9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – August 23rd, 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.
  • For previous editions of 9 PM BriefClick Here
  • For individual articles of 9 PM BriefClick Here

Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

Open Doors not Walls

Source: Indian Express

GS1: Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Relevance: Gandhian Values

Synopsis: It is not enough to protect the precincts of Sabarmati Ashram, we must go beyond that. Adopting the Gandhian way of building a mutually nurturing society, should be the aim.


The Mahatma Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati has always attracted universal respect in India and outside. It has received and welcomed a wide range of individuals.

Significance of Sabarmati ashram:

  1. The Ashram is where our history of achieving freedom for millions with non-violent means was made. It is where we experimented with a future way of living.
  2. The Ashram inspired satyagraha and carved pathways to peace.
  3. It is our common and shared responsibility to protect, preserve and promote.

Along with the sanctity of the ashram, India needs to preserve the simplicity, logic, and spirit of Gandhiji’s ideas and values.

What should be done to preserve the sanctity of the ashram?

Any change to the Ashram should be made with consensus, collaboration with each other. Also, the suggestions and protest letters about the redevelopment plan are most valuable to continue this open and peaceful process to achieve a consensus.

Hence, we can say, Gandhi Ashrams will not work for the betterment of India’s society if they are not aligned to the Gandhi way.

What is the Gandhian way?

First, we should conceive of Gandhi as a way of thinking about our society, economy, and politics. The Gandhi way is self-reliance at the local level and full employment at the household level.

Second, Non-violence has been a force of its own that is connected with wider day-to-day political, social, and economic struggles for the freedom of the poor and women workers.

Third, it is a way towards sustainability and a near-zero carbon footprint. It implies local ownership of the means of production.

Fourth, it calls for a broad-based and inclusive social and economic democracy. The Gandhi way is to build peace at home, in the neighborhood, and in the world in which dalits, minorities, Adivasis, women, and workers have a leading role to play.


As a society, we are rushing towards mass suicide, with investments that lead to no jobs, and infrastructure that pollutes air, food, and water. The ashrams should take the economy and the citizens to self-reliance, to full and meaningful employment, to sustainability, and to local cooperative control of the means of production.

GS Paper 2

India must negotiate well on free trade pacts: Experts

Source: Business Standard

Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral and multilateral agreements involving India.

Relevance: Negotiating Free Trade Agreement (FTA’s)

Synopsis: India is on the verge of signing FTA’s with some important nations. Let’s have a brief look at the subject.

Context: Recently, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal had said that India is at a ‘positive momentum’ with respect to inking trade deals with the UK, Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, EU, GCC nations,  and Israel.

Suggestions by the experts on FTAs:

  • Focus on reduction in tariff – Experts say that reduction in tariff is equally crucial while working towards any deal.
  • Better preparation– We need to provide better opportunities to other countries than the previous agreement.
  • Discussion on the new subject– we should not restart discussions in areas where consensus has been reached.  Starting discussion around areas where there were differences will be a step in the right direction.

For further readFree Trade Agreements (FTAs): Challenges & opportunities – Explained, pointwise

Why the urgency now?

  • India’s exit from RCEP– This acted as a catalyst to sign better deals with other nations.
  • Export opportunities–  due to a consistent surge in exports over the last few months, experts believe that such deals are important to continue the momentum.

Benefits of FTAs:

  • Attracting investment– These FTAs will be effective in attracting investment in the country through PLI scheme.
  • Boost Competition– FTAs will create an open market system, which leads to an increase in competition in the economy.
Terms to know: RCEP, PLI scheme

Missing School, Missing Meals

Source: Times of India

Syllabus: GS2- Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Relevance: Covid-19 and its impact on the education sector

Synopsis: The education sector in India is under pressure from pandemic-related issues, as identified by a parliamentary committee on Education. Let’s have a brief look at issues in the education sector of India.

Context: Recently, the Parliamentary committee on education prepared a report on the impact of Covid-19 on India’s education system.

Findings of the report:

  • Some 24 crore children have missed school for over a year.
  • 77% of children have no access to online instruction.
  • In any case, ‘Online education is not real education.’
  • Dropouts have increased at the secondary level

Other issues in the education sector:

  1. Gender divide– There are more dropouts among boys than girls. Boys are abandoning school to earn a living – sometimes, after Covid, as their family’s chief breadwinner.
  2. Digital divide– The report admits the yawning digital divide that has deprived most children of instruction during the lockdown. Further, the benefits of online education are going to select few rich people.
  3. Effect on primary education– the batches of 2020 and 2021 have effectively not taken the first step towards literacy and numeracy, by enrolling in class 1. A large proportion of those enrolled earlier will not have acquired the skills or forgotten what they acquired.
  4. Effect on health and nutrition– physical growth and nourishment have been declining among India’s children for several years. The post-pandemic plight of the poor will multiply the damage. The Centre for Science and Environment estimates that 37.5 crore children might suffer weight and growth loss
Must read: What ails Mid Day Meal scheme’s implementation

New, Dangerous Quad Around India

Source: Times of India

Syllabus: GS-2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations.

Relevance: Changing global order and emerging security threats for India

Synopsis: The combination of Taliban-led Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran & China is a grave threat for India.


  • With the Taliban well and truly in control in Afghanistan, countries in the region have already started a push for power and stakes in the new emerging order.
  • China was one of the first to welcome the change in Afghanistan. China stated that “Taliban have repeatedly expressed their hope to develop good relations with China, and we welcome this.”
  • Similarly, Pakistan too welcomed the Taliban on national TV by stating that the Taliban has broken the chains of mental slavery in Afghanistan.
  • Iran, reacting to the Taliban takeover, stated that the “defeat” of the United States in neighboring Afghanistan should be transformed into an opportunity. Further, it encouraged all groups in Afghanistan to work towards national unity as a “neighbouring and brotherly” country.
  • Russia was more cautious and restrained in its reaction, but has kept its embassy in Kabul functional to “maintain contacts with Taliban”.

What are the Imminent threats for India due to changing global order in Afghanistan?

Russia, due to its old and traditional ties with India along with military and diplomatic goodwill, could be counted as a reliable ally. However, it needs to be remembered that Russia, twice this year, didn’t include India in Afghan peace talks. Also, Russia-Pakistan’s military cooperation in recent times and close coordination between Russia and China are issues of concern to India.

Iran, Iran’s hatred for Israel and the US has posed a diplomatic challenge for India. The threat of a military conflict between the US and Iran over attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, alleged attacks by Iranian drones on Saudi airfields, the ongoing Yemen crisis, or the killing of General Soleimani, each of these occasions has posed a diplomatic challenge to India with regard to its relations with Iran. Iran is also critically important to India, as the land routes to Afghanistan and the Central Asian region go through Iran only.

China’s is definitely not an ally for India, especially since the Galwan valley conflict. Further, it publicly stated opposition to India’s participation in the US-led Quad against China in the Indo-Pacific. Whereas, Pakistan has upped its ante again after India revoked Article 370 in August 2019.

Regarding Taliban, there is always a clear and present danger to Indian interests in the region. The hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC 814 in December 1999, the fact that Afghan fighters made up to 20-22% of terrorists operating in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are imminent threats from the Taliban.


If the interests of Pakistan, Taliban-led Afghanistan, China, and, to some extent, Iran converge and unite to forge another Quad, it could pose a security threat unapparelled in independent India.

Last time the Taliban came to power in 1996, China was not in the equation. With China now looking to lock horns, this could well be the biggest threat India has ever faced.

Our flawed e-com policy sends out awful signals

Source: Livemint

GS-2- Statutory, Regulatory, and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.

Relevance: Regulatory regime in India and issues related to it.

Synopsis:  India’s regulatory framework for e-commerce needs to be market-friendly because its failure to pass this test will go against long-term economic interests.


As a developing economy, India’s regulatory ambitions fall short of what defines ‘regulation’.

For Further readDraft e-commerce rules

Issues with the regulatory regime in India:

  • First, regulatory agencies operate with varying, ambiguous, and controversial degrees of independence (not fully independent) from the traditional political executive.
  • Second, the absence of a regulator’s political autonomy allows the executive’s discretionary and arbitrary controls over the regulatory framework.
  • Third, complex legal structures can be interpreted differently and end up favoring one set of private players over others. Skewed policy frameworks that tilt in favour of some have been India’s specialty over the past 50 odd years.
    • It results in inefficient allocation of resources and impairs long-term economic efficiency. The amended Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 is a live example of a complicated policy with rule revisions that will attract litigation.
    • However, the ministry of consumer affairs, food, and public distribution claim the guidelines were framed in response to complaints from consumers and traders.
    • Other restrictions on sharing data and barring ‘related’ companies from selling wares on the same platform seem like rules forged not only to hinder MNC e-com firms but also Indian conglomerates.
  • Fourth, regulations have additional compliance norms which overlap and conflict with other regulations.
  • Lastly, frequent amendments. For instance, e-com rules amended within a year of promulgation with an eye on upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.


Hence, all rules need to be market-friendly, serving all participants equally and the shifting of policy for a particular agenda goes against long-term economic interests.

SC allowing women to sit for NDA test is a welcome push for a substantive gender reset in the armed forces

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: GS 2 – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population

Relevance: Understand evolving notions of gender parity

Synopsis: Recent guidelines by SC to allow women candidates to appear for the NDA (National Defence Academy) exam is a welcome step in gender parity. We need to understand all of its dimensions.

SC decision to allow women to sit for the NDA exam is one step further towards push to armed forces to bridge the gender discrimination gap in the armed forces. Even last year, SC asked the government to grant permanent commission to women officers of the army serving under the Short Service Commission, (SSC).

What is the present scenario?

  • Women were eligible for entry into the army through the Officers’ Training Academy and Indian Military Academy.
  • NDA, which recruits cadets fresh out of school (between the ages of 16 and 19), remained an all-male bastion.
Read more: ITBP inducts first women officers on combat service

Impact of the new moves

SC decision to allow women for the NDA exam comes along with the centre decision to admit girls to Sainik schools. Both decisions will lay a roadmap for substantive change.

  1. It has the potential of attracting more women to professional life in the military
  2. It will create a wider pool of girls and young women trained for long, ambitious careers in the uniformed services
  3. It can help re-engineer the institutions of the armed forces, which are by default conceived of as default male spaces.

What is the counter view?

In Ministry of Defence vs Babita Puniya & Others, there were arguments over women being unsuitable for military life. The reason behind that is:

  • They have to deal with pregnancy, motherhood, domestic obligation towards children and family etc.
  • Their physical capability for combat exercise is considered lesser.
  • An all-male environment would have to moderate itself in the presence of women.
Read more: Arms and the Women

What will be the future challenges

Infusion of women cadets might bring some challenges of infrastructure to both Sainik Schools and the NDA

  • Change in the training modules, more hiring of women teachers
  • Inclusion of gender sensitisation programmes

Way Forward:

There is urgent and necessary work required if institutions are to comply with constitutional requirements of non-discrimination and equality. The defence establishment must also give women, their due, as equal citizens of constitutional democracy.

Read more: SC rules in favour of permanent commission for women officers in Navy

Focusing on diseases sidelined by Covid 19

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Relevance: Understand issues around non-communicable diseases. (NCD)

Synopsis: Given the increasing menace of NCD there is an urgent need for a multi-stakeholder approach to handle the impending crisis.


The world is struggling with Non-Communicable diseases (NCD). Nearly 71% of all deaths worldwide occur due to NCD such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer etc

The top contributors to NCD:

  1. At the Global level: Top contributors of global deaths are cardiovascular diseases(CVD) such as stroke, heart attack, coronary artery disease. 1/4 of deaths occur because of this, especially among young patients.
  2. Indian subcontinent: There is a rapid progression of these diseases with a high mortality rate
  3. In India, there are high cases of premature loss of life due to NCD in the 30-69 year age group

About government initiatives:

To address the growing burden of NCD, National Health Mission (NHM), in 2010, launched the National Programme for prevention and control of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The focus of this programme is to strengthen infrastructure, promote good health, human resource development, early diagnosis, and management & referral services.

How Covid disrupts the NCD services

Because of the rapid spread of Covid, there were disruptions in the management of NCD. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) survey in May 2020, it was found that:

  • Low-income countries are the worst affected because of Covid disruption.
  • More than 53% of countries have partially or completely disrupted services for hypertension treatment, 49% for diabetes & related complications, 42% for cancer treatment & 31% for cardiovascular emergencies

Reasons for discontinuing the services

  • Staff reassigned to support Covid patients
  • Postponement of public screening programmes
  • Shortage of medicines, technologies etc
  • Decreased availability of public transport

Relationship between Covid & NCD

  • It was found that persons suffering from both Covid and NCD are at higher risk. Among the NCD, persons with diabetes are in a higher risk category.
  • Recent studies show that nearly one in every two Indians living with diabetes are unaware of their condition, and they are at higher risk of dying if they got infected with Covid. This is because of the uncontrolled glucose level in their blood.

What needs to be done?

  1. A paradigm shift in governance towards effective & participatory leadership with strong vision and communication is the need of the hour to tackle this silent epidemic.
  2. There is a need to include NCD services in the national Covid preparation strategy. Presently, 42% of lower-income group countries do that
  3. India should also include tobacco-related activities to address the burden of NCD
  4. India should work on innovations in the campaign strategy for promoting a healthy lifestyle
  5. To enhance screening for NCD at the grass-root level. Incentives to ASHA workers for delivery of locally relevant & contextual messages for health promotion are needed.
  6. India should ensure access to essential NCD medicine and basic health care services in all primary healthcare facilities.
  7. The use of alternative modalities such as online platforms for disseminating information on exercise & mental health management must be made available

Way Forward

  • There is an urgent need to adopt a multidisciplinary approach. This should focus on ‘primary healthcare’ with ‘all of the society approach’.
  • This should address various challenges like administrative challenges, infrastructure, a strong health workforce & continued access to care for vulnerable people.
  • All these can help India achieve the WHO goal of a 25% relative reduction in mortality from NCD by 2025.

It is time to end judicial feudalism in India

Source: The Hindu and Indian Express

Subject: GS 2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Relevance – To understand the working of Collegium

Synopsis: Recent breaking of deadlock between collegium and GoI is a welcome step. We should take it further to cut on judicial hierarchy.


Recently, the Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India recommended nine names for appointment as judges to the top court, with presidential approval.

They all will soon be appointed. This is the largest number of entries approved in one go.

Read more: Collegium’s list of recommendations to Supreme Court breaks a deadlock — and leaves a trace

Task before collegium

Read more: The Collegium System – Explained Pointwise
  • Given the expectation of the people to deliver complete justice (Article 142), judges have to be careful in their selection process.
  • The selection is a difficult task as all judges are senior and meritorious, building consensus around any one of the judges is a difficult task.

Need for transparency

  • Norms that are used for selecting judges are of vital public interest.
  • There is a need to follow a judicious blend of merit, seniority and interests of the marginalized.
  • India is the only country where Judges select judges in higher Judiciary, so the need for transparency is higher.

Issue of Judicial hierarchy

  • While higher judiciary works through collegium, norms are different for the sub-ordinate judiciary.
  • Article 235 speaks of “control over subordinate courts”, and this creates this notion of sub-feudalism.
  • Though the constitution contemplates hierarchy, yet judges are supreme in their Jurisdiction. So one Judge cannot be considered as inferior to the other.
  • Though the constitution allows supervision through Annual Confidential Report (ACR’s), it does not allow dominance.
  • Such attempts at equality were made by courts also. Himachal Pradesh High Court ruled that all the courts in the state other than the high court shall be referred to as district judiciary.

What is needed

  • A complete recasting of Article 235 which does away with an expression of “control” powers in the high courts.
  • In fact, it is time for Parliament to remove the substantial nomenclature of “subordinate judiciary”.

Way forward

Thus, India needs to focus on transparency in the collegium system. At the same time, we should work to reduce the artificial feudalism that has been created by the judicial hierarchy.

Read more: Issue of Gender Gap in Judiciary – Explained, Pointwise

Terms to know

GS Paper 3

How can India’s wool sector be revived

Source: Down To Earth

Syllabus: GS 3: Economics of animal-rearing


The shepherds in Uttarakhand will soon get a batch of lambs through the cross-breeding of sheep indigenous to the region with Australian Merino sheep. Australian Merino sheep are known to have the softest and finest wool used for apparel. This cross-breeding was done with an aim to boost the pastoral economy and reduce the country’s import dependence on raw wool.

India’s Wool Industry:

  1. India is the seventh-largest producer of wool and accounts for nearly 2 to 3% of total world production.
  2. According to the 20th Livestock Census in 2019, India has the third-largest number of sheep in the world, with 74.26 million sheep under 42 registered breeds. This was a 14.1%  increase from the previous census in 2012.
  3. In India, wool is used to prepare products like carpets, yarn, fabrics and garments for the domestic market and for exporting, especially to the United States and Europe.
  4. The major wool-producing states in India are Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Rajasthan is the largest wool producer and is known for its superior carpet grade Chokla and Magra wool.

Why does India import raw wool?

  1. Despite India having the third-largest sheep population in the world, the average annual yield per sheep in India was 0.9 kg, as against the world average of 2.4 kg in 2018-19.
  2. In 2019-20, India produced 40.42 million kg of wool that year, whereas its consumption was at 260.8 million kg.
  3. Hence, due to this insufficient domestic production, India depends on imports for raw wool, particularly from Australia and New Zealand.

Challenges faced by India’s Wool Industry:

  1. Low Demand for Indigenous wool:  In the last 10 years, wool consumption by the country’s processing units increased by 50%, but the use of indigenous wool fell to almost 10% of the total current sales.
  2. A shift in Farmer’s Focus: There is a shift in farmer’s focus from wool to meat. For Instance, Telangana promotes the meat-producing Nellore breed through a subsidised sheep distribution scheme, and the breed now comprises 51 percent of the state’s sheep.
  3. The decline in Pastures: Pastures are diminishing across India with the increase in plantations as well as urbanisation. 
  4. Processing Facilities: The Woollen industry suffers from inadequate and outdated processing facilities. The pre-loom and post-loom facilities are required to be modernized for ensuring quality finished products.
  5. Low priority of State Governments in the development of the wool sector.
  6. Lack of Research and development and inadequate marketing facilities and infrastructure.
  7. Absence of organized marketing and minimum support price system for ensuring remunerative return.
  8. No educational institute for wool technology resulting in a lack of expertise in the wool sector.  

How we’re beneficiaries of suspension of human rights

Source: LiveMint

Syllabus: GS 3 – Security challenges and their management

Relevance: To understand the complexity of Human rights and national security.

Synopsis: Recent revelations in a book have revealed that State agencies do use the means like torture or violation of human rights to achieve the goal of national security.


The recent book ‘Spy Stories: Inside the secret world of the R.A.W. and the I.S.I.’ reveals how state agencies violate human rights for stealing information.

Why agencies resort to such means:

  • There is a common perception that the intelligence agency of democracy is run by humane patriots. But, the fact is that they perform many grey/dark operations to protect national security.
  • This is because they are protecting millions of lives from other people who are willing to inflict harm and damage to others.
  • For instance,
    • After 9/11, the US treated Pakistan with very little respect; The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US wanted directly to access the ISI’s counter-terrorism wing. In 2003, the CIA instructed Pakistan’s officials to assist in raiding a house in Rawalpindi but refused to give any further details. They captured the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Soon after his capture, he was taken to secret CIA prisons in Afghanistan and Poland. There he was brutalized in various ways.
    • Even Research and Analysis Wing also carry out various operations to make Pakistan look untrustworthy in the eyes of the world. The authors of the book hint that there might be some substance to theories that Indian agents had a connection to the 13 December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament.

Way forward

The boundaries of human rights become thinner in matters of national security. We need mechanisms to balance these two interests, which at times may be in conflict with each other.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

A Five-Year Plan To Restore About 1.4k Acres Of Aravalis

Source: Times of India

What is the news?

The Forest department is planning a conservation programme to restore the natural habitat of Gurugram Aravalis. Around 1400 acres of forest land between Gaurangpur and Gairatpur Bas will be restored over five years.

What will be done under the 5-year project?

  • Assessment study- An assessment of local vegetation and wildlife will be carried out.
  • Restoration – Native species will be planted accordingly and area will be fenced.
  • Maintenance-Regular inspections and maintenance will be conducted to restore forest area
  • Water Recharge- Several waterbodies will be created and maintained for wildlife and to recharge water table. 

Threats to Arawali –

  • Proximity to densely populated urban clusters of Gurugram and neighboring areas.
  • Rampant illegal construction and mining.
  • Fragmentation of natural habitats due to roads and increase in traffic

Why protecting Aravali is important-

  • It is home to a wealth of wildlife, including leopards, striped hyenas and civet cats.
  • The large scale forest cover also helps maintain ecological balance.
  • It protects critical water aquifers for Delhi NCR, which is a semi-arid zone.
  • The area also includes several patches of natural dry deciduous and scrub forests

Conclusion: It is a habitat for numerous endangered mammals and bird species. The plan for its restoration is an ideal step towards maintaining ecological balance

387 ‘Moplah martyrs’ to be removed from dictionary

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

A three-member panel has recommended the removal of Malabar Rebellion leaders Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji, Ali Musaliar and 387 other ‘Moplah martyrs’ from the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle.

Click Here to Read about Malabar Rebellion

What is the issue?

  1. The Government of India had set up a three-member panel to review the entries in the fifth volume of the dictionary brought out by the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
  2. The panel has recommended the deletion of the 1921 Malabar Rebellion leaders like Haji, Ali Musaliar and 387 others from the dictionary list.

Why has the panel recommended this? The panel has recommended this because:

  1. Firstly, it felt that the 1921 Malabar rebellion was never part of the Independence struggle, and was a fundamentalist movement focused on religious conversion. None of the slogans raised by the rioters were in favour of nationalism and anti-British.
  2. Secondly, Malabar rebellion leader Haji was a rioter who established a Sharia court and beheaded many Hindus.
  3. Thirdly, many ‘Moplah martyrs’ facing trial died from disease or natural causes, and could not be treated as martyrs. Only a handful of them were executed by the government.

High-speed Net comes to a deep jungle

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), a Union government initiative for skill development in rural areas, has brought high-speed internet to some of the remotest tribal hamlets deep inside the Nilambur jungle in Kerala.

About Jan Shikshan Sansthan(JSS) Scheme:

  • The Scheme of Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) was formerly known as the Shramik Vidyapeeth scheme. The scheme was launched in 1967 and was renamed as Jan Shikshan Sansthan in 2000
  • Nodal Ministry: The scheme was transferred from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship in 2018.
  • Mandate: To provide vocational skills in non-formal mode to non-literate, neo-literates, persons with a rudimentary level of education up to 8th and school drop-outs up to 12th standard in the age group of 15-45 years.
  • Target Group: The priority groups are women, SC, ST, minorities and other backward sections of the society. 
  • Implementation: The scheme is implemented through NGOs with 100% grants from the Government of India.
  • At present, 233 JSSs in 25 States and 3 Union Territories are functional. The annual coverage of the beneficiaries is around 4 lakh, out of which 85% are women.

Exercise Konkan-2021

Source: PIB

What is the News?

Exercise Konkan-2021 was held between India and the UK in the English Channel.

Note: The English Channel is also called simply the Channel is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France. It also links to the southern part of the North Sea by the Strait of Dover.

English Channel
Source: Britannica Kids

About Exercise Konkan:

  • Exercise Konkan is a bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of the UK.
  • Aim: To consolidate interoperability and help cement the strong bonds of friendship between the two navies.
  • The 2021 exercise includes the participation of INS Tabar from the Indian Navy and HMS Westminster from the UK.
Other Exercises between India and UK:
  • Exercise Indradhanush: It is a joint bilateral air exercise between India and the UK started in 2006.
  • Exercise Ajeya Warrior: It is a joint military exercise between India and the UK. It was held for the first time in 2013.

Odisha CM Launches Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana

Source: Outlook

What is the News?

The Odisha Chief Minister has launched the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart card scheme.

About Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart card scheme:

  1. Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart card scheme is a  new version of the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Scheme that was first launched in 2018.
  2. The scheme aims to transform the health service delivery system of the state.
  3. Under the scheme, smart cards would be distributed to the beneficiaries.The smart cards will have the details of family members and a 12-digit distinctive registration quantity. Each family will be given two cards in case two people fall sick at the same time.
  4. The smart cards can be used by the beneficiaries to avail cashless health coverage across more than 200 empanelled private hospitals.
  5. Those who don’t have the smart cards will have to produce their food security cards to avail the services under the scheme.
  6. Each family can get treatment cost up to ₹5 lakh per year and women will get benefits up to ₹10 lakh per year under the scheme.

NTPC commissions largest Floating Solar PV Project in the country

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd has commissioned the largest floating solar PV project in Andhra Pradesh.

About the Largest Floating Solar PV Project:

  1. The largest Floating Solar PV Project of 25MW is located on the reservoir of Simhadri thermal station in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. 
  2. This is the first solar project to be set up under the Flexibilisation Scheme.
  3. The project has the potential to generate electricity from more than 1 lakh solar PV modules. This would not only help to light around 7,000 households but also ensure CO2 emission reduction of at least 46,000 tons every year during the lifespan of this project. 
  4. The project is also expected to save 1,364 million litres of water per annum. This would be adequate to meet the yearly water requirements of 6,700 households.
Read more: World’s largest floating solar energy project in Omkareshwar Dam

About Flexibilisation Scheme:

  1. Flexibilisation Scheme was launched by the Government of India in the year 2018.
  2. The scheme allows power generation companies to meet their supply obligations via renewable power instead of thermal power alone.
  3. Under the scheme, any power generating company having coal/lignite/gas-based thermal generating stations may establish or procure renewable energy generating capacity anywhere in the country, either at existing stations or at new locations.

Union Minister launches Arogya Dhara 2.0 to increase reach of Ayushman Bharat

Source: Business Standard

What is the News?

The Union Health Minister has launched Arogya Dhara 2.0 to celebrate the 2 Crore hospital admissions under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).

Read more: Ayushman Bharat-Jan Arogya Yojana (JAY)
About Arogya Dhara 2.0:
  1. The key objective of the event is to spread the achievement of 2 Crore hospital admissions under Ayushman Bharat and to acknowledge the dedication and efforts of the healthcare workers and others involved in the journey.

Initiatives launched during the Event: During the event, National Health Authority(NHA) has launched the three following initiatives:

  1. Ayushman Mitra – An initiative to encourage the citizens to participate in motivating the eligible beneficiaries to get verified under the scheme and to help them get the Ayushman Cards issued.
  2. Adhikaar Patra – A welcome note which would be issued to all beneficiaries hereafter at concluding information about the rights of AB PM-JAY beneficiaries under the scheme.
  3. Abhinandan Patra – A thank you note to the beneficiary for utilizing the benefits of the AB PM-JAY scheme accompanied with the feedback form after availing treatment under the scheme.

Women’s panel defends draft Inheritance Bill

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The draft Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021 has met with strong opposition in the State.

About Draft Arunachal Pradesh Marriage and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021:

  1. The bill focuses on the provisions related to the legal status of marriage, the procedure of marriage registration, property right of the wife, widow’s rights, treating polygamy as an offence. 
  2. The two significant contributions of the bill is with respect to the criminalization of polygamy (prospectively means second marriage held before the law comes into force will not be affected) and the property right of the legally wedded wife and widow. 
Why is the bill being opposed?
  1. One of the clauses of the bill deals with the ‘Right of an APST (Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe) woman married to non-APST on immovable property owned and acquired by her’.
  2. The clause states that an APST woman shall enjoy the right of any immovable property owned and acquired by her in her lifetime. 
  3. In the event of her death, her husband and her heir would have full rights of its disposal and alienation to any indigenous tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.
  4. This provision is seen as an invitation to outsiders to take over tribal land through marriage. Further, this provision is also considered against the customary practice.
  5. Hence, due to this, the draft Bill is termed as “anti-tribal”, “anti-Arunachal”.
What do the organizations want now?
  1. The Student Organizations has said that they will not allow the Bill to be passed in the State Assembly unless a tribal woman who marries anyone belonging to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (non-APST) is stripped of her ST status and benefits.

India to Add 35 More Earthquake Observatories by End of This Year and 100 More by Year 2026: Govt

Source: PIB

What is the News?

The Union Minister addressed the inaugural ceremony of the Joint Scientific Assembly of International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) – International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior (IASPEI). 

About the Joint Assembly:
  1. The IAGA-IASPEI have come together to hold a joint assembly in 2021. The assembly is being hosted by the CSIR-NGRI with the support of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
    • Note: CSIR-NGRI denotes Council of Scientific and Industrial Research–National Geophysical Research Institute
Key Highlights from the address:
  • The Indian subcontinent is considered as one of the world’s most disaster-prone areas in terms of earthquakes, landslides, cyclones, floods and tsunamis.
  • In the last six decades, India had only 115 Earthquake Observatories. In future, India is going to have 35 more earthquake Observatories by the end of 2021 and 100 more such Observatories in the next five years. 
National Centre for Seismology(NCS):
  1. NCS is an office of India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences. The office monitors earthquakes and conducts seismological research. Specifically, it provides earthquake surveillance and hazard reports to governmental agencies. 
  2. Divisions: It consists of various divisions. Such as,
    • Earthquake Monitoring & Services
    • Earthquake Hazard & Risk Assessments
    • Geophysical Observation Systems.
  3. In 2017, NCS launched a mobile app called “IndiaQuake”. The app provides real-time information about the parameters of earthquakes occurring in India.
Read more: Why North-East is More Vulnerable to Earthquakes? – Explained, Pointwise


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