9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – April 4th, 2022

Dear Friends,

We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:

  1. Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
  2. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
    1. The Hindu  
    2. Indian Express  
    3. Livemint  
    4. Business Standard  
    5. Times of India 
    6. Down To Earth
    7. PIB
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
    • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick Here
    • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Playing the strategic autonomy game

Source: The post is based on an article “Playing the strategic autonomy game” published in The Hindu on 04th April 2022.

Syllabus: GS II International Relations, Foreign Policy of India

Relevance: Strategic Autonomy

News: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a rush of foreign diplomats to India. India has welcomed Chinese and Russian leaders. They have come for a personal meeting with the Indian Prime Minister.

Why has India’s decision to continue trade with Russia not faced any public criticism so far?

India very well understands the sensitivities and the nature of the engagement of the Western interlocutors with a given country.

India is a developing country. It is fighting serious economic hardships. It is recovering from the impact of COVID-19.

It will not be wise to expect India not to buy discounted Russian oil. In fact, some of India’s critics are still buying energy from Russia.

India has a unique and very important geopolitical location. Therefore, India needs an unrestricted supply of defence equipment.

India’s decision to abstain from condemning Russia is based on a geopolitical rationale (just like India did not condemn the American invasion of Iraq in 2003).
Further, India does not want to alienate Russia. It is because India cannot afford to have yet another unfriendly country in a deeply unfriendly region.

In fact, even if India takes a side in the favour of the West, the West may also not stand by India in the future if India enters into a conflict with China

Why does the West want India to pick up a side?

The west is of the notion that 1) The Russia-Ukraine war is a broader conflict between democracies and non-democracies. Therefore, India must decide to pick upsides. 2) In case India enters into full-fledged conflict with China in the future, Russia is unlikely to help India.

What are the challenges between the present and future?

First, India will be relegated to a weaker position in the region after the Ukraine war is over. Indian primacy might end in the region.

Second, the U.S. has withdrawn from Afghanistan, and it is currently focusing on Russia and Ukraine.

Third, Russia is weakening, and fourth, Beijing is actively playing a geopolitical game with money and muscle power in the region.

Therefore, the continental geopolitics of Southern Asia is now becoming China-centric. There are chances that there will be a rise of a China-centric geopolitical order in Asia in the coming future.

What should India do?

New Delhi may indeed be on the side of the Western Countries, but not in the manner they would like India to be. India cannot fully ally with either side. It needs to maintain good relations with both, and India needs to adhere to its strategic autonomy.


India’s trade pact with Australia will click: it ticks the right boxes

Source: The post is based on an article “India’s trade pact with Australia will click: it ticks the right boxes” published in the Live Mint on 04th April 2022.

Syllabus: GS II Indian Economy, Effect of Liberalization on Indian Economic

Relevance: Free Trade Agreement

News: Recently, India has signed the first trade agreement with a large developed economy in the world after more than a decade. It was a path-breaking trade agreement known as the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) signed with Australia.

About India’s trade agreements

India already has trade agreements with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. In the case of developed countries, this is the third trade agreement that India has signed with any OECD country, after the trade agreement India had with Japan and Korea.

Why is the Indian Industry showing a lot of enthusiasm for new trade deals with the UAE and Australia?

The India Industry was consulted at every stage of trade negotiations. Therefore, it has helped Indian industry members to articulate their interests in overseas market access.

The Indian government has identified the right set of countries for trade deals, i.e. Australia and the UAE. In addition, it has ensured meaningful market access for Indian exports.

Unlike, in previous FTAs in which India bargained mainly for market access for business professionals under Mode 4 (Movement of Natural Persons), this time Indian government’s focus has been on access to foreign-market for all our merchandise exports.

Why is the Indo-Australian trade deal significant for India?

The trade deal may lead bilateral trade between India and Australia to touch $45 billion in five years.

Address the tariff disadvantage:  Indian exporters face a tariff disadvantage of 4-5%. It was present in many labour-intensive sectors. It was posed by China, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia in the Australian market. Now, Indian exports will not have to face this disadvantage in the Australian Market.

Increase in exports of goods and services: The merchandise export will increase in textiles and apparel, select agriculture and marine products, leather, footwear, furniture, gems and jewellery, pharma and engineering products, etc.

In addition to merchandise export, India will get meaningful access to the Australian market for service sectors too. For example, Annually, 1800 Indian traditional chefs and yoga teachers can enter Australia as contractual service suppliers, Indian students will get a post-study work visa, and mutual recognition of professional qualifications etc.

The Australian government will also stop taxation of the offshore income of Indian firms providing technical services to Australia. It will enhance their competitiveness in the international market.

Many Indian industries in sectors like steel, aluminium, power, engineering and so on will become competitive. They will get cheaper raw materials from the Australian exporter.

India’s particular sectors like milk and dairy, among others where Australia has a comparative advantage, will remain protected under the ECTA. It is because the Indian government has not offered concessions on these sensitive products.

What will be the challenges?

Currently, Australia has 16 operational FTAs. Therefore, India would be competing with China, ASEAN, Chile, Japan, Korea and New Zealand, which have already-functional FTAs with Australia.


What’s Powering A Trillion Dollar Revolution

News: The post is based on an article “What’s powering a trillion-dollar revolution” published in The Times of India on 04th April 2022.

Syllabus: GS II Governance, GS III Science and Technology and their application in day-to-day life

Relevance: Digital Transformation

News: In recent years, the Indian government has been adopting path-breaking digital initiatives across various sectors. These initiatives hold tremendous potential to spur entrepreneurship, increase India’s global competitiveness and meet the nation’s goal of “growth for all”.

What are the thrust areas of the government’s digital strategy?

First, boosting the optic fibre network: It is the digital backbone of a digital economy. It is being executed under the BharatNet project.  In addition, 5G services are likely to be rolled out by the end of 2022. It will enable access to high-speed internet in a few years.

Second, the government has been building up Open, scalable digital public platforms like Aadhaar, DigiLocker and UPI.

In addition, the government has also planned (1) a healthcare registry and platform known as Ayushman Bharat Mission to allow accessing and sharing of health records digitally, and (2) open network protocols such as ONDC to make digital commerce more accessible for MSMEs,

Third, the government is digitising public service delivery. For example, filing of income tax returns, single-window clearance for projects, the GeM portal for digital public procurement, the e-bill system etc. Also, the proposed Gatishakti initiative is a step in this direction.

What is truly transformative about the government’s digital strategy?

The digital platforms have the potential for scalability and inclusivity. For example,75% of the Public Distribution System (PDS) distribution at a national level has been done through Aadhaar-authentication; The disbursement of MGNREGA wage payment is done through a central platform that is authenticated by using Aadhaar.

The Direct Benefits Transfer has helped to address the leakages and ensure the government’s savings to the exchequer. It has been done by leveraging Aadhaar.

What should be done?

There is a need for strong policy and regulatory reforms for boosting digital infrastructure in India. For this, the government can initiate Public-private dialogue to promote trust.

The government can start using Web 3. 0 technologies to plug loopholes and improve service delivery.

A robust privacy and data protection law also need to be expedited.


A far reaching verdict that ends a regressive exception

Source: The post is created based on the article “A far reaching verdict that ends a regressive exception” published in The Hindu on 04th April 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Important Judgements

News: In the case of Hrishikesh Sahoo v. State of Karnataka, the Karnataka High Court pronounced the end of marital rape exception in Section 375 (Rape) of Indian Penal Code.

In the case, a husband approached the High Court seeking to quash the criminal proceedings against him. The charges framed were under Section 376 (rape), notwithstanding the marital rape exception. The High Court refused to quash the charge of rape against the husband.

What does the judgment say?

The Judge held that if a husband is exempted from his acts of sexual assault it would destroy the women’s right to equality, which is the soul of the Constitution.

The exception to marital rape in the IPC amounts to discrimination because a wife is treated as subordinate to the husband.

The Constitution guarantees women fundamental rights under Articles 14,15,19 and 21. These include the right to live with dignity, personal liberty, bodily integrity, sexual autonomy, right to reproductive choices, right to privacy, right to freedom of speech and expression.

What are the previous judgements?

In Independent Thought v. Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court of India diluted the exemption. Earlier the exception stated that sexual intercourse with wife over the age of 15 years is not rape. The Court changed the minimum age to 18 years. The Court stated that a girl cannot be treated as a commodity. The human rights of a girl child are alive whether she is married or not.

What are the basis of the judgement?

The exception to marital rape is based on the principle of common law that by marriage a woman gives up her body to the husband. Due to which, husband could not be guilty of raping his wife. This was also adopted in the Indian Penal Code.

In United Kingdom, the case of R v. R (1991), abolished the principle. The House of Lords held that the duty of the court is to take steps to alter the rule according to the position of society. Hence, a rapist remains a rapist subject to the criminal law, irrespective of his relationship with his victim.


Explained: Reforming death penalty

Source: The post is created based on the article “Explained: Reforming death penalty” published in Indian Express on 04th April 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Important Judgements.

Context: This week, the Bench headed by Justice Lalit agreed to comprehensively examine procedures in death penalty cases. It is to ensure that judges who have to choose between life imprisonment and the death sentence have comprehensive sentencing information.

What has caused the SC to examine practices in death penalty sentencing?

The Supreme Court has acknowledge concerns with the manner in which death penalty sentencing is being carried out. While the death penalty has been held to be constitutional, the manner in which it has been administered has triggered accusations of unfairness and arbitrariness.

How are judges supposed to choose between life and death sentences?

In Bachan Singh’s case, a “rarest of rare cases” framework was developed for judges to follow when they had to choose between life imprisonment and the death penalty.  It made clear that life imprisonment would be the default punishment and judges would need to give “special reasons”. The judges must consider both aggravating and mitigating factors concerning the crime and the accused when deciding if the death penalty is to be imposed.

What has happened to this framework in the four decades since Bachan Singh?

The Supreme Court has repeatedly lamented the inconsistency in application of the Bachan Singh framework. A study by Project 39A looking at 15 years of death penalty sentencing in trial courts has shown that the Bachan Singh framework has broken down, with judges attributing to it multiple and inconsistent meanings.

What is the reason for this?

One of the main reasons is that very sparse sentencing information about the accused is brought before the judges. It is an empirical reality that the vast majority of death row prisoners are economically vulnerable and very often receive poor legal representation.

Also, there has been no real guidance on how judges must go about assigning weight to aggravating and mitigating factors, and how they should approach weighing one factor against another.

What is mitigation, and what are mitigating factors?

It is a fundamental tenet of criminal law that sentencing must be individualized, i.e, in the process of determining punishment, the judge must take into account individual circumstances of the accused.

The idea of mitigation is to present an individual in all their complexity and the various factors that contributed to a set of decisions and actions in their lives.

Who can collect all this information?

The judgments in Santa Singh (1976) and Mohd Mannan (2019) have recognised the interdisciplinary nature of such an exercise, and that it requires professionals other than lawyers to collect such information. For instance, American Bar Association’s 2003 Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defence Counsel in Death Penalty recognises the role of a mitigation specialist with a clearly defined role that goes beyond what lawyers can do.

GS Paper 3


How the Delhi model for EV chargers is worthy of emulation

Source: The post is based on an article “How the Delhi model for EV Chargers is worthy of emulation?” published in the Live Mint on 04th April 2022

Syllabus: GS III Infrastructure, Energy Infrastructure

Relevance: Electric Vehicle (EV) Technology, Transport Sector

News: The Delhi government has adopted a new model for the development of public charging infrastructure. This model might amplify India’s EV Charging Infrastructure.

What have been the issues in the EV segment?

First, slow pace in setting up large-scale public charging infrastructure or stations.

Second, Central and state governments have failed to leverage the private sector to invest in charging networks. They focus on public sector units (PSUs) to set up the EV infrastructure

What are the different EV Charging Infrastructure Models across the world?

Typically, there are four models: (1) utility-led, (2) automakers-led (with ‘walled gardens’ of chargers), (3) PSU-led and (4) business-led (independent entities offering customers a charging service).

In contrast, the Delhi government has developed a private-public partnership (PPP) model for setting up 500 charging points at 100 locations in Delhi.

About the ‘Delhi Model’ of EV-charging infrastructure model

(1) The Delhi government will aggregate land parcels (a scarce resource in Delhi) from different agencies. Thereafter, the land will be given for rent to private players on a concessional basis.

(2) The Delhi government will provide assistance with the cost of upstream electrical infrastructure on the charging site. In addition, the lease rentals will be linked to revenue because the station’s profit is meagre in the initial years.

In order to increase the business at charging stations, the stakeholders whose business is aided by operating charging stations, such as fleet operators, vehicle and battery manufacturers, battery-swapping operators, etc. will be encouraged to participate at stations.

(3) The private sector will be provided with the flexibility in determining the charger combinations on 70% of the space in the station. The charging technology evolves with time.

(4) The Delhi government has fixed Service charges for the end consumer as a bidding criterion. Thus, the private bidders will be encouraged to quote a low service charge. Thus, the cost of charging for the users will be just ₹2 per unit, perhaps cheaper than anywhere else in the world.

(5)  Delhi’s EV charging strategy has been based on a participatory approach. All the heads of Delhi government departments, municipal corporations, etc were members of a high-level working group. The group was set up for the accelerated rollout of charging infrastructure. It will lead to coordinated decision-making and implementation of the decision.

How can the Delhi Model transform the national thinking on EV charging?

On the lines of the Delhi Model, all states have been advised by the NITI Aayog that they should form a working group or committee for the development of state charging infrastructures.

On the lines of the Delhi Model, the Government of India has also recommended: (1) the lease rentals for charging stations should be linked to revenue, and (2) the public funds should be used for the augmentation of EV charging stations in the states.


Renewable energy has a tariff problem. Here’s how to fix it

Source: The post is based on the article “Renewable energy has a tariff problem. Here’s how to fix it” published in the Indian Express on 04th April 2022.

Syllabus: GS III  Infrastructure, Energy Sector

Relevance: Renewable Energy, Tariff System

News: India has stated its target of having a renewable generating capacity of 450-500 GW by 2030. Therefore, there is a need to create a proper environment and ensure adequate returns to invite fresh investments into renewable generation. In this regard, it is important to look at the tariff structure for renewables.

What are the two parts of Power generation tariffs?

In power generation, the two-part tariff system comprises the first part and the second part.

(1) The first part: It is the fixed cost that is incurred by a generator. It is not linked to the amount of power generated. It is determined by regulatory commissions. It has a graded payment system depending on the position of the plant to generate.

(2) The second part: It is a variable cost. It varies with the quantum of power generation. It is calculated on the cost of fuel, i.e., coal or gas or lignite. It is determined by the regulatory commissions.

What are the tariff structures in the power sector in India?

The Two-part tariff system is found in hydropower generation. The hydro generators do not have any variable cost of generation. Therefore, the entire cost of a hydro station is fixed cost. Notionally, half of this cost is treated as a variable cost.

The one-part tariff system is applicable to solar, wind and nuclear energy generation.

What are the issues with a single-part tariff in the case of renewable energy?

The contribution of solar and wind generation accounts for about 10% of the overall power generation in India. It is expected to be ramped up to 50% by 2030 (Commitment in COP26 in Glasgow).

The sector has been given a “must-run” status. This means that the state load dispatch centres (SLDCs) have to dispatch the renewable power first, even if another cheap source is available or not. But, there is a high variable cost in the renewable energy sector. In contrast, the variable cost of the NTPC coal-fired is far lower due to the two-part tariff structure.

Therefore, the SLDCs flout the principle of “must-run”. The discoms would ask the renewable generator to back down. They would buy from a coal-based generation. It would save money for the discoms.

What should be done?

Adoption of a two-part tariff would ensure certain minimum return to the developers. This will make the renewable sector at par with the coal and hydro plants.

A principle should be developed for the share of variable costs in renewable generators. For example, 50% of the total cost is attributed as a variable cost in hydro energy.

A fine balance should be maintained between the proportion of the fixed and variable costs. For example, the variable cost should be ensured at the lowest so that the “must-run” principle is not violated. In addition, the fixed cost component should not be kept so high as it may hurt the consumers.


Time to bid goodbye to AFSPA

Source: This post is based on the following articles

“Time to bid goodbye to AFSPA” published in The Indian Express on 4th April 22.

“For a full repeal: On AFSPA” published in The Hindu on 4th April 22.

Syllabus: GS3 – Internal Security

Relevance: Withdrawal of AFPSA from the Northeast and the way forward

News: Recently, the Home Ministry has decided to considerably reduce the number of “disturbed areas” under the AFSPA in three States. To fulfil that, the April 1st order significantly reduced disturbed areas in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur. Though it is a welcome step, the government does not consider repealing the AFSPA.

About AFSPA
Read here: Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) – Explained, pointwise
What is the reason for the reduction in disturbed areas?

The Government’s decision to relax the application of the Act in specific areas is due to a reduction in violence and administrative reasons. However, the relaxation is not due to a response to the question of whether the Act is essential to security operations in these States or not?

Must ReadExplained: AFSPA and Northeast
Why does the government have to repeal the AFSPA?

1) The counterinsurgency campaigns against the Nagas were counterproductive, 2) In the court’s view, AFSPA clearly provided the context for some Extra-Judicial killings. While upholding the constitutionality of AFSPA in 1997, the court recommended some changes. Such as reviewing the “disturbed area” designation every six months.  3) Justice BP Jeevan Reddy committee recommended repealing AFSPA and suggested inserting the appropriate provisions in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.

In 2016, the Supreme Court had also ruled that the armed forces could not be immune from investigation for excesses committed during the discharge of their duties, even in “disturbed areas”. Hence, the demand for full repeal should be considered, and the government has to ensure the accountability of the Armed forces.


Making groundwater visible

Source: The post is created based on the article “Making groundwater visible” published in The Hindu on 04th April 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment – Conservation

News: The theme of this year’s World Water Day (March 22) was ‘Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible’.

Benefits of groundwater:

Groundwater plays an important role in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems, and climate change adaptation, as it:

  1. Reduces the risk of temporary water shortages especially in arid and semiarid regions.
  2. Has high storage capacity.
  3. Is more resilient to the effects of climate change than surface water.

Despite these benefits, its value has not been recognised in policy making.

Issues associated with extraction of groundwater

India is among the largest users of groundwater in the world. Almost 89% of the groundwater extracted is used for irrigation and the rest for domestic (9%) and industrial use (2%).

According to the Central Ground Water Board, the annual groundwater withdrawal is considered to be safe when the extraction rate is limited below 70% of the annual replenishable recharge. However, this mark has been crossed by various states such as Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry.

Quality of groundwater is also a concern. Fluoride, iron, salinity, nitrate, and arsenic contamination are major problems.

Changing approach:

As the Mihir Shah Committee (2016) proposed:

  1. The Central Water Commission and the Central Ground Water Board could be united and a national water framework to be developed.
  2. Local level plans are required to include rainwater, surface water, soil water, groundwater.
  3. Linking cropping patterns and crop intensity with groundwater availability, aquifer type.
  4. Re-articulation of the legal framework: At present, there is an energy subsidy for groundwater extraction with little regulation and landowner has exclusive right to groundwater available in their property. This encourages farmers to withdraw ground water at will.

Way Forward

The new framework for groundwater warrants technical, economic, legal and governance remediation with space for active public participation. It will maintain groundwater balance at village/ watershed level.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Signing of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) between India and Australia

Source:  This post is based on the following articles: 

– “Signing of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) between India and Australiapublished in PIB on 2nd April 2022.

PM witnesses signing of The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement-“IndAus ECTA” published in PIB on 2nd April 2022.

What is the News?

India and Australia have signed the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement(ETCA).

About the Bilateral Trade Between India and Australia

Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India, and India is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner. 

India and Australia are partners in the trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) arrangement along with Japan, which seeks to enhance the resilience of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific Region. 

Further, India and Australia are also members of the Quad also comprising the US, and Japan, to further enhance cooperation and develop partnerships across several issues of common concern.

What are the key provisions of the India-Australia ECTA?

Zero Duty Access on Goods: It provides zero-duty access to 96% of India’s exports to Australia. This includes shipments from key sectors such as engineering goods, gems and jewellery, textiles, apparel and leather.

It also gives about 85% of Australia’s exports zero-duty access to the Indian market, including coal, sheep meat and wool, and lower duty access on Australian wines, almonds, lentils, and certain fruits.

Indian Students: Under the agreement, Indian graduates from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) will be granted extended post-study work visas. Australia will also set up a programme to grant visas to young Indians looking to pursue working holidays in Australia.

Strict Rules of Origin: The agreement also includes strict rules of origin to prevent any routing of products from other countries and provides for a safeguard mechanism to address any sudden surges in imports of a product.

Faster approval of Indian Medicines: The agreement will allow for faster approval of Indian medicines by Australian regulators, as they have agreed to use inspection reports and approvals from Canada and the EU in the evaluation process for Indian pharmaceuticals and manufacturing facilities.

Addressed issue of Double Taxation: Australia has addressed a long-standing concern of Indian IT firms on double taxation by agreeing to amend local taxation laws to stop the taxation of offshore income of Indian firms providing technical services to Australia.

What is the significance of this agreement?

It is the first Free Trade Agreement(FTA) that India has signed with a major developed country in over a decade. 

In February 2022 India signed an FTA with the UAE and is currently working on FTAs with Israel, Canada, the UK and the EU.


NFC technology for instant payments

Source: This post is based on the article “NFC technology for instant payments” published in The Hindu on 4th April 2022.

What is the News?

Google Pay has launched a new feature in India called ‘Tap to pay for UPI’ in collaboration with Pine Labs. 

This feature will allow users with NFC-enabled Android smartphones and UPI accounts linked to Google Pay to carry out transactions just by tapping their phones on any Pine Labs Android point-of-sale (POS) terminal across the country.

What is Near Field Communication(NFC) Technology?

NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that allows NFC-enabled devices to communicate with each other and transfer information quickly and easily with a single touch — whether to pay bills, exchange business cards, download coupons or share a document.

How does NFC work?

NFC transmits data through electromagnetic radio fields to enable communication between two devices.

Both devices must contain NFC chips as transactions take place within a very short distance. NFC-enabled devices must be either physically touching or within a few centimetres from each other for data transfer to occur.

What are the applications of NFC Technology?

NFC has a wide range of applications, such as:

– Driving payment services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay.

– Wireless Charging and generating contact-less tickets for public transport. 

– NFC is behind the cards that can wave over card readers in subway turnstiles and on buses to check tickets. 

– With just a touch, NFC can also set up WiFi and Bluetooth devices in homes.

– It also has an application in healthcare to monitor patient stats through NFC-enabled wristbands.

How safe is NFC Technology?

Firstly, NFC technology is designed for an operation between devices within a few centimetres from each other. This makes it difficult for attackers to record the communication between the devices, compared to other wireless technologies which have a working distance of several meters.

Secondly, the user of the NFC-enabled device determines by the touch gesture which entity the NFC communication should take place with, making it more difficult for the attacker to get connected.

Where does NFC stand in comparison to other technologies? 

There are other wireless technologies available that are replacing cable-based connections. 

IrDa technology is a short-range (a few meters) connection based on the exchange of data over infrared light, where the two communication devices must be positioned within a line of sight. This technology is mainly used for remote control devices.

Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections: These technologies are used for larger data communication.  But the user has to configure their device and pair them together for communication. The connection cannot be initiated by a simple touch gesture like in NFC. Also, the receiver devices need their own power supply due to the larger working distance.


RPF conducts month long Pan India Drive against touts under Operation Upalabdh

Source:  This post is based on the articleRPF conducts month-long Pan India Drive against touts under Operation Upalabdhpublished in PIB on 2nd April 2022.

What is the News?

Railway Protection Force(RPF) has launched Operation Upalabdh.

What is Operation Upalabdh?

Launched by: Railway Protection Force(RPF) 

Purpose: It is a pan India drive against activities of touts who use virtual tools to buy railway tickets before genuine passengers do. These tickets are then used by touts for business, such as selling tickets at a premium.

Significance of this Operation: The operation has been able to curb the activities of touts substantially and make railway tickets available to the common man. 

What are the other operations launched by RPF?

Click Here to read about it


The key takeaways of a UNEP report on noise pollution

Source: This post is based on the article “The key takeaways of a UNEP report on noise pollution” published in The Hindu on 4th April 2022.

What is the News?

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report titled ‘Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches’. The report measured noise levels in 61 cities of the world.

Click here to read the findings of the report

What is the controversy with this report?

The report has listed Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh as the second-noisiest city in the world. Other Indian cities which recorded a higher decibel than the permissible levels were Delhi, Kolkata and Asansol in West Bengal and Jaipur.

However, the inclusion of Moradabad as the second-noisiest city in the world appeared strange because:

Firstly, similar studies in the past had never suggested it to be an unusually noisy city. 

Secondly, measuring noise levels usually involves measurements in different parts of the city: residential areas, industrial areas and commercial places during the day and night. But the source of this report is based on an average of measurements reported from a factory in an industrial zone.

Thirdly, the author of the chapter of the report has also said that inferring Moradabad to be the ‘second-noisiest city’ was incorrect because the list of cities whose noise values were illustrated were only indicative.

What is Noise Pollution?

Click Here to read about it

How does India tackle noise pollution?

The Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB) is mandated to track noise levels, set standards as well as ensure via their State units that sources of excessive noise are controlled.

CPCB has a manual monitoring system where sensors are installed in major cities and few cities have the facility to track noise levels in real-time. 

The CPCB also measures noise levels before and after Diwali in major cities to publicize the impact of firecrackers.


Residential Civil Services Examination Coaching Programme for Muslim community inaugurated in New Panvel, Mumbai

Source: This post is based on the articleResidential Civil Services Examination Coaching Programme for Muslim community inaugurated in New Panvel, Mumbaipublished in PIB on 2nd April 2022.

What is the News?

Union Minister for Minority Affairs has inaugurated Anjuman-I-Islam’s UPSC Academy (AIUPSC) in Mumbai.

About the Anjuman-I-Islam’s UPSC Academy(AIUPSC)

Purpose: It is a Residential Coaching Programme for Civil Services and other Govt. Examinations. The academy is meant specially for students and candidates belonging to the Muslim community.

Setup by: Anjuman-I-Islam and is funded by Central Waqf Commission, Ministry of Minority Affairs.

Schemes Mentioned in the Article

Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan(PM VIKAS): It is being implemented from April 2022. The scheme shall focus on the socio-economic empowerment of minorities with special emphasis on artisan communities, women, and youth. At least 33% of the total targets in the scheme are reserved for women.

Hunar Haat , Seekho aur Kamao , “Nai Manzil”, “Nai Roushni” , “Ustad”.


Sports Minister launches new rare chemical Reference Materials to strengthen anti-doping testing

Source: This post is based on the article “Sports Minister launches new rare chemical Reference Materials to strengthen anti-doping testingpublished in PIB on 3rd April 2022.

What is the News?

The National Dope Testing Laboratory(NDTL) has indigenously developed six new and rare Reference Materials (RMs).

What are Reference Materials(RM)?

Reference Materials(RMs) are the purest form of chemical required for anti-doping analysis in all World Anti-Doping Agency(WADA)-accredited Laboratories across the world.

During testing of a sample, RMs provide identity confirmation for prohibited substances that do not have a threshold limit.

What is the significance of Reference Materials(RM)? 

These Reference Materials are not readily available across the world but are needed by every WADA-accredited laboratory for their anti-doping analysis. India itself has been importing RMs from Canada and Australia.

However, the introduction of these Reference Materials will improve anti-doping testing in India and would assist the entire anti-doping fraternity in strengthening their testing skills.


First cases of infection from diabetes medication in India

Source: This post is based on the article “First cases of infection from diabetes medication in India” published in The Hindu on 4th April 2022.

What is the News?

After the U.S. and Canada, India has reported the first case of Fournier’s Gangrene from Type 2 diabetes patients using sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors.

What is Fournier’s Gangrene?

Fournier’s gangrene is also called necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease). It is a serious bacterial infection that affects the genitals and areas around the genitals.

The infection commonly occurs in older men, but it can also occur in women and children.

What is the relation between Fournier’s Gangrene and Diabetes medication?

Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2(SGLT2) inhibitors (a class of Type 2 diabetes medication) are recommended as preferred add-on oral antidiabetic drugs(OADs) after metformin. This is preferred for Type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients with cardiovascular disease, heart failure (HF) and chronic kidney disease(CKD). 

However, several diabetic patients taking the SGLT2 inhibitor drugs have been infected by Fournier’s Gangrene. Recently, India has reported the first case of Fournier’s Gangrene from this diabetes medication.

What are the steps taken by the Government after this?

Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has requested all State Drug Controllers to direct the manufacturers of SGLT2 inhibitor class drugs, named Canagliflozin, Dapagliflozin and Empagliflozin under their jurisdiction to include warnings in the package.


New accessibility guidelines to use universal design approach

Source:  This post is based on the article “New accessibility guidelines to use universal design approach” published in The Hindu on 4th April 2022.

What is the News?

The Government of India will soon notify the “Draft Harmonized Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India 2021”.

What are Harmonized Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India 2021?

Prepared by: IIT-Roorkee and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), a think tank of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

To be Published by: Central Public Works Department (CPWD)

Revised Version of The guidelines is a revision of the Harmonized Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for Persons with Disabilities and Elderly Persons released in 2016.

Objective of the Guidelines: To provide a conduit for the government and private construction agencies to incorporate measures for universal accessibility during all stages of construction.

Focus of the Guidelines: Earlier, the guidelines were for creating a barrier-free environment. But now they are focusing on universal accessibility.

Key Features of the Guidelines

The guidelines call for accessibility symbols for Persons with Disabilities(PwD), family-friendly facilities and transgender to be inclusively incorporated among the symbols for other user groups.

As part of the guidelines, a certification course will also be prepared. The course will be mandatory for those working on various public projects and would be open to students.


Explained: Why has Punjab staked claim on Chandigarh?

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: Why has Punjab staked claim on Chandigarh?” published in Indian Express on 2nd April 2022.

What is the News?

Punjab’s chief minister moved a resolution in the Assembly, seeking the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.

The long-standing dispute between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh flared up after the Centre notified Central Service Rules for employees in Chandigarh instead of the Punjab Service Rules.

How did Chandigarh become the capital of Punjab?

After Partition, Shimla was made the temporary capital of Indian Punjab. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted a modern city to replace Lahore as Punjab’s capital, and the idea of Chandigarh was conceived.

In 1953, the capital was officially moved from Shimla to Chandigarh.

When was Punjab reorganized and Chandigarh became a Union Territory?

The Punjab Reorganization Act of 1966 carved out the new state of Haryana from undivided Punjab, created the new Union Territory of Chandigarh under the direct control of the Center, and transferred the hill territories of Punjab to Himachal Pradesh.

Chandigarh was identified as the capital of Punjab in The Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952. But it became the common capital of both Punjab and Haryana, and properties were divided between the states in the ratio of 60:40.

Chandigarh Issue in Punjab and Haryana

Since 1966, the lack of full rights to its capital has remained a major issue in Punjab politics. All the governments and most political parties of Punjab have regularly raised the demand for Chandigarh. 

– It has featured in all major developments, whether it is the 1973 Anandpur Sahib resolution, Dharam Yudh Morcha (of Akali Dal with J.S. Bhindranwale) and the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal Accord.

On the other hand, in Haryana, all parties present a common position asserting their claim to the city and have objected to any move which associates Chandigarh solely with Punjab. 

What has been the Central Government’s stand on Punjab?

At the time of the 1966 Act, the Union government with Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister indicated that the UT status to Chandigarh was temporary and that it would be transferred to Punjab.

According to the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal Accord, Chandigarh was to be handed over to Punjab on January 26, 1986, but this was never fructified after the assassination of Longowal and the long period of militancy till the mid-1990s.

However, recently, the Centre notified Central Service Rules for employees in the Union Territory instead of the Punjab Service Rules. This development could indicate a shift in the Central government’s position.


Explained: What does including Tripura’s Darlong community in ST list mean?

Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: What does including Tripura’s Darlong community in ST list mean?” published in Indian Express on 2nd April 2022.

What is the News?

Lok Sabha has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The bill sought to include the Darlong community as a subtribe of the Kuki tribal community in the list of Scheduled Tribes(STs).

About Darlong Community

Darlong is a tribal community of Tripura, which has a population of 11,000. They are considered as a generic tribe under the Kuki community.

Traditionally, the Darlongs adopted Jhum cultivation/shifting cultivators. Today, most of them have taken up agroforestry and horticultural plantation or orchard development as their main livelihoods.

The community has a high prevalence of education and cultural activities, and members of the community serve in senior positions in the local administration.

For instance, a tribal musicologist and Rosem (a tribal instrument) maestro Thanga Darlong was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri a few years ago for his contributions to culture.

Tribal Population in Tripura

Tripura has 20 tribal communities. Most of these tribes live in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, formed in 1982.

The tribal council covers nearly 70% of the total area of Tripura and houses roughly 30% of the state’s population.

A large majority of them still depend on slash and burn cultivation and traditional livelihood for sustenance.


Mains Answer Writing

Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions

Source: The post is based on an article “Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster Management Relevance: Indonesia’s football stampede and concerns associated with it News: The crowd at Indonesia’s Kanjuruhan stadium ran onto the pitch after their team lost. This led… Continue reading Lessons unlearnt: The deadly football tragedy in Indonesia raises serious questions

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FABS: The East Asian lesson for India

Source– The post is based on the article “FABS: The East Asian lesson for India” published in the mint on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS3- Economy Relevance– Semiconductor manufacturing News– The article explains the experience of East Asian countries in promoting semiconductor manufacturing. Recently the central government has announced some changes in the production-linked incentive… Continue reading FABS: The East Asian lesson for India

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Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy

Source: The post is based on the article “Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 2 – Functioning of Judiciary Relevance: benefits of live-streaming of SC hearing. News:  The Supreme Court has allowed the live streaming of the hearing of cases from 27th September 2022.… Continue reading Livestreaming Supreme Court proceedings: A step closer to a stronger democracy

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There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena

Source– The post is based on the article “There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS2- Polity Relevance– Political parties in India News– The article explains the procedure for allotting symbols in case of conflict between two rival… Continue reading There are precedents to help the EC decide which is the real Shiv Sena

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As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia

Source– The post is based on the article “As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia” published in The Indian Express on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS2- International Relations Relevance– India multilateral engagement News– The article explains the lessons India can learn from Indonesia on economic engagement. These will… Continue reading As India prepares to take over the G20 presidency, it can learn from Indonesia

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Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts

Source: The post is based on an article “Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts” published in The Times of India on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 1 – Art and Architecture Relevance: concerns associated with repatriation artefacts in India News:  There has been a demand to return the Kohinoor diamond to India after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.… Continue reading Kohinoor and other quarrels over stolen artefacts

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The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy

Source: The post is based on an article “The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 1 News:  The article discusses the change in the views of Gandhiji after returning to India from South Africa. Gandhi was greatly influenced by the writings of Leo Tolstoy and John Ruskin.He adopted… Continue reading The evolution of the Mahatma’s thought and philosophy

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India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test” published in the Business Standard on 4th October 2022. Syllabus: GS 2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests. Relevance: Russian war and India’s stand. News: Recently, India abstained from a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning… Continue reading India’s Ukraine destiny: A foreign policy test

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Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths

Source: The post is based on the article “Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. What is the News? The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022 will be awarded to Yunqing Tang, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. About SASTRA… Continue reading Yunqing Tang bags SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022 for her contribution in maths

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MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States

Source: The post is based on the article “MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2022. What is the News? The government is now planning to bring convergence between the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi… Continue reading MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification of land across the States

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