9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – December 20th, 2021
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- 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:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- Down To Earth
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- 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 Brief – Click Here
- For individual articles of 9 PM Brief– Click Here
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
- Testing the red lines in the Iran nuclear talks
- Bangladesh – Model or Miracle?
- The realm of ideas must always be free and fair
- Age and marriage: On raising the age of marriage for women
- Reading sex ratio trends in NFHS-5 data
- Health will remain high on agenda
GS Paper 3
- Neither ban nor regulate crypto
- Interpretation of ARC maladies
- The overlooked case for food losses and waste
- MSP for all crops is fiscally unfeasible
- Data Protection Bill: National security, at the cost of citizens’ privacy
- Insurgencies are defeated by democratic politics, not force
- How to get PLIs transform manufacturing
- Focus on local bodies in govt push to improve ease of doing business
- Can India become a technology leader
- How does the Fed’s taper move impact Indian economy?
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- Poshan data under wraps for ‘privacy’
- New generation ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ successfully test-fired by DRDO
- Explained: India’s missile capability
- Killer robots aren’t science fiction. A push to ban them is growing
- Explained: What is Parvovirus that has affected over 2,000 dogs in Maharashtra’s Amravati city?
- Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: Private hospitals to be tagged for being breastfeeding-friendly
- India-Central Asia Dialogue: Six nations call for ‘immediate’ aid for Afghans
- CADS-500: DRDO conducts flight demonstration of Controlled Aerial Delivery System
- Indian desert cat spotted in M.P.’s Panna Tiger Reserve
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
Testing the red lines in the Iran nuclear talks
Source: This post is based on the article “Testing the red lines in the Iran nuclear talks” published in The Hindu on 20th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2 – India and its Neighborhood- Relations.
Relevance: The negotiations for a renewed Iran nuclear deal
News: Multilateral nuclear talks have started once again in Vienna with a new Iranian negotiating team. For the time being, the talks seems to have no positive outcomes. Both US and Iran are completely rigid and want the other party to back down and make concessions before they will move.
Hence, it’s unclear whether the negotiations in Vienna would be able to deliver substantive results.
|Must Read: Tehran’s white flag in Vienna|
What are the reasons behind the current deadlock b/w US & Iran?
Due to the following factors:
Firstly, Iran is playing the North Korean card, and is moving towards leaving the economic sphere of the United States and Europe and joining China and Russia.
Secondly, the US does not have a very clear direction for Iran’s future. This is because the U.S. President is refusing to commit to lift sanctions on Iran during the remaining years of his presidency.
What is the stand taken by various stakeholders?
Iran insists on all sanctions being lifted. Its negotiators have talked of the fundamental injustice committed by the U.S., an injustice in which the Europeans have been complicit.
– Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s demands have consistently centered on full sanctions removal.
– The newly elected government headed by Ebrahim Raisi is trying to leverage Iran’s expanding nuclear programme to get more concessions from the international community, without paying significant costs. As a result, there is an increasing pessimism on whether the Iran nuclear deal can be revived.
The USA is asking Iran to return to reduced enrichment of uranium and accept full International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has warned Iran that “the hour is getting very late” to return to the nuclear deal. However, he also added that “it is not too late for Iran to reverse course to save the deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear capabilities, in exchange for an easing of sanctions from Washington”.
Europe till now has been almost non-existent in these new talks. It is trying to close the deal as quickly as possible, as Iran ramps up uranium enrichment. But at the same time, it doesn’t seem to be a forceful mediator in these talks, given that there are the Chinese and the Russians, who are in favour of the Iranians.
China: It has made comments regarding “nuclear hypocrisy” of the West, indicating that it is sympathetic to the fundamental arguments of the Iranian negotiators.
Israel: Israeli officials have been pressing European governments and the U.S. on a real Iranian nuclear threat. It continues to see the Islamic Republic of Iran as an existential threat. From the Israeli point of view, this threat can be justified by Iran’s current hegemonic military drive into the Levant region.
|Levant = Historically, the region along the eastern Mediterranean shores, roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and certain adjacent areas)|
Bangladesh – Model or Miracle?
Source: This post is based on the article “Bangladesh- Model or Miracle” published in Business standard on 19th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2- India and its Neighborhood
Relevance: Learning for India from the developmental model of Bangladesh.
News: Bangladesh got Independence in 1971. The then war-torn country referred to by many as basket-case, is now a developmental model for growth and human development.
|A basket-case is a country or organization that is in severe financial or economic difficulties, one that is unable to pay its debts.|
In which areas, Bangladesh is doing better than India?
Bangladesh has a female labour force participation rate of 36% while India’s is at 21% (Pre-Taliban Afghanistan had a higher ratio of women to men working than India).
For a detailed comparison of India -Bangladesh on socio-economic growth indicators, click here.
|Must Read: India-Bangladesh relations | Recent developments in India-Ban relations | Making of Shonar Bangla|
What are the probable reasons for Bangladesh’s growth and development?
Unitary government, without competition between federal and provincial governments.
Outward orientation: An Openness to trade and investment which fuelled garment sector growth in the country.
Policy continuity: Bangladesh has better macroeconomic indicators than India. Before Pandemic, India’s general government deficit was about twice Bangladesh’s.
Currently, also, its debt-to-GDP ratio is just 38% while that of India’s is 90%.
Involvement of NGOs and civil society: The areas where the government couldn’t provide the required services, were covered by active involvement of Civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This led to inclusion and development.
Most of these factors have not been an explicit outcome of Bangladesh’s developmental policy but mere realities that the Nation came into existence with. However, India can still learn how Bangladesh has put to use its strengths and weaknesses to carve a niche development story of its own.
|Must Read: Lessons from Bangladesh’s growth story|
The realm of ideas must always be free and fair
Source: This post is based on the article “The realm of ideas must always be free and fair” published in the Livemint on 20th December 2021.
Syllabus: GS 2 Fundamental Rights.
Relevance: Understanding the concerns associated with freedom of religion.
News: US Congress recently approved a bill to ban imports from Xinjiang that might be the result of forced labor.
|Must read: U.S. imposes sanctions against China over abuse of Uighurs|
Why was the reason behind the USA move?
The new world order after World War 2 was based on liberal ideas like freedom of thought, which also included freedom of religion. According to the US, China’s treatment of Uyghurs is a violation of that order.
Why religious conversions should be checked?
The religious conversion itself is controversial. “Vocational education and training centres” for Uyghurs in China seems to imprison and indoctrinate Uyghurs with Communist Party ideology—in effect, convert them.
Thus, any form of state incentive which favours a particular religion should be seen thoroughly investigated.
|Also read: People are Free to Choose Religion: Supreme Court|
How religion is used in politics in India?
Polls in UP have raised us-versus-them debate. The agitation has lost traction. The appeals to Hindu revivalism are neither uniform and at times may induce harm to people or minorities. For many weeks in Gurugram people have been denied Muslims space to offer prayers in public. This does not reflect the nation’s stand, but it does impact the sentiments of people.
What should be done to ensure religious freedom?
In India, Judiciary should evaluate the faith-based exclusion of citizenship enacted through the citizenship amendment act 2019.
Last February, the Supreme Court said it would lay down the ambit of religious freedom under the Constitution’s Article 25. This is a welcome move.
|Article 25: says “all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health.|
Age and marriage: On raising the age of marriage for women
Source: This post is based on the following articles:
”Age and marriage: On raising the age of marriage for women” published in The Hindu on 20th December 2021.
“Beyond the age barrier” published in Business Standard on 20th December 2021.
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 challenges in raising the legal age for marriage.
News: Recently, the Union Cabinet has passed a proposal raising the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years — the same as men. The government has taken this decision based on the recommendations of the Committee headed by Jaya Jaitly.
|Must read: Raising the legal age of marriage for women – Explained, pointwise|
What are the recommendations of the Jaya Jaitly committee?
|Read here: Recommendations given by the Jaya Jaitly committee|
What are the arguments against raising the legal age of marriage for women?
Young women are not yet financially independent: They are reeling under familial and societal pressures. So, young women are unable to exercise their rights and freedoms.
Issues with Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006: 1. Women’s rights activists point out that parents often use this Act to punish their daughters who marry against their wishes or elope to evade forced marriages, domestic abuse, and lack of education facilities. So, the age limit will increase parents’ authority over young adults, 2. Child marriage remains a recurring issue despite being outlawed, So the law is impossible to monitor.
Might create a communal flashpoint: The personal laws such as Hindu and Christian personal law, Muslim personal law has to be amended. This might create a communal flashpoint.
|Read more: Population control measures in India – Explained, pointwise|
What needs to be done to increase the legal age for marriage?
Laws cannot be a shortcut in the path to social reform. A good way to achieve the stated objective is to take steps to counsel girls on early pregnancies and provide them with the network to improve their health.
The focus must be on creating social awareness about women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and ensuring girls are not forced to drop out of school or college.
Reading sex ratio trends in NFHS-5 data
Source: This post is based on the article “Reading sex ratio trends in NFHS-5 data” published in Indian Express on 20th December 2021.
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 recent findings of NFHS 5.
News: The NFHS data is a well-structured and unique one. Further, the findings of NFHS and the Census figure are no means comparable.
|Must read: NFHS-5 and its findings – Explained, pointwise|
About the NFHS
|Read here: What is National Family Health Survey (NFHS)?|
What do the NFHS findings signify on the sex ratio?
NFHS-5 results indicate an improvement over the last four years from 991 women in 2015-16 to 1,020 women in 2019-21 for every 1,000 men. This data is significant because,
-The NFHS is the world’s largest household survey, (over 6,36,699 households), hence it has better reliability than any other national survey.
-The data has to be compared to similar surveys. For instance, Nationally representative household surveys like the second round of the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS) shows a similar trend — 1,004 women for 1,000 men in 2011-12, an improvement over the first round.
-Though the NFHS data may not be a sole indicator of gender balance, there can be no denying the fact that the gender divide in many areas has narrowed.
-The progress in sex ratio as evidenced by the comparison between the last and the latest round of NFHS clearly conveys the improving sex ratio situation in the country.
Though it is premature to confirm a balanced sex ratio in India, the NFHS results do indicate progress towards that end.
|Read more: The nine lives of India’s National Family Health Survey|
Health will remain high on agenda
Source: This post is based on the article “Health will remain high on agenda” published in Livemint on 20th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS2 – Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.
Relevance: Health Infrastructure in India.
News: Both the first and second waves of COVID have shown that India needs to strengthen its inadequately resourced health system.
The new year calls for a renewed resolve to build an efficient, equitable and empathetic health system.
What has been done since the onset of the pandemic to strengthen the health infrastructure in India?
Emergency steps by government during the first wave
Fifteenth Finance Commission’s special attention to health infra and workforce
2021 budget provisions
Growth in domestic capacity for development, testing and manufacturing of vaccines in 2021
Digital Health Mission and Health Infrastructure Mission under the umbrella of Ayushman Bharat have been initiated that aim to strengthen rural and urban primary healthcare.
– Read more about the mission here
What is the significance of these initiatives?
These would advance tele-health in diagnostics and treatment.
Accurate data can be gathered which can then put to use in emergencies like COVID pandemic and for future evidence-based policymaking.
Robust Infra and digitisation will make health system more efficient, with improved supply chain management of drugs, vaccines and equipment, while streamlining health insurance programmes.
Good infrastructure and deployment of technology-enabled health workers will add strength to primary care in a relatively short time.
How can India cope with the new variant Omicron?
India needs to protect people, especially the vulnerable groups, against severe disease by speedily completing the double vaccination schedule.
Homecare will be the main support for the mostly mild cases, while oxygen equipped beds will be needed by a small fraction.
How India will assume a greater role wrt vaccine development in 2022?
India’s role as a global supplier of vaccines will be amplified in 2022, due to the following factors:
– need for boosters vaccines
– development and manufacture of new vaccines, which can counter variants and provide mucosal immunity
– Approval of new antiviral pills will generate high demand for pre-hospital use, with Indian firms called upon to produce large quantities at low cost.
GS Paper 3
Neither ban nor regulate crypto
Source: This post is based on the article “Neither ban nor regulate crypto” published in The Hindu on 20th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Information Technology
Relevance: Regulating Cryptocurrencies
News: Millions of Indians are gambling on cryptocurrencies in the hope that its value will keep rising. This hope is based on the ultimate belief that they will be socially accepted as a valid medium of exchange
Hence, to dampen the enthusiasm for investment and speculation, instead of banning or regulating Cryptocurrencies, the Govt can simply announce that India will never permit cryptocurrencies to be currency.
|Must read: Cryptocurrencies in India: Ban or regulate – Explained, pointwise|
What is the problem with the regulation of cryptocurrencies?
Regulation of cryptocurrencies as financial instruments is based on the fear of a systemic risk caused by events like the 2008 financial crisis. But, such policies have always led to excessive financialisation, reckless money supply and Wall Street control of economic policy, leading to huge disparities in societies.
Also, there is a ‘moral hazard’ risk of signalling official sanction of cryptocurrencies to speculators and implying government protection. This could lead to more people trading in cryptocurrencies. India does not have the resources and governance capacity to set up a new regulatory infrastructure to oversee the interests of speculators gambling in cryptocurrencies.
Hence, the Govt should neither legalise nor regulate cryptocurrencies.
And when it becomes very clear that the government will neither legalise nor regulate cryptocurrencies in India, speculative activity will reduce eventually, even if few investors lose in the process.
Interpretation of ARC maladies
Source: This post is based on the article “Interpretation of ARC maladies” published in Business Standard on 19th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
Relevance: Regulatory reform of the Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs)
News: Search and seizure operations at 60 premises of four ARCs have exposed the “unholy nexus” between the borrowers and the ARCs.
The four are accused of “unfair and fraudulent trade practices in acquiring” the stressed loans.
– The bad loans acquired by them were “far less” than the real value of the securities covering such loans.
– Also, the minimum cash the ARCs paid to the lenders for such loans, typically 15% of the value, came from the defaulting borrowers. The money had been routed through several layers of dummy companies controlled by the borrowers or through hawala channels.
In light of these events, the regulatory oversight and supervision of ARCs need a revamp and, like other regulated entities, rogue ARCs should be punished.
|Must Read: Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) – Simplified|
What are the key recommendations of RBI’s committee on ARCs?
1) The minimum capital required for an ARC sponsor to be increased from 10 to 20 per cent to ensure the infusion of capital from financially strong entities.
Meanwhile, the minimum requirement of net owned funds to be raised from Rs 100 crore to Rs 200 crore. This should curb the tendency of some smaller ARCs to acquire financial assets by any means, since they don’t have enough capital.
2) Allow the ARCs to establish alternate investment funds (AIFs). This would not only invest in security assets (SRs) but also provide them with the resources to revive sick but potentially viable companies.
3) Widen the investor pool: Broaden the group of qualified buyers who can invest in SRs by bringing in high net worth individuals, corporations, non-banking financial companies, housing finance companies, trusts etc. This will widen the investor pool and deepen the SR market.
4) Reduce the ARCs’ minimum investment in SRs from 15% to 2.5% where they have investors in their SRs. This will arm the ARCs with additional resources to acquire bad loans, while the seller banks will get more cash.
5) Creating a secondary market for SRs: Banks should fix the reserve price for SRs because presently there is a mismatch in prices since most SRs are not backed by underlying securities.
6) Permit the ARCs to acquire stressed loans taken by borrowers from overseas banks and financial institutions, asset management companies etc. The rise in the number of sellers of bad assets will facilitate debt aggregation, leading to an early resolution.
7) Lenders should prepare a list of bad loans up for sale every year and share it with the ARCs. They should also give reasons why they are not selling all old bad loans and fix the reserve price of assets to be sold based on two external valuations.
|Must Read: NARCL: Need and Challenges – Explained, pointwise|
What is the way forward?
Here are a few suggestions given by the author himself:
The management fee should be linked to the actual recovery/SR redemption instead of the net asset value, based on the ratings of the SRs. This will ensure that the earnings are based on recovery and not management fees alone.
ARCs should be mandated to have a board with at least 50% independent directors meeting the RBI’s fit and proper criteria. This will help in raising AIF and bring in independent perspective in decision-making and monitoring performance.
Finally, a sunset clause for the ARCs, which is a global norm, should be looked into too.
The overlooked case for food losses and waste
Source: This post is based on the article “The overlooked case for food losses and waste” published in Livemint on 19th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Relevance: Related to Food security, Climate change mitigation.
News: Food loss and waste although a major contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions does not get the attention it should. Even major climate negotiations like CoP 26 have failed to discuss it with the required urgency.
This food sector problem needs to be measured and mitigated as part of the country’s fight against climate change.
How Food loss and waste contributes to the climate change?
Greenhouse gas emissions take place in the production, storage, transport, processing, packaging, distribution and consumption of the food produced; the wastage of this food leads to additional emissions if it ends up in a landfill.
Moreover, the agriculture sector is the largest user of available freshwater, which is already a scarce resource in countries like India.
Impact: This is doubly harmful as it adds to global warming and leads to loss of the precious resources that have gone into production of this huge amount of food.
|Nearly 30% of the world’s agricultural land is currently being used to produce food that is not going to reach our plates.|
IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report (AR6) has recently pointed out that human induced global warming may contribute to increased agricultural droughts that may affect food production.
What is the way forward?
As the UN Food Systems Summit points out, prevention of food loss will improve the overall health of people and the natural ecosystem. Following steps can be taken:
Need to measure food loss and waste at the post-harvest and at consumption level: While around 14% of the food is lost between harvest and retail points of sale (also known as post-harvest losses), 17 % is wasted at the level of households, retail outlets, restaurants and other food services worldwide. India needs an understanding of the exact extent of food losses and waste, and its social, economic and environmental impact.
Benefits of relevant data: Evidence-based, coordinated policy action requires relevant data. It also helps to understand the true level of the problem. Good data would aid efforts to increase public awareness of food losses and waste at all levels. Once we have the requisite data, we can set targets for reduction and take specific actions focused on critical loss points and geographical hotspots.
Identifying critical loss points: Focus should be on identifying ‘critical loss points’ (stages that have the most loss/waste) in a food supply chain and also geographical hotspots for loss/waste in India.
MSP for all crops is fiscally unfeasible
Source: This post is based on the article “MSP for all crops is fiscally unfeasible” published in Indian express on 20th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3- Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.
Relevance: Minimum support price, food subsidy, Budget, Fiscal policy.
News: Many Political parties and farmer organizations have recently been demanding to legalise the minimum support prices (MSP).
What is the current MSP policy?
Currently, Government declares MSP for 23 crops, although the main procurement happens largely for rice and wheat to feed the public distribution system (PDS).
– Read more here.
Why legalizing MSP is neither good for the economy nor for the farmers?
Prices of commodities are decided by their overall demand and supply: Even if government decides to legalise MSP, if the MSP is above the market clearing price than the farmers will not get any private buyer, who will not be willing to pay a higher amount.
In that case, the government will have to become the buyer of last resort, putting a lot of pressure on already stressed government revenue. In 2020-21, the food subsidy bill was almost 30% of the net tax revenue of the central government.
Not a policy for 21st century India: MSP regime was introduced in 1965 when India was hugely short of basic staples and living in a “ship-to-mouth” situation. But now with granaries overflowing with rice and wheat, there is a need to rethink and redesign the public procurement system.
MSP policy not even showing desired results currently: Government in last fiscal procured more than 50% of the marketed surplus of rice and wheat. But the market prices of rice and wheat remained below MSP in several states due to leakage from the PDS.
What is the way forward?
Research tells us that the best way to support agriculture in a sustainable and competitive manner is to
– invest in Agri R&D, and
– connect farmers to lucrative markets by building efficient value chains.
Data Protection Bill: National security, at the cost of citizens’ privacy
Source: This post is based on the following articles:”National security, at the cost of citizens’ privacy” published in the Indian Express on 20th December 2021.
“Disappointed report” published in the Business Standard on 19th December 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges.
Relevance: Understanding the concerns that emerged over Data Protection Bill.
News: Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP) has tabled its report on the Data Protection Bill in both houses.
|Also Read: The draft personal data protection bill, 2018|
|Read here: Why need of data protection bill arise?|
What are the recommendations by JCP on Data Protection Bill?
|Read here: Data Protection Bill: Explained: JCP prescription for data Bill|
What are the controversies surrounding the Data Protection Bill?
Surveillance reforms: Bill evades the surveillance reforms which were omitted by the BN Srikrishna committee. So there are no provisions to regulate mass surveillance projects like CCTNS or CMS or NATGRID. Data protection bill inserts the exception clause for the security of the state. This effectively overrides the norms of individual privacy.
Exemption clause: The order invoking the exemption is not a gazetted notification, so it will likely to be exempt from RTI proceedings. Also, the reasons for providing the exemption are not required to be tabled in Parliament.
In contrast, under the UK Data Protection Act, 2018, the national security exemption does not extend to the entire Act. It requires a certificate to be signed by the Minister of the Crown and can be challenged by the affected person before a tribunal.
|Read here: JPC retains exemption clause, adopts personal data Bill|
Appointment committee: BN Srikrishna committee proposed an appointment committee consisting of judicial members, with the Chief Justice of India as chairperson, to choose members of DPA (Data Protection Authority).
But the panel now included the cabinet secretary, law secretary and the IT secretary. Also, Under Clause 87, the JPC has expanded the power of the central government, as it states, “the authority should be bound by the directions of the central government under all cases and not just on questions of policy”
The move is criticized for compromising the independence of the appointment process. Also in clause 92, it makes policies made by the central government override any protections under the Data Protection Bill 2021.
Sensitive data: JCP proposed all contracts enabling businesses to take sensitive personal data out of India’s borders will now need the approval of the central government in addition to the data protection regulator (DPA). This move is criticized as it would add a layer of red tape and could lead to rent-seeking.
|Also read: Opposition Dissent without Basis or Foundation: About the data protection bill|
How the bill is different from European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation?
GDPR covers all individuals regardless of nationality if their personal data is held in the EU. It also offers granular protection against government surveillance, along with a “Right to Forget” clause.
While, In India, the bill doesn’t address concerns about over-reaching government access to private data. The inclusion of social media platforms also appears unnecessary.
Insurgencies are defeated by democratic politics, not force
Source: This post is based on the article “Insurgencies are defeated by democratic politics, not force” published in the Livemint on 20th December 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
Relevance: Understanding issues of AFSPA.
News: The incident of Oting, Nagaland has revived the debate of AFSPA. There is a need to hold state authorities accountable and also review how the democratic Indian republic holds together its diverse population.
|Read here: Nagaland killings aren’t a mere ‘blunder’|
What is the current status?
Decades after AFSPA was legislated and invoked, many issues of grievance, disaffection, and separatism are still present. AFSPA has become a major tool in the hands of authorities to fight insurgency. This raises many questions like why is AFSPA necessary and how should one politically handle the issue of insurgency?
|Read here: All about AFSPA|
Why does AFSPA is necessary?
The army is not a police force. Its personnel are trained to function as a lethal force, risking their own lives. If the army is called in, it is because all other options have failed. To protect both civilians and their uniform counterparts in the conflict zone, there is a need for clear laws and political norms and extra protection for the person serving in the conflict zone.
|Read here: Before criticising AFSPA, a full probe is necessary|
Why must AFSPA be lifted after 6 months?
The army is the final resort and must be used minimally, sparingly and for as short as possible. The army must be called in only when a political crisis escalates into armed conflict and is beyond the capability of the state.
Army’s task should be to reduce the violence and hand the control back to the state. This is the reason why the duration of six months is built into the legislation.
|Read here: Needed: repeal of AFSPA, not regret|
Continuous deployment has a risk of making the army a scapegoat for the failings of political leaders. This may also enmesh soldiers in the political economy of conflict, corrode their professional culture and combat readiness.
|Read here: Repealing AFSPA will not weaken, only strengthen Constitution|
How should insurgencies be handled?
There is a need to look at restructuring Rajya Sabha. Giving equal seats to all states will ensure the interest of each state is protected. For example, currently, Nagaland has only one Rajya Sabha seat while Uttar Pradesh has 80. While in comparison to the USA, every state has an equal number of seats in the council of states irrespective of their size.
National integration cannot be achieved by force, it acquires genuine political empowerment of all constituents. Therefore, there is a need to balance the Rajya Sabha.
How to get PLIs transform manufacturing
Source: This post is based on the article “How to get PLIs transform manufacturing” published in TOI on 20th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to manufacturing industries
Relevance: Production linked incentive scheme
News: Recently, the government approved Rs 76,000 crore incentives for promoting domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
There is a need to understand the role of trade and industrialisation in colonisation and its impact on our external trade policy.
It will help us to shape India’s current policies in sync with our aspirations of becoming a global economic powerhouse.
|Must Read: Semiconductor manufacturing in India – Explained, pointwise|
What are the lessons of the colonial trade regime?
During the colonial trade regime, industrialisation of the west was fuelled by access to cheaper raw materials and access to captive markets from their colonies.
Impact: It limited the industrial growth in the colonies and also subdued their dream to become independent. Because the colonies became dependent for their livelihood on trade with the imperial power.
Lessons Learnt: To become Self-reliant India needs strong domestic manufacturing industries.
How it impacted India’s external trade policy?
The above experience was the reason for India to strategize its post-Independence economic development around the central pillar of rapid industrialisation.
Protectionism was offered to safeguard industries from the competition of foreign producers. Whereas, the private sector, was confined to non-core sectors in a protected market.
However, due to many systemic issues, the doors of the economy have been opened to FDI in manufacturing and services after 1991.
Currently, the global disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have again triggered the need for setting up domestic critical manufacture units owing to supply chain disruption.
What are the policy challenges that needs to be addressed to get the most out of the PLI schemes?
As global tech giants seek to diversify their production base and supply chains, indigenous efforts towards self-reliance can be achieved by attracting hi-tech manufacture in India.
However, there are some policy challenges that needs to be addressed to get the most out of the PLI schemes.
First, issues related to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the EU, UK, Canada and Australia hamper India’s access to markets. If India needs to manufacture on a global scale, these issues need to be addressed.
Second, there is a need to maintain consistency in import of critical subcomponents at par with other ‘ease of doing business’ parameters, especially for PLI-based production. Because, value addition will increase only over time, since the supply chains of hi-tech manufactures are highly diversified.
Focus on local bodies in govt push to improve ease of doing business
Source: This post is based on the article “Focus on local bodies in govt push to improve ease of doing business” published in Livemint on 20th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS 3 – issues related to Ease of doing business in India.
Relevance: Ease of doing business
News: India wanted to break into the top 50 nations on the Ease of doing business index.
India has moved up from 142 among 189 nations in 2014 to 63 in 2019 in the World Bank’s ranking. Experts pointed out that the following steps taken by the government have helped India to break into the top 75 nations in ease of doing business
What are the steps taken so far to improve ease of doing business in India?
Cutting down outdated procedures
Minimizing citizen-state interface
Bureaucratic discretion at the sub-national level up to local bodies.
Ranking of states based on their performance
Nudging the states
-For instance, extra borrowing by states was linked to implementing ease of doing business reforms at the state level. The targets given by the Centre included
Eliminating the need for renewing registrations and licences by businesses under various laws
setting up a computerized central and random inspection system to ensure the same inspector is not assigned to any unit in subsequent years.
Businesses were to be given prior notice before inspections, and the reports were to be uploaded within 48 hours.
But there is still a long way to go.
What are the existing challenges to ease of doing business in India?
Need for Improvement in the enforcement of a contract: currently, the judicial procedure in India is prone to undue delays. Sometimes it takes 15-20 years for civil disputes to be adjudicated. As a result, India’s global rank on enforcement of contracts is a low 163.
Efforts to make land acquisition easier for setting up new factories by legislative amendments have not been successful.
High compliance cost.
What needs to be done further?
Firstly, judicial reforms are needed to simplify dispute resolution.
Secondly, implementing labour codes passed by Parliament would significantly improve the ease of doing business
Thirdly, the cost of compliance, as well as logistics, power, and credit, needs to be addressed.
In this regard, suggestions to policymakers include simplifying GST, revision in GST exemption limit for MSMEs and professionals, and even faster bankruptcy resolution.
Fourthly, the individual states should take efforts to make changes in the local laws. Otherwise, the efforts at the national level in easing businesses in India, will not be felt
What are the steps taken so far?
Steps were taken to improve the quality and efficiency of commercial courts: several rounds of meetings have been held with law firms, corporate bodies, chambers of commerce, and industry to work in an integrated manner along with the judicial fraternity.
Steps taken to simplify dispute resolution in India.
After the 2015 legislation, India had set up dedicated commercial courts in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru with dedicated infrastructure for quick disposal of cases. It will help in disposing of cases of in a swift and time-bound manner.
Niti Aayog is currently advocating online dispute resolution, to improve ease of dispute resolution. It helps in handling disputes outside courts, particularly of small and medium-value cases, using digital tech and techniques of alternative resolution such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration.
Steps taken to reduce compliance cost
Niti Aayog has reached out to states to weed out irrelevant compliance requirements.
The department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) is guiding the efforts of central ministries and states to simplify the regulatory architecture and ranks states on the basis of its business reform action plan.
it is time to transition from the ease of doing business to the cost of doing business.
Can India become a technology leader?
Source: This post is based on the article “Can India become a technology leader?” published in The Hindu on 20th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Science and Technology- Developments.
Relevance: Technology development in India.
News: India-born techies are chosen as the leader by technology giants.
Despite having so many celebrated technologists around the world, India is still not a major player in technology. As a consequence, the talent in India left the country. For instance, as of 2019, there were 2.7 million Indian immigrants in the US.
How other countries are able to succeed in becoming a major player in technology?
In the US: the Invisible hand of the government has been behind the Success of enterprise and the free market:
For instance, research by Mariana Mazzucato shows that the state has been crucial to the introduction of the new generation of technologies, including the computers, the Internet, and the nanotech industry.
Example: Public sector funding developed the algorithm that eventually led to Google’s success and helped discover the molecular antibodies that provided the foundation for biotechnology.
The case of China: The role of the government has been prominent in shaping the economic growth of China.
For instance, before a decade, China was known for its low-wage manufacturing. However, due to sustained government efforts, it has made successful ventures into ‘new strategic industries’ such as alternative fuel cars and renewable energy.
What India can learn from China’s Experience?
Strengthening the role of the public sector in strategic sectors:
The Chinese state restructured its state-owned enterprises (SOEs)instead of privatizing.
SOEs were strengthened in strategically important sectors such as petrochemicals and telecommunication and in technologically dynamic industries such as electronics and machinery.
On the other hand, the state retreated from light manufacturing and export-oriented sectors, leaving the field open for the private sector.
Localization: China has used its large market size as a bargaining chip in negotiations with foreign firms. Foreign firms were allowed to stay in their markets only when they were ready to localize production and share technologies with the local firms
Aggressive efforts to enhance technological strengths: through its research institutions and SOEs.
What steps were taken by India for the development of the technological sector?
India’s planning and industrialisation in the early 1950s: Public sector funding was provided in the latest technologies of the time, including space and atomic research and the establishment of institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). As a result, many of these institutions have over the years attained world-class standards.
The growth of information technology and pharmaceutical industries in Bengaluru and Hyderabad: was mainly due to government support.
What are the impediments for India in becoming a major player in technology?
Firstly, India’s poor achievements in school education.
Secondly, the spending on research and development as a proportion of GDP declined in India from 0.85% in 1990-91 to 0.65% in 2018. In contrast, this proportion increased over the years in China and South Korea to reach 2.1% and 4.5%, respectively, by 2018.
Thirdly, the country is operating far below its potential in electronic manufacturing. For instance, electronic goods and components are the second-largest items, after oil, in India’s import bill.
What are the existing Prospects for India to become a major player in technology?
India still possesses favorable supply and demand factors that can propel it into the frontlines of technology.
First, the number of persons enrolled for tertiary education in India (35.2 million in 2019) is way ahead of the compared to all other countries except China.
Second, graduates from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs as a proportion of all graduates was 32.2% for India in 2019, one of the highest among all countries (UNESCO data).
Third, India has a large market for all kinds of new technologies. India will soon have twice the number of Internet users as in the U.S.
What needs to be done?
First, increase public spending to improve the quality of and access to higher education.
Second, universities and public institutions in the country need to be facilitated to enter areas of technology development for which the private sector may have neither the resources nor the patience.
Third, the ‘Make in India’ initiative will have to go beyond increasing the ‘ease of business’ for private industry. It should support Indian industry to deepen and broaden its technological capabilities.
Fourth, Strengthening PSU’s. So that they can create, and the strategic and knowledge assets they can build.
A strengthened public sector will create more opportunities for private businesses and widen the entrepreneurial base.
Finally, there is a need to establish a mechanism in place for the diffusion of publicly created technologies, along with greater availability of bank credit and other forms of assistance.
How does the Fed’s taper move impact Indian economy?
Source: This post is based on the article “How does the Fed’s taper move impact Indian economy?” published in Livemint on 20th Dec 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to Inflation.
Relevance: Fed tapering and its impact on Indian economy
News: The US Federal Reserve has decided to speed up its taper timeline because of higher inflation, expanding economic activity and a stronger labour market.
What did the Federal Reserve decide?
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Fed had been buying $120 billion worth of bonds every month.
Now, the US central bank said it would double the reduction of its monthly asset purchases to $30 billion, thereby concluding the tapering programme by March 2022 as against the previous timeline of mid-2022.
Why did the Fed speed up the timeline?
The following factors put pressure on the Fed to increase interest rates sooner than planned:
High inflation: US inflation levels spiked to 6.8% (the highest in three decades) in November 2021, due to
– Supply chain disruptions
– Increasing consumer demand led to
|Read more: US inflation and impact on India|
Improved labour conditions: Expanding economic activity has also resulted in improved labour market conditions. With the US economy picking up substantially and retail prices going up dramatically, the Fed is caught between rising inflationary trends and the need to revive the economy.
What are the potential impacts on the Indian economy?
Higher supply side inflation: A weakened rupee would result in increased landed price of crude oil.
Ensuing Impact on RBI’s monetary policy: Higher crude oil prices will only worsen the inflation situation in India and might put pressure on RBI to raise rates faster than anticipated.
– Read more: The question of US monetary policy
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Poshan data under wraps for ‘privacy’
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Poshan data under wraps for privacy’ published in The Hindu on 20th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
The Minister of Women and Child Development has informed that the data recorded in the Poshan (Nutrition) Tracker has not been made public in the interest of privacy of women and children.
The details were provided by the Ministry to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports which tabled its report recently.
What is Poshan Tracker?
Launched by: Ministry of Women and Child Development
Purpose: It is one of the important pillars of the Poshan Abhiyan. It helps the Govt to monitor services delivered at anganwadi centres and record nutritional indicators of beneficiaries including children in the age of six months to six years as well as pregnant women and lactating mothers.
What are the details provided by the Poshan tracker?
On the Poshan Tracker website, the government hosts a dashboard which provides only limited administrative details at national, State and district levels. This includes total attendance on a given day, vaccinations, take-home ration and hot cooked meals delivered.
But the dashboard does not provide information on the nutrition status of the beneficiaries, such as stunting and wasting among children or prevalence of anaemia.
Why are nutrition recorded details not made public?
The nutritional details have not been made public in the interest of privacy of women and children.
What are the suggestions to improve Poshan Tracker?
The parliamentary committee in its report has raised several questions on the effective use of the Poshan Tracker. It has suggested that:
– Key performance indicators are constantly monitored and uploaded on Poshan Tracker and a State-wise progress report be maintained so that identification of those deprived of the benefits can be made on a real-time basis for timely remedial measures.
– The Ministry should put in place a monitoring mechanism to ensure there were no gaps in distribution of food packets to anganwadi beneficiaries.
New generation ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ successfully test-fired by DRDO
Source: This post is based on the article ‘New generation ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ successfully test-fired by DRDO’ published in PIB on 19th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested the ‘Agni P’ Missile from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha.
What is Agni P Missile?
Agni P is a new generation nuclear capable Surface To Surface ballistic missile.
Range: The missile has a range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 km.
Features: The missile is a two-stage canisterised solid propellant ballistic missile with dual redundant navigation and guidance system.
– Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving the storage and ease of handling.
– Redundancies involve the introduction of extra components on the principle that if one functionality suffers a failure, then a backup feature would still enable the objective to be achieved.
Click Here to read more about Agni P Missile
Explained: India’s missile capability
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Explained: India’s missile capability’ published in Indian Express on 19th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
At a seminar organised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Defence Minister has encouraged scientists to work towards developing hypersonic missile technology.
In this context, let us look at missile capability of India:
What is the history of missile technology in India?
Before Independence: Several kingdoms in India were using rockets as part of their warfare technologies. Mysore ruler Hyder Ali started inducting iron-cased rockets in his army in the mid-18th century.
After Independence: At the time of Independence, India did not have any indigenous missile capabilities. The Govt created the Special Weapon Development Team in 1958. This was later expanded and called Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL). It was moved from Delhi to Hyderabad by 1962.
Project Devil: It was initiated in 1972 for the development of a medium range Surface-to-Surface Missiles.
Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme (IGMDP): It was conceived by Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam in 1982 to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology.
What kind of missiles does India have now?
|Type of Missile||Missile/Status|
|Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)||Nag is the “fire-and-forget ATGM with a range of around 20 km.|
Heli-Nag will be operated from helicopters and will be inducted by 2022
Stand-off Anti-Tank (SANT) missile with a range over 10 km.
|Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM)||Akash is the short-range SAM. It has already been inducted in the Army and the Air Force|
Akash 1, Akash (New generation) and Akash Prime will be inducted in a few years.
|Medium-Range SAM||Production of MRSAM systems for the Navy is complete, and it is placing its order.|
|Short-Range SAM||For the Navy, the first flight tests have been successfully conducted.|
|Air-to-Air||Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile(BVRAAM) has been completely tested and is under induction.|
A long-range Astra Missile is also being developed, for which initial tests have been conducted.
|Air-to-Ground||Rudram is a New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGRAM). It has cleared initial tests|
BrahMos which India developed jointly with Russia is already operational
Supersonic missile-assisted torpedo system was also launched recently.
|ICBM||Agni (range around 5,000): It is India’s only contender for an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is available with only a few countries.|
|Short Range Surface to Surface Missile||Prithvi:It is a short-range surface-to-surface missile with a 350 km range.|
|Anti Satellite System||India tested an anti-satellite system in 2019.|
|Hypersonic Technology||India has been working on this for a few years and is just behind the US, Russia and China. DRDO has successfully tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrated Vehicle (HSTDV) in 2020. Currently, only Russia has proven its hypersonic missile capability so far.|
Where do China and Pakistan stand compared to India?
China: China is ahead of India. According to a report, China may have either achieved parity, or even exceeded the US in land-based conventional ballistic and cruise missile capabilities.
Pakistan: China has given Pakistan the technology but getting a technology and really using it, and thereafter evolving and adopting a policy is totally different.
Killer robots aren’t science fiction. A push to ban them is growing
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Killer robots aren’t science fiction. A push to ban them is growing’ published in Indian Express on 19th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
For the first time, a majority of the 125 nations that belong to an agreement called the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons said that they wanted curbs on killer robots.
But they were opposed by members that are developing these weapons, most notably the United States and Russia.
What is the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons?
The United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) also known as the Inhumane Weapons Convention was concluded at Geneva in 1980 and entered into force in 1983.
Purpose: It is a framework of rules that ban or restrict weapons considered to cause unnecessary, unjustifiable and indiscriminate suffering such as incendiary explosives, blinding lasers and booby traps that don’t distinguish between fighters and civilians.
The convention covers land mines, booby traps, incendiary devices, blinding laser weapons and clearance of explosive remnants of war. The convention has no provisions for killer robots.
India has ratified this Convention.
What are killer robots?
Opinions differ on an exact definition of Killer robots, but they are widely considered to be weapons that make decisions with little or no human involvement. Rapid improvements in robotics, AI and image recognition are making such armaments possible.
Why are killer robots being developed?
To war planners, killer robots a) offer the promise of keeping soldiers out of harm’s way and b) help make decisions faster than a human would by giving more battlefield responsibilities to autonomous systems like pilotless drones and driverless tanks that independently decide when to strike.
What are objections against killer robots?
Critics argue that it is morally wrong to assign lethal decision-making to machines, regardless of technological sophistication. This is because machines do not differentiate between an adult from a child, a fighter from a civilian, a hostile combatant from a wounded or surrendering soldier.
Why are the US and Russia opposing curbs on Killer Robots?
Russia: It insists that any decisions on limits on Killer Robots must be unanimous — in effect giving opponents a veto.
United States: It argues that existing international laws are sufficient and that banning autonomous weapons technology would be premature. Instead, the US has proposed a non-binding “code of conduct” for use of killer robots.
Explained: What is Parvovirus that has affected over 2,000 dogs in Maharashtra’s Amravati city?
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Explained: What is Parvovirus that has affected over 2,000 dogs in Maharashtra’s Amravati city?’ published in Indian Express on 20th Dec 2021.
What is the news?
Nearly 2,000 pets and stray dogs in Amravati city have been affected by canine parvovirus virus.
What is Canine Parvovirus?
Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can be life-threatening in puppies and dogs.
The virus impacts dogs gastrointestinal tracts and has a 90% mortality rate.
Symptoms: Bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, drastic weight loss, dehydration and lethargy are some of its symptoms.
Transmission among Dogs: The virus spreads through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object, including the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs.
Treatment: Parvovirus has no cure, and vaccinating a puppy or a dog gives them a fighting chance against the infection.
Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: Private hospitals to be tagged for being breastfeeding-friendly
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Private hospitals to be tagged for being breastfeeding-friendly’ published in The Hindu on 20th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
In India, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) has been launched to help mothers identify “breastfeeding-friendly” hospitals before they give birth.
The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched by WHO and UNICEF in 1991, following the Innocenti Declaration of 1990. The initiative is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
India adopted this initiative in 1993. But it fizzled out by 1998 and is now being revived after more than two decades.
Who has launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative(BFHI) in India?
Launched by: Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) in collaboration with the Association of Healthcare Providers of India(AHPI).
Purpose: It is an accreditation programme that will enable hospitals to get a breastfeeding-friendly tag.
Coverage: The initiative is only for private hospitals and is based on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s MAA programme for government hospitals launched in 2016.
Certification Process: The certification process involves two stages — the first stage includes self-assessment by a hospital, followed by an external assessment by an authorised appraiser who interviews doctors, nurses and patients as well as reviews different practices and training of staff. This complete accreditation process costs ₹17,000 per hospital.
Note: The tools for this evaluation process have been developed in partnership with the Health Ministry and World Health Organisation.
Why is this BFHI Initiative launched in India now?
Firstly, early initiation of breastfeeding continues to be low in the country. According to the National Family Health Survey-5(2019-2021), while there were 88.6% institutional births, only 41.8% of infants were breastfed within the first one hour (Golden Hour) which has improved only marginally from 41.6% during NFHS-4 (2015-2016).
Secondly, the rise in C-Sections is also known to negatively impact breastfeeding rates. During caesarean operations, everyone is focused on recovery, wound surgery, infection control and breastfeeding within the golden hour is missed.
|Note: Cesarean delivery (C-section) is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus.|
India-Central Asia Dialogue: Six nations call for ‘immediate’ aid for Afghans
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Six nations call for ‘immediate’ aid for Afghans’ published in The Hindu on 20th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
India has hosted the third edition of the India-Central Asia Dialogue in New Delhi.
What is India-Central Asia Dialogue?
It is a ministerial-level dialogue between India and the Central Asian countries namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
All the countries participating in the dialogue, except for Turkmenistan, are also members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
The dialogue focuses on a number of issues, including ways to improve connectivity and stabilise Afghanistan.
What are the key Highlights of the third India-Central Asia Dialogue?
On Afghanistan: The countries have agreed on a broad ‘regional consensus’ on the issues related to Afghanistan which includes a) formation of a truly representative and inclusive government b) combating terrorism and drug trafficking c) the central role of the UN d) providing immediate humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people and e) preserving the rights of women, children and other national ethnic groups.
On Terrorism: The countries condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They also called for the early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
On Trade: The countries discussed how to increase links in what India’s Foreign Minister called the “4 C’s” of Commerce, Capacity enhancement, Connectivity and Contacts.
|Note: India-Central Asia trade is quite small at present accounting for less than $2 billion most of which comes from Kazakh oil exports to India.|
Chabahar Port and INSTC: The countries have welcomed India’s proposal to include Chabahar Port within the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
Republic Day Participation: The countries confirmed the participation of the leaders of their respective countries at India’s Republic Day celebration, where they will hold a summit-level dialogue with the Prime Minister.
ITEC Programme: The Central Asian Countries appreciated the important role of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation(ITEC) Programme in capacity building and human resource development of their countries.
CADS-500: DRDO conducts flight demonstration of Controlled Aerial Delivery System
Source: This post is based on the article ‘DRDO conducts flight demonstration of Controlled Aerial Delivery System’ published in PIB on 19th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
Defence Research and Development Organisation’s R&D lab conducted a flight demonstration of the Controlled Aerial Delivery System of 500 kg capacity(CADS-500).
What is a Controlled Aerial Delivery System of 500 kg capacity(CADS-500)?
CADS-500 has been developed by Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), a DRDO Lab located in Agra.
Purpose: It is used for precise delivery of payloads up to 500 kgs at a predetermined location by making use of manoeuvrable capabilities of the Ram Air Parachute(RAP).
Features: CADS-500 uses Global Positioning System(GPS) for the coordinates, altitude and heading sensors for the heading information during its flight. It also has an onboard electronics unit that autonomously steers its flight path using waypoint navigation towards the target location by operating controls.
Indian desert cat spotted in M.P.’s Panna Tiger Reserve
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Indian desert cat spotted in M.P.’s Panna Tiger Reserve’ published in The Hindu on 20th Dec 2021.
What is the News?
An Indian desert cat has been spotted for the first time in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR).
The presence of the desert cat in the PTR indicates that the number of species of various wild animals is increasing in the reserve due to security being heightened in its forest areas.
About Indian Desert Cat
Indian Desert Cat is also known as the Asian steppe wildcat and Asiatic Wildcat.
The cat is considered as a subspecies of African Wildcat. It is mostly found in Kazakhstan, western India, China and Mongolia.
Habitat: The cat is found in deserts and can survive without water. The toes of the species have cushion-like hair which helps them to balance the fluctuating desert temperatures.
In India, the Asiatic wildcat inhabits the Thar Desert and is associated with the scrub desert. The cat has also been recorded in Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and Mirzapur forests.
IUCN Red List: The Least Concern
SFG -2023 Level 2 | Month 1 | Offline & Online | Ranklist
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IPCC Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Cycle
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A chilling remark and the ‘price to pay’
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Tension in Indo-Pacific and Russia-Ukraine conflict are symptoms of an emerging global disorder
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Why transgender female athletes can’t compete in female events
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ICMR releases ethical guidelines for AI usage in healthcare
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Supreme Court changes stand; now mere membership of a banned outfit is a crime under UAPA
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Government of India launches National Rabies Control Programme (NRCP) for prevention and control of Rabies
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India failed to create positive impression among businesses moving away from China, says House panel report
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NASA Is Tracking a Huge, Growing Anomaly in Earth’s Magnetic Field
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Novel bi-metallic joining process can create a composite from copper and steel for engineering applications which need high thermal & electrical conductivity
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Parliamentary panel recommends new law to define power, functions of CBI
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Technology and Innovation Report 2023: Deepening green tech divide between Global North, South to worsen economic inequality, warns UN
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Criminal defamation in India – Explained, pointwise
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Must Read Current Affairs Articles – March 25th, 2023
About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a certain… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – March 25th, 2023
AI’s best use case may actually be in our judicial system
Source: The post is based on the article “AI’s best use case may actually be in our judicial system”published inLiveMinton 24thMarch 2023. Syllabus: GS 2 – Functioningof Judiciary, GS 3 –Science and Technology Relevance: Role ofArtificial Intelligence (AI) in judiciary News: The article discusses how AI can be adopted in our judicial system for improving its efficiency.… Continue reading AI’s best use case may actually be in our judicial system
The Trident Approach To Making India An R&D Powerhouse
Source: The post is based on thearticle “The Trident Approach To Making India An R&D Powerhouse” published in The Times of Indiaon 24thMarch 2023. Syllabus: GS 3 –Science and Technology Relevance: measures needed to boost R&D in India News: The article discusses the problems with scientific research in India and measures needed to boost R&D in India.… Continue reading The Trident Approach To Making India An R&D Powerhouse
‘Press must remain free if a country is to remain a democracy’: CJI Chandrachud at RNG awards
Source- The post is based on the article “‘Press must remain free if a country is to remain a democracy’: CJI Chandrachud at RNG awards” published in the “The Indian Express” on 24th March 2023. Syllabus: GS2- Polity Relevance– Issues related to media News– CJI DY Chandrachud gave a speech as the chief guest at… Continue reading ‘Press must remain free if a country is to remain a democracy’: CJI Chandrachud at RNG awards
Is India in the grip of a ‘stray dog’ crisis?
Source- The post is based on the article “‘Is India in the grip of a ‘stray dog’ crisis?” published in “The Hindu” on 24th March 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Government policies and interventions Relevance– Issues related to animal protection News– In recent weeks, there have been many attacks by stray dogs on people, especially children. Are… Continue reading Is India in the grip of a ‘stray dog’ crisis?
India’s push for semiconductors
Source- The post is based on the article “India’s push for semiconductors” published in the “The Hindu” on 24th March 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Economy Relevance– Manufacturing sector News– The Union Government has disbursed around ₹1,645 crore in performance linkedincentives (PLI) for electronics manufacturers so far, as part of its efforts to bring in more of… Continue reading India’s push for semiconductors
Next-generation tech – on 6 G Technology
Source- The post is based on the article “Next-generation tech” published in the “Business Standard” on 23rdMarch 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Science and Technology Relevance– Latest development in field of communication technology News– few months after the formal launch of commercial 5G service, India is set to commit resources to the development of 6G technologies with the release… Continue reading Next-generation tech – on 6 G Technology
IPCC AR6 synthesis report: A climate change survival guide to act on
Source: The post is based on the article “A climate change survival guide to act on” published in The Hindu on 24th March 2023. Syllabus: GS – 3: Environment and Bio-diversity Conservation. Relevance: About IPCC AR6 synthesis report. News: Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment Cycle. What is a Synthesis Report? Must… Continue reading IPCC AR6 synthesis report: A climate change survival guide to act on
Phone A Friend Friend-shoring is a chance for India to get deeply into telecom supply chains. But trade needs to be more open
Source: The post is based on the article “Phone A Friend Friend-shoring is a chance for India to get deeply into telecom supply chains. But trade needs to be more open” published in The Times of India on 24th March 2023. Syllabus: GS – 3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc. Relevance: About telecom supply chains. News: The… Continue reading Phone A Friend Friend-shoring is a chance for India to get deeply into telecom supply chains. But trade needs to be more open
What does ‘guillotine’ refer to in legislative parlance?
Source: The post is based on the article “What does ‘guillotine’ refer to in legislative parlance?” published in Indian Express on 23rd March 2023 What is the News? Amidst the ongoing stalemate in Parliament, some MPs said the government may guillotine the demands for grants and pass the Finance Bill without any discussion in the… Continue reading What does ‘guillotine’ refer to in legislative parlance?
Does Rahul Gandhi stand disqualified as an MP following his conviction?
Source: The post is based on the following articles: – “Does Rahul Gandhi stand disqualified as an MP following his conviction?” published in The Hindu on 24th March 2023 – “Rahul Gandhi has been convicted, but what happens to his MP status? Here’s what the law says” published in Indian Express on 24th March 2023… Continue reading Does Rahul Gandhi stand disqualified as an MP following his conviction?
Stolen Chola-era Hanuman idol brought back to India
Source: The post is based on the article “Stolen Chola-era Hanuman idol brought back to India” published in The Hindu on 24th March 2023 What is the News? A rare variety bronze idol of Hanuman which was stolen from a Chola-era temple in Ariyalur district a decade ago and auctioned in Australia was finally retrieved… Continue reading Stolen Chola-era Hanuman idol brought back to India
Mystery of our first interstellar visitor may be solved
Source: The post is based on the article “Mystery of our first interstellar visitor may be solved” published in Indian Express on 24th March 2023 What is the News? Astronomers have solved the mystery behind Oumuamua. What is Oumuamua? Oumuamua is a comet. It is the first interstellar object found visiting our solar system. It… Continue reading Mystery of our first interstellar visitor may be solved
One conviction for unsafe sewer cleaning so far, House panel raps government
Source: The post is based on the article “One conviction for unsafe sewer cleaning so far, House panel raps government” published in The Hindu on 24th March 2023 What is the News? The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment in a report has said that the implementation of the Manual Scavenging (Prohibition) Act… Continue reading One conviction for unsafe sewer cleaning so far, House panel raps government
India’s disputed compensatory afforestation policy at odds with new IPCC report
Source: The post is based on the article “India’s disputed compensatory afforestation policy at odds with new IPCC report” published in The Hindu on 24th March 2023 What is the News? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its Synthesis Report. The report has challenged India’s compensatory afforestation policy that allows forests in… Continue reading India’s disputed compensatory afforestation policy at odds with new IPCC report
Bedaquiline: India rejects Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to extend monopoly on lifesaving TB drug
Source: The post is based on the article “India rejects Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to extend monopoly on lifesaving TB drug” published in The Hindu on 24th March 2023 What is the News? The Indian Patent Office has rejected U.S. pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) attempt to extend its monopoly on the manufacturing of… Continue reading Bedaquiline: India rejects Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to extend monopoly on lifesaving TB drug
New catfish species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh
Source: The post is based on the article “New catfish species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh” published in Tribune on 24th March 2023 What is the News? A new catfish species named ‘Exostoma Dhritiae’ was discovered by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India(ZSI) in Arunachal Pradesh. What is Exostoma Dhritiae? Exostoma Dhritiae is a new… Continue reading New catfish species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh
Bharat 6G project: India plans to roll out high-speed internet by 2030
Source: The post is based on the article “Bharat 6G project: India plans to roll out high-speed internet by 2030” published in the Indian Express on 23rd March 2023 What is the News? The Prime Minister has unveiled a Vision Document to roll out high-speed 6G Communication Services by 2030 and also launched Bharat 6G… Continue reading Bharat 6G project: India plans to roll out high-speed internet by 2030
Express View on President’s Xi’s Moscow visit: China-Russia tango is a challenge for India
Source: The post is based on the articles “Xi Jinping’s Russia visit: Russian ballet with Chinese characteristics diminishes India’s strategic space” and “Express View on President’s Xi’s Moscow visit: China-Russia tango is a challenge for India” published in the Indian Express on 24th March 2023. Syllabus: GS – 2: India and its neighbourhood- relations. Relevance: About Russia-China joint statement. News:… Continue reading Express View on President’s Xi’s Moscow visit: China-Russia tango is a challenge for India
Eliminating tuberculosis (TB) in India by 2025 – Explained, pointwise
For 7PM Editorial Archives click HERE → Introduction India has set an ambitious target to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by 2025, five years ahead of the global target. The government, scientists, entrepreneurs and the community at large are working towards achieving this goal. Despite being the largest contributor to global TB cases, India has seen a decline in the… Continue reading Eliminating tuberculosis (TB) in India by 2025 – Explained, pointwise
[Important] Information regarding hall ticket and instructions to attempt All India Prelims 2023 GS & CSAT Simulator-1
Dear Friends, Thanks for registering for All India Prelims 2023 GS and CSAT Simulator-1. This is to inform you that: • The All India Prelims Simulator 2023, GS and CSAT Simulator-1 test will be conducted on its scheduled date, i.e. 26th March 2023. • All students participating in All India Simulator GS and… Continue reading [Important] Information regarding hall ticket and instructions to attempt All India Prelims 2023 GS & CSAT Simulator-1
Must Read Current Affairs Articles – March 24th, 2023
About Must Read News Articles: Must Read News Articles is an initiative by Team ForumIAS to provide links to the most important news articles of the day. It covers The Hindu newspaper. This saves the time and effort of students in identifying useful and important articles. With newspaper websites requiring a paid subscription beyond a certain… Continue reading Must Read Current Affairs Articles – March 24th, 2023
Privatized Air India’s takeoff can lead other PSUs to thrive as well
Source: The post is based on the article “Privatized Air India’s takeoff can lead other PSUs to thrive as well”published in Mint on 23rdMarch 2023. Syllabus: GS 3 –Economy – Mobilisation of Resources Relevance: Privatization of the PSUs News: Air India was completely privatized in January 2022. The airline has recently placed the biggest order of aircraft… Continue reading Privatized Air India’s takeoff can lead other PSUs to thrive as well
Notes on urban prosperity
Source: The post is based on thearticle “Notes on urban prosperity” published in Business Standardon 23rdMarch 2023. Syllabus: GS 1 –Urbanization Relevance: problems with Urbanization News:The article discusses the problems with urbanization and measures that can be adopted to make urban cities prosper. What are the problems with urbanisation? Cities have become an important point of change,… Continue reading Notes on urban prosperity
R&D: India’s missing giants
Source- The post is based on the article “R&D: India’s missing giants” published in the “Business Standard” on 23rd March 2023. Syllabus: GS2- Government policies and interventions for development Relevance– Innovation for growth of economy News– The article explains the lack of R&D expenditure in India. It explains the need for global brands in India… Continue reading R&D: India’s missing giants
The happiest countries also rank among the highest in antidepressant consumption
Source- The post is based on the article “The happiest countries also rank among the highest in antidepressant consumption” published in “The Indian Express” on 23rd March 2023. Syllabus: GS2- Issues related to development and management of human resources. Relevance– Important reports and indices News– World Happiness Report 2023 published by the UN Sustainable Development… Continue reading The happiest countries also rank among the highest in antidepressant consumption
The road to ending tuberculosis
Source- The post is based on the article “The road to ending tuberculosis” published in “The Hindu” on 23rd March 2023. Syllabus: GS2- Issue related to development and management of health Relevance– Communicable diseases, their treatment and management News– The article deals with important areas of action to end TB by 2030. It also explains… Continue reading The road to ending tuberculosis
Why Univ Rankings Are In Trouble From India To US
Source: This post is created based on the article “Why Univ Rankings Are in Trouble from India To US”, published in Times of India on 23rdMarch 2023. Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education News: Many foreign universities recently rejected the US News &… Continue reading Why Univ Rankings Are In Trouble From India To US
The old pension scheme as a burden on the poor
Source- The post is based on the article “The old pension scheme as a burden on the poor” published in “The Hindu” on 23rd March 2023. Syllabus: GS3- Economy Relevance– Issues related to public finances News– The employees of some state governments are demanding the return to OPS. Some states like Rajasthan and Himachal have… Continue reading The old pension scheme as a burden on the poor
What is the Call Before u Dig application launched by PM?
Source: The post is based on the article “What is the Call Before u Dig application launched by PM?” published in Indian Express on 23rd March 2023 What is the News? The Prime Minister has launched the ‘Call Before u Dig’ (CBuD) app. What is the Call Before u Dig(CBuD) app? Launched by: Department of… Continue reading What is the Call Before u Dig application launched by PM?
No more rights to foreign carriers in India. Why?
Source: The post is based on the article “No more rights to foreign carriers in India. Why?” published in Livemint on 23rd March 2023 What is the News? India says it has no plans to provide any more flying rights or ‘bilateral rights’ to foreign airlines, as the country wants its own carriers to become… Continue reading No more rights to foreign carriers in India. Why?
Getting it right: a historian’s effort to document the life of Bhagat Singh
Source: The post is based on the article “Getting it right: a historian’s effort to document the life of Bhagat Singh” published in The Hindu on 23rd March 2023 What is the News? Prime Minister has paid tributes to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru on Martyrs’ Day (Shaheed Diwas) What is Shaheed Diwas?… Continue reading Getting it right: a historian’s effort to document the life of Bhagat Singh
Indian Army to reintroduce millets in rations of soldiers
Source: The post is based on the article “Indian Army to reintroduce millets in rations of soldiers” published in The Hindu on 23rd March 2023 What is the News? The Indian Army has decided to reintroduce millet flour in the rations of soldiers. Why has the Indian Army decided to introduce millet in the rations… Continue reading Indian Army to reintroduce millets in rations of soldiers
What is deadly Candida auris and what are the symptoms?
Source: The post is based on the article “What is deadly Candida auris and what are the symptoms?” published in TOI on 23rd March 2023 What is the News? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have warned about an “emerging fungus” — Candida auris — in the US, adding that it poses a… Continue reading What is deadly Candida auris and what are the symptoms?