9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – April 9th, 2022
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- 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:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- Down To Earth
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- 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.
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 1
GS Paper 2
- Closing the gaps in criminal justice
- Fulfilling the potential of the Bay of Bengal community
- To begin with, the UGC needs to get the credits right
GS Paper 3
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- Cabinet approves distribution of fortified rice across Government Schemes
- Hubble finds a new Jupiter-like planet forming in an unusual way: NASA
- ‘Tour of Duty’ scheme to recruit soldiers only for 3-5 years being finalized
- SC upholds new restrictions on foreign funds
- Cabinet approves extension of Atal Innovation Mission
- Endangered, Kodava takke gets a new lease of life
- DRDO successfully flight-tests Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet technology off Odisha coast
- Ministry of I&B Constitutes Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force
- Explained: The common complaints about Aadhaar, which CAG has now flagged in UIDAI audit
- Explained: What is SDF, the RBI’s new tool to absorb excess liquidity to control inflation?
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 1
Source: The post is based on an article “Celebrating India’s contribution to the world of knowledge” published in The Indian Express on 09th April 2022.
Syllabus: GS1 – Art and Culture
Relevance: India’s contribution in the field of knowledge since ancient times
Context: Recently there have been debates and discussion over India’s contribution and achievements in various domains of knowledge.
The debates arose because despite immense contributions, India’s achievements remain unattributed and uncelebrated despite 5,000 years old civilization. The topic became more important as India is going to celebrate its 75 years of Independence.
What have been the Indian contributions to world knowledge?
India has contributed a lot since ancient times, which has been crucial in the development of modern concepts.
Albert Einstein once said, “We owe a lot to the Indians. They gave zero, and taught how to count”.
The scientific discovery could not have been possible without such contribution in the field of knowledge.
The modern mathematical concepts were born in India several centuries ago – (1) In the 7th century CE, Brahmagupta proved that the product of a negative and a positive number is a negative number. (2) The Virahanka work is similar to the Fibonacci Series, (3) Pingala’s Meru Prastara can be related to Pascal’s Triangle, and (4) Madhava (c 1,400 CE) found the approximate value of pi (p), and (5) In fact, the Indian numeral system (e.g., Bakhshali Manuscript) is the source of the Arabic numeral system. Later, it was transmitted to Europe.
In the field of space sciences, Hinduism related ancient cosmological ideas that were central to Hinduism form the basis of modern cosmology. The Hindu religion faith related to an infinite number of deaths and rebirths has some similarities with the theory of the multiverse.
India was a centre of manufacturing and trade. The Damascus swords were made from Wootz steel in India. Till the 19th century, Lahore, Amritsar, Agra, Jaipur, Gwalior, Tanjore, Mysore and Golconda were some of the few manufacturing centres for the Wootz steel. The art was lost after the advent of the British
In fact, Kautilya advocated interest rates that varied with risk (His treatise known as Sukraniti). This concept is related to constant optimisation of risk and return. These thoughts are the basis of theory of differential interest rate which is one of the founding pillars of modern economics.
India’s rich heritage comprises both tangibles like architecture and intangibles like the wealth of knowledge.
“Dhara: An Ode to Indian Knowledge Systems” has been launched by the Ministry of Culture in this direction. It will enable academic scholars to add rigorous reasoning and scientific credibility to India’s contribution and achievements across domains.
Further, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav commemorating the 75th year of Indian Independence provides an occasion for doing something in this regard.
GS Paper 2
Source: The post is based on an article “Closing the gaps in criminal justice” published in The Hindu on 09th April 2022.
Syllabus: GS2 – Judiciary, Govt policies and interventions
Relevance: Criminal Justice System Reform
News: Recently, the Supreme Court observed certain deficiencies and inadequacies which occur during the course of criminal trials. Therefore, the court has issued certain guidelines in this regard. Further, the essential notification and the necessary changes has been issued by the Guwahati High Court in January 2022.
What directions have been given by the Supreme Court?
Preparing a site sketch: Traditionally, as per The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the investigating officer prepares a site sketch that shows details of the crime scene and collects evidence. As per new guidelines, I.O. is required to prepare a scaled site plan of site sketch. It is mandated to be prepared by a police draftsman.
As per the guidelines, the police are required to develop its own cadre of draftsmen. They will prepare a scaled site plan.
A printed format of the human body must be accompanied with every medico-legal certificate and post-mortem report. It shall contain all the reverses and injuries from both sides of the body.
An inquest report must be produced. Its purpose is to ascertain whether a person has died an unnatural death. If so, then what is the nature of injuries and the apparent cause of death’. In this case, a criminal case has to be registered and regular investigation has to be taken up immediately without waiting for any formal complaint.
The post-mortem report is a ‘document’. It is not a piece of substantive evidence by itself.
In case of custodial death, the magistrate or the IO must inform the hospital to arrange for photography and videography for post-mortem examination. The I.O. has been mandated to seize such photographs and video graphs and obtain a certificate for evidence for them under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
The government has been directed to develop trained photographers at police stations. It was also mandated in the Shafhi Mohammad vs the State of Himachal Pradesh Case (2018).
The state governments should appoint advocates, other than public prosecutors. They will advise the investigating officer during investigation (Currently, a public prosecutor advises the I.O).
In reality, the investigation and prosecution are different facets in the administration of criminal justice. Therefore, the SC has directed to separate the two wings in the criminal procedure.
For the time being, investigating officers and medical doctors must be trained in order to implement the Supreme Court’s directives.
The creation of a cadre of draftsmen and photographers should be undertaken at the war scale.
Chhattisgarh has sanctioned a cadre of law officers to assist the investigating officers. They will work independently of the public prosecutors. They will have no role in the court. Other States should also follow suit.
The guidelines must be implemented sincerely. They have also been issued earlier. For example, the NHRC and the Supreme Court in People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs State of Maharashtra (2014) have issued similar guidelines for deaths in exchange of fire with the police. In addition, the NHRC issued similar guidelines related to body sketches in an inquest report and a post-mortem report.
Source: The post is based on an article “Fulfilling the potential of the Bay of Bengal Community” published in The Hindu on 09th April 2022.
Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations, Regional Grouping
Relevance: BIMSTEC and its regional significance
News: Recently, the fifth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was concluded in Colombo. The organization is also celebrating its 25th year of the formation, which was launched in 1997.
What were the outcomes of the summit?
The summit had three important outcomes:
– Expanding the grouping’s agenda, deepening cooperation between the member countries and planning systematically for consistency and coherence.
– the BIMSTEC charter was finalised after more than two decades. It articulates the purpose, principles, legal standing and regular meeting of the organisation. It stipulates that consensus is required for admission of new members and increasing the number of observer countries of the organisation.
– The Master Plan for Transport Connectivity has been adopted. It has been proposed to extend the trilateral highway project between Thailand, Myanmar and India to Laos and Cambodia. Further, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal have also shown interest in the project. These measures will ensure seamless connectivity through multi-modal channels. It will deepen cooperation in the region.
The organization has proposed to conclude the regional free trade agreement. It will give a fillip to the organisation’s efforts.
The MoU has been signed for legal assistance in criminal matters. Further, additional MOUs have been signed for mutual cooperation between diplomatic academics and training institutes.
An Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) is to be established on the lines of the EU, G20, and ASEAN. It will formulate a vision document for the region. It will suggest a roadmap to address the challenges in the future.
What commitments have been made by India?
India has promised $1 million to set up a Secretariat in Dhaka (As proposed in the 4th Summit in Kathmandu).
India has committed to provide a $3 million grant to the BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate.
India will promote collaboration between industries and start-ups, and would help in adoption of international standards and norms.
India proposed an agricultural trade analysis based on the regional value chain. It will be conducted by the RIS.
The term of the Secretary-General of the BIMSTEC may be extended. It would provide stability to several of the collective’s initiatives.
Besides economic links, the Bay of Bengal countries share a cultural and civilisational legacy. Therefore, institutions like Nalanda University can play a role in promoting research on cultural and civilisational linkage. They can help in the adoption of sustainable practices in the region.
Source: The post is based on an article “To begin with, the UGC needs to get the credits right” published in The Hindu on 9th Apr 22.
Syllabus: GS2 – Social Sector, Education
Relevance: Higher Education, National Education Policy, Choice Based Credit System
News: Recently, in pursuance of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2022, various documents related to a four-year undergraduate degree programme have been released for discussion.
These are the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), the Learning Outcomes-Based Curriculum Framework (LOCF), and the draft National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF) document issued by University Grant Commission (UGC).
How is the NEP 2020 going to reform education in India?
It has proposed a number of changes in higher education. These changes will address the rigid and terribly outdated course structure in higher education programmes in India.
At present, students received education only on papers. However, the new changes will enable choice, flexible, and liberal ethos-based education system.
What is the concept of a credit system?
It refers to the total expected engagement from the student. It includes time spent in lectures and tutorials. For example, a seven-credit course mean two hours of teaching per week and remaining hours credited for preparation and assessment. (For example, a seven-credit system is used under the Bologna Process in the UK).
A credit also signifies the minimum skill attainment for graduating from one level to another in education.
What will be the implications of the proposed credit system in India?
It will impact the teaching quality and research productivity of the faculty members in the higher education institution in India.
In India, the course credits are going to be directly proportional to the teaching hours. For example, one credit for one teaching hour. However, this is not found in the Anglo-American Universities like U.K. university. The faculty teaching hours per course are much lower than what is currently practised in Indian universities and outlined in several UGC documents.
The proposed credit system in India is going to increase the faculty workload. For example, NEP mandates that it is the responsibility of a faculty to prepare the course content, assessments, and grading. In addition, they cannot teach more than 20 students at one time. So, in a way, a faculty would end up teaching for more hour in a week.
The overburden the faculty will not be able to produce research productivity and better content and teaching delivery.
The standard workload for a faculty is typically decided via negotiations between faculty unions and the university administration.
The faculty workload should vary between two courses per year in a research-intensive university to four or five courses per semester in a community college. It will increase the productivity of the faculty member of an institution. They will be able to create quality teaching content and engage in research. Indian regulators need to reduce credits per course in line with the practice in North American universities.
We need to train students to take more responsibility for their learning. The government can promote technology-aided larger classrooms for introductory courses in universities. Further, the graduate students can act as teaching assistants to economise on faculty time and effort.
We need to incentivise stakeholders in the higher education sector to collectively meet the desired outcome.
GS Paper 3
Source: The post is based on an article “RBI shift on monetary policy” published in the Indian Express on 09th April 2022.
Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy
Relevance: Monetary Policy
News: Recently, contrary to the predominant market expectations that the status quo will be maintained by RBI on the monetary policy, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) surprised everyone. The body has reinforced the de facto normalisation, which had already started in November 2021.
What has been announced by the RBI?
The Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) corridor has been narrowed back to the conventional 0.25 percentage points. Earlier, the corridor was extraordinarily widened due to a pandemic in late March 2020.
The RBI has fixed the rate of the newly introduced Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) at 3.75% . The facility will absorb excess liquidity available with the commercial banks without any requirement of collateral instruments.
Now, the priority of the monetary policy has been changed. It will now focus on CPI inflation management (target of 4% +/- 2%), growth and financial stability. The extraordinary accommodation approach will be withdrawn.
What are the reasons for unexpected tightening?
There has been uncertainty over growth of the Indian economy. The demand has been concentrated at the upper-income level of households. Inflation has emerged as a big concern.
(1) Apart from high crude oil prices, commodity prices have increased across the board, say, gas, metals, minerals, commodities, food, gold, etc. This will lead to strong inflationary pressures.
(2) India’s real GDP growth projection has been reduced from 7.8% to 7.2% for FY23 due to supply disruptions, slowing down of global economy and trade, high prices and financial markets volatility.
(3) There seems to be demand destruction in the Indian economy as a result of continuing high inflation.
(4) There has been an issue of financial stability. This is being challenged by uncertainty in the interest rate, and foreign exchange rates, market volatility, banking sector asset stress, and so on.
(5) The RBI’s Open Market Operations (OMOs) are required to prevent more liquidity in the market. RBI wants money supply and system liquidity management. It is because the Central and state government’s large borrowing programme will increase the interest rates on sovereign bonds.
What are the implications of monetary policy tightening like repo rate hike?
First, interest rates will begin to increase. For bank borrowers, this is likely to be a very gradual process. For corporates and other wholesale borrowers, who also borrow from bond markets, this increase is likely to be faster.
Second, around 40% of bank loans are now linked to external benchmarks (like the repo rate). Therefore, Interest rates on bank credit will rise faster.
A relatively loose fiscal policy can offset some of this reduced demand. The government can continue its subsidies to lower-income households.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Source: This post is based on the following articles –
“Cabinet approves distribution of fortified rice across Government Schemes” published in the PIB on 8th Apr 22.
“Explained: What is fortified rice, and how is it prepared?” published in The Indian Express on 8th Apr 22.
What is the news?
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, has given its approval for supply of fortified rice throughout the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under the following schemes by 2024 in a phased manner.:
– National Food Security Act (NFSA), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman-PM POSHAN [erstwhile Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM)] and,
– Other Welfare Schemes (OWS) of Government of India in all States and Union Territories (UTs)
The entire cost of rice fortification (around Rs. 2,700 crore per annum) would be borne by the Govt. of India as part of food subsidy till its full implementation.
The FCI and State Agencies are already engaged in procurement of fortified rice.
What is rice fortification?
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.
Various technologies are available to add micronutrients to regular rice, such as coating, dusting, and ‘extrusion’. The last mentioned involves the production of fortified rice kernels (FRKs) from a mixture using an ‘extruder’ machine. It is considered to be the best technology for India.
The fortified rice kernels are blended with regular rice to produce fortified rice.
What is the need to fortify rice?
India has very high levels of malnutrition among women and children. According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anaemic, and every third child is stunted.
Fortification of food is considered to be one of the most suitable methods to combat malnutrition.
Rice is one of India’s staple foods, consumed by about two-thirds of the population. Therefore, fortifying rice with micronutrients is an option to supplement the diet of the poor.
|Read more: Fortification in India – Explained, pointwise|
What are the guidelines for fortification?
As per guidelines issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the shape and size of the fortified rice kernel should “resemble the normal milled rice as closely as possible”
Under the Ministry’s guidelines, 10 g of FRK must be blended with 1 kg of regular rice.
According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg of fortified rice will contain the following:
– iron, folic acid, and vitamin B-12.
Rice may also be fortified with zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-3 and vitamin B-6.
Source: This post is based on the article “Hubble finds a new Jupiter-like planet forming in an unusual way: NASA” published in Indian Express on 7th April 2022.
What is the News?
The Hubble Space Telescope has photographed a Jupiter-like protoplanet forming through a process that researchers have described as intense and violent.
What is the Jupiter-like protoplanet formed?
The newly forming planet captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is called AB Aurigae b.
It is embedded in a protoplanetary disk with distinct spiral structures swirling around and surrounding a young star that is estimated to be about 2 million years old.
This protoplanet is about the same age our solar system was when planet formation was underway. It is also 531 light-years away from our sun.
Further, this protoplanet is probably around nine times the size of Jupiter and orbits its host star at a distance of 8.6 billion miles, over two times the distance between Sun and Pluto.
What are Protoplanets?
Protoplanets are small celestial objects that are the size of a moon or a bit bigger. They are small planets, like an even smaller version of a dwarf planet.
Astronomers believe that these objects form during the creation of a solar system.
What is the significance of this discovery?
According to NASA, this discovery supports a long-debated theory called “disk instability,” which tries to explain how planets similar to Jupiter are formed.
What is Disk Instability Theory?
According to this theory, matter slowly moves inwards in this disc as dust particles grow into centimetre-sized pebbles.
This is seen as the first step towards the formation of kilometre-sized planetesimals that eventually come together to form planets.
Source: This post is based on the articles:
“Tour of Duty’ scheme to recruit soldiers only for 3-5 years being finalized” published in TOI on 6th April 2022.
“3-yr ‘Tour of Duty’ for jawans — govt to roll out new recruitment process, not for officers” published in The Print on 6th April 2022.
What is the News?
The Department of Military Affairs is moving towards finalizing the “Tour of Duty(ToD)” scheme.
What is the Tour of Duty(ToD) Scheme?
The tour of Duty(ToD) Scheme involves hiring youth in the armed forces for a short span of 3-5 years.
Suggested by: This scheme was being pushed by the late Chief Of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
Key Features of the Scheme
The scheme will be known as the Agnipath entry scheme.
It will be launched on an experimental basis first. The plan is to eventually recruit all soldiers in the Indian Army under the Tour of Duty model.
As per the proposal, around 25% of them would serve in the Army for three years and 25% of troops would serve for five years. The remaining 50% would continue to serve in the Army for the full term till they reach their retirement age.
What are the benefits to soldiers from this scheme?
Included in National Pension Scheme: Proposal states that 50% of soldiers released at the end of three and five years will be included in the National Pension Scheme. Such soldiers will be given certain medical benefits, applicable to Armed Forces veterans for a fixed period.
Priority in certain Government Jobs: The soldiers would also be given priority in recruitment to certain government jobs, including the central armed police forces.
An effort is also on to nudge corporate India into hiring such ex-ToD recruits for specific lines of work in the private sector on a priority basis.
What are the benefits to the Government from this scheme?
Reduction in defence pensions: It will reduce the burden of pay rises and pensions. As per estimates, the “prospective life-term saving” in the cost of engagement of a single jawan who leaves after 17 years of service with pension and other benefits, as compared to a ToD jawan will be Rs 11.5 crore.
The cumulative money saved in pay and gratuity payouts can consequently be used for the much-needed military modernization.
Overcoming shortages: The defence establishment is hoping that the ToD scheme will help in resolving the issue of lack of manpower in the Indian Army.
Source: This post is based on the article “SC upholds new restrictions on foreign funds” published in The Hindu on 9th April 2022.
What is the News?
The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020 or FCRA Act.
What is the case about?
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020 or FCRA Act.
The FCRA amendment lays down certain conditions for NGOs such as 1) Mandatory production of the Aadhaar card for registration under the FCRA, 2) NGOs and recipients to open a new FCRA account at a specified branch of the State Bank of India in New Delhi as a “one-point entry” for foreign donations, 3) Limit of usable foreign contribution for administrative expenses from 50% to 20% and 4) Prevents the transfer of foreign funding to any other person.
What were the arguments put forth by the petitioners?
Firstly, these amendments suffered from ambiguity, over-governance and violated their fundamental rights.
Secondly, they put a blanket ban on the capacity of intermediary organizations in India to distribute foreign donations to smaller and less visible NGOs.
Thirdly, there is no rational link between designating a particular branch of a bank with the objective of preserving national interest.
What did the Government say regarding FCRA?
The amendments were needed:
To Prevent Interference: The amendments were necessary to prevent foreign state and non-state actors from interfering with the country’s polity and internal matters.
To prevent malpractices by NGOs: The changes are also needed to prevent malpractices by NGOs and the diversion of foreign funds.
Monitor Flow of Funds: The provision of having one designated bank for receiving foreign funds is aimed at making it easier to monitor the flow of funds.
What did the Supreme Court say regarding FCRA?
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020 or FCRA Act on following grounds:
– No one has a fundamental or absolute right to receive foreign contributions.
– Amendments only provide a strict regulatory framework to moderate the inflow of foreign funds into the country.
– Free and uncontrolled inflow of foreign funds has the potential to impact the socio-economic structure and polity of the country.
– Permitting the inflow of foreign funds is a matter of policy of the State-backed by law. Hence, it is open for a state to have a regime that may completely prohibit receipt of foreign donations, as there are no absolute rights to receive foreign donations.
– Inconvenience to a party is not a ground to challenge the constitutionality of a provision that mandates the opening of FCRA accounts in the designated bank.
However, the court read down one of the provisions of the 2020 FCRA Amendment Act, which mandated the production of Aadhaar card for registration. The court allowed the office-bearers of NGOs to use their Indian passports as an identification documents.
Source: This post is based on the article “Cabinet approves extension of Atal Innovation Mission” published in PIB on 8th April 2022.
What is the News?
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the continuation of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) till March 2023.
What is Atal Innovation Mission(AIM)?
Launched by: NITI Aayog in accordance with the Finance Minister’s declaration in the 2015 Budget Speech.
Aim: To create and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country via interventions at school, university, research institutions, MSME and industry levels.
Key Initiatives under the mission: Click Here to read about it
What are the key achievements of the AIM?
The mission has focused on both infrastructure creation and institution building.
It has also worked on integrating the innovation ecosystem, both nationally and globally. For example:
– AIM has created bilateral relations with various international agencies for building synergistic collaboration on innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the AIM – SIRIUS Student Innovation exchange program with Russia.
– The AIMs played a pivotal role in the success of InSpreneur, an Innovation Startup Summit hosted between India and Singapore.
– The AIM has also partnered with the Ministry of Defence to set up the Defence Innovation Organization, which is fostering innovation as well as procurement in the defence sector.
Source: This post is based on the article “Endangered, Kodava takke gets a new lease of life” published in Livemint on 9th April 2022.
What is the News?
Researchers have published a book titled “A Place Apart: Poems From Kodagu”. It is a bilingual edition of 21 poems by Appanna. This book will help spread awareness about the endangered Kodava takke language.
Who are Kodavas?
Kodavas are an ethnolinguistic group from the region of Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka. They speak the Kodava language. They are traditionally land-owning agriculturists and patrilineal, with martial customs.
Kodavas worship ancestors and weapons. They are the only ones in India permitted to carry firearms without a license.
Festivals: 1) Kailpoldu (Festival of Arms), 2) Kaveri Sankramana (worship of river Kaveri), and 3) Puttari (Harvest festival).
Kodava Takke Language
Kodava takke belongs to the Dravidian group of languages. This language doesn’t have a script. But over the years, it has found its way into a written form through Kannada.
The language has been classified as an Endangered Language by UNESCO as it is spoken by just 166,187 people according to the 2001 census.
Why is the Kodava Takke language endangered?
Several factors have contributed to the Kodava language becoming endangered. For instance, with the coming of the Haleri dynasty, Kannada became the language of communication, the language of the court and state. The language took a further back seat when the British introduced Kannada as the medium of education.
Source: This post is based on the article “DRDO successfully flight-tests Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet technology off Odisha coast” published in PIB on 8th April 2022.
What is the News?
Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) has successfully flight-tested Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) booster at the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.
What is Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet(SFDR)?
SFDR is a missile propulsion system being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO).
Aim: To develop critical technologies required in the propulsion systems of future long-range air-to-air missiles.
Technology: The system is based on a solid fuelled air-breathing ramjet engine. Unlike the other solid-propellant rockets, the Ramjet takes up oxygen from the atmosphere during flight without the need for cylinders. Due to this, it is light in weight and can carry more fuel, making it more efficient.
What is the significance of this development?
Firstly, it enables the missiles to intercept aerial threats at very long range at supersonic speeds.
Secondly, it has provided DRDO with a technological advantage that will enable it to develop long-range air-to-air missiles. At present, such technology is available only with a handful of countries in the world.
Ministry of I&B Constitutes Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force
Source: This post is based on the articles:
“Ministry of I&B Constitutes Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force” published in PIB on 8th April 2022.
“Centre sets up task force to promote animation, gaming” published in The Hindu on 9th April 2022.
What is the News?
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has constituted the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics(AVGC) Promotion Task Force.
The Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic(AVGC) sector in India has the potential to become the torchbearer of “Create in India” & “Brand India”.
India has the potential to capture 5% (~$40 billion) of the global market share by the year 2025, with an annual growth of around 25-30% and creating over 1,60,000 new jobs annually.
To further unleash the scope of AVGC sector, an announcement was made in the Union Budget 2022-23 for setting up an Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics(AVGC) Promotion Task Force.
About AVGC Promotion Task Force
Headed by: Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
Members: It will have Secretaries of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
– The task force will also have widespread participation from Industry partners. It will also include State Governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Telangana; heads of education bodies such as AICTE, NCERT and representatives of industry bodies such as FICCI, CII.
Terms of Reference of the Task Force
It includes the following:
– Framing of a national AVGC policy,
– Recommend national curriculum framework for Graduation, Postgraduate and Doctoral courses in AVGC related sectors,
– Facilitate skilling initiatives in collaboration with academic institutions, vocational training centres & Industry,
– Boost employment opportunities,
– Facilitate promotion and market development activities to extend the global reach of the Indian AVGC Industry,
– Enhance exports and recommend incentives to attract FDI in the AVGC sector.
Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: The common complaints about Aadhaar, which CAG has now flagged in UIDAI audit” published in Indian Express on 9th April 2022.
What is the News?
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has pulled up the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) over a range of issues related to the issuance of Aadhar Cards.
What are the issues highlighted by the CAG related to the issuance of Aadhar Cards?
No assurance that all the Aadhaar holders are ‘Residents’ as defined in the Aadhaar Act
The Aadhaar Act stipulates that an individual should reside in India for a period of 182 days or more in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for being eligible to obtain an Aadhaar. In 2019, this condition was relaxed for non-resident Indians holding valid Indian Passport.
However, UIDAI has not prescribed any specific proof/document or process for confirming whether an applicant has resided in India for the specified period and takes confirmation of the residential status through a casual self-declaration from the applicant.
Suggestion: UIDAI may prescribe a procedure and required documentation other than self-declaration, in order to confirm and authenticate the residence status of the applicants.
Duplication of Aadhar
The uniqueness of identity of the Applicant, established through a de-duplication process, is the most important feature of Aadhaar.
But in November 2019, it was seen that UIDAI had to cancel more than 4.75 lakh Aadhaar cards for being duplicates. There were instances of issues of Aadhaar with the same biometric data to different residents, indicating flaws in the de-duplication process and issues of Aadhaar cards on faulty biometrics and documents.
Issuance of Aadhaar to Minor Children
Issue of Aadhaar numbers to minor children below the age of five, based on the biometrics of their parents without confirming the uniqueness of biometric identity, goes against the basic tenet of the Aadhaar Act.
Hence, apart from being violative of the statutory provisions, the UIDAI has also incurred an avoidable expenditure of ₹310 Crore on the issue of Bal Aadhaars till 31 March 2019.
Suggestion: The UIDAI needs to review the issue of Aadhaar to minor children below five years and find alternate ways to establish their unique identity, especially since the Supreme Court has stated that no benefit will be denied to any child for want of Aadhaar document.
All Aadhaar numbers are not supported with actual documents containing personal information
According to the CAG, all the Aadhaar numbers stored in the UIDAI database were not supported with documents relating to the personal information of their holders and even after nearly ten years the UIDAI could not identify the exact extent of the mismatch.
Charging Fees for Voluntary Update
UIDAI appeared to have charged people for biometric updates when poor quality data was fed in during enrolment. UIDAI did not take responsibility for poor quality biometrics and put the onus on the resident and charged fees for it.
Suggestion: UIDAI may review charging of fees for the voluntary update of residents’ biometrics.
No Data Archiving Policy
UIDAI maintains one of the largest biometric databases in the world; but does not have a data archiving policy, which is considered to be a vital storage management best practice.
No Proper Grievance Redressal Procedure
The process of capturing grievances/complaints have not been streamlined by UIDAI and does not display a clear picture for analysis.
Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: What is SDF, the RBI’s new tool to absorb excess liquidity to control inflation?” published in Indian Express on 8th April 2022.
What is the News?
The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has introduced the Standing Deposit Facility(SDF), an additional tool for absorbing liquidity, at an interest rate of 3.75%.
What is a Standing Deposit Facility(SDF)?
Introduced in: 2018 by Reserve Bank of India by amending Section 17 of the RBI Act.
Purpose: It is an additional tool for absorbing liquidity without any collateral.By removing the binding collateral constraint on the RBI, the SDF strengthens the operating framework of monetary policy.
Committee: The SDF was suggested in 2014 by a committee headed by Urjit Patel.
Why was SDF introduced now?
The extraordinary liquidity measures undertaken in the wake of the pandemic combined with the liquidity injected through various other operations of the RBI have left a liquidity overhang of the order of Rs 8.5 lakh crore in the system.This has pushed up the retail inflation level in the system.
Hence, that’s why SDF has been introduced.It will help reduce the excess liquidity in the system and also control inflation.
How will the SDF facility operate?
The SDF would replace the Fixed Rate Reverse Repo(FRRR) as the floor of the Liquidity Adjustment Facility(LAF) corridor.
At present, SDF rate will be 25 basis points (bps) below the policy repo rate.Eligible participants can place deposits with the RBI on an overnight basis at the fixed rate.However, the RBI retains the flexibility to absorb liquidity for longer tenors under the SDF with appropriate pricing, as and when the need arises.
What will happen to the Reserve Repo Rate then?
The fixed rate reverse repo (FRRR) rate will remain part of the RBI’s toolkit and its operation will be at the discretion of the RBI for purposes specified from time to time.
This means that FRRR along with the SDF will impart flexibility to the RBI’s liquidity management framework.
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