 1962 War:
- The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered Ladakh and down the Sela Pass into Bomdila because of uninformed leadership, dominant Army brass and unsure Air Force leadership.
- The government resisted the use of IAF to stem China and IAF fighter pilots posted at air bases that could impact operations in Ladakh and the Tawang Sector (Pathankot and Tezpur) never called for action.
- 1986-87 Confrontation:
- Defensive strategy:
- After the establishment of camp at Sumdorong Chu Valley, the defense forces put together a logistically viable envelopment strategy that terrified the Chinese with numbers, firepower and aggression without needless confrontation.
- An important element of this strategy was the use of helicopters and transport aircraft.
- Defensive strategy:
- Offensive Strategy:
- India took the battle to the most forward PLA base in the sector.
- There was close coordination between 4 Corps in Tezpur and the closest fighter base.
- India wanted the capability to gain and maintain a favourable air situation for limited periods of time and carry out interdiction to back shallow multi-pronged thrusts across road-less terrain to outflank the Chinese build-up.
The ground situation across the LAC is largely one of parity and the Indian Army needs a numerical superiority of at least 5:1 for any tangible gains or tactical advantage. For gaining advantage, air power will prove to be decisive in depleting the PLA’s combat potential.
The advantages of IAF:
- The IAF currently enjoys both a qualitative and quantitative advantage over the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) across the LAC.
- It’s fighter fleet of 4th Generation Aircraft (Su-30 MKIs, Mirage-2000s and MiG-29s) are superior in almost every respect to the PLAAF’s J-10s, J-11s and SU-30 MKKs.
- The IAF has more operational bases than the PLAAF close to the LAC.
- Advantage by the IAF in the aerial mobility department:
- The IAF transport fleet of C-17s, Il-76s, An-32s and C-130s are as proficient in diverse roles as the best air forces in the world.
- The Indian Army has gained confidence through rapid troop induction into major bases or at Advance Landing Grounds like DBO or Nyoma or inter-valley transfer and insertion of special forces with helicopters like Chinooks.
- The IAF’s Apaches would add significant firepower in Ladakh.
Areas of concern for IAF:
- A strong ground-based air defence network by PLAAF in Tibet:It comprises the S-300, S-400 and HQ-9 systems that will prove a contest for IAF.
- The advantage of PLAAF in long-range air delivered cruise missiles (500-3,000 km):It has H-6 bomber as compared to the IAF’s Su-30 MKI who has just been cleared to carry the BrahMos land attack cruise missile with a range of 300 km.
- Area of surveillance: China possesses a large complement of the Yaogan series of low earth orbit surveillance satellites that offer it an almost persistent stare capability over areas of interest.
In the next decade or so, the IAF will lose its competitive advantage with the PLAAF as the latter has invested heavily in modernization.
There is a need for clear vision and an acceptance of the importance of air power along the LAC to tackle the challenge of China.
5.Food security and farmer welfare
Source – The Hindu
Syllabus – GS 3 – Agricultural growth and issues arising from it
Context – Current Pandemic has highlighted that food security and farmer welfare are intertwined and can’t be treated in silos.
Disguised Unemployment – Agriculture accounts for around 17% of India’s GDP but nearly 50% of the country’s population depends on farm-based income.
Impact of lockdown – With the announcement of lockdown, migrant farm workers fled the fields en masse, unable to sustain their livelihoods. This has following consequences:
- Threat to food security
- Spread of pandemic in rural areas
Challenges in ensuring farm income and food security:
- Climate change– Unseasonal rain and hail arrived at the beginning of the year damaged the Rabi crop.
- Locust invasion – The swarm of locust arrived India in May which has the potential of damaging the crops.
- Government policy failures – The Food Corporation of India’s godowns overflowing with grain stock at three times the buffer stock norms.
- One nation one card-Filling the gap between policy prescriptions and implementation with timely release of fixed quantities of free food grains and pulses to the migrants, even to those without ration cards, for the months of June and July.
- Remuneration with PM KISAN – Increasing government allocations to poor farmers through the PM KISAN scheme by including everyone, even those who do not own land.
- Availability of farm input – Ensuring timely availability of seeds and fertilizers for the next season by roping in gram sabhas to verify claimants.
- Stakeholder participation– Involving Farmer Producer Organisations in the process to ensure the safeguarding of farmers’ rights via collective bargaining.
Way Forward – Doubling farm income and ensuring food security need better productivity and shifting of disguised farm labour from agricultural fields to industries with Make in India and self-reliant mission.
9 PM for Preliminary examination
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