9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – August 16th, 2021

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 
  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.
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Mains Oriented Articles 

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Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

Prime Minister declares 14th August as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day

Source: The Hindu, PIB, PIB  

Syllabus: GS 1 – Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.


In a fitting tribute to all those who lost their lives due to the partition of the nation and were displaced from their roots, the Government has decided to observe 14th August as the day to commemorate their sacrifice.


  • The country celebrated 75th Independence Day on 15th August 2021. Nonetheless, the pain and violence of partition remains deeply entrenched in the nation’s memory.
  • Realizing this, the government has declared that 14th August would be observed as Partition Horror’s Remembrance Day.

Rationale behind declaring a Partition Horrors Remembrance Day:

  • It is a way of saluting those sons and daughters of our beloved motherland who had to sacrifice their lives in the frenzy of violence.
  • It would remind present and future generations of Indians of the pain and suffering faced by the people during the partition.
  • Furthermore, it will keep reminding us of the need to remove the poison of social divisions and disharmony.
    • For instance, the two-nation theory which was the basis of partition failed miserably with the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. 
  • It will encourage the masses to strengthen the spirit of oneness, social harmony, and human empowerment.

Way Forward:

  • Given that the trauma was felt not just in India but in three countries, an attempt to mark the day across the subcontinent might have been more inclusive. 
  • It is necessary too, to remember not just the violence of 1947 but also the colonial hand that cause the Partition. 
  • Steps must be taken to hold the British Empire to account for and educate successive generations on the perils of imperialism, arbitrary map-making, and inhuman policy of divide and rule.

On August 15, 1947, where was Bapu?

Source: The Hindu 

Syllabus: GS 1 – The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.


Mahatma Gandhi was working for the welfare and unity of the nation on 15th August 1947. He enlightened the new leaders about their humongous responsibility towards the nation and appealed to the masses for sustaining the trust between Hindus and Muslims.


  • On the midnight of Independence Day, the nation was in a joyful mood and grand celebrations were about to start.
  • Nonetheless, a key pioneer of our Freedom Struggle i.e. Gandhiji (Bapu) was still working for the welfare of the country in Calcutta.  

Mahatma Gandhi’s conduct before Independence Day:

  • On the evening of August 6, Bapu boarded the Calcutta Mail at Lahore. From Calcutta, he was supposed to leave for Noakhali (now in Bangladesh).
    • He had promised the minority community that he would shield them during Partition (East Bengal became East Pakistan).
  • Bapu arrived in Calcutta on August 9, 1947. A delegation of Muslims, led by the chief of Calcutta District Muslim League, Mohammad Usman, pleaded with Bapu to remain in Calcutta to ensure the safety of Muslims. 
    • Bapu told them he would delay going to Noakhali if they guaranteed the safety and wellbeing of the minority community in Noakhali. However, if there was violence in Noakhali, he would go on an unconditional fast unto death.
  • On August 11, Bapu met with Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the former Premier of Bengal. Suhrawardy too voiced his concern about the safety of Muslims.
    • Bapu asked him to guarantee for the safety of the Hindus in Noakhali if he wished for him to stay back in Calcutta. Later, as Suhrawardy agreed Bapu stayed in Calcutta. 

Conduct on the Independence Day:

  • On August 15, 1947, Independence Day, He received several messages of congratulations, but he was not celebrating. Furthermore, he was praying, fasting, and spinning khadi. 
    • Bapu sent a message to the ministers of the cabinet of West Bengal in order to make them realize the humongous responsibility they hold towards the nation.
    • He wrote, “From today, you have to wear the crown of thorns. Strive ceaselessly to cultivate truth and non-violence.
    • He also advised them that they should always remember that they are in the office to serve the poor in India’s villages.
    • At the prayer meeting that evening, Bapu congratulated Calcutta for the mutual trust displayed by Hindus and Muslims. Muslims shouted the same slogans of joy as the Hindus. They flew the tricolour without the slightest hesitation. 
    • What was more, the Hindus were admitted to mosques, and Muslims were admitted to mandirs. Bapu had hoped that Calcutta would be entirely free from the communal virus forever.

This is the wish with which Bapu ended his day, the day that India became independent in 1947.

GS Paper 2

Social Media regulations: Slanting posts

SourceThe Hindu

Syllabus: GS – 3: Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

Relevance: This article explains the control of Social media data in India


Social media platforms should have the same standards for the government and the Opposition


Several Twitter handles, associated with the Congress and its leaders, including its former president Rahul Gandhi, were blocked by Twitter in the last few days, for violating its user policy and the law of the land.

Twitter has revealed that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) brought the violation to its notice. A petition in the Delhi HC seeking legal action against Mr. Gandhi has pointed out that his post was in violation of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and Section 23(2) of the POSCO Act 2012.

  • Both the sections mandate that any material that might reveal (directly or indirectly) the identity of a child victim of a crime shall not be published.
What is the issue with Social media regulations?

Dual control over information is the major issue in social media.

  • The Centre claims that only a police investigation could establish whether the content was altered or not.
  • Social media companies on the other hand claim a right to unilaterally decide their user policy.
  • This is the core conflict between the state and private companies over controlling the information flow in a democratic society.
  • Both the state and the companies invoke public order and interest to justify their control over information.

State agencies must exercise control over speech only in the rarest instances, and that too in the most transparent manner.

Private companies must be more transparent in enforcing their guidelines and reassure users that their standards for those in power and those in the Opposition are one.

As Taliban makes a rapid military advance through Afghanistan, India too must brace itself for the consequences

Source: Indian Express (Article 1), Article 2) and Times of India

Syllabus: GS – 2:  India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Relevance: This article explains the recent development in Afghanistan


The Taliban have seized Kabul. Now, India should be a first responder in the current crisis for humanitarian and longer-term political reasons.


The Taliban first stormed to power in 1996, with an open demonstration of medieval cruelty and a barbaric transition to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Now, two decades later, they are capturing one strategic city after another. Now, they have returned to Kabul also.

Read more: India’s future Afghan policy – Explained, pointwise
Taliban rise to power again:

According to the latest reports, the militants control two-thirds of the Afghan landmass.

  • The Doha Agreement, from which the US excluded the Afghan government in order to keep the Taliban happy, now does not matter.
  • The Taliban stepped up attacks soon after the Doha Agreement concluded, carefully avoiding any engagement with existing foreign forces.
  • A UN report has already pointed to the continuing contacts between the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Similarly, the influence of Pakistan is also present. The current Taliban cadres, instructed by half-educated teachers in Pakistani madrassas and training camps
  • The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has estimated that nearly 4,00,000 Afghan civilians have been forced to flee their homes, due to fighting this year.
  • There have been reprisal killings already, and reports say 90 Afghan media outlets have shut down.

The Afghan President has sent an offer to the Taliban to share power. But Taliban’s are reluctant and try to win the entire Afghan. Recently, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani stepped down from power.

Read more: India must directly engage with Taliban 2.0
Why the US mission failed?
  • The US has never really considered Afghanistan of strategic importance. For all its $1 trillion investment in Afghanistan and its awareness of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, the US never really invested in the Afghan economy or attempt to integrate it into its economic sphere of influence (including India).
    • But the US did that after its interventions after World War II in Europe, East Asia, and later in the oil economies of the Gulf.
  • Similarly, the US did not invest in Afghan democracy.
Outcomes of the Taliban rise
  1. The immediate challenge is a massive humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands are internally displaced, who have left war zones and taken shelter on pavements and parks in Kabul.
  2. The panic and rush for passports and visas can be seen among those, who fear for their lives from the Taliban or their sponsors.
Suggestions for India:

With the Taliban in Kabul, the old debate in India on whether to talk or not to the Taliban is now academic. India has a presence in Afghanistan. So, India’s solidarity and support for the Afghan people must continue.

  • The Taliban have announced that there will be no witch hunt, and it will respect a transitional process. So, India should keep an open mind, wait and watch what they actually do during and after the transitional process, assess how inclusive they are.
  • India should also facilitate emergency visas and evacuation of those close to India, who will be under threat.
  • India recently received an invitation to the “Troika Plus” talks in Doha. It should actively engage in that.
Read more: Afghan Peace Process and India – Explained, Pointwise

The best choice for Afghanistan still is a negotiated settlement, instead of Taliban-dictated terms.

An oath in whose name?

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2, Fundamental Rights

Relevance: To understand the process of oath-taking

Synopsis: Time and again, the issue of oath-taking and in whose name oath is taken has been raised. The debate should be settled as per the constitution and the observations of SC


Recently, some Karnataka ministers took oath in the name of Gaumata, Vijayanagara Virupaksha, farmers etc. This again raised the debate about oath-taking.

Constitutional debate:

  • On October 17, 1949 the item to be debated in the Constitutional assembly was oath-taking. Dr Ambedkar had proposed “We the people of India”. HV Kamath moved an amendment stating “In the name of God, we the people of India”.
  • Thanu Pillai raised the point that this would make oath dependent on the matter of faith.
  • This affects the fundamental right of faith as an individual has the right to believe in god or not.
  • HN Kunzru also supported this view, stating that it opposes the very preamble which promises liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.
  • In the end, the matter was put to vote and HV Kamath’s amendment was rejected.

Court’s view

  • SC in 2012 observed that oaths should be taken in strict adherence to the constitution.
  • In the case of MLA Umesh Challiyil, who had taken oath in the name of Sri Narayan Guru, SC observed that elected representatives should take oath in strict compliance to wordings of the constitution.
  • The Supreme Court of India observed that the oath by an elected representative should be taken “in the name of God” if the person is a believer or should be “solemnly affirmed” if the person is a non-believer.
  • This would make the oaths of Karnataka legislators null and void.

Way forward

  • Constitution belongs to all the citizens whether that person is theist or atheist. And elected representatives have a greater responsibility for upholding the constitution.

Treating the invisible pandemic

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS 2 – Health

Relevance: To understand the impact of the Pandemic on mental health

Synopsis: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) report highlighted the impact on mental health by the pandemic. This needs a robust multi-stakeholder response at the central, state and local levels.


India’s response to disasters is reasonably good. But this is confined to visible damage and relief like providing houses, food grains or compensation.

What is often ignored is the invisible mental damage done to individuals. It is often confined to providing helplines.

Crisis phases:

Every disaster can be classified into pre-impact phase, impact phase and post-impact phase. Not every disaster may have a pre-impact phase, but the impact and post-impact phase will remain.

Covid pandemic is unique since the impact phase has lasted 14 months and has nearly impacted every one, in some way or the other. Survey back up this fact by revealing the prevalence of emotional disturbances.

Indian Scenario:

ICMR 2019 study revealed that 1/7 Indians is mentally ill. It identified that about 20 crore Indians need treatment.

National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2019 study revealed that one out of 3 people who committed suicide were torn by family problems.

Nearly 1/4th of people losing lives from self-damage are daily wage labourers.

Read more: Naomi Osaka Episode and Mental health in India – Explained, pointwise

Identifying the sections in need of mental support

Covid 19 has exacerbated such vulnerabilities. So six vulnerable groups need immediate attention:

  • Family who lost their dear ones to Covid 19
  • People who have or have had infections, and also their family members
  • Healthcare workers and those involved in emergency care
  • Those that have lost their job and suffered financial losses
  • Those with pre-existing mental or physical illness
  • Children, marginalized groups and elders.
Steps to implement such a program:
  1. Initiative should be coordinated by state governments and the module can be adapted to local needs.
  2. Every district should have two coordinators from the mental health field.
  3. A protocol should be evolved by a multidisciplinary mental health taskforce after detailed discussions.
  4. We should rope in Psychologists, psychiatrists, medical, social workers, counselors, ASHA workers, NGOs and emotional aid workers for this humane task.
  5. After screening, the multidisciplinary mental health taskforce will categorize survivors into groups based on the requirements — counselling, medication, or both, hospitalization, simple advice and information.
  6. The taskforce should also have processes for directing emergency treatment of those with serious symptoms.
  7. This should be followed by regular meetings, updates, discussing best practices, etc.

Way forward

We should not wait for time to heal the mental health issues. Mental health intervention completes the rehabilitation cycle and makes it robust and holistic.

Tribunal reforms: what’s abolished, what happens to pending cases

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: GS2- Various Quasi-judicial Bodies 

Relevance: Tribunals in India, Justice delivery 

Synopsis: Changes introduced by the Tribunals Reform Bill 2021. 


The Supreme Court recently expressed its discontentment over the functioning of tribunals in the country. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India recently asked the government if it intends to shut down tribunals that have several key vacant posts. This came days after Lok Sabha passed the Tribunals Reform Bill to dissolve at least eight tribunals.

What is the Bill about?

The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 replaces a similar Ordinance promulgated in April 2021 that sought to dissolve eight tribunals that functioned as appellate bodies to hear disputes under various statutes, and transferred their functions to existing judicial forums such as a civil court or a High Court.

Why tribunals are being dissolved? 

Analysis of data of the last three years has shown that tribunals in several sectors have not necessarily led to faster justice delivery and costing more to the exchequer. This has led to the decision to rationalize the functioning of tribunals, a process that it began in 2015.

What are the tribunals that are being dissolved?

Among the key ones are the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) under the Cinematograph Act, 1952; the Intellectual Property Appellate Board under the Copyrights Act, 1957; and the Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal.

Note: Cases pending before the dissolved tribunals will be transferred to High Courts or commercial civil courts immediately.

Salient features of the bill

Aims and objectives: The Bill provides for uniform pay and rules for the search and selection committees. The move brings greater accountability on the functioning of the tribunals. 

It states that the Chairpersons and Members of the tribunal being abolished shall cease to hold office. It also proposes changes in the process of appointment of certain other tribunals. 

It states that the central government shall, on the recommendation of the Search-cum-Selection Committee, remove from office any Chairperson or a Member, who— 

  • has been adjudged as an insolvent; or 
  • has been convicted of an offence which involves moral turpitude; or 
  • has become physically or mentally incapable of acting as such Chairperson or Member; or 
  • has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as such Chairperson or Member; or 
  • has so abused his position as to render his continuance in office prejudicial to the public interest. 

Constitution of Search-cum-Selection Committee: The Bill brings in the Chief Secretary of the state and the Chairman of the Public Service Commission of the concerned state who will have a vote and Secretary or Principal Secretary of the state’s General Administrative Department with no voting right. The Chief Justice of the High Court would head the committee, will not have a casting vote. 

However, experts fear that the lack of specialization in regular courts could be detrimental to the decision-making process. 

India’s fate is tied to the rest of the world

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS2- Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests

Relevance: Evolution of India’s foreign policy.

Synopsis: It was through its global interactions, India defined itself throughout its history as an independent nation

India and the world

India’s fate has been closely tied to the rest of the world.

After independence
  1. India required active engagement with a variety of partners for its survival, security, and development.
  2. Independence and Partition left behind a messy territorial legacy. India’s first leaders opted for flexible and friendly relations with both the U.S. and the Soviet Union and their respective allies.
  3. In fact, India initially received the bulk of development and military assistance from the West. It was only from the mid-1950s onwards that the Soviet Union extended support. India also played an activist role in the decolonizing world.
After Cold War

The 1991 Gulf war resulted in a balance of payments crisis and the liberalisation of the economy. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the 1993 Mumbai bombings, and the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir presented grave new security challenges.

However, the period that followed witnessed some important developments:

  • the advent of the Look East Policy and relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations;
  • the establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel;
  • the signing of a border peace and tranquility agreement with China;
  • initial military contacts with the U.S., and preparations for nuclear tests.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government built further upon these developments:

  • conducting a series of tests in 1998, return to normal relations with most major powers within two years.

At the same time, efforts at normalising ties with Pakistan were frustrated by the Kargil war, the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 to Kandahar (Afghanistan), and the 2001 attack on India’s Parliament.

  • These years also witnessed a rapid growth of the Indian economy, fuelled by the services sector, and a rising consumer market.

After 2004, the government worked extensively to resolve the outstanding question of India’s nuclear status. But, the global financial crisis in 2008-09 presaged a slight change in approach.

Beginning in 2013, a more assertive China began to test India on the border and undermine Indian interests in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region.

Implications for India
  1. India’s was successful in consolidating territorial gains, in accelerating economic growth, and in positioning itself in a leadership role.
  2. Following the 1962 war with China, Pakistani military adventurism resulted in the 1965 war.
  3. The question of Indian nuclear weapons acquired greater urgency following China’s test. Economic strides made, including the Green Revolution, undertaken with foreign technical and financial assistance.
  4. Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and the Bangladesh war altered India’s relations with both superpowers.


COVID-19 pandemic and its adverse effects on economic growth prospects, coupled with intensifying competition with China and turmoil in Afghanistan, will determine India’s fate in the future.

However, India has greater means to tackle them: the sixth-largest economy in the world, well-trained and professional military, growing network of international strategic and economic partners.

PM emphasis on less government interference is the way to go

Source: Business Standard

Syllabus: GS-2 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Relevance: To understand the direction of the nation.


PM Modi vision/Speech on Independence Day:

  1. The government seeks to minimize government intrusion in public lives
  2. The government has repealed unnecessary laws and regulations e.g. The government has ended 15,000 compliances.
  3. There is emphasis on deregulation and freedom from state and bureaucratic interference
  4. For example: The opening up of mapping and surveying to firms, which thereby were empowered to collect geospatial data.

Gaps between the vision and the reality

Actions of the government at various levels have not met such standards/visions:

  1. The policy on geospatial data is, unfortunately, more of an exception than the rule
  2. Instead of declining, Government’s role has in fact increased in the Economy. e.g. creation of a haphazard import-substituting industrial policy in the guise of “Make in India”

About the new vision in recent Independence day speech

The PM announced a Gati Shakti Scheme. This is a 100 trillion scheme for developing “holistic infrastructure”. However, it is unclear what this means, and how it is different from the Rs 100-trillion investment in infrastructure that the prime minister has talked about in two previous Independence Day speeches.

There were some priorities that seem realistic and cost-effective. These include

  • The regulatory support to entrepreneurs and start-ups in Tier-II and Tier-III towns
  • The government is making investments in Energy security, environmental security, and national security. All three are closely interconnected.
  • Focus on renewable energy production, making India energy-independent, and of new technological advances that might be suitable for India such as green hydrogen.

Way Forward:

It is time that government should spend less time on coming up with enormous targets that are unlikely to be achieved. Instead the government should focus more on doable and forward-looking policies

GS Paper 3

PM pledges to make India energy independent by 2047, cites fuel bill

Source: Business Standard

Syllabus: GS -3 – Infrastructure: Energy


The Prime Minister of India has announced new goals during his Independence Day Speech.

What are the Goals announced by the Prime Minister?

Energy Independent India by 2047: The Prime Minister has announced a target of making India an ‘Energy Independent’ nation by the time the country reaches 100 years of India’s independence, in 2047.

Present Energy Situation:
  1. India at present spends more than Rs 12 trillion annually on energy import.
  2. India announced a goal in 2015 to make a 10% cut in crude oil import dependence by 2022.
  3. This target is far from being achieved and the county’s import reliance has only risen. Instead of cutting imports by 10 percent, its proportion has continued to rise from 2015.
    • Annual domestic crude oil output has fallen to below 30 million tonnes (mt) in 2020-21 from 35.5mt in 2015-16. Due to this, the total crude oil import has risen to 226 mt.
How India is moving towards Energy independent?
  1. The Indian Government plans to make India energy independent by 2047 through various schemes such as 20% Ethanol blending and providing an impetus to electric mobility among others.
  2. Net Zero Railway Emission by 2030: Indian Railways has set a target of becoming Net Zero Carbon Emitter by 2030.
    • The Indian Railways plans to achieve its Net Zero Carbon emitter target through a mix of electrification, improving energy efficiency of locomotives and trains. Further railways also planned a green certification for installations and stations, fitting bio toilets in coaches and switching to renewable sources of energy.
What has been achieved so far in railways?
  1. Around 71% of the total Broad-Gauge (BG) network of Indian Railways has been electrified by March 31, 2021.
  2. The Central Organisation for Railway Electrification plans to electrify all BG routes of the Indian Railway by December 2023.
Global Green Energy Hub in India:
  1. The Government of India has announced the National Hydrogen Mission to make India a Global Green Energy Hub.
  2. Green Hydrogen is pure hydrogen generated by using renewable energy such as solar power and wind energy. The by-products are water and water vapour.

On top of the scrap heap (On Vehicle scrappage policy)

Source: Business Standard

Syllabus: GS3 – Government policies and interventions, Environmental pollution

Relevance: On vehicle scrappage policy

Synopsis: Vehicle scrappage policy is a step in the right direction, but its success is predicated on fulfillment of several conditions. A look at some of such factors.

Must Read: National Vehicle Scrappage policy – Explained

Note: Please go through above articles before moving forward.

  1. Cooperation of the states: The Motor Vehicles Act falls in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, so some of the tax breaks announced in the policy will require the cooperation of the state governments, which levy annual or lifetime taxes on motor vehicles, and it is as yet unclear whether states are on board.
  2. Lack of infra: India lacks the necessary eco-system, in the shape of automated fitness centers or sufficient scrapping centers. Here, too, the cooperation of the states would be necessary. The creation of large-scale scrapping centers may be uncertain, too.
    • Though a vibrant raddi industry exists for old vehicles, it is largely unorganized and piecemeal. An organized business linked to the policy will require large-scale logistics and real estate, which could limit the business to larger enterprises rather than micro, small, and medium enterprises.
Way forward

For the policy to work, it is critical for the government to come up with clear incentives for scrapping centres so that they are up and running before the policy comes into effect. Without these, the policy, which has the potential to generate a decent level of unskilled-level employment, will end up like the e-vehicles policy, where the lack of recharging centers has constrained the expansion of the industry.

The temptation of a sunscreen to cool the planet

Source: Mint

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

Relevance: Fighting climate change and its impacts.

Synopsis: Analysis of Solar-Geo engineering as a possible solution against effects of global warming. An analysis.


In the background of the latest IPCC report on climate change, expectations from 26th United Nation Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) have increased. However, as the effects of global warming worsens, we should also look towards lesser-talked about solutions like Solar-Geoengineering.

What is solar geoengineering?

Solar geoengineering is a specific form of albedo modification in which highly reflective particles are introduced into the atmosphere to increase Earth’s albedo. This would reduce incoming light (radiation) from the sun, and thereby decrease the amount of energy (heat) reaching Earth’s surface.

Solar geoengineering methods
  • Placing of huge mirrors in the orbit
  • Brightening of natural clouds– by spraying over sea formations which will radiate the solar rays back into the space
  • Reduce cloud density– so that they trap less long-wave radiation keeping earth cool
  • Generating sea-foams which can compensate polar glacier melting by acting as a natural reflector.
  • Addition of reflective aerosols into stratosphere – it will interfere with our weather patterns, ocean currents, marine life etc.

As there is no precedent of such kind of geoengineering project, so the costs and the risks involved are still unknown.


The option of a global reflective shield needs to be there in the global agenda for multilateral climate talks. Its risk should be weighted against rewards. India in the meanwhile should study the option on its own to arrive at conclusion shaped by scientific findings.

Terms to know:

Learning from China (On economic growth & development)

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment

Relevance: Agriculture reforms on the line of China are necessary to improve living standards

Synopsis: The focus of India’s economic policy has to be on quality education, skill development, and agriculture reforms. Lessons from China.


Post independence we have achieved several milestones like, reducing poverty, improving literacy, increasing life expectancy etc. Green revolution also played an important role in achieving food security.

But, it is equally important to look after the failures as well. This can be done by evaluating how other nations have performed, especially those which started with a similar base or even worse conditions than us. If some countries have done better than us, we should not hesitate to learn from them.

Comparison with neighbours
  • Pakistan – independent India has done better than Pakistan if measured on a per capita income basis.
  • Bangladesh – its per capita income is marginally higher than India
  • China – Though started at a similar position, China is much ahead of India both in terms of GDP and per capita income.

The real comparison of India should be with China, given the size of population of the two countries and the fact that both countries started their journey in the late 1940s.

Reason behind China’s progress

China started changing track to more market-oriented policies, beginning with agriculture, from 1977.

  • It introduced the Household Responsibility System and liberation of agri-markets which led to an annual average agri-GDP growth of 7.1% during 1978-1984. This led to increase in farmer’s real income, giving scope for introduction of more agricultural reforms.
  • It also created a huge demand for manufactured products, triggering a manufacturing revolution in China’s town and village enterprises.
Suggestions for India
  • Liberating agri-markets– China’s reforms started with agriculture, and India till date had been avoiding agriculture reforms.
  • Increasing purchasing power of people: For manufacturing to grow on a sustainable basis, we have to increase the purchasing power of people in rural areas by raising their productivity and not by distributing freebies. It requires investments in education, skills, health and physical infrastructure both by the government as well as by the private sector
  • Population control- China adopted the one-child norm from 1979-2015. As a result, its per capita income grew much faster. India’s attempts to control its population succeeded only partially and very slowly. Poor education, especially that of the girl child, is at the core of this failure.

India’s first leopard reserve offers lessons in coexistence, conservation

Source: Business Standard

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

Relevance: Ecosystem conservation via community participation.

Synopsis: Communities have long co-existed with leopards in Jhalana (Rajasthan) which is India’s first leopard reserve declared in 2016.

Benefits of leopard conservation
  • Stray dog population is kept under check
  • Forest acts as a temperature and pollutant sink
  • Leopards scavenge carcasses of cattle that villagers would otherwise find difficult to dispose
  • Human-wildlife conflict: Increase in leopard population along with decline in prey population could lead to human-wildlife conflict
  • Accidental deaths: Forests cut off by state and national highways is leading to accidental deaths of leopards
  • Inbreeding among the leopards


Developing viable animal corridors is the only solution to address all these issues.

Terms to know:

The toxic drug impurity imperiling Indians

Source: Live Mint

Syllabus: GS3 – Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life

Relevance: The role of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in administering safe pharmaceutical drugs.

Synopsis: Detection of carcinogenic compounds in commonly used drugs has plunged the global pharma industry into crisis mode. India’s drug regulator has done little to protect citizens.


Research has found that many drugs produced by global pharmaceutical industry have the presence of N-Nitroso-dimethylamine or NDMA. These contaminated drugs include ranitidine, tuberculosis drugs (rifampin and rifapentine), diabetes drugs (metformin and pioglitazone) and sartan group of blood pressure drugs.

What is N-Nitroso-dimethylamine or NDMA?
  1. NDMA and many of its related compounds together called nitrosamines are strong carcinogens among animals, and likely have the same effect in humans.
  2. Nitrosamines are often formed whenever so-called nitrosating agents (compounds containing oxidised nitrogen, for example) react with compounds called amines in an acidic environment.
  3. The US, European Union and Australia prohibit sales of many popular drugs that can break down into a potent carcinogen like NDMA.
Risks associated with NDMA
  • Through research, it was found that nitrosamines trigger cancers in multiple species. Epidemiological studies hinted strongly that nitrosamines were carcinogenic in humans too.
  • One of the most challenging aspects of controlling nitrosamines in drugs is that they are toxic even at tiny levels.

Low levels of nitrosamines can be found in several everyday products and even natural resources such as air and water. Several foods have it, including cured meats, cheese and beer. Even drinking water can have it, as can the polluted air.

  • In fact, some of the most potent toxins in tobacco smoke are nitrosamines. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an upper limit for NDMA in drinking water.
Steps taken by global regulators

Actions so far have included recalling and suspending sales of contaminated batches, widespread testing of samples, and the introduction of new quality control measures to prevent future contamination.

All these actions have happened in full public view, with the regulators sharing their decisions continuously with patients, doctors and manufacturers. For instance, In Canada, manufacturers are required to test samples from their batches multiple times during the drug’s shelf life, to make sure NDMA is below safe limits.

Further, in the US, the nitrosamine discoveries have led to lawsuits against the makers of ranitidine and sartans.

India’s reaction

Indian drug regulator, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), has barely communicated with consumers over this issue. CDSCO currently doesn’t impose any standards for nitrosamines.

Since 2019, CDSCO has only directed state drug regulators to inform pharma companies to “verify their products” and to “take appropriate measures to ensure patient safety”.

  • Directions issued do not ask companies to recall or suspend sales of their products if nitrosamine levels are high, nor to conduct risk assessments. It is also unclear if CDSCO independently tested Indian drug products for nitrosamines, instead of merely leaving it to manufacturers.
  • In fact, the CDSCO’s four central drug-testing laboratories do not have the equipment required to do such tests. Recently, joint drugs controller of India, said these labs did not have instruments
    called Liquid Chromatography-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry systems (LC-HRMS) which are crucial for measuring nitrosamines.

Due to lack of any substantial directions from CDSCO, some firms have conducted recalls, but others continue to sell their products.

Way forward

When the US FDA learnt of NDMA in the tuberculosis drugs, rifampin and rifapentine, it took a temporary decision to increase the allowable level of NDMA in these drugs, because no alternative drugs were available for this deadly disease. And pulling them from the market immediately would have caused dangerous shortages.

CDSCO needs to make these decisions too. But there is no public record of the agency having weighed the risks and benefits of ranitidine, sartans, metformin or other contaminated drugs before allowing them to be sold freely. Nor is there any record of the agency testing these drugs.

This lack of communication has left many consumers with little faith in the agency.

Terms to know:

We’ve successfully made Covid vaccines. Now, India must focus on drug development

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: GS3 – Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology

Relevance: Issues related to the development and production of new antibiotics

Synopsis: Efforts should be initiated to consolidate existing strengths in pharmaceuticals and support the country’s antibiotic needs

Challenges posed by AMR
  • India has one of the highest levels of antibiotic resistance. It complicates not only the treatment of life-threatening infections, but also endangers outcomes in routine hospital procedures.
  • Moreover, the benefits gained through medical advances are nullified when patients contract drug-resistant bacterial infections.
  • The pandemic, had further complicated the situation. Around 3-4% COVID patients are acquiring secondary bacterial infections. A recent ICMR study reported high mortality rate of 56% among Covid patients infected with resistant bacterial infections.
Issues in development of new antibiotics
  • Poor return on investment,
  • The complexity of discovering novel antibiotics for multidrug-resistant pathogens,
  • The high cost of bringing a novel antibiotic to the market,
  • Irrational use that renders drugs ineffective and contributes to their short market-life. Therefore, required level of attention and resources are not channelled in to this.

This has impacted new drug development and research has stagnated with all major pharma companies exiting the arena.

Worse, antibiotics, recently discovered and developed in the West, do not find their way to India in a timely manner. For instance, Antibiotics such as imipenem/relebactam, and meropenem/vaborbactam, available in the US and EU for more than two years now, are yet to be introduced in India.

Must Read: What is Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR)? – Explained
  1. Timely infusion of funds: The development of the Covid vaccine in India was made possible by the timely infusion of funds as a result of advance purchase payments to companies involved in production. The Covid vaccine story needs to be replicated to support the country’s antibiotic needs.
  2. Plan to develop new anti-microbials: India needs to put together a plan for developing new anti-microbials. As a first step, the government needs to recognize the deficiencies in the production pipeline.
  3. Efforts should be initiated to consolidate the country’s existing strengths in pharmaceuticals by engaging relevant actors.
  4. Independent studies demonstrating the therapeutic value of novel drugs could contribute to identifying drugs whose development can be undertaken.


Despite constraints, the antibiotic space in India has seen a few successes. For instance, The novel combination cefepime-zidebactam discovered in the country is  found to be highly effective against multidrug-resistant pathogens.

It is time that such valuable leads from Indian laboratories mature into ready-to-use drugs for the country’s patients. That will provide a strong impetus to making the country atmanirbhar in healthcare.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Four new Ramsar wetland sites recognised in India

Source: PIB

What is the News?

Four more wetlands from India – two from Haryana and two from Gujarat – have been recognised as Ramsar sites of international importance. With this, the number of Ramsar sites in India are 46.

The wetlands that have received the Ramsar Site tag are Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary and Sultanpur National Park from Haryana; and Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary and Wadhvana Wetland from Gujarat. 

Click Here to Read About Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary and Sultanpur National Park

About Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary:

  1. Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Gujarat. The sanctuary lies on the Central Asian Flyway.
  2. Built in: Thol Lake was initially built in 1912 as a tank by the Gaekwad regime to provide irrigation facilities to farmers.
  3. Wildlife Sanctuary: In 1988, it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the state government to protect the birdlife found in this open-water wetland site.
  4. Bird species: The lake supports more than 320 bird species, including more than 30 threatened waterbird species such as the critically endangered White-rumped Vulture and Sociable Lapwing; and the vulnerable Sarus Crane and Common Pochard.

About Wadhvana Wetland:

  1. Wadhvana Wetland is situated in Gujarat. The wetland was created as an irrigation dam in 1910 in Dabhoi taluka of Vadodara, Gujarat.
  2. The wetland is internationally important for its birdlife as it provides wintering ground to migratory waterbirds, including over 80 species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway. 
  3. These include some threatened or near-threatened species such as the endangered Pallas’s fish-eagle, the vulnerable common pochard and the near-threatened Dalmatian pelican, grey-headed fish-eagle and ferruginous duck. 
  4. In addition the red-crested pochard (Netta rufina), a duck which is otherwise rare in Western India, is regularly recorded here during winter.

About Central Asian Flyway(CAF) Flyway:

Central Asian Flyway

  1. A flyway is a geographical region within which a single or a group of migratory species completes its annual cycle – breeding, moulting, staging and non-breeding. 
  2. Central Asian Flyway(CAF) encompasses overlapping migration routes of over 30 countries for different water-birds. The CAF links the northernmost breeding ground in Siberia to the southernmost non-breeding grounds in west and south Asia, the Maldives and the British Indian Ocean territory.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment launches TAPAS

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched an online portal named TAPAS (Training for Augmenting Productivity and Services).

About TAPAS Portal:

  1. Developed by: National Institute of Social Defence, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  2. What is it? It is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform that offers various courses in the field of social defence.
  3. Objective: The main objective of introducing courses on social defence is to impart training and enhance the knowledge and skills for the capacity building of the participants
  4. Courses: It will provide five basic courses
    1. Drug (Substance) Abuse Prevention,
    2. Geriatric/Elderly Care,
    3. Care and Management of Dementia,
    4. Transgender Issues
    5. Comprehensive course on Social Defence Issues.
  5. Eligibility: The courses can be taken up by anyone who wishes to enhance his or her knowledge on the topics and there is no fee for joining.

About National Institute of Social Defence (NISD):

  1. NISD was originally set up as the Central Bureau of Correctional Services in 1961 under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
  2. Since 1975, the Institute has functioned as a subordinate office under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  3. In 2002, NISD became an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and is registered under Societies Act 1860 with the Government of NCT, Delhi.
  4. Mandate: NISD is the nodal training and research institute in the field of social Defence. It is currently focusing on human resource development in the areas of drug abuse prevention, welfare of senior citizens, beggary prevention, transgender and other social defence issues.

Union Minister to inaugurate two exhibitions ‘Katha Kranthi Veeron Ki’ and ‘Monuments of Victory & Valour’

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Ministry of Culture inaugurated two exhibitions on the occasion of Independence Day.

Which are those two exhibitions?

Katha Kranthi Veeron Ki:

  1. It is an exhibition of revolutionaries with a dedicated exhibition on Alluri Seetharamaraju and exhibits of paintings of Shaheedi Diwas, Champaran Satyagraha and Jallianwala Bagh.
  2. It will be organized by Lalit Kala Akademi. 

Monuments of Victory & Valour:

  1. It is an exhibition that will contain photos of resistance and valour across millennia. This will include photos of the:
    1. Kakaitya Kala Thoranam at Warangal
    2. Fort of Jhansi Laxmi Bhai that symbolises her valour against the British in the war of independence in 1857 and 
    3. Vijaya Stambh in Chittorgarh that commemorates the victory over the sultanates led by Mahmud Khilji.
  2. The exhibition will be organized by the National Monuments Authority(NMA).

About National Monuments Authority (NMA):

  1. National Monuments Authority (NMA) has been set up under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.
  2. It has been set up as per provisions of The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010.
  3. Functions: To protect and preserve monuments and sites through management of the prohibited and regulated area around the centrally protected monuments. 
    • One of the important responsibilities of NMA is also to consider grant of permissions to applicants for construction related activity in the prohibited and regulated area.

‘Gati Shakti’ master plan to give Rs 100-trillion infrastructure boost

Source: Business Standard (Article 1, Article 2), Times of India and Livemint

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has announced that the Centre will soon launch the ‘PM Gati Shakti Master Plan’.

About PM Gati Shakti Master Plan:

  • PM Gati Shakti Master Plan is a 100 lakh crore national infrastructure master plan. It aims to make a foundation for holistic infrastructure and give an integrated pathway to our economy.

Key objectives of the Plan:

  1. To provide easier interconnectivity and reduce travel time between road, rail, air and waterways
  2. To improve industrial productivity
  3. To make local manufacturing globally competitive
  4. To facilitate future economic zones and 
  5. To create employment.

Note: India has been working for a reset of its logistics sector involving railways, highways, inland waterways and airports to put in place an effective transportation grid. Logistics make up about 13% of costs for Indian companies making exports uncompetitive vis-a-vis China.

All Sainik schools will now admit girls: PM

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has announced that all Sainik Schools in the country will now be open for girls also. The move to admit girls at Sainik Schools all across India comes as part of the government’s push to increase the participation of women in the Indian armed forces.

About Sainik Schools:

  • Sainik schools are run by the Sainik Schools Society which is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence. 
  • Aim: The aim of establishing Sainik schools was to prepare the students from an early age for their entry into the Indian armed forces.
  • Origin: These schools are the brainchild of VK Krishna Menon who conceived this idea in 1961.
  • Students are selected for Sainik Schools through an annual entrance examination. They are inducted at the middle-school level.
  • At present, 33 Sainik schools are operating in the country. A provision for setting up 100 new Sainik Schools in partnership with NGOs, private schools and states was announced in the Union Budget for 2021-22.

Note: As a pilot project, Sainik School in Mizoram’s Chhingchhip district began admitting girls from October 2019.

Good news on news (On new IT rules)

Source: Times of India

What is the news?

The Bombay High Court has stayed part of the new IT rules which aim to control the news media along with social media and OTT platforms.

What did the court say?

The court identified the threat to free expression and argued that the rules are subordinate legislation that go beyond the remit of the IT Act itself. Digital news and current affairs publishers had challenged these rules citing the right to equality, free expression and the right to profession.

Which rules have been stayed?
  • Rule 9 (1)- which calls for digital media publishers to adhere to the code of ethics, and offers subjective meaning of ‘half-truths’, ‘decency’ and ‘good taste’ which is beyond the section 66 of the IT Act
  • Rule 9 (3) – aimed to set up a three-tier grievance redressal committee, which empowers the governments to minutely regulate all media content.
Must Read New IT rules 2021

Union WCD Minister launches 2nd Phase of SAMVAD

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Women and Child Development has launched the 2nd phase of SAMVAD programme.

About SAMVAD Programme:

  1. SAMVAD stands for Support, Advocacy & Mental health interventions for children in Vulnerable circumstances And Distress.
  2. Mandate: It is a National Initiative and Integrated Resource that works in child protection, mental health and psychosocial care. 
  3. Aim: To provide mental health outreach for children who are abandoned and orphaned, child survivors of trafficking, or in conflict with law.
  4. Implementation: The programme is led by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences(NIMHANS). It is funded by Ministry of of Women and Child Development.
    • NIMHANS is the apex centre of mental health and neuroscience education. It operates autonomously under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  5. Under the Programme, training is being provided to Child Protection Functionaries, tele-counsellors, educators, law professionals among others. The training will be provided to cope mechanisms for children in distress.
  6. In the second phase, SAMVAD is slated to begin work with Panchayati Raj institutions to integrate child protection and mental health in aspirational districts across the country. This will help facilitate awareness generation and improve service delivery at the grassroot level.

PM interacts with women Self Help Groups in ‘Atmanirbhar Narishakti se Samvad’

Source: PIB

What is the News?

Prime Minister (PM) of India has participated in ‘Atmanirbhar Narishakti se Samvad’.

Key Highlights from the Conference:

  1. During the Conference,  the Prime Minister interacted with women members of self help groups (SHGs) and community resource persons promoted under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission(DAY-NRLM).
  2. The PM also appreciated the women Self-Help Groups for their unprecedented services during the Covid-19 period. Such as SHGs contribution in making masks and sanitizers and providing food to the needy.
  3. Further, the PM also released funds to SHGs under PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme and for Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs).
  4. Moreover, the PM also announced that now the limit for loans available to SHGs without guarantee has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh.

About Self Help Groups(SHGs):

  1. Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are small voluntary associations of poor people, who come together for the purpose of solving their common problems through self-help and mutual help. 
  2. They can be defined as a self governed, peer controlled information group of people with similar socio-economic background and having a desire to collectively perform common purpose.
  3. Currently,  there are 70 lakh self help groups across the country which is more than three times the figure during 6-7 years.


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