9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – August 5th, 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 1

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 1

A century back is not as long ago as it may seem

Source: The post is based on an article “A century back is not as long ago as it may seem” published in the Live Mint on 5th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS-1, World and Modern India History

Context: The article compares the events of the same year of the previous century i.e. 1922 with the year of the present century i.e. 2022.

Over a period of hundred years, various things have changed. For instance, since 1922, industry, telephony, media, medicine, trade, communication, science, entertainment, travel, and even the climate have changed.

However, over the same period of time, since 1922, various things have stayed the same. For example,

(1) The public health crises continue to linger. For example, the Spanish Flu Epidemic hit the world in 1918, and the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2021. And now another health crisis, monkeypox, has come up to haunt the world.

(2) In 1922, the revolution’s architect Vladimir Lenin fell ill and his comrade Josef Stalin rose to power. Stalin deviated from Lenin’s grand plan of a federal union of states, which had envisaged devolution of power to satellite states, and created a centralized Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. However, such a central control has been re-established in Russia in the last few years. For example, the invasion of Crimea and Ukraine.

(3) The then Weimar Germany was facing hyperinflation, resulting in massive unemployment and general impoverishment. Adolf Hitler leveraged economic distress and become the undisputed leader of the Nazi party. Nowadays, the world is facing high inflation and commodity prices.

(4) Mahatma Gandhi pleaded guilty to a charge of sedition for his writings. He said Section 124A is “perhaps the prince among political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen.”

GS Paper 2


What a new data law must have?

Source: The post is based on an article “What a new data law must have” published in the Times of Indian on 5th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Relevance: Data Governance in India

News: Recently, the Government of India (GOI) has withdrawn the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 from Parliament, and the Union Ministry of Information Technology (MeiTY) is reportedly finalizing a new draft.

Some related concepts

Personal data protection: This is about allowing an individual to control how information about her is used,

Non-personal data regulation: It refers to the regulation of non-personal data for economic aims.

Reasons for withdrawing the draft bill

The objectives to protect personal data were diluted. The Justice BN Sri Krishna committee recommended protecting personal data, given the fundamental right to privacy. However, the draft bill 2019 included both personal and non-personal data. Later, a parliamentary committee examining the law also suggested a common regulator and law for personal and non-personal data.

What should an ideal data protection law look like?

(1) Our new law should focus on personal data and exclude non-personal data. Personal data is data about an individual or which relates to one, for example, our name, phone number, chat history, credit history, profile details, etc. In contrast, non-personal data may include, the number of cab users in a locality.

(2) There should be reform of Indian surveillance laws to put checks on government use of data. For this, certain privacy principles can be extended to data processing by law enforcement agencies, in line with the fundamental right to privacy.

For instance, minimizing the amount of data collected by security agencies, limiting how long it can be stored, etc.

(3) There should not be an over-reliance on consent for data processing: In the withdrawn bill, there was an over-reliance on the consent of the individual. The law mandated consent for data processing every time, with limited exceptions. It neither empowered the individual nor took into consideration the business realities, like seeking consent for each act of processing was expensive and simply not feasible.

In contrast, the EU’s GDPR recognizes that businesses may have legitimate interests in processing data and allows such processing, without businesses needing to resort to consent each time. Plus, the new law should provide ample consultation at each stage of regulation.

(4) The data regulator must be strong and coordinate with other regulators: The new law should establish a robust regulator. The regulator must also work closely with RBI, National Health Authority, TRAI, and other sectoral regulators. These regulators have already made inroads into data governance, like mandating local storage of payments data, barring merchants and payment aggregators from storing card data, restricting co-branding partners from accessing transaction data, etc.

(5) Enable cross-border data flows: The proposed law should enable and encourage cross-border data flows and limit data localization. Cross-border data flows are critical to economies. For example, a McKinsey Global Institute Study in 2016 estimated that global data flows contributed $2. 8 trillion to the global GDP. It can enable the development of, and the skilling of our workforce in, new technologies like AI. It will also prevent the fragmentation of the internet.


Sop or welfare debate

Source: The post is based on the article “Sop or welfare debate” published in The Hindu on 5th 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: India’s subsidy burden.

News: Recently, Prime Minister warned youth not to get carried away by the ‘revari culture’, where votes are sought by promising ‘freebies’. In another instance, while hearing a PIL, the Chief Justice of India remarked that ‘freebies’ were a serious issue.

What are Freebies?

What constitutes ‘freebies’ and what are legitimate welfare measures to protect the vulnerable sections are essentially political question that has no answer yet.

Read here: PM’s ‘revdi’ remark: We need to disentangle good subsidies from bad
What are the recent Supreme Court remarks on Freebies?

The Supreme Court felt that Parliament could discuss this issue but no party would want a debate on this, as all of them support such sops. The Bench also disfavoured the ECI preparing a ‘model manifesto’ as it would be an empty formality.

Read here: Supreme Court calls for a panel to look into freebies issue
What are the SC’s previous remarks on Freebies?

In S. Subramaniam Balaji vs Government of Tamil Nadu (2013) case, the court upheld the distribution of television sets or consumer goods on the ground that schemes targeted at women, farmers and the poorer sections were in furtherance of Directive Principles.

The court also held that as long as public funds were spent based on appropriations cleared by the legislature, they could neither be declared illegal nor the promise can be termed a ‘corrupt practice’.

However, the court directed the ECI to frame guidelines to regulate the content of manifestos. The ECI subsequently included in its Model Code of Conduct a stipulation that parties should avoid promises “that vitiate the purity of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters”. The code also stipulates that only promises which were possible to be fulfilled should be made and that manifestos should contain the rationale for a promised welfare measure and indicate the means of funding it.

What are the challenges associated with Freebies?

Freebies pushing the economy to unviable pre-election promises that adversely affect the informed decision-making by voters. The Solicitor-General report mentioned that Freebies distorted the voter’s informed decision-making, and that unregulated populism may lead to an economic disaster.

Read more: From freebies to welfare

Any further step, such as distinguishing welfare measures from freebies and pre-election inducements, or adding to the obligations of fiscal responsibility and fiscal prudence must come from the legislature.


Withdrawal of Personal Data Protection Bill: Who benefits from the delay?

Source: The post is based on the article “Withdrawal of Personal Data Protection Bill: Who benefits from the delay?” published in the Indian Express on 5th August 2022.

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

Relevance: To understand the issues associated with the withdrawal of the Personal Data Protection Bill.

News: Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) withdrew the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

What is the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019?

A proposal for a data protection framework was first considered in 2011 when a draft was coordinated through the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. An expert committee headed by Justice (retd) A P Shah in 2012 recommended, “a detailed framework that serves as the conceptual foundation for the Privacy Act”. But the proposals were buried by 2014 due to objections from the intelligence establishment on surveillance reforms.

With petitions on the constitutionality of Aadhaar and the right to privacy were pending before the Supreme Court, the Union government constituted an expert group headed by Justice (retd) B N Srikrishna in July 2017. This led to the introduction of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in Parliament.

Must read: Draft Personal Data Protection Bill – Explained, pointwise
What is the reason for withdrawal?
Read here: Union government rolls back Data Protection Bill
What are the issues associated with the withdrawal?

1) The JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) has nowhere suggested a withdrawal in favour of a “comprehensive legal framework”, but on the contrary pitched for the Bill to “be passed” with amendments. 2) The government fears that a compliance burden can impede innovation and growth in the digital economy. 3) There exists a reasonable argument that if passed into law, the 2019 bill may institutionalise bad privacy practices. Seeking changes in the law at a later date may be difficult considering the relentless pace of digitisation.

Read more: Issue of privacy and Personal Data Protection Bill 2019
What could have been done instead of withdrawal of PDPB?

a) To build stakeholder confidence and clear doubts on specific provisions, a public consultation could have been organised. b) With the government setting the goal of a one trillion dollar digital economy a regulatory intervention is required to improve the business practices in digital products and services. India should explore the existing parliamentary amendments and judicial review to update the law and fill the legal vacuum. c) Growing international consensus suggests that next-generation innovation in technology needs data protection.

Read more: Need for a robust Personal Data Protection Bill

The government should realise that every delay and status quo will result in unregulated collection and exploitation of personal data of millions of Indians


Maldives President Solih’s visit came in a fraught moment in ties between the two countries. Delhi must tread carefully

Source: The post is based on the article “Maldives President Solih’s visit came in a fraught moment in ties between the two countries. Delhi must tread carefully” published in the Indian Express on 5th August 2022.

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

Relevance: India-Maldives ties.

News: The visit of the Maldives’ President to Delhi gave both sides the opportunity to reiterate the importance of the bilateral relationship.

What are the key highlights from the Maldives President’s visit?

Maldives came face to face with Islamist fundamentalism when some 300 of its citizens joined ISIS back in 2014. The cyber security pact signed between the two countries during the visit also underlined concerns over the rise of Islamist fundamentalism.

Read more: Flagging terror threat, India pledges support to Maldives
What is the reason behind the recent engagement between India and Maldives?

Firstly, India was the Maldives first responder for decades. But India has been edged out by the proximity of the Maldives previous government to China due to its “India Out” campaign. But the present government wants to restore relations with strategically located India through their India First policy.

Secondly, after seeing Sri Lanka become convulsed by China’s debt trap diplomacy, Maldives realised that China’s trap should be avoided.

What are the recent engagements between India and Maldives?

a) Over the last four years, India has provided financial assistance for a slew of projects, both as grants and in credit lines. b) India also provided a further credit line of $100m for the completion of unfinished infrastructure projects. c) Under its Neighbourhood First policy, as well as SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), defence and security cooperation between the two countries has grown. d) Both countries are members of the Colombo Security Conclave, a grouping of three nations that is now growing to encompass the other Indian Ocean and South Asian countries.

Read more: Different narratives: On India – Maldives ties
What are the challenges faced in bilateral ties?

1) The previous Maldives government’s “India Out” campaign has targeted defence ties with India in particular. 2) The disruption of the Yoga Day event in Male shows the lengths that some elements are willing to go to in order to undermine the government and its ties with India.

Read more: Explained: What’s behind the new anti-India campaign in the Maldives?

India must tread with caution and ensure that there is no room for misinterpretation of its actions in the Maldives.

GS Paper 3


Is the declining rupee a crisis or an opportunity?

Source: The post is based on the article “Is the declining rupee a crisis or an opportunity?” published in The Hindu on 5th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Relevance: To understand the challenges with Rupee depreciation.

News: The declining rupee has several consequences. The rupee’s steep slide to the 79-to-a-dollar range is bound to impact importers, widen the current account deficit (CAD) and increase India’s external debt burden.

Must Read: Explained: What Rs 80 to a dollar means
Why India will not reap the benefits of the declining rupee?

1) Despite depreciation in the nominal exchange rate, the real exchange rate has not really depreciated in recent times. This means domestic prices are rising faster than international prices. But, this matters for questions of trade balance and exports, 2) In the last two-three decades, the sensitivity of exports has been weak as far as changes in the real exchange rate are concerned, 3) The depreciation is concerning because it adds to the inflationary pressure and squeezes the purchasing power of those whose incomes are not linked to the crisis.

Read more: Using a rupee route to get around a dominating dollar
What are the long-term impacts of rupee depreciation?

1) Forex reserves has now fallen sharply as the import bill remains high and forex resources have depleted. The expectation of depletion of the reserves combined with currency depreciation can lead to instability, 2) Companies that have ECBs (external commercial borrowing) will face some squeeze in the balance sheets, 3) The relationship between output and inflation rate termed the Phillips Curve, has been flat and the inflation rate changes for reasons other than demand factors, 4) So far, the policy measure has been exclusively dependent on monetary policy. Higher interest rates or higher repo rates have an adverse impact on output, which affects GDP growth, 5) Fiscal policy targets a specific level of debt to GDP ratio, i.e., it targets debt stability, and the job of the monetary policy is to target the output gap and thereby control inflation. Fiscal policy needs to play a role in helping boost demand, but that is not exactly consistent with the present policy framework.

Read more: External vulnerabilities: Time for a rupee review
What India should do to limit the impacts of rupee depreciation?

a) India needs to find out whether India has adequate flows on the capital side to bridge the CAD, b) The RBI has to sell dollars in the spot market to contain the depreciation, c) To avoid the East Asian experience in the mid-1990s, the RBI must watch the import cover of forex reserves; The consequent impact on the rupee liquidity is another factor the RBI needs to watch, d) The government need to increase corporate tax in some form, to finance additional government expenditures, particularly in compensating labour’s income, e) India should also rethink fiscal policy rules and must review to what extent rules are relevant and useful in the current context, f) The government’s outstanding debt is large and increases in interest rates will raise the interest bill. Correcting the government’s fiscal imbalances will improve the overall macro atmosphere and offer a positive signal to the external world and provide comfort to investors.

Read more: Why there is no reason to panic over the rupee

The aircraft and the carrier

Source: The post is based on an article “The aircraft and the carrier” published in the Business Standard on 5th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Various Security Forces and their mandate

Relevance: Indian Navy; INS Vikrant

News: The Cochin Shipyard Ltd. handed over India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier or IAC-1, known as Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant to the Indian Navy(IN), which will be commissioned shortly in the IN.

History of Aircraft Carriers in India

Since independence, India has cumulatively operated three aircraft carriers, the original INS Vikrant, the INS Viraat, and INS Vikramaditya. The first two have been decommissioned from the IN.

The second INS Vikrant, which will be commissioned soon, will be the fourth aircraft carrier of India.

INS Vikramaditya is still serving the IN. And after commissioning, INS Vikrant (45,000-tonne carrier) will also be the second serviceable carrier.

Issues

First, an aircraft carrier must be able to take enough air wings into battle. However, the only aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya cannot embark on more than about 25 fighters. Therefore, it can be clearly stated that the Indian Naval Ship is left short of air power in crucial battle spaces and missions.

Second, the types of aircraft in a carrier’s air wing and the efficiency with which they can be sustained in battle is the ultimate determinant of a carrier’s worth. However, the Indian Navy has ordered the MiG-29K for INS Vikramaditya and IAC-1. The MiG-29K is a poor choice because it will be unable to absorb the pounding that carrier-based fighters receive while landing when the pilot slams down his fighter at a precise spot on the deck so that it can engage a row of arrestor wires that drag the aircraft to a halt.

What should be done?

Therefore, the Indian Navy is pushing hard for the Indian Aircraft Carrier (IAC) -2 of 65,000-tonne capacity. Further, the Indian Navy is also pushing for a flat deck carrier that is designed and built in India, with technical and tactical consultation from the US Navy. The IAC-02 would be able to embark some 55 fixed-wing fighters, ASW and utility helicopters, and aircraft like the fixed-wing, radome-equipped E2C Hawkeye for extended maritime domain awareness (MDA) missions.

India and the US have constituted a Joint Working Group on aircraft carrier technology cooperation under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative.

Recently, the Indian Navy has sent out a Request for Information for 26 Multi-role carrier-borne fighters (MRCBF). The marine version of Dassault’s Rafale fighter; and Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet are the two aircraft that meet the requirements. The Super Hornet is the better choice, as is evident from the plethora of disadvantages in buying its rival, the Rafale-Marine.

First, the Indian Navy specified that it requires eight twin-seat and 18 single-seat fighters. The Rafale–Marine does not come in a twin-seat version. Both configurations are available in the Super Hornet

Second, the Super Hornet would ensure high interoperability between the fighters, the aircraft carrier, and a number of other platforms that the Indian military has already bought, or could do so.

Third, If the Indian Navy does not buy the Super Hornet, it may also be denying itself access to MQ-25 tankers from US carriers in the future. Other interoperable platforms also include MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, the P-8I multi-mission maritime aircraft, and the MQ-25 Stingray autonomous, carrier-borne tankers.

Fourth, If the Indian Navy buys the Super Hornet, the US Navy might also link the availability of EMALS/ AAG from General Atomics for the next indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-2) to the strategic closeness.

Fifth, a Super Hornet sale to India would create a higher degree of interoperability with US naval forces in the Indo-Pacific, as well as with the Quad militaries as both Australia and the US operate Hornets.

Sixth, the acquisition of Super Hornets would allow the Indian Navy continued access to the most capable combat aviation assets in the Indo-Pacific. For example, the US has 11 carriers against only one French and one British carrier.


What the RBI’s Financial Stability Report reveals about the banking sector

Source: The post is based on the article “What the RBI’s Financial Stability Report reveals about the banking sector” published in the Indian Express on 5th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the growth and development of the Indian Economy; Investment

Relevance: Bank reforms, regulatory reforms, Infrastructure Investment related reforms

News: Recently, the RBI released its latest Financial Stability Report (FSR) which talks about the health of the Indian Banking System.

What were the findings of the report?

The RBI has stated that the banking system is healthy, considering the stress of the previous decade. The two key indicators clearly demonstrate the progress in the banking system:

(1) The Bank’s financial situation has been improved by successive waves of recapitalization. Therefore, banks have written off most of their bad loans. Therefore, they brought down their gross non-performing loans (NPAs) from 11% of total advances in 2017-18 to 5.9% in 2021-22.

(2) Due to the above said financial turnaround, the banks have the space to resume their business of extending credit.

Why the improvement in banks’ financials is a glass half-full picture?

(1) It is still unclear whether the banking system is healthy enough to finance the strong economic recovery or GDP growth. There are various factors behind it:

(a) Over the last decade, banks have increasingly shifted away from providing credit to industry or financing investment. Now, banks are lending more to consumers. For example, the share of industry in total banking credit has declined from 43% in 2010 to 30% in 2020, and consumer loans have increased from 19% to 29%.

(b) Most of the industry credit/loan has been extended to the smaller firms or MSMEs. For example, due to the credit guarantee scheme in the wake of the pandemic, the loan growth for MSMEs has gone up from 3 percent in 2020 to 31 percent in 2022.

(3) There has been little lending for private sector investment for infrastructure creation. Most of this went for public sector capital expenditure. Much of the lending to the private industry has been in the form of working capital loans, necessitated by the increase in commodity prices.

Why is there so little lending for investment by large firms?

There has been a situation of risk aversion on the part of firms and banks in terms of private sector investment:

On the demand side, private sector investment has been sluggish for nearly a decade after the boom-and-bust of the mid-2000s. The firms have little reason to expand their production facilities.

On the supply side, most of the bank loans given during the period 2004-09 for large infrastructure projects turned bad, leading to high levels of NPAs. Therefore, banks were unable to extend credit for a decade.

Thus, even when their health improved, they remained wary of lending to large-scale industrial projects, preferring instead to shift to smaller-scale and less risky consumer lending.

Why has the perception of risk aversion not changed even during the post-pandemic recovery?

There is still no framework that will reduce the risk of private sector investment in infrastructure.

The banks do not have a reassurance that in case the NPA problems do develop, the problem will be resolved expeditiously. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has been plagued by delays and other problems.

Now, there are other issues like heightened global macroeconomic uncertainty, growing geopolitical tensions, and uncertain recovery prospects of India’s domestic economy.

A healthy balance sheet of the banking sector is necessary, but not sufficient for economic growth.

What should be done?

Both banks and firms have to be willing to take on the risk of investment in industry and infrastructure.  

Deep structural reforms should be introduced to the infrastructure framework, the resolution process, and management processes at the banks themselves.


Breathing LiFE into the climate narrative

Source: The post is based on an article “Breathing LiFE into the climate narrative” published in the Indian Express on 5th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Ecology and Environment

Relevance: The Concept of Lifestyles for the Environment (LiFE)

News: Recently, the Prime Minister of India launched the concept of “Lifestyle for the Environment” (LiFE) on June 5, 2022, World Environment Day.

In November 2021, at the CoP 26 in Glasgow, Prime Minister Narender Modi, in addition to announcing the panchamrit, or five climate-related commitments of the country, also articulated the concept of LiFE.

About the concept of LiFE

It is planned as a first-of-its-kind global movement that advocates for “mindful and deliberate utilization” by people worldwide, instead of “mindful and wasteful consumption”.

It will provide the world with a unique people-powered platform to relentlessly focus on bringing individual and collective actions to the core of the climate action narrative.

Objectives

(1) It aims to harness the power of individual and collective action across the world to address the climate crisis. It aims to nudge individuals and communities to adopt simple and specific climate-friendly behaviors in their daily lifestyles. For instance, an individual can carry a reusable cloth bag instead of a plastic bag; walk short distances instead of driving; or turn off electrical appliances when not in use; prioritize public transport wherever possible and take other similar actions.

(2) LiFE aims to activate a global community of “Pro Planet People” and steer the world towards a sustainable model of development.

Key Component

(1) Consume responsibly: LiFE plans to break down the mental model like Sustainable living and comfortable living are competitors. It will nudge the world to consume responsibly, rather than consuming less.

LiFE will deploy a range of tested behavioral techniques, including nudges, social and behavior change communication, and norm influencing to make mindful consumption a mass movement, on which India relied in the recent jan andolans such as the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).

(2) Produce responsibly: The LiFE movement’s nudging of the consumption patterns of the society may also go to the extent of leading to responsible production and a sustainable market.

(3) Live responsibly: Humans remain at the mercy of the natural world, no matter how much technological progress we make as a global society. This was recently proved during the Covid pandemic.

Why can climate change no longer be an after-thought to the global development agenda?

It has been estimated that the global economy could lose up to 18% of GDP, and India could lose $6 trillion by 2050 if no climate action is taken.

In India alone, more than 50% of our largely rural workforce will be negatively affected by climate change.

Further, the ongoing climate crisis is already threatening food and water security across the world.

Importance of community and individual actions

According to the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), if one billion people out of the total global population of close to eight billion people adopt eco-friendly behaviours in their day-to-day lives, then global carbon emissions could drop by approx 20%. For Example

(1) Eco-friendly behaviours include turning off ACs, heaters, and lights when not in use can conserve up to 282 kilowatts of electricity per day.

(2) Avoiding food wastage can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by 370 kg per year.

(3) Reducing one flight trip per year can reduce per capita carbon emissions by 700 to 2,800 kg.

Other pro-planet initiatives around the world

(1) Denmark promotes the use of bicycles by limiting parking within the city centre and providing exclusive bike lanes.

(2) Japan has its unique “walk-to-school” mandate, which has been in practice since the early 1950s.

The Way Forward

India can lead the global climate debate by nudging the world towards a new model of sustainable and inclusive development through the LiFE movement.

The LiFE movement can play a pivotal role in not merely reversing the effects of climate change, but also mainstreaming a harmonious and mindful way of living.

The Indian leadership can promote LiFE movement while presiding as the G20, a group that covers 60% of the global population, 80% of the global GDP, and 75% of global exports.


About spectrum auction: Dialling right – Government should ensure that exchequer and the public benefit from spectrum sale

Source: The post is based on the article “Dialling right – Government should ensure that exchequer and the public benefit from spectrum sale” published in The Hindu on 5th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Relevance: About India’s spectrum auction.

News: India’s latest auction of telecommunications spectrum drew bids exceeding a record ₹1.5 lakh crore in a clear sign that the industry is on the path to recovery.

About the present Spectrum auction

The government has netted just over a third of the ₹4.3 lakh crore reserve price it had set for the spectrum on offer. 71% of the airwaves on the block won bids is a testament to the improvement in the industry’s health.

Reliance Jio emerged as the top bidder cornering 48% of the airwaves. Bharti Airtel bid just under half that amount for 39%. The debt-laden Vodafone Idea cornered about a 12% spectrum.

Read more: Analysing spectrum auction
What were the recent steps that help to improve the telecom sector?

Government steps: The Centre last year eased the regulatory norms around the payment of dues. This includes a four-year moratorium on outstanding payments and the redefinition of adjusted gross revenues to prospectively exclude non-telecom earnings.

The Government’s policy decision to return bank guarantees to telcos helped them to improve their eligibility for debt and increased capital expenditure.

Steps taken by industry: Industry increased tariffs which helped them to lift the average revenue per user at the telecom service providers. Thereby boosting margins.

All this allowed service providers to attract investor interest and spread liabilities over a staggered period.

Read more: Opportunities and challenges associated with the launch of 5G Spectrum in India
What are the lessons that should be learned from spectrum auction?

The high reserve price has dampened enthusiasm for certain spectrum bands. For instance, 3.3 GHz and 26 GHz were bid at the reserve price in several service areas, the 600 MHz was left untouched, and 60% of the 700 MHz spectrum remained unsold.

Note: The 700MHz spectrum is ideal for rural connectivity as well as signal penetration inside buildings in urban areas.

Read more: Auctioning 5G spectrum bands

Hence, the government should price the spectrum in an optimal manner to ensure that both the exchequer and the public at large, including in remote rural corners, benefit from it.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Union government rolls back Data Protection Bill

Source: The post is based on the articleUnion government rolls back Data Protection Billpublished in The Hindu on 5th August 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Information Technology Minister has announced the withdrawal of The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

What is the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019?

Click Here to read

Why has the Bill been withdrawn?

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was deliberated in great detail by the Joint Committee of Parliament(JCP), 81 amendments were proposed, and 12 recommendations were made toward a comprehensive legal framework for the digital ecosystem. 

Hence, in the circumstances, it is proposed to withdraw the bill and present a new bill that fits into the comprehensive legal framework.

What did the JCP recommend?

The JCP proposed 81 amendments to the Bill. Some of these are:

– Expanding the scope of the proposed law to cover discussions on non-personal data — thereby changing the mandate of the Bill from personal data protection to broader data protection. 

– Recommended changes on issues such as regulation of social media companies.

– Using only “trusted hardware” in smartphones.

– Social media companies that do not act as intermediaries should be treated as content publishers — making them liable for the content they host.


Explained | The coal mining protests in the Hasdeo Aranya region

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | The coal mining protests in the Hasdeo Aranya region” published in The Hindu on 4th August 2022.

What is the News?

Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed a private member resolution urging the Centre to cancel the allocation of all coal mining blocks in the ecologically sensitive Hasdeo Aranya area.

What is a Private member resolution?

An MLA who is not a Minister — whether he or she happens to be from the ruling party or not— is a private member. 

A private member resolution can be brought in by a private member and if passed, it becomes an expression of what the House thinks. This is different from a private member bill which would become law in case of approval.

Such private member resolutions were passed by the State Assemblies of Punjab and Kerala during the farm law agitation where both state legislatures had expressed their displeasure against the then proposed (now withdrawn) farm laws.

What is the importance of the Hasdeo Aranya region?

The Hasdeo Aranya (Aranya means forest) lies in the catchment area of the Hasdeo river in North-Central Chhattisgarh. 

The Hasdeo river is a tributary of the Mahanadi river which originates in Chhattisgarh and flows through Odisha into the Bay of Bengal. 

The Hasdeo forests are also the catchment area for the Hasdeo Bango Dam built across the Hasdeo river which irrigates six lakh acres of land, crucial to a State with paddy as its main crop. 

Besides, the forests are ecologically sensitive due to the rich biodiversity they offer and due to the presence of a large migratory corridor for elephants.

What is happening in Hasdeo Aranya region?

Underneath the Hasdeo Aranya is a coalfield that comprises 22 coal blocks. 

In 2010, the Center categorized Hasdeo Aranya to be a “no-go” zone for mining. It ruled out mining in any of these blocks. 

However, only a year later, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) granted clearance for the mining of one coal block. At present, of the 22 blocks, seven blocks have been allotted to different companies.

Hence, the resolution has urged the Centre to cancel the allocation of all coal mining blocks in the Hasdeo Aranya area.


Ministry of Culture releases the third Comic book on stories of 20 Tribal Freedom Fighters

Source: The post is based on the articleMinistry of Culture releases the third Comic book on stories of 20 Tribal Freedom Fighterspublished in PIB on 4th August 2022.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Culture has released the third Comic book on stories of 20 Tribal Freedom Fighters at Tiranga Utsav celebration in New Delhi.

What are the important tribal freedom fighters mentioned in the book?
            Tribal Freedom Fighter                    Contribution
Tilka Majhi He rebelled against the atrocities of the British East India Company. He mobilised the Pahadia tribe to which he belonged and raided the Company treasury. He was hanged.
Budhu Bhagat He had led guerrilla warfare against the British. He was a leader of the Larka rebellion in 1832.
Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu They were the leaders of the Santhal rebellion (1855–1856), the rebellion in present-day Jharkhand and Bengal in eastern India against both the British colonial authority and the corrupt zamindari system.
 Ramji GondHe belonged to the Gond tribe. He rose against the feudal system by which wealthy landlords oppressed the poor with the support of the British. He was caught and hanged.
Telanga Kharia He refused to accept the tax system of the   British and their governance. He insisted that they follow their traditional method of self-governance and organized raids on the treasury. He was betrayed and shot dead.
Tantiya BhilHe was known as the Robin Hood of the Central Provinces. He robbed trains carrying British wealth and distributed it among his tribe, the Bhils. 
Major Paona Brajabasi He fought to defend the kingdom of Manipur. He was the hero of the Anglo-Manipur war.
Malati MemShe was inspired to join Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha movement. She fought against the British monopoly over opium and educated her people about the dangers of opium addiction. 
Helen Lepcha She was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Her influence over her people made the British restless. In 1941, she helped Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose escape from house arrest and travel to Germany. She was awarded the Tamra Patra for her invaluable contribution to the freedom struggle.
Pulimaya Devi PodarShe heard Gandhi when she was in school and wanted to join the freedom struggle immediately. Despite stiff opposition from her family, she joined the movement. She was imprisoned for her participation in protests. After independence, she continued to serve her people and was awarded the title of ‘Swatantra Sainani’.

Explained: What are rare earth elements, and why is India keen to join a global alliance to ensure their supply?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What are rare earth elements, and why is India keen to join a global alliance to ensure their supply?” published in Indian Express on 4th August 2022.

What is the News?

India is working through its diplomatic channels to fetch an entry into the Mineral Security Partnership.

What is a Mineral Security Partnership(MSP)?

It is a  US-led partnership to secure supply chains of critical minerals, aimed at reducing dependency on China.

Aim: To catalyze investment from governments and the private sector to develop strategic opportunities.

Members: US, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the European Commission.

Significance of the alliance: The MSP will focus on the supply chains of minerals such as Cobalt, Nickel, Lithium, and also the 17 ‘rare earth’ minerals. 

– The alliance is also seen as primarily focused on evolving as an alternative to China, which has created processing infrastructure in rare earth minerals and has acquired mines in Africa for elements such as Cobalt.

Why is India not part of MSP?

According to experts, the reason India would not have found a place in the MSP grouping is because India does not bring any expertise to the table. In the group, countries like Australia and Canada have reserves and also the technology to extract them, and countries like Japan have the technology to process REEs.

What are Rare Earth Metals?

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of seventeen chemically similar metallic elements on the periodic table. It comprises 15 lanthanides elements (lanthanum to lutetium), plus scandium and yttrium. REEs are classified as light RE elements (LREE) and heavy RE elements (HREE).

Some REEs are available in India — such as Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium, Praseodymium and Samarium, etc. 

Others such as Dysprosium, Terbium, and Europium, which are classified as HREEs, are not available in Indian deposits in extractable quantities. 

Hence, there is a dependence on countries such as China for HREEs, which is one of the leading producers of REEs with an estimated 70% share of the global production.


DRDO successfully test fires indigenously developed laser-guided ATGMs

Source: The post is based on the articleDRDO successfully test fires indigenously developed laser-guided ATGMspublished in PIB on 4th August 2022.

What is the News?

Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) and the Indian Army have successfully testfired indigenously developed Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) from Main Battle Tank(MBT) Arjun.

What are Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missiles(ATGM)?

Click Here to read 

How is Laser Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missiles different from prevalent ATGM? 

ATGM: It is a medium or long-range missile whose primary objective is to destroy tanks and other armoured vehicles. ATGMs can be launched from aircraft or land vehicles or infantry. It can also be used against fortified positions or low-speed aircraft. DRDO has already flight-tested ATGM Helina from helicopters successfully.

Laser-Guided ATGM: These are designed to be fired from tanks and it is planned for India’s Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun. It employs a HEAT warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles in ranges from 1.5 to 5 km. It locks and tracks the targets based on laser designation to precisely strike the target. 


World Dairy Summit 2022 to be held in India after 48 years

Source: The post is based on the article “World Dairy Summit 2022 to be held in India after 48 years” published in Indian Express on 4th August 2022.

What is the News?

India is hosting the World Dairy Summit 2022 in New Delhi. The last World Dairy Summit was organized in 1974 in New Delhi. After 48 years, India is organizing the summit again.

What is the World Dairy Summit 2022?

Organized by: International Dairy Federation(IDF) 

Hosted by: India

Aim: To provide a forum for the industry experts to share knowledge and ideas on how the sector can contribute to nourishing the world with safe and sustainable dairying.

Theme: Livelihood and Nutrition

About the Dairy Sector in India

India is ranked 1st in milk production contributing 23% of global milk production. 

Uttar Pradesh is the highest milk-producing state in India contributing around 18% to the total milk production followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab.

Initiated in 1970, Operation Flood was arguably the most ambitious dairy development programme that transformed India into one of the largest milk producers.

However, India is yet to join the ranks of major milk exporting nations as much of what we produce is directed towards meeting domestic demands. 

Diary Sector Schemes

Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund: The scheme aims to provide subsidized loans at 6.5% to capital-stressed milk cooperatives for primarily replacing their decades-old chilling and processing plants and addition of value-added product plants.

National Programme for Dairy Development 

Animal Husbandry infrastructure development fund


Exercise Yudh Abhyas: India, US to carry out mega military exercise in Uttarakhand

Source: The post is based on the article “Exercise Yudh Abhyas: India, US to carry out mega military exercise in Uttarakhand” published in Livemint on 4th August 2022.

What is the News?

India and the US will hold the 18th edition of the Exercise “Yudh Abhyas” in Uttarakhand’s Auli.

What is Exercise Yudh Abhyas?

It is a military exercise between India and the US.

Aim: To enhance understanding, cooperation and interoperability between the armies of India and the US with a number of complex drills being planned.

Started in: The exercise was started in 2004 under the US Army Pacific Partnership Program.

The exercise is hosted alternately between both countries.

What are the other exercises between India and the US?

Exercise Tiger Triumph– It is a tri-service military exercise between India and the US.

Exercise Vajra Prahar: It is a Special Forces joint military training exercise. It has been conducted alternately in India and the US since 2010.

Exercise Cope India: It is a series of bilateral Air Force exercises between India and the United States.

Defence Cooperation between India and US

Relations between India and US have improved since 2016 when the US designated India a “Major Defence Partner”.

Since 2016 the two countries have signed many major defence and security pacts such as LEMOA, BECA and COMCASA.


Experiential learning for 21st century for Eklavya school principals and teachers launched by NESTS and CBSE

Source: The post is based on the article “Experiential learning for the 21st century for Eklavya school principals and teachers launched by NESTS and CBSEpublished in PIB on 4th August 2022.

What is the News?

The National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS), Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in collaboration with TATA Trusts and others have launched “Experiential Learning for 21st Century Programme”.

What is Experiential Learning for the 21st Century Programme?

Experiential Learning for the 21st Century Programme has been launched for the Eklavya Model Residential School(EMRS) Principals and Teachers.

Purpose: It is conceptualized as an online programme for educators i.e teachers and principals to help them adapt classroom learning to real-life experiences. 

The program was offered free of cost to all the selected teachers and principals. The selected teachers were trained as “Teacher Leaders” who shall be espousing the Experiential Learning Pedagogy to all EMRS teaching fraternity in a phased manner.

What is Eklavya Model Residential School(EMRS)?

Click Here to read

What is the National Education Society for Tribal Students(NESTS)?

NESTS is an autonomous organization established under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs(MoTA).

Aim: To provide high-quality education to the tribal students in their own environment.


India adds 10 more wetlands designated as Ramsar sites to make total 64 sites

Source: The post is based on the articleIndia adds 10 more wetlands designated as Ramsar sites to make a total 64 sitespublished in PIB on 3rd August 2022.

What is the News?

India has added 10 more wetlands designated as Ramsar sites to make a total 64 sites.

The 10 new sites include Six (6) sites in Tamil Nadu and One (1) each in Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. Designation of these sites would help in the conservation and management of wetlands and the wise use of their resources.

Which are these 10 new Ramsar Sites?

Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary (Tamilnadu): It is a man-made wetland. It is the largest reserve for breeding resident and migratory water birds in South India. It is also an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area forming part of the Central Asian Flyway.  

Satkosia Gorge (Odisha): Satkosia spreads along the magnificent gorge over the mighty river Mahanadi in Odisha. It was established in 1976 as a wildlife sanctuary. Satkosia is also the meeting point of two biogeographic regions of India; the Deccan Peninsula and the Eastern Ghats, contributing to immense biodiversity.  

Nanda Lake (Goa): The majority of the lake is intermittent freshwater marshes that lie adjacent to one of the major rivulets of the Zuari River. This enables the locals to store the water during the off-monsoon season. 

Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve (Tamil Nadu): It is located on the southeastern coastline of India and is a unique marine environment rich in biodiversity. This is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in South & South -East Asia.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (Karnataka): It has been enlisted as one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Karnataka and India by the Bombay Natural History Society. 

Vembannur Wetland Complex (Tamil Nadu): It is a human-made inland tank. The tank is believed to have been constructed in the regime of Pandyan king Veeranarayana. The wetland forms the southernmost tip of peninsular India. This wetland is also an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area(IBA).

Vellode Bird Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu): It is provincially known as Periyakulam Yeri. It forms part of the Central Asian Flyway.

Sirpur Wetland (Madhya Pradesh): It is a historical wetland situated in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. It is not only important for its aesthetic value, but it provides immense ecological services such as being an important source of water. Presently, the wetland is being developed as a bird sanctuary and ecological learning center. 

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu): It is comprised of freshwater water and is also one of the oldest bird-protected areas. It belongs to the Coromandel Coast biotic province. This site is also recognized as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area(IBA).

Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu): It is one of the important bird sanctuaries in Tamil Nadu. The site is an important staging and breeding ground for several species of waterbirds. The notable species observed at the site are oriental darter, glossy ibis, grey Heron & Eurasian spoonbill. This site stores floodwaters during monsoon overflow and maintains surface water flow during drier periods. 


Mains Answer Writing

The fragility of the Northeast’s integration

Source: The post is based on an article “The fragility of the Northeast’s integration” published in the “The Hindu” on 16th August 2022. Syllabus: GS 1 Regionalism Relevance: North-Eastern States News: In recent years, the North-eastern states governments like Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh are ruled by the same political party which is ruling… Continue reading The fragility of the Northeast’s integration

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The shackles of 1861 need to go

Source: The post is based on an article “The shackles of 1861 need to go” published in The Hindu on 16th August 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate. Relevance: Police Reforms News: Recently, a book titled “The Struggle for Police Reforms in India: Ruler’s Police to People’s Police” authored by a former… Continue reading The shackles of 1861 need to go

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Towards an India where women lead

Source: The post is based on an article “Towards an India where women lead” published in the Indian Express on 16th August 2022. Syllabus: GS 1 Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Relevance: Gender Disparities; Prejudices and Discrimination News: Recently, the 2022 World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index was released, which confirmed a… Continue reading Towards an India where women lead

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Diplomacy for Viksit Bharat

Source: The post is based on an article “Diplomacy for Viksit Bharat” published in the Indian Express on 16th August 2022. Syllabus: GS 2 International relations; Bilateral relations Multilateral relations etc. Relevance: Foreign Policy News: The Prime Minister of India has outlined a new ambition to make India a developed country, “Viksit Bharat”, by 2047.… Continue reading Diplomacy for Viksit Bharat

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To Be Developed

Source: The post is based on the article “To be developed” published in The Times of India on 16th August 2022. Syllabus: GS 3 Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development, and Employment. Relevance: Economic Growth News:  The Prime Minister of India’s 75th Year Independence Day speech has set an… Continue reading To Be Developed

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Explained: Women heroes of India’s freedom struggle, mentioned by PM in his I-Day speech

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Women heroes of India’s freedom struggle, mentioned by PM in his I-Day speech” published in Indian Express on 16th August 2022. What is the News? During 75th Independence Day anniversary speech, the Prime Minister hailed “nari shakti”, and urged people to pledge to not do anything… Continue reading Explained: Women heroes of India’s freedom struggle, mentioned by PM in his I-Day speech

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75 Ramsar Sites in 75th Year of Independence

Source: The post is based on the article “75 Ramsar Sites in 75th Year of Independence ” published in PIB on 14th August 2022. What is the News? India has added 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites to make a total 75 Ramsar sites. The 11 new sites include Four (4) sites in… Continue reading 75 Ramsar Sites in 75th Year of Independence

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Explained: Why has Johnson and Johnson decided to discontinue its talc-based baby powder?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why has Johnson and Johnson decided to discontinue its talc-based baby powder?” published in Indian Express on 16th August 2022. What is the News? Pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson(J&J) has announced that it will discontinue the sale of its talc-based baby powder globally by 2023. This… Continue reading Explained: Why has Johnson and Johnson decided to discontinue its talc-based baby powder?

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Yuan Wang 5: Why is the visit of a Chinese vessel to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port controversial?

Source: The post is based on the article “Why is the visit of a Chinese vessel to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port controversial?” published in The Hindu on 16th August 2022. What is the News? Sri Lanka has approved the arrival of a Chinese satellite-tracking vessel named “Yuan Wang 5” to its southern Chinese-funded Hambantota port.… Continue reading Yuan Wang 5: Why is the visit of a Chinese vessel to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port controversial?

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Explained: What is DigiYatra, the contactless passenger processing system for airports

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is DigiYatra, the contactless passenger processing system for airports” published in Indian Express on 16th August 2022. What is the News? The Delhi International Airport Ltd(DIAL) run by GMR has announced the soft launch of the Centre’s DigiYatra initiative, rolling out the beta version of… Continue reading Explained: What is DigiYatra, the contactless passenger processing system for airports

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