9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – August 24th, 2022

Dear Friends,

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

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

Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC IAS Prelims 2022

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Reviewing remission – SC should lay down norms for release of convicts on remission

Source: The post is based on the article “Reviewing remission – SC should lay down norms for release of convicts on remission” published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Criminal Justice System.

Relevance: About the remission of convicts.

News: Recently, the Gujarat government released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano murder and gang rape case of 2002 under its remission and premature release policy. This should be subject to judicial review.

About the recent case on remission of convicts

During the case, the Supreme Court transferred the case from Gujarat (where the crime occurred) to Maharashtra to ensure a fair and impartial trial. Later the convict petitioned to know whether Gujarat government or the Maharashtra government was the appropriate government for considering their plea for remission.

In that, the Supreme Court held that the Gujarat should consider the matter, and not Maharashtra. During the case, the court also said that the remission should be considered under a policy framed in 1992, as that was the prevailing policy on the date of their 2008 conviction.

Read more: Remission or premature release of convicts: The injustice of exceptionalism
What did the government permitted a remission of convicts?
Read here: Explained: Why the 11 convicts in Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out of jail
What are the concerns associated with the recent remission of convicts?

1) State government made a decision on its own without consulting with the Centre. Under Section 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, such consultation with the Centre is mandatory in cases probed by the CBI.

2) Ideally, a remission panel should comprise senior government officials in charge of home or law, a district judge, the prison superintendent, and officers who deal with probation and rehabilitation of offenders. But in the recent remission, the panel consists of legislators.  The presence of political members invalidate the decision.

3) The objection of the district judge concerned was disregarded while remission. Thus creates confusion on the legitimacy of the remission.

Read more: The Issue of Marital Rape – Explained, pointwise
What should be done in future while remitting convicts?

The Supreme Court should constitute a Bench a) To reconsider judgments that allow the remission policy obtaining on the date of conviction, instead of the policy currently in force, b) To address whether the ‘appropriate government’ should be the one in the State where the crime took place, or the State to which the trial was transferred on judicial orders should be responsible for remission, c) To formulate a rational remission policy that will be based on humanitarian considerations and have the scope for reform of the offenders and their sense of remorse.


Are freebies a way to mask state inaction?

Source: The post is based on the article “Are freebies a way to mask state inaction?” published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

Relevance: About the impact of freebies.

News: In promising freebies, the political parties and members play with the ground reality of the fiscal condition of the state.

What are freebies?
Read here: PM’s ‘revdi’ remark: We need to disentangle good subsidies from bad
The evolution of freebies in various states

In Tamil Nadu, DMK founder C.N. Annadurai provided just 1 kg of rice for ₹1 after he got elected. Later the freebies got expanded beyond rice, to gas stoves, colour TVs, laptops, payments for household work etc.

The Delhi government has notably offered water and electricity (up to a certain limit) free to the city’s voters.

The Himachal Pradesh government is offering locals free power upto 125 units, along with free water in villages and a 50% discount on bus fares for women.

In Assam, the State government has announced direct and indirect cash benefit schemes worth ₹6,000 crores impacting nine lakh beneficiaries.

Every year, governments at the Centre and State expand the distribution of private goods such as LPG cylinders to ordinary citizens.

Read more: The ‘freebies’ debate
What are the impacts of freebies?

Neglect the necessary infrastructure: Instead of building public assets, social capacity and society, the policymakers shifted their attention towards direct transfers and welfarism (via distribution of private goods for free). This causes a lack of government interest in delivering good public services.

Financial burden on state exchequer: Recently announced freebies in many States are difficult to fund. For instance, According to the RBI data, Andhra Pradesh announced freebies in FY23 that would consume almost 30.3% of its own tax revenue; for Madhya Pradesh, this figure was close to 28.8%; for Punjab, this was around 45.4%; and for West Bengal, it was about 23.8%. All of this will increase the government debt-to-GDP ratio.

Increase NPA: Over the past five years, banks have written off loans worth ₹10 lakh crore. The share of public sector banks in such NPA write-offs was typically between 60% and 80%.

Cost to the voter: When promised freebies are fulfilled, then ordinary voter has to pay the cost in the form of higher taxes or the opportunity cost of less development.

Must Read: End this asymmetrical conflict over ‘freebies’
What should be done?

a) Governments announcing freebies should be required to provide a funding plan to bolster Parliament (and State Assembly) budgetary understanding and enhance their ability to act. The Election Commission should push political parties to provide a funding mechanism for such promises., b) A Budgetary Office should be established to aid in writing policies and conducting budgetary analysis, c) Transfers towards capital expenditure schemes should be prioritised over other schemes.

Read more: Should there be limits on ‘freebies’?

So, to end the freebie culture, governments must stick to fiscal probity and make credible policies. This will provide a network of competent public hospitals, high-quality schools and provides an enabling environment for the working population to build skills etc.


Reinvigorating the Chabahar port

Source: The post is based on the article Reinvigorating the Chabahar port published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – International relations.

Relevance: Chabahar port and concerns associated with it

News: The Union government has increased its developing Iran’s Chabahar port to connect to Afghanistan and Central Asia for trade.

The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Mr. Sonowal visited Iran recently.

This visit highlights the importance of Chabahar as a gateway for Indian trade with Europe, Russia and CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries.

What is India’s strategic vision for Chabahar?

Read About Chabahar project

The first agreement for Chabahar was signed by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003. The plan had a three-fold objective:

  1. To build India’s first offshore port and to project Indian infrastructure skills in the Gulf;
  2. To build a long term, sustainable sea trade route, as an alternative to Pakistan;
  3. and to find an alternative land route to Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government constructed the Zaranj -Delaram Highway in Afghanistan’s South. The Highway would help connect the trade route from the border of Iran to the main trade routes to Herat and Kabul.

With China’s Belt and Road Initiative making inroads in the region, the government hopes to provide Central Asia with an alternate route to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through Iran for future trade.

What is the India’s future vision?

India’s vision to make the Shahid Beheshti port a “a transit hub” and link it to the International North South Trade Corridor (INSTC) that also connects to Russia and Europe.

What hurdles India is facing in completion of the Chabahar project?

The development of the Shahid Beheshti terminal in Chabahar as well as surrounding infrastructure has hit geopolitical road-block due to the following reasons:

  1. The US sanctions against the Iran has been a setback for the Chabahar port. The US walked out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 and new sanctions were imposed on Iran. This caused India to stop its all oil imports from Iran which led in a strain in ties between the two nations.
  2. It became difficult to source equipment for the port construction from infrastructure companies and to engage shipping and insurance companies for trade through Chabahar because they have fear of secondary sanctions.
  3. The Indian government also ended ties with Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in August 2021. It put an end to the humanitarian aid of wheat and pulses that was being sent to Kabul via Chabahar.
  4. Recently when India restarted wheat aid to Afghanistan this year, it negotiated with Pakistan to use the land route.

India at 75 looking at 100: Equitable access should be the goal

Source: The post is based on the article “India at 75 looking at 100: Equitable access should be the goal” published in the Indian Express on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS-2, Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

News: At present, India is celebrating the 75th Year of Independence. Therefore, there are various voices for aspirations for India at 100 Years.

Why should India focus on investing in education and health in the next 25 years?

First, although India has a good quality of education and healthcare system, equity has no place in such outliers.

Second, Education and health are fundamental to every society. For example, Indian education produces global CEOs and Indian private healthcare systems have been providing services to medical tourists from many parts of the world.

Third, schooling plays a foundational role in not just societal development, but equity, gender parity, and a host of other consequential shifts.

Fourth, India has islands of excellence in primary care and outstanding clinical services but doesn’t always provide sustained care as they are unaffordable to most of the section of Indian people.

How can India ensure high-quality education and healthcare at 100 years?

(1) To help children achieve their full cognitive potential, foundational education must begin at an early stage at home, and then in schools, before we get to institutions of higher learning. Parents must focus on the verbal engagement and sensorimotor stimulation of the children. Further, there must be trained, competent and engaged teachers in schools.

(2) In families, socioeconomic status determines the amount and quality of the interaction between children and parents in their early life. Therefore, there should be functional schools to mitigate such deprived environments. Here, the functionality of schools comes from the quality and commitment of teachers.

(3) The schools and teachers should act as agents of change and help in the realization of the transformational power of education. However, this is difficult to achieve if the schools are working based on a one-size-fits-all approach of a standardized curriculum and limited assessment of knowledge and competencies.

(4) In addition to improving the schooling system, India must strengthen vocational training centers like Industrial Training Institutes, and simultaneously, reduce the number of degrees that do not serve as a gateway to professional development or knowledge acquisition in the education system.

(5) India needs to create and maintain opportunities at all levels of our educational system in order to ensure equity. To do so, India must ensure that finances are not a barrier to education for anyone.

Healthcare

(1) Education of women can play a major role in the reduction of fertility, safer births and better health of children, and increased social status.

(2) Healthcare must move beyond maternal and child health packages and programs to treat diseases. There should be a focus on enabling people to increase control over, and improve their health, preventing life-threatening diseases, and improving palliative care for patients of such diseases.

(3) Treating a bulk of illnesses does not require hospitals. It requires placing healthcare providers close to patients by creating proper and functional physical and digital infrastructure. In this regard, India should focus on making primary healthcare truly functional, to prevent illness and high out-of-pocket expenses on health.

(4) The right people with the right resources should be placed at the right places to create the right and rapid referral pathways so that delays in care do not result in unnecessary burdens on individuals and their families.

(5) The regulatory governance systems for the private sector must be improved to ensure that no part of the country is a health “desert”.


The case of the missing scientific Indian

Source: The post is based on the article “The case of the missing scientific Indian” published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

News: This 75th year of Independence is a major milestone for India. This is a time to take stock of the developments in science education in India over the last seven decades.

In the 1950s and 1960s, a solid foundation for modern science was built by Indian scientists. They were facilitated by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

However, despite making significant scientific advancement in research fields, India has failed to propagate scientific literacy and scientific temper, not only among the public, but also among scientists themselves.

What are the causes for loss of scientific temper?

(1) Scientists themselves have been part of the problem. The eminent molecular biologist, Pushpa Bhargava, resigned from the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences in 1994, protesting the lack of commitment to “science-related social problems” by the scientist occupying high positions.

(2) Lack of commitment to scientific temper: Pushpa Bhargava once said, the bulk of scientists in the country, were themselves not committed to scientific temper which calls for rationality, reason and lack of belief in any dogma, superstition or manifest falsehood. Therefore, India has not produced any Nobel Prize winner in science since 1930

(3) India has provided a fertile ground for pseudoscience to prevail. For example, an astrology course was introduced in a national open university and there is official backing of the therapeutic properties of cow excreta despite no scientific validation of this.

(4) Onslaught of disinformation: Side by side the information revolution, there are currents of onslaught of fake news, conspiracy theories and manufactured ‘truths’ on the internet world. This disinformation weakens human rights and many elements of democracy.

(5) The politicians and administrators have not moved away from their blind beliefs towards scientific temper.

What have been the consequences of loss of scientific temper?

It has left much of our national psyche a prisoner of obscurantism. It has paved the way for retrogressive religion-based politics at the expense of constitutionally guaranteed secular values.

What should be the future course of action?

Fundamental Duties: Article 51A of the Constitution, inserted through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, says, “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.”

The Western lesson to denounce pseudoscience: Several years ago, when some Christian revivalist groups in the U.S. wanted Creationism into the science curriculum as an alternate theory to the scientific theory of the origin of the human species, the proposals were summarily decried, and rejected by the National Academy of Sciences.

It should be kept in mind that “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge”. There should be evidence-based decisions and the development of critical thinking using time-tested and successful methodologies followed in science.

The science academies have a role to inspire the country to attain greater science literacy among the public.


Dolo, Docs & Pharma

Source: The post is based on an article “Dolo, Docs & Pharma” published in The Times of India on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation; Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Relevance: Issues Medical Professionals and Pharma Industry Relationship; Out of Pocket Expenditure etc.

News: In recent times, Bengaluru-based Micro Labs was accused of offering freebies to doctors to promote its paracetamol brand Dolo 650. This led to sharp criticism of the relationship between the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry due to scandals involving freebies to doctors.

What are the problems in the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry relationship?

Traditionally, pharma companies need to inform and update doctors about their products. But there is a thin dividing line between legitimate promotional activities (normal samples, pens, writing pads, small printed books, hand sanitizers, and masks) and illegitimate incentivization (like pharma-sponsored trips to foreign countries.). Therefore, most of the promotion seems to be going in the wrong direction.

One of the biggest sources of income for hospitals is the profit margin on drugs. Therefore, doctors tend to prescribe high-cost drugs, rather than cheaper generic medicines, to their patients.

Although there are codes of conduct that attempt to draw a thin line between legitimate promotional activities and illegitimate ones.  For example, MNC pharma companies are bound to comply with their internal codes of conduct. But such voluntary ethics codes have failed so far.

Why have voluntary codes and guidelines in healthcare been ignored with impunity and regularity?

Both medical professionals and the pharma industry are enthusiastic about their mutual interests. These are:

(1) For pharma it is a way to push new products, including irrational combinations.

(2) For the medical profession it is a bonanza of individual gifts and trips, and for medical associations to earn money through conferences.

What should be the course of action?

Pandemic-inspired opportunity for reform: Covid-19 has made ordinary citizens acutely aware of the dangers of unregulated healthcare in India. For example, drug prescriptions and costs have aroused their suspicions. Thus, covid has created a sense of urgency for collective action on healthcare.

In India, the previous MCI code and the upcoming ethics code of the National Medical Commission label gifting and hospitality as unethical conduct.

Federation of Medical and Sale Representatives Association of India (FMRAI) has asked the SC for early implementation of the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP), which is currently a voluntary code on paper. The apex court has agreed to examine their plea seeking direction to the Centre to give teeth to UCPMP by making it law, thus ensuring an effective monitoring mechanism and transparency as well as punishments for violations.


Right About Rights

Source: The post is based on an article “Right about rights” published in The Times of India on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Important Provisions of the Constitution of India

News: The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down some controversial dimensions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, and the parent legislation enacted in 1988.

About the SC verdict or judgment

The judgment has declared those 2016 amendments null and void or unconstitutional. The amendments sought to bypass constitutional safeguards, that are mentioned in Article 20 of the Constitution, against retrospective application of penal provisions.

The amendment has also reversed the burden of proof and attached criminal provisions to it. It includes up to 7 years of rigorous imprisonment. This leads to a violation of the principle of natural justice and can lead to potential abuse by the prosecution.  (Note: Such a burden of proof inversion has also been highlighted by the SC in PMLA)

What will be the implications of the judgment

The welcome outcome of the verdict is that prosecution proceedings for transactions entered prior to the notification of the amendments in 2016 stand quashed.

What should be the course of action?

The Supreme Court is mandated to safeguard the constitutional rights and principles of natural justice.

While dealing with economic offenses, the laws should not circumvent established principles that safeguard against the miscarriage of justice and abuse of power, in an effort to produce results.

SC bench suggested that the government should prioritize getting back the money stolen by economic fugitives.

GS Paper 3


Our open network for digital commerce must win trust

Source: The post is based on the article “Our open network for digital commerce must win trust” published in Livemint on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Relevance: To understand the challenges associated with the ONDC.

News: The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) aims to make India towards democratizing e-commerce. But there are certain challenges associated with the ONDC.

What is ONDC?
Must read: Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) – Explained, pointwise
What is the need for ONDC?

E-commerce platforms act as trusted intermediaries between buyers and sellers, offering a safe and secure online marketplace. They played an important role in ensuring that consumers receive the timely delivery of quality goods, and merchants are able to supply goods with the help of necessary logistical support and receive payments in time.

But over-reliance on platforms raises concerns of concentration risk and exclusion. The ONDC aims to address such concerns by promoting unbundling and interoperability in the e-commerce ecosystem through an open e-marketplace.

Read more: ONDC is the disruption Indian commerce needs
What are the challenges associated with the ONDC?

The challenges include

a) Potential risks and unintended consequences, feasibility and the challenges of scalability.

b) ONDC makes network participants responsible for managing the order’s life cycle such as catalogue management, order management, invoicing, logistics, customer support, returns and others. Eventually, they might look for network participants to ensure end-to-end transaction surety, especially small scale businesses.

c) The ONDC envisages that a buyer and seller need not be on the same application to discover each other, but will have the ability to connect through different apps. So, a network participant can simultaneously play both buyer and seller. This might create ambiguities. The applicable laws may also differ from the roles that players play in the ONDC ecosystem.

d) Since the platform is open and decentralized, suspicious elements might join the network as service providers, sellers or consumers. This creates challenges in accountability and redressal of grievances.

e) ONDC is incorporated as a not-for-profit company, it is majority owned by private sector institutions. Most of them are likely to act as or have an interest in, network participants, directly or indirectly. This may lead to conflicts of interest in the decisions of ONDC.

f) Consumers and merchants are the targeted beneficiaries of ONDC. But their role in ONDC governance or rule-making processes is limited.

Read more: Addressing the challenges in new-age digital commerce

Entities in the e-commerce ecosystem should proactively engage with the ONDC to obtain more transparency and approach integration accordingly.


Investing abroad rules revamped to increase ease

Source: The post is based on the article Investing abroad rules revamped to increase ease published in The Business Standard on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Economy.

News: The Union government recently, strengthened overseas investment rules for Indian entities to impart greater clarity and improve the ease of doing business.

Why overseas investment rule is needed?

India doesn’t have full convertibility on the capital account.

It is important for the government and the RBI to monitor overseas transactions by Indian entities because of their wider implications for currency management and financial stability.

The policy establishment has made it easier for Indian entities to acquire businesses and other assets abroad.

The rule is aimed at bringing clarity to enable Indian businesses to integrate with the global value chain.

What are the new rules?

The new rules clearly differentiate between direct and portfolio investment and put in place clear guidelines.

Indian Entity: An Indian entity can make overseas direct investment (ODI) by taking an equity stake in a genuine business through various possible means like bidding, tendering etc. The arrangement should be in accordance with the law applicable in India or the host country.

Indian Entity engaged in financial services: The entities engaged in financial services in India can make ODI directly or indirectly, in a foreign entity, engaged in financial services.

Indian Entity not engaged in financial services: An Indian entity not engaged in financial services can also make an ODI in a foreign entity engaged in financial services, except in banking and insurance.

Prescribed Limit: The commitment by an Indian entity in all foreign entities put together should not exceed 400 per cent of its net worth. In the case of overseas portfolio investment (OPI), it should not exceed 50 per cent of net worth.

Individuals: Individuals can make an ODI or OPI but the limit would be subject to the liberalized remittance scheme of the RBI.

An individual can acquire foreign securities without any limits by way of inheritance from a person resident in India.

However, the rules prohibit Indians from investing in foreign entities engaged in real estate activity, gambling, or dealing with products linked to the Indian rupee without the RBI’s permission.


Let UPI stay successful as a special public good

Source: The post is based on the article Let UPI stay successful as a special public good” published in Live Mint on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Economy

Relevance: Issues associated with UPI.

News: No service is costless but some deserve a public subsidy. While UPI is our prime mover in the online payments space, we could also count on an RBI-issued e-rupee to help us go cashless.

What is the current situation of India in online payment?

India’s present digital payment system is featured by following 2 points:

First, we have confusing payment mechanisms: from RTGS and NEFT to IMPS and UPI.

Second, ‘India Stack’ has been remarkably successful. It is the building block for digital enablers with Aadhaar identification at its base.

What is the issue with the UPI payments?

Merchants are paid very less from National Payments Corp of India’s (NPCI) Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which shifts cash from one bank account to another by using verified phone numbers.

Centre ended a 0.3% fee on deal value (or ₹100 if lower) that recipients had to pay to boost cashless transactions.

As estimated by the RBI, UPI transactions cost 0.25% of transactions and central funds to compensate financial intermediaries for it have fallen short.

For any system to sustain itself it must not burden private players.

UPI as a Digital Public Good and concerns associated with it

The finance ministry described UPI as a “digital public good” due its convenience for users and potential gains for our economy.

A public good is one that satisfies a need and is free for anyone to use. According to economists, any scarcity of such goods would lead to over-exploitation which will result in a net drop in welfare.

Concerns: The payment volumes will likely go beyond an annual ₹120 trillion, so its subsidy bill could increase over ₹30,000 crore in 2023-24. In order to cut the cost of the subsidy, it will be better for the Centre to come up with the operational expense of the UPI payments.

What should be the course of action for government?

The state should not subsidize other modes of online payment, especially those which are costlier to operate and used for larger sum.

Rupay card which is operated by NPCI was launched as a rival to Visa and Mastercard networks. It should charge merchants a fee and act only as a cost competitor.

‘Smart money’ usage can be made chargeable even as basic transfers are kept free.


The implications of the 5G roll-out for law enforcement

Source: The post is based on an article “The implications of the 5G roll-out for law enforcement” published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS-3, Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology

News: In the recent past, the Prime Minister of India announced that 5G deployment in India will commence sooner than expected. As per some reports, there are expectations that the government may launch 5G at the inauguration of the India Mobile Congress on September 29.

Importance of 5G Network from the angle of law enforcement in India

(A) Ensuring security

(1) The police can have faster access to critical information in real-time, and it would be able to nab criminals. This is because the 5G has high bandwidth and will allow ultra-fast Internet speeds with low latency. The police devices such as body cams, facial recognition technology, automatic number-plate recognition, drones, and CCTVs, working on the 5G network would perform better.

(2) The increased storage capacity promised by 5G will allow the police to streamline their investigation methods.

(3) 5G will also allow rapid and secure communication within the organization as well as between civilians and emergency responders.

What are the challenges in the adoption of the 5G network?

(A) Most police systems in India are outdated and do not have infrastructure that is compatible with 5G.

(B) Cybersecurity concerns

(1) India has a poor cybersecurity foundation. For example, India’s previous networks were hardware-based, but 5G is a software-defined digital routing. Therefore, India’s networks are susceptible to cyber threats such as botnet attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) overloads.

(2) 5G lacks end-to-end encryption. Therefore, hackers can hack into systems to perpetrate cybercrimes

(3) The 5G led bandwidth expansion will enable criminals to embezzle databases easily. Further, the frequency of attacks would increase with time as more devices will be connected to the 5G network,

(4) Due to a faster network, there could be a lower probability of criminals getting caught after commissioning identity theft or credit card fraud or stealing information from computers, smartphones, and tablets.

(5) 5G may also make it easier for criminals to perpetrate cyberbullying.

(6) It could be easy to carry out DDoS onslaughts because of the real-time communication capabilities between multiple criminal groups.

(7) 5G would enable hackers to enter into Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and commit crimes. For example, an IoT vehicle can be hacked to cause an accident or make a ransom to collect insurance money, etc.

(8) Further, Terrorists would be able to execute attacks more rapidly and precisely with a 5G network.

What are solutions for fighting new-age crimes?

First, the Indian police will need to be trained so that they are able to recognize new 5G-enabled crimes.

Second, there should be the development of training programs that focus on such 5G-enabled crimes.

Third, the government and telecom companies could think of setting up a 5G crime monitoring task force to monitor and identify new crimes and develop countermeasures.

Fourth, it is imperative to create regulations that make it a crime for people to use 5G technology to commit crimes.

Fifth, regulations may also require telecom companies to allow police officers access to their equipment to track the location of victims and perpetrators of 5G-facilitated crimes for countermeasures.

Sixth, law enforcement agencies will have to evolve strategies to identify victims of 5G-facilitated crimes in India, locate them, and take action against the perpetrators of such crimes.

Seventh, law enforcement agencies should have the necessary infrastructure to take full advantage of all that 5G can offer. The government must provide funds to invest in modern tools, software and infrastructure.


Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

India’s sex ratio at birth normalises slightly

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s sex ratio at birth normalises slightlypublished in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

What is the News?

Pew Research Center has released a report titled ‘India’s sex ratio at birth begin to normalise’. 

What are the key findings of the report?
Sex ratio at birth
Source: Pew Research

India’s Sex Ratio: The world over, boys modestly outnumber girls at birth, at a ratio of approximately 105 male babies for every 100 female babies.

That was the ratio in India in the 1950s and 1960s, before prenatal sex tests became available across the country.

Abortion was legalized in the country in 1971. However, once prenatal testing allowed Indian families to learn the sex of a fetus during pregnancy, sex selection took off. 

After this, the sex ratio at birth widened rapidly from about 105 boys per 100 girls before 1970, to 108 boys per 100 girls in the early 1980s; it reached 110 in the 1990s.

Now the sex ratio at birth has normalised slightly over the last decade, narrowing to 108 boys born for every 100 girls in 2019-21.

Religion-wise Sex Ratio

Hindus: Hindus have a sex ratio of around 109 boys to 100 girls.

Sikhs: In the 2001 census, Sikhs had a sex ratio at birth of 130 males per 100 females, far exceeding that year’s national average of 110. By the 2011 census, the Sikh ratio had narrowed to 121 boys per 100 girls. According to the latest NFHS data, it now revolves around 110.

Christians and Muslims: Both Christians (105 boys to 100 girls) and Muslims (106 boys to 100 girls) have sex ratios close to the natural norm.

Missing Girls: The average annual number of baby girls “missing” in India fell from about 480,000 (4.8 lakh) in 2010 to 410,000 (4.1 lakh) in 2019. The “missing” here refers to how many more female births would have occurred during this time if there were no female-selective abortions. 

Read more: Reading sex ratio trends in NFHS-5 data
What is the significance of this data?

This data suggests that Indian families are becoming less likely to use abortions to ensure the birth of sons rather than daughters. 

This follows years of government efforts to curb sex selection – including a ban on prenatal sex tests and a massive advertising campaign urging parents to “save the girl child” – and coincides with broader social changes such as rising education and wealth.

Must read: The implications of a skewed sex ratio for India

Commerce Minister releases report on ‘Restructuring of Department of Commerce’

Source: The post is based on the articleCommerce Minister releases report on  Restructuring of Department of Commerce” published in PIB on 23rd August 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry has released the ‘Department of Commerce Restructuring Dossier’.

What is the purpose of the “Department of Commerce Restructuring Dossier” Report?

Aim: To prepare India to become a key global player in world trade. 

Pillars: The restructuring rests on 5 major pillars: 1) Increasing India’s share in global trade, 2) assuming the leadership role in multilateral organizations, 3) democratization of trade, 4) creating 100 Indian Brands as Global Champions and 5) setting up Economic Zones in India to strengthen the manufacturing base and attract greater investments to India.

What are the steps planned as part of the restructuring of the Department of Commerce?

– A dedicated Trade Promotion Body will be set up to drive the formulation & execution of the promotion strategy.

Digitization of trade facilitation processes.

– A Trade Intelligence & Analytics wing is proposed to be set up for in-house analytics and dissemination capabilities. Trade Watch Tower within the wing will proactively identify market risks and opportunities.

Capacity building of Indian Trade Service to drive specialization & institutional memory.


Number of women scientists up; CSIR head aims at further push

Source: The post is based on the article “Number of women scientists up; CSIR head aims at further push” published in Indian Express on 23rd August 2022.

What is the News?

The recent appointment of Dr N Kalaiselvi as the first woman director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) underlined a significant trend of participation of women in scientific research.

What is the data regarding the participation of women in science and other fields?
Women in science
Source: Indian Express

Women Researchers: The percentage of women among researchers went from 13.9% in 2015 to 18.7% in 2018.

– However, still, women researchers in engineering and technology are fewer than in natural sciences, health and agriculture. But the percentage of women researchers in the social sciences and humanities is much higher at 36.4%.

– Participation (of women) is healthy till the postgraduate level. But there is a drop at the post-doctoral level, where most of the research takes place.

Women in R&D Projects: Around 28% of participants in extramural Research & Development projects in 2018-19 were women, up from 13% in 2000-01.

– The number of women principal investigators in R&D had risen more than four times from 232 in 2000-01 to 941 in 2016-17.

Women in Science Education: Results of All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2019 showed 53% and 55% participation of women in science education at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels respectively. But at the doctoral level, women graduates (44%) lagged behind men (56%).

Department of Science and Technology: Out of the 97 scientists in the Department of Science and Technology (DST), 35 are women.

– The big achievement is that 11 out of 18 divisions in the DST are now headed by women, that is 61%, probably the largest percentage of women in leadership in any government department.

Other Institutions: Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure(CDRI) has 18%, NIPER Hyderabad 21%, and Defence Bio-Engineering and Electro-Medical Lab(DEBEL) in Bangalore has 33%.

What are the initiatives by the Government to promote Women in Science?

Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions(GATI)

Vigyan Jyoti Programme

Other Initiatives


Govt. amends Supreme Court Judges Rules

Source: The post is based on the article “Govt. amends Supreme Court Judges Rules” published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

What is the News?

The government of India has released the Supreme Court Judges (Amendment) Rules, 2022.

What is the purpose of Supreme Court Judges (Amendment) Rules, 2022?

The rules amend the original Supreme Court Judges Rules of 1959 in the exercise of powers conferred to it under the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act, 1958.

This amendment adds certain additions to the post-retirement benefits that SC judges receive.

What are the additional retirement benefits added?

A retired Chief Justice or retired Judges will be entitled to a security cover round the clock at the residence, in addition, to round a clock personal security guard for a year from the date of retirement.

A retired Chief Justice shall be entitled to a rent-free Type VII accommodation at Delhi (apart from the designated official residence) for six months from the date of retirement.

A retired Chief Justice or a retired Judge shall be entitled to a protocol to extend courtesies at ceremonial lounges at airports.

A chauffeur (equivalent to a chauffeur in the Supreme Court) and secretarial assistant (equivalent to the level of branch officer in the Supreme Court) shall be deployed with retired Chief Justices and retired Judges of the Supreme Court from the date of retirement for one year.


Study of dust from cosmic dance of a white dwarf and companion star could unravel mysteries behind start of life

Source: The post is based on the articleStudy of dust from cosmic dance of a white dwarf and companion star could unravel mysteries behind start of lifepublished in PIB on 23rd August 2022.

What is the News?

Scientists from SN Bose Centre for Basic Science(SNBCBS) studied the thick dust formed around the novae called Nova V1280 Scorpii. The study of this cosmic dust could unravel the mysteries behind the start of life.

What are Novae and Supernova?

A nova is an explosion from the surface of a white dwarf star in a binary star system. A nova occurs when the white dwarf, which is the dense core of a once-normal star, steals gas from its nearby companion star. When enough gas builds up on the surface of the white dwarf it triggers an explosion. 

A supernova is a violent stellar explosion that can shine as brightly as an entire galaxy of billions of normal stars. 

What is Cosmic Dust?

Cosmic dust is also called extraterrestrial dust or space dust. It is dust which exists in outer space or has fallen on Earth.

Cosmic dust was once solely an annoyance to astronomers, as it obscures objects they wished to observe. 

When infrared astronomy began, the dust particles were observed to be significant and vital components of astrophysical processes. Their analysis can reveal information about phenomena like the formation of the Solar System

For example, cosmic dust can drive the mass loss when a star is nearing the end of its life, play a part in the early stages of star formation, and form planets.


New ODI regulations: Govt allows investment in financial services abroad

Source: The post is based on the article “New ODI regulations: Govt allows investment in financial services abroad” published in Business Standard on 24th August 2022.

What is the News?

The Finance Ministry has released the Foreign Exchange Management (Overseas Investment) Rules, 2022. The rules are aimed at easing rules for domestic firms that want to invest abroad. 

What are the key provisions of the New ODI regulations?

Annual Performance Report: Any resident in India acquiring equity capital in a foreign entity or overseas direct investment(ODI) will have to submit an Annual Performance Report (APR) for each foreign entity, every year by December 31. 

No such reporting shall be required where a person resident in India is holding less than 10% of the equity capital without control in the foreign entity and there is no other financial commitment other than equity capital or a foreign entity is under liquidation.

Overseas Direct Investment(ODI) by Resident Individual: Any resident individual can make an ODI by way of investment in equity capital or overseas portfolio investment(OPI) subject to the overall ceiling under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank. 

– Currently, the LRS permits $2,50,000 in outward investment by an individual in a year.

Investment in Financial Firms abroad: Indian companies not in financial services can now directly invest in financial-services firms abroad, such as brokerages, asset management funds, and credit cards under the automatic route. Banks and insurance firms have been kept out of this. Earlier, such investment was prohibited.

Strategic Sector: The new rules introduced the concept of “strategic sector”, which gives the government the powers to permit overseas investment in excess of the limits prescribed under the rules.

– The strategic sector shall include energy, natural resources and such other sectors as may be decided by the government from time to time in view of the evolving business requirements.

Prohibitions for overseas investment: Any Indian resident who has been classified as a wilful defaulter or is under investigation by the CBI, the ED or the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) will have to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from his or her bank, regulatory body or investigative agency before making any overseas financial commitment or disinvestment of overseas assets.

– If the lenders, the concerned regulatory body or investigative agency fail to furnish the NOC within 60 days of receiving an application, it may be presumed that they have no objection to the proposed transaction.


Benami law cant be applied retrospectively: SC

Source: The post is based on the articleBenami law cant be applied retrospectively: SCpublished in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has struck down two vital provisions of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 which were introduced in the Benami law in 2016.

Background

In 2016, the Government of India enacted the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act of 2016. The law amended the original Benami Act of 1988.

Section 3 (2) introduced through the amendment mandates a punishment of three years imprisonment for those who have entered into Benami transactions between September 5, 1988, and October 25, 2016. That is, a person can be sent behind bars for a Benami transaction entered into 28 years before the section even came into existence.

Section 5 said that any property which is the subject matter of a benami transaction shall be liable to be confiscated by the Central Government.

In 2019, the Calcutta High Court ruled that the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 cannot be applied retrospectively. The Central government then appealed to the Supreme Court against this judgement.

What was the Supreme Court verdict on these amendments?

The Supreme Court has declared Sections 3(2) and 5 introduced through this amendment as unconstitutional and held that these provisions cannot be applied retrospectively.

The court also held that the amendment also violated Article 20(1) of the Constitution. Article 20(1) mandates that no person should be convicted of an offence which was not in force “at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence”.

The court dismissed the government’s version that forfeiture, acquisition and confiscation of property under the 2016 Act was not in the nature of prosecution and cannot be restricted under Article 20.


Legal Aid Defence Counsel system launched in 365 districts

Source: The post is based on the article “Legal Aid Defence Counsel system launched in 365 districts” published in The Tribune on 23rd August 2022.

What is the News?

NALSA Executive Chairman has launched the Legal Aid Defence Counsel (LADC) system in 365 districts in 22 states across India.

What is the Legal Aid Defence Counsel(LADC) system?

Launched by: National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

Purpose: To provide free legal aid to poor people facing criminal cases to defend themselves during trial.

Why was the LADC system launched?

In India, where 70% of the population is below the poverty line, the number of cases with NALSA, especially on the criminal side, is only about 10-12%.

The rest of the marginalized population was engaging private counsels even at the cost of losing their assets – selling their jewellery and mortgaging their houses.

Hence, to extend legal aid to these marginalized populations, the LADC system has been launched.


Mains Answer Writing

A push for semiconductor industry

Source– The post is based on the article “A push for semiconductor industry” published in The Hindu on 27th September 2022. Syllabus: GS3- Indian economy Relevance– semiconductor manufacturing News– The article explains the size of the semiconductor industry. It also talks about the Indian government scheme to promote semiconductor manufacturing in India and the challenges… Continue reading A push for semiconductor industry

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NASA’s risk focus adds up and so does the US Fed’s

Source: The post is based on an article “Nasa’s risk focus adds up and so does the US Fed’s” published in The Live Mint on 27th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Science and technology development Relevance: problems associated with space weaponization. News: NASA is estimated to have invested above $320 million in Dart (Double Asteroid Redirection Test). It is… Continue reading NASA’s risk focus adds up and so does the US Fed’s

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Why PLI Is Worth Doing

Source: The post is based on an article “Why PLI Is Worth Doing” published in The Times of India on 27th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Industries and industrial policies Relevance: advantages and problems associated with Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme. News: Vedanta Foxconn semiconductor factory in Gujarat has received an investment of $20 billion through the government’s flagship… Continue reading Why PLI Is Worth Doing

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Pitching India as a signature destination

Source: The post is based on an article “Pitching India as a signature destination” published in The Hindu on 27th September 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 – Industries and industrial policies Relevance: tourism sector in India and problems associated with it. News:  World Tourism Day is celebrated on 27th September 2022 but tourism sector has been severely impacted by the pandemic… Continue reading Pitching India as a signature destination

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Death penalty: Deciding the rarest of the rare

Source– The post is based on the article “Death penalty: Deciding the rarest of the rare” published in The Indian Express on 27th September 2022. Syllabus: GS2- Fundamental rights provided by Indian constitution News– The article explains the current framework for providing capital punishment. It also explains the weakness of this framework. Recently Supreme Court… Continue reading Death penalty: Deciding the rarest of the rare

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Samarkand: a miniature of an emerging world

Source– The post is based on the article “Samarkand: a miniature of an emerging world ” published in The Hindu on 27th September 2022. Syllabus: GS2- International Relations Relevance– About Emerging world order News– The article explains the current global situation. It also tells about the new developments at the SCO summit in Samarkand and… Continue reading Samarkand: a miniature of an emerging world

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Could constitutional monarchy crack a democratic conundrum?

Source– The post is based on the article “Could constitutional monarchy crack a democratic conundrum?” published in the mint on 27th September 2022. Syllabus: GS2- Indian Polity Relevance– Threats to democracy News– The article explains the relevance of constitutional monarchy in context of emergence of demagogues across democracies in the world. It also explains the… Continue reading Could constitutional monarchy crack a democratic conundrum?

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Sittanavasal, a Jain heritage site in Tamil Nadu, battles the elements

Source: The post is based on the article “Sittanavasal, a Jain heritage site in Tamil Nadu, battles the elements” published in The Hindu on 25th September 2022. What is the News? At least three-fourths of the art in Sittanavasal is either damaged or vandalised. This is due to unrestricted public access and general exposure to the elements. About… Continue reading Sittanavasal, a Jain heritage site in Tamil Nadu, battles the elements

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Broad-billed sandpiper spotted for the first time at Nanjarayan tank bird sanctuary

Source: The post is based on the article “Broad-billed sandpiper spotted for the first time at Nanjarayan tank bird sanctuary” published in The Hindu on 25th September 2022. What is the News? Broad-billed sandpiper (Calidris falcinellus) has been spotted for the first time at Nanjarayan tank bird sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. What is a Broad-billed… Continue reading Broad-billed sandpiper spotted for the first time at Nanjarayan tank bird sanctuary

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1,464 books, 74 years and counting: How the world’s largest Encyclopaedic Sanskrit Dictionary is taking shape

Source: The post is based on the article “1,464 books, 74 years and counting: How the world’s largest Encyclopaedic Sanskrit Dictionary is taking shape” published in Indian Express on 26th September 2022 What is the News? Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in Pune, Maharashtra is hosting an Open Day for the general public to… Continue reading 1,464 books, 74 years and counting: How the world’s largest Encyclopaedic Sanskrit Dictionary is taking shape

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