9 PM Daily Brief – November 17, 2020

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GS 1

Andhra Pradesh’s three capital plan

GS 2

RCEP

GS 3

Policy framework for technology

The right lessons from Pulwama and Balakot

Women workforce


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FACTLY


Andhra Pradesh’s three capital plan

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 1 – Human Geography, Salient aspects of Urbanization

Context –Impact of Andhra Pradesh decentralization and inclusive development of all regions bill, 2020.

What is Andhra Pradesh Decentralization and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020?

It is an act of Andhra Pradesh Legislature containing provisions relating to the decentralization of governance in the state of Andhra Pradesh so that establishments for additional two capitals can be made at any place outside Amaravati.

This law paves the way for three capitals for the state.

  1. Amaravati– legislative capital.
  2. Visakhapatnam– executive capital.
  3. Kurnool– judicial capital.

The proposed three-capital plan claims to achieve the following-

  • Equal development of different regions– The state government claims that it would allow an even development of the state. It would ensure justice to everyone and every region.
  • Decentralization- It also claims it’s a good idea to decentralize power across the state as there have been several imbalances among the regions which had often led to agitations. Three capitals will lead to equitable development.
  • Growth perspective– Furthermore, it would be a boost to urbanization and then economic development. In India, cities contribute anywhere between 59% and 70% of the GDP.

Why implementing this idea will be difficult?

  1. Coordination and logistics fear: Coordinating between seats of legislature and executive in separate cities will be easier said than done, and with the government offering no specifics of a plan, officers and common people alike fear a logistics nightmare.
  2. Hamper administrative efficiency – Executive capital Visakhapatnam is 700 km from judicial capital Kurnool, and 400 km from legislative capital Amaravati. The Amaravati-Kurnool distance is 370 km. The time and costs of travel will be significant.
  • Infrastructure requirements: It will need constructing new buildings in the new capitals.
  1. Environmental impact- Unrestrained real estate interests can co-opt local State institutions and sabotage environmental interests.
  2. Impact on farmers– the Andhra government had acquired around 30 thousand acres of land approximately from the farmers in and around the Amaravati region. So the decision of changing the capital may affect most of the farmers living out there.

Way forward-

  • The success of distributed development depends on a well-developed infrastructural network linking the growth centres.
  • The ongoing processes of preparing the Master Plan and Strategic Plan for the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region are an opportunity to address environmental challenges.
  • The bill is thin in details but offers hope in its broad contours of pursuing inclusive development through Zonal Planning and Development Boards.

RCEP

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Context: India’s opting out of RCEP appears more debatable in terms of its economic rationale.

Background:

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed on 15.11.2020 by 15 countries led by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10-state ASEAN grouping.
  • It created one of the world’s largest trading blocs.
  • India after seven years of protracted negotiations decided last November to exit the grouping.

Why India opted out of RCEP?

  • India had justified its decision on following grounds:
    • High trade deficit: Protecting its economy from burgeoning trade deficits with a majority of the 15 RCEP members.
    • Lack of safeguards: It had cited the grouping’s refusal to accede to its requests on safeguards as a deal breaker.

What are the significances of RCEP?

  • RCEP members now account for about 30% of the global GDP and a third of the world’s population.
  • The timing of the accord presents a unique opportunity to support economic recovery, inclusive development and job creation.
  • It will help in strengthening regional supply chains.

Why India should have joined the RCEP?

  • Impact of the pandemic: Global trade and the economy are falling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Lack of markets: New infections in Europe and the U.S. might prompt fresh restrictions leading to shrinkage of export markets for India.
  • Uncertain Global order: There is heightened tariff uncertainty generated by the deadlocked Brexit negotiations between Britain and the E.U. which will also impact India’s trade.
  • But, RCEP economies are re-energising economic activity: The east Asian and Pacific countries including China, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand having contained the pandemic successfully and have restarted their economies. This would have provided an alternative market for India if joined.

What is the way forward?

  • Bury the geopolitical differences with China and prioritise what is collectively seen as a mutually beneficial trading compact.
  • For example, among the ASEAN signatories Vietnam and the Philippines, which not only continue to have their share of disputes with Beijing but also suffer significant trade imbalances with Asia’s largest economy.
  • Acknowledging India’s value as a market the RCEP members have left the door open.India should reconsider its stance as RCEP members have also waived a key 18-month cooling period for interested applicants.
  • India needs to dispassionately review its position and embrace openness rather than protectionism.

Policy framework for technology

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-3- Science & Technology

Context: With the rapid pace of technology blurring boundaries, a holistic policy framework is must.

How is Data a new currency?

  • Paradigm shift: The amount of “value add” from intangible technology services as opposed to physical objects, even in traditional goods, is being transformed by information.
    • A modern automobile has 40% of its component value from electronic-based products and a modern electric vehicle has close to 100 million lines of code, which is more than that used by a Boeing 787 or the Chrome browser.
  • Increasing digitisation: There is increasing digitisation and electronification of industrial activities, products and services, influencing the evolving skill sets in industry.
  • For instance, a conventional “metal-based” industrial product, information and electronics are becoming all-pervasive, ensuring that we set boundaries to control quality or the uptime of the equipment.
  • Revolution: This revolution is taking place across products, as information availability drives efficiency and creates value for customers by providing greater control over the product and its surrounding environment.

Why is there a need of a new policy framework?

  • To address the needs of various stakeholders: governments have tended to build specialised departments and designed policies that govern those areas.
  • Over time, as each of these departments grew, they have tended to operate in silos. This has for most of the 20th century been reasonably successful in driving economic development in countries.
  • Capital formation: Technology is driving an increasing share of the value add coming from digitisation and data analytics in products and services across industry segments, there needs to be a way of encouraging capital formation by way of intangibles in traditionally tangible industries.
  • Issue of a shift of value between manufacturing and services as technology changes: The policy, promotes and gives incentives for manufacturing, whereas the share of intangibles, even in traditional manufacturing companies, whether it be software, research and development or even servicing of products, are not adequately covered in industrial policies.
  • Inter-departmental cooperation: There is increasingly a need for inter-departmental cooperation and synergy not only in policy framework but also in deployment.
  • Increasing electronification and digitisation of the automobile are not covered by industrial policies that govern the Electronics and Information Technology Ministry.
  • Drones that could serve different sectors, including agriculture, and would require a lot of inter-departmental clearances outside of the Department of Agriculture.
  • Holistic view: There is a need to have a holistic view of policies for economic development as technology is becoming a significant enabler in most industries.
  • A sufficiently empowered policy clearing cell: It could ensure a holistic view on policy across departments of government, at the State and the Centre.
  • Ecosphere: A nourishing ecosystem for industry, including the hard infrastructure and softer areas such as education, skilling, technical institutions, laboratories, testing centres, etc., has to be cultivated.
  • The creation of clusters of companies in adjacent but complementary areas could constitute such an ecosystem that encourages multi and cross-disciplinary learning and spur innovation and economic development.

Way forward

  • In this evolving policy framework, it is important that there is close cooperation and alignment between the Centre and State to ensure effective implementation on the ground. Some of these thoughts could help us navigate through an ecosystem that is changing with technology.

The right lessons from Pulwama and Balakot

Source: The Hindu

Gs3: Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges, Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.

Context: Recently, Pakistan’s Opposition MP, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, alleged that the PTI government released the captured Indian fighter pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman due to fear of an imminent missile strike from India.

Background

  • On 14 February 2019, the suicide car bomb blast in Pulwama led to the death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.
  • Avenging this, the Indian Air Force (IAF) targeted a seminary at Balakot in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan what is known as Balakot strike.
  • The Pakistan Air Force attempted its counter attack the next day morning in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the ensuing aerial combat, Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan was captured by the Pakistan military.
  • Later, Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan was released by Pakistan as a peace gesture.

What are the lessons from Pulwama and Balakot?

Pulwama attack

  • Even, after the National Investigation Agency filed a 13,800-page charge sheet in August certain Questions have not been answered satisfactorily.
  • The responsibility for the intelligence failure, violation of standard operating procedures by security forces and the possible involvement of disgraced Jammu and Kashmir police officer, Davinder Singh, remain unexamined.

Balakot Strike:

  • The performance of the IAF has been seen with scepticism in most western capitals. For example, the IAF claims to have shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter jet was not accepted.
  • There were many questions damaging the professional image of IAF such as whether IAF were able to strike the designated targets, asking for providing proof of the destruction caused by IAF etc.
  • For, all the questions and scepticism raised, the IAF didn’t have a convincing answer.
  • Also, the fact remains that the IAF has lost a fighter aircraft and the pilot ended in Pakistani custody. That day, the IAF also shot down its own helicopter in friendly fire, close to Srinagar.
  • The IAF has behaved in a partisan manner by preventing any media reportage of the incident before the Lok Sabha elections were over.
  • In a healthy democracy, apolitical armed forces are supposed to follow the elected government’s lawful orders but do not work to further the partisan aims of the ruling party.
  • This would set a wrong precedent for the armed forces and its senior leadership unless corrected.
  • Also, neither the surgical strike of 2016 nor the Balakot air strike have infused deterrence in the Kashmiri hinterland or on the LoC, as evident from the senior Indian Army officers regularly claiming that Pakistan has hundreds of militants ready to be pushed across the Line of Control (LoC) at launchpads.
  • In recent years, the institutions like Parliament, the judiciary and the media has earned a lot of attention, while the scholars have been shy of making enquiries about the conduct of the armed forces, an institution even more critical to the health of Indian democracy.

Women workforce

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 3 –Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Context – Declining female labour force participation.

Why in news-

Year 2020 marked as-

  1. The nearly fifty years since the Committee on the Status of Women in India (CSWI) submitted the report ‘Towards Equality’ to the United Nations (UN).
    • It focused on women-sensitive policymaking in India, providing a fresh perspective on gender equality.
  2. The 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action- A benchmark for analyzing the condition of women and State-led empowerment.

What is the status of women’s workforce in India?

  1. Workforce participation: India demonstrates one of the lowest labour participation rates for women, which have been consistently declining since 1950.
  • The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2018-19 indicates a fall in absolute employment for women.
    • Women faced a decline in labour participation rates (from 2011 to 2019) in rural areas from 35.8% to 26.4%, and stagnation in urban areas at around 20.4%.
  1. Poor worldwide Rankings:
    • Global Gender Gap Index– India has been ranked 149th among 153 countries in terms of women’s economic participation and opportunity published by World Economic Forum.
  • 2019 Oxfam report– Gender wage gap highest in Asia. Based on hourly wages, women earn, on average, 65.5% of what their male colleagues earn for performing the same work.
  1. Women in agriculture:
    • Lack of ownership of land– As many as 87 per cent of women does not own their land, only 12.7 per cent of them do.
  1. Status of women in other sectors of the economy:
    • Manufacturing sector – around 14% of the female labour force.
    • Women account for only 19.9% of the total labor force in India
    • The service sector sees women disproportionately involved in care-work, over 60% of the 4.75 million domestic workers are women.
  1. The non-availability of white collar jobs, disproportionate long hours and lesser job security narrow downs the job opportunities for educated women in India.

Read also :- Current affairs

What are the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and new labour codes on women workforce?

  1. COVID-19 impact– Recent job stagnation and high unemployment rates for women, exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic, also keep women out of the labor force.
  • Job lost in pandemic– The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data showed that 39% of women lost their jobs in April and May compared to 29% of men.
  1. New labour codes impact– The labour reforms disregard women’s work conditions.
  • The codes acknowledge neither the gender wage gap nor non-payment of wages and bonuses
  • Ignore informal mostly women workers in terms of social security, insurance, provident fund, maternity benefits, or gratuity.
  • There is no protection against sexual harassment at workplace.
  • Maternity benefits remain unchanged from the 2017 amendment

Way forward-

  • Addressing structural issues which keep women away from the workforce is a must.
  • Policy decisions need to articulate gendered concerns during public health emergencies because gender-sensitive pandemic planning may substantially mitigate these concerns.

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