9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – August 2nd, 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 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

Long overdue

Source: The Hindu

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

Relevance: This article explains the evolution of All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme in India.


OBC reservation in All India Quota medical seats puts an end to a discriminatory policy.


Recently, the Centre decided to extend its 27% reservation for ‘other backward classes’ to all seats under the All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme is a welcome development. The Union government has also decided to provide 10% of the AIQ seats to those from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).

Read More: All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme 
Evolution of AIQ Scheme:
  1. The AIQ is a category created by the Supreme Court to free up some seats from residential or domicile requirements in some States for admissions to their medical colleges.
  2. Introduced in 1986, the AIQ comprised 15% of undergraduate medical and dental seats and 50% of post-graduate seats surrendered by the States for admission through a central pool.
  3. There was no reservation in the AIQ. But later, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to implement Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes quota in the category.
  4. In 2007, the Supreme Court allowed 15% Scheduled Caste reservation and a 7.5% Scheduled Tribe quota under the AIQ.
  5. Meanwhile, based on a central law favouring Backward Class reservation in educational institutions, the Union’s 27% OBC quota was introduced in central educational institutions. There was no move to implement OBC reservation in the AIQ category.
About the recent decision to provide reservation:

In the courts, the Medical Council of India has argued against OBC reservation, but the Union government said it was not averse to the reservation, subject to an overall 50% limit. This is because,

  • The omission of OBC reservation in the AIQ seats was discriminatory. There were OBC seats in medical institutions run by the Centre, as well as State-specific quotas in those run by the States.
  • The Madras High Court, in July 2020, held that there was no legal impediment to OBC reservation, but, given that the policy varied from State to State, it left it to the Centre to decide the modalities for quotas from this academic year.

Based on that, the Central Government has now announced that it will provide 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for the economically weaker section(EWS).

The benefits of breastfeeding

Source: The Hindu

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

Relevance: This article explains the various advantages associated with breastfeeding and suggestions to improve it.


The promotion of breastfeeding should be a continuous process, not an event restricted to a week.


UNICEF states that “breastfeeding is among the most effective ways to protect maternally and child health and promote healthy growth and optimal development in early childhood.”

About breastfeeding globally:

  1. During the Renaissance period, breastfeeding came to be seen as unfashionable. Feeding bottles and formula milk were aggressively advertised leading to a reduction in breastfeeding between the 17th and 19th centuries.
  2. However, during the late 19th century, an increase in infant mortality rate and a rise in non-communicable diseases during adulthood were attributed to bottle feeding.
  3. This prompted experts and leaders everywhere to push for breastfeeding across the world.
  4. The advantages of breast milk are evidence-based, yet globally only 25%-40% of babies are breastfed.
  5. The National Family Health Survey-5 data show that there has been a decline in early breastfeeding in as many as 12 of the 22 surveyed States and Union Territories while the share of institutional births has increased.
Breastfeeding timeline:

Infants should be breastfed within one hour of birth, breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their lives, and be breastfed after six months in combination with solid, semi-solid and soft food until they are about two years old.

Advantages of breastfeeding:
  • Breastfeeding provides greater immunity for children against infection, allergies, cancers and obesity; and improves brain maturation.
  • It is also beneficial for the mother: it promotes faster weight loss after birth, reduces postpartum bleeding, and protects her against breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis.
  • Data from The Lancet show that more investment in breastfeeding could add $300 billion to the global economy and prevent about 8,20,000 child deaths every year.
Initiatives to promote breastfeeding
  1. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) was established in 1991 to create awareness about the importance of breastfeeding.
  2. In 1992, WABA in coordination with UNICEF introduced World Breastfeeding Week during the first week of August every year.
  3. India enacted the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods Act in 1992 with stringent regulations.
Steps to improve breastfeeding in India:
  • Governments must allocate specific funds, rigorously implement the law, invest in educating parents and health workers and involve civil society organisations and the media in spreading awareness.
  • The government can establish breast milk banks in various parts of the country.
  • The government can provide lactating mothers with subsidised breast milk pump equipment, and setting up exclusive facilities to breastfeed will prove to be beneficial for breastfeeding.
  • Both the mother and newborn are vulnerable for the first 12 weeks. Therefore, assistance from the partner is indispensable during this time. However, Indian law only allows for 15 days of paternity leave. It is imperative to extend this to 12-16 weeks.

Walking NEP talk

Source: The Indian Express

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

Relevance: This article explains the various challenges present before the National Education Policy


A year later, the national education policy remains a guide to the future, but there are challenges.


It’s been a year since the National Education Policy 2020 laid out a map for a long-overdue re-imagination of Indian education. But, the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down the implementation of the policy.

Some of the proposals in the policy are poised to see the light of day this academic year. Such as,

  • An academic credit bank for undergraduate students
  • 14 engineering colleges across eight states will teach undergraduate programmes in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi from the new academic year.
Read morePM to roll out academic credit bank
Challenges with the National Education Policy:
  • The government will need to put in significant resources and work to create a knowledge ecosystem for engineering courses in the regional languages.
  • When the government is calling for greater autonomy, several universities continue to function without vice-chancellors. For instance, 10 central universities, including Delhi University and JNU, remain without full-time heads.
  • The NEP asks for the highest priority to literacy and numeracy, but the government has slashed the school education budget by almost Rs 5,000 crore; higher education has suffered a Rs 1,000 crore cut.
  • The cancellation of the Class XII board examinations and subsequent challenges for institutes of higher education also needs attention.
Read more: Students can now get 40% of university credits from e-courses

Who is a Bhumiputra in Goa, and why is the Opposition objecting to the new law?

Source: Click Here

Syllabus: GS 2 – Parliament and State Legislatures


The legislative assembly of Goa passed the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021 for giving ownership rights to Bhumiputra (son of the soil)’. However, the bill has been criticised by the opposition as it was passed in haste and reckless manner.


  • The legislative assembly of Goa passed the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021 and 10 other bills in its recent assembly session.
  • The bills were passed even though 12 Opposition MLAs walked out on the last day of the three-day Assembly session.

About the bill:

  • It recognises anyone living in the state for 30 years or more as a ‘Bhumiputra (son of the soil)’. It gives Bhumiputra the right to own his or her ‘small dwelling unit’ if the ownership was undetermined till now.
  • Once recognised as a Bhumiputra, an individual can stake claim to ownership of their house of not more than 250 sq m, built before April 1, 2019.
  • It provides for the constitution of the Bhumiputra Adhikarini. It is a committee consisting of the Deputy Collector as its Chairperson, and officials from the departments of Town and Country Planning, Forest and Environment. Mamlatdars of respective talukas are also part of the committee.
  • Bhumiputra may apply to the committee if his house has been built before the cut-off date. The committee will invite objections within 30 days, including from the land owner, which could also be a local body, and then take a decision of granting ownership to the Bhumiputra.
  • An appeal against the Bhumiputra Adhikarini’s decision can be filed before the Administrative Tribunal within 30 days. 
  • It states that no court shall have jurisdiction “to entertain, decide or deal with any question which is to be decided by the Bhumiputra Adhikarini and Administrative Tribunal under this Act”.

Rationale behind its introduction:

  • To provide a mechanism to give ownership rights to the self-occupied dweller of a small housing unit.
  • To enable him/her to live with dignity and self-respect and exercise his right to life.

Why is the Opposition objecting to the bill?

  • They said there was not enough time in the curtailed Assembly session to study or debate the Bill, and 10 others passed “in a haste”. 
  • It called this the ruling party’s “election engineering” and flagged concerns over illegal structures being regularised.
  • They said that the bill would recognise encroachments by slum-dwellers that are over 30 years old as Bhumiputras.

Onus on states to implement Supreme Court order quashing Section 66A

Source: Times of India, The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, Organization and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary


The centre has given its reply to a petition filed by PUCL pertaining to misuse of Section 66A by the state police. The Centre said that the onus lies with the states to implement the apex court’s 2015 judgment.


  • The Union government informed the Supreme Court (SC) that the onus lies with the states to implement the apex court’s 2015 judgment. 
    • The court had quashed the ‘draconian’ section 66A of the Information and Technology Act in 2015 Shreya Singhal Case.
  • The Union government also clarified that it has repeatedly advised the states to drop all cases registered under the provision.

Need for such clarification:

  • On July 5, the SC had expressed shock and dismay over police continuing to register cases under section 66A despite it being quashed six years ago. 
  • NGO ‘People’s Union for Civil Liberties’ (PUCL) had pointed out that states have registered thousands of cases post the 2015 judgment.
    • Maharashtra registered 381 more FIRs, invoking Section 66A post-judgment.
    • Uttar Pradesh had registered just 22 cases before 2015, but its police went on to file 245 more cases after the judgment. 
    • Similarly, Jharkhand had just 43 FIRs prior to the judgment but went on to register 291 FIRs after the SC verdict.
  • The NGO demanded that the Centre government should step in for immediate withdrawal of such cases.

What needs to be done?

  • A series of directions is required for implementation of the SC judgment in letter and spirit by the states.
  • The state governments must be directed to collect and collate all information about cases lodged and pending under 66A and order their immediate withdrawal. 
  • This could be achieved by giving a direction to the DGPs to take necessary steps and to the HCs to issue suitable advisory to the district judges for closure of cases in the courts within their jurisdictions.

The matter is scheduled for fresh hearing on 1st August before the SC bench headed by Justice Nariman.

GS Paper 3

What Pegasus says about cyber power and our national security?

Source: Livemint

Syllabus: GS3 – Security

Relevance: Implications of the Pegasus issue

Synopsis: Pegasus issue has crucial national security and geopolitical dimensions that must enter the national debate.

Conflict b/w liberty & national security

Information governance (the way in which information is used and managed) in liberal democracies has two key goals:

  • First, to protect the fundamental rights (privacy included) of citizens; and
  • second, to defend the national information sphere from hostile state and non-state enemies.

These goals are sometimes in conflict. There is a trade-off between liberty and national security. Liberal democracies achieve a balance by codifying the trade-off, placing limits on the state’s powers, defining due processes, and subjecting government actions to parliamentary and judicial review.

While the Indian state has managed a balance in many areas, privacy and surveillance have remained in a grey zone since the Constitution came into force.

Implications of the Pegasus issue
  • Governance framework for surveillance: Pegasus shows that any country that can afford a few thousand dollars can hack the smartphones of heads of government. Hence, the need for a governance framework covering surveillance and information operations is necessary for national security
  • Weakness of India’s cyberwarfare capacity: Beyond national security, the Pegasus revelations highlight a disturbing weakness in India’s cyber warfare capacity. If it is indeed true that Indian government agencies had to purchase a foreign commercial cyber-weapon for their needs, then we have advertised a strategic vulnerability that is bound to be exploited unless rectified quickly.
  • Misuse of data insights: Another vulnerability arises from the fact that vendors of commercial cyber-weapons can get insights as to how their product is being used. This information can be misused by making it available to their governments. It is also vulnerable to other governments with superior cyber capabilities. The maker of Pegasus has a very good idea of what its customers are up to. It can turn it off at will. Even the political costs of being exposed could be used as leverage against the buyer.
  • Data encryption must not be weakened: Citizens need to be empowered with a strong encryption. At least until a robust governance framework is put in place, the government must not weaken data encryption.
  • Intelligence reform: India needs intelligence reform. The Shah Commission and the LP Singh Committee recommendations need to be looked into.
    • In the meantime, the surveillance review process needs to be bolstered. It should be mandatory for the requesting agency to deposit a refundable financial guarantee along with the application.

Way forward

India lacks offensive cyber capacity and is thus not a credible cyber power. It needs a serious, realist, non-partisan policy debate on the development and governance of national cyber capabilities.

Skyglow forces dung beetles to abandon the Milky Way as their compass

Source: Down to Earth

Syllabus: GS3 – Environment

Relevance: Impact of light pollution on the environment

Synopsis: Researchers used Dung beetle to study the impact of the growing light pollution on our environment.

What is Skyglow?

Globally, nights are becoming ever brighter. This light floods directly into the eyes of animals that are active at night and also into the skies. There a proportion of it is redirected back downwards towards an earthbound observer. This is known as ‘skyglow’, an omnipresent sheet of light across the night sky in and around cities that can block all but the very brightest stars from view.

Study on the dung beetle

The study compared the dung-rolling performance of beetles in a rural part of Limpopo province with that of beetles at the University of Witwatersrand in inner city Johannesburg, both in South Africa.

  • Findings confirm that beetles exposed to light pollution (direct light and skyglow) are forced to change strategy. They abandon their sky compass and rely instead on earthbound artificial lights as beacons.

This change in strategy comes at a cost.

Impact of light pollution 

Many species that rely on compass references also suffer from the loss of the stars.

  • Nocturnal ants use landmarks for outbound journeys, but need their sky compass when returning home.
  • Migratory birds have a magnetic compass, with which they check latitude and magnetic North, but use their sky compass to calibrate their magnetic compass to geographic North.

There is a remarkably simple solution to reducing animals’ experience of direct and indirect light pollution:

  • Turning off unnecessary lights at night.
  • Shielding of lights: Where lights cannot be turned off, they can be shielded so that they do not shed light into the surrounding environment and sky.
  • International Dark Sky Places: The International Dark-Skies Association has certified more than 130 ‘International Dark Sky Places’, where artificial lighting has been adjusted to reduce skyglow and light trespass. However, nearly all are in developed countries in the northern hemisphere. Less-developed regions are often both species-rich and, currently, less light-polluted, presenting an opportunity to invest in lighting solutions before animals there are seriously affected.

Terms to know:

  • International Dark-Skies Association

Time to set ourselves a carbon-neutrality goal

Source: Livemint

Syllabus: GS3 – Environment

Relevance: Future course of action to for India in keeping its Paris commitment

Synopsis: India should take steps to fix itself specific carbon neutrality targets so that we can have a healthy carbon market in India.


Right now, our average mercury reading is at least 1.2° Celsius higher than it was before the debut of industrial exhaust. On our current trajectory, by an estimate of the Climate Action Tracker, we are on course for an average of almost 3° Celsius more than the pre-industrial level by century-end.

What is carbon neutrality?

  • Carbon neutrality refers to that situation when carbon emissions are equal to absorptions in carbon sinks.
  • It is the balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon emissions from carbon sinks and refers to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions.
Sub-continent is vulnerable 

Recent studies suggest that apart from Arctic countries, the subcontinent would bear the brunt of a 3° Celsius increase in temp, in terms of crop distortion or sea elevation, the survival of species or the extra-humid heat.

In this scenario, we may even be exposed to temperatures a degree or two above 3°C. To avert this from happening, the global mean must go no more than a third of a degree higher than it already has (i.e. no more than 2°C)

Paris target is possible

America has stated that it will go carbon neutral by 2050 and China declared its goal to do likewise by 2060.  According to climate trackers, this means that our Paris target of 2° is well within possible limits. But, this also means that we’d still overshoot our 1.5° danger mark by half a degree Celsius.

What must India do?

India must set itself a carbon-neutrality date. For all the climate action we’ve taken, we still need a firm target from which quotas can be derived for a carbon market of our own. China, which launched a national one recently, has emission permits trading at some $8 per tonne. We need price discovery, too.

We should move swiftly on a cap-and-trade exchange.

Big cities need to upgrade water run-off systems

Source: TOI

Syllabus: GS3 – Disaster Management

Relevance: Fighting the recurring issue of urban flooding

Synopsis: Upgradation of storm water drain designs and making storm water drain management a part of smart cities mission is required to fight the problem of urban flooding.


Every monsoon after a few hours of rainfall our metros are inundated. This annual urban horror story is made worse by the fact that huge amounts of money are spent on desilting city drains every year.

Many blame unplanned urbanisation and construction on wetlands for water-logging. That’s true but it’s not a problem that can be fixed in a few months.


  • Upgradation of storm water drain designs: Some improvement is possible by upgrading storm water drain designs. Current design standards take into account only one- or two-year flood levels. This must change so that drains can cater to greater volumes of run-off from heavier showers in short bursts.
  • Make urban storm water management a part of smart cities mission: It makes sense to make  urban storm water management a part of larger infrastructure development policies such as the Smart Cities mission. Leaving this only to municipalities, which often lack the institutional dynamism to take on new ideas, is clearly not working.

SC order to raze Khori Gaon is a jarring example of coercive environmentalism

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

Relevance: This article explains the various challenges associated with the SC decision to allow the demolition of Khori Gaon


This is a return to an era of green imperialism, wherein forests around the country are routinely handed over for capitalist profiteering while the landless poor are displaced in the name of restoring ecologies.

  • Recently, the Supreme Court of India has refused to stop the demolition of over 10,000 settlements encroaching on forests (Khori Gaon) in the Aravalli range in Haryana’s Faridabad district.
    • After that, four petitions arose after the SC ordered the petitioner in the lead case, the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF), to evict the basti in the middle of the pandemic in 2020.
    • The MCF has the ignominious success of vacating 150 acres of urban land with the densest habitation of affordable homes of the working poor.
  • Following this, nearly a lakh people have been pushed into the throes of suffering as most of them have lost their only home in this world.

On the other hand, using “rule of law”, well-maintained forests around the country are routinely handed over for capitalist profiteering through private mines, dams and real estate development.

Read more: SC refuses to stay demolition of settlements in “Aravalli range” in Haryana
Issues with the SC decision

The razing of Khori Gaon is a jarring example of forest conservation models that frame forests versus people.

  • The Forest Rights Act was enacted to restore the dignity and place-based rights of Adivasi communities and forest workers. But, the policies for the relocation of people even from protected areas and tiger reserves now eschew forced evictions and forced rehabilitation.
  • The issue with the Punjab Land Presentation Act of 1900: The Haryana state government and judiciary are aiming to restore forest cover in the Aravallis using the colonial Punjab Land Presentation Act of 1900. But this is not the right move.
    • Since the forest land under the PLPA covers 25 percent of Haryana. It includes lands that are public and privately owned in rural and urban areas
  • Against Ishita Chatterjee’s scholarly work on Khori Gaon: Ishita Chatterjee’s work on Khori Gaon shows that this basti should be seen as a restorer of quarry land. This is because, the residents turned these areas that were mined till the SC’s mining ban in 2002, into liveable habitats by using individual and community labour.
    • This is no mean feat when governments around the world struggle to reuse mined areas after the earth has been polluted and exhausted of all its productivity.

What India@75 needs: Education and skills, rather than freebies

Source: The Indian Express

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

Relevance: This article explains the India’s improvements in poverty reduction, literacy and food security since independence and suggestions to improve further.


India’s improvement in poverty reduction, literacy and food security since independence is impressive but a lot more needs to be done.

About India’s Independence:

India started its journey as a newborn nation with deep wounds of Partition. Independent India’s population was roughly 340 million, with more than 70 percent are extremely poor, and only 12 percent are literate.

Winston Churchill had famously warned: “If Independence is granted to India, power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters, all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw…. A day would come when even air and water would be taxed in India”.

But Jawaharlal Nehru said in the Constituent Assembly on August 14, 1947, “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom… The service of India means, the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity”.

Situation of India’s poverty since Independence:
  • From more than 70 percent poor in 1947, the head-count ratio (HCR) of poverty in India dropped to 21.9 per cent in 2011, as per the erstwhile Planning Commission’s estimates based on the Tendulkar poverty line.
    • The drop in HCR during 2004-11 was almost three times faster than during 1993 to 2004, and much faster than during the socialist era of 1947-91.
  • But many Leftists disputed the poverty line, and the government had to set up a committee under C Rangarajan, which estimated HCR poverty at 29.5 percent in 2011.
  • But there are no official estimates of poverty after 2011, but the World Bank estimated India’s HCR to be between 8.1 and 11.3 per cent in 2017, as per the international definition of per capita income of $1.9 per day (at 2011 PPP). Using the same definition, the World Poverty Clock estimates India’s poverty at just 6 per cent in 2021.
Situation of India’s literacy since Independence:
  • The overall literacy rates going up from 12 percent in 1947 to about 77 percent now. (with Kerala at the top and Bihar at the bottom).
  • But the quality of education for large sections of the poor remains poor. Year after year, Pratham’s ASER reports indicate that a large number of children in the eighth grade do not fulfil the learning requirements of the fifth or sixth grades.
Situation of India’s food security since Independence:
  • There has been tremendous success in this respect, with the country moving from a “ship to mouth” situation in the mid-1960s to become the largest exporter of rice (17.7 MMT) in 2020-21, amounting to 38.5 percent of the global rice trade.
  • This has been achieved through the use of modern technology, improved seeds, irrigation, fertilisers, and, of course, the right incentives for farmers.
  • India’s public grain management system of procurement, stocking and distributing is, perhaps, the biggest food programme in the world.
    • But it is also an expensive, inefficient and corrupt system, and is crying for reforms. This is one of the reason for high malnutrition amongst children.
Suggestions to improve India’s situation in Poverty, literacy and food security:

If India had invested in better quality education for the masses, especially for the girl child, the results would have been much better.

  • Without quality education, their incomes remain low and many remain stuck in the poverty trap. The pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide between rural and urban school children. The government has to work on improving the quality of education in India.
  • India’s food productivity came at the cost of groundwater depletion. Future policies need to focus on greater sustainability.
  • Rational policy of gradually moving towards cash transfers to targeted beneficiaries, limiting grain stocks, can easily save Rs 50,000 crore every year from the food subsidy bill.
    • This can be achieved without sacrificing the objectives of supporting the vulnerable population as well as giving a fair deal to farmers. This rationalisation of food policy needs to come up high in priority, with changed policy instruments

RBI must come clean where it stands on climate change

Source: Livemint

Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

Relevance: This article explains why the RBI should include green financing and what are the challenges faced by the RBI in its execution?


Considering the extreme climatic events around the globe and in India, the RBI has to include green financing as its component

  1. The past few weeks over 200 people have lost their lives in Maharashtra due to landslides, floods and other rain-related accidents.
    • The Maharashtra government’s preliminary estimates of loss to property, business and infrastructure is around ₹4,000 crore, with the final figure likely to be higher.
  2. Elsewhere in India, heavy rains set off landslides in mountainous Himachal Pradesh, with cascading boulders killing tourists and residents.
  3. In Bihar, rain-fed Gandak river has washed away Motihari and East Champaran districts.
Extreme Climatic events at global level:

India is not the only country ravaged by these extreme weather incidents.

  1. Heat waves in Canada and the north-west coast of the US—with temperatures reaching 50° Celsius—have killed close to 500 people.
  2. Uncharacteristic rains flooded Germany and Belgium, claiming about 200 lives.
  3. Similar abnormal rains and flooding in central China affected 2 million citizens and resulted in economic losses of over $500 million.
How Climatic events will impact economy?

Climate change, undoubtedly, is responsible for these extreme fluctuations in weather patterns. These episodes of extreme weather variations result in the following economic problems.

  1. Supply chain disruptions, business continuity problems,
  2. Labour productivity diminution,
  3. Lower investment rates,
  4. Contraction in collateral values, and defaults by businesses and households,
  5. All of the above might lead to problems of overall financial instability.

The International Monetary Fund’s Global Financial Stability Report of 2019 also highlighted these risks: “Losses from climate-related risks affect the financial system directly, through price impairment, reduced collateral values, and underwriting losses, and indirectly, through lower economic growth and tighter financial conditions. Insurance claims from natural losses have already quadrupled since the 1980s.”

About the Network for Greening of the Financial System (NGFS):
  • Most of the central banks have been working to assess financial system risks from climate change, figuring out how to design stress-testing maps and trying to finalise risk mitigation models.
    • For instance, the Network for Greening of the Financial System (NGFS)
  • It was set up during the 2017 Paris ‘One Planet Summit’ for central banks and supervisors to share best practices in climate-related risk management practices.
  • The network already has 95 central banks as members and 15 multilateral financial institutions as observers.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) joined NGFS in April 2021.
The Challenges faced by RBI in green financing:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its July bulletin mentioned, the need for monetary-policy frameworks to incorporate climate-change risks, but refrained from explicitly expressing a desire to re-examine its own monetary policy framework or indicating whether it is moving in that direction.

RBI faces two peculiar challenges that will test its resolve in the days ahead.

  1. India’s unique and differentiated position in the climate change battle when compared with developed nations.
    • Rich countries and their institutions are marching ahead with their agenda of net zero emissions by 2050, which is at odds with India’s developmental challenges.
  2. Like all other central banks, RBI is bound by a mandate fixed by the legislative.
    • The preamble to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, states that monetary policy’s “primary” objective is price stability, “while keeping in mind the objective of growth”.
    • This could skew RBI’s attempts to foster a green financing compact within the Indian financial system.
Suggestions to improve RBI’s green financing:
  • The RBI will have to leverage its NGFS membership to access global best practices, but will also have to tweak the framework to suit India’s development imperatives.
  • In addition, the RBI will also have to act as a champion for other developing and poor nations by developing an alternative but sustainable model.
  • The RBI has to balance its NGFS commitments versus its constitutional mandate of fostering “growth”. Therefore, the RBI will have to either seek legislative amendments or establish a legitimate work-around.

The RBI can no longer afford to ignore the compelling imperatives of green financing or overlook how climate change is slowly but surely eroding financial stability.

The draw of space and nuclear technologies

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 3 – Infrastructure: Energy


It remains to be seen whether the new ventures of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates will strike a chord and benefit mankind. The projects are aimed to address the issues of climate change and high reliance on fossil fuels, however they are subjected to various criticisms.


  • Jeff Bezoes blasted into space in his private capsule on 21st july while Big Gates is eager to launch his own fast breeder nuclear reactor.
  • Both of them characterised their initiatives as essentially significant for the environment protection and tackling climate change.

About the Gates Plan:

  • TerraPower (the nuclear company founded by Mr. Gates) has just announced an agreement with private funders and the State of Wyoming, U.S. The agreement involves establishment of its Natrium fast reactor demonstration project in the state of Wyoming.
  •  The project is carried out on the belief that small, factory-built, modular reactors will be cheaper and safer.

Rationale behind the initiatives:

  • Space exploration will devise ways for shifting all heavy industries and polluting industries into space. This would help in keeping earth neat and clean.
  • The development of Nuclear reactors will enhance clean energy production thereby decreasing reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Nuclear energy will also help in meeting the growing energy demands across the world.
  • It will revive America’s nuclear industry and enable the United States to compete in an international market now dominated by China and Russia.
  • Another benefit envisaged is that fast breeder reactors will provide a solid nuclear industrial base for meeting U.S. military nuclear requirements.

Associated Concerns:

  • The companies chasing space tourism dollars have drawn criticism for catering to the rich while so many are struggling amid the pandemic.
  • In the case of Nuclear Reactors, there is a concern over their safety. The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan is a testimony to the havoc that can be created by a nuclear leak. 
    • Pursuant to this, the nuclear industry came to a standstill except in Russia, China and India. However, a revival was seen with global warming becoming ever more apparent.
  • The commercial nuclear supply can lead to proliferation of Nuclear weapons. The fast breeder reactors have a risk of the turning of inert uranium to plutonium, and then using the plutonium as fuel. However plutonium is a nuclear explosive which can be used for developing a bomb.
    • The recent reports that China is building two more fast reactors have immediately provoked international concerns about China’s possible weapons plutonium production. 
    • The opponents of TerraPower believe that China will be encouraged in its efforts to develop fast breeder reactors and may even want to buy them from Mr. Gates.
  • Furthermore, in some major markets, nuclear power lacks a favourable policy and financing framework that recognise its contributions to climate change mitigation and sustainable development.
    • Without such a framework, nuclear power may struggle to deliver on its full potential, even as the world remains as dependent on fossil fuels as it was three decades ago.

Rethink aviation policy

Source: Business Standard

Syllabus: GS 3 – Infrastructure: Airports


The government’s approach to the aviation sector in India has grown messy, confusing, and possibly counter-productive.


  • Recently the director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) pointed out that government regulation was slowing the aviation sector’s recovery from the second wave
  • Both capacity and pricing restrictions are creating a problem for the airline sector. Further the recently introduced the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 also lacks clarity on multiple issues.

Dismal state of airline sector:

  • In May 2021, according to the data from the IATA, domestic air travel in India was 71 % lower than in the equivalent month of 2019, before the pandemic hit.
  • Fleets have been downsized and older aircraft retired, making the restoration of capacity to pre-pandemic levels a non-trivial task.
  • Similarly, global domestic passenger traffic was 23.9 % less in May 2021 than it had been in May 2019.
  • The IATA has argued that it will take three years to return to the pre-pandemic load in the airline sector from the moment of reopening.

Problems created by Government:

  • Government regulations on capacity utilisation have recently been slightly relaxed.
    • Before the second wave hit, domestic flights were permitted to operate at 80% capacity. Subsequently, that was revised downwards to 50% and has now been raised slightly to 65%. 
    • Although some airlines, including market leader IndiGo, were in favour of going all the way back to 100% capacity. Last week, IndiGo itself reported a larger than expected net loss in the first quarter of 2021-22 of Rs 3,174 crore.
  • The government has also imposed price caps on the airlines. These are based on the duration of flights and range at present from Rs 2,600 for 40-minute flights to Rs 8,700 for flights of over three hours.
    • However these haven’t been relaxed considering rising fuel costs in recent times. This has forced many airlines to shutter routes. For example, Vistara had announced with great fanfare a flight to Dehradun, which it had quietly stopped.
  • The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 aims to energise flights to smaller airports. However there is no clarity over the nature of support to be given to achieve this objective. 
    • For instance, if the government decides to subsidise airlines rather than ending price controls. Then this will in effect be an unjustified transfer to well-off Indians.

Way Forward:

  • The government should take “data-driven” decisions because otherwise restrictions are speedily put in place and removed at a relatively slow pace.
  • It should swiftly respond to the broader data available about variants, transmission, and positivity rates in various areas.

No Fossil Fuels as Usual

Source: Indian Express

GS3: Infrastructure- Energy

Synopsis: The article suggests to redefine the supply-side priorities of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in the face of the imperatives of atmanirbharta.


  • The spread and speed of the destruction caused by climate change in recent weeks present a policy dilemma.
  • Indian economy is dependent on fossil fuels and there is no discernible end in sight to this dependence.
  • India imports approximately 85 per cent of its crude oil requirements and is exposed to the volatility of the international oil market.

Key suggestions for Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas?

  • Government should scale back its emphasis on domestic exploration.
    • Resources earmarked for exploration can be deployed more productively elsewhere.
    • A review of the public sector’s exploration and production (EP) track record suggests that whilst India may well be sitting on substantial hydrocarbon reserves but these reserves are not easy to locate and.
    • They are difficult to develop and produce on a commercial basis.
    • The fundamental point is that EP in India is a high-risk activity.
    • This risk is even greater today because of the longer-term structural softness of the petroleum market.
  • Second, ONGC should shed a part of its equity in Mumbai High to get the best technology service partner.
    • ONGC allocate increasing resources to improving the productivity of its producing fields.
    • The average oil recovery rate in India was around 28 per cent.
    • That is, for every 100 molecules discovered, only 28 were monetised.
    • The global average of around 45 per cent for fields of comparable geology.
    • There is still a wide gap, the application of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology offers a relatively low-risk avenue for increasing domestic production.
  • Third, need to build contingency safeguards. Since, Middle East, predominantly Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran faces deep political and social fault lines and there is no knowing when our supply lines might get ruptured.
    • India holds currently strategic reserves equivalent to 12 days of imports.
    • China, the EU, South Korea and Japan hold between 70-100 days of reserves.
  • Fourth, restructure and reorganise the public sector petroleum companies.
    • These companies should be encouraged to look beyond hydrocarbons to build an “energy” enterprise.
    • It will help cut back the “avoidable” costs of intra public sector competition.
    • It will provide a focused platform for balancing the shorter-term need to provide secure and affordable hydrocarbons with the medium and longer-term imperative of developing clean energy.

The petroleum minister should not see his responsibility through the siloed prism of oil and natural gas.

A cycle of low growth, higher inflation

Source: The Hindu

Gs3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Synopsis: Unless policy action ensures higher demand and growth, India will continue on the path of a K-shaped recovery


  • Some economists are of the opinion that the Government should not intervene with the economy and that it will revive by itself.
  • These economists’ reason that, like after the Great Depression, the economy rebounded worldwide, and so will it with us.
  • However, such arguments are fallacious on four accounts

Why government intervention is needed for Economic recovery?

The first factor, demand.

  • In the case of the Great Depression, demand was created by the Second World War effort.
  • In the current scenario, there is no war to create demand.
  • Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in demand destruction as confirmed in the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy and other surveys.
  • To counter demand destruction the western world has spent a lot of money stimulating the economy.
  • Rising freight costs, non-availability of containers and a strong rupee relative to major competitors is hampering India’s growth exports to Western countries where demand has been generated.

Second factor is the rising inflation accompanied by stagnant growth.

  • India is suffering from stagnant growth to low growth in the last two quarters along with rise in inflation
  • Causes of Rising Inflation
    • One, high asset price inflation caused by ultra-loose monetary policy followed across the globe.
      • Foreign portfolio investors have directed a portion of the liquidity towards our markets.
      • Compared to a developed capital market such as that of the U.S., India has a relatively low market capitalisation.
      • It, therefore, cannot absorb the enormous capital inflow without asset prices inflating.
    • Two, supply chain bottlenecks have contributed to the inflation. Essential goods have increased in cost due to scarce supply because of these bottlenecks caused by COVID-19 and its reactionary measures enforced.
    • Three, India’s taxation policy on fuel has made things worse. Rising fuel prices percolate into the economy by increasing costs for transport.
      • Furthermore, the increase in fuel prices will also lead to a rise in wages demanded as the monthly expense of the general public increases.
    • Four, RBI is infusing massive liquidity into the system by following an expansionary monetary policy through the G-SAP, or Government Securities Acquisition Programme.
    • Five, an added threat of rising rates is the crowding out of the private sector, which corporates are threatening to do by deleveraging their balance sheets and not investing.

The third is interest rates.

  • The only solution for any central banker to limit rising inflation is through tightening liquidity and further pushing the cost of money.
  • However, rising interest rates lead to a decrease in aggregate demand in a country, which affects the GDP.
  • There is less spending by consumers and investments by corporates.

Finally, rising non-performing assets, or NPAs.

  • Our small and medium scale sector is facing a Minsky moment.
  • The Minsky moment marks the decline of asset prices, causing mass panic and the inability of debtors to pay their interest and principal.
  • India has reached its Minsky moment. Several banks and financial institutions have collapsed in the last 18 months in India.
  • As a result of the above causes, credit growth is at a multi-year low of 5.6%. Banks do not want to risk any more loans on their books.
  • This will further dampen demand for real estate and automobiles once the pent-up demand is over.

The Indian economy is in a vicious cycle of low growth and higher inflation. In the absence of policy interventions, India will continue on the path of a K-shaped recovery where large corporates with low debt will prosper at the cost of small and medium sectors.

Our bankruptcy code deserves credit for what it has achieved

Source: Live Mint

Gs3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment

Synopsis: An examination of the IBC’s record on resolving cases of business insolvency reveals greater success than critics acknowledge



Analysis of IBC’s performance: Added points

  • A good insolvency system cannot be judged by the number of companies being liquidated.
  • Because the purpose of an insolvency law is to swiftly liquidate firms that have had value erosion and stand a low chance of survival.
  • For instance, Germany is known for its efficient insolvency system despite a very high liquidation ratio.
  • Even in the UK and the US, where the insolvency regime is well developed, the number of companies being liquidated is higher than in India.
  • According to data from the ministry of corporate affairs, there are nearly 1.35 million active companies in India with 6,893 under liquidation as on 31 March 2021.
  • After the coming into force of the IBC, liquidations can take place under the Companies Act, 2013, or the IBC.
  • Under IBC, only 26% of the IBC-referred firms have gone for liquidation.
  • Of the 1,270 liquidations ordered under the IBC, 944 were already defunct or BIFR cases (i.e. 74%) till 31 March 2021.
  • Of the non-defunct 318 companies, 170 did not receive any resolution plan.
  • This could be for reasons such as unviable business models, no market for their products or just lack of a well-developed market for such assets to be bought and turned around.
  • There was also another set of companies that received up to six resolution plans but none was found suitable in the commercial wisdom of the committee of creditors (CoC).
  • In fact, there are companies such as Raman Ispat Pvt Ltd and Infinity Fab Engineering, which were defunct but their resolution plans received value greater than the admitted claims.
  • Examining details of the 363 companies yielding resolution under the IBC until 31 March 2021, it is observed that 123 of them were defunct or with the BIFR.
  • The total realizable amount by financial creditors was 34% of their admitted claims even in these companies. Their financial creditors actually realized 160% of the liquidation value.

Other reasons that hamper realisation of recovery rate: Added Points

  • The lack of a developed market for distressed assets that can help discover competitive prices for companies.
  • There is a dearth of resolution applicants ready to take on the challenge of turning around a distressed company.


In a short span of time, the IBC has created a discipline in the market, formalized an insolvency framework, offered a one-stop solution for companies to undergo insolvency resolution, and created a new cadre of insolvency and valuation professionals.

One must appreciate these nuances, which will only strengthen in the long run.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

DEPwD organises Samajik Adhikarita Shivir for distribution of aids & assistive devices to Divyangjan under the ADIP Scheme

Source: PIB

What is the News?

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(DEPwD) has organized Samajik Adhikarita Shivir’. In this shivir, aids and assistive devices will be distributed among ‘Divyangjan’ under the ADIP Scheme and among Senior Citizens under the ‘Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana’.

About ADIP Scheme:

  • Launched by: Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(DEPwD) under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  • Aim: To assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable and scientifically manufactured appliances. It will promote their physical, social, and psychological rehabilitation by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhancing their economic potential.
  • Implementated by: NGOs, National Institutes under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, and ALIMCO (a PSU that manufactures artificial limbs).
  • Eligibility:
    • Indian citizen of any age
    • Has 40% disability or more
    • Monthly income not more than Rs.20,000.
    • In the case of dependents, the income of parents/guardians should not exceed Rs. 20,000/- per month
    • Must not have received assistance during the last 3 years, and for children, it’s the last 1 year.

About Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:

  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana is the scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It was launched in 2017.
  • Type: It is a central sector scheme funded by the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund.
  • Aim: to provide aids and assistive living devices to senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category who suffer from age-related disabilities such as low vision, hearing impairment, loss of teeth, and locomotor disabilities.
    • The aids and assistive devices include walking sticks, elbow crutches, hearing aids, wheelchairs, and spectacles, etc.
  • Implementated by: Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), which is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Clinical trials of ‘Ashwagandha’ soon

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Ministry of Ayush has collaborated with the U.K.’s London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to conduct a study on ‘Ashwagandha’ for promoting recovery from COVID-19.

About the Study:

  • All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Ayush. Under this collaboration, the LSHTM will conduct clinical trials of ‘Ashwagandha’ on 2,000 participants in three U.K. cities.
  • The study will be conducted for a period of three months. Under this, one group of 1,000 participants will be administered ‘Ashwagandha’ [AG] tablets, while the second group of 1,000 participants will be assigned a placebo which is indistinguishable from AG in looks and taste.
  • These patients will then be observed to understand the effects of Ashwagandha’ in promoting recovery from COVID-19.

About ‘Ashwagandha’:

  • Ashwagandha’ (Withania somnifera) is commonly known as ‘Indian winter cherry ’.
  • It is a traditional Indian herb that boosts energy, reduces stress, and makes the immune system stronger.
  • Ashwagandha has also shown success in treating both acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis(RA) is an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain and damage throughout your body.

Operation Blue Freedom: Team Of Special Forces Veterans, People With Disabilities To Scale Siachen Glacier

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The government of India has accorded sanction to Team CLAW to lead a team of people with disabilities to scale Siachen Glacier. It will be a new world record for the largest team of people with disabilities. This expedition is being undertaken as part of ‘Operation Blue Freedom’.

About Operation Blue Freedom:

  • Operation Blue Freedom was launched in 2019 by CLAW Global, a team of former Special Forces Operatives of the Indian Army and the Indian Navy.
  • The Operation is a social impact venture aimed at rehabilitating people with disabilities through adaptive adventure sports.
  • It aims to shatter the common perception of pity, charity, and inability associated with people with disabilities and recreate it to one of dignity, freedom, and ability.
  • Moreover, their focus is also to ‘design and implement sustainable large-scale employment solutions’ for people with disabilities, especially in the ‘Environment conservation and Sustainability’ space.

About Siachen Glacier:

  • Siachen Glacier is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and the second-longest in the world’s non-polar areas.
  • Location: The glacier is located in the Eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas. It lies just northeast of Point NJ9842, where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.
  • The Siachen Glacier lies immediately south of the great drainage divide that separates the Eurasian Plate from the Indian subcontinent. It lies in the extensively glaciated portion of the Karakoram sometimes called the “Third Pole”.
  • Significance: The Siachen has been an important bone of contention between India and Pakistan since 1984 when the Indian Army launched Operation Meghdoot to take control of the entire Siachen glacier.
  • The glacier’s melting waters are the main source of the Nubra River in the Indian region of Ladakh which drains into the Shyok River. The Shyok in turn joins the Indus River, which flows through Pakistan.

PM to launch digital payment solution e-RUPI

Source: PIB

 What is the News?

The Prime Minister has launched a digital Initiative named “e-RUPI”.

 About e-RUPI:

  • e-RUPI is a cashless and contactless instrument for digital payment. It is founded on the Unified Payment Interface(UPI) platform.
  • Purpose: It is designed to be a person and purpose-specific digital payment solution. It seeks to ensure that government schemes reach intended beneficiaries in a targeted and leak-proof manner, with limited touchpoints between the government and the beneficiary.
  • Developed by: National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in collaboration with the Department of Financial Services (DFS), the Union Health Ministry, and the National Health Authority (NHA).

How does e-RUPI work?

  • The e-RUPI system relies on mobile phones. This e-voucher is intended to be a seamless, one-time payment mechanism.
  • A beneficiary will receive a QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher on her mobile phone. The beneficiary, then, can redeem this e-voucher at the service provider without the need for any card, digital payment app, or internet banking access.

Features of e-RUPI:

  • Firstly, e-RUPI connects the sponsors of the services with the beneficiaries and service providers in a digital manner without any physical interface.
  • Secondly, It ensures that the payment to the service provider is made only after the transaction is completed.
  • Thirdly, being pre-paid in nature, it assures timely payment to the service provider without the involvement of any intermediary.

Significance of e-RUPI:

  • e-RUPI is expected to be a revolutionary initiative in the direction of ensuring a leak-proof delivery of welfare services.
    • It can be used for delivering services under schemes, meant for providing drugs and nutritional support like Ayushman Bharat fertilizer subsidies, etc.
  • Even the private sector can leverage these digital vouchers as part of their employee welfare and corporate social responsibility programs.

New Polyhouse Technology for Horticulture CROPS

Source: PIB

What is the News?

CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur has inaugurated a “Naturally Ventilated Polyhouse Facility” and laid the foundation stone of “Retractable Roof Polyhouse” at Ludhiana in Punjab.


  • Farmers face a number of problems such as excessive or insufficient cold, heat, rain, wind, and other factors associated with insufficient transpiration.
    • Transpiration is the biological process by which water is lost in the form of water vapour from the aerial parts of the plants.
  • Crop loss, in the country due to insects and pests, is about 15% at present, and it may increase as climate change lowers the plant defence system against insects and pests.
  • To some extent, these problems can be overcome by a conventional polyhouse.

About Conventional Polyhouse:

  • A conventional polyhouse has a stationary roof to reduce the effect of weather anomalies and pests.
  • However, roof covering leads to excessive heat and insufficient light (early morning) to the crops.
  • Besides, they are also prone to insufficient levels of CO2, transpiration, and water stress.
  • Hence, a combination of open-field conditions and conventional polyhouse conditions is a more effective.

About Retractable Roof Polyhouse Technology:

  • Retractable Roof Polyhouse Technology is an all-weather structure.
  • It has an automatic retractable roof that will be operated based on weather conditions and crop requirements from the conditional database using a PLC software.

Significance of this development:

  • This development will help farmers cultivate both seasonal and off-season crops.
  • This can in turn fetch a higher yield and high shelf-life produce by creating optimal indoor microclimate conditions compared to conventional open field tunnels and naturally-ventilated polyhouses.

Reform-based scheme: Discoms get till Dec 31

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

Union Minister of Power has said that the Power distribution companies (discoms) looking to avail funds under the government’s Rs 3.03-lakh crore Reform Based Scheme for discoms will have to submit plans to cut losses by 31st December,2021.

About Reform Based Power Distribution Scheme:

  • The Scheme aims to improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of DISCOMs/ Power Departments excluding Private Sector DISCOMs by providing conditional financial assistance for strengthening of supply infrastructure.

Objectives of the Scheme:

  • Reduction of AT&C losses to pan-India levels of 12-15% by 2024-25.
  • Reduction of ACS-ARR gap to zero by 2024-25.
  • Developing Institutional Capabilities for Modern DISCOMs
  • Improvement in the quality, reliability, and affordability of power supply to consumers through a financially sustainable and operationally efficient Distribution Sector.


  • Power Finance Corporation(PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation(REC) have been nominated as the nodal agencies for the implementation of the scheme.

Duration of the Scheme:

  • The Scheme would be available till the year 2025-26.

Key Features of the Scheme:

  • Financial Assistance: The financial assistance under the Scheme will be based on meeting pre-qualifying criteria as well as upon achievement of basic minimum benchmarks by the DISCOMs.
  • Approach: Implementation of the Scheme would be based on the action plan worked out for each state rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
  • Merging of Projects: The ongoing works under the Integrated Power Development Scheme(IPDS), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) will be merged under this scheme.
  • Solarisation of agricultural Feeders: The Scheme has a major focus on improving electricity supply for the farmers and for providing daytime electricity to them through solarization of agricultural feeders.
  • Smart Metering: The scheme enables consumer empowerment by way of prepaid Smart metering to be implemented in Public-Private-Partnership(PPP) mode.
  • Use of Technology: Artificial Intelligence would be used to analyze data generated to enable DISCOMs to make informed decisions.

Atal Innovation Mission successfully completes ‘ATL Tinkerpreneur Bootcamp’

Source: PIB

 What is the News?

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog has successfully completed two month long and a first of its kind, digital skills and an exclusive entrepreneurship ATL Tinkerpreneur summer boot camp held across the country.

About ATL Tinkerpreneur:

  • ‘Tinkerpreneur’ is the name derived from the phrase ‘enabling students to tinker from the comfort of their homes and become an entrepreneur this summer’.
  • Hence, ATL Tinkerpreneur was a bootcamp focussed on cultivating a hands-on innovative mindset among students.It was designed for high school students across the nation,
  • The Bootcamp enabled the participants to develop a business idea and create an end-to-end strategy for setting up a new venture.
  • Over the course of the bootcamp, the participants learnt the required digital skills, created and developed a business model around a digital product, generated a marketing plan, developed/established an online store, learnt business finance and culminated it by presenting their pitch deck in front of Industry experts.

About Atal innovation mission(AIM)

  • AIM was set up by NITI Aayog in 2016 to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by creating institutions and programs that enhance innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general.

PM launches SAFAL for CBSE students, Vidya Pravesh for preschoolers

Source: The Print 

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has launched the SAFAL assessment framework and Vidya Pravesh Scheme on the first anniversary of National Education Policy(NEP) 2020.

About SAFAL:

  • SAFAL stands for Structured Assessment For Analysing Learning.
  • Purpose: It is a competency-based assessment for grades 3, 5 and 8 introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education(CBSE).
  • SAFAL will be used to assess the progress of foundational skills and basic learning outcomes among students.

Benefits of SAFAL:

  • SAFAL, as a diagnostic assessment tool, will provide developmental feedback to schools and teachers to improve teaching-learning without additional examination pressure on students.
  • It has also been designed to help students, parents, and teachers to track learning progress throughout the school years and not just in Grades 10 and 12.

About Vidya Pravesh scheme:

  • Vidya Pravesh is a preschool preparation programme for young children.
  • It will prepare young students for school and help them learn basics like numbers, colours and alphabets.

Intel partners with CBSE to launch ‘AI For All’ initiative

Source: Livemint

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has launched the “AI For All’ initiative.

About AI For All Initiative:

  • The AI For All Initiative has been launched by the Central Board of Secondary Education(CBSE) in collaboration with Intel.
  • Aim: To create a basic understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) for every citizen in the country.

Key Features of the Initiative:

  • Under the Initiative, a 4-hour, self-paced learning program has been prepared that demystifies AI in an inclusive manner.
  • The program can be used by a student, a stay-at-home parent, professional in any field or even a senior citizen.
  • With this, the initiative aims to introduce AI to 1 million citizens in its first year.
  • Moreover, to ensure inclusive access, the program is available in 11 vernacular languages for anyone with digital access.
  • The content is also compatible with various talkback applications to make it accessible for visually impaired people.

Distressing’ and ‘shocking’ that people are still tried under Section 66A of IT Act, says SC

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has expressed shock at the practice of police registering FIRs under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. The act was struck down by the SC in the 2015 judgment in the Shreya Singhal case.

What is the issue?
  • A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). The petition seeks various directions and guidelines against the FIRs under the struck-down provision of Section 66A.
  • The plea has stated that as many as a total of 745 cases are still pending and active before the District Courts in 11 States under 66A of the IT Act.
  • Moreover, Section 66A has continued to be in use not only within police stations but also in cases before trial courts across India.
What has the Supreme Court said?
  • The Supreme Court has termed the continued use of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as a shocking state of affairs and sought a response from the Centre.

About Section 66A:

  • Section 66A defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device like a mobile phone or a tablet.
  • A conviction can fetch a maximum of three years in jail and a fine.
What were the issues with the Act?
  • The vagueness about what is “offensive”. The word has a very wide connotation and is open to distinctive, varied interpretations.
  • Hence, it was subjective and what may be fine for one person, may lead to a complaint from someone else. Consequently, an arrest under Section 66A if the police prima facie accepts the latter person’s view.

Terms to know 


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