9 PM Daily Brief – October 6, 2020

Daily current affairs summaries

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Current affairs brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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9 PM for Mains examination

GS-1

  1. Women in science

GS-2

2.India and QUAD

  1. Re-imagining education in 100 years

GS-3

  1. Farms Bills
  2. Rainbow new deal – Integrating ecological protection and tackling inequality

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy

1. Women in science

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-1- Society

Context: Rigorous efforts are required to make the workplace inclusive for women scientists in India.

What is the status of women scientists in India?

  • The Department of Science and Technology is reportedly making up a policy where the proportion of women employed will be considered in ranking a scientific institution.
  • National Task Force for Women in Science: According to their data, Indian scientific institutions collectively employ only 15 per cent women even as women form 37 per cent of PhD holders and accounted for 40 per cent of university enrolment in science subjects in 2001.
  • 12 years later the Indian National Science Academy had only 5 per cent elected women colleagues in their ranks.

What are the reasons for drop in number of women in science?

  • Drop in the number of women in science:  Juggling professional and domestic responsibilities is one of many reasons.
  • Administrative hassles at the workplace, uncertainty of securing a travel fund for attending research conferences and presenting papers at national and international meetings.
  • Acting as help at the home front caring for young children or ageing parents often makes the woman scientist focus on publications since they are perceived as the one objective criterion to judge a scientist.
  • Avoid hiring couples: This has been a major stumbling block for many scientists who found like-minded partners in their own fields.

 What changes can be done to rectify the inequalities during the early stages of a scientific career?

Making creche facilities mandatory at workplaces: the crèche should be sustainable and affordable for all as it will provide employment opportunities to more women.
Safe travel: Prioritising young families for on-campus housing by revamping the current seniority-based system and providing workplace transport facility.

  • Change in approach to conferences: Supporting and rewarding organisers who ensure greater participation of women will ensure higher participation and present networking opportunities.
    Special sessions at conferences can provide a platform for floating ideas and understanding the needs of the industry.
  • The childcare leave, if extended to either parent, will prevent women from bearing the brunt of career setbacks.
    The best research institutions create spaces for mixing and mingling, ironing out stereotypes and perceptions of being the “other” group.
  • Creating a metric for evaluation of such resources, and a channel for inter-institutional mobility, cross-fertilisation of ideas, technical expertise and resources can arise.
  • The flexibility to switch career paths and the opportunity to make a permanent move could prevent stagnation and create a much-needed change between academic institutes-government and private centres of learning, research institutes and even the industry.

Way forward

  • The new policy has to be sensitive to ground level realities: Committees and organisations have to be sensitised and implementation ensured through periodic evaluations of outcomes.
  • Making the data regarding publicly funded projects widely available will allow analysis of factors beyond equality in numbers.
  • The goal should be ensuring equality without compromising quality of research.

2. India and QUAD

Source: Indian Express

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

Context:  Confusion on what the Quad is and its future in India’s international relations

Is quad a military alliance?

  • Quad is multilateral framework that brings India together with the US and its Asian allies, Japan and Australia.
  • It is a platform for building issue-based coalitions in pursuit of shared interests.
  • It is a critical element not only for India’s foreign and security policy but also a definitive moment in the evolution of post-War Asian economic and security architectures.

What is military alliance?

  • They are a means to enhance countries military power. Alliances are made to deter or defeat one’s enemies.
  • The alliance treaty usually involves written commitments to come to the defence of the other against a third party.
    Why military alliances are not favoured in India’s foreign policy?
    In India, Alliances have a negative connotation in our foreign policy discourse, In India’s foreign policy, alliances are seen as a taboo.
    India’s Non-Alignment policy is seen as central to Indian worldview.
    India’s negative view towards alliances was shaped when the Western powers the US, UK, and France that joined Soviet Russia to defeat fascist Germany turned against Moscow after the Second World War.

Does India Forge alliances?

  • India does do alliances but on necessary conditions and on selective terms when the need arises.
  • During national movement: During the second world war, Subhas Chandra Bose joined forces with Imperial Japan to set up a provisional government in Port Blair, Andaman Islands.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru’s Period: Though he actively opposed US alliances in Asia, but turned to cope with the Chinese aggression in 1962 be sought the US for military support
  • Indira Gandhi’s Period: During 1971 to cope with the crisis in East Pakistan she signed a security cooperation agreement with the Soviet Union

Why alliances are not reliable?

  • Pakistan, signing the 1954 bilateral security agreement with the US Could not prevent Pakistan division by India in 1971.
    Also, agreements for security cooperation are made in a specific context and against a particular threat. When those circumstances change, security treaties will also become meaningless, for example, the 1950 Treaty with Nepal was to protect them against the Chinese threat. But now Nepal no longer see danger from China.
  • Similarly, during 1970s Russia was willing to support India against China’s aggression. But today, Beijing is Moscow’s strongest international partner.
    QUAD & Way forward: India’s foreign policy aligned towards the non-alignment confronts our need to rapidly expand our national capabilities in partnership with like-minded partners. New India should find coalitions like the Quad critical for its international prospects.

3. Re-imagining education in 100 years

SourceThe Hindu

Syllabus- GS 2-Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context– There is a need to explore the contours of national education practices leading to 2047 when politically independent India becomes 100 years old.

What are the critical design principles for transformation of the educational sector in India and what are the efforts made in this direction?

From a teacher’s perspective, the next education practices can be viewed through the following five design principles-

Autonomy- To excel is the key Aspects of autonomy-

  • Greater autonomy for the educational institutes would entail greater leeway for the institutes in terms of regulations imposed by regulators in Academic, Organizational, Financial and Staffing dimensions.
  • Autonomy of customization- There would be autonomy of the learner in creating his/her own curriculum at his/her own pace and capabilities.  This could play a critical role in improving learning outcomes as well.
  • Efforts being made in autonomy direction- Premier institutes like the IITs and IIMs have been granted autonomy in their day to day functioning.
    Concern-
  • Despite the best intentions of granting autonomy to the higher educational institutes, these efforts have yielded limited returns due to practical limitations.
  • The granting of autonomy to the premier institutes (IITs, IIMs) in India has resulted in no dramatic variation in the nature of autonomy of these institutes.
    Learning-Technology followed education
    There needs to be a greater emphasis on technology-driven education.

Technology embedded way of learning-

  • Teachers will raise awareness rather than delivering content.
  • Smart schools and smart classes may soon morph to smart chairs and smart desks, which may have sensors to map the flow of attention in the classroom.
  • Learning will be about propagation of crucial questions rather than pre-determined answers.
  • Concern- In 2047, six billion people in the world would constitute the middle class. The needs of affordable education to a larger number of students spread across a larger area while also ensure better learning outcomes.
    Trans-disciplinary education-  Coherence across fields
    Trans-disciplinarily is about creating a coherent intellectual framework beyond the disciplinary perspectives.
  • Multidisciplinary- It involves experts from different disciplines working together, each drawing on their unique disciplinary knowledge.
  • It would help to construct an understanding of the real-life problems.
    For instance, tackling the pandemic required medical scientists, economists, health workers and political scientists and more experts to bring their disciplinary depth to the table.
    Efforts being made in autonomy direction- The NEP 2020 roots for multi-disciplinary institutions rather than standalone schools.
  • Technology- innovation– Technology-led innovation will take learning from cognition to immersion. The content of knowledge has evolved from text that had to be cognized to include visual, audio and tactile immersive experiences.
  • Value based education- By 2047, Indian teachers will be engaged in nurturing global mindsets based on three classical values which are-Satyam (Authenticity), Nityam (Sustainability) and Purnam (Wholeness).
  1. Way forward
    In 2047, a teacher’s role, based on five principles, will be to oversee the transformative re-birth of citizens. The most valuable outcome of education is the becoming of a competent and compassionate human being. Education is finally about creating and sustaining wholesome cultures rather than serving the templates of outmoded civilizations.

4.Farms Bills

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: Gs3: Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure, Devolution of Powers

Context: The passage of the three Farm Acts has raised a constitutional debate on Union’s powers to legislate on state subjects.

What are the three contentious farm bills?

  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020.
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020,
  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

What is the controversy around Entry 33 in concurrent list?

Following subjects are on the state list:
Agriculture
Trade and commerce within the State, production, supply and distribution of goods

Markets and fairs are enumerated as states subject.

  • However, the trade and commerce within the State (Entry 26) & production, supply and distribution of goods (Entry 27) are subjected to the provisions of Entry 33 of concurrent list after the 3rd amendment act, 1954.
  • As per Article 369, the responsibility of agricultural trade and commerce within a State was temporarily entrusted to the Union government for a period of five years beginning from 1950.  However, the 1954 Amendment changed this into a permanent feature in the Constitution.
    Despite many opposed, stating that the Bill would lead to an expanding encroachment on the rights of the States the Bill was passed. Now the same Entry 33 was invoked to encroach the powers of the States.
  • What are the directives given by supreme court in I.T.C. Limited vs.

Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) case 2002?

  • The development of the tobacco industry was brought under the Centre through the Tobacco Board Act, 1975.
    However, Bihar’s APMC Act continued to list tobacco as an agricultural produce.
  • In this case, the question was if the APMC could charge a levy on ITC for the purchase of unprocessed tobacco leaves from growers.
    The then Constitution Bench upheld the validity of the State APMC Act, and provided some important directives :
    Market fees can be charged from ITC under the State APMC Act
    State laws become repugnant only if the State and Centre enact laws on the same subject matter under an Entry in List III.
  • In those cases, outside List III, one has to first examine if the subject matter was an exclusive entry under List I or List II, and only after determining this can one decide on the dominant legislation that would prevail.
  • How the directives of supreme court related to present Farm Acts of 2020?
    In the case of the Farm Acts of 2020, the applicable points are (a) and (c).
    With regard to (a), States could continue to charge mandi taxes from private markets anywhere in the notified area regardless of the Central Act.
    With regard to (c), the State legislation should prevail as agriculture is an exclusive subject matter under Entry 14 in List II.

Why the recent Farm Acts are said to have poor legal validity?

Centre to use Entry 33 in List III to push the Farm Bills weakens the spirit of cooperative federalism.

  • Second, agriculture is exclusively a State subject. Everything that is subsidiary to an exclusive subject in List II should also fall under the exclusive legislative purview of States.
  • Most importantly, Entry 28 in List II markets and fairs is not subject to Entry 33 in List III.

5.Rainbow new deal – Integrating ecological protection and tackling inequality

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

Context – India needs a rainbow recovery plan to emerge successfully from COVID 19 and the structural changes it has brought in society.

What is meant by Rainbow new deal?

It refers to a seamless integration of ecological protection and tackling of wealth inequality and economic vulnerability of several hundreds of millions of people.

What are the features of rainbow new deal?

  1. Sustainable livelihoods – Many small farmers, pastoralists, and fishers can be enabled to sustain or switch to organic, ecologically sustainable production. This would ensure their own food security and local marketing links.
    This has to be built on regenerating and safeguarding the country’s soil, natural ecosystems, water, biological diversity, and air.
  1. Sustainable lifestyle – This involves encouraging lifestyles and livelihoods that obtain substantial food, medicines, household items and other needs, as also sustainable livelihoods, from natural ecosystems.
  2. Focusing on MSME’s -It would entail reviving and sustaining India’s incredible diversity of crafts, and decentralized production of most goods and services with a massive investment in the small and medium sector enterprises.

For instance, Ela Bhatt, founder of SEWA, has proposed the ‘100-mile radius’ as a region within which the objective of self-reliance can be met.

3. Improving social sector – It involves substantial investments in public health, education, housing, transportation and other basic needs.

4. Wealth redistribution – Economist Prabhat Patnaik has pointed out, a mere 2% wealth tax coupled with a 33% inheritance tax on the richest 1% of India could generate more revenue than the total recovery package the Government of India announced for corona induced challenges.

Way Forward

If the diverse strands of resistance, feminist, worker, farmer, and other mobilizations of the marginalized, and myriad grassroots initiatives at alternative living all can be synergized, an RND kind of transformation may yet be on the horizon in the post-Corona Indian economy.


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